How to visit Paris on a budget secrets, tips and tricks

PARIS ON A SHOESTRING header image 3

Top Paris Parks

Parc de Bagatelle

The beautiful Parc de Bagatelle was brought to life by the wager of Marie-Antoinette to the then new owner Count of Artois. The wager comprises of the 64-day completion of the land into the present park. The Count won the wager with the help of the designer Belanger and Thomas Blaikie. Several alterations were done on the site including the addition of orangery, gates, stables, the Trianon and the two new terraces. Currently the park has themed gardens, rose beds, and held concerts or exhibitions. Admission fee is based on full or reduced rate. Please check out the park’s website for the schedule of the exhibitions and concerts.

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

The Buttes-Chaumont Park is one of the largest in Paris, with the Tuileries and Villette, and the steepest. It is a blend of the Chinese and English style with a rocky island in the parks well-known lake concealing the famous shrine of Sybille, which is a replica of the temple of Tivoli in Rome, where a quarry, used to be. The Buttes-Chaumont was inaugurated the same day as the Champ-de-Mars Universal Exhibition. The park also boost of a cave, which have waterfalls, brooks, and artificial stalactite for park goers. Park goers would find influences from Fragonard and painter Hubert Robert, who painted Rome’s gardens.

Parc de Bercy

The Park de Bercy, known to house the world’s biggest wine and spirit storeroom, started in the 1950’s. Park goers would still see three storerooms that are witness to the historical revolution of the wine industry in France. Places not to be miss are the Maison du Lac, Maison du Jardinage, Chai de Bercy (a wine storeroom), the Orangerie, and the flowerbeds, Grande Prairie, Jardin Romantique and the Canyonaustrate (a fountain sculpture by Gérard Singer). Tourist and park goers can still see the railway tracks that carried tankers through the cobblestone alleys of the park. A vineyard can still be found in the park today and is being harvested every year by the locals.

Parc Floral

The Parc Floral is one of the four Paris Botanical Gardens in France and is called the “Jardin Botanique de France et des Pays Francophones”. Park goers would enjoy endless free activities like Ping-pongs, climbing frames, golf courses and tunnels. Tourist can take the white train to enjoy the park or try the newest quad. The Park also has an amphiteathre, named as “Delta” boasting of 1,500 seats, which holds free concerts, plays, puppet shows and circus acts, though admission is free, summer concerts are not and fees are collected. Don’t miss the The Jardin des Quatre Saisons, Vallée des Fleurs and the Jardin des Papillons.

Parc Montsouris

Before it became a park, Parc Montsouris was a quarry and then a cemetery that said to hold 6 million dead people. Today, university students from the neighbouring Cité Universitaire occupy the place with puppet shows and plays held in the Théâtre de Guignol. Bronze and stone sculptures of known people can also be found there some of which is Maurice Lipsi’s Groupe de Baigneuses, Van Peborgh’s General San Martin and Jules Coutan’s Colonne de la Paix Armée. Tourist or park goers can find the Observatoire Météorologique de Montsouris here and a 5-metre-high dark-stone obelisk with a large circular opening at the pinnacle. To reach the park and check the schedules of play, check out the park’s site.

Parc de la Villette

The Parc de la Villette is a theme park that is said to be the prototype of today’s park with concert halls, cinemas and theatre. The park hosted exhibitions, performances and is a great venue for debates. One can enjoy cultural highlights like the Conservatoire National, Théâtre Paris-Villette, Tarmac (formerly Théâtre International de Langue Française), and the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. One can also enjoy watching movies at Géode (Cinaxe), a concert at the Zénith or Trabendo, and a show at the Cabaret Sauvage. The park also hosted free open-air cinema festivals and concerts featuring traditional French music and dance restaurants.