Paris is notorious for being an expensive city to travel but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some of my top tips for travelling Paris on a budget!
Book an Airbnb
Paris can be an expensive place to stay if you don’t look in the right places. Chances are, you’ll be spending most of your time out and about, enjoying the city, so you don’t need to stay in a fancy hotel. We managed to book an entire apartment on Airbnb just off Rue de la Roquette, a trendy street filled with lively bars and restaurants, for £42 per night! It wasn’t anything special, but we had everything that we could possibly need and a super helpful host that gave us loads of tips for finding cheap places that locals go to eat, drink and party. You can easily find some absolute steals in the city if you book a little further in advance too!
Stay a bit longer
People often take short city breaks to Paris and only stay for a couple of nights, but cramming so much into only a few days is naturally going to be expensive. If you have the time, stay a little bit longer to allow yourself to get familiar with your surroundings and scout out the places that locals flock to because I guarantee that they won’t be paying tourist prices. We stayed for 5 nights in Paris, which may seem like a long time but there’s so much to see and do that every day was still packed full of exciting things. I also find that it makes your trip more enjoyable when you have a bit of time to chill out, so that you don’t come back from your holiday needing another holiday to recover.
Walk around the city
If you don’t mind walking to where you need to be, this is the way to get around in Paris. You won’t even realise that you’ve been walking for 40 minutes because there’s so much beauty and atmosphere to take in. If you’re not a fan of walking or you need to travel a little further, hire a city bike (the ones that you can pick up and drop off at various docks around the city) and change bikes every 30 minutes for a quick, cheap way to get around. Changing the bike every 30 minutes allows you to avoid incurring extra time fees.
Don’t pay to see attractions
Before I go on any trip, I write a list of all the things I want to see and all the places I want to visit, then split them into two categories: Free and Paid. I then start by finding out exactly how much all of the paid attractions will cost – big tourist attractions will usually have a website detailing prices. Now, a lot of museums in Paris offer free admission on the first Sunday of every month, so if you’re flexible with dates, it’s a good idea to plan around that. Something that I didn’t know until I got there, was that the Louvre Museum offers free admission to people aged 18-25 from any EU country, any day of the year and free admission to anyone under 26, every Friday from 6pm (with valid proof of ID).
So, once I’ve done my research and can move a few attractions from my ‘Paid’ list, I usually pick my top two paid attractions and stick to the free ones for the rest of the trip. A lot of the time, you’re not really missing out by not paying for the attraction, they tend to be packed with people and most of the sights you can admire for free, ie. we chose to have a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower, instead of paying 20 Euros to go up and then admired the views over Paris from various other free locations. This turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip.
One of the easiest ways to save money is to take advantage of the many local morning markets, selling an abundance of cheap and delicious fruit, baguettes and everything else you need to make the perfect picnic, for the afternoon. It’s easy to end up spending 10 Euros on a sandwich in a street-side cafe in Paris, but why do that when you can make your own for a quarter of the price and enjoy an authentic Parisian experience, at the same time. Then, take your cool bag, set up your picnic and enjoy one of Paris’ many scenic spots.
Who wouldn’t want to say that they’ve had a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower?!