Paris budget tip: FREE view of the Eiffel Tower


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Paris is an expensive city to visit but that doesn’t mean you have to give up items on your to-do list like see a great view of the Eiffel Tower. While there are plenty of great places to see the Eiffel Tower like the top of the Arch de Triomphe or the observation tower on top of Tour Montparnasse, these cost money and sometimes you just need a little budget help.

One of my favorite places to see the Eiffel Tower and a really lovely view of the cityscape of Paris is from the terrace on top of Galeries Lafayette department store! And importantly, it is completely FREE!


Galeries Lafayette is located at 40 Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement (metro: Chaussée d’Antin – La Fayette) and the best way to get to the terrace is to take the escalators up at each floor. There are elevators but they are very slow arriving, small and often very full.


As you plan both your Paris itinerary and your Paris budget, be sure to consider the Galeries Lafayette terrace.

Bises (kisses),



This post is part of the weekly #MondayEscapes hosted by My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase.

Packing my Suitcase

It is also part of the monthly #AllAboutFrance hosted by Phoebe of Lou Messugo.

Lou Messugo


Where to eat in Paris when sightseeing


Paris is known for being a culinary mecca but finding a place to eat lunch at a budget price can be tricky and frustrating. Below are some suggestions of Paris restaurants near major tourist sites.

Near Notre Dame: About a 7-10 minute walk away, Café Med is located on the Ile Saint Louis behind Notre Dame. Food is good and very affordable and the atmosphere is comfortable. Traditional bistro type food like savory crepes and soups. They also offer a “formule” which are preset courses to choose from usually ranging from a entrée (appetizer) and main course, main course and dessert or all three for a set price.  Staff is friendly and for the most part understood my broken French. The place is very small and being popular, may mean you have to wait to get in. If you don’t have time to wait, across the street is a second good option of Lys D’argent. Same type of food and pricing. At Lys D’argent, they may try to up-sell you on ordering wine, dessert, coffee, etc but a polite (and sometimes persistent) “non” seems to take care of the issue.

Café Med: 77 Rue Ile de St. Louis | Ile de St Louis
Lys D’argent: 90 Rue St Louis en l’ile | 75004

Near the Eiffel Tower: About a 15-18 minute walk, Ducale Café is definitely worth the effort. Delicious food at a good price also offering formule options. I would describe this place as slightly more elevated both in terms of food and price but still a comfortable atmosphere. The formule options were more than crepes and soups.  The staff is cordial and also managed to understand my limited French.

Ducale Café : 110 rue Lauriston | 75116

Near the Louvre: About a 7-10 minute walk (if that), Café Blanc is a fun place to eat. By French standards, the service is quick but you don’t feel rushed. Food is simple but very good and reasonably priced. Many around us were ordering hamburger and fries so this might be a good option if traveling with kids. Surprisingly noisy compared to most restaurants. The staff was very friendly and spoke English. Despite using French when we entered, they still handed us an English menu. Ha!

Café Blanc: 10, rue Croix des Petits Champs | 75001

Marais: Located minutes from Hotel de Ville and about 12 minutes from Notre Dame, this Italian restaurant is fabulous food at a fairly decent price. I have eaten here for dinner and it is so good! Staff was very friendly. I’m sure lunch here would be great too.

Don Giovanni: 19 rue Francois Miron | 75004

If you are looking for more options, one of the best resources is TripAdvisor. Another great resource is Paris By Mouth.

If you don’t have time to research before you leave, take advantage of wi-fi in your hotel or apartment and search a bit the night before – will save you time, money and frustration later.


Bon appetite and bises (kisses),



This post is part of the weekly #MondayEscapes hosted by My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase.

Packing my Suitcase

This post is also part of the monthly #AllAboutFrance hosted by Phoebe of Lou Messugo.

Lou Messugo

Exploring the Eiffel Tower: Breaking down the 4 levels


Eiffel Tower seen from the Seine River

It is AMAZING how one monument can have so much to see! My advice is to not rush through your visit but take time to enjoy it all.

However, if you are like most people visiting Paris, you probably have so much to see but so little time. Here is a quick overview of each level so you can choose what fits your itinerary. Continue reading

Lost in Translation: My funny email exchange about the Eiffel Tower


The Eiffel Tower

While I was planning my visit to the Eiffel Tower, I had heard parts of the Eiffel Tower might be shut down for some reconstruction. I was thinking that maybe not all of the elevators would be running or certain floors closed during certain times…something like that… and depending on what was closed and when, I could plan my visit accordingly.

So, I sent an email through the Eiffel Tower’s official website asking if the Eiffel Tower would be shut down for any reconstruction efforts.

The response back… Continue reading

Travel tip: Visiting the Eiffel Tower? How to avoid claustrophobia and save time.


Eiffel Tower from the ground

Nothing represents Paris more than the iconic Eiffel Tower. It is hard to imagine visiting the City of Light and not at least seeing the “Iron Lady.”

According to the Eiffel Tower’s official website, 7 million people visit her each year. That is a lot of people crammed into an elevator! And, crammed you are. While the elevators are good size, they will be packed person to person inside with no personal space boundaries.

So if you have claustrophobia or just don’t enjoy being shoulder to shoulder with a stranger, Continue reading