Paris, the French capital, is also known as the city of Love, Fashion, Culture, Art, and Architecture. No matter what your travel bucket list is Paris is one of the top three city destinations in the world. Here are the top 10 Paris budget travel tips that you need to know before heading to this romantic city.
There are numerous reasons to head to Paris for every traveler – Symbol of Love – The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre Museum that houses the world-famous painting of Mona Lisa along with thousands of marvelous paintings and sculptures by renowned artists, Notre Dame Cathedral, Disneyland, Versailles Palace, and Gardens, shopping at Champs-Élysées and many more.
According to a survey, Paris is listed second on the list of the world’s 10 most expensive cities. This would make you assume that seeing Paris on a budget is unrealistic. You can have a feeling that Paris is one place only to wonder about like a fairy tale. But that’s not true. Believe me, you can definitely travel to Paris on a budget without much effect on your savings.
Here are 10 Paris Budget Travel Tips that will break the myth and make you realize that you really don’t have to break the bank to visit Paris.
Paris Budget Travel Tips
- Avoid Visiting During Peak Season
- Check out the Freebies
- Book Accommodation in the Center of the City
- Advance Booking of Flight and Train Tickets
- Travel around in Paris inexpensively
- Save on sites and attractions
- Go for a Museum PassOpt for the right Breakfast and Dining options
- Take a Free Walking Tour
- Quench your thirst with Free Drinking Water available anywhere in Paris
Avoid Visiting During Peak Season
The peak season to visit Paris is from June to August and September to October which can give you a feel of summer and fall respectively. However, if you are traveling to Paris on a tight budget and the weather does not bother you, go for the winter.
You can plan your trip between November to March. This budget tip will help you beat the sky-high rates due to much lower flight and train fares and the availability of cheaper accommodation. You’ll find winter ice rinks in many places in the city where you can enjoy skating as an additional bonus.
Check out for the Freebies
Paris has quite a few attractions that you can visit for free. Many of the city’s most impressive monuments and sites like the Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacre Coeur, the beautiful park – Jardin du Luxembourg, and even the banks of the River Seine can be visited free of charge. In addition, here is the complete list of all the museums and monuments that have free entry at different times of the year.
So, ensure that you plan your trip to match one of the options below and enjoy grand savings on your travel budget expenses.
Paris Budget Travel Tips: Free attractions
- Free every day, all year round
- Free on 1st Sunday of the month, all year round
- Free on 1st Sunday of the month, from 1st October to 31 March inclusive
- Free on 1st Sunday of the month, from 1st November to 31 March inclusive
- Free on 1st Sunday of the month, from 1st November to 31 May inclusive
- Free admission during late evening closures
- Free admission for under 26-year-olds and teachers
Do you know who the show stealer of Paris city is? It is indeed – the Eiffel Tower. So, hit the roads and head towards this marvelous structure. A unique fact about Paris is that the Government hasn’t permitted the construction of a structure taller than the Eiffel Tower in central Paris. This gives you a distinct view of the wonder from most places around the city. You can also watch the twinkling lights every hour during the evenings that illuminate the Eiffel Tower setting up an exhilarating show.
Book accommodation in the center of the city
Paris is a fairly compact city divided into 20 districts. Numbering starts at the Louvre as the center and spirals out clockwise. Keeping in mind that most of the prime attractions are in close vicinity, it is better to choose accommodation in districts 1-7 or 9 so that you can cover a lot of places on foot.
You can a hotel or hostel in these neighborhoods – especially near the Louvre, the Marais, the Latin Quarter, the Eiffel Tower, and the Opéra. This will bring down your transportation costs considerably. Another budget travel tip would be to stay close to Metro Line 1 which runs through the center of Paris and has a frequency of 3 minutes. 11th (Bastille) is a vicinity which will be cheaper and close to a central line.
Some great hotels in Paris are super cheap. Many of them can be on your budget-saving list as they keep it simple and avoid additional amenities like TVs, Wi-Fi, etc. Another budget option is using Airbnb to rent a room and experience Parisian hospitality. Paris has a hostel to match every taste, from solar-powered to centuries-old. Larger establishments such as the thoroughly modern St. Christopher’s (at Gare du Nord and Canal St-Martin) rent bicycles, serve cheap evening meals, and organize excursions.
Advance Booking of Flight and Train Tickets
The airfares have soared to sky-high rates in recent years, but haven’t quite gone down despite dropping fuel prices. In case you are somewhere in France or a neighboring country, you’ll realize that the train tickets to Paris aren’t cheap either. One of the most important Paris budget travel tips would be to book your flight and train tickets in advance.
Planning at least six to eight months ahead can be a crucial factor and help you secure a good fare. When booking a flight, you should also explore airfare/hotel package deals, as these can sometimes offer significant savings.
Paris Budget Tips for Air Travel
If you are traveling to Paris from another European country, look out for cheap budget airlines. EasyJet, Eurowings, and Wizz Air are all good options and I recommend checking out Skyscanner for the best deals. Budget airlines are the best and a time-saving option for a short weekend trip. You can just go with your carry-on luggage and will not have to pay the additional fees for check-in luggage.
Paris Budget Tips for Train Travel
Out of the 44 European countries, 28 are a part of the European Union. Their liberal travel policy has greatly boosted rail travel in Europe. You will find a large number of high-speed trains operating across different countries and major cities of the EU with a mere pinch to your pocket, Paris being one of the top cities among them.
Here are a few trains that will take you to Paris in a few hours at lightning speed and mesmerizing scenic beauty that will give you a visual spectacle.
|From Country / City||Operator|
|London (UK) Starting Fare: €41 Time Taken: 2 hours 15 minutes|
|Brussels (Belgium) Starting Fare: €29 Time Taken: 1 hour 22 minutes|
|Amsterdam (Netherlands) Starting Fare: €35 Time Taken: 3 hours 17 minutes|
|Geneva (Switzerland) Starting Fare: €29 Time Taken: 3 hours 10 minutes|
|Zurich (Switzerland) Starting Fare: €29 Time Taken: 4 hours 03 minutes|
|Turin (Italy) Starting Fare: €29 Time Taken: 5 hours 40 minutes|
|Milan (Italy) Starting Fare: €29, €35 Time Taken: 7 hours|
TVG & Thello Sleeper
|Barcelona (Spain) Starting Fare: €39 Time Taken: 6 hours 20 minutes|
|Berlin (Germany) Starting Fare: €39 Time Taken: 8 hours 15 minutes|
ICE & TVG Duplex
Paris Budget Tips for Bus Travel
This is the most cost-effective mode of travel to Paris and within Europe. This would take a little longer to reach your destination but is worth travel if you are on a tight budget and have enough time to admire life within the cities and the countryside.
Travel around in Paris inexpensively
If you are looking out for budget travel tips for Paris, this one would surely save you a lot if you choose your transport options wisely. First of all, avoid or rather do not commute in a taxi unless you have no other option as they will cause a big dent in your purse. Here are a few cost-effective alternatives to travel to and fro the Charles de Gaulle International Airport.
Paris Budget Travel Tips for Airport Transport
|Modes of Transport to and fro Charles de Gaulle International Airport with Starting and Drop Points|
|RER B (blue) city train Terminal 2 – Gare du Nord|
|Roissy Bus All terminals – Paris Opera House|
|Local Paris bus Routes 350 / 351 Airport Bus Depot – Gare De L’est / Place De La Nation|
Paris has an excellent and relatively inexpensive public transport system. It is one of the world’s safest and most efficient systems. When you are traveling to Paris on a tight budget, public transport can be a fantastic option. You can easily find a city sightseeing and public transport map at the airport, bus station, or any of the metro stations and follow the routes.
Paris is divided into 5 zones that are divided in circles with the Louvre Museum at the center. Zones 1-3 cover central Paris and the close suburbs while zones 4 and 5 covers the distant destinations. Below are the four major modes of internal transport in Paris.
Paris Budget Travel Tips for Internal Transport
|Modes of Transport||Number of Lines||Coverage|
All around the city, hubs for several different lines
|Noctilien (Night Bus)||–|
Throughout the city and suburbs, every 15-20 minutes
|RER||A, B, C, D, E|
Runs far into suburbs with lesser stops in the city
|Transiliens||H, J, K, L, N, P, R, U|
Suburban train lines connecting Paris’ main stations to the suburbs not reached by the RER
|Metro||1 – 14, 3bis, 7bis|
Covers Zone 1 and 2, mostly crosses the city diametrically except 3bis and 7bis that circle within Paris city
|Tramway||T1, T2, T3a, T3b, T5, T6, T7, T8|
Operates mostly in the less dense areas and run on streets reaching out to people in remote regions
14,500 bicycles and 1,230 bicycle stations, located across Paris. One-day pass for €1.70 One-week pass for €8
Weekly Pass – €22.80 Monthly Pass – €75.20 (All zones)
Now you can imagine how extensive public transport in Paris is and how much it will bring down your budget. The buses and metros use the same ticket, so you can buy them in a bunch of 10 at any of the bus or metro stations. This is cheaper and time-saving than buying a single ticket each time. In addition, you can also buy a Navigo Pass that allows you to travel across different zones in Paris using any mode of public transport.
Save on sites and attractions
You can save on the sites and museums if you choose to be smart. Visit specific attractions at certain times to avoid big crowds and enjoy the discounts. Here’s another Paris budget travel tip that will aid you in seeding some Euros.
Palace of Versailles – The once principal royal residence of France, magnificent architecture
Paris Budget Travel Tip: Discounts on Attractions
|Monument/Museum||Normal / Discounted Rates||Timings|
|Musée d’Orsay||€12 / €6.5|
Visitors aged 18-25 4:30 PM – 6 PM (except Thursday) 6 PM – 9:45 PM on Thursday
|Eiffel Tower||€19 / €15.5|
Walk up to the second level
|Arc de Triomphe||€12 / –|
Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier below for free
|Notre Dame Cathedral Bell Towers||€10 / Free|
Admission to the Cathedral is free
|Versailles Palace and Gardens||€27 / €20|
Except for Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday i.e. the non-fountain days
|Louvre Museum Gardens||Free|
All the time
The Louvre and Tuileries National Estate include several gardens, which cover an area of 30 hectares. It stretches between the Musée du Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. There are thousands of trees, sculptures, and beautiful fountains that can be visited for absolutely no cost.
Go for a Museum Pass
Museums in Paris usually cost between €2 and €12 depending on the age of the visitor and the day you are visiting. There are so many museums and attractions worth seeing that ticket prices can really add up quickly and play a spoilsport to your budget travel plans. With the Paris Museum Pass, you gain free entry, without queuing and as many times as you wish, to over 50 museums and monuments in and around Paris. This allows you to come closer to the rich history and culture of the city without worrying about spending too much.
Paris Budget Travel Tips: Museum Pass
|Number of Days||Rate|
If you plan to visit at least 10 of the top museums and palaces, you would for sure be spending more than €120. Looking at this, you definitely do not want to miss on clicking a picture with the world-famous Mona Lisa, so get going with the Museum Pass.
Opt for the right Breakfast and Dining options
Dining in Paris at a restaurant can be quite expensive especially if you are on a budget travel. You can opt for accommodation in hotels that provide free breakfast. On the contrary, you can utilize this opportunity to taste native Parisian food. Head to one of the bakeries and pick up a croissant or bread and a cup of coffee.
Most of the restaurants in Paris offer a prix fixe menu (two or three-course fix menu) for lunch. They are priced between €10 and €20 and are way better for your budget than the regular A la carte menu!
Paris is a city of markets with food markets all around the town. If you are in a hurry, head to one of the open street markets and pick up some bread, cheese, sandwich, meat, wine, or anything else. This is one of the best ways to savor true French food and save on your expenses.
Paris Budget Travel Tips for Best Budget Eateries
|South Indian Mini Tiffin and other delicacies|
Saravanaa Bhavan / Sangeetha Vegetarian Restaurant, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis
Chez Nicos, Latin Quarter
|Pastrami rolls / sandwiches|
Frenchie To Go, Louvre & Les Halles
|Fish and chips|
Sunken Chip, Montmartre & Northern Paris
CheZaline (Bastille & Eastern Paris) or Huré (Bakery in The Islands)
Candelaria, Le Marais, Ménilmontant & Belleville
|Hot dishes to take away|
Traiteur Jegado, Eiffel Tower & Western Paris
|My favorite – Falafel sandwiches|
L’As du Fallafel, Le Marais, Ménilmontant & Belleville
Being in Paris, you can’t miss out on tasting French wine. However, if you are traveling on a small budget, the best option would be to head to the Supermarkets and pick up a variety of different wines at super-low budget prices.
One of the best places to head to for a quick bite is the fast-food joint McDonald’s. There would rarely be a person unfamiliar with this. Along with filling options, it offers free Wi-Fi, which you can use to check your important emails or a social media check-in.
Take a free walking tour
A walking tour is basically a tour of a historical or cultural site undertaken on foot, frequently in an urban setting. Depending on the city, the walking tours can be short ones lasting for an hour whereas the longer ones can last a full day or more. You can opt for free walking tours of Paris’ central sights.
There are a number of tour companies that offer you this service where local Parisians take you on a free guided tour of their city. These knowledgeable guides speak multiple languages, namely – English, Spanish, etc., and of course their native French.
The walking tours help you travel on a budget and introduce you to the famous sites in the city like the Marais, Montmartre, and Notre Dame. A few tours starting at the fountain of Saint Michel and ending by the Champs-Elysées, give you a great overview of the entire city. Wherever reservation is not needed, you simply have to reach the meeting point at the appointed time. Lastly, do not forget to tip your guide for an informative and entertaining walking experience.
Paris Budget Travel Tips for Free Walking Tour
|Paris Greeters | Reservation Needed? Yes|
|City Free Tours | Reservation Needed? Yes|
|Sandemans New Paris | Reservation Needed? No|
|Discover Walks | Reservation Needed? No|
1.5 hours to few days based on what you choose
Quench your thirst with Free Drinking Water available anywhere in Paris
This is one of those small travel tips that will definitely help you cut down on your expenses when you are on a budget Paris trip. Drinking water is a necessity and what better than getting clean drinking water free of cost?
Whenever you order water in a restaurant in Paris, ask for tap water. They will try to provide bottled water and charge you for the same. But tap water is free and completely safe to drink.
Paris has more than 1200 drinking water fountains situated around the city where you can fill up your water bottles for free. According to a survey, Parisians are a fan of sparkling water. Taking this liking into consideration, the government has set up fountains that dispense this bubby stuff as well.
If you simply follow the above Paris budget travel tips, you can rest assured that you can tackle this expensive city without claiming bankruptcy. It’s entirely possible to eat well, find clean and decent accommodations, and enjoy discounted and free attractions while still having the sense that you’re living it up in one of the world’s most gorgeous cities. By making a few small adjustments, you can find big savings that will make any budget trip to Paris fun, affordable, and memorable.