According to US News, Paris is the 12th most expensive city to visit with the average hotel price of $190 (US). Here’s the good news: in 2009 it ranked number 9, so it’s cheaper to visit than ever. Thanks to the strong dollar against the Euro, it isn’t a steal, but it is easier to travel there and there are ways to “do” Paris without breaking the bank. Paris doesn’t have to be expensive and I thought I would share with you some tips that I use:
Eating your biggest meal of the day at lunchtime
Prix Fixe (“fixed price”) menus are great deals and can sometimes include wine. You are often given a choice of appetizer, main course and dessert. This same meal could be much more expensive if you had it a la carte or at dinner.
Pichet of Wine
When I am ordering a meal, one of the best deals at a restaurant is ordering the house wine, often served in a pichet or carafe. You can order red, white, or rose by the litre, half litre or quarter litre (menu will show it as 25 cl). The quality will be good and the price will be fabulous!
Do Not Spend Money On Breakfast At Your Hotel
Although your hotel may include breakfast in the cost, nowadays it is rare and if you do get it, it will be a continental breakfast. Usually the price for breakfast is ridiculously high and with so many cafes and patisseries in Paris, it is much better to go out and get a breakfast of coffee and croissant for a couple of Euros.
Free Walking Tours
There are three walking tour companies which have free tours (note:: Reservations are required and you usually tip the tour guide at the end.) I have not tried any of them but there are reviews on TripAdvisor.
- “CityFreeTour” looks interesting. Their Marais and Montmartre tours are free and last about 2 hours.
- Sandeman’s runs a free 3 hour walking tour
- Discover Walks runs a six different walking tours
Buy A Carnet of Metro Tickets
- To ride the Metro subway, RER, and busses within Paris’ Zone 1, you need a ticket which will cost 1.8 Euros. However, if you think you’ll be taking the Metro a lot, you could buy a “carnet” of 10 tickets for 14.1 Euros, saving a bit of money.
- There are also 1,2,3, and 5 day consecutive passes in Zones 1-3; however, you need to really figure out if you’ll be using the Metro that much to make it worthwhile.
Rent a Velib
Want to get from one place to another in Paris, outside, for almost nothing? Rent a Velib, the bike-sharing system that has over 20,000 bikes and there is always one within 300 meters of wherever you are. You can buy a 1 day or 7 day pass (1.7 Euros or 8 Euros) and the first 30 minutes of every ride are free. After that it’s still cheap: 1 Euro for each additional hour and then from the 3rd additional hour it will cost 4 Euros per additional half hour. So the goal is to return the bike before the half hour is up and that’s easy to do as there are over 1450 stations throughout Paris.
In Paris there are a number of places where you can get free internet access including McDonalds and Starbucks. The Ville de Paris also has free Wifi (called “Paris Wifi”-only in French) supposedly in 296 places such as in parks, gardens, and museums. Each session lasts 2 hours. On the “Welcome Page, fill in your details and tick the box to accept the conditions of use. Then click ‘CONNECT’ / ‘ME CONNECTER’.
Check out some of my previous posts for money-saving tips:
Museums In Paris (many are free!)