Paris is one of the world’s oldest and most famous cities and one of the pre-eminent tourist destinations. It is probably a city that is on most people’s ‘places to see before they die’ list and it is visited year round by hordes of visitors from abroad.
It is also, therefore, one of the most expensive tourist destinations in the world and not somewhere you would think of when planning a budget travel trip. However, it is possible to see Paris on a budget if you plan well in advance of your visit and research budget places to eat, drink and sightsee as well as of course finding the best budget accommodation.
Indeed accommodation will be your biggest expense in Paris. As with most of the famous cities of the world the hotels in Paris can be extremely expensive and will be full to capacity most of the year, so booking ahead and looking out for bargains is your aim. The first place to look is at the various Paris hostels you can find dotted around the city – many of which are very high quality for quite a decent price.
But if you don’t fancy going the hostel route your best bet is to rent your own apartment in the center of the city. This sounds like it could be expensive but in reality a basic one or two bedroom flat somewhere a couple of stops out on the metro wont break the bank – indeed will probably be half the price of a hotel room and will offer the ability to cook your own meals too. Do some research online and you’ll find hundreds of sites dedicated to cheap apartment rents in Paris.
Finally, if you absolutely must have a hotel room then consider one a little way out of the city – a short subway ride in the morning and evening will bring you into the center but the prices will be much, much cheaper.
Your next biggest expense is of course eating. Paris has some of the finest restaurants and cafes in the world but they don’t come cheap. That’s why apartments are the best bet, allowing you to cook your own food. But to go to Paris and not try the food at all would be criminal.
Consequently you should keep your eye out for anywhere with the word ‘traiteur’ in the window. These are little places that will sell you ready made and cooked meals that are better than your own home cooking and at a relatively cheap price. Similarly you can find gourmet ready made meals in all of the grand old department stores such as Au Printemps and Galleries Lafayette with their wonderful food halls.
Best of all though are the numerous crepe trucks dotted throughout the city which offer brilliant (and cheap) snacks to keep you going throughout the day. Savory crepes such as ham and cheese and sweet crepes (chocolate of course) are an absolute must on any visit to Paris.
Lastly, it is possible to see a great many of the Paris highlights without spending too much money as well. All of the major tourism destinations are either very cheap or free. So, if you aim to take in the following sites during your stay, you will find you can do so without spending any money: the Latin Quarter, Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, the gorgeous Luxembourg Garden, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre (free on the 1st Sunday of every month), walking along the banks of the Seine, the Arc du Triomphe, the Champs Elysee and of course the Eiffel Tower. Some of the most famous sites of the most beautiful city on earth – all for free!