Time zone: France (GMT+2)
Best to visit: All year round
Paris is known as an expensive destination. And this is due to the many sophisticated restaurants and luxury goods one can find in the city. Therefore, many tourists may have the misbelief that Paris can be overwhelming when it comes to their budget and tend to avoid it.
However, Paris is one destination you need to visit at least once in your lifetime and offers so many treats, one cannot afford not to see it. From historic establishments to its cultural heritage, from the famous French cuisine to some of the world’s greatest work of arts, Paris is a destination that has it all. Foodies and history aficionados alike, romantics and modernists, they will all find something to visit, love, eat and appreciate in Paris. And yes, you can visit it on a budget, even it seems less probable.
You don’t have to break the bank to visit Paris, all you need to do is prepare for your trip in advance and know what to look for. First of all, we will start talking about how to get there.
Flights and accommodation on a budget for Paris
If you travel to Paris from Europe, you’re in luck. Even though low-cost companies have slightly more expensive fares for Paris, you can still get a good deal. And to do so, you can either book your flights in advance or follow the airline company to score a good deal.
When you travel to Paris from any other country in Europe, you also benefit from one advantage: you can book flights for a near-by city or even country and take a train or a bus to Paris. For example, you can find flights between one country to another at about 15 euros, and from another city, or even country, take a train for about 50 euros to Paris. Book your train tickets from Rail Europe, it’s fast and easy and you can pay directly on their website.
If you take a bus to Paris, it is going to be even cheaper. For example, from Brussels (to which most low-cost companies fly to) to Paris, you will pay only around 20 euros for a round trip.
If you travel to Paris from another continent, things change optics. We recommend booking your flights months in advance to get a good deal. Or even to go to a travel agency and ask for their fares. When booking months in advance, you also benefit from the advantage of having enough time to prepare your itinerary and come up with the rest of the money for accommodation, food and everything else you might want.
Last but not least, look for plane tickets on the websites which offer multiple flight companies under one roof. For example, you can use Skyscanner or Trip.com.
You can also get an idea of your travel budget if you look for accommodation and other activities on Trip Advisor.
Travel during the low season in Paris
You can visit Paris all year round, there is literally no bad time to see it. However, most people choose to visit Paris in the spring, summer or even autumn. Winter is cold in Paris, so many tourists avoid to travel in this season, but the city does not lose its charm. Even more, during the winter holidays, the city comes to live with the holiday spirit and all the celebrations you can participate in on the streets.
And the low season also comes with budget-friendly perks. Both flights and accommodation are considerably cheaper, so you can have more money to spend on other things you desire, from food to shopping.
Use public transportation in Paris
Paris has a great public transportation network. The metro in Paris will take you literally everywhere, even outside the city through the metro-train network. Metro stops in Paris are known for the short distances between the stations, and the network is set on several underground levels, a true underground labyrinth.
Tickets are rather affordable for the metro, and it is a good way to go around the city’s long distances between the main touristic places. However, if you’d prefer to travel above the ground and see the city as you go, you can take the city’s trams.
Budget sightseeing in Paris
Most tourist attractions in Paris impose fares, and if you add them all you, you will find that together they are not cheap at all. If you’d like to visit museums, for example, you can book your tickets online, in advance. This method usually also implies lower fares, besides the fact you generally skip the line when buying online.
There are some attractions which offer benefits for European Union citizens or residents, under certain conditions. For example, if you are an EU citizen or resident and are under 26, you don’t pay the entrance fee at the Louvre museum. Here, you will find some of the most famous works of art in the world: Venus of Milo, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and many more. You can spend an entire day at the Louvre and still miss out on some of its works of art. These conditions also apply when visiting the Arch of Triumph, but here you will only have a discount if you are under 26 and an EU citizen or resident.
Some attractions also have group discounts, so you and your friends can have fun together and pay less for it!
There are also some free attractions: the Notre Dame cathedral, the Sacre Coeur cathedral and the banks of the Seine, where you will find artificial beaches during the summer, where people can sunbathe and relax, or artisanal gift shops during the winter, adding to the city’s romance.
Eat on a budget in Paris
Paris might be known for its multiple Michelin-star restaurants, but that does not mean you cannot find affordable places to eat and make use of the quality as well. First of all, we recommend street food, as in any other city you will visit. The real vibe of the city is on the streets, and you can get a delicious meal in Paris for a rather decent price.
Secondly, tap into the city romantic vibe and go to the local market to buy cured meats, fresh tomatoes and bread and have a picnic in of the city’s parks or even on the banks of Seine.
If you’d like to spend less than 15 euro for a cocktail or a coffee, go to the student areas. They have lots of great deals to indulge in, and you can get so much more for your money.
Budget accommodation in Paris
Last but not least, you can find cheat accommodations in Paris as well, but you have to get a bit creative. You can look for a traditional hotel a bit further from the city centre, as it is going to be both cheaper and offer you easy access to each corner of the city by metro.
You can also look for apartments, and if they have a small kitchen they will save you money on food as well. Apartments can be shared between more than 2 friends, but you have to know that apartments in Paris are way smaller than in other cities. For example, you can find a one-bedroom apartment on only 34 square meters.
If you don’t mind sharing your room with others, you can even opt for a hostel. They offer great value for money and are the perfect opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and so on. The most unconventional way of travelling is Couchsurfing, and there are many websites which offer such services.
All in all, there are options if you want to visit Paris on budget. And they are affordable to everyone, all you have to do is book your flights in advance, go creative on accommodation and wisely choose where you eat. And start packing your bags!