We are excited to hear that our blog was chosen by Air France and the winner of free tickets on their Premium Voyageur Class, to Paris, France but at the same time, we had to cut our very cheap travels through central Asia short to make our way to Europe. So how does this couple go from a budget of $7 guest houses and $3 meals in India to one of the most expensive cities in the world to visit? We find ways to Visit Paris on a Budget. We find cheap things to do in Paris, we find cheap places to stay and we find interesting ways to stretch our Canadian dollar. We learned that you can Visit Paris on a Budget! After doing some research and reading, we found out that there are a lot of budget travel ideas for Paris from Free Museums, cheap transit and creative dining, there’s lots that you can do to keep from breaking the bank.
We were surprised to see just how much money we could save in Paris and here are some tips for you that we learned to budget our money and stretch our Canadian dollar while we were there.
1. Don’t eat at bistros or restaurants. Paris has amazing restaurants, but they are expensive. Instead eat outside at a boulangerie or patisserie. Make sure to sit outside as you can be charged extra to sit inside. We ate excellent lunches for 6.50 Euros. They included a large baguette sandwich, delicious dessert of our choice and a drink.
2. Use the metro, not the tourist buses. Buy a 10 pack metro ticket for 11.50 Euro. The three day pass is too expensive at $30 Euros. You can mix walking and taking the metro or bus and only use 3 tickets in one day if you plan your route wisely. Staying away from tourist buses, boats and taxis will stretch your budget greatly in Paris.
3. Don’t sit down for coffee at a restaurant, drink it at the bar you will save quite a bit of money. Real estate is expensive in Paris and tables take up space. Sitting down to eat will cost you a surcharge. If you are watching your budget, stand at the bar to enjoy your beer or coffee. Besides, you will meet more people that way and experience Paris the way true Parisians experience Paris.
4. Stay at a hostel in the Montemartre area. The hostels in Paris are quite nice. We stayed in a hostel in this charming neighborhood accessible by metro and bus for 35 Euro per person. We had a private bath, but you can get a cheaper room for 28 Euro if you share a bath. The shared bath is quite also clean. The price of a hostel in Paris doesn’t break the bank at all and leaves plenty of money to spare to enjoy the city of lights sites.
5. Book a hostel that has breakfast included. Our Hostel, The Perfect Hotel/Hostel included a breakfast of coffee, juice, bread and chocolate croissant. We didn’t have to spend any money until lunch. Food can be expensive in Paris, so the more you have included with your accommodations the better.
6. Shop at the many supermarkets around town and pack your lunch. Paris has many places to picnic and you can buy wonderful cheeses, meats, breads and fruit for a very reasonable price. We never spend more than 10 Euro on lunch for the two of us and that included wine! For a low budget, we ate like the rich enjoying good French wine with incredible scenery. The parks of Paris are beautiful. Note: Keep your wine hidden and discreet. Like anywhere drinking in public areas is frowned upon even thought everyone does it.
7. When you do eat out for dinner, take advantage of the Menu Formule. It is a fixed price menu for tourists in the Latin Quarter. This is a great way to save money and keep the budget down. It includes an appetizer, main dish, dessert and one drink. These meals range from 9 Euro to 15 Euro. The Latin Quarter near Notre Dame, Montemartre near Sacre Couer and La Rue Cler near the Eiffel Tower all have very reasonable fixed price meals.
8. After 4:15 pm on Thursdays, the Musee D’orsay slashes its prices to 5.50 Euro. We knew that all we were really interested in was the Impressionists exhibit, so 2 hours was more than enough time to take it in. We even saw most of the other exhibits in that time as well.
9. The Louvre slashes its prices after 6:00pm on Wednesdays and Fridays to 11 Euro. If all you want to see is the Mona Lisa and a few of its other famous pieces, this might be the time for you to go and save some cash.
10. Take advantage of Paris’ free sites and tours. You can see the list in our previous post here. 11. Take the Air France shuttle from the airport instead of a taxi. It takes you to Mont Parnasse for 16.50 Euros. We heard that the train is even cheaper, but you will have to lug your luggage through the metro. If you don’t mind doing that, take the train, it will save a lot of money.
12. All McDonalds have free wifi and good cheap coffee.
13. You don’t necessarily have pay to go in to every site to enjoy them. The Eiffel Tower is impressive enough to just view it from the many different vantage points in the city, The Arc Du Triomphe is free unless you go upstairs to view the city. If you don’t want to pay to go up these structures, head to Sacre Coeur for a great overhead view of Paris. The Champs Elysees is an interesting site in its own right, walking down the street people watching and window-shopping is an event. The Louvre has beautiful gardens with works of art scattered throughout and so does the Jardin du Luxombourg.
Paris has many places that you can go to for cheap and reasonable prices. Many of Paris’ top sites are even free. You don’t have to break the budget traveling to this grand world city. You can enjoy it and save your wallet at the same time. For more tips on Visiting Paris check out our other blog posts