Paris is the city we seek to find romance, and fashion, to see the Eiffel tower at night and to…… throw away your last 6 months of savings!….? It is so easy to spend all your money in a city with so many tempting restaurants, boutiques, and attractions, but if you budget right you can see all the magic that Paris has to offer with out breaking the bank. Here are some tips and suggestions of things I have done when I was craving Paris but on a college student budget. Now go out there, see Paris, and save your money for that limited edition Gucci bag you have had your eye on!
Chateau de Versailles
It is impossible to see the whole 2,300 room castle but of what we saw it was beautifully detailed, vibrant and just unbelievable! The mirror room was one of my favorite rooms as it stretched far down and was filled with light from the windows on the right side of the room that reflect off the windows on the left. (see pic in the photo gallery above) The brightness combined with gold accents and chandeliers perfected it. My overall favorite part of the visit was the gardens. The gardens were perfectly groomed and included light music filling the air and there was even a fountain show. The gardens were so intricate it felt like walking through a maze as if I was Alice in Wonderland. And of course, after all that exploring we made a stop at Cafe Richelieu which is inside the palace and had a great view of the castle as well as some delicious food and drinks.
Price: $25 for ticket with garden access
Galaries Lafayette Haussmann
How can you go to Paris and not shop? Or at least window shop… We stopped by the Galleries Lafayette Haussmann which looked like a grand hall or castle filled with all the best name brands and trends. I was literally like a kid in a candy story, except it was me surrounded by Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses and Prada bags, Ugh, so amazing. Just walking around looking at all the things to buy was like being at an amusement park, so fun, so much to look at.
Price: Free! (Well… depends on your shopping habits don’t get the best of you)
While at Galeries Lafayette stop by the 1st floor of the Lafayette Dome to snack at Angelina.
I had been told that Angelina’s hot chocolate was the best hot chocolate in the world but I had to go see for myself. You have to have a sweet tooth to like it, and I do, so I LOVED it. The hot chocolate tastes just like warm, liquid chocolate pudding. You can even purchase bottles of the hot chocolate to take home for your late night dessert or as a gift for a friend.
Aside from the hot chocolate, Angelina’s is known for their Mont Blanc dessert (I haven’t tried yet, let me know how it is!) To offset the chocolaty taste I opted for a red velvet macaroon with strawberrys and a sweet cream on top. The assortment of beautifully designed desserts is so large that you will no doubt have a hard time choosing!
If you are not a dessert person Angelina’s is still fun for the classy feel and ambiance. Angelina’s also offers lunch plates, appetizers, tea and more!
Price: $15 (for hot chocolate and a dessert)
Love Lock Bridge
Are you traveling with a lover? A friend? Or maybe you just really love yourself? Pick up a lock and head to the love lock bridge to write on your lock and make the love permanent by clipping it onto the fence. The bridge has become so crowded with love it is very difficult to find a place to put a lock. If you find yourself here without a lock you may get lucky and have someone selling locks near the bridge. If you aren’t into the locking ritual, it is interesting to look at the locks and see what people write or the funny accessories people leave behind on the fence. The bridge has a great view of the sunset so sitting on the bench nearby and people watching at this spot is always fun too!
Price: Free! (or 5$ for a lock)
This is one thing I haven’t had the chance to check out yet but I have heard it is a huge event in Paris! Every Friday night, people from all over town will meet up at Place Raoul Dautry in the 14th Arronidissement to strap on their roller skates and take off together! A massive crowd appears each week for this fun event. Even if you forgot your roller skates at home or maybe you aren’t the best at moving on wheels instead of feet, grab a bench and watch the crowd!
Arc de Triomphe
Most people are content with just glancing and taking a picture with the Arc from across the street, but let me tell you the view from the top is so much better. Although it is a bit of a walk up windy staircase that seems to go on forever, once you reach the top it is a great 360 view of the city! You can see the symmetrical layout of the streets and the Eiffel tower in the background. Such a great place for pictures and for an overall look at the city!
Making your way to the top of the Arc de Triomphe is a great alternative to journying to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The Arc offers a 360 degree view that is just as good as the Eiffel Tower view, if not better. The top of the Arc is crowded but not nearly as bad as the Tower, it is cheaper, and you can buy tickets day of instead of having to book weeks in advance (which you will have to do to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower!)
Price: $15 for one “skip-the-line” ticket purchased online.
The best way to end the day in Paris is with a friend, a drink in hand, and a sunset! There are many options for fun rooftop bars in Paris. Some of the popular ones get booked up fast so make sure to make reservations! Make reservations even if you are just going for one drink and a view.
The bar we went to was in Montemarte and called the Terrass en Haut located on the 7th floor on top of Terrass Hotel. The bar served drinks in cute tiki cups and luckily we were able to get a couch to sit on without reservations! Some other great rooftop bars include Le Perchoir, Hotel Raphael, 43 Up On the Roof, or Hotel Raphael Bar.
Price: $15 (just grab one drink and enjoy the view or you can go all out with a three course meal!)
Address for Terrass en Haut: 12 rue Joseph de Maistre | Terrass Hotel, 75018 Paris, France
+33 1 46 06 72 85
Of course on the top of every tourist’s list is to see the Eiffel Tower. On your way to the Eiffel Tower stroll down Rue Cler (located in the 7th arrondissement.) to window shop in the market style street. Here you can pick up a baguette and some cheese to bring for a picnic in the grass underneath the Eiffel Tower. When at the Eiffel Tower be prepared for people to approach and ask you to buy key chains and untrustworthy wine, don’t be afraid to say no!
Sitting in the grass enjoying the breeze, flowers, company and a picnic is in my opinion the best way to get the best Eiffel Tower experience!
Price: $20 picnic party
Of course you will get a crepe in Paris, how could you not?! But I must tell you the best crepe I have ever had was at La Creme de Paris. It was quite a thick crepe and was generously filled. I had an egg and ham crepe and a nutella and strawberry crepe, both equally amazing. I would definetly reccommend checking out this place for a lunch or dessert crepe!
Price: $20 for a meal
4 rue faubourg montmarte
Gelato & Roses
Yes, yes, gelato is a crowd favorite and who doesn’t adore roses? But what about a gelato ice cream shaped like a rose? Amorino in Paris makes the most adorable ice cream cone flowers served with a macaroon on the side. It is so good that we chanced being late for our flight to stop and stand in line for this amazing gelato. Not only is it delicious but very instagramable!
The Louvre is the place to go for history lovers and creative minds! There is an abundance of rooms with such a variety of art. but of course the most crowded room is where the Mona Lisa hangs.
My favorite spot in the museum is the glass covered sculpture courtyards. (See pictures above) Located on the 1st floor in the Richelieu Wing, this room lets in a beautiful natural light to the marble statues and few trees. This is an amazing place to rest and admire when your legs need a break!
When you finish up at the Louve, right outside the museum is the Tuileries Garden. You get a view of the beautiful Louve building and feel like royalty sitting in the well groomed gardens. A great place for another picnic!
Price: $20-25 for one ticket.
It is cheapest to book online or to purchase in a bundle along with other touristy activities. You can also buy a museum pass that will allow you access to all museums.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame was yes, very beautiful on the inside but sort of anticlimactic in my opinion. The self tour inside is so quick you just walk around and then its over. The drive there, the long line, and all the talk made us expect a bit more out of the experience. If this is on the top of your list of things to do I would of course make the arragements so (make time for the long line!) but if you are just going because its on every list of top things to see in Paris, I would maybe skip it. The cathedral is amazing to witness the power of whats inside and its definitely something to check off your list to see if you have time.
Price: $10 entry fee
And ok… I lied a little bit. One of these items is not under $30 by any means but I couldn’t write a blog about Paris without mentioning the most romantic boat ride of my life.
Seine River Cruise
This was BY FAR my favorite excursion I have experienced in Paris. This is not the cheapest thing to do but it is so worth the money, and so romantic! Taking a river cruise in Paris is the best way to get a glimpse of everything as you are able to pass 19 different famous attractions while enjoying a lovely meal.
It was beautiful to begin with but once the sun began to go down and the colors of the sunset reflected off the water it was just amazing. The appetizers were pretty good with a variety of four little tastes and the steak I thought was great. The dessert was also little tasters and they were so cute and fun. The cruise came with a bottle of champagne and we had our own table (compared to other cruises we looked at where you had to sit at a family style table and they would pair you up with random people). Toward the end of the cruise they added party-like lights, music, and a few people even started dancing. The mood and ambiance of this entire event was absolutely perfect. This is perfect for couples looking for a romantic night out.
This is the website I bought it off of, its been a while but I think this is the exact cruise we went on! There are many other cruise options on this website as well. https://www.pariscityvision.com/en/dinner-cruise-decouverte-menu-1