Updated: Dec 16, 2020
Bonjour friends! I will start by saying that I never thought I would write about Paris. When asked about my take on this famous tourist city, my response would always fall in the middle ground. Incredible food, the most beautiful architecture, but seemingly Paris is deemed an expensive place to visit.
However, with the onslaught of the pandemic (and if we are being honest, finishing Emily in Paris is less than 24 hours), I have recently become inspired to revisit Paris. Other travel bloggers (like Anna Kloots, her Paris life looks dreamy) have inspired me to catalog my travels here and offer up my budget-friendly bucket list around Paris. I am here to give you my Real(e) (had to) take on the affordable activities in this low key city in the North of France (she has jokes!).
Eat a Crepe
When visiting France, make food your priority. Because the French do many things well, but the food is probably the thing they do best. Insert Crepe with baguette, Croque Misure, or Bœuf bourguignon, and you can do no wrong when visiting Paris. My favorite spot to snag this delectable treat is down by the boat tour company Vedettes de Paris, where they make affordable crepes right in front of your face. Can you honestly ask for anything more extraordinary?
Total Cost: €3.50
Watch the Eiffel Tower "Sparkle" at Night
Buy a cheap bottle of wine, wait until sundown, & lay your hostel towel on the grass and BAM you have a memorable evening at the Eiffel Tower. From dusk to 1am each night, the Eiffel Tower illuminates and produces a light show. This spectacle is a must-see when visiting Paris, and not including your wine is completely free!
Total Cost: Free! - Not factoring in wine ;)
Most of these are food and drink-related, I am now realizing. Paris is known for its macaron, and Ladurée is the place to snag a picturesque box of these excitable treats. Although this rivals on not fiscally responsible, macarons themselves run individually at lower prices. If you limit to 1-2, you will not be straining your wallet too fiercely. Not only is the inside pristinely french, but if you do want to splurge, they offer champagne in their formal bar area. NEED I SAY MORE? Enjoy a box of macaroons and sip on champagne for an authentically French experience.
Total Cost: €1.40 per macaron (if you're in the mood to splurge, brut is $18 according to my research, expensive but it's champagne in France. It's imperative)
Take in a French Café
My pinnacle French experience was sipping a latte while pretending to enjoy the profoundly intense cigarette smoke. Parisian cafes are known for their people watching nature, so pull up a chair, order a coffee and go to town. Favorites around the city are Cafe de Flore and La Closerie des Lilas.
Total Cost: €3-3.50
Stroll the banks of the Seine River
Image by Anna Kloots
A worthy Paris activity that is entirely free! Stroll the banks of the Seine and admire local street markets and stalls. One such stall had vintage books that were hundreds of years old! I even once had my portrait drawn here when I was ten, and let me tell you, awkward phases and the early 2000's do not translate well into charcoal art. Nothing says Paris like slicked-back hair and an Etnies shirt.
Total Cost: Free!
Visit the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset
One of the more expensive things on the list, but my personal favorite. The Eiffel Tower is one of those places that are worth the tourist hype for a reason. The tower is magical to see in person, and even more magic to see a bird's eye view of Paris. When I ventured to the top, we had planned to see the sun go down, and boy, it did not disappoint in the slightest. When booking, check the sunset times for the specific time of year you would be going and schedule to go up to the top about a half-hour to forty-five minutes beforehand.
Total Cost: Around €30
In the comments below, let me know if you have had the opportunity to visit Paris and if there are more affordable things to do around the city!