Paris Eiffeltower, How to visit Paris on a budget, Paris trip cost

How much does a trip to Paris cost? – The Ultimate Guide on Seeing Paris on a Budget

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Paris is not only considered one of the most popular cities in Europe but unfortunately also one of the most expensive. The Paris prices often exceed even those of other French cities. In this post, we want to tell you how much a trip to Paris cost and how you can easily travel Paris on a budget without missing out on anything.

Author’s note: For this article, I also got a few great tips from my friend Zihan, who lives in the French capital for several years now.

How much does a trip to Paris cost?

Fresh bread, baguette in paris

In the following section, we have listed the approximate Paris travel costs that await you on an average day in the French capital. Of course, it depends mostly on your personal travel style, how much you spend in the end.

Average Paris travel cost per day

The average traveler spends about 150 € per day in Paris. Those traveling on a smaller budget spend an average of around € 60 a day. During our trip, we came to just under € 30 * a day. Later in this article, you can find out how we managed to do that and how you can do it, too.

* At the time of our trip, my travel companion and I were under 26 years old and thus got free admission to many attractions. Later more about that.

Paris Prices – How much do things cost in Paris

  • Budget-Accommodation (Private Double Room for 2) from 50 € per night
  • Private Double Room Airbnb (for 2): from 30 € per night
  • Budget accommodation –  Bed in a hostel (dorm): from 20 € per night
  • Lunch in a cheap restaurant (menu): from 10 €
  • Dinner in a cheap restaurant: about 15 €
  • Dinner for 2 in a good restaurant: about 60 €
  • 1.5 liters of water in the supermarket: from 0.80 €
  • Kebab with fries: about 5 – 6 €
  • Bottle of wine in the supermarket: 2 – 9 € (you might not want to buy the one for 2€ though 😉 )
  • 0.5 l bottle of local beer in the supermarket: about 1.80 €
  • Baguette in a bakery: about 1 €
  • Baguette in the supermarket: approx. 0.50 €

How to travel in Paris on a Budget

Eiffel tower in Paris, How to visit Paris on a budget

Now that you’ve got a brief overview of the average prices in Paris, in the next section, we’ll tell you how to save a ton of money during your trip to Paris with a few simple tricks.

Paris Transport Budget Tips

Museum Louvre in Paris, Paris trip cost

In the following section, you’ll find plenty of helpful Paris travel tips to help you save real money on transport to and from Paris.

Paris arrival

Even before you even arrive in Paris, you can already save some money – because the journey is often one of the most expensive factors of a trip. The more flexible you are about the way you travel, the more you can save. Try to compare different means of transport and decide in the end for the cheapest.

Author’s note: Although flying is often the cheapest alternative, you could do the environment a great favor if you arrive by bus or train instead if you are already in Europe 🙂

Cheap flights to Paris

When you finally decide to fly, because you might be traveling with limited time, it is important to book your flight on time and compare prices. For that I prefer to use flight comparison sites like Skyscanner.

Cheap bus and train tickets to Paris

The sooner you book, the better. Spontaneous rides often cost twice as much as tickets booked a few days, weeks or even months in advance. Compare different providers, departure times and routes to find the best price.

From the airport or train station to the city/accommodation

Arriving in Paris, of course, you want to get to your accommodation as soon as possible. Just get into the taxi and drive comfortably to the accommodation is, of course, the simplest option, but unfortunately by far the most expensive. The trick? Simply use public transport. This way you can save a lot of money. The bus buses 350 and 351 are e.g. the cheapest option from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the center of Paris. Make sure to check in advance the different options and prices, depending on which airport you arrive at. You can find information about the different transport options, e.g. here.

Metro

Within Paris, the easiest and cheapest way to get from A to B is usually by metro. A single ticket for the metro in Paris costs 1.90 €. However, it will be much cheaper if you decide on a Carnet de 10. Here you pay € 14.50 for 10 tickets and save € 0.45 per ride and thus € 4.50 for the purchase of 10 tickets.

Another option, if you have to move a lot during your stay in Paris, is a day pass. You can buy this so-called Ticket Mobilis for already 7.50 € (For zones 1 & 2) in all stations in Paris. In addition to free transport, a Pass Lib’ gives you free entry and discounts to many of Paris’ major attractions and museums as well as a tour with the Bateaux Mouches on the Seine and a sightseeing tour of Big Bus (more information on the Pass Lib’ can be found here). Other options are the Paris Pass or Paris City Pass, which also offer both free transportation for the chosen period and a lot of discounts and free entries. (Later in this article we will go into more detail on the different cards)

If you visit Paris on a weekend and are under 26 years old, there is another great way to save money on your transport: The Jeunes Weekend Ticket.

Metro tickets for several days

If you spend more than a few days in the city, then the Rechargeable Pass Navigo Decouverte is the best option. The pass itself costs 5 €. You can use it as a day, week or month ticket and charge it accordingly.

Paris Transport Tip: Download the RATP App. This will show you if the metro traffic is interrupted or disturbed for any reason

Taxi

You can save the most money by completely avoiding taxis. But if you really need to use private transport, just use Uber. With Uber, you can find a ride that usually costs you far less than a taxi.

On foot

Many of the Paris attractions are not even that far apart from each other. So you can just walk from one attraction to the next. And the best? It is completely free. During our stay in Paris, we walked every day more than 20 km through the French capital – so we could save a lot of trips and therefore also a lot of money.

Discover Paris by bike

If walking takes too long, but the metro is too expensive, there is another great way to get around Paris: by bike. Tourists can cycle through the French metropolis as well as the locals with the Vélib bikes. So you can not see all the attractions perfectly but also do something good for the environment. A day pass costs € 5 and a weekly pass € 15.

Paris Accommodation Budget Tips

Bridge in Paris during the sunset

The accommodation is probably one of the aspects during your trip to Paris, which makes you spend the most money. Therefore, it is important to think about how and where you would like to stay in Paris early on. There are several tricks to help you save a lot of money on your accommodation.

Book early in advance

If you start looking for accommodation early enough, you will not only have more places to choose from but you might even find some very good deals. Personally, I use Booking.com to find the best accommodation. There you will find accommodation of all price ranges with numerous helpful reviews of other travelers worldwide.

Check accommodation in Paris with Booking.com

Travel outside the main season

Of course, traveling during the summer holidays is the only option for many. However, if you have the opportunity, be sure to try out-of-season travel to get the best deals for your accommodation.

Use Airbnb

If, despite everything, you can not find a place that lives up to your budget, just have a look at Airbnb. Here you will find many locals who rent their guest rooms. Especially if you are traveling as a couple or in a small group, you can often save a lot by booking your place to stay with Airbnb. What we find even better is that Airbnb gives you even better insight into the culture of a country, since you are staying with actual locals. Your hosts can give you the best insider tips for Paris and answer many of your questions.

Important: To help the locals, please only rent rooms in a local’s flat and not a whole apartment. Renting out flats to tourists raises rental rates throughout the city, driving local people out of town who can no longer afford their homes. But if you stay overnight in a guest room of locals, you help them to pay their rent and benefit from tourism in their city.

Search for rooms in Paris with Airbnb

Or simply not pay anything for your accommodation?

There is another cheap option to spend the night in Paris – actually, it’s even for free. This possibility is called Couchsurfing. We love couch surfing and have stayed in various countries on three continents and have only had great experiences. Note, however, that you should only do couch surfing if you plan to spend some time with your host and give them something in return (for example, you can help him learn your language, cook something delicious, etc.). Please use Couchsurfing not only as free accommodation but as a way to immerse yourself in the culture of the country and to meet locals.

You might also likeHow to find your Couchsurfing Host easier & faster

Check hosts in Paris on Couchsurfing

Paris Food Budget Tips

Arc de Triomphe in Paris at night

Avoid tourist restaurants

As in any tourist area, the prices of the restaurants can vary greatly depending on where in the city they are. Are you looking for a restaurant near the Eiffel Tower? – Then you’ll probably pay twice as much. In the St. Michel district you can, for example, find many cheap dining options. In some restaurants, there are 3-course menus for already around 10 €.

Paris Budget Tips: Just take a look around where the locals eat and compare prices. Instead of looking directly in the tourist center, try out the side streets – because the prices are often quite different from the ones on the main street.

Prix Fixe Menus

Many restaurants in Paris offer so-called Prix Fixe menus, especially at lunchtime. These are menus, usually with several courses, where you are served fixed dishes. If you order the menu, you usually pay way fewer compared to ordering single dishes from the menu card.

Have lunch instead of dinner

Most are busy during the day with sightseeing, eat accordingly only something on the hand, then in the evening to fill the belly. This is exactly what many restaurants take advantage of by making dinner far more expensive than lunch. So if you eat in the restaurant for lunch and instead have a sandwich in the evening, you can often save yourself a few Euros again.

Drink your coffee at the bar

Did you know that many cafés in one and the same establishment often have two different prices for their coffee? If you decide to drink your coffee at the counter and thus free up the tables for other guests who order something to eat, you might pay less for your coffee.

Use discounts

Many restaurants in Paris work together with the websites LaFourchette or Groupon. If you make your reservation with one of the pages in one of the participating restaurants you can save up to 50% off the actual price. Just have a look and see if there is something suitable for you.

Buy in markets and supermarkets

If you want to save money on food, you should eat and shop there, where the locals go shopping. Unsurprisingly, that’s not the tourist area, of course, where everything costs a multiple of the normal price. Instead of eating something warm in the restaurant two to three times a day, you can just as well have a snack in one of the many outdoor markets (eg on the Bastille Market or the Marché d’Aligre) or in a normal supermarket (eg Carrefour).

A picnic at the Eiffel Tower?

If you don’t want to miss out on the beautiful view while dining, you can simply purchase something delicious in the supermarket and then enjoy it at a picnic with a view of the Paris attractions. Get a small blanket, get a sandwich (it will be cheaper if you get the ingredients for it in the supermarket than a sandwich from the bakery), open a bottle of wine and enjoy the view. During our trip to Paris, we enjoyed our breakfast croissants and café au lait to go from a park bench overlooking the Eiffel Tower. The Parc du Champ de Mars also offers a wonderful view of the Eiffel Tower. Another great place in town for a picnic is the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Have Breakfasts in your accommodation

Many accommodations offer their guests breakfast. Often this is already included in the room rate, some at extra cost. Often it is worth accepting such an offer instead of having breakfast outside. Eat well and you have already saved one meal. If you are eating a large breakfast, a small snack is often enough for lunch instead of a full menu.

Cook yourself

One last chance to really save money on food in Paris is to cook it yourself. Book an accommodation where you have access to a kitchen (for example, Airbnb). So you can prepare your own hot meal in the evening instead of dining in an expensive restaurant. The necessary ingredients can be found in the supermarket or in one of the many outdoor markets.

Water is free

Instead of ordering the expensive mineral water at the restaurant, which is often more expensive than wine, just ask for a water carafe (Carafe d’eau). These are free of charge in Paris.

Fill up your bottle

There are water fountains all over the city where you can refill your water bottle for free. With this method, you not only save money but also help the environment by avoiding plastic waste.

For this purpose, it is advisable to put a refillable bottle on your packing list.

Paris Sightseeing Budget Tips

Montmartre, district in Paris

As in any touristy city, many popular attractions are not admission-free – which, of course, is no different in Paris. It helps to think about what you would like to see during your time in Paris i advance. With TripAdvisor and similar platforms, you’ll find many helpful reviews and tips from other travelers about each attraction. But there are also many other simple tips to spend less on sightseeing and activities in Paris.

Visit the free sights

Paris offers not only the more expensive attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower but also many free attractions. Below you can find a few examples that you can look at without paying admission.

  • Basilique du Sacré-Coeur (You just have to pay if you want to climb up the tower)
  • Arènes de Lutèce
  • Marie-Curie-Museum
  • Petit Palais
  • Musée national de l’Air et de l’Espace (Aerospace Museum)
  • Sculpture Garden (Musée de la Sculpture en Plein Air)
  • Jardin du Luxembourg
  • Maison Victor Hugo
  • Musée de la Vie Romantique
  • Parc Monceau
  • Parc du Champ de Mars
  • Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Museum for Modern Art)
  • And many more

Important: Since the fire in April 2019, the famous Notre Dame Cathedral can no longer be entered for security reasons and is expected to remain closed for another 5-6 years.

See museums free of charge on the first Sunday of the month or on the 14th of July

Did you know that on the first Sunday of the month you can see many museums in Paris for free? The same applies to the 14th of July, Bastille Day, when many Paris attractions have opened their doors free of charge. Many of the city’s main attractions are included. Below, you will find an overview of the most important highlights that you can visit free of charge on the first Sunday of each month. Keep in mind that it can get very crowded on these days. Therefore try to explore the museums and attractions as early as possible to avoid the crowds.

During the whole year

  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Musée National Picasso
  • Musée des Arts et Métiers
  • Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
  • Musée National de l’Orangerie
  • Cité nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration

From November – March

  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Château de Versailles
  • Conciergerie
  • Panthéon
  • Sainte-Chapelle
  • Basilique royale de Saint-Denis
  • Château de Pierrefonds
  • Château de Vincennes

You can find an overview over all the free attractions here.

Visit the Louvre free of charge on the first Saturday of the month

While the Louvre was also free of charge on Sunday afternoons until recently, the day of free admission has now shifted to the first Saturday of the month from 6 pm to 9.45 pm. But caution is advised: it gets pretty crowded at this time.

Free entry for young people under 26 years of age

In Paris, there are plenty of discounts and even free tickets for young EU citizens. As an EU citizen under 26, you will receive free admission to many of Paris’s major highlights. Below are a few highlights that you can enter for free upon presentation of your ID card or student ID.

  • Musée du Louvre
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Château de Versailles
  • Panthéon
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Musée national de l’Orangerie
  • Musée national Picasso
  • Musée des Arts et Métiers
  • Cité nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration
  • Conciergerie
  • Sainte-Chapelle
  • Château de Vincennes

And many more.

Extra tip: For all under-26s, including those who are not EU citizens, there is free entrance to the Louvre on Fridays between 6 pm and 9:45 pm.

Use free viewpoints instead of the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is considered the most beautiful vantage point of the city. But did you know that you can visit unbelievably beautiful viewpoints in Paris without paying admission? Our favorite is Montmartre, which is also one of the most beautiful areas of the city. Wander through this fairy-tale neighborhood and soak in the magic of Paris. Then you can walk up to the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur. This is the highest peak in Montmartre and you will be able to enjoy beautiful views over Paris. At the same time, you can explore the basilica for free from the inside. But if you want to go up to the viewpoint of the Sacré-Coeur, you will need to pay an entrance fee.

Another free, but all the more beautiful vantage point is from the roof of the mall Galeries Lafayette. From here you have an incredible view of the city, which costs you absolutely nothing.

Take the stairs at the Eiffel Tower

Our proposed viewpoints could not convince you and you really want to visit the Eiffel Tower? I can understand you, I didn’t miss the chance to climb the Eiffel Tower either when I visited Paris. – How often are you going to be in Paris during your life, right? 😉

You can choose between a variety of tickets that take you up the Eiffel Tower. The cheapest option is to decide on a ticket that you have to climb up the stairs yourself. That may sound exhausting at first but is absolutely doable.

Join a free walking tour

You really enjoy taking guided tours when visiting places? Sure, it’s even better to explore the city with others, especially when you’re traveling alone. Of course, the main reason for choosing a free-walking tour is the interesting information you get about each of the city’s attractions. Such a free-walking tour is, as the name suggests, completely free (but you should give a tip after all).

Get discounts and free entries with one of the Paris cards

Like most major tourist cities, Paris also offers a variety of discount and tourism passes. Below is a small overview of the most popular.

Paris Museum Pass

From 53 €

Pros

  • Available for 2,4 or 6 days
  • (preferred) Admission to over 60 museums and monuments

Cons

  • Pass must be picked up at the Paris office
  • Doesn’t transport

Is recommended for

  • Travelers who want to visit many museums
  • Travelers with a lot of time
  • or travelers with less time who already know Parisian attractions

Is not recommended for

  • Travelers who have little time
  • Travelers who only want to visit one or two museums
  • Children and young people under the age of 26 (usually have free admission)

Click here for information & prices of the Paris Museum Pass

Paris Visite

From 13,20 €

Pros

  • Available for 1,2,3 or 5 days
  • free use of various means of transport depending on the selected zone

Cons

  • No museums of sights included

Is recommended for

  • Travelers who want to visit several museums
  • Travelers with relatively little time, or who need many trips
  • or travelers who are poor on foot

Is not recommended for

  • Travelers who want to visit many sights and museums
  • Children under 4 years

Paris Pass Lib’

From 109 €

Pros

  • Available for 2-5 days
  • free use of various means of transport depending on the selected zone
  • (preferred) Admission to over 60 museums and monuments
  • Combination of Paris Visite and Museum Pass
  • Tour on the Seine
  • Sightseeing tour with Big Bus

Cons

  • Pass must be picked up at the Paris office

Is recommended for

  • Travelers who want to visit many museums
  • Travelers with a lot of time
  • Travelers who are poor on foot

Is not recommended for

  • Travelers who want to visit only a few sights and museums
  • Children under 4 years
  • Travelers under 26 years

Click here for more information & prices of the Paris Pass Lib’

Paris Pass

From 130 €

Pros

  • Available for 2, 3, 4 or 6 days
  • free use of various means of transport in zones 1-3
  • free admission to over 60 attractions
  • A day hop-on-hop-off tour with Les Cars Rouges
  • Discounts & benefits in restaurants & shops
  • Travel guide in 6 languages
  • Boat trip on the Seine
  • Includes some guided tours

Cons

  • No transport to the Palace of Versailles included
  • Pass must be picked up at the Paris office

Is recommended for

  • Travelers who want to visit many sights
  • Travelers with a lot of time
  • Travelers who are poor on foot

Is not recommended for

  • Travelers who want to visit only a few sights and museums
  • Children under 4 years
  • Travelers under 26 years

Click here for information & prices of the Paris Pass

Paris City Pass

From 105 €

Pros

  • Available for 2 – 6 days
  • free use of various means of transport in zones 1-3
  • free admission to over 60 sights & museums
  • Discounts & Benefits in Galeries Lafeyette & Performances at the Lido de Paris
  • Boat tour along the Seine
  • Contains various tours
  • map

Cons

  • No transport to the Palace of Versailles included
  • Pass must be picked up at the Paris office

Is recommended for

  • Travelers who want to visit many sights
  • Travelers with a lot of time
  • Travelers who are poor on foot
  • Travelers who want to take tours & guided tours

Is not recommended for

  • Travelers who want to visit only a few sights and museums
  • Children under 4 years
  • Travelers under 26 years

Click here for information & prices of the Paris City Pass

Free Sightseeing Cruise on your birthday

If you spend your birthday in Paris, not only can you join a free 1-hour sightseeing boat ride, but you’ll also get a glass of champagne and a small French pastry. The offer is only valid for one person and only on the day of your birthday. Here you can find more information.

about-the-author

About the AuthorVicki

Hi, we are Vicki & Eduardo, an international travel couple on a mission to help you save money for priceless travel experience. Follow us through the miracles of this world and you will be rewarded with a bunch of practical travel tips.

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