Ah, Paris. Also known as the City of Light and one of Europe’s most visited cities, year after year. A vacation to this iconic city is quite simply a must-do for all intrepid travelers, but it really doesn’t have to break the bank!
While accommodation, public transport and dining out can quickly add up, there are a few insider tips and tricks to help you truly enjoy your time in Paris.
Here are some smart tips for visiting Paris on a budget…
7 Tips For Visiting Paris on a Budget: It Can Be Done!
Paris on a budget? Yes, it’s 100% achievable. It wouldn’t be one of Europe’s most visited cities if it weren’t! The city is inundated with tourists from all corners of the globe, and no doubt, they all have a travel budget of their own.
Whether you’re looking to save money on accommodation, food, or a museum and cathedral guide, here are 7 money-saving tips for your exploration of Paris:
Stay Outside the City Center
If you are keen to experience the public transportation system in Paris, then staying outside the city center will save you a ton of cash.
You will need to catch the Metro – the public rail system- or local bus to get to your hotel, but this in itself is highly efficient and cost-effective. You will spend a little more time in transit, but finding a more for affordable hotel or Air BnB outside the center of Paris will save your budget.
However, make sure to stay as close to the central Metro line as possible, as this runs through to the center of Paris, departing every two minutes. The 11th arrondissement close to the Bastille is ideal for this!
Avoid Taxis From the Airport
Catching a taxi from the airport can set you back a whopping 50-70 Euros, plus you will have to pay an additional surcharge for your luggage! That’s not all, you may also be charged more if you travel during rush hour, on Sundays or holidays. Bear in mind that airport taxi fares are fixed, even if your hotel is only a 10-minute drive away, you will still be charged a high fare.
Alternatively, you may want to catch the RoissyBus, operated by the city. It takes 60-minutes from the airport, with fares starting at just 12.50 Euro per person. The bus departs from most terminals at the airport and stops at its main port-of-call, Place de l’Opéra.
Buy Metro and Bus Tickets in Bulk
If you intend on using the public transport system, you can save money by simply purchasing Metro and bus tickets in bulk beforehand. Typically, a Metro or bus ticket costs 1.90 Euro each. Choose to purchase a ”carnet”, which is a 10-pack of tickets for 14.90 Euro. For children under 10-years old, the cost is just 7.45 Euro.
Keep in mind that you can only buy a carnet of tickets at the white Metro ticket kiosks, not the yellow.
Take Advantage of Free Walking Tours
This is a great way to become better acquainted with this magical city, without a huge crush of tourists, queues, and expensive fees.
There are a number of different companies throughout Paris which offer free walking tours of the city. They meet at various points in the city, such as Montmartre and the Latin Quarter.
Tips for the walking guides are completely optional at the end of each tour, but something small is always recommended and appreciated!
You can then tag onto a free pub crawl through the Latin Quarter if you wish. If you tip your guide and buy a drink, you score a free tour to the best spots in Paris.
Choose Not to Sit Down at Restaurants
This may sound a little odd, but you are often charged extra to sit down and enjoy a coffee or beer in many restaurants and cafes throughout Paris. Seems excessive, but real estate in Paris is pricey and outside tables chew up space.
If you’re watching your budget, choose to stand at the bar to enjoy your coffee or beer, then move on to your next attraction. This is free-of-charge and also a great way to mingle with locals and other tourists.
The same goes for sitting down and enjoying lunch at a restaurant. Your bill will arrive with an additional surcharge. Instead, go for a small boulangerie or patisserie where the surcharge does not always apply if you sit outside.
Packing a picnic basket and enjoying your lunch along the canal or in one of the many parks is also highly recommended, and free!
Choose the Menu Formule Option
When you decide to dine out for dinner in Paris, choosing the Menu Formule option is always wise for those on a budget. This menu option often includes an appetizer, main dish, dessert, and one drink included. Prices range from just 9- 15 Euros.
These menu options usually apply in areas such as the Latin Quarter, near Notre Dame, Montmartre, and La Rue Cler, near the Eiffel Tower.
Visit Museums and Attractions After Hours
If there’s anything Paris is renowned for, it’s the museums, galleries, and gorgeous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and others.
But if you’re keen to avoid monumental queues and pricey entry fees, it’s worth visiting these attractions after hours. For example, the Musée d’Orsay drops its ticket prices to 5.50 Euros after 4:15 pm, and leaves enough time to explore your earmarked exhibits.
To add to this, the Louvre, one of the city’s most popular museums, drops its ticket prices to 11 Euros after 6 pm on Fridays. While certain days are discounted on museums, you just need to do a little research beforehand.
Alternatively, get yourself a Paris museum pass which includes unlimited museum visits at any time for two, four, or six days, beginning at $77.
Looking For Expert Travel Advice?
Now that you’re armed with a few smart tips for visiting Paris on a budget, take a look at the rest of our site for more expert travel advice on traveling the rest of Europe!
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