10 Things To Do In Paris For $10

Aaah Paris, the city of lights, effortless French cool, romance, and… expensive prices!

With the current pound-to-euro exchange rate, we in London couldn’t believe how much it cost for some Parisian chic on a recent trip to France – everything from croissants to crepes seem to have shot up!

So that extra $10 (or €8) you’ll save by booking Paris hostels with us could make a great difference to your next trip. Here’s a few ideas from other travellers on how to spend those Euros…

And here’s our run-down of the top 10 things to do in Paris for less than $10!

1. The Louvre (€6)

Sure, the Louvre is free the first Sunday of every month, but all of Paris knows this – so it draws long queues and hoards of tourists. It’s far less stressful to wander around the vast galleries on Wednesday and Friday evenings, between 6 and 9:45pm, where the admission fee is halved. There’s also something quite calming about the Louvre at night – and you won’t have to wrestle with thirty schoolkids for a classic view of the Mona Lisa!

2. The Catacombs (€7)

From dizzying heights to an underground city… Paris’s catacombs are basically a huge cemetery, set in tunnels and caverns beneath the city – created in the 18th century when the city’s cemeteries were overwhelmed above ground. Today you can visit the eerie tunnels lined with bones and skulls at the Catacombs Museum (Avenue de Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy).

3. Montparnasse Tower (€5)

While the Eiffel Tower may be Paris’ most iconic way to see the city, the Montparnasse Tower offers comparably romantic moments for rather less cash. Ignore the tourist lift and head instead up to the cafe on the 56th floor and grab a gourmet coffee whilst you enjoy the sights below. Not only do you save a packet, but that famous other tower will grace your view of the city!

4. More heavenly views…

Paris’s most famous churches – Notre Dame and the Sacre Coeur in Montmatre – are free to enter, but you have to pay for amazing views from their tops. You can visit the gargoyles and belfry towers of Notre Dame for around €6 (and scream ‘the bells, the bells!’ childishly from the top), or ascend the Dome at the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur for €5 and panoramic Paris views that put even hilly Montmartre to shame.

5. Vintage treasures

‘Free P Star’ (along with a few other unnamed, tiny shops in the Marais) is a vintage mecca for sourcing cheap and cool secondhand clothes. Crammed to the rafters with fur coats, pretty dresses, leather jackets and platform boots, the real draw for bargain hunters are the €3 and €5 ‘bins’, where you can rummage for some truly unique pieces and get a whole outfit with your spare change.

Avoid weekends if you want to escape this popular shop unharmed, though, as hoards of chic Parisians elbow each other out the way in search of the perfect bargain outfit.

6. Falafel and a Fig Strudel (€8)

To fuel up for your shopping spree, stick around in the Marais, Paris’s hippest district that’s home to a thriving gay community and has a historic Jewish heritage. The cobblestone streets lined with Jewish bakeries and kebab shops are famed for falafel and shwarma, which make a cheap and filling lunch. The long queues for the €5 falafel sandwiches at ‘L’As du Fallafel’ and ‘Mi-Va-Mi’ speak for themselves.

Use your leftover change for dessert at Florence Finkelstein, where a fig strudel will set you back around €3…

7. Biking in the Bois de Bologne (€5)

The Bois de Bologne is an idyllic park on the western edge of Paris, where many Parisians come for a weekend getaway amongst the scenic lakes and walking trails. There’s a ‘Shakespeare Garden’ with plants and herbs named after the famous plays and much-loved characters, a huge lake with row boats and plenty of pretty parkland for a good hour’s cycle.

If you don’t have the time to explore this far out of the city, you could also go to the Jardin de Luxembourg and pay €3.10 to race wooden sailboats on the lake for an hour, or watch an old-fashioned Marionette show at the park’s Theatre du Luxembourg at the weekend.

8. The Impressionists (€5.50)

The Musee D’Orsay is one of Paris’s best galleries. Housed in a beautiful old train station, it showcases a range of art from 1848 to 1915, but is most famous for its impressive collection by the Impressionists Monet, Degas, Renoir and Cezanne. Smaller and easier to navigate than the Louvre, tickets are only €7.50, or €5.50 on Sundays and for under 25s.

9. Ave Maria, Oberkampf

The Oberkampf is one of the coolest areas in Paris, but many of the places to be seen are uniform ‘trendy’ bars serving overpriced cocktails. Ave Maria is a truly unique restaurant and bar, always buzzing, and usually free from those pretentious posers.

With a kitsch and colourful decor – bright posters, toys and souvenirs line the walls – and an international menu with kookily named dishes such as Le Fableux Destin de Amelie Poulin (a delicious Brazilian dish with sweet potato mash), it gets understandably crowded by 7pm.

As they don’t take reservations, the best option is to come late, when the lights get darker, the music gets louder and people start dancing in between the tables. €8 should buy you one of their potent cocktails (or a glass of fresh mint tea) and an oozing slice of their infamous Mourir de Chocolat cake – often named the best in Paris!

10. Sweet treats to take home

Paris is packed with patisseries selling sinful and sugary treats, from tarte tatin to extravagant pastries. One of the most famous exports, beloved by Marie Antoinette, is the Macaron or macaroon – a pastel coloured confection with a buttercream filling. France’s most famous pastry chefs have made their name concocting exotic versions of these sweet treats, but the original and best are to be found at the Laduree shops and tearooms – which are worth visiting for their fairytale decor alone.

A single freshly made Macaron will cost you €1.70 – they’re tiny but incredible rich, and come beautifully packaged in the iconic green box. Try flavours such as Caramel with Salted Butter, Bitter Chocolate, and Liquorice, or head over to Franprix supermarket and buy a bigger box for around €8.

Thanks to russelljsmithDenis McLaughlinTrodelspacejulien and coturnix for the excellent images from Flickr. Please note, all images were suitable for use at the time of publication according to the Creative Commons License.

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