Where to stay in Paris on a budget

As with every big city, Paris is not a cheap place to stay. The central, more touristy areas are pricey and eating out can do some damage to your wallet.

If you head to the outer districts of Paris and the less touristy areas, the 10th, 18th and 20th, you’ll discover areas a bit off the beaten track, but which are up and coming and interesting in their own right.

The 10th arrondissement

The 10th district is very much up and coming. There’s a big regeneration project going on all around the Gare du Nord and trendy shops like the Antoine et Lili concept store, on the quays of the Canal St Martin, are popping up all around the quartier.

Proximity to the station makes this a great area to stay in if you’re on a short break in Paris as you can drop off and pick up your bags quickly, without wasting valuable time going back and forth to your hotel.

If you're on a tight budget, head to the Marché St Quentin covered food market on Boulevard de Magenta and pick up some delicious nibbles to eat on the go or back at your hotel.

 

The 18th arrondissement

The 18th district is mainly known for the touristy, winding streets of Montmartre and the red light district around Pigalle, but there’s more to explore than the guide book addresses. It can still feel a little rough in parts, but the area is definitely going up in the world.

The up and coming area of La Goute d’Or, to the east of  Sacre Coeur, is blossoming into the new cool area for bars, restaurants and nightlife. It's also within walking distance of the Gare du Nord, so no transport costs.

View up to the Basilica from the steps

Sacré-Cœur

It’s no surprise this pretty basilica has captured the hearts of die-hard romantics. Squint and you might just see echoes of the Taj Mahal in its whitewashed dome. The Byzantine interiors are certainly impressive, but a trip up the Butte Montmartre is just as much about the views from its terraced gardens. For a cinematic spin, hop on the traditional carousel made famous by Amélie.

The 20th arrondissement

Previously an industrial part of Paris, the 20th is going through a bit of a rebranding with trendy art galleries and music venues springing up around Belleville and Menilmontant. Though still a little rough around the edges, now the arty crowd have discovered it, prices are going up and gentrification is happening fast.

One of the nicest parts of this area is around Pere Lachaise cemetery, where winding cobblestone streets seem like they'd be more at home in a country village than in the centre of Paris. Music lovers can make a pilgrimage to Jim Morrison's grave in the cemetery, but they won't get too close as it's now been fenced off to stop crowding and graffiti.

Elaborate grave with a piano on top

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Jim Morrison may be this cemetery’s most famous resident, but there’s a lot more to this leafy sanctuary than his graffiti-strewn tomb. A walk around its cobbled avenues sweeps through much of France’s illustrious literary and sombre political pasts. Pay your respects at Balzac’s imposing bronze bust, Oscar Wilde’s stone sarcophagus or the surprisingly poignant Communards’ wall.

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  • Du Pain et des Idées

    34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010

    Christophe Vasseur opened the place of his dreams in a shuttered 19th-century boulangerie with fancy painted-glass ceilings and huge gilded mirrors. The Belle Époque décor also inspired his dedication to selling only traditional bread and pâtisserie.

    Locals flock here for signature products like the poppy-seed rye bread and chocolate-and-pistachio escargot pastries.

  • Maison Nordik

    159 Rue Marcadet, Paris 75018

    Entering Maison Nordik is like stepping into a 1960s Norwegian house. The minimalist, timeless-effect furniture that’s displayed in the luminous shop is crafted by Scandinavian designers, and collected by the boutique’s owners personally.

  • Restaurant Da Graziella

    43 rue des Petites Écuries, 75010

    The owner and wood-burning oven here are genuinely Neapolitan, as is the recipe for typical street snack, fried pizza.

    Warning, it’s addictive! Graziella herself will feed you, if you ask nicely. The glorious tiles are from its former incarnation as an exotic-bird store.

  • Atelier Couronnes

    6 Rue du Château d'Eau, Paris 75010

    Louise Damas’s literary-inspired jewellery, Fauvette Paris’s textured accessories and the venue’s 70s-styled interiors make Atelier Couronnes one of Paris’ fashionable places to be.

  • Chez Jeannette

    47 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 10e

    This bar isn’t stylish, chic or modern – it doesn’t jump on bandwagons.

    Instead, this charming, old-school waterhole proudly displays its formica tables, PVC benches and dated wallpaper. It feels like a fixture in the very fabric of Paris, with other bars sprouting up around it, but Chez Jeannette remaining the same since the 1960s. There’s every type of liquor behind the bar for a pre-dinner snifter, but with the cheese and charcuterie plates as generous as they are, you may not make it to dinner.

  • Le Comptoir Général

    80 quai de Jemmapes, 75010

    This artfully crumbling bar, doused in the lively spirit of France’s old colonies, is entirely made up of bric-à-brac.

    Inside, a colourful clientele beats to the rhythm of rousing music from sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean.

    There’s even a life-size replica pirate ship, from which exotic rum-based cocktails are served.

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