The Louvre

Paris on the cheap

Get best value for money in Paris - the connoisseur's guide to France

PARIS ON A LIMITED BUDGET - How to do more for less

See also: Paris for Free

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Paris on
Essential tourist information
How to get round in Paris
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 PARIS, 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 – though not necessarily for restuarants. Here are some tips and useful information to help you stretch your pounds, dollars or euros as far as they will go.....

One thing is certain, and that is that it's worthwhile booking things up well in advance. Travel tickets, hotels, and even - if you plan to visit lots of things and don't want to waste hours queuing to get in to the main museums and monuments, a visitor pass.

  Leaving everything until last minute, or even until you reach Paris, will be more expensive, may be very frustrating, and will cost more.
     Before 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.

Budget accommodation in Paris  

Hotels for your budget and your lifestyle

Staying in central Paris: Advantages:
access, 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.
P If you come to Paris by car, parking will be a major extra cost. Few central Paris hotels have their own parking facilities, and those that do tend to be at the higher end of the price range.

Staying in the suburbs of Paris: Advantages: hotels and hostels will on the whole be cheaper, and hotel rooms may be bigger.
P Hotels in the suburbs tend to have parking space, often free.
If you choose a hotel or hostel that is near a train station, access to central 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 Première Classe or Formule 1.  Check out Paris hostels too.
    Or check out this interactive outer Paris hotel map  that only lists independent hotels with parking, often free, and within easy walk of a train or RER rapid transit station for central Paris.
     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.

Tip. For best rates, book your  hotels in advance with or with

Budget travel round Paris

  •      Buy a book of metro/bus tickets for use in central Paris . A carnet of 10 tickets costs 14.90 € in Jan 2019.  Single T tickets cost 1.90 €. See below under "Do".  Alternatively,  walk or  use the Velib bike hire system.
  •      Buy a Paris Visite transport pass Zones 1-3 + a Paris Museum pass for two days, which will cost  19.50 € + 48 € - total 67.50 €uros (Jan  2019 price), which is less than the  cost of the Paris City Pass... but with less scope..
  •  However, the Paris City Pass (special 5% off with - quote code aboutfrance) , which is the cheapest of the all-in Paris passses (starting at 99.90€ for two days - adult rate), does include some other attractions, such as a Seine cruise, 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  The Open-Tour /Cityrama service, has a choice of hop-on hop-off passes from 34 € for one day or 38€ for two days, and covers three different routes (plus optional Batobus service on the Seine).
  •      The "Batobus" and travel on the Seine. The Batobus 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 in all. A day pass at the start of 2019 costs 17 € (students with valid ID: 11€) , and a 2-day pass costs 19 € 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 America, and even more for "rest of the world". You can buy the pass at airports, main train stations, and all Paris urban transport stations.

What 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:

The dos and don'ts to make your dollars or euros or pounds go a bit further......

  • Book 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 80 €uros a night, and hostel accommodation even cheaper... though difficult at peak periods
  • Use ordinary public transport - and buy yourself  or yourselves a "carnet" of T- tickets usable in Zones 1-3  (Paris city) with no time limit. You can share a carnet of ten T-tickets between up to ten people, as they are not nominal. A carnet of 10 tickets costs 14.90 € in Jan 2019.  Single T tickets cost 1.90 €
  • Visit 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, including the Petit Palais just off the Champs elysées, with its Monets and impressionists and more. Many major museums are free on the first Sunday of each month. 
  • Eat your main meal at midday - when many restaurants offer a full meal for less than 15 €uros; Chinese 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)
  • Check out the list of free concerts in parks and churches, specially in summer.
  • View Paris from on high by touring round the "metro aérien", the elevated metro (particularly lines 2 and 6) which circles round inner Paris, above the boulevards, at second story level. A normal ticket is all that is needed. 
  • Drink at the bar. Many Parisian cafés charge less for customers who stand at the bar than for those who get served at a table.
  • Use the Velib bike hire system - but take care. Use it correctly, and it will just cost 1 € a day.
  • Don't take a coffee or a beer at a pavement café on the Champs Elysées, or any other tourist trap. 
  • Don't take breakfast in your hotel, unless they are charging less than 9 €uros. go to the nearest café; most cafés offer a light breakfast.
  • Don't eat in glitzy boulevard restaurants in the evening;
  • Don't 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 ticket prices)
  • Don't try to find a hotel when you arrive. Book one in advance.
  • Don't use the Velib bike hire system unless you realise how it works.

Click here for Paris tourist attractions info :  Notre Dame, the Louvre, Montmartre, Moulin Rouge, and much more.  Or see the Eiffel tower info page,

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The guide to Paris:  getting round Paris, main tourist attractions and other things to see and do .

In an emergency
in Paris:

24 hr chemist / pharmacies:
a) 84, av des Champs-Elysées 75008, tel
0145 62 02 41
b) 6, place Clichy 75009, tel
0148 74 65 18 .

English-speaking pharmacies:
British Pharmacy
62, Avenue des Champs-Elysées
75008 Paris
0143 59 22 52

British-American pharmacy,
1 rue Auber, 75009
0142 65 88 29

English-language crisis line;
Daily 3 pm - 11pm
01 46 21 46 46

Call/phone: 15

Hertford British Hospital: 3, rue Barbès, 92300 Levallois-Perret
Tel 0146 39 22 22

American Hospital of Paris
63, Bd Victor Hugo
92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine
0146 41 25 25

Paris City Pass
The best value Paris visitor pass
 + 5% discount only for users of
Click through from this page to book your pass, and quote code aboutfrance

Don't waste your precious time in Paris.....

Unless you want to spend hours standing in a queue to get into the top Paris monuments, a skip-the-line pass is vital, and  The Paris City Pass from Turbopass is the cheapest option. Museums, attractions, travel and Seine cruise from just 99.90€  for a two day adult pass and 19.90€ for a two-day child pass. Buy well in advance, for delivery worldwide.

The Eiffel Tower, Paris

More useful pages

Paris travel maps
View or print out a plan of the metro system in the central area of Paris..

Train travel within France or to France
Information in English for train travel in or to France. Tickets can be bought online in advance, but how to buy them depends on where you are.

Disneyland Paris... just click

The Louvre, Paris
The Louvre museum, and its glass pyramid.

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