Paris oozes culture, sophistication and style which is why it is so often the highlight of a trip around Europe. With so many monuments, museums and old architecture to feast your eyes on, you’ll find it difficult to leave (until you have one look at your depleted bank account, then you’ll probably be sprinting out of the city). Although you could spend a lifetime exploring Paris, if you’re on a budget you’ll want to allocate 3-4 days for the things to do in Paris, that should give you enough time to see the highlights without eating into your cash too much.
Ok, so let’s have a look at the things you’d be a fool to miss on your itinerary:
THINGS TO SEE IN PARIS
The Eiffel Tower: The monument that symbolizes Paris, and France for that matter. You can’t go to Paris without paying a visit here! Queues can be long to get up it BUT fear not as you can book your time to climb the tower online now (check out their site, but don’t miss your spot or your ticket is worthless!). Costs about $10 to get to the top of the ‘legs’ and $17 if you want to go from the bottom all the way to the summit. Also between dusk and 2am there’s an awesome 10 min lights show on the hour, every hour.
The Arc Du Triumph: Another iconic Parisian sight, The Arc is located at the end of the Champs Elysee (see below) and splat in the middle Place Charles De Gaulle, it’s much larger than you think it’s going to be. It costs around $13 to go up (although if you’ve been up the Eiffel Tower, I’d save your money). It’s accessible by underground passage, if you try to cross on foot you will probably die, everything you heard about French drivers was true! After you’ve had enough, head down to the next stop…
The Champs Elysee: Join the hordes of tourists and wealthy Parisians whilst you waltz up and down the 2km stretch of upscale boutiques in one of Paris’s richest area. Then quickly remember you’re a backpacker, balk at the prices, take a couple of photos and make a hasty escape.
The Louvre: Overlooking the Siene and home to the Mona Lisa amongst other world famous sculptures and paintings. Reputedly the biggest museum in the world so prepare to get lost inside. Even if you’re not an art person, you’ll need at least few hours set aside for this visual feast. Entrance is free with EU passport, free on Sundays for everyone.
Sacre Coeur Basilica: The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris would be worth the 5 euro just to see the amazing architecture but inside, as you get reach the top, its Dome allows tourists amazing views of the entire city, it will take your breath away.
Notre Dame Cathedral: Certainly one of the most beautiful and enchanting buildings in Paris and believe it or not but Notre Dame is France’s most visited attraction, beating the Eiffel tower, with 13m visitors each year and it’s easy to see why. If gothic architecture is your thing then you’ll in for a treat because this place is creepy (in a wonderful, historic way, obviously). The cathedral itself is free to enter but the tour costs $10 USD.
The Palace of Versailles: A full day trip from Paris, The Palace at Versailles is one of the most popular and magnificent attractions in all of France. It served as the capital of France for over 100 years. It’s inspiring architecture, and beautiful gardens are an inspiring sight for tourists from all over the world. Visiting this awe-inspiring palace offers an insight into France’s incredible history.
Accommodation in Paris:
Paris must be one of the most expensive cities in the world for accommodation so be ready to dig deep into that backpacking budget to find somewhere to lay your head each night however
Hostels: Not cheap guys, a dorm room will cost you upwards of $20 USD but they are normally pretty nice and most of them now have free wifi.
Hotels: Finding nice accommodation in Paris is easy, just jump online and search for a cheap hotel in Paris.
Amazing, as you’d expect, so push the boat out and order your snails and frog’s leg, enjoy some red wine – it’s all part of the experience of being in France. But only do it once or twic because you’ll be lucky to escape with less than a $50 bill. Eating in delis, supermarkets etc will save you a fortune and you can eat well for under $5
There is a great train/subway network called the metro in Paris, it’s quick, efficient and relatively cheap (about $2 a journey, or day passes for around $10). This will serve you well throughout your time here.