16 In Europe/ France/ Paris/ Travel

Money Saving Tips For Visiting Paris

Notre Dame cherry blossom

As one of the most famous and beautiful capital cities in the world, Paris is obviously not cheap, in fact it’s known for being expensive. I was recently asked what we spent on our 3 day weekend to Paris before Christmas, and aside from one expensive meal (Ralph’s – it had been on the bucket list for a while), I don’t think we did too badly. I’m not one for doing things as cheap as possible when I go somewhere, I prefer to save up so when I’m there I can splash out and make the most of it. Having said that, there are definitely do-able ways to save money in Paris.

 

money saving tips for paris

 

This is literally just for while you are actually in Paris, and doesn’t cover hotels. I could never couch surf, go in a hostel, or such like. There are sooooo many people who do, pro travellers and solo travellers have a great time, so I’m not knocking it at all, it just isn’t for me. But like anyone, I want to get the most out of the money I’ve saved when I do go somewhere, especially Paris.

Here’s a few tips that I recently passed on to someone who messaged me asking for help, and none of them will impact on the quality of your trip to Paris:

 

Money Saving Tips for Paris

From the airport, take the metro instead of an airport taxi transfer, or even a pre booked transfer. While there are some really good value private/shared transfers out there, money can definitely be saved by getting the metro. It’s easily done from the main airports in Paris and costs a fraction of the cost – €10 instead of about €65-80 depending on time and where you’re staying. One word of advice though, rush hour on the metro is not a pleasant experience. I’ve done it once and never again. If you’re arriving at any other time, it’s a good way to save money.

 

Paris in Spring

 

Buy a Batobus one or two day pass. The Batobus is my favourite way to get around the main central sights of Paris, and the circuit around the Seine includes stops at the Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Musee D’Orsay and  to name a few. The passes have unlimited use for the time you get them for, and are both time and money saving when getting about. Also, you get to see Paris from the river, amazing. At €17 for one day, or €19 for two days, it will save you a fortune in taxi fares, and time if you are only there a short amount of time.

 

Money saving tips for Paris

Notre Dame, Paris

 

This obviously brings me on to the tourist sights themselves. Many of them are free to simply go and see. You can walk around Notre Dame, the gardens around the Eiffel Tower, and the outside of the Louvre and pyramids free of charge.

If you want to go up the Eiffel Tower, up the towers to see the gargoyles of Notre Dame, or into the museums obviously this is going to cost you, but buying tickets in advance online will save you a few euros here and there. Also do some research into the museums if you want to go to a few. Many are part of a museum pass scheme that will get you a reduced price for entry into more than one. In addition to that there are some free museum days, usually Sundays early on in the month.

 

Money saving tips for Paris

The Louvre

 

Don’t eat on the Champs Elysees. I personally wouldn’t want to anyway, but a lot of first time visitors panic and go there because they know it. Take the time to research the area that you’re staying, there are hundreds of smaller, family run restaurants and cafes that serve delicious French food at half the price of the ones on the Champs Elysees. They’re often hidden on the streets further back, but should definitely not be discounted. For a real French restaurant in the centre of Paris, try Flottes.

 

Flottes restaurant, Paris

 

While I’m on about food, I honestly wouldn’t pre book breakfast as part of your hotel rate. One of the best things about Paris is the cafe culture, and while many can be expensive, there’s plenty that aren’t too if you just bother to research and find them. It’s sooooo much better to be enjoying a croissant or orange juice on a tiny street table watching the world go by, than in a hotel breakfast buffet. Even on Place Vendome (by the Ritz, Louis Vuitton, Cartier…you get the picture?), we found a tiny little crepe place that was so cheap. Nearly all cafes have the menu outside, so check before you make any snap decisions!

 

Village Royale, Paris

Money saving tips for Paris

 

Try the street food! There are plenty and varied street food vendors about and they’re really good. At Montmartre you will often see bakeries and cafes open hatches to sell takeaway food to passers by.

 

Montmartre bakery

 

Walk places! Obviously the batobus is great for ticking off the main tourist sites, but you can’t go to Paris without exploring the beautiful streets on foot. With French shutters, little balconies and grand doors everywhere you look you can really immerse yourself in the beauty of Paris just by wandering around. Also a great way to find the best, and cheaper little cafes.

 

Paris wishlist

Money saving tips for Paris

 

Barter for souvenirs, especially if you’re buying street artwork or crafts. You may think you won’t want to, but once you see the beauty of Paris brought to life on a tiny canvas that would just look perfect in your home without being at all tacky, you will find yourself wanting every one you see. The artists are happy to negotiate, especially if you find a few you like.

 

Paris Street art

Paris street art

 

If you really have to take home the Eiffel Tower paperweight, or something equally tacky, then don’t buy them from the official shops. They’re everywhere you look so, savings to be had! I’d also avoid buying them from the street sellers than hover around all the main sites, once you show an interest to one they will swarm around you to try pressure you into buying more.

 

Notre Dame, Paris

 

Sometimes using the metro is unavoidable, like if you’re going to Montmartre, or the red light district for the Moulin Rouge. A LOT cheaper than taxis at less than €2, but also if you’re going to use it frequently for a few trips you can get a batch of tickets. A block booking if you like. They’re called a carnet, and cost €12 for ten tickets.

 

Money saving tips for Paris

Sundays at Montmartre

 

Plan your own itinerary instead of taking a walking guide. It’s such a big city with so much to see that you really should have some idea of what you want to see and do when. If you’re staying in the centre a trip up to Montmartre could take you the best part of a day, whereas some of the sights and museums could easily be done in one day together. Whatever you see and do, you will never have enough time in Paris, and you will be gutted to leave!

 

More posts on Paris:

3 days in Paris

Sundays at Montmartre

Notre Dame and the Shakespeare & Co Bookshop

Flottes Restaurant

Ralph’s Restaurant

The Louvre

Paris in Spring

 

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Money saving tips for Paris

Money saving tips for Paris

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Anja / Womanhattan
    24th April 2017 at 8:07 am

    I’ve been planning to visit Paris all my life, but somehow that never happened. One day it sure will and these tips are going to be valuable. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Katie Featherstone
    24th April 2017 at 10:08 am

    It’s a bit mad, coming from the UK, but somehow I’ve never been to Paris. One of the things that has put me off has been money, so thank-you for the tips!

  • Reply
    Adrenaline Romance
    26th April 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Ahhh, Paris! The city of love and romance. This is one of our dream destinations. As budget-conscious backpackers (and our Philippine peso is considerably weaker than other Western currencies), your guide will totally help us maximize our money when we have the chance to visit this glittering city.

  • Reply
    Carola
    27th April 2017 at 9:34 am

    Thank you for these tips!
    Can you say more about getting cheaper tickets that allow you to jump the line online? Do you have a link or two? All the places I could think of actually cost more (or at least the same) when you book online. So I’d love to be smarter for my next visit!

    Thank you & happy continued travels!
    Carola

  • Reply
    Iza Abao
    27th April 2017 at 10:01 am

    Champs Elysees sounds really expensive. I would not mind searching for a more affordable restaurant rather than this one. There are many options probably too.

  • Reply
    Only By Land
    27th April 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Taking the metro over the taxi saves a huge amount in Paris already before arriving really! Walking around is good exercise too as well as saving money, and when you find a baguette stand away from the tourists it must be better value!

  • Reply
    Kate
    27th April 2017 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve heard so many mixed responses about Paris. Of course, you CANT just skip Paris but, it seems like a big hassle to be there. You posed some awesome tips though. I’ll keep them in mind for this summer!

  • Reply
    Jean
    29th April 2017 at 7:00 am

    These are some great tips. Paris can be such a wonderful city.

  • Reply
    Lucy
    29th April 2017 at 7:16 am

    Great tips and wonderful photos! I adore Paris and love spending time there; I always find it good to hit the tourist spots first and then spend a long time in the outer arrondisements where you can get a feel for more local foods, galleries, etc.

    Lucy x

  • Reply
    Lena from fouronaworldtrip
    29th April 2017 at 8:27 pm

    I live in Paris and I have seen a trillion pictures of Paris but you’s are really outstanding. I love the colours, the perspectives .. you created something I haven’t seen like that before. Especially the one from the merry-go-round at the Eiffel Tower is outstanding and the one through the window. Really great job!

    • Reply
      sfox
      29th April 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Aw thank you that’s such a lovely comment!

  • Reply
    April Round Up | Stephanie Fox Blog
    1st May 2017 at 7:20 am

    […] me to ask. I got some emails asking about Paris costs, so last week I put out a post on ways to save money if you’re visiting Paris on a budget, and I know a lot of people heading to Palma this year so that was the inspiration for my Palma […]

  • Reply
    Ami
    1st May 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Damn, I wish I had known of these tips earlier. I would have definitely saved quite a bit. That tip on the airport taxi or transport is so required as most of us dont realize how we get fleeced here. Cheers

  • Reply
    Stuart Forster
    4th September 2017 at 8:52 am

    There are some really handy tips here. Lovely pics too.

  • Reply
    Jena Pastor
    16th October 2017 at 3:22 pm

    It’s so true about skipping hotel breakfast. When I was in Paris last year, I always have croissant or pain au choclat at a boulangerie near The Louvre. If the weather is good and sunny, my husband and I would take our breakfast and head towards one of the benches at Pont des Arts overlooking the Seine.

    • Reply
      sfox
      16th October 2017 at 11:09 pm

      Sounds amazing!

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