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Annie’s secrets for enjoying Paris on a budget:
- Travel in Jan thru March or November thru mid-Dec.
- Always check out hotel price before you book your flight.
- Once in Paris, the most expensive ticket item is the hotel, then meals, then transportation, then entertainment.
- Annie’s favorite budget hotel in Paris: Ibis in Charenton-le-Pont.
- 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).
- Pack carefully (see Paris Packing List, Episode 137) because a charging cable will run you 10€, and umbrella 25€, Advil is 6€ and Band-Aids aren’t cheap either!
- Budget hotels don’t supply much: no safe, no extra pillows, no soap, no washcloths.
- 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.
- 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.
- You can reserve a timed entrance to the Louvre from home and that line is always much shorter than the other two.
- The transportation pass is not worth it unless you are staying away from the center. Buy a pack of 10 tickets for 16€ and walk a lot.
- Transfers between bus and metro not possible in Paris, choose your route carefully using the RATP App. If you have the transportation pass, that won’t matter.
- You need phone data, buy that at home with your carrier.
- 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 who tries to stop you to show you something or “take a survey” or anything else they may invent. I had one follow me for a long time saying “You don’t want to talk to me? What’s wrong? Isn’t Paris not treating you right?” Just walk away! The only people trying to stop you on Paris streets are up to no good. Do not engage, do not talk to them, walk away.
- Big crowds and tight quarters: your phone and wallet need to be in your hands. Be on your guard anywhere near the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre, or even the Louvre plaza.
- Camera around your neck, plus since I travel with expensive camera equipment I have a long exposition about that.
- Only carry a small backpacks/purses or you won’t be able to get in venues.