The Best Tips & Tricks To Visiting Paris On A Budget
Paris is an expensive city, but it's always possible to have a great time, even when you're sticking to a budget.
There are lots of reasons why you might want to keep yourself on a budget when you’re travelling to Paris, and here are our tried and tested tips and tricks to help you stick to your budget.
Two things to consider are before you even land at Charles de Gaulle or pull into Gare du Nord.
Insider Tip: One of the best times to visit Paris on a budget (outside of winter) is late May. The spring bloom is still visible across the city, the weather is warm, and the crowds have yet to descend.
- It goes without saying that hotel prices and attractions soar during the summer. The winter months of December, January, and February are easily the cheapest. The weather during those months can dip below freezing. Winter in Paris is beautiful, but at what cost? In the Winter, Paris is also delightfully quiet. This makes it a joy to leave your residence every day, as long as you make sure to wrap up warm.
- It’s also a good idea to check the Eurostar website and book your tickets in advance. Eurostar does many out-of-pocket tickets. If you catch the offer at the right time, it’s possible to get to Paris and back for unbelievably good rates.
Getting Around Paris on a Budget
The public transport system in Paris is where it’s at. Using the Métro and buses is the easiest and cheapest way to get around the city besides walking (which we totally recommend as much as you can). There’s also the Vélib system. You can rent a Vélib bicycle for as little as a euro a day, so long as you have a valid bank card and semi-decent road sense.
When you’re buying your T+ tickets (those tiny slips of card with magnetic strips), you can save money by buying a carnet. This book of tickets works out at a discount price. You can use these on the Métro, buses, and trams, and can be bought from the vending machines in most Métro stations.
It’s also worth looking into travel passes (Mobilis, Navigo, Visite) offered by the RATP (Paris’ public transport service), especially if you’re not planning on walking much. If you’d like to know more, we did the work for you and compared the various Paris passes that are available.
Eating In Paris On A Budget
As with almost anywhere you stay - and where finding a holiday let comes in the handiest - cooking your own meals is the cheapest way to eat.
Insider Tip: Most brasseries in Paris supply unlimited baskets of freshly baked bread and jugs of water. Fill yourself up then walk it off!
We’re not saying you should give up all of the luxuries of Paris dining. There are plenty of traditional brasseries and bistros around the city whose prices are fantastic. However, it can work out well to do a quick shop at the local Carrefour or Monoprix and do a bit of meal prep.
If you really do want to eat out a lot, pretty much every traditional brasserie offers bargain set menus for breakfast and lunch at less than €15. Combine this with a set breakfast (p’tit dej!) and nighttime picnic along the Seine and you’ll be looking at less than €30 a day.
It’s also quite a good idea to avoid tourist hot spots. Cafés hike up the prices in the vicinity of the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. But there are plenty of side streets in the same areas with great prices.
Shopping On A Budget
PLUM’S FAVOURITE VINTAGE GOLD MINES: Marché aux Puces de Vanves (Avenue Georges Lafenestre, 75014), Didier Ludot (24 Galerie Montpensier, Palais Royal, 75001), La Petite Robe Noire (125 Galerie Valois, Palais Royal, 75001), Ragtime (23 Rue de l'Echaudé, 75006), Chinemachine (100 Rue des Martyrs, 75018)
If you’re on a budget, there’s no chance you’ll be seeing a flagship store any time soon. While there’s something to be gained by window shopping the latest Isabel Marant collection, sometimes you just need to shop.
Paris’ flea markets and vintage shops are havens for attracting big-name garments. I mean, it’s Paris. Are we really surprised? It takes a lot more turfing to find the gems than it would to buy them straight off, but there’s no one in their right minds that would argue with a Burberry coat for €30.
Places To See On A Budget
Insider Tip: Some museums and galleries are free to visit on the first Sunday of every month. You can see a few of them here.
In general, even climbing the Eiffel Tower won’t set you back as much money as it will time. There is so much you can do around Paris that costs nothing. Paris has some of the most amazing parks and some of the best museums in the world. You can also go inside of Sacre-Coeur, Notre Dame, and watch the Eiffel Tower light show from the Trocadéro.
If you travel to Paris on the Eurostar, your ticket generally gives you 2-for-1 entry to most of them. Alternatively, if you really love art, just get the museum pass!