Paris is already famous as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The city that is dubbed as the City of Love, the City of Light, and Capital of Fashion is also so synonymous with the image of romantic and elite, and studded with various amazing landmarks which popularity has spread to foreign countries. Well, who hasn’t heard of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomph, or the Louvre Museum?

The question is, with such ‘wow’ image, will that be possible for budget travellers to visit Paris?

The answer is, of course you can! Although Paris is synonymous with romance and everything that wow and jeez, the city is very explorable by backpacker and budget traveler. Of course as long as you know some tips and tricks to press the budget tours during the holidays to Paris.

You may not be able to stay in a 5-star hotel that offers a view toward the Eiffel Tower. But instead, some of the following tips and tricks can help you to save the cost of the tour, without having to sacrifice the opportunity to have fun and enjoy the real Paris.

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Travel Time

Tours Illustration to Paris
Tours Illustration to Paris, via greenandturquoise
  • Do you want to get the best price deals on tours to Paris? One of the most important tips is to plan the best time of the tour. Avoid sightseeing during peak season, which usually occurs during school holiday and weekend breaks in spring and summer.
  • Low season in Paris is between mid-November and mid-March. In that period, you will get a more affordable offer for various things. Alternatively, you can glance at the shoulder season that occurs in April-May and September-October. You probably will not get the lowest price deal during low season, but the prices in the shoulder season are definitely more affordable than peak season.
  • If possible, plan your itinerary around the summer festival. Usually, in that period, there are many events and free entertainment.

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Tourist Attractions

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower, via ejemplos

Paris has lots of free attractions, many attractions charged super affordable ticket prices, and many attractions can be enjoyed for free during certain time. Here are some tips on attractions for backpacker and budget traveler:

  • Have you know? Every first Sunday of every month, you can get into the cool museums in Paris for free. Queues into these museums may be crazy, but at least you can go there for free.
  • Alternatively, it is advisable to purchase a bundling ticket such as the Paris Museum Pass. At a glance the price may seem expensive, starting from EUR42/56/69 for 2/4/6 days. But believe me, the tickets are very useful to press the budget tour, especially if you plan to visit various museums in Paris. By purchasing the Paris Museum Pass, you will get discounts on admission to 60 museums and monuments in Paris, even some of which you can enter for free using the bundling
  • Another bundling ticket you can consider to purchase is the Paris Attractions Pass, which offers free entry to various popular sights in Paris.
  • Not interested in visiting the museum? Relax, Paris is rich in non-museum attractions that you can explore for free. Here are some of them: Notre Dame Cathedral (unless you enter the tower), Basilique du Sacré Coeur (unless you want to enter the dome or crypt), Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Atelier Brancusi, Arènes de Lutèce, Maison de Victor Hugo (just to visit the permanent exhibition area), and many more.
  • Paris also has lots of awesome roads and spots that you can explore to your heart’s content without costing anything, unless you want to buy something. You can also consider visiting Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, a flea market and antiquities in Paris; walking down the St-Martin canal; seeing the ruins of the Roman heritage at Arènes de Lutèce; Stepping your feet while enjoying the atmosphere in the Belleville district, and many other activities. In addition, Paris has 20 districts which each has its own charm. If you really want to save but still want to enjoy the atmosphere of Paris, you can do sightseeing by tracing the streets in each district of Paris.
  • Various parks in Paris generally can be visited for free! So why not consider visiting a park in Paris?
  • Okay, funerals may not be the mainstream attractions to be visited by tourists. But hey, Paris has some fun enough cemetary to be visited. One of them is Cimitière du Père Lachaise which became the final resting place of some prominent figures, such as Jim Morrison. Of course you will not be charged for visiting the cemetery.
  • Some attractions offer discount tickets if you visit before the ticket counter is closed. For example, the Musée d’Orsay. The normal ticket price is EUR12. But if you come after 16.30, the ticket price reduced to Considering the museum’s operational hours end at 18:00, you still have enough time to walk around the museum.
  • Do you want to enjoy the Seine River but do not have more budget for boat ride tour? Consider doing a picnic on the banks of the River Seine. Many local residents doing that, so do not be ashamed.
  • To save money while visiting the Eiffel Tower, you can save a few Euros if you ride the stairs (not taking the elevator).

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Accommodation

A hostel in Paris
A hostel in Paris, via travelandleisure
  • For preliminary information, please note that Paris is divided into 20 districts (called as arrondissements) which was numbered as 1-20. If you want to be able to access various angles of Paris easily, you can choose a lodging in the district 1-9. But if you are looking for a lodging which rate is more affordable, you can choose an accommodation in the district 10-20.
  • Paris has many star hotels that offer a view towards the Eiffel Tower. Very romantic, right? But if you plan to press the budget, forget the various star hotels. If you still want to enjoy the view towards the Eiffel from the bedroom, look for various budget hotel located not far from the Eiffel Tower. If you’re lucky, you might find a budget hotel with a view towards the Eiffel from some of its rooms, though perhaps the view is not as clear as other hotels that are closer to the Eiffel Tower (at a more expensive rate). One of the hotels you can consider is Hotel Tiquetonne.
  • Want to press the accommodation budget? Forget about the hotel, and switch to a hostel. It’s a common knowledge that dormitory rate will be much cheaper than a single room in star hotels. In addition, Paris is also rich in various types of hostels that are suitable for various types of tourists.
  • You can also try Air BnB or couchsurfing for different stay experiences, as well as more affordable than hotels.
  • For some cases, renting a daily apartment will be more affordable than staying in star hotels.
  • Do not be paranoid first with hotels that offer cheap rate, because they are not necessarily bad. The rate could be cheaper because they trim various facilities that support the convenience of tourists, such as eliminating TV in the room, or do not provide breakfast facilities. To be more convincing, always check the reviews from visitors before deciding to book the hotel.

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Eat and Drink

Picnic Illustration in Eiffel
Picnic Illustration in Eiffel, via youne
  • Every meal in a restaurant or cafe, ask for tap water. Usually the waiter will bring you mineral water in a bottle (charged). But tap water can be ordered for free, and tap water in Paris is safe for drinking.
  • Get used to bring a plastic bottle Each time the water runs out, you can fill the bottle in various taps in the garden or other public places.
  • To save the cost of breakfast, you can buy bread at various bakeries or patisseries which scattered all over Paris. The price will be cheaper than breakfast at the hotel (especially if the hotel where you stay offers breakfast packages for a certain price), however the taste and quality is not much different from the breakfast bread in hotels.
  • Okay, Paris does have dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants. But of course such various restaurants must have a fairly high price level. You may have to book a place for months in advance to eat there. Well, if you want to taste the famous chef-style cuisine but with a more affordable budget, try to googling various restaurants, cafes, and bistros run by ex-chef Michelin-starred Usually the price will be more affordable, but with a quality that is not inferior to other upscale restaurants.
  • Did you know, the price of lunch in Paris is much more affordable than the price of the dinner menu. And, you will get a cheaper price if you order the set menu lunch rather than buying in units. You will lose the flexibility in choosing the menu. But for a more efficient price, why not?
  • To save the cost of dinner, you can buy light cheap menus like crepe, various street snacks, or sandwiches.
  • Other tips for saving drinks: while drinking coffee at the café, look for a seat at the bar. Usually the price of the seats at the bar is cheaper than if you drink at a separate table.
  • Want to drink wine at affordable prices? Do not order wine in a bottle! Order wine in a glass, and you can taste wine at a more affordable price. Or, buy wine from supermarkets to drink in the room, or while picnicking in the park.
  • Some restaurants offer more affordable menu prices if you buy to take away than to eat on the spot. So, when going to eat at a place, notice whether the restaurant has different prices for take away and eating on the spot.
  • Another tip to save on meal costs is to buy food in the market, and eat it elsewhere (like a garden). This method is quite popular done by the citizens of Paris itself, so you do not need to be ashamed to do so.
  • Want to have fun in the bar but with limited budget? Choose a bar within a hostel. Usually the price is more affordable, especially if the bar has a happy hour promo.
  • Some restaurants provide baskets of freely refilled bread. Do not hesitate to ask for refills of the basket, especially if you plan to save on meal
  • Avoid choosing restaurants and eating places that are located close to major attractions in Paris. Usually the price of food in these places will be much more expensive than other places. If you want to save, you should buy sandwiches or food from other places to eat around the attractions you will visit.
  • For information, food and beverage prices in Paris is service charge inclusive. So you do not need to set aside extra funds for the

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Transportation

A Metro Station in Paris
A Metro Station in Paris, via travel365
  • Here’s the ultimate tips on transport in Paris: avoid using taxis. Besides the expensive costs, you might be stuck in traffic because of the heavy Paris traffic.
  • The best way to explore Paris, as well as how to save money, is on foot. Paris is quite friendly to pedestrians, and the city’s appeal is much more enjoyable if you walk on foot instead of driving. The formula is, if the distance traveled to be reached only 1 Metro station or 1-2 bus stops, it is advisable to just
  • Metro is a great way to get around the city, after walking. Interesting part is, if you buy 10 tickets in one buy, you will get discounts up to several Euros. More efficient right?
  • Alternatively, you can take advantage of Vélib, a bike-share program. By buying daily or weekly passes, you can rent bicycles from various stations (at very cheap prices). By cycling, you can save on transportation costs, as well as exercise. Not bad, right?
  • Planning to use public transportation while in Paris? You can buy discounted tickets like Paris Visite Travel Card, which can be used to ride the metro, bus and RER trains.
  • If you want to ride the bus, you can actually buy tickets directly from the bus driver. But you will be charged extra. So, avoid buying tickets on the bus.
  • Every time you ride the Metro, always save your ticket until you really get out of the station area. Losing tickets can cost you a fine. You definitely do not want that to happen, right?

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Others

  • To save the cost of internet, you can take advantage of various free WiFi that can be found in various places to eat. Free WiFi can also be found in various parks and museums, as well as in various fast food restaurants.
  • Want to make a call from Paris? You can take advantage of free WiFi, and call using Skype, WA call, or other platforms.
  • Do not have enough budget to hire a tour guide? You can contact various parties who offer free walking tours from various tour and travel agencies. Two of the tour and travel agencies offering free walking tours are the New Europe Walking Tour and Paris Greeters. More information can be found on their website.

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Note:

Photos are taken from various sources (see captions) without additional edits other than resizing.

 

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