How to visit Paris on a budget
How to visit Paris on a budgetApril
Stew and I have £40/day everyday for the next 2 years. This side of the trip we expect to go over budget, and as we travel further east we expect to spend much less. This means it will all even out…we hope!
Over the last year Stew and I have become pretty skilled in penny pinching! Saving for the trip is quite a feat, but it means the budget on the trip itself is easier to manage.
If you’re interested in travelling to Paris here’s how we got to Paris and saw the sights cheaply whilst having a lovely time in France’s capital!
First of all you can save tremendously on travel if you have a bike and you’re willing to cycle there – just like we did. We crossed the channel by Ferry which was £25/person & bike. Super easy! I realise cycling to Paris isn’t everyones idea of fun, but this is a cycling blog after all!
A quick win for budgets is to stay out of Paris. We stayed in an AirBnB in Livry-Gargan. The exact one is here. When we stayed here the cost was just under £30/night and with this AirBnB you’re allowed to use the fridge and microwave which meant food came in cheaply too – there’s a LIDL just 10 minute walk away.
The commute from Livry-Gargan to Paris took about 1 hour and the cost was 8.90EUR each to use the RER & Metro to get in and out of Paris. Amazing stuff!
Packed lunches and water bottles guarantee no unnecessary spend. If you’re travelling in summer there are beautiful French gardens to sit in and eat lunch. There’s no need to buy food in Paris. It also stops those bits and pieces from really adding up. A piece of cake here, such there, a tea later in the day – food and drink really adds up!
Itinerary for the day
Stew and I created an itinerary. Paris is a big place and you just can’t soak it all in within one day. It’s just not possible.
We scraped the surface of some of the famous landmarks – and here’s how you can do the same.
We like to plan, so we pinned our areas we wanted to view on a google map here. Feel free to use it as a starting point! 🙂 Be warned, we walked 20 miles this day – it was tough on the feet! We did contemplate the electric scooters we saw whizzing around but at 15EUR / hour it was a no from us!
We found a free walking tour and opted for Discover Walks. The tour we selected was the “Paris Landmarks”. The tours are totally free, but they rely on tips to keep going. I’d like to think that any tour is worthy of a tip!
The tour guide, John was really great. He spoke English brilliantly and he knew his stuff too! He shared the history of Paris in relation to key landmarks and he had a sense of humour too! We paid 5EUR each for the tour, total 10EUR.
You can sit outside the City Hall, Hôtel de Ville – this was the spot we selected to eat lunch but we ended up resting in a garden instead.
We were so lucky to catch the Notre Dame before it burned, it was literally days before!
The Notre Dame can be visited for free – you can walk around the grounds and some of the cathedral without paying a penny. It’s a beautiful building, a fine example of French Gothic architecture. The cathedral is really impressive.
We went on a working day and the wait to get in was maybe 10 minutes max! They will check baggage before you enter. You can take photographs, but no flash.
French Gardens: Le Jardin du Luxembourg
If you opt for the Landmarks tour you will walk through French gardens anyway and the guide will tell you a bit about the history. We specifically wanted to walk through Jardin du Luxembourg. French gardens are beautiful! Unlike English gardens they are symmetrical and quite rigid in their design. They look amazing and they are pieces of art to be viewed. I did long to flop onto the grass, but this is not allowed.
Okay, there is some spend here, but wow is it worth it!!
We were actually in Paris on our one year anniversary and the Montparnasse Tower was our chosen gift for that occasion. To keep costs low we decided not to opt for the lavish meal and picked this instead. At 18EUR/head it’s not cheap, but the views are stunning. If you’re in Paris on a clear day I highly recommend.
My best friend, Kim cut my hair for free and insisted I put the money towards this view instead. She’d been with her boyfriend the year before. She recommended going to the top of the Montparnasse Tower rather than the Eiffel Tower as you can see the Eiffel Tower from there. If you go up the Eiffel Tower you don’t get the pleasure of seeing the Eiffel Tower itself.
By the time we had done all of the above we were tired. I was happy to leave visiting the Eiffel Tower close up, but Stew insisted we should. He was right too!
We walked to the Eiffel Tower and enjoyed the views grabbing shots of the Tower itself. We were planning to walk to Trocadéro Square, but we didn’t make it there. We had walked enough and we were ready to go home.
So there we are!
Accommodation 2 nights 60.00 EUR
Food for 2 days 20.00 EUR – thank you Lidl, France!
Walking Tour 10.00 EUR tip
Montparnasse Tower 36.00 EUR
Travel 17.80 EUR
Total 143.80 EUR