Paris for Free (Or Extremely Cheap)

Paris For Free (Or Extremely Cheap)

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One of the complaints we often hear about Paris is that it so expensive to visit.
In fact it has a reputation of being one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Mark Beffart’s slim guidebook Paris For Free (Or Extremely Cheap) dispels this belief, and as my parents used to say, “the best things in life are free.”

According to the author, “you don’t necessarily have to pay admission for everything you must see.” Why not attend some of the free concerts Paris has to offer? How about taking a picture of the oldest tree in Paris planted in the year 1601. If you are interested in medieval Paris, then take a walk along rue Mouffetard located in the 5th Arrondissement. Have you ever thought of visiting churches in Paris that have the best art and architecture in the world? How about relaxing in some of the parks while munching on a croissant for lunch?

These and hundreds more tips are presented to us in brief paragraphs throughout the book. However, one word of caution is in order. The book purposely does not deal with inexpensive hotels and restaurants, as this is not the author’s objective. It strictly deals with attractions and sites.

The guidebook is organized into twenty chapters each corresponding to the twenty arrondissements of Paris. In other words, if we should be staying in the 4th Arrondissement, the author points out to us all the “freebies” or inexpensive attractions located within this area.

We are advised to check out the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Paris. It is one of the most important landmarks and literally the centre of Paris as all distances are measured from it. The architecture is something you won’t want to miss and incidentally there is no charge to enter the cathédral.

How would you like to see the home of Voltaire? Go and visit the Hotel Lambert that is a circa-1640 mansion and now owned by the Rotchild family since 1972 or the Maison Victor Hugo.

Apart from the several hundred free or inexpensive attractions, the author also gives us pointers on such matters as transportation. For example, we are given the numbers of the buses and their respective routes as well as the important attractions along these routes. This alone can save you hours of precious time in discovering Paris. Other helpful aids are the phone numbers to such places as “Allo Concerts” where we can find out where to go and listen to a free concert.

The reader is also given advice as to what are good and bad deals. We are told that the Paris-Visite pass that is very often pushed upon tourists is a bad deal unless you plan to spend a great deal of time on public transportation, go to the suburbs very often, and take advantage of all their discounts. If this is not the case, stick to purchasing individual tickets each time you travel.

This Paris guidebook should be invaluable as a supplement to some of the major guidebooks and a very worthwhile investment.

“Copyright 2002, Originally published at”

  • Paris For Free (Or Extremely Cheap) by Mark Beffart


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