Tips for Visiting Paris on a Budget
Just like every new traveler, I also had a perturbed feeling about my maiden trip to Paris. The sole reason that evoked this feeling was my impression that the city would be too costly for travelers. But one of my friends, Jonathan, visited the city before me, and he informed me that you don’t need to be a king in order to enjoy the delights that the “city of lights” has to offer. Booking tickets with British Airways was a piece of cake; all I did was contact their customer support team and voila, I was through with my booking process. So, allow me to share some important tips that will surely come in handy when you travel to Paris.
Free Cemeteries – You can visit the cemeteries of the rich and famous artists, philosophers, and intellectuals that once lived in Paris. At Cimetière Pere-Lachaise and Cimetière du Montparnasse, you don’t have to pay anything to visit the graves of legends like Georges Bizet, Jim Morrison, Isadora Duncan, and Sarah Bernhardt.
Visit Carrousel du Louvre for Free – The first Sunday of every month (from October to March) is free for the visitors of Carrousel du Louvre. If you really want to save time standing in long ticket queues, all you need is to enter the Carrousel du Louvre entrance and you can head to the ticket counter straightaway. The best way is to have a Paris Museum Pass in order to skip standing in the long queues
Enjoy Saving at the Musée d’Orsay – If you visit the museum after 4:30 p.m. you will only have to pay €8.50. The entry to the museum on the first Sunday of the month is free for tourists, and regular tickets are priced at €11.
Buying a Paris Museum Pass – Whenever you visit Paris, you should have a tourist card (a citizenship identity card provided to the tourist in lieu of a visa or a passport). There are so many attractions that are worth exploring, and with ticket prices on the higher side, this is where the Paris Museum Pass will come in handy. The pass will help you to get discounted admission to more than 40 museums across the city, and moreover, you don’t have to stand in long ticket lines. The price for two days is €42, €56 for four days, and €69 for six days.
Free Museums – If you are visiting Paris on the first Sunday of the month, then you can consider yourself lucky as most of the museums offer free entry at this time. But it has a downfall to it as it can get too crowded.
Choose Public Transport from Charles de Gaulle – You can save money when you arrive to the city by using public transportation. There are two options available to you:
- You can choose the RER B (regional train). This will cost you €9.50 and it will only take a maximum of 50 minutes, depending on the destination you are traveling to. When you reach the city, you can take the metro to reach your final destination.
- RoissyBus will cost you €10 (per person), and it takes a maximum of 60 minutes. Traveling from RER bus should be your first preference, as it takes you directly to your destination and you don’t have to face the hassle of changing to a local metro.
Avoid Taking Taxis – The best thing about Paris is that it has a planned subway system, so you can travel anywhere comfortably and, above all, it saves your precious time. It is recommended that you don’t waste your money on taxis.
Buying Metro/Bus Tickets in Bulk – Both the cost of metro and bus tickets are the same for each (€1.70). The best way out is to purchase a “carnet,” which includes a pack of 10 tickets and will cost you €13.70. You get to save €3.30, which is great when you are on a trip to a foreign land.
Choosing the Velib –
You will surely like the large-scale public bicycle sharing system that the city has. This bike-sharing program boasts more than 20,000 bikes at over 1,000 locations across the city. Joining is quite easy, with prices at €1.70 for a single day and €8 for one week.
Staying at Hostels – Since the hotels are quite expensive, choosing to stay at the hostels can be a good decision. The price at dorm rooms starts at €15, and if you want to go for a private room in a hostel, you have to pay about €50.
Couch Surf – You can sleep for free after a long tiring day of sightseeing. Yes, you heard that right, and it is possible with couch surfing programs that help you build a connection with the locals. They are the ones who will offer you a place to stay and, moreover, they will also guide you to all the places in the city which are worth exploring.
Explore the Free Sights – There are places which are totally free to visit in Paris like Maison de Victor Hugo, Musée d’Art Moderne, and Maison de Balzac. Make sure you have not missed the beautifully built churches and parks, like the Jardin du Luxembourg. The city offers so many tourist attractions for which you don’t have to pay.
Walking Tours – You can choose to take the services of various companies for walking tours, one of the best ways to explore the central sights of Paris.
I would like to suggest New Europe Walking Tours. Paris Greeters is another one where the locals help you to have a fun and free tour of the city.
Free Water – If you are at a restaurant, you should ask for tap water. You will be offered bottled water and will be charged for it. Make sure you insist for tap water, as it is safe to drink and you don’t have to pay for it.
Drink at Hostel Bars –
Even if you haven’t decided to stay in a hostel, you can enjoy drinking at their bars. Here, you get to enjoy amazing company and beers for €2. Trust me, it’s a great place to start your night out experience without disturbing your budget.
Set Lunch Menus – Eating out in Paris is a great experience, especially during the lunch time when you get the prix fixe menu. This normally includes a set menu with two or three courses. Most of the restaurants have this set menu, and it will cost you between €10 and €20. The food is yummy and it is quite affordable as well.
Summer Festivals – Summer is probably the best season to visit Paris. I say this because almost every week you have the privilege of attending Paris Jazz Festival. It usually takes place during the evening, and at Cinéma en Plein Air you can enjoy outdoor film screenings!
Grocery Stores – The best way to eat cheaply is to shop at the various grocery shops. You will easily find all the ingredients that you need for basic snacks and prepared meals. If you are looking for wine, you can get it here.
There is no denying the fact that Paris is an expensive city, and in the last couple of years it has become harder for travelers who want to explore this beautiful city of France. But, on the positive side, every leading city has budget options, and all you need to do is make small adjustments to make big savings that will surely help in making Paris a fun & memorable place to visit.
Sophia is a writer by profession. She has a knack for coming up with novel ideas. She currently writes for Qwikfix, where she contributes ideas for the latest technology. She has also worked for scores of magazines, writing exciting content on various topics.