When I was planning my trip to Paris, I had people warn me about how expensive the city is, and that the people there are arrogant and nasty.

It’s also always been known to be a city of romance, where it’d only be right to go with a loved one. I’ve also heard people telling me that their trip wouldn’t be complete if they didn’t come home with luxury goods.

Well, they couldn’t be more wrong. I went to Paris alone and enjoyed myself thoroughly. While people there wouldn’t come up to have a friendly chat with you, they weren’t nasty. They mind their own business, that’s all. I spent less than €75 (excluding what I paid for Airbnb) in my three and a half days there, and I certainly didn’t need Chanel bags to make me feel like my trip served its purpose. Paris isn’t as expensive as you think. And no, I wasn’t slumming it.

C. Louvre
Don’t be tempted by that Airbnb listing on the outskirts of Paris just because it’s €30 cheaper than the one in the city. The further away you stay, the more you pay for transport into town. Stay somewhere near the Bastille. It’s within walking distance to the Notre Dame, Père Lachaise, Le Marais, and a short metro ride away from the usual attractions like the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Montmartre.


This view is all the more rewarding after walking up here.
This view is all the more rewarding after walking up here.

It’s easy to complain about having to walk if you come from a city where buses and trains are accessible. It’s true that the metro in Paris is expensive, so limit your metro rides to three a day at most, suck it up and walk everywhere. Figure out on Google Maps how long it takes to walk from one place to another and plan out your daily itinerary. You can definitely walk if it’s less than 40 mins from point A to B. If you have it within you to do this in the summer, more power to you.

You don’t have to have fancy €20 meals. There are affordable options. For breakfast, any croissant from a boulangerie costs only €1. If you want a typical french dining experience, go to Chartier. It’s a 2 minute walk from metro Grands Boulevards in the area of Montmartre. Mains are less than €12.

My steack hache au poivre vert was only €8.60.
My steack hache au poivre vert was only €8.60.

Or a pita falafel big enough to fill you up for the day (€5.50) in the Jewish neighbourhood of Le Marais

C. Pita falafel
Huge, delicious, vibrant, beautiful pita falafel.

And crêpes from the Thursday & Sunday markets on Blvd Richard Lenoir, right in the area of Bastille.

The usual tourist spots don’t cost a dime unless you want to brave the queue to get inside the Louvre or go up the Eiffel Tower. But here’s a little-known spot I want to share with you: 59 Rivoli, an art squat/gallery on Rue de Rivoli. Artists live and work in there. There’s no entrance fee, but do feel free to make a small donation to the artists in exchange for a portrait, or buy some of their work.
C. Art squat paris

There is so much to see and do in Paris for very little money and walking would take up most of your time that shopping wouldn’t even cross your mind. Paris may be a fashion capital, but it’s also one of the the best places for art, history, and culture. If shopping is your main focus whilst on holiday in Europe, then perhaps you should rethink your priorities.

Cindy Tan

about Cindy

Cindy heads Departure’s Curator section. She is an avid traveller and night owl, known for her contrarian stance on a number of issues. She has criticised such public and generally popular figures as Mother Teresa, Taylor Swift and Pope Benedict XVI.

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