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Is it possible to save money in Paris? It’s easy to fall into the tourist hype of spending a small fortune during your visit, but with a few easy steps, you can do your Paris vacation on a budget!
We share how you can visit Paris on a budget and how you can come in much lower than the average cost to visit Paris with these easy money-saving tips!
Paris On A Budget: Is It Possible?
Paris is a beautiful city that invites millions of visitors each year. Tourists around the world have France’s capital on their bucket list to sample French cuisine, see the Eiffel Tower, and browse famous art galleries. There aren’t many reasons not to travel to Paris!
Unfortunately, the cost of a vacation in Europe keeps most people from taking the trips of their dreams.
These travel tips will save you money in Paris without taking away from your Paris experience. You can still see some of the most famed attractions in the world without overpaying!
1. Consider Cheaper Accommodation Options
While hotels in Paris don’t tend to be expensive, you can still save money on Paris accommodation.
Instead of spending $100/night on a hotel room, you can book accommodation with AirBnB for under $65/night. You can choose from places with different amenities and lodging options, and some hosts will even give you their entire apartment.
AirBnB works great for families who may be uncomfortable in a hostel. After all, sharing a room with strangers can make parents uneasy!
If hostels aren’t off-limits for your travel party, you can save even more than you would on an AirBnB booking. You can book a bed in a 9-person dorm for around $22.
However, as you book accommodation with fewer people per room, the price comes close to AirBnB’s cheapest offers. A 2-person dorm can cost $39, but you can get private rooms for cheaper on AirBnB.
Lastly, you can find accommodation on Couchsurfing, a website that connects tourists to free hosts. This is best for couples and singles, rather than families travelling in Paris.
Hosts on Couchsurfing cannot request payment for their accommodation, and members can become verified so others know that they’re sharing their real name. Look for hosts with good references, since anyone can use the website.
2. Replace the Tourist Traps with Free Attractions
You’ll likely want to see a few pricey attractions in Paris, but make sure you’re not spending more than you have to! There are so many free things to do in Paris, and you can even visit some ticketed attractions for free on certain days.
City tours are perhaps the biggest waste of money in Paris. Why pay someone to show you around the city when you can hit the same spots for free?
Instead of booking flashy city tours, consider takingfree walking tours of Paris. On your 3-hour walking tour, you’ll see some of the city’s most important landmarks and learn about the history behind them. Taking a free tour at the beginning of your trip offers a great introduction to the city!
Some of Paris’s greatest attractions are always free to visit. Although you have to pay to go inside the Eiffel Tower, it’s completely free to walk underneath it.
In fact, some of the most spectacular photos of this landmark were taken from the ground! Other free attractions include the Luxembourg Gardens, the fashion exhibit at the Galeries Lafayette, and the street art on Canal St. Martin.
Other attractions are sometimes free, like the world-famous Louvre. If you’re a young adult from Europe, you’ll never have to pay to enter the museum. On the first Sunday of every month, they offer free admission to all visitors to the museum from 6:00pm-9:45pm.
The Musée d’Orsay is also free on the first Sunday of the month. If you’re hoping to see these museums on a budget, book your flights accordingly!
3. Try Cheaper Restaurants and Menu Items
Parisians are all about food, so it won’t be hard to find affordable restaurants in the city.
Most restaurants have a fixed lunch and dinner price that includes a starter dish, main course, and dessert, which tends to be cheaper than ordering a la carte.
At Le Grenier á Pain, ordering a sandwich and pastry gets you a free drink. The food is highly rated, and they often have lines out the door!
Bistrot Victoires serves a duck confit for €10. You probably won’t find a deal like that anywhere else!
You can find crepes at bakeries and restaurants for over €7, but street vendors serve them for even less. If you’d prefer to eat inside, check out Au P’tit Grec. Their sweet crepes start at €1.50, and their classic salty crepes start at €3.50.
While you can find great food on the streets of Paris, be wary of how the vendors are handling their food. Sandwich stalls that also sell bread are more likely to be run by real bakers than low-quality salesmen.
Also, examine the vendor’s ingredients before buying anything with fresh produce. Order from street vendors that make fresh food to avoid getting sick.
4. Visit During the Off-Peak Season
Plane tickets to Paris skyrocket in the summertime. To save the most on your trip, the cheapest time to visit Paris is between January and March. The cheapest round-trip, non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Paris are $564US at the end of February, but $1,125US at the beginning of June.
These ticket prices are lower when you take a layover, but often, that means turning an 11-hour flight into a 30-hour journey.
If you don’t mind losing a day in Paris and returning a day later, you can save on tickets and accommodation. Every day spent in transit is a day you won’t need to book accommodation for!
If you must visit Paris during the peak travel season, consider getting a package deal. When you book a flight and hotel stay through certain travel websites, your flight is free. These bargain rates are charged per person, but you can still save hundreds on your trip, especially if you’re flying solo.
Paris On A Budget Quick Tips
For even more ways to plan an affordable trip to Paris, check out these quick tips:
Use public transportation – It is usually cheaper to buy a 10 metro ticket combo than single tickets.
Use the Paris bike share program – Paris is an easy city to get around on a bicycle
Get a Paris Museum Pass – If you only want to visit the museums, this can be a great option to save on entry fees.
Another Way To Save In Paris: The Paris Pass
We have visited Paris during peak tourist season on more than one occasion – visiting just before Christmas our first time, and during summer on our second trip to Paris. This meant putting all the above into action where possible.
There was one other thing that worked for us to keep our Paris budget down, even during peak holiday season – The Paris Pass.
If you are planning to visit a lot of Paris attractions, shows and take a few tours, a Paris Pass can result in huge savings! However, if you are sticking with mostly free sightseeing, it’s probably not worth the spend!
What Is The Paris Pass?
Paris Pass is essentially a limited-time VIP pass to many of the most popular attractions around Paris. Certain attractions, tours, restaurants and shops partner with Paris Pass to offer free entry and discounts for the duration of your pass.
You can choose from 2, 3, 4 and 6 day passes, depending on your length of stay or on how many of the attractions you want to visit. Then you simply show it at the door to get your discounted or free entry.
What Is Included With The Paris Pass?
The attractions and partners included with a Paris Pass are always changing, so the best option is to check before your visit.
Some of our favourite included attractions are:
Arc De Triomphe
The Orsay Museum
Palace of Versailles
1 Day Big Bus Hop On Hop Off
Montmartre walking tour
These attractions alone will save you close to the cost of a 2 day Paris Pass. Those are huge savings if you are planning to spend it anyway!
The best way to decide if a Paris Pass will save you money or be an unnecessary spend is to visit the website and see how many of the attractions are on your must-visit list for Paris.
If your savings are higher than the cost of your pass, it will be a worthwhile purchase and possibly even allow you to visit a few places that may not have been in your budget otherwise.
For our first visit, it was absolutely worth it for us to have a 2-day pass. For our second visit, we did not need one as we had already visited many of the top attractions, focusing on a couple of day trips from Paris instead.
When you save money on typical travel expenses, you can make your dream vacations a reality.
Paris is an expensive tourist destination, but spending wisely can help you stay within a reasonable trip budget. Avoid the mistakes that other travellers make to make the most out of your funds!