The phrase “Paris on a budget” is almost an oxymoron. It’s one of the priciest tourist destinations in the world, but with the right knowledge and research, it’s actually very easy to leave the City of Love within your budget!
Even for as low as 45 euro/day, you can afford an action-packed Parisian vacation (and that covers everything: accommodation, food, activities & transportation!). You may have to make some sacrifices when it comes to luxury, but if you follow these tips, you can still experience Paris to the fullest, no matter how tight your budget is!
The only options for accommodation when visiting Paris on a budget are AirBnBs and hostels. You’ll find that even 1 & 2 star hotels start at 60 euro/night. Plus, hotel prices this low mean you’ll be located outside the city center, or even near the airport (at least 40 minutes away!).
- AirBnBs (~35-50 euro/night): This is the option I recommend. It’s surprisingly cheaper than hostels (and crazy cheap when splitting the cost with a travel buddy!), more comfortable and private than a hostel dorm, and it’s a great way to experience local Parisian life!
- Hostels (~75 euro & up): Hostels are worth the extra money if you’re traveling alone and want to meet people. However, considering they’re more expensive than AirBnbs, this is the only positive I can think of.
Tip: Great budget areas to stay in (or arrondissements as the French would say) are the 6th, 9th, 19th, and 20th arrondissements. Their prices are usually lower, they’re well connected by the metro, and are all pleasant and safe options for Paris accommodation. Also, try to book a place that is only a short walk from the nearest metro stop in order to facilitate smooth and speedy exploring!
Paris is a big city, but luckily it’s beautiful to walk around and connected with an affordable and efficient metro system for when your feet get tired!
- Walking (Free!): Walking is a sight in its own when in Paris and my personal favorite method of transportation! A lot of the must-see attractions can all be accessed on foot (except probably Monmarte), so put on comfortable shoes and go exploring! If you’re up for this option, I highly recommend a self-guided walking tour starting at the Orsay and Louvre, through the Touileries Gardens, up Les Champ Lyses to the Arc di Triomphe, and finishing at the Eiffel Tower. It’s a heavy walk, but too stunning [and efficient] to pass up!
- Metro (1.80-11 euros): The Paris metro is clean, affordable, and easy to use. One-way tickets are priced at 1.80 euros, but you can save a ton of money by buying a package of 10 for 14 euros. If you think you’ll use the metro more than 10 times during your stay, you can even purchase all day passes starting at 11 euros for one day (for 3 & 5 day pass prices, click here)
Tip: Before heading out on the town, familiarize yourself with a map of the city and specifically, the area you’re going. Major landmarks are marked on metro stop maps (like the Louvre and Eiffel Tower), but if you’re going to a specific restaurant, shop, etc. that’s not located directly next to a major attraction, find out the exact stop you need to get off at.
Despite being a tourist hotspot, the majority of restaurants in Paris are top-notch (at least based off my experience!). Unfortunately, this is reflected in the steep prices. By researching your affordable options before, you can buy a full day of meals for as low as 15 euros! Here’s the best cheap eats:
- Fallafel Pita at L’as du Fallafel (~7 euros): From the long queue alone, you know right away that this place is going to be phenomenal. The ingredients are fresh, the prices are cheap, and the portions are HUGE!
- Breizh Cafe (7.50 euros): You can’t leave Paris without eating a crepe and this hip & popular cafe serves only the best! You may be able to find a crepe stand with cheaper prices, but they won’t deliver the same quality and flavor you deserve to try while in Paris.
- French Onion Soup at Les Philosephes (9 euros): This is another staple you need to sample while in Paris, and this classic french cafe serves soupe à l’oignon gratinée that’s delicious and exceptionally filling.
- Baguette sandwiches at any local Bakery (~3.50 euros): This is probably the cheapest breakfast/lunch option you’ll find around Paris, but that doesn’t mean it’s not super tasty!! I bought my baguette lunch at Le Parisienne, which was around the corner from my AirBnb, but I’ve heard there’s a ton of great options around the city. Rule of thumb- just go where the lines of locals are!
Tip: Skip tourist trap cafes/restaurants during your visit. They’re renowned for being ridiculously expensive with countless tourists complaining about rude service in their online reviews. Also, remember that water is free in Paris and fountains are available around the city to fill up your bottles/canteens!
One of the best things about Paris is that there’s SO much to see, completely free of charge! Just witnessing the sights is enough to keep you busy your whole stay, but there’s also ways to save money on ticketed attractions.
- Sometimes, just admiring and photographing Paris’s landmarks from the outside are even better than actually going inside! This is how I felt about: The Notre Dame, Monmarte Sacré-Cœur, Eiffel Tower & Arc de Triomphe. On my second visit to Paris, this is how I saw Paris completely free of charge since I had already visited the must-see museums on my prior trip!
- Paris Museum Pass for museum lovers (48 euros for 2 days): If you don’t want to just gaze like I did and have the money to spend, this pass is perfect as it allows you entry to all the major museums and sights for half the cost of buying each individual ticket! Only opt for this option though if you were planning on tackling the majority of the attractions it covers in order to get your money’s worth.
- Versailles via the metro- This is the only budget method to see this incredible masterpiece. It may take a while to get there, but it’s 10 times cheaper than hiring a taxi, car service, or tour.
Tip: There’s a few museum discounts you can access if you plan ahead. If you’re lucky, you’ll be in Paris on the first Sunday of the month and get free access to most major museums! If luck’s not on your side though, you can at least go to the Orsay for 8.50 euros instead of 11 if you go after 4:30 PM 😊
Did this post prepare for your next budget vacation to Paris? If so, pin it for later!
If you have an other Paris budget tips, please comment them below! 💰❤️