Paris, one of the world’s most sought-after and romanticized cities, is truly a glamorous destination that will delight you with its amorous ambiance, style and sophistication. Nicknamed as the “Capital of Fashion” and “City of Light”, France’s cosmopolitan capital lures pleasure-seeking travelers who want to lavishly indulge in ritzy palace hotels and mouthwatering gourmet meals.
A paradise for big-time extravagant shoppers, this European hub is also known for its buzzing shopping scene, with tons of malls and boutiques selling an endless array of designer and international clothing.
Paris, of course, can be quite an expensive place to visit, even for wealthy socialites and travelers. After all, it is a city of ritzy haute couture, magnificent palace hotels, world-class museums and high-priced meals. But the thing is, you don’t have to be supremely wealthy to experience the splendor and magic of Paris. Trust me, there are a lot of ways to experience France’s capital without going bankrupt. Here’s how you can experience a memorable trip to Paris without shelling out a tremendous amount of cash.
Travel Planning Tips for Paris
1. The most affordable time to visit Paris
Most destinations in Europe have their lows and highs, as far as tourist seasons. Paris, however, is a bit different since it is popular among travelers throughout the year. In Paris, expect to see throngs of tourists in the temperate months of summer as well as during the year’s colder part.
So, when is the cheapest time to travel to Paris? For budget conscious travelers, I suggest that you visit Paris during wintertime, which is the time of the year when accommodations and airfare are at their lowest. Plus, the crowds during the winter months are a lot thinner than those in summertime. But if you prefer warmer temperatures, you can still enjoy moderately affordable airfare and lodging in Paris during spring or fall.
2. Avoid festivals and holidays
As mentioned, hotel rates and airline tickets to Paris are incredibly low during wintertime. Their prices, however, will skyrocket once Christmas sets in. What’s more, a lot of museums and shops close their doors during this festive time of the year. That’s why it is best to skip a Parisian holiday vacation, if you are on a tight budget.
By the way, rates for hotel accommodations are also likely to increase when major events in Paris take place, such as the highly anticipated Fashion Week.
3. Book a Parisian package
Scour the internet or talk your local travel agent, to score a budget-friendly tour, airfare and hotel package in Paris. Do an extensive search, and try to compare rates from different providers. This isn’t the time to be lazy and timid!
You can find cheap travel bundles to this destination from sources like Gate 1 Travel, Sceptre Tours, and Expedia. Also, make sure to visit Trip Advisor, and read consumer reviews of vacation packages available in Paris.
Parisian Attractions on a Budget
4. Plan a Parisian trip that falls on the month’s first Monday
There are a lot of attractions in Paris that offer free admission during the month’s first Sunday, including Musee de Cluny, Musee Rodin, Centre Pompidou, Musee d’Orsay, and the iconic Louvre (from October to March only).
5. Get a Paris Museum Pass
With a Paris Museum Pass, you will get free or discounted admissions to over 50 monuments and museums around France’s capital. What’s more, it will let you skip the long ticket lines!
Prices for a Paris Museum Pass:
- 42 EUR for 2 days
- 56 EUR for 4 days
- 69 EUR for 6 days
6. Visit free museums
Speaking of museums, Paris has a bevy of museums that offer free admissions, including the Fragonard Perfume Museum, Police Headquarters Museum, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris History Museum and a whole more.
7. Explore the city’s free green spaces
Known for its lush gardens and parks, Paris boasts dozens of gorgeous plazas and splendid greens, including
- Tuileres Garden
- Jardin des Plantes
- Jardin de l’Observatoire
- Parc Andre Citroen
- Luxembourg Garden
- Square du Vert-Galant
- Parc Monceau
- Parc Montsouris
8. Swing by a beloved Parisian cemetery
The thought of visiting a necropolis may seem unusual and frightening to most people. Yet surprisingly, graveyards in the city are a big hit among history junkies, art lovers and even rock-and-roll fanatics. Jim Morrison’s grave, for instance, which is located in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, has been a major tourist draw in this destination for years.
Aside from the rock icon’s grave, this celebrated cemetery also houses memorials to a number of renowned French philosophers, politicians, poets, artists and philosophers, such as Frederic Chopin and Oscar Wilde.
Want to visit Paris this summer? Free entertainment options abound during summer in Paris, such as Cinema en Plein Air and Paris Jazz Festival. Of course, there are other free entertaining activities during winter as well.
10. Free classes
Visit College de France, and join a crowd of intellectual people and elite scholars listen to informative lectures involving a range of topics, including archaeology, history, sociology, philosophy and natural sciences.
11. Free walking tours
Paris has a handful of touring companies that offer free walking tours around the city, such as Paris Greeters and New Europe Walking Tours.
Transportation in Paris
12. Ditch the taxi cabs
Want to save money on transportation in Paris? Trust me, taxi rides are simply overpriced in this buzzing city.
13. Say no to car rentals
Car rentals are extremely expensive here as well. Not to mention, driving isn't ideal for those who aren't familiar with the city's streets.
14. Walk around the city
Grab a city map, or put your smartphone (or iPhone) into good use by using it as guide to locate the places to visit, as you walk around in Paris. Not only it is an affordable way to get around the city, but it’s also a great way to burn hundreds of calories. Not to mention, it lets you explore a ton of places as well as take in the beautiful sights of Paris.
Velib is a bike sharing program in Paris that offers more than 1,700 stations and 20,000 bicycles. You can join this program by buying a seven-day pass for 8 EUR or one-day pass for 1.70 EUR.
16. Use the city’s Metro
Paris’s proficient Metro system can be a good and affordable transportation option. A ticket only costs 1.7 EUR, but you can save more money from your metro rides by buying a carnet, a ten-pack ticket that only costs 12.70 EUR.
Accommodations in Paris
17. Stay in a hostel
Hostels are the ultimate accommodations for backpackers and budget-conscious travel junkies in this French city. Private hostel rooms in Paris start around 50 EUR, while dorm rooms normally cost 15 EUR. Just visit our website, to score a cheap deal for a hostel accommodation in Paris.
With couchsurfing, not only will you get a good and cozy place to stay in this hub, but you’ll also have a buddy who’ll introduce you to the fascinating culture of France.
19. Use Airbnb
Not comfortable staying in a hostel or in the house of a stranger? Then, make sure to use Airbnb, when looking for accommodations and hotels in Paris.
20. Buy food and your other basic needs at grocery stores
Grocery shopping is by far one of the best ways to save money on a trip to this city. In Paris, groceries have all the essentials and ingredients you need for your meals. As a matter of fact, they even sell wine. You may also buy fresh fruits and vegetables at local markets within the city.
21. Cheap eats
You don’t have to dine in an expensive restaurant just to get a taste of France’s most delectable culinary staples. There are a lot of bakeries and small food joints in the city that sell freshly-baked baguettes and falafel at a very affordable price.
22. Lunch is the best time to eat lavishly
Want to dine lavishly in a Michelin-starred restaurant in France's ritzy capital? You can still enjoy a delightful gourmet meal in a Parisian Michelin-starred restaurant, for a good and reasonable price, during lunch. Meals served in a celebrated and luxurious Parisian restaurant are far cheaper during lunchtime than dinner.
23. Take advantage of restaurant deals
Thanks to TheFork.com, you can get discounts to over a thousand restaurants across the city.
Other Money-Saving Tips
24. Money exchange
Do not buy Euros before your trip to this city. You’ll get a much better deal in Parisian money exchange counters than you will in local banks.
25. Don’t pay for internet
Free Wi-Fi is very easy to find in museums, parks, fast-food joints and cafes. Click Eurocheapo to find places in this city where you can get free Wi-Fi.
26. Take advantage of the free water fountains in Paris
Paris has over 700 water fountains in which you can fill up your water bottle.
27. Budget-friendly shopping in Paris: chic style for less
Just because this French hub is deemed as one of the world’s fashion capitals, it doesn't mean shopaholics have to spend a great deal of cash to enjoy this destination. On the internet, there are a lot of tips and guides to help you enjoy a budget-friendly shopping spree in Paris. In addition, you might want to make time for a gleeful whirl at a Parisian flea market, and come up with a few unexpected gems and bargains.
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks
Shop for Travel Essentials
Book your flight
Find cheap flights using SkyScanner. This search engine is are our favorite, making sure you get the best deal for tickets all over the world. They are great at aggregating flights from multiple providers.
Book your accommodations
If you're looking for a hostel, you should book it with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere else, book with Booking.com. Their hotel system usually offers the best rates out of any provider worldwide.
Don't forget travel insurance
Protects yourself against illness, injury, theft, and even cancellations with travel insurance. You're buying comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. We never recommend traveling without it. We’ve been using World Nomads, a great company, with great service and highly recommend them.
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Travelx Insurance (for those over 70)
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