Traveling to Paris can be expensive, but there are small ways to save a little extra money along the way. You can still have a great time without breaking the bank! Below are 10 tips to help you budget better in Paris. If you have any tips to share with readers, feel free to comment below.
My favorite app for scoring flight deals is Hopper. You can set alerts on your phone for dates you are looking at traveling. It will send you a notification when there is a good fare. I always book directly with the airline vs going through third party selling websites.
Travel in Off Season
Summer vacation is a popular time to travel in Paris and hotels and airfare is a lot more expensive. If you have the opportunity to travel in January/February or late October/November you will have much better deals on flights and hotels. January is cold but I really love visiting when the city is quiet. I have gotten tickets from Chicago for $500 for January and hotels have been extremely reasonable. You are much more likely to get upgraded at hotels during this time too due to low occupancy.
Ride the RER into the city from the Airport
The RER B goes directly from the airport to Gare du Nord. The price is 10.30 euros. Make sure your card has a chip/pin or you have a few euros starting out when you land. I have had trouble with this machine in the past and it is much easier to pay cash. Depending how many people you are traveling with and the amount of luggage, this is a great option. Beware of pickpockets on this train. But as long as you watch your belongings you should be ok. For more safety tips you can see this post. Once you are at Gare du Nord you can either take a quick taxi/uber to your destination or hop on the metro. Make sure to keep your ticket with you to exit and enter the RER and metro.
On the first Sunday of every month, a good amount of the museums in Paris are free. This includes the D’orsay and the Pompidou. (for the full list see this post) Plan accordingly for long lines. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to get them all seen in one day. Pick one or two and stop for lunch in between.
Buy a museum pass for 2 days for 48 euros. This includes the Arc de Triumph which has a great view of the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre.
Weather permitting, create a picnic lunch in the park. I love Place des Vosges or Luxembourg Gardens for this. You can stop by a local market and stock up or visit a grocery store. Pick up a baguette at a local boulangerie and you are good to go!
Visit the Markets
The Bastille Market is my favorite Sunday activity. Even when I am staying in a hotel, I still love to people watch and walk up and down the aisles. I have a lot of favorite vendors from visiting over the years. If I am staying in an apartment, I love picking up a roast chicken and potatoes. This can cost around 10 euros depending on how many people you are feeding. I did this with my family when they visited in 2016 on Rue Cler and it is still one of their favorite memories. This one won’t break the bank. There are a few Rôtisseries on market streets such as Rue Cler or Rue de Bretagne. On Sundays, expect a line because you won’t be the only one with the same idea.
Enjoy Coffee at the Bar vs Sitting Down
The price of a coffee at the bar is half the price of sitting down, around 2.50 euros to 5 euros. It all depends if you are looking for a long sit to read or people watch or a quick coffee. The price is listed at the bar so you won’t be surprised when you get your bill. I personally love standing at the bar early in the morning. It is usually a bunch of men and me but the people watching is great! It depends on the bar but you can get a stool.
Skip breakfast at the hotel
I have never had an amazing croissant at a Parisian hotel. Don’t get me wrong, they are good but if you want a great croissant visit a boulangerie. My list of favorites are mapped out for you here. A croissant will cost you around a euro. If you have breakfast at your hotel, a croissant breakfast could cost you around 15 euros or more. You can get a Parisian breakfast at a local café with a croissant, coffee, and juice for around 10 euros. I love the breakfast at Café Saint Regis on île st. louis.
Order une Carafe d’eau
The tap water in Paris is perfectly safe to drink. Instead of ordering a bottle of water at a meal which can be over 5 euros, ask your waiter for une carafe d’eau. Save that 5 euros for a glass of wine instead ;) You can purchase bottled water at the grocery which is much cheaper than buying it out. There are several different brands, just look at the price per bottle when purchasing. Max cost should be around one euro. They do charge extra for chilled water so unless you really need it, just head to the back of the store to grab a water.
Ride the Metro / Purchase a Carnet of Tickets
You can buy a pack of 10 tickets for the metro at a reduced price. The price is 14.90 euros for a pack of 10 or 1.90 per ticket. You can purchase this at the machine in English or in person. Make sure to hold onto your ticket. I have been stopped a few times to show my ticket and the fine is 50 per person. They don’t really make exceptions for tourists that don’t speak French. Follow the rules!