Going to Paris on a Budget

The words “Paris” and “budget” seem too improbable together. But, surprise! Enjoying (and surviving) a trip to Paris on a budget may be difficult but possible if you know how and where to look.

Bonjour! Paris is a favorite city on everyone’s bucket list. But let’s face it: however romantic it is, Paris is incredibly and ridiculously expensive, and that’s the unromantic part. We’re sure you’ve heard that complaint from your relatives, friends, and co-workers who have gone there before. Unfortunately, they’re not lying. Meals at top-tier restaurants alone will make a massive dent to your budget. But there are ways to enjoy this beautiful French capital without having to break the bank! Read on to find out how.

1. See the Louvre for free

louvre in the daytime

There are several ways to visit the world’s most-visited museum free of charge:

  • Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month, from October to March.
  • Admission is free every Friday evening for visitors age 26 and below.
  • Admission is free for Paris Museum Pass holders.

2. Climb the Eiffel Tower

Instead of taking the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower (which may cost you around seven euros – and that’s only up to the second floor), get yourself prepared with a good pair of walking shoes and climb the steps to the top of the city’s most iconic landmark. Just don’t forget to take a pause, have a breather between climbs and take in the nice views from there. There are exactly 674 steps to climb from the base of the tower, all the way to the top. And if you are determined to continue your climb up to its summit, an observation deck awaits you to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city and the River Seine.

3. Buy cheap train tickets

train station in Paris

One of the best ways to experience Paris is to hop aboard a train to a nearby destination. Instead of taking a taxi, why don’t you take the train? Happily, train tickets are usually cheap, making touring around Paris more affordable. Plus, through train rides, it’s possible to plan a side trip to Bordeaux and Provence regions!

4. Stay (and drink) in hostels

Most hotels in Paris are, as expected, quite pricey. Fortunately for the budget backpackers, hostels are excellent accommodation options. Dorm rooms in Paris usually start at 20 euros per night, while private rooms in hostels start at around 50 euros. Among the best places to rent a hostel include St. Christopher’s Canal, The Loft, and Les Piaules.

Planning for a night out in the City of Lights? If you’re staying in a hostel, you might as well hit the bars there. They offer incredible happy hours, selling beer as little as two euros a bottle. It’s a great place to begin your night out in Paris without burning your wallet there.

5. Get the Paris Transport Card

You’ll heave a sigh of relief to know that going around Paris is extremely affordable, thanks to their cheap and efficient public transportation. You’ll save a lot more money and gain more sightseeing opportunities when you purchase the Paris Transport Card. This card will give you unlimited travel on the bus, tramway, metro, the Réseau Express Régional (RER) and its networks.

6. Go for sidewalk eats, markets, bakeries, or a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower

cheese market in Paris

You will obviously want to skip the fancy restaurants. If you know how to eat your way around Paris on the cheap, you will be surprised to find many excellent and affordable options.

  • Go to any bakery (boulangerie) where you can have a flaky croissant, baguette, or pain au chocolat for about one euro, or a filling sandwich for around five euros.
  • Buy a crêpe from the sidewalk crêperie.
  • Go to the city’s markets to pick up something to eat, and have a romantic picnic on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower.

7. Sign up for walking tours for free

people walking under the bridge in Paris

Walking tours are a great way to see the main attractions and learn about the city in a way that the locals do. And the best about them? They’re free! Tour guides may also tailor the itinerary according to your preference, making it a unique way to see Paris.

8. Rent a bicycle or a scooter

two people and a bicycle in Metropolitain, Paris

Cycling is also a great way to explore Paris. Go rent a bike and cycle your way around in this gorgeous city. You may follow the designated cycling routes or cycle at your own pace and find some unexpected discoveries along the way. Half-an-hour short rides are free. Renting a bike for up to two hours, on the other hand, requires a fee. Still, it’s affordable.

Bird electric scooters are also available for rent. All you have to do is download their mobile app to find one near you and link it to your credit card to pay for the scooter ride.

9. Visit the city in the off-season

replica of the Statue of Liberty, Paris

If you’re planning for a Parisian trip, you’ll want to avoid the summer season, where tourism hits its peak. Besides, everything is so busy in the summer, and there are too many crowds at the top attractions that you might not be able to enjoy your stay as you would like.

Instead, visit the city in any of the three other seasons: spring, autumn, or even winter. You’ll have a much easier time finding cheap flights to Paris. Hotels will also slash down their rates to compensate for the seasonal lull. No matter the season, Paris will still be beautiful – just skip the summer months for the time being.

You can also check out another article, Overlooked and Underrated Attractions in Paris, to discover more of this wonderful city beyond the most popular attractions.