PARIS ON A LIMITED BUDGET -
How to do more for less
like any big city, can be an expensive place for visitors. The cost of
living is higher in Paris than in other parts of France, and generally
speaking the same is true of hotels and places to stay –
necessarily for restuarants. Here are some tips and useful information
to help you stretch your pounds, dollars or euros as far as they will
booking your trip to Paris, before booking a hotel, the
first thing to do is to decide if you want to stay in the city
(and as Paris is a living European city, there are plenty of
residential quarters and plenty of hotels throughout Paris
"intra-muros"), or in the suburbs. You may even decide that it is in
your interest to stay well outside Paris, and come in on a fast train
for the day.
to stay in Paris
time. If you are young and energetic, or even not-so-young and
energetic, you can walk to and between a lot of the Paris tourist
attractions. You'll save the cost of public transport, and the time and
cost of commuting into the city. You'll also see a lot more of the
city, as long as your eyes aren't glued to the sidewalk or pavement. Disadvantages:
hotels near the tourist areas are generally quite expensive; cheaper
hotels are often in less attractive areas of the city, far from the
tourist sights and attractions, or else on the edge. And if you come to
Paris by car, parking will be a major extra cost.
For some reasonably priced hotels (for
their category), see the About-France.com selection of good value Paris hotels
in the suburbs of Paris: Advantages:
hotels and hostels will on the whole be cheaper, and hotel rooms may be
you choose a hotel or hostel that is near a train station, access to
Paris can be relatively easy and quick. Check out hotels in the south
east and south west suburbs. There are many suburban hotels belonging
to the cheap budget chains such as Formule
or others, and these generally have parking space. Check out Paris hostels too. Disadvantages:
check that the cheaper room cost is not offset by the extra travelling
costs - though remember that it is advisable not to take your car into
Paris. Also, if you stay outside Paris, you'll have less time to enjoy
Paris by night.
to travel round Paris:
Buy a book of metro/bus tickets
for use in central Paris - unless you prefer to walk or use
Buy a Paris Visite
transport pass + a Paris
Museum pass for two days, which will cost 54.20
(Summer 2013), quite
less than the cost of the Paris Pass. However,
does include some other attractions, such as use of a
sightseeing bus, and is a good buy if it is important to save time and
get a lot in to a short stay in Paris.
Hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus pass
for les Cars Rouges, open-top guided tour buses linking nine
major sites; a two-day pass costs 31 € (2013), and
can be bought on the bus. It is also included in the Paris
Pass . An alternative is Cityrama, the
"Open tour" where a
2-day hop-on hop-off pass costs 36 €, and
The "Batobus" and travel on the Seine.
are river buses that go up and down the Seine from the Eiffel tower to
the quai de Montebello (near Notre Dame). There are 8 stops
all. A day pass in mid 2013 costs 15 €, and a 2-day
pass costs 18 € per adult.
► Don't buy
the Paris Visite
bus and metro pass online
in advance, buy it when you arrive. Apart from the official
site, other sites selling this pass charge inflated prices and
high delivery costs.... up to 29.90 € for delivery to North
and even more for "rest of the world". You can buy the pass at
airports, main train stations, and all Paris urban transport stations.
to see and do in Paris:
If your budget is limited, visit the Paris
for Free page. Even
the Louvre is free, if you know when to go or - in many cases - if you
are under 26 !
General Budget Paris tips:
and don'ts to make your dollars or euros or pounds go a bit
your hotel in advance so you have time to get a good rate.
It is possible to find a two-star hotel or a one-star hotel
double room for under 70 €uros a night, and hostel accommodation even
ordinary public transport - and buy yourself or
yourselves a "carnet" of
the great free attractions of Paris - Notre Dame
cathedral, Montmartre, the banks of the Seine, wander along
the Champs Elysées and more. There are also free museums and
more, and some major museums are free on the first Sunday of each
month. See the Paris tourist
your main meal at midday -
when many restaurants offer a full meal for less than 12
and Vietnamese restaurants are particularly good value. Take something
simpler in the evening.
Pay by credit card or in cash that you
get from an ATM (check your own bank's charges for foreign transactions)
out the list of free concerts in parks and churches,
specially in summer.
Paris from on high
by touring round the "metro aérien", the elevated metro
lines 2 and 6) which circles round inner Paris, above the boulevards,
at second story level. A normal ticket is all that is needed.
at the bar. Many Parisian cafés charge less for
who stand at the bar than for those who get served at a table.
bike hire system - but take care. Use it
correctly, and it will just cost 1 € a day.
take a coffee or a beer at a pavement café on
Elysées, or any other tourist trap.
take breakfast in your hotel, unless they are charging
less than 6 €uros. go to the nearest café; most
cafés offer a light
eat in glitzy boulevard restaurants in the evening;
use taxis for short trips
Don't try to exchange foreign cash or travellers cheques
- not even in banks. But if you have to, avoid changing small sums, as
the commission is often a flat rate.
Don't go to the top of the Eiffel tower: the
views are already pretty spectacular from the second level (see Eiffel tower