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13 Great (and Cheap) Things to Do In Paris

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Paris isn’t just about the Eiffel Tower! There are plenty of great and cheap things to do!

free things to do in paris(Photo By: Kimberly Vardeman)

If you’re thinking that Paris, France is out of your reach when traveling on a budget, I have some great news! There are plenty of wonderful things to do in Paris for even the most budget-conscious traveler. Paris hasn’t been around for two millennia because it’s a boring city! This European capital is home to over 12 million people; an art, food, and fashion scene second to none; and shopping galore. It’s no wonder Paris is one of the most influential European cities in the world today. There are plenty of great things to do in Paris, even if you do need them to be on the inexpensive side!

1. Do Some Fun Free Things at Famous Landmarks

If you’re looking for a workout, climb the winding staircase inside the Arc de Triomphe all the way to the top. You’ll have quite a hike, but the view of Paris is amazing. While at the Eiffel Tower, stand directly underneath it and snap a photo of it looking up. The resulting picture is super cool and artsy. You will have to pay an entrance fee to visit the landmarks, but the fee is very reasonable and your workout and photo are free!

2. Continue Your Workout over Some Bridges

If your Rocky run up the Arc de Triomphe steps inspires you to keep working out while you’re in Paris, or at least just to keep sightseeing, walk the bridges over the River Seine throughout the city. This free and great thing to do will keep you quite busy! There are 37 bridges spanning the Seine, and some are simply breathtaking, including the Pont Alexandre III.

3. Give Yourself a Reason to Do Great Things 1 and 2

Inspire the workouts you will be doing in great things 1 and 2 by overdosing on some wonderful Parisian treats while in the City of Light. There are countless cafes and candy stores in Paris with a bevy of goodies, including Croque-monsieur, a fancy-schmancy grilled ham and cheese, at one of the many outdoor cafes Paris is so famous for; some world-famous macaroons at Laduree; and chocolate mousse to die for at Chez Janou. Top it all off with a French Champagne!

4. Window Shop Down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees

Okay, this is only cheap and/or free if you don’t buy anything… so don’t buy anything! Paris’s famous Avenue des Champs-Elysees is home to many of fashion’s finest, and most expensive, designers. You can still go browsing through their shops, even if you do not intend to spend 40 grand on a handbag! Why not take some time wondering down the beautiful avenue and fantasizing about what you’d buy if you had the dough!

5. Get Conceptual

This idea only works if you don’t spend any money either, but if you want to be blown away by an unusual store, check out concept retailer Colette in Paris’s Faubourg Saint-Honore shopping district. This store is one of Paris’s most popular destinations, as it carries an eclectic, and oftentimes bizarre, stock of clothing, electronics, jewelry, and more. You’ll be amazed at what Colette has to offer!

6. Check out the Food Markets

Paris is famous for its food markets, both indoor and outdoor, and you’ll be blown away by how much wonderful fresh food you can sample as you browse through the fair. Gourmet food and wines are a French specialty, and the food markets in Paris don’t disappoint. The food is amazing, and you can tailor your purchases to your budget!

7. Check out the Flea Markets

Paris has been famous for shopping for centuries – literally! Around since the 1800s, the Saint-Ouen Flea Market is Paris’s largest flea market, and you’ll find absolutely everything there, including live entertainment! Browse the bevy of stores that make up this incredible flea market, and enjoy some pretty fantastic street food, too. A flea market that’s over 100 years old? Now, that’s something to see!

8. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire…

This inexpensive idea is appropriate since I’m writing this in December. Paris has a wonderful public park called the Jardin du Luxembourg; it’s the second largest park in the city! Filled with street vendors sure to please, strolling through this beautiful area in the city won’t cost you dime, unless you buy wonderful fresh roasted chestnuts from one of the park’s many sellers.

9. Get Your Mustard On

Speaking of amazing food, if you love mustard, you simply have to stop at Mailles mustard shop. These French mustard specialists take the condiment way beyond Grey Poupon, and here’s the kicker! You can buy a mustard crock while visiting the store on Rue de Madeline and have it refilled every time you return to Paris. Makes you want to say: “Pardon me, but do you have a Mailles mustard crock?”

10. Picnic!

You’ve been to the food markets, you have your mustard, grab a bottle of fantastic French vino and head on over to the Seine for a picnic. You’ve walked all its bridges, so you probably know the perfect spot. One of the most amazing – and cheap – things to do in Paris is to enjoy a picnic along the Seine’s riverbanks, and the city allows it in certain areas. So, pack that basket and enjoy a beautiful afternoon at little cost to you!

11. Commune with the Dead

Paris is home to one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, the Père Lachaise Cemetery. The hallowed grounds of this cemetery are the final resting place of some very famous people, including Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. If the thought of visiting the dead creeps you out, focus on the serenity of this famous cemetery. The grounds allow visitors a peaceful walk amongst lovely scenery.

12. Take in a Less Crowded and Expensive Museum

Paris is home to the most famous museum in the world… well many famous museums! But, if you want to see some beautiful artwork and antiquities without the crowds, check out the Carnavalet, Conciergerie, Musée Rodin, and the Sainte-Chapelle. If you purchase a museum pass, you can save some dough and gain entry into all of these beautiful Paris museums.

13. Get Royal

Ah, the Versailles! Home to historic French royals for centuries. Okay, this is little bit outside of Paris, but the trip to Versailles is a quick and inexpensive train ride and it’s totally worth it! Much like Vatican City, Versailles is a commune unto itself, and there’s a lot see without spending a ton of Euros! The palace and outer lying grounds are breathtaking, and you can also learn how to milk cows at the Hameau de la Reine. Quite an eclectic visiting experience if you ask me!


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One response to “13 Great (and Cheap) Things to Do In Paris”

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  1. Anthony Cole says:
    May 27th, 2014 at 09:53

    The nice thing about Paris is that it is great in both good and bad weather, there are a ton of really interesting museums, lots of them are art museums but there are plenty of other ones as well. You might have a look at the Paris Museum pass, there are historic houses, you can go visit Napoleon’s tomb which is next door to a good army museum, Versailles is included on it, even if the weather isn’t stellar you can visit the interior which is quite fabulous. Notre Dame and Sacre Couer can be visited in rainy weather, I wouldn’t go up the towers though unless the view is good. The Hotel de Ville has a haute couture exhibit currently, maybe not your thing but perhaps your traveling companion might enjoy. The Musee Carnvalet is free and is an interesting place to spend a couple of hours.

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