How to survive Paris on a VERY low budget

Before we even get into this week’s topic, best of luck to co-host James Vasina who is moving on to greener pastures. Enjoy the poem I wrote from him to introduce this episode 🙂 After all, it was national poetry day this week.

Now, on to how to live in Paris on the cheap, with guest Samuel Barrantes, a writer and musician who has called Paris home since 2010.

There’s a write up from the show below with all the addresses (but listen here for the full scene, as told by three guys all trying to save money in the City of Light).

Drink at the counter

It’s cheaper to buy your beers, wines, and coffees at the counter (the comptoir) rather than elsewhere in the restaurant or bar (and especially cheaper than drinking on the terrace).

WALK everywhere!

You don’t need to take the Metro to get around Paris, everything is very close. One of the best ways to see Paris is to be a “flaneur” and just drift through the city without any destination.

Drink outside

It’s not illegal to open a bottle of wine or a beer outside, so head to the canal or riverside and drink at supermarket prices.

Most museums are free on the first Sunday of each month

Tie your visit to Paris in with a Sunday – and be sure to check out some smaller pearls like the hunting museum in the Marais. Full list here.


Get a half baguette

If you’re really needing to save, don’t buy a full baguette! They’ll cut it in half and charge you accordingly.

Need to do some work? Head to a library!

Libraries are free, check out the one on the fifth floor of the Hotel de Ville – it looks like something out of Harry Potter.


Don’t waste (all) your money giving tips

Only tip for good service, it’s not expected in Paris so there’s no need to go overboard. And if you do tip on the first drink, you’re likely to get even better service for the rest of the night.

Some cheap bars – and don’t forget the Happy Hours!

Au Chat Noir, 76 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011

A truly French bar with very cheap drinks plus literary spoken word events in English.

Syphax, 26 Rue de Châteaudun, 75009

Go here for three euro pints of beer!

L’art brut Bistro, 78 Rue Quincampoix, 75003

Great atmosphere, kind bartenders, a hole in the wall with art.


Le Dude, 214 Rue Saint-Maur, 75010

A cheap bar with the theme based on The Big Lebowski, VERY cheap beers but don’t drink too many!

Objective Lune, 19 Rue de la Roquette, 75011

This place has a happy hour until 1am, just make sure you don’t buy your round at ten past one!


For music every night, that’s their promise, and beers for five euros.

Cheap food

Tin Tin, 17 Rue Louis Bonnet, 75011

It’s well known on the local artist scene, and has young customers and cheap Vietnamese food

Le Polidor, 41 Rue Monsieur le Prince, 75006

There’s a scene from Midnight in Paris there and it has affordable traditional food.


Creperie des arts, 27 Rue Saint-AndrĂ© des Arts, 75006

One of the best crepes in town and it’s under four euros.

Free food:

O P’tit Paris, 8 Cour des Petites Écuries, 75010

A bar with a huge round of free potato wedges for everyone.

Le Cadran de Fauborg, 79 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010

Another bar with a huge round of free potato wedges for everyone.

Le Tribal, 3 Cour des Petites Écuries, 75010

Come here for free couscous!

TOTALLY free options

And lastly, check out our own guide to the best free thing to do in each arrondissement of Paris – right here.

A big thanks to our guest Samuel Barrantes, find his writing here and his music here.

And GOOD LUCK to James in his next venture!

Now you’re stuck with just me. What could go wrong?

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