Weekend in Paris on a Budget: How to Make the Most Out Of It
As stressful as it might be, due to the bad reputation earned in the last years because of terrorism and how expensive is, Paris is still one of the most amazing places you’ll ever see. If you are doing an Eurotrip or crossing the Atlantic, I totally understand why you might splurge a little more while visiting the city. While I was 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. I was lucky enough to meet with a friend in the city with whom I stayed and that helped me to save a bit. Even if that is not your case, there are many ways you can definitely make the most of your weekend in Paris on a budget. These are my tips:
Plan your arrival and transportation in advanced
I am always tracking every flight I can from my home airport. 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 and spend an amazing weekend in Paris on a budget 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 trains, metros, and buses in Paris.
Couchsurf, Housesit or have a friend who has already booked a hotel room.
I’ve been to Paris three times 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 at a friend’s house. Definitely, I used my Couchsurfing ethics at that moment. This includes inviting 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 Charles deGaulle Airport (CDG). The airline gave me a complimentary hotel night and food vouchers because my plane left 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 with the first time. It was such an experience and once again, I didn’t have to pay for 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. Let’s say that in total, I spent 50€ on 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’s 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 on a budget.
Swap expensive meals for picnics and street food to save on your Weekend in Paris on a budget
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 to, I know I’m not a fine-eater. My friends and I on this weekend in Paris 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 during the weekend in Paris was buying some crepes in the street and do that the whole trip. 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 weekend in Paris 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 to 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 is definitely getting a peak of most of the monuments from outside, without going in. I walked around Arc de Triomphe, 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, an definitely, this is a great way to experience Paris on a budget!
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 to make this weekend in Paris even more amazing.
How much did I spend for a weekend in Paris on a budget 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, let’s 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 and spend a weekend in Paris on a budget, try to use these tips to be able to enjoy the city without going broke.
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