Paris on a Budget
Like any large city, Paris is expensive and like for any visitor, the daily expenses add up. Below are a few practical suggestions, for every budget, on how to make the most of your money; however long your visit.
Choosing the right travel Pass
Paris’s array of metro options can seem daunting at first glance, but for visitors they basically boil down to two choices: taking a ticket for a single trip or buying a pass for one, or several days- all allow you to travel on both the bus and metro. Also check out www.ratp.info
Single Trip: €1.60
Carnet (a pack of ten, single trip cards): €11.40
Paris Visite Pass (unlimited travel for specified number of days, in a specified number of zones- Paris is just one zone):
1 day pass: €8.80
2 days: €14.40
3 days: €19.60
5 days: €28.30
Rome France www.paris-eating.com
Most Parisians eat their main meal at lunchtime and this is when you will find the best deals available. Three Course lunch menus can be found all over Paris for as little as €10 – often with a glass of wine included.
Dinner menus are also available in many restaurants but typically don’t usually offer as good value for money. The Latin Quarter (opposite Notre Dame) is where you will find the highest concentration of budget eating but every area has a considerable choice.
If you’re stopping for a drink in a café or bistro bare in mind that prices change depending on where you sit. The cheapest coffee (or whatever you’re taking) will be at the bar. Sit down at a table (inside) and anywhere between 10%-50% could be added on to your bill. If you decide to head out on the terrace- this is the premium spot – some places could charge almost double for you to sit there. Also be aware of what size you are ordering and how much it costs: servers will often give you the largest measure unless you specify otherwise.
Sleep (and eat) out of the City
The Boulevard Peripherique- a busy road that circles the city defines the limits of Paris. Everything outside of this road is considered the suburbs and as such means prices drop considerably.
Search for a hotel close to the city limits and you could have a room for a fraction of the price- sometimes a double room for less than the price of a single hostel bed in central Paris. And, depending where you base yourself you could be closer to many of the major sights than some areas of Paris itself.
If you’re staying in Paris for more than a few days it can be considerably cheaper to rent an apartment rather than stay in a hotel, or even hostel, especially if there’s a few of you. As virtually all apartments come equipped with a kitchen, you can also save on your food costs. It’s worth hunting around as bargains can be found even if you’re staying just one or two nights.
Search out the Supermarkets
Unless you look it’s unlikely you’ll stumble upon a supermarket in central Paris, let alone a corner store on many occasions, but they are there and often not far from many of the major attractions.
Franprix www.franprix.fr, Monoprix www.monoprix.fr and Atac www.atac.fr are some of the largest chains in the city and there’s never one too far away. Enjoying one of the city parks with a picnic is a classic way to pass the afternoon.
Weather it’s for a hotel or hostel or guided sightseeing booking ahead will almost always save you some cash. Reserving a train on line at www.voyage-sncf.fr can save you up to 75% compared with buying at the station. Even some museums and even restaurants offer money off for those that reserve on line.
Matt Scott has spent the majority of his adult life working and traveling abroad. A keen writer and photographer his work has appeared on line and in print in publications around the world. He currently lives in Paris where he works for an active travel company.