Paris, the city of lights, is a destination everyone needs to explore and experience at least once in their lifetime. There is so much to explore in Paris with delectable cuisines, high fashion empowerment, and fascinating historical background.
However, like most capital cities around the globe, Paris is also not very cheap. Having a good meal in one of the top restaurants in Paris could burn a massive hole in your wallet. The entrance fee to top tourist attractions and museums might not be easy on your pocket too.
But, this does not mean you should not visit Paris and banish it from your traveling bucket list. It is possible to explore the city on a shoestring if you are prepared to tweak your plans here and there.
Here are our top travel guides' recommendations and tips for exploring Paris on a budget.
There are thousands of things to do for free in Paris. From viewing the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre to admiring the city’s romantic architecture, you can do all of these things without paying a penny.
Your afternoons can be spent wandering around the bohemian streets of Montmartre, soaking in the all-around Parisian views at the Printemps Rooftop Cafe and Terrace. You can also explore the street art of Canal St Martin.
Despite the regulations and the city's reputation for requiring a ticket for visiting every place, it is possible to avoid the expensive attractions and discover Paris more authentically.
Instead of taking the elevator to go towards the top end of the Eiffel Tower, you can pack a good pair of sneakers with you in your luggage and climb up to the top. You can go up to the first floor and then take an elevator towards the top for $22 (€19.40), or you could climb up to the second floor for just $12 (€10.20).
As per our top travel guides' experts, one of the best things you could do in Paris is to get train tickets and hop on board to reach nearby destinations. Tickets to trains are usually relatively cheap, which makes traveling affordable. Travel to Provence or Bordeaux, you will love it.
Even though the city is not, transportation in Paris is pretty affordable. It becomes even more affordable when you get your Paris Transportation Card. The card offers unlimited traveling on buses, trams, metro, RER networks, and its suburbs.
The price for the Paris Transport Card starts at $15.30 (€13.20), and you can choose from any form of pass - a single day pass, two-day pass, three or even five-day pass.
Make sure you are checking the zones of your pass. Zones 1-3 are for the city center and the nearby suburbs, while zones 1-5 include destinations farther away, like the airports or the Palace of Versailles.
If you love museums and want to visit most of them for free, try to plan your Parisian vacation to coincide with the first Sunday of the month. You will get to enter the museums for free in the city.
But, if your traveling plans are not flexible enough, the Paris Museum Pass will help you save money. For just $56.50 (€48.00), you can get a 2-day pass that gives you access to more than 60 museums.
So, make a list of all the museums you want to visit in Paris. Add up their entrance fee and see for yourself how the pass will end up saving you hundreds of dollars.
Top Travel Guides' Expert Tip: If there is just one museum, you should spend your money on the Louvre Museum. You can spend the whole day in that museum and explore different art galleries to get the most out of your ticket price.
Paris is an excellent destination when it comes to picnics. You can simply pick up your favorite bread, cheese, and wine and spend your day in front of the Eiffel Tower. For just a couple of dollars, you can enjoy your meal on that lawn for free.
You can also relish in the city's markets and eat for cheap or pick up a crepe on the sidewalk. You are going to love it all.
Moreover, when it comes to saving money on food in Paris, you would want to avoid the popular tourist attractions. There are plenty of cheap restaurants that you can explore, or stick to the street food on the sidewalks and eat and explore Paris like a local.
Of all the top travel guides' expert tips, this one is our favorite. Walking tours are a great way to explore Paris, the city's main sights, all from the eyes of a local. Walking tours like the Paris Greeters are a fantastic way to save hundreds of dollars on your trip there.
The walking tours are free, and your tour guides can customize the walk as per your preferences. There is no one set itinerary that you need to select. What a unique experience to explore Paris, right?
Of all the destinations around the world, Paris is one of the most bicycle-friendly places on earth. Renting a bicycle is an incredible way to explore the city. Short rides up to half an hour in and around the city are free. Renting the bike for up to two hours is also pretty affordable.
Bird Electric Scooters are also up for grabs in Paris and an incredible way to explore the city. You can simply download the app and find one near you the next time you are there!
Both these options are plentiful and offer you an independent way to explore the city without the hassle of spending thousands of dollars on car rental services.
If you are traveling to Paris on a budget, you would want to avoid the busy tourist months of summer. Flights to Paris during the summer months are expensive. Hotels and other accommodation options also increase their prices because of the extra footfall. Moreover, when you visit Paris during summer, you will experience crowds at all the top attractions.
You can plan your Paris vacation between spring and autumn, or even during the winters. You will have an easier time exploring the city with fewer crowds, cheap flights, and hotels.
Save your money by renting an Airbnb or a VRBO apartment while you are vacationing in Paris. Have a place for yourself to cook your meals and save thousands of dollars while you are there.
If you are traveling with a larger group, you can split the rental cost, and it will end up costing you an even lower price.
Decide where you are looking to stay in Paris. Ensure that you are not staying in or near the heart of the city. Suppose you book an apartment that is farther away than the city center. In that case, your overall vacation will turn out to be cheaper. Of course, traveling would also be affordable since you will have your transportation card to hop on the train and explore Paris.
Paris does not have to be an expensive city to explore. If you follow our top travel guides' expert tips, you will end up saving thousands of dollars on your next vacation to Paris, with plenty more still in your pocket to splurge on your bucket list experiences in and around the city.
Who knows, you might fall in love in the most romantic city in the world?
Till then, happy vacationing to you!