Paris on a Budget, Episode 141

Paris on a Budget


Paris on a budget, euro bills and coins

On today’s episode, Annie shares tips for visiting Paris on a budget. Maybe you’re financially challenged at the moment, maybe you’re bringing your kids and don’t need or want anything fancy. Maybe you’re just the kind of person, like me, who likes to feel like you got great value for your dollar, maybe this is a business trip and your boss is cheap.  No matter what your situation is, if you want to come to Paris without burning an irreparable hole into your bank account, this episode is for you!

What do I mean by Paris on a budget? 150€ per day for two people. It is possible to go even cheaper I’m sure, but I can’t help you there. You could hitch-hike and do couch surfing I suppose, not for moi!

Today I’m going to tell you how to come to Paris with your significant other, or a friend, or your kid, and only spend 150€ per day. I am excluding airfare, but am including hotel, transportation, food and entertainment. That’s the minimum for me to be comfortable and have a good time. I am not a fancy person, but I do like to be comfortable and safe, so stay tuned because I’m sure that matters to you too.

The airfare to come to Paris is expensive, but you know, sometimes you get lucky. One of my friend’s sons found an incredible fair to Paris and it was so good he booked it on the spot. If you can can find airfare under 500€ between continental US and France, it’s a great fair, grab it while you can. I can’t give you tips on how to do that other than setup airfare alerts and act fast.

If you enjoyed this episode, also listen to Episode 80 on Free Museums in Paris, and Episode 142 on Paris Metro or Bus?

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

 Episode Highlights

Annie’s secrets for enjoying Paris on a budget:

  1. Travel in Jan thru March or November thru mid-Dec
  2. Always check out hotel price before you book your flight
  3. Once in Paris, the most expensive ticket item is the hotel, then meals, then transportation, then entertainment
  4. Annie’s favorite budget hotel in Paris: Ibis in Charenton-le-Pont
  5. Annie’s food schedule: hotel breakfast, lunch out, snack and wine in the room at night. You can have a nice lunch in Paris for 14€-20€ per person, ask for a “une carafe d’eau s’il vous plaît” for tap water (which tastes fine and is totally safe in Paris and is what most people drink at lunch).
  6. Pack carefully (see packing list episode 137) a charging cable will run you 10€, and umbrella 25€, Advil is 6€ and Band-Aids aren’t cheap either!
  7. Budget hotels don’t supply much: no safe, no extra pillows, no soap, no wash-cloths
  8. Go to free museums (see Episode 80) and splurge on one or two that you’ve really wanted to see, maybe the Louvre or the Orsay
  9. Museum pass is expensive (78€ for 6 days, only worth it if you are sure to see 2 museums per day, not worth it just to skip the line
  10. You can reserve a timed entrance to the Louvre from home and that line is always much shorter than the other two
  11. Transportation pass not worth it , buy a pack of 10 tickets for 16€ and walk a lot
  12. Transfers between bus and metro not possible in Paris, choose  your route carefully using the RATP App
  13. You need phone data, buy that at home with your carrier
  14. Don’t get robbed or ripped off
    • Plan your pockets: you need a safe pocket for your phone and credit cards/cash, always put your stuff back in the same pocket
    • You don’t need a fancy travel pack with titanium lining, you simply need to remember to zip up your pockets!
    • Don’t talk to anyone with a clipboard and don’t fall for the “You don’t want to talk to me? What’s wrong? Isn’t Paris not treating you right?” routine
    • Big crowds and tight quarters: your phone and wallet need to be in your hands
    • Camera around your neck and a note about expensive camera equipment
    • Small backpacks/purses or you can’t get in venues

 

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3 thoughts on “Paris on a Budget, Episode 141”

  1. Hi, Annie.

    Great podcast! I just wanted to add a few things:

    – When we toured the Musee des Arts Fourains, I told them that my family did not speak French, and they handed us an English translation of the tour.

    – We have Verizon for our family’s phone plan, and we just signed up for a new program they’re offering called Travel Pass, that provides phone/data/text for a flat fee of $10/day. If you do not use your phone, you do not get charged for that day.

    https://www.verizonwireless.com/plans/travelpass-countries/

    – We have been using the Citymapper app to get around new cities. In addition to giving you a choice of transporatation options, it will also give you estimated times for walking or biking, and it shows (and calls) nearby Ubers. The icon that shows you where you are on the map also shows you what direction you’re facing, so that when you get to a crossroad, it is easier to determine which way to turn. You can also set your “home” to make getting back to your hotel faster. It has maps for both Paris and Lyon, as well as other major international cities.

    Cheers,

    David

    1. Glad to hear the Musée Forain has a translation of the tour. I will try Citymapper tomorrow because I’ve been known to start walking in the wrong direction, and that’s before I’ve had any wine!

  2. Hi Annie
    I too noticed how extremely expensive band-aids and socks are (when you need new ones after getting drenched in the rain or your feet are cold). I’m used to getting cheap socks at TJ Maxx!

    I use the cheapest T-mobile cell phone monthly plan in the US and when in France the service just adopts automatically to a French cell phone service with the same US monthly bill and charges – you get unlimited data, texting and phone calls are 20 cents a minute (?). I use WhatsApp for free for calls.

    In the past, I have used the cheapest IBIS hotels and was happy when watching my money on vacation. They were clean and reliable. Just basic rooms.

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