As stressful as it might be, due to all the bad reputation earned in the last years because of terrorism and how expensive is, Paris still is one of the most amazing places you’ll ever see. If you are doing an Eurotrip or crossing the Atlantic, I can totally understand why you might splurge a little more while visiting the city. Since I am living in Girona (just an hour and a half away by air from Paris) this was definitely a great option for a short weekend trip. Even though I was lucky enough to meet with a friend in the city with whom I stayed with, there are many ways you can definitely make the most of your weekend in Paris and doing it on a budget. These are my tips:
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Plan your arrival and transportation in advanced
I am always tracking every flight I can from my home airport which is Girona-Costa Brava. Thanks to the Skyscanner price alert, I was able to book a ticket from Girona to Paris-Beauvais for 34€. Beauvais is 70 minutes away from Paris, so you will have to book your transportation to the city. By booking my shuttle from the Beauvais website, I saved a little by buying it in advance. A shuttle roundtrip costed 29€ (I know, almost the same as the air ticket and that made me a little sad, in fact!) In my case, this was the cheapest way to get there since otherwise, I would have needed to go to catch a plane from Barcelona airport.
I did the same thing with metro/train transportation. When I got to my closest RER station which was Neuilly Porte Maillot, I bought the 10 tickets booklet to move around the city which costs 14.50€. This allows you to use train, metros and bus inside Paris.
Couchsurf, Housesit or have a friend who has already booked a hotel room.
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I’ve been 3 times in Paris and I have been lucky enough that I’ve never paid for accommodation.* Ok, I’ll explain that a little better.
The first time I went to Paris I couchsurfed on a friend’s house. Definitely I used my Couchsurfing ethics in that moment. This includes invite the person hosting me for dinner and show how grateful I am for their hospitality somehow.
The second time I went to Paris was because I missed a connecting flight in CDG. The airline gave me a hotel and food vouchers because my plane leaved from Paris the next day. Let’s say that the “forced layover” gave me a day to explore the city a little bit and to meet with this same friend I stayed the first time. It was such an experience and once again, I didn’t have to pay accommodation.
This time, my friend had already reserved a room in a hotel, so I actually came to crash her hotel room. In exchange, since I wasn’t paying, I bought breakfast and pizza one day. Lets say that in total, I spent 50€ in food that day, which covered my own food and some of my accommodation expenses at the same time.
I was also offered to housesit my other’s friend house while she was traveling. This was not an option this time because I had already the hotel plan. In fact, housesitting might be a great saving plan when you’re traveling around Paris.
Swap expensive meals for picnics and street food
I know many people that would die to go to Paris to eat in the most amazing restaurants. Even when eating and having good food experiences is something I look forward, I know I’m not a fine eater. My friends and I this weekend decided to hit the grocery stores (Thanks Monoprix, Carrefour and Franprix for existing!). We bought some essentials such as bread, croissants, ham, cheese, chips, beers, water and Nutella to survive our day.
The other thing we agreed on doing was buying some crepes in the street and do that the whole vacations. In total a day, each didn’t spend 20€ in total on food a day, and we never stopped eating! If you definitely want to keep your vacations on a budget, this is the main tip to follow.
Not your first time in Paris? Skip the museums and do this…
If you’ve been in Paris before, you can definitely live without visiting some monuments and museums. You can skip going up the Eiffel tower, going to the Louvre, Orsay, Pantheon and some other places where you have to pay to go in. Well, I will talk about my experience here: I am a huge fan of visiting Paris cemeteries because they are filled with art, plus many famous people buried in them. The best part of this? Cemeteries are free! So, why not visiting Oscar Wilde’s grave in Pere Lachaise while in the city?
Another thing you can do for free are definitely get a peak of most of the monuments from outside, without going in. I walked around Arc de Triomph, Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum and Pantheon without getting in.
The other plan I love to do to not spend a lot of money is doing picnics in places like the Jardins de Luxembourg or Invalides Esplanade.
If there’s something I enjoy is to download thematic itineraries and do them on my own. Paris is filled with itineraries to be done by yourself and of many topics. In my case, I tend to do literary routes and I did the Rayuela (Hopscotch, a novel by Julio Cortázar) itinerary that was designed by Instituto Cervantes in París.
How much did I spend for a weekend in Paris approximately?
As I mentioned, it was about 70€ for transportation (air + land) and 14.50€ for the train ticket booklet. When it comes to food, I spent 15€ the first day, 50€ the second day (that also was part of my lodging agreement) and 15€ the last day. I didn’t pay for any tour or monument, so this was basically all the money I spent while in the city. In total, lets say I spent around 200€ in total for an amazing weekend in Paris.
I understand that in many cases, if you’re traveling from far you’ll need to splurge a little more because you’ll never know when you’ll come back to the city. If you have the chance to make a short trip to Paris, try to use this tips to be able to enjoy the city without going broke.
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