Paris Landmarks You Can Visit on a Budget

Landmarks in Paris

Paris is often seen as a city of grandeur and elegance, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. With its rich history and many cultural landmarks, Paris offers plenty of opportunities to explore on a budget. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there’s always something new to discover without spending a fortune. Paris offers affordable or free access to many famous landmarks, making it an ideal destination for everyone, regardless of budget.

Ready to embark on a Parisian adventure that won’t strain your finances? I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 landmarks you can visit on a budget. These spots not only offer a glimpse into the city’s storied past but also promise unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re you’re admiring the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro or wandering through Montmartre, these budget-friendly landmarks will help you make the most of your Parisian adventure.

1. Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is synonymous with Paris, but visiting this landmark doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Instead of splurging on tickets to the top, you can enjoy the tower’s grandeur from Trocadéro, which offers some of the best views in the city for free. The large esplanade and surrounding gardens provide a perfect backdrop for your photos and a relaxing spot to soak in the Parisian atmosphere.

Why Visit?

The Eiffel Tower made our list for its iconic status and the fact that you can appreciate its beauty without spending a lot. Standing at Trocadéro, you can take in the entire tower against the Paris skyline, offering a perspective that’s just as impressive as the view from the top.

What to See?

  • Trocadéro Gardens: Explore the expansive gardens, fountains, and statues that frame your view of the Eiffel Tower. The ambiance here is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.
  • Light Show: Every evening, the Eiffel Tower sparkles with thousands of lights for five minutes every hour on the hour. This dazzling display is free to enjoy and offers a magical end to your day.

Budget Tips

  • Arrive Early or Late: Trocadéro can get crowded, especially during peak tourist times. Visit early in the morning or later in the evening to enjoy a quieter experience and better photo opportunities.
  • Bring Your Own Snacks: Save money by grabbing some pastries or a baguette from a nearby boulangerie and enjoy a picnic with an unbeatable view.
  • Use Public Transport: The Eiffel Tower area is well-served by public transportation. Using the metro or bus can save you money compared to taxis or rideshares.
  • Skip the Elevator: Instead of paying for the elevator to the top, consider climbing the stairs to the second level. It’s cheaper and provides a different perspective of the structure.

By opting for Trocadéro, you can enjoy the Eiffel Tower in all its glory without the crowds and cost of an elevator ride. It’s a budget-friendly way to experience one of Paris’s most famous landmarks, proving that sometimes the best things in life really are free.

2. Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and a symbol of Parisian resilience. While the 2019 firecaused significant damage, the cathedral remains a beacon of history and culture. The ongoing restoration efforts have turned it into a living monument where visitors can witness history in the making.

Why Visit?

Notre-Dame made our list because it’s a landmark steeped in history, and you can experience much of its grandeur for free. From its impressive facade to the detailed carvings, there’s plenty to admire without spending a dime. Plus, witnessing the restoration efforts adds a unique layer to your visit.

What to See?

  • Facade and Towers: The intricate facade, with its statues and gargoyles, tells stories from centuries past. While climbing the towers is currently off-limits, the exterior view is still awe-inspiring.
  • Interior: Though access may be limited due to restoration, peeking inside through open doors gives a glimpse of the stunning stained glass windows and towering nave.
  • Île de la Cité: Stroll around the island to enjoy different perspectives of the cathedral and its surroundings.

Budget Tips

  • Free Walking Tours: Several companies offer free walking tours of the area, providing historical context and interesting anecdotes about Notre-Dame and its significance.
  • Picnic at Square Jean XXIII: Bring snacks and enjoy a picnic in the square behind the cathedral. It’s a peaceful spot with great views of the flying buttresses.
  • Photograph from Pont de l’Archevêché: For a unique angle, head to Pont de l’Archevêché, a nearby bridge offering excellent photo opportunities of Notre-Dame and the Seine.

Despite the current restoration, Notre-Dame Cathedral is a testament to Paris’s enduring spirit. Visiting this landmark allows you to connect with history and witness the incredible effort to preserve one of the city’s most cherished structures.

3. Sacré-Cœur Basilica

Sacré-Cœur Basilica

Perched atop the highest point in Paris, Sacré-Cœur Basilica offers more than just a place of worship. It provides an unmatched vantage point over the city, making it a favorite spot for locals and tourists. Built in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War, its white domes, and Byzantine architecture are as captivating as the views it offers.

Why Visit?

Sacré-Cœur made our list because it’s a landmark that combines architectural beauty with a panoramic view of Paris, all without an entrance fee. It’s a place where you can reflect, take in the cityscape, and experience a different side of Paris, away from the bustling streets below.

What to See?

  • The Basilica: Admire the unique Romano-Byzantine architecture and the impressive mosaic of Christ in Glory, one of the largest in the world.
  • The Dome: If you’re up for a climb, the dome offers one of the best 360-degree views of Paris. It’s a workout, but the sight is worth every step.
  • Montmartre: Wander through the Montmartre district, known for its artistic heritage and bohemian vibe. The area around Sacré-Cœur is filled with street artists, quaint cafes, and vibrant shops.

Budget Tips

  • Free Entrance: Entry to the basilica is free, so you can enjoy its serene interior without spending a cent.
  • Street Performers: Enjoy the performances of musicians and artists who often gather on the steps and around the basilica. It’s a lively, entertaining way to soak in the atmosphere without opening your wallet.
  • Picnic with a View: Bring some snacks or grab a baguette from a nearby boulangerie and have a picnic on the steps. It’s an affordable way to enjoy the view and people-watch.

Sacré-Cœur Basilica isn’t just a landmark; it’s an experience that blends history, spirituality, and some of the best views in Paris. Whether you’re exploring the basilica’s interiors or simply enjoying the vibrant Montmartre atmosphere, this visit promises to be both memorable and budget-friendly.

4. The Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum is not just a repository of art; it’s a journey through the vast expanse of human history. Housing over 35,000 works, from ancient civilizations to the 19th century, it stands as a beacon of cultural heritage. But don’t be fooled into thinking this famous museum is out of reach for budget-conscious travelers. With some planning, you can enjoy the wonders of the Louvre without emptying your wallet.

Why Visit?

The Louvre made our list because it’s a treasure trove of art and history, offering more than just the famous Mona Lisa. It allows you to traverse time and civilizations under one roof. Plus, there are ways to explore it affordably, making it accessible to everyone.

What to See?

  • The Mona Lisa: No visit to the Louvre is complete without seeing Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Be prepared for crowds, but her enigmatic smile is worth the effort.
  • The Venus de Milo: This ancient Greek statue is another must-see, renowned for its beauty and mystery.
  • The Egyptian Antiquities: Explore the extensive collection of artifacts from ancient Egypt, including statues, sarcophagi, and mummies.

Budget Tips

  • Free Entry Days: The Louvre offers free admission on the first Saturday of each month in the evening and on Bastille Day (July 14). Plan your visit accordingly to save on entrance fees.
  • Youth Discounts: If you’re an EU resident under 26, you can enter the museum for free anytime. Others can benefit from reduced rates, so check ahead for eligibility.
  • Explore the Courtyard: The courtyard of the Louvre, with its stunning glass pyramid and historical architecture, is open to the public for free. It’s a perfect spot for photos and soaking in the ambiance.

The Louvre Museum isn’t just about seeing famous artworks; it’s about experiencing the breadth of human creativity and history. Whether you’re an art lover or a curious traveler, the Louvre offers a rich, affordable adventure into the world of art and culture. You can explore this famous museum without stretching your budget by taking advantage of free entry days and discounts.

5. Musée d’Orsay

Musée d'Orsay

Housed in a former railway station, the Musée d’Orsay offers a unique setting to explore some of the world’s finest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces. This museum bridges the 19th and 20th centuries, showcasing art from an era of profound change and innovation.

Why Visit?

The Musée d’Orsay made our list because of its unparalleled collection of works by artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, and Degas. Its setting, a beautifully repurposed Beaux-Arts railway station, adds an extra layer of charm to your visit. The museum is also known for being more manageable and less overwhelming than the Louvre, making it perfect for a leisurely day of art appreciation.

What to See?

  • Monet’s Water Lilies: Marvel at the serene beauty of Monet’s water lilies, capturing the tranquility of his garden in Giverny.
  • Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhône: Experience the vibrant colors and swirling energy of Van Gogh’s vision of the night sky.
  • Degas’ Ballet Dancers: Degas’ sculptures and paintings of ballet dancers offer a graceful glimpse into the world of dance.

Budget Tips

  • Free Entry: The Musée d’Orsay offers free admission on the first Sunday of each month. This is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy world-class art without spending a dime.
  • Reduced Rates: Young adults (18-25) from the EU can enter for free, while non-EU residents can benefit from reduced ticket prices.
  • Lunch with a View: While not free, the museum’s restaurant offers a reasonably priced meal with a stunning view of the Seine, combining art and a memorable dining experience.

The Musée d’Orsay isn’t just a museum; it’s a journey through a pivotal era in art history. Its incredible collection and unique location make it an essential stop on any Paris itinerary. And with strategic planning, you can enjoy this cultural gem without breaking the bank. Whether you’re drawn to the tranquil scenes of Monet or the vibrant visions of Van Gogh, the Musée d’Orsay offers a rich and affordable art experience in the heart of Paris.

6. Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Strolling down the Champs-Élysées is like walking through the heart of Parisian culture and history. This famous avenue stretches from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, offering a mix of high-end shops, theaters, and cafes. The grand boulevard culminates at the Arc de Triomphe, a monument to French history and resilience.

Why Visit?

The Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe made our list because they encapsulate the spirit of Paris. From luxury shopping to historical landmarks, this area showcases the diversity and depth of the city’s appeal. Visiting these sites offers a dual experience of contemporary Parisian life and historical grandeur.

What to See?

  • The Arc de Triomphe: Climb to the top of this monumental arch for one of the best views in Paris. The Arc honors those who fought and died for France, with the names of generals and battles inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces.
  • The Champs-Élysées: Enjoy a leisurely walk down this world-famous avenue, window shopping, or stopping for a coffee at one of the many cafes. The avenue is especially magical when it’s beautifully illuminated during the holiday season.

Budget Tips

  • Free Views: While climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe has a fee, viewing it from the ground is free and still impressive. The sight of the Arc illuminated at night is particularly stunning.
  • Discounted Entry: Entry to the Arc de Triomphe is free from November to March on the first Sunday of the month, and for EU residents under 26 all year round. Plan your visit accordingly to take advantage of these discounts.
  • Picnic on the Champs-Élysées: Instead of dining at pricey cafes, pack a picnic and enjoy it in the Jardin des Champs-Élysées. This can be a delightful way to experience the area without spending too much.

The Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe perfectly blend modern Parisian life and rich history. Whether you are drawn by the allure of high-end shopping or the historical significance of the Arc, this area provides a dynamic and affordable way to explore Paris. Enjoy the grandeur from the ground or the top, and savor the essence of Paris without breaking the bank.

7. Montmartre and Place du Tertre


Montmartre, perched high on a hill in Paris’s 18th arrondissement, offers a blend of artistic history and bohemian charm. It’s famous for its winding streets, cozy cafes, and artistic legacy. Place du Tertre, at the heart of Montmartre, is a bustling square where artists set up their easels, painting and selling their works. This area has a unique atmosphere that feels like stepping back in time.

Why Visit?

Montmartre and Place du Tertre were chosen for their vibrant cultural and historical significance. This neighborhood once was home to famous artists like Picasso and Van Gogh, and it still retains its artistic spirit. Wandering through Montmartre is like experiencing a living museum of creativity and history.

What to See?

  • Place du Tertre: This lively square is a hub for artists, offering a chance to watch them at work and perhaps even purchase a unique piece of art. The square is surrounded by charming cafes and restaurants, perfect for soaking in the atmosphere.
  • Sacré-Cœur Basilica: A short walk from Place du Tertre, the basilica’s steps provide stunning views of Paris. The interior is equally impressive, with its grand mosaics and serene ambiance.

Budget Tips

  • Free Art Exhibits: While buying art might be out of the budget, simply wandering around Place du Tertre and watching the artist’s work can be an enriching experience. It’s like a free, open-air art exhibit.
  • Affordable Eats: Avoid the pricier cafes around Place du Tertre and head to nearby streets for more affordable dining options. You can find charming spots offering reasonably priced meals and snacks.
  • Explore on Foot: Montmartre’s charm lies in its streets and alleys. Walking is the best way to explore, and it’s completely free. Don’t miss the Wall of Love, a hidden gem where “I love you” is written in numerous languages.

Montmartre and Place du Tertre offer an authentic Parisian experience that’s rich in history and creativity. Whether you’re there to admire the art, take in the panoramic views, or enjoy the unique vibe, Montmartre is a must-visit landmark that won’t strain your budget.

8. Jardin des Tuileries

Jardin des Tuileries

The Jardin des Tuileries, located between the Louvre Museum and Place de la Concorde, is one of Paris’s most historic gardens. Designed in the 16th century, this public garden offers a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s not just a pretty place; it’s a living piece of history, having witnessed countless events over the centuries.

Why Visit?

Jardin des Tuileries made our list for its rich history and its role as a central gathering place for Parisians and tourists alike. It’s a perfect spot to relax, people-watch, and enjoy the beauty of meticulously maintained gardens. The garden’s central location also makes it an ideal starting point for exploring other landmarks in Paris.

What to See?

  • Sculptures and Fountains: As you stroll through the garden, you’ll encounter various sculptures by artists like Rodin and Maillol. The fountains add a refreshing element, making the garden a perfect spot for a leisurely walk.
  • Orangerie Museum: Located within the garden, this museum houses Monet’s famous Water Lilies series and other impressionist and post-impressionist works. It’s a great cultural stop if you’re in the mood for some art.

Budget Tips

  • Free Entry: One of the best things about the Jardin des Tuileries is that it’s completely free to enter. You can enjoy the beauty of the gardens without spending a cent.
  • Picnic Spot: Bring a picnic and enjoy your meal in one of the designated areas. It’s a cost-effective way to dine in a beautiful setting while soaking up the Parisian atmosphere.
  • People-Watching: Simply sitting on one of the many chairs scattered around the garden is a delightful (and free) way to spend your time. Watch the world go by, read a book, or just relax.

Jardin des Tuileries is more than just a garden; it’s a cultural hub that offers a peaceful retreat amid the city’s busy life. Whether you’re there to take a break from sightseeing or to enjoy a leisurely afternoon, this historic garden is a must-visit destination in Paris.

9. Sainte-Chapelle


Sainte-Chapelle, located on the Île de la Cité, is a gothic chapel that stands out for its architectural beauty and historical significance. Built in the 13th century by King Louis IX to house precious Christian relics, including the Crown of Thorns, it is one of the world’s most remarkable examples of Gothic architecture.

Why Visit?

Sainte-Chapelle made our list for its incredible stained glass windows and its role in Parisian history. The chapel is renowned for its stunning stained glass that covers nearly the entire structure, creating a kaleidoscope of colors when sunlight streams through. It’s a visual masterpiece offering a different kind of beauty than other Parisian landmarks.

What to See?

  • Stained Glass Windows: The 15 towering windows depict over a thousand biblical scenes from the Old and New Testaments. They are best appreciated on a sunny day when the light illuminates the intricate details.
  • Upper Chapel: This is where the relics were originally housed. The upper chapel’s design, with its soaring arches and rich decoration, provides a glimpse into the grandeur of medieval religious architecture.
  • Lower Chapel: Often overlooked, the lower chapel is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and features beautiful frescoes and a serene atmosphere.

Budget Tips

  • Combo Ticket: Purchase a combined ticket for Sainte-Chapelle and the nearby Conciergerie. This can save you money compared to buying separate tickets and offers a broader historical perspective.
  • Free Admission: Sainte-Chapelle offers free entry from November to March on the first Sunday of the month. Plan your visit accordingly to take advantage of this.
  • Audio Guide: Consider downloading a free audio guide app on your smartphone before visiting. This can enhance your experience and understanding without the need for a paid guide.

Sainte-Chapelle is not just a chapel; it’s a symphony in stained glass and an essential visit for anyone interested in Gothic architecture and medieval history. Its beauty and historical importance make it a must-see landmark that offers a unique experience among Paris’s many attractions.

10. Panthéon


The Panthéon in Paris, situated in the Latin Quarter, is an architectural marvel with a rich history. Originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve, it now functions as a mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens. Its grandeur and historical significance make it a must-visit landmark for anyone exploring Paris.

Why Visit?

We included the Panthéon for its unique blend of history, architecture, and the notable figures it honors. The structure’s neoclassical design, inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, stands out with its massive dome and grand columns. Inside, the Panthéon houses the tombs of several eminent individuals, including Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie, making it a place where history and culture intersect.

What to See?

  • Architectural Grandeur: The Panthéon’s neoclassical design features a massive dome and grand columns. The interior, with its impressive murals and marble sculptures, reflects the artistic achievements of its time.
  • Foucault’s Pendulum: Installed in 1851, this device demonstrates the Earth’s rotation. It’s a fascinating scientific exhibit that adds an unexpected twist to your visit.
  • Crypt: The crypt is the resting place of many notable French figures. It’s a quiet, reflective space that provides a powerful connection to the past.
  • Panoramic Views: Climb to the top of the dome for a spectacular view of Paris. The climb can be challenging, but the reward is a scenic vista of the city’s landmarks.

Budget Tips

  • Free Admission Days: Like many Parisian landmarks, the Panthéon offers free entry on the first Sunday of the month from November to March. This is an excellent opportunity to visit without spending a dime.
  • Student Discounts: If you’re a student or under 26 and an EU resident, you can enjoy reduced admission prices. Always carry a valid ID to avail these discounts.
  • Combined Tickets: Look for combined tickets that include other nearby attractions, such as the Luxembourg Gardens or the Cluny Museum. This can save you money and enhance your cultural experience.

The Panthéon is more than just a building; it’s a tribute to France’s greatest minds and a testament to its rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, a history buff, or just looking for a breathtaking view of Paris, the Panthéon offers a unique and memorable experience.

Navigate Paris Like A Pro

I have created a custom Google map with essential locations to enhance your trip to Paris. This interactive map will help you navigate the city easily and confidently, whether finding train stations for your next weekend getaway or discovering hidden local cafes. It’s a valuable tool for enhancing your travel experience and will allow you to explore Paris like a seasoned traveler.

Additional Tips for Budget Travel in Paris

Traveling to Paris on a budget doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the city’s charm and culture. With some planning and savvy choices, you can enjoy an enriching Parisian experience without emptying your wallet.

Take Advantage of Free Attractions

Paris offers a lot of free attractions that can fill your itinerary. Besides the famous landmarks like the Notre-Dame Cathedral and Sacré-Cœur Basilica, consider exploring lesser-known gems like the Père Lachaise Cemetery, where you can wander among the graves of famous personalities like Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. Don’t miss the beautiful parks and gardens, such as the Jardin des Plantes and Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic.

Utilize Public Transport

Paris has an efficient and extensive public transport system. Opt for a Paris Visite travel pass, which offers unlimited travel on the metro, buses, and trams for a set number of days. This pass saves money and makes getting around the city hassle-free. Additionally, consider renting a Vélib’ bike for a day to explore the city on two wheels—it’s a fun and affordable way to see more of Paris.

Eat Like a Local

Dining in Paris can be expensive, but there are plenty of budget-friendly options if you know where to look. Skip the touristy restaurants and opt for local bistros, bakeries, and street food vendors. Try a crêpe from a street stand or grab a baguette sandwich from a boulangerie. For a memorable yet affordable dining experience, visit food markets like Marché d’Aligre or Marché des Enfants Rouges, where you can sample a variety of fresh and delicious French foods.

Stay in Budget Accommodations

Accommodation in Paris doesn’t have to be pricey. Consider staying in budget-friendly hotels, hostels, or even short-term rental apartments. Neighborhoods slightly away from the main tourist areas, such as the 11th or 12th arrondissement, offer more affordable options while still providing easy access to the city’s main attractions via public transport.

Plan Your Visits

Many Parisian museums and attractions offer free or discounted entry on specific days. For example, the Louvre Museum is free on the first Saturday evening of each month. At the same time, the Musée d’Orsay offers reduced rates on Thursdays after 6 pm. Planning your visits around these times can help you save significantly.

With these practical tips, Traveling to Paris on a budget is entirely feasible. By taking advantage of free attractions, affordable dining, and efficient transport options, you can enjoy Paris’s rich culture and beauty without breaking the bank.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The best time to visit the Eiffel Tower is early in the morning or late in the evening. These times help you avoid the long lines and crowds. Also, consider visiting during weekdays rather than weekends for a more relaxed experience.

Yes, it is free to enter the Notre-Dame Cathedral. However, there is a fee to access the towers for a panoramic view of Paris. Remember that the cathedral may be undergoing renovations, so some areas might be restricted.

To save money at the Louvre Museum, plan your visit on the first Saturday of the month when entry is free in the evening. Additionally, visitors under 26 from the EU can enter for free on Friday evenings. Another tip is to buy your tickets online in advance to skip the ticket lines.

Visit local bistros, bakeries, and street food vendors for budget-friendly dining in Paris. Enjoying a crêpe from a street stand or a baguette sandwich from a boulangerie are great options. Food markets like Marché d’Aligre and Marché des Enfants Rouges also offer delicious and affordable meals.

Yes, there are several free walking tours available in Paris. These tours are often led by knowledgeable local guides and cover various neighborhoods and landmarks. While the tours are free, it’s customary to tip the guide based on your experience and budget.

To use public transport efficiently in Paris, consider purchasing a Paris Visite travel pass. This pass offers unlimited travel on the metro, buses, and trams for a set number of days. Alternatively, you can buy a pack of 10 single-use tickets (called a carnet) for a discounted rate.

Some lesser-known attractions in Paris include the Père Lachaise Cemetery, the Canal Saint-Martin, the Musée Rodin, and the Promenade Plantée. These sites offer a unique and quieter experience than the city’s main tourist spots.

Yes, the Paris Museum Pass allows you to visit multiple museums and monuments in one day. It is available for 2, 4, or 6 consecutive days and provides skip-the-line access to many popular attractions.

When packing for a trip to Paris, consider the season and weather. Comfortable walking shoes are essential, as you’ll likely explore the city on foot. Additionally, bring layers to adapt to changing weather conditions, a compact umbrella, and a reusable water bottle.

To find budget accommodations in Paris, look for options in neighborhoods slightly away from the main tourist areas, such as the 11th or 12th arrondissement. Consider budget-friendly hotels, hostels, and short-term rental apartments. Booking in advance and using travel comparison websites can also help you find the best deals.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *