A Weekend in Paris on a Budget
We don’t need to give you the reasons why you will love Paris. It’s the city of love. That’s a good enough reason.
A lot of people would be surprised by how budget-friendly Paris can be. If you plan your trip carefully it is perfectly feasible to find a good hotel and return fare on the Eurostar and still have plenty of change left. Even when you arrive in Paris, you don’t have to splash out to have a good time. Some of Paris’ best sights are free to enter and the city is compact enough to get around on foot, so you won’t need to rack up Metro fares.
Top tip: Paris is not a cheap city to stay in. Of course there are plenty of affordable hotels if you don’t mind being further away from the city center. The best option is to look into AirBnBs, as they are often closer to the centre and are comparable to these budget hotels. Or if you are travelling alone, hostels are definitely the best and cheapest option, and you get the chance to meet other travellers from around the world!
So, you have a set budget for your weekend in Paris, first things first, what can you do for free?
Free Things To Do
Paris is filled with lots of beautiful, free outdoor attractions – such as the Place des Vosges, Jardin des Plantes, Domaine National de Saint-Cloud among many others – but if it is cold or rainy, there are also some great indoor exhibitions and galleries that you can visit for free. Here are some of the best…
1. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
2. Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
3. Petit Palais
4. Maison de Victor Hugo
5. Eglise St-Séverin
Money Saving Tips
The centre of Paris is relatively compact, meaning that many of the key monuments can be visited on foot, saving you money on the metro! However, if need be, or if you enjoy getting around a city faster, the city’s ‘Velib’ bike scheme is also very affordable, adding up to €1.70 for one day and €8 for a week.
If you want to visit the Louvre (one of the major attractions – so we think you do!), try to plan your trip around going here on the first Sunday of the month. This is because admissions to all of the permanent collections are free for visitors!
If your budget weekend plans to visit five or more monuments or museums, get yourself a Paris Museum Pass at around €48 (£43), this will save you money compared to paying separately for each. It covers entry into most of the big sights and allows visitors to skip the ticket queues.
If you plan to go further afield than the Centre, or are maybe staying at a cheaper hotel outside of the City, you can buy a carnet of 10 Metro tickets for around €14.50 to use on the Metro and buses, which works out much cheaper than buying individual journeys.
Tips are almost always included in the bill, so make sure you’re not adding an extra tip!
If you want a particularly special meal out, indulge yourself at lunchtime instead of the evening – this way you will get a much better value menu!
When ordering a beer in a cafe or a bar, order draft beer (une pression), it is cheaper than bottles.
Watch out for restaurants having more expensive prices on the outside tables, it should state this on the menu!
Drinking water should always be free of charge, order a carafe d’eau, whilst a basket of bread (du pain) is usually complimentary!
In general, you’re in luck in Paris if your under 26. Most places are free or half-price. Also, don’t forget to take your old student card with you, even if you haven’t studied in a while, you should be able to go in for free.
I think it’s time to splash out and book a plane ticket to Paris to indulge in a spontaneous weekend that suits your budget!
By Jessica Hughes