Cheap Things to Do in Paris
Happy Summer Solstice! Light the bbq’s, get the beach gear ready and soak up the sun as we commence the beginning of summer. We’ve been anxiously waiting all year to kick off our vacation celebration’s and all along, strategically organizing ways to absorb the most fun for our money. Here in Paris, it’s no different. As the City of Lights was voted the second most expensive city in the world for 2014, having a strategy for your money is a loosely played word when it comes to enjoying your lion’s share. You need a war plan!
Paris is overflowing with tourist’s from around the world 365 days and when the summer months arrive, it is almost submerged. Wide-eyed families venture through Paris absorbing every memory they can grasp while Parisian’s flee from the city. The advantage to this though, is tourists get a quick opportunity to relish in the best kept inexpensive secret’s in town but the trick is where to find them.
Parisian’s, especially students, have worked diligently to find inexpensive ways to enjoy their city while not getting their electricity turned off. As for myself, after 7 months of trying to make it as a Parisian, I finally have put my time in and journeyed enough to fill my own book of inexpensive and free Parisian adventures. Discovering attractions, dining, parks, museums, movies and more, I now share with them with you. I hope you will enjoy them just as much as I did, (and still am)!
“Cheap things to Do”, is a list which provides alternative activities I’ve found, to the “bucketlist” items such as the Eiffel Tower and Louvre for 20 euros or under. My goal is to give you ideas for afternoon and evening out’s you can enjoy without stressing about spending a fortune.
Cheap Things to Do in Paris-Summer Edition
1. Picnic in the Park.
Many list this as a free thing to do but it is really a cheap thing to do. You can always just bring a blanket to the parc but to have a nice picnic, you want to spend a little bit of money. Head to a Carrefour and grab some wine, cheese, your 1 euro baguette and a little picnic gear for under 20 euro, a perfect alternative for an evening out. This is by far my favorite thing to do in the city and though there are many parks, if you are only here for a weekend, pitch a night picnic at Champ de Mars. With views of the sparkling Eiffel Tower and a lively atmosphere, it is the best run for your money. Plus, if you want to stay longer and are out of wine, there are always guys selling cheap bottles. Just make sure, negotiate, negotiate! Champ de Mars,75007, Metro: Champ de Mars/Tour Eiffel
2. Boat Ride in Le Bois de Boulogne.
This is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in the city. It is a beautiful woodland that makes you believe you stepped in an impressionist painting. Take a nice walk, lay out a picnic and after enjoy a romantic (or friendly) hour boat ride for 10 euro through the picturesque landscape. Just an FYI, there is a 50 euro deposit required. http://www.paris.fr/pratique/paris-au-vert/bois-de-boulogne. Merto: Porte d’Auteil
3. Dinner at La Refuge des Fondues.
If wanna feel like a kid again, well actually a baby, then here’s your chance. This family style seating, hilarious fondue experience in Montmartre is the best 20 euro fun you can buy. The price includes an aperitif, delicious fondue with an appropriate selection of dippings and lastly,……a glass of wine in a baby bottle! If you choose to splurge you can buy one as a souvenir bottle for 8 euro, otherwise make friends with the people next to you, (we were friends with the whole restaurant by the end) and don’t worry when the server asks to climb over the table to your seat. Before you head in, ensure to stop next store at Chez Aime for 2 euro happy hour. 17 Rue de 3 Freres, 75018. Metro: Anvers
4. Erasmus Boat Party on the Seine.
This one is for the students. If you have not already been to a Erasmus party then you need to put it on your checklist. Erasmus, an international student association, knows how to make your study abroad experience memorable and here in Paris, one way is at the River’s King. Every second Saturday of the month, the River’s King, hosts an all night party which includes a pasta buffet, from 8-10pm, a 45 minute boat tour past the Eiffel Tower and all night dancing till 5am on the boat. All this plus THREE drink tickets for 20 euro. You can’t even get a sandwich and a water most of the time for that. Though a student based organization, it is open to everyone and the crowd is a mix of people of all age groups. I went with my language school when I first arrived and have to say, one of the best times I had in Paris. http://www.erasmus-party.com, Quai Saint-Bernard,75005, Metro: Champ de Mars/Tour Eiffel
5. Moulin Rouge and Erotica Museum.
Possibly not on the same high standards as the Louvre or D’Orsay, the Musee de l’erotisme in the 18th, is still worth a chance on the museum list. On your way back down from Montmartre (which is a free thing to do), grab a street crepe, take the “must have” pictures of Moulin Rouge, then stroll down one block towards this unique walk through history. Why do I insist? Mainly, because you will have the most fun pictures of your trip. The museum displays the history of erotic “artifacts”, some dating back to 400 b.c!! Once you see this museum, you will think we are prude in 2014. http://www.musee-erotisme.com, 72 Boulevard de Clichy,75018, Metro: Blanche
6. Do-It-Yourself Bike Tour.
As most cities in the US have rental bikes, Paris is no different. A rental Veilb is only 1,70 per day! Bike stations are everywhere throughout the city and the card system and drop off works the same as in the US. Safety wise, there are bike lanes along the main streets in most areas. However, bike lane or not, be a defense biker and though that picture of you with the baguette in your bike basket will look adorable, move to the sidewalk. As a fast paced city, remember, “your always in the way”, be careful! http://www.en.velib.paris.fr
7. River Tour on the Seine.
If this is your first trip to Paris, this is a must on the checklist. Depending on your itinerary and well, number one, the weather, a river cruise on the Seine is the best way to get an overview of the city, especially on your first day. When friends have come to visit, this is now one of the first things I plan for visitors and they love the hour “intro” to the city on their first day. Along with a brief history, it will make your visitation selection process a bit easier for the rest of your trip. Best time of day to do it, sunset or evening. The city truly comes alive at night and the sunset’s on the Seine, paint colors across the sky’s of Paris that will have you rushing to Instagram every picture over and over. There are plenty of companies to choose from but Bateaux Mouches provides the most tours. http://www.bateaux-mouches.fr, Port de la Conference, 75008, Metro: Pont de l’Alma