How to Enjoy Paris on a Budget
Post by Jenny Bailey
With a (legitimate) reputation as one of the most expensive cities in Europe, it’s easy to see why many people shy away from booking a city break to Paris. However- there are many great ways to save money in the city. Avoid the luxurious hotels, gourmet restaurants and designer shops and anyone can enjoy the delights of Paris without breaking the bank. Here are some of the best ways to do it:
Anyone looking to travel to Paris on a budget can forget about booking the first class carriage on the Eurostar. Instead check out the discount codes and vouchers available at Thomson and look for the cheapest flights, often times you can get last minute deals from travel aagency websites. Sometimes this could mean traveling through the night but it’s worth it if you get to save a couple of hundred quid – save even more cash by skipping the in-flight meal and stay well away from duty free!
Paris is home to some of the most lavish hotels in Europe but does anyone really need to have his and hers sinks and a complimentary chocolate on their pillow in order to enjoy Paris? With so much to see and do in the city, most people hardly spend any time in their hotels anyway. Look out for discounts or late deals at My Voucher Codes and you could save lots of money on accommodation. Many hotels have sales throughout the year so savvy travellers will keep their eyes peeled at the right time in order to enjoy that king size bed without the king size price. Check out basic no frills hotels like Ibis chain hotels that run cheap and Apart’hotels like Citadines (where you have a small kitchen and can make meals instead of going out each night).
Eating on the cheap
With a variety of top-class restaurants, anyone wanting to eat out in luxury every night in Paris could be left with a huge dent in their bank balance. Good quality and cheap food can still be enjoyed though if you know where to find it. Avoid touristy areas such as the Latin Quarter and around the
Eiffel Tower that offer poor quality street food such as burgers and hot dogs. Instead, look for street vendors and restaurants that make their food right in front of your eyes. Try Lebanese cuisine like shawarma, shish taouk and Lebanese pizza or falafel on Rue des Rosiers in the traditional Jewish quarter for delicious fast food at cheap prices. Then there is of course those crêpe stands that seem to be EVERYWHERE! You can have a freshly made ham and cheese crêpe or for the sweet tooth try the incredible combo of a Nutella and banana crêpe. You won’t be the same after! Also if you go to a brasserie, check the menu for a Croque Monsieur or a Croque Madame, these are grilled hamm and cheese sandwiches that are not expensive and can serve as an affordable meal sitting down if you want an option a little more relaxed that street vendors.
Most people who visit Paris want to see as many famous sights as possible and end up spending all of their money in the process. Anyone visiting for the first time will probably want to go to the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower (it is cheaper to take the stairs on the tower than the elevator..if you have to energy to do so), but various museums have expositions or permanenet collections completely free of charge including the Musée Carnavalet, Le Petit Palais and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. For tourists planning on visiting a number of museums, the Paris Museum Pass is a great option, providing unlimited access to over 60 top museums and monuments for a one-off price.
Remember that ALL national museums are free the first Sunday of every month, and on Friday nights the Louvre is open later and is free for those who are under 26 years of age!
With so many attractions to visit, travelling around the city using public transport can become quite expensive. Buying a Paris Visite Pass though is great value for money and provides unlimited travel on the Paris Metro and bus and tram services throughout the region. Many of the bus routes in the city pass through picturesque scenery, but anyone wanting to save even more cash – whilst at the same time getting a bit of exercise – should simply get off and walk.
So you see! Paris is not only for the wealthy to enjoy! Plan ahead and make sure you evaluate every inch of your itinerary to see if there are any cheaper alternatives.
Some of Prête-Moi Paris’ favorite luxury treats that you can « taste » for just a few euros, or none at all! :
-Get a macaron at Ladurée, it’s a MUST if you have never had one and will only set you back a couple of euros or so.
-Take a window shopping stroll down the Avenue Montaigne (this is a treat for FREE!) and enjoy the latest fashion as it is displayed in the luxury store elegant windows.
-Head to the Louboutin flagship boutique, and try on a pair or two of the red soled shoes. No one says you HAVE to buy them! (But do them a favor and make sure you have at least gone to the trouble of getting or giving yourself a pedicure).
-Go to the Opéra Garnier an hour before curtain and get last minute discount tickets! Sometimes you can get tickets for 10€, the visibility is not always the best for those tickets, but it is a chance to attend a show at the famous opera house.
-Head to the Galaries Lafayette for one of the most beautiful views in Paris. For FREE!
-If you are here during the bi-annual prête-à-porter fashion week, get a free makeover by Lancôme!
-And the best luxury of all in the city of lights…TIME. Take a Pause Paris. Take the time to sit on a sunny café terrace and watch Paris go by…