Free Walking Tour Paris : How To Spend A Budget Day in Romantic Paris (w/ Paris Travel Guide)

Free Walking Tour Paris France

Free Walking Tour Paris France

 

This mini Paris travel guide and the free walking tour of Paris is all that you need to spend a budget day in this romantic city of light.

 

 

Your can easily jump to the section of your choice by clicking on the links below, life is simple wahahaha!

 

  1. A Little Bit Of Parisian History
  2. 10 Useful Facts About Beautiful Paris
  3. From Charles De Gaulle (CDG) Airport To The City
  4. 7 Train Stations In Paris
  5. Paris Travel Guide On Weather
  6. 8 Traditional Foods To Try
  7. 22 Useful French Phrases For Traveler
  8. 6 Important Dates To Remember
  9. Security and Safety
  10. Accommodation In Paris
  11. WIFI Access In Paris
  12. I Personally Feel That…
  13. Free Walking Tour Paris

 

 

  • 52 BC – the Romans conquered Paris.
  • 3rd Century – Christianity was brought in.
  • 13th Century – End of the 12th Century, Paris became the capital of France.
  • 1418 - 1436 – the English and Burgundian occupied Paris during the Hundred Years’ War.
  • 17th Century – Louis XIII was determined to make Paris the most beautiful city in Europe.
  • In 1780 – a new boulevard named Champs-Élysées was built.
  • In 1789 – Paris became the center stage of the French Revolution and a Mayor was elected on 15th
  • In 1799 – on the 9th of November, Napoléon sized power and replaced the elected government.
  • In 1837 – the completion of a new railway line brought in large migrations from other provinces into Paris.
  • In 1871 – the city were forced to surrender to the Prussian on 28th of January.
  • In 1888 – the Eiffel Tower was built.
  • In 1940 – the German army took over Paris.
  • In 1944 – Paris was liberated.
  • In 1977 – a Mayor was elected again since 1793.

 

 

  1. It is known as the “City of Light” you will know why when nightfall.
  2. It has 20 Arrondissements/districts, main attractions are located in the 1st -9th
  3. It is the capital of France and has a population of around 12 million inhabitants.
  4. Around half the populations are Roman Catholic.
  5. The national language is French but you can speak English to those 40 years old and below, sometimes they were just too shy to speak English.
  6. Inhabitants called themselves Parisian and the currency they use is EURO.
  7. France belongs to the EU and tourist traveling visas are classified under Schengen Area which allows a period of 90 days within a 180 days period.
  8. Water is drinkable from the tap so bring your water bottles along.
  9. Most residential in the city are preserved from the middle age which I love a lot but they some have tiny lifts or no lift at all.
  10. Prostitutions are banned since April 2016, fines are $1500EUR and above.

 

 

The RER B train leaves T3 and T2 in every 8 minutes to the city and stopping at Gare du Nord (35 mins), Châtelet-Les Halles, Saint-Michel Notre-Dame, Luxembourg, Port-Royal, Denfert-Rochereau (45 mins) and Cité Universitaire.

 

It cost around $10EUR, you need to prepare coins beforehand as the machine doesn't take notes and it’s difficult to find coin changing machine too.

 

 

There is no main train station in Paris, instead there are 7 different train stations serving trains going to/from different directions.

 

The stations are pretty far apart but connected by Metro, so do plan well if you need to transit trains from different stations.

 

  1. Gare du Nord – trains to/from Belgium, United Kingdoms, Netherlands, Germany (Cologne) and the airport RER B train.
  2. Gare d'Austerlitz– central and southwest of France, Spain and Portugal.
  3. Gare de l'Est – Luxembourg, Germany (Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich).
  4. Gare de Lyon – southern and eastern France, Switzerland and Italy.
  5. Gare de Bercy – overnight train to Italy.
  6. Gare St Lazare – France (Lower Normandy).
  7. Gare Montparnasse – west and southwest France and Spain.

 

 

Paris is situated in Western Europe and has a maritime climate with warm summer and cold winter, spring usually starts in March and January is the coldest month.

 

Average temperature

  • Spring – around 15°C
  • Summer – 23°C and above
  • Autumn – around 15°C
  • Winter – below 10°C but above 4°C

 

 

Paris is home to many Michelin restaurants and artisan chiefs took pride in their cooking. I really love the gastronomy although they come in small portions.

 

A simple meal will cost around $10EUR and a three course may cost $20EUR - $40EUR but you can buy ingredients from the supermarket and make your own sandwich which cost less than $3EUR, that was what I survived on.

 

If you are in Paris, there are lists of food that you must try before heading home.

 

  1. Croissants are the most popular and common type of bread, I would have at least one a day if I can. Try eating those with chocolate fillings too.
  2. French Baguettes is a daily necessity and are basically found in every meal table too.
  3. Steak Frites is kind of a national dish made up of grilled steak and twice fried French fries.
  4. Croque Monsieur is a ham and cheese sandwich in the French style, the name literally translate to Mr. Crispy.
  5. Macaroons are small coin size almond pastry and its world famous.
  6. Crepes are thin slices of pancakes and can be found everywhere in the streets of Paris.
  7. Foie Gras are made of specially fattened duck or goose liver.
  8. Escargots are cooked land snails cooked and usually serves as an appetizer.

 

Cost of living are high in Paris and food are relatively expensive, especially luxury food like the Foie Gras and Escargot.

 

For a budget traveler on a backpacking travel in Europe, it is impossible for me to spend money on luxury food, I usually make sandwiches myself, but I was lucky.

 

I am delighted to have a chance to experience French culinary for free during my volunteering days in a vocational school in Tulle.

 

 

In France it is very funny, if you start your conversation in French, people tends to be much friendlier towards you and more willing to help you out.

 

So the most important tip in this Paris travel guide is, start a conversation in French when you are traveling in Paris.

 

Here are 22 basic phrases to get you started

 

  1. Always start with a greeting like “Hello” or “Good Evening”/ “Bonjour” (bon-ju) or “ Bonsoir” (bon-sua).
  2. Do you speak English?”/ “Parlez vous anglais?” (par-lay-voo on-glay).
  3. Excuse me Sir/Madam”/ “Excusez moi Monsieur/Madamme” (ex-ku-zay-mua mi-su/ma-dam).
  4. I do not speak French”/ “Je ne parlez pas français” (zhuh nuh par-lay pa fon-say).
  5. How are you?”/ “Comment ça va?” (ker-mo sa-va).
  6. I understand” or “I don't understand”/ “Je comprends” or “Je ne comprends pas” (zhuh com-pon) or (zhuh nuh com-pon pa).
  7. You’re welcome”/ “De rien” (Duh ree-en).
  8. I’m sorry”/ “Je suis désolé” (zhuh sui dey-so-lay).
  9. I am…(name)”/ “Je suis…” (zhuh swee).
  10. What is this?”/ “Qu'est-ce que c'es?” (kehs keh seh).
  11. I would like…(a ticket)”/ “Je voudrais… un billet” (zhuh voo dray, uhn-bee-yay ehn).
  12. I cannot eat…(beef)”/ “Je ne mange pas…(boeuf)” (je nuh mon-gh pa boof).
  13. Where is…(the bank)”/ “Où est…la banque?” (Oo ay lah bahn-kh).
  14. How much is it”/ “Combien?” (Cohm bee-en?).
  15. Where are we?”/ “Où sommes nous?” (oo sum-noo).
  16. “Yes/no, please, thank you very much”/ “oui/non, S'il vous plaît, merci beaucoup” (wee/non, seal voo play, meh-see bu-ku).
  17. Goodbye, see you later”/ “Au revoir, À tout à l'heure” (Au-her vwarh, Ah too teh luhr ).
  18. Do you take credit card?”/ “Est-ce que vous acceptez les cartes étrangères?” (Es-kuh voo zack-sep-tay lay cart zay-trahn-jer-ay).
  19. Can you help”/ “Pouvez-vous m'aider?” (poo-vay voo med-ay).
  20. I’m full”/ “Je n'en peux plus” (zhuh nohn puh ploo).
  21. I don't know”/ “Je ne sais pais” (zhuh ne say pa).
  22. I would like to go to…(right platform for the train to Paris)”/ “Je voudrais aller à…(le bon quai pour le train de Paris)” (zhuh voo-dray ah-lay ah)...(luh bohn kay poor luh trehn duh Paris).

 

 

  1. Every first Sunday of the month as most museums are free to enter, here is a list of that has free entrance on various days.
  2. Last Sunday in May will be the French Tennis Open that will last for 2 weeks.
  3. 26th of June is the Gay Pride.
  4. Beginning of July held Paris most important music festival “Solidays”
  5. 14th of July celebrates the French national day called the Bastille Day and many events will be held at different sites especially famous is the parade at Champs-Élysées at 10:00am.
  6. December is the season of giving where you will find Christmas Markets ruled over Europe.

 

 

There are police patrolling around the city especially near all popular tourist sites like Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum etc to make you feel safe, as pickpockets are very common.

 

Just be careful of your belongings when you are in trains, metros and tourist sites.

 

Below are some of the scams that I ran into when I was in Paris, so you can be aware if you encounter something similar.

 

#1. Gambling Along Seine River

It usually involves guessing the position of certain card or ball, somebody will be betting with $20EUR and always wins but when you strike your bet, you will never win.

 

So do not be curious or greedy or you will be sad and sorry wahahaha.

 

#2. Asking For Donations

Usually girls or women holding some kind of donation card will approach you and ask for donations to help orphans or children from various homes.

 

If you donate to one, the others will come, there are just too many of them. You can pretend that you don't understand English or just walk away peacefully.

 

#3. People Lining Up Close To You

When you are queuing up for the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum or any other sites, you will notice that the person behind or beside you might stick too close to you.

 

Always be alert as they are pickpockets and they usually work in groups.

 

#4. Ask To Buy A Ticket Home

When I was resting in the Gare de Nord train station, a Chinese man came up to me and says that he lost his tickets for a train back home and ask me to buy another ticket for him.

 

This is a very common scam, just refer them to the station’s customer service as they will be able to help him/her.

 

#5. Someone Asking Do You Speak English

Sometimes it’s true that somebody needs help but from my encounter while traveling around the world, 9 out or 10 have the intention to get money from you with various stories.

 

Well nowadays I will just continue walking as if I do not understand English.

 

 

Accommodations in Paris is kind of expensive especially during summer, festival and Christmas, and you have to book early to get them.

 

You can get a bed in the hostel starting from $15EUR, but they are usually not so close to the city but still within walking distance or you can take the metro.

 

Start searching for your stay in Paris, remember to sort by price to get the cheapest and best deals.

 



Booking.com

 

Alternative Accommodation In Paris

Couchsurfing is very popular in Paris and you can find a lot of good host with good reviews. Same thing, you have to send personalized request early like 1 or 2 months before your arrival.

 

French love wines, so you know what to share with your host /:)

 

There are also other ways to search for accommodation when you are in Paris, so good luck in your search and travel.

 

 

If you are using the free walking tour Paris Google map to navigate your way around the city, you might not need Internet connection as you can download it before hand.

 

In case you really need to use WIFI, no worries as Paris have around 400 WIFI access point all around the city, just look for the network “Orange”.

 

Major train stations have free WIFI connection in Paris. Alternative you can get some Data SIM card

 

#1. Lebara SIM 

Pretty common in Europe and you can buy them at airport, train stations and shops all over Paris, in some countries the SIM card are given out free, you just need to top it up.

 

#2. LeFrenchMobile

This is the one I am having as previously the data and credit last for 365 days, but now it only last for 90 days. You also need a local address to activate it (hostel address are fine).

 

It also have packages for the EU region but a little costly.

 

#3. Keepgo International Data SIM

My best choice when traveling long term in Europe as it covers 42 countries in Europe and also many countries in other continent.

 

The credit last for 365 days and you can get 15% discount when you use my referral link and apply KEEPGOREF15” during payment.

 

Although it deactivated data sharing out through mobile, it is still my chosen data SIM for traveling around the world.

 

 

Paris an expensive city but exceptionally beautiful and romantic in Autumn. Also urine smells and dog’s poo are common to encounter.

 

Above is just a mini Paris travel guide to give you enough information before traveling to this beautiful city of light.

 

You can find more information on Paris Wikitravel, which is also my commonly used web travel guide when traveling to a new city.

 

 

A romantic city by day and lively lighted city by night, it imprints my initial impression of Europe and by far still top my list of favourites here, except for the spending but it is not impossible to go on a budget day.

 

My first time in France, and also my first time in Europe, I must admit I am a little bit nervous but excited when I first got here. Looking at the road signs, menus and names of some places of interest, all I can read correctly is Eiffel Tower!!! Wahahaha.

 

I suggest checking out some pronunciation videos in YouTube, it helps a lot.

 

Apart from I can’t pronounce anything right, prices in Paris also makes me nervous, a cup of coffee can go up to $3EUR and a simple sandwich will cost above $4EUR, how can a budget backpacker survive?

 

 

Some of you might have already guessed it, yes by walking, since it is my favourite sport to do while traveling, I don't exercise at all…at all…at all oops, so walking is my way to maintain fitness and it should be yours too.

 

Alternative, you can take the Metro as it covers most of the tourist spots in Paris. If you are traveling alone, go for the day pass and if you are traveling in a group, then you can have the option to buy a ticket set as you can share them among yourselves.

 

Metro Fares (prices may fluctuate):

  • A single trip ticket cost $1.8EUR.
  • A ticket set of 10 called Carnet (“car – nay”) cost $14.10EUR.
  • 1 day pass for zone 1-3 cost $11.15EUR.
  • 2 days pass for zone 1-3 cost $18.15EUR.

 

You do not need to purchase more than 2 days for a pass as the attractions can be covered within 2 days.

 

 

Seine River

Seine River

 

Most of the must see attractions are located along the Seine River, and the best view that captures my attention with a “WOW” is also at the Seine River, therefore planning a day there is advisable.

 

The river itself is my favourite spot, some sections are busy but some sections are really quiet where you can sit down and enjoy your packed food overlooking all the iconic buildings and beautiful scenery.

 

Best to visit in autumn where the leaves turns yellow, orange and red, super romantic and relax to have a stroll along it.

 

The River flows right through the heart of the city and there is an option to take a boat down the river if you do not like to walk, you can enjoy the view of the Chateaus (French style palaces), Grand Palais and European style buildings along the way, also passing many gorgeous bridges. Check out Batobus for more information.

 

Note that there are some scams setup along the way, example ladies asking whether you speak English or gambling tables setup along the river to trap you. AVOID THEM!

 

 

You can either start the day with the Eiffel Tower on the west end of the Seine River and ends the day at Notre Dome on the east with the sunset.

 

Else you can reverse to start at the Notre Dome and ends the night at the Eiffel Tower with the sparkling light show at the Tower. As for me I start with the Eiffel Tower for some good reason.

 

Either directions has their own benefit, the views are the same but the perspectives are different, as for me I walked both ways and took different picture of it. You can walk 1 direction but try to turn back once in a while to take photos of the scenery behind you.

 

 

 

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

 

The symbolic icon of Paris which is a must visit place in your itinerary, it is standing around 324 meters tall with 1665 steps and has 72 names of people who contributed in building it.

 

Ticketing Information (prices may fluctuate):

  • Take a lift to the top cost $17EUR.
  • Walk up stairs up to the 2nd floor cost $7EUR.
  • Opens 9am – midnight (shorter in winter).
  • Book your ticket in advance to avoid queue at the ticking booth.

#1. Taking Good Selfie

There are a few reasons why I start my day here, one most important is to get a good picture of it, the sun sets here in the evening so there will be no backlight shadowing, that is what you want to take a selfie or a good photo of the Eiffel Tower, a blessing if you have blue sky that day.

 

You can try to cover the areas between Ecole Militaire and Palais de Chaillot to have different photo views of the Eiffel tower for FREE!

 

#2. Fewer Crowds

If you plan to go up to the top of the tower, come early in the morning to avoid crowds and have the place all to yourself. If you reach during midday, then you need to spend hours in the queue.

 

#3. Take Precautions

Watch out for pick pockets and many other scams, exercise general precaution, like carrying you belongings in front of you, do not answer to anyone providing you information intentionally or giving donations, else you will be surrounded by more.

 

Don't forget to watch how the Eiffel Tower sparkles at night and the 5 minutes light show in every hour.

 

 

Arc De Triomphe

Arc De Triomphe

 

After a long photo taking session at the Eiffel Tower, you can walk to the Arc de Triomphe along Avenue Kléber. A famous monument built as a testament for the fallen soldiers commissioned by Napoleon.

 

Around it are 8 streets spreading out like a star, so you can try to capture the Arc from the different streets for FREE, but be very careful of the traffic, it is very busy, thou you can use an underground tunnel to get across.

 

You can also enter and climb the 200+ spiral steps to the top of the Arc and have a fantastic view of Champs Élysées or the sceneries around it.

 

Ticketing Information (prices may fluctuate):

  • Climbing to the top cost $8EUR.
  • Exercise your way up the top cost “PRICELESS”.
  • Opens 10am – 11pm (shorter in winter).
  • Recommend buying the ticket on the spot.
  • Free entrance on 1st Sunday of the Month.

 

 

The Arc de Triomphe is located on the western end of Champs Élysées, so walk over and spend some time strolling down the 2km tree-lined beautiful pavement of this shopping paradise of Paris for FREE.

 

The most liven up time of the year will be on 14th of July which is Bastille Day, France National Day and a big military parade will be held in the morning.

 

Prix Fixe

You can choose to have lunch in cafes along the avenue, thou they can destroy your budget day in Paris. Not to worry if you are here for lunch, many cafes in Paris have fixed price set lunch menus called Prix Fixe that includes 2-3 main courses at prices around $10EUR - $20EUR.

 

Treat yourself something good at times, else you can buy ingredients or packed lunch in one of the many convenient stores nearby.

 

 

Jardin Des Tuileries

Jardin Des Tuileries

 

At the end of Champs Élysées Avenue, you will reach a carousel (fairy wheel), it is on one of the ends of Jardin Des Tuileries, a typical French Garden. My second favourite place in Paris, this is a good place to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing afternoon reading a book, writing articles or even having a picnic for FREE!

 

In spring/summer this garden will be filled with greeneries and flowers, which makes it spectacular. In autumn, also my favourite time to travelthe trees puts on its orange red coats ready for the cold weather.

 

Not forgetting the impressive range of Greek statues along the way that gives a mythical atmosphere to the park.

 

If you pack lunch, I suggest you enjoy them here.

 

There are police on horses patrolling and also pickpockets around this area so exercise precaution. At the other end of the Garden is another Arc and passing though it will lead you to the famous museum.

 

 

Louvre Museum

Louvre Museum

 

Another prominent landmark in Paris, one of the world’s biggest museums, even if you don't like walking into museums, you need to be here at least twice to fully admire its beautiful outlook for FREE. Why do we need to visit two times?

 

Once in the day and once at night, trust me you won’t regret.

 

Louvre At Night

Louvre At Night

 

It houses a vast range of collections and the most famous is the painting of Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. Do not miss this museum if you are a great fan of arts, although usually there is a long queue for it. Come in the morning, as you will need 4-5 hours to fully appreciate the gems within.

 

Ticketing Information (prices may fluctuate):

  • Entrance fee cost $15EUR.
  • Opens 9am – 6pm, Wed and Fri till 9.45pm.
  • Closed on every Tuesday.
  • Can purchase museum pass too.
  • Free on 1st Sunday of the Month, Mar - Oct.
  • Free for age under 18 for all and 26 for EU citizens.

 

 

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

 

Walking from Louvre to the eastern end of the Seine River you will see a mystical cathedral called Notre Dame. Count me as one of the mountain turtle as I only came to know that it is a cathedral the very moment I stepped in it wahahaha.

 

My memories of it is from the fairytale Hunchback of Notre Dame where this guy swings on a bell at the top of the tower, and in Mandarin it is translated as the hunchback of the clock tower.

 

So I always thought it’s a clock tower!!!

 

Every day, this cathedral will be packed with tourist because it is FREE, so you don't really have to get in there if you don't like crowd, but you definitely need to walk the circumference of the building, the gothic design is pretty amazing and different sides of it projects a different image on photo, it seems like 4 different buildings you’ve visited.

 

Facing the cathedral, the entrance to go up to the top of the building for a beautiful sunset and panoramic view of Paris is on the left. This is also why I put Notre Dame as the last stop on the budget day trip, the beautiful sunset! You need to pay to get up thou.

 

Try crossing to the right side of the river and admire its beauty from the rear, I feel that it’s kind of nice and special.

 

Ticketing Information (prices may fluctuate):

  • Go to the top cost $8.5EUR.
  • Opens 7am – 9pm (2 hours shorter in winter).
  • Usually needs to queue for 30 minutes

 

 

Dinners are usually very expensive in Paris so you can forget about it if you are on a Budget day trip, buy some nice goat cheese, baguette, wine and hams from the loads of convenience stores and have you dinner along the Seine River for its enchanting night view.

 

Basilica of Sacred Heart

Basilica of Sacred Heart

 

If you have purchased a metro day pass, you can choose to take a metro after your dinner to (F) Galleries Lafayette for shopping or stroll along the red light district (G) Moulin Rouge of Paris.

 

Another attraction not to be missed will be the (H) Basilica of Sacred Heart, which opens in the day.

 

 

Oh before I missed out, (been having short memories recently), here is an important information for those who are using a day pass or metro ticket. The attractions can be reach by metro too and here is a list of metro stations nearest to the attractions.

 

  • (A) Eiffel Tower – Champs De Mars Tour Eiffel Station
  • (B) Arc De Triomphe – Charles De Gaulleetoile Station
  • (C) Champs Élysées – Champs Elysees Clemenceau Station
  • (D) Jardin Des Tuileries - Palais Royal Musee Du Louvre Station
  • (E) Louvre Museum – Palais Royal Musee Du Louvre Station
  • (F) Galleries Lafayette – Chaussee D’Antin-La Fayette Station
  • (G) Moulin Rouge – Blanche
  • (H) Basilica of Sacred Heart – Anvers
  • (J) Notre Dame Cathedral – St Michel Notre Dame Station

 

To round up, most of the attractions are free or can be free on certain day and some you need to pay if you want to enter. So apart from the entrance fee, you just need to spend on food if you go by foot. With that, my budget day trip in Paris cost me less than $10EUR as I packed my own food.

 

Any places you want to share that I missed out? Feel free to comment below /:)

 

 Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small amount of affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to you as my readers.

Leave a Reply

2 Comments on "Free Walking Tour Paris : How To Spend A Budget Day in Romantic Paris (w/ Paris Travel Guide)"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Alisha
Guest

Thanks for sharing! Will keep this in mind when I travel there!

wpDiscuz