Your Backpacking Guide To The Capital Of France

Paris City
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France is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Paris, which is the capital of France, has a rich history behind it. Being the City of Lights offers attractions for everyone. Paris is an expensive tourist destination and will certainly drain your wallet. Are you a backpacker and looking to find a pocket-friendly attraction in Paris? If yes, then sit back and relax while we guide you through a list of budget-friendly things to do in the capital of France.

Learn French History With Free Museum Visits

Maison de Victor Hugo, Paris, France
Image by Assayas on Wikimedia Commons

Paris, like every other city, has most of its museums having paid entry. Many have free entry and should be on your go-to list if you’re interested in it. The top-rated museums are Maison Victor Hugo (collections of the former residence of the writer on Place des the Vosges) and Musée de la Vie Romantique.

You are in for a treat if, by chance, you are in Paris on the first Sunday of a month. It’s a special day as the majority of the museums, even the likes of the Louvre, is free for the public. Just remember that the queues are long so be there as early as possible. 

Visiting The Majestic Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
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It’s the second most famous thing to visit in the capital of France after the Eiffel Tower. The majestic building is a perfect example of the gothic architecture of the middle ages. It’s perfect for backpackers having an interest in architecture. Notre Dame lies on an island in the middle of the Seine river and is only accessible by a bridge.

The church is referred to as a basilica because of its importance. It houses within some of the most expensive relics of Christian history. One of which is the famous crown of thorns. As a backpacker, it’s important to note that the Notre Dame Tower is not free to visit. The rest of the cathedral is, though.

* Due to the massive fire in the cathedral in April of 2019, the cathedral is currently closed for tourists till further notice due to repair work.

A Walk Along Champs Élysées

Paris France
Image by Andre Sudholt from Pixabay

The “world’s most famous avenue” is another iconic landmark in Paris. It needs to be one of your must-see places on your visit to the capital of France, Paris. The avenue hosts some of the finest luxury brands in the world. For backpackers on a budget, affordable brands are also available like GAP, Nike, Zara, etc. 

The Champs-Élysées is a great place to learn about French culture as it boasts cinemas, theatres, and exhibition venues. The avenue has its share of bars and cafés in addition to having multiple Michelin star restaurants. Where you choose to eat all depends on your budget. The avenue is also a host to several events all year round, which you could witness. The most popular events being the Bastille Day parade and Tour de France in July, a film festival in June, and new year celebrations in the shadows of Arc de Triomphe. 

Sculpture Garden: A Visit For Art Lovers

La Grande fenêtre in Paris, France
Image by Ashrane on Wikimedia Commons

The sculpture garden “Musée de la Sculpture en Plein Air” is an open-air garden along the Seine river. It’s a perfect place to sit and relax and enjoy the view of Seine from the garden. The garden is open 24/7, but the best time to visit is during the sunset.

Filming Locations Of Famous Movies

Saint Sulpice Church, Paris, France
Image by DXR / Daniel Vorndran on Wikimedia Commons

Are you a movie buff? Do you plan to see the location where your favorite movie was shot? Paris sure is a city where countless of films were filmed. Here, we have compiled a list of the locations where some famous movies were shot in Paris:

  • Da Vinci Code –  Saint Sulpice Church
  • Midnight in Paris – Musée Rodin
  • Amelie – Le Café des Deux Moulins
  • Inglorious Bastards – Bistrot La Renaissance

A Night Visit To “LA Tour Eiffel” Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower, France
Image by Paul Gaudriault on Unsplash

A word synonymous with France and Paris is Eiffel Tower. It’s the most beloved landmark of the French Capital and has a rich history behind it. It was constructed as a symbol showing the world the industrial prowess of France and to commemorate the 100 years of the French revolution. Eiffel Tower can easily be called as the symbol of the city.

In the evening, the tower is lit with beautiful lights which sparkle after every hour. The light show costs nothing to watch, and the amazing view can be witnessed from various viewpoints.

Stroll In Parc Monceau

Parc Monceau in Paris
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The capital of France, Paris, is filled with beautiful parks which you can go to and relax in. Most of these parks are free to enter, with Parc Monceau being one of the famous ones. It is located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris and dates back to the 18th century. The park has ample green spaces and benches to relax and enjoy the view.

Famous Walks In Paris

A vintage railway track in La Petite Ceinture
Image by French_Villain on VisualHunt

As backpackers, walking is part and parcel of traveling as one cannot afford public transport or taxis every time. In addition to the charming café streets and impressive architecture, there are some beautiful walks. A list of excellent walks spread throughout Paris can be of interest:

  • Jardin Du Luxembourg: This massive sprawling garden is complex and stunning at the same time. The complexity can only be understood once you give it a visit.
  • Place des Vosges: It’s a classic park in Paris which is surrounded by ancient buildings and trees. A perfect place for an afternoon siesta.
  • Promenade Plantée: The walk starts from Bastille and goes through the 12th arrondissement for three miles, coming out before the Bois de Vincennes. The elevated greenway is truly something special in Paris.
  • Rue des Cascades: This is not your typical nature walk but it’s worth doing. The Rue des Cascades area has some of the city’s finest street arts.
  • La Petite Ceinture: It’s a place to explore the solitude of the abandoned railroad tracks that make their way around the city. Unfortunately, most of the track is not open to the public anymore, but sometimes rules are meant to be broken, wink wink. Nowadays, only four sections of abandoned railroads have been converted into green spaces and are open to the public in arrondissements 12, 13, 15, and 16.

Visit The Flea Market At Port Saint Ouen

Flea Market in Paris
Image by David McSpadden on Wikimedia Commons

When traveling to a new city, a visit to their market places is a must and Paris has plenty of them. One of the must-see places is the flea market located in Port Saint Ouen. The market is located north of Paris and the best time to visit is on weekends when everything is open. The market has indoor and outdoor stalls to browse and window shop at your convenience.

Check Out Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
Image by Peter Poradisch on Wikimedia Commons

This cemetery is the final resting place of many celebrities and has a rich history behind it. Pere Lachaise Cemetery was created in 1804 and, as per insiders, still accepts burials. It’s the final resting place of celebrities like Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and many many more. It is believed that over 3 million human remains are in this cemetery today.

Explore Covered Passages In The Capital Of France

Paris Passages
Image by Daniel Jolivet on flickr

It’s an afternoon and you don’t know what to do. How about heading out to 2nd and 9th arrondissements? What’s there, you ask? It actually boasts a series of covered passages called “Passages Couverts.” In these passages, one could explore ancient bookshops, delicious patisseries, and hidden cafés. 

The history behind these passages is that they were built in the 19th century, where the rich could go and shop even in bad weather. Today, a handful of these passages remain as the predecessor to the modern shopping malls. One of the most famous of these passages is Passage des Panoramas, which is a must-visit place for stamp collectors.

Finding Cheap Accommodation In Paris

Paris Hostel
Image by Christopher Lancaster on flickr

The main question which arises for backpackers is where to spend the night. As a backpacker, you won’t have the cash to spend on expensive hotels, so hostels are your best option.

Hostels are linked to cheap accommodation for travelers, but in the case of Paris, this doesn’t hold true. The prices are staggering, so the best option is to stay there for a couple of days max.

Couchsurfing is the first thing you should look for when going to Paris. If you get a spot, consider yourself as one of the lucky few. Finding budget-friendly Airbnb rooms and cheap hotels is your other option. So, before heading out to the capital of France, look into these options and hope to get a place suiting your needs and budget.

Pro-tip: as the Couchsurfing hosts receive hundreds of requests each day, make sure to include a short and extremely convincing message.  

Getting Around In Paris

Paris Transport
Image by WikiCommons

Paris metro must be your travel partner in exploring the city. The metro is well connected to the city center, and you could move around pretty quickly. Going around in Paris is pretty straightforward. Use the metro when you need to and travel the rest of the time on foot.

It’s recommended to purchase metro tickets in bulk on your first day in Paris. Those familiar with metros will navigate through them with ease while those who do not will get the hang of it pretty quickly.


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