travel

Visiting Paris on a Budget

Paris. One of the most beautiful, most visited, and most expensive cities in the world. But you don’t have to spend all of your money in order to have a great time in Paris. I recently spent four nights in the city, and spent a total of $445. That includes two people, food, an Airbnb near the Arc de Triomphe, train rides, and activities (mostly free.)

This means we spent a total of $222.50 each, including accommodations.
$55.63 per day; or $29.13 per day, per person, not including accommodations.

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Now I am sure that there are people out there who can and have spent $5 per day exploring Paris; however, I spent less than $30 per day and was not even trying very hard.

Accommodations

If cheap is what you are going for, I would definitely recommend either a hostel or searching for an Airbnb very early. Airbnb’s tend to fill up, and if you can plan your trip at least a few months in advance, you have a pretty decent shot at getting an affordable place.

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The apartment we stayed in was a studio, on the 7th floor, and in a very old building. It had a bed and shower, it was extremely tiny, but it was less than a five-minute walk to the Arc de Triomphe. I did not go to Paris to stay in a nice apartment all day, I went to explore. If you have a similar mindset, you can definitely find something both decent and affordable for your trip.

My Airbnb was $212 total, or $26.38 per person, per night.

 

Restaurants / Food

To me, this is where it can get both tricky and pricey. For dinner, a meal at a restaurant is easily 30-35 Euros per person. While this usually includes a couple of courses and possibly dessert, this may not be the way to go if you are trying to save money.

If you would like to eat at French restaurants, I recommend going during the day at lunchtime when the prices are not quite as high.

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If you have the Uber Eats app, you can find many restaurant’s menus on there that are in your proximity and plan your meals accordingly. I actually found this to be a super useful tool.

My biggest tip for food that will be both delicious and cheap is Franprix. Look for it, or look for other stores like it. Franprix is a grocery store that makes fresh food daily. You can get an entire meal, such as a chicken breast with potatoes, a couple of croissants, and a drink to feed two people for around $11.

 

Activities

The only activity that we paid for during our time in Paris was for admissions to the Louvre, which was most definitely worth it. You could make a whole day visiting the Louvre alone. The cost of the tickets were 15 euros each, purchased at the museum. There are definitely ways to get free admission is you have the right credentials or visit at the right time. Check out more info here.

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Free activities that I did include walking around inside of Notre Dame, viewing and walking by the Eiffel Tower, seeing the Arc de Triomphe, and just walking around Paris in general. The entire city is gorgeous, and you can see amazing sites simply by walking around. The outside of the Louvre is also an attraction all on its own.

 

Transportation

This may be obvious, but taking an Uber or taxi is not the most cost efficient way to get around the city.

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The train may seem daunting at first to figure out, but just play with the ticket system for a few minutes and you can learn it quicker than you may think! You can also use the many maps on the walls as a reference for where you are trying to go. Train tickets are usually around 2 euros, much cheaper than a 25 euro Uber!

 

I hope these tips can help you plan for your upcoming trip to Paris!
Do you have any costs saving tips to help others?

-Haley

 

25 replies »

  1. Great tips, Haley. Totally agree with your thoughts on eating lunch instead of dinner.If you time it right, you can eat lunch just before they switch to supper. Another good tip is to buy wine at the Monoprix. Makes our N.A. wine prices look ridiculous and the wine is always very good, especially the local varietals. A hike up Montmartre is well worth it if you like to wander around the artists quarter. As to the Metro, the tickets are so cheap. Buy a carnet (book of 10) and this will take two people a long ways. We were in Paris for 3 days and only needed to by (2) carnet. We spent an entire day walking from L’Arc de Triomphe to la tour Eiffel, Place des Invalides and the Louvres. Only went up to top of L’Arc (16 Euro) and just took in the streetscapes, the rest of the time. Our lunch with wine and a beer was about 20 Euro.) This was our 3rd time in Paris, so did not go up the tower or into the Louvre. Paris is a fabulous city to walk around. All good tips for a city that is always a delight.

  2. Getting around used to mean using the Metro. Now it means renting a bike: Velib has transformed the experience of getting around Paris and is very cheap indeed.

    I agree that eating lunch out is a good idea, but in the centre of Paris is the Madeleine, which should be on your to do list anyway. And in the crypt is a fabulous restaurant run by volunteers to feed the homeless – and anyone else who needs a cheap meal. It works on the basis of those of us who can pay subsidise those that can’t. The cooking is excellent, the people delightful and it is still much cheaper than commercial restaurants.

    The other thing you can do is have a picnic. Nearly every street seems to have a baker or a deli – often both. Look for street markets too. Fresh food, usually they will offer you a taste if you are uncertain, much education (the French really care about and understand what they are eating) and socialisation. Even if your French is appalling, they will still smile and be polite.

    Or, if you down by the Canal St Martin there is a pizza place that will deliver your pizza to go the spot you have found on the towpath. They will give you a purple, helium filled balloon so that they can find you. In the summer it is like being at a continuous, long line of parties. A can of beer, or a bottle of wine (get one with a screw cap) will be much cheaper at a convenience store than any bar.

  3. Great tips… I am planning to go this May and these tips are surely going to help. I am saving your post…so that I can read again just before the trip. Thanks a lot.

  4. My sister and I already booked a hotel for 490 Euros, so we’ll probably not keep your budget. We found that AirBnB in our favourite area was almost as expensive as the hotel. But ok, that’s an expensive are…

  5. I totally agree with your comment about walking. I walk everywhere and, like you, take advantage of the many traiteurs and food markets for my meals. Plus, as you’ve discovered, you can see plenty of things without spending a sous!

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