If you are tight on a budget, don’t let that stop you from visiting Paris!
I’ve traveled to many different cities where I had to be on a budget for my own good and that never stopped me from enjoying my days out exploring. All you need to do is think a little more before making a choice that requires extra money, as in ordering a taxi or uber… Do you really need an Uber or can you walk the distance/take public transportation instead?
There are TONS of things you could do to save money here and there during your trip, and I’ve listed out the main ideas I believe could help you to enjoy Paris on a friendly budget.
WALK TO MOST PLACES
There is nothing better than starting to explore a city the right way- on foot! You’ll be able to pass by lots of beautiful architecture that you most likely wouldn’t have even noticed due to taking a different kind of transportation. Take your time to admire anything you normally wouldn’t see/find back home.
TAKE THE METRO
Apart from walking to your destinations, I do highly recommend to take the metro. Paris’ metro system works very well and if you happen to miss it on your way, then do not panic because the wait time is barely around 3 minutes for most lines (during regular hours). Depending on the duration of your stay there, your itinerary, etc, I’d highly suggest for you to purchase a carnet of 10 tickets from the ticket machine. You’ll save money and if you don’t use them all, then you can save them until you come back next time!
SIGHTSEE WITH A HOP ON-HOP OFF BUS
If it’s your first time in Paris, then why not try to sightsee Paris with a Hop on-Hop Off bus! You’ll be able to hop off the bus whenever you wish to explore a monument from whatever list they offer, and then wait for another bus to keep going on to the next destination. There are a few different companies out there with different prices, which you can check out here!
BUY THE RIGHT PASS FOR YOU
If you’re truly interested in buying some sort of pass that will give you access to certain museums or monuments, then why not. I would advice you to make thorough research on what kind of pass suits you most (depending on your interests) and then to calculate the total of all the attractions you wish to visit. Compare your total to the price of the pass and then decide if it’s worth it.
VISIT FREE MONUMENTS
There are famous monuments that you definitely have to check out if you haven’t before, such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica… and they are FREE to visit inside! There are many other free churches you could visit as well. However, if you’d like to go up their towers/domes/etc, then there will be a small fee to have access. You could then make up your mind if you’d like to spend those few extra dollars for a view of the city (I personally would).
BUY A POSTCARD AS YOUR SOUVENIR
I don’t know if you’re like me, but I actually get fascinated when I see lots of souvenirs. Unfortunately, I never shop for any (to save money, duh), unless I really want to get something for my family or friends. Although, I do LOVE postcards and the great thing is that they’re so cheap! Buying a postcard for yourself won’t make you go broke and you’ll be able to keep it for so many years. Write the dates of your trip on the back, so you can remember when you visited Paris or mail it to your home address!
ATTEND FREE WALKING TOURS
You should really join in on a walking tour in Paris. There are many different companies that offer paid or free walking tours- attend a free one. There is absolutely no difference between the paid/free walking tours, so might as well attend a free one. If anything, the only thing there is in common is that you’ll pay your tour guide a tip at the end (if you’re satisfied). I recommend checking out Discover Walk’s free tours!
TAKE A BREAK IN PARKS
After sightseeing for so long, it’s normal to get tired midday and want to take a break. If you don’t feel like heading back to your hotel/hostel for whatever reason, then search for a park near you and just hang out there for a while. It’s relaxing and peaceful, and you’ll be able to people watch, too!
FREE DAYS AT MUSEUMS
There are some museums that are free on the first Sundays of every month, so if you happen to be there during that day then hooray for toi! Check the websites of the museums you’re interested in visiting to see if you qualify for a special discount during regular days as well.
MAKE A PICNIC
First off, you don’t need to purchase any kind of picnic basket in order to have a picnic like you see most Instagrammers do (unless you want to, but it’ll be a hassle to bring back home anyways). Buy yourself a yummy sandwich from a grocery store and something to drink, and sit your booty down on a bench or on a patch of grass at a park. You could also even hang out by the Seine River, if it’s warm enough outside!
If you feel like being a little more fancy, then order different kinds of meat spreads, buy traditional bread, some cheese and a bottle of wine! Bon appetit!
TAKE THE STAIRS AT THE EIFFEL TOWER
Choosing to take the stairs rather than the elevator will save you a couple bucks when purchasing your ticket for the Eiffel Tower. Yes, it’s a lot of stairs (workout of the day), but it’s really not that bad.
BUY WATER BOTTLES AT GROCERY STORES
It upsets me a little bit every time I hear friends say they spent a dollar or more for one regular sized water bottle. Go to any grocery store (preferably not near a famous attraction) and you can buy a BIG water bottle for as little as 30 cents!
TAKE USE OF FREE RESTROOMS
Whenever you have the opportunity to go to the restroom for free, such as restaurants or museums, take advantage of them. If in the moment you don’t feel like going, force yourself to go. You don’t want to be stuck with the only choice of having to pay to use the toilets, and they’re not everywhere to be found.
EAT CROISSANTS FOR BREAKFAST
If you’re staying at a hotel/hostel where free breakfast is offered, then cool, go for it!! But if they’re charging you, let’s say around 5 euros, then why not… sounds reasonable depending on what they’re offering. However, you can always stop by a bakery in the morning and order yourself a croissant or something else. I’m sure it’ll fill your tummy for the next few hours, plus it’ll be cheap!
TAKE YOUR MAIN MEAL AT MIDDAY
If you took a simple breakfast and you’re willing to take a light dinner as well, then go for taking your main meal around lunch time or a little later. Many restaurants offer a full meal for a fixed price usually around 15 euros during that time of the day. It’s definitely something to opt for, since you’d end up paying more for the same quantity of food around dinner time. Don’t be shy to look at the menus outside the restaurants before making the choice of eating there or somewhere else.
EAT A PASTRY FROM A BAKERY FOR DESSERT
Don’t order a dessert off of the restaurant’s menu (unless you really want to), but instead go to any bakery nearest to you and I assure you that you will find something delicious in there and so much cheaper! You’ll probably be wanting to get a couple of pastries anyway… believe me, you will.
SHOP FOR SNACKS
You will get hungry in between meals for a small snack and that’s normal. You’ll probably also want a simple snack even if it’s just to give you energy to keep on exploring until your next meal, and that’s also okay. You can buy a pack of protein bars (or whatever kind of bars you want) from a grocery store and pack a couple in your purse/backpack for the day. Worst case scenario you’ll end up spending more money for a small snack along your way when you didn’t have to.
GET HAPPY FOR HAPPY HOURS
If you’re in the mood for a beer or two (or four), then take advantage of happy hours! Happy hours are obviously a great opportunity to save money on drinks because in some bars or restaurants they charge you so much for so little. Be aware!
COOK MEALS IF YOU HAVE ACCESS TO A KITCHEN
If you’re staying in Paris for a while and you’ve booked an Airbnb or your hostel has a shared kitchen you can use, then go grocery shopping! Home cooked meals are the best meals anyways, so enjoy feeling a little bit more like a local buying their groceries. It will save you money from having to eat out everyday anyways.
SAVE MONEY FOR SOMETHING SPECIFIC YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FORWARD TO
Save some money prior to your trip and set it aside for whatever it is you’re really looking forward to doing. Whether it be to eat at a particular restaurant you’ve been so eager to dine at or go on a teeny tiny shopping spree down Champs-Élyséess, it doesn’t matter, do what makes you happy. You really shouldn’t be that one person sitting on their plane ride back home wishing they’d done that one thing they wanted to do most during Paris!
WATCH MY VIDEO BELOW
PIN THESE IMAGES
What other tips do you have to save money in Paris!?