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A Couples Guide to Paris on a Budget

couples guide to paris on a budget

A Couples Guide to Paris on a Budget

Posted on 2019-01-26 at 06:00
Last updated on January 31st, 2019 at 02:17 pm

Cole and I decided that we wanted to go somewhere special on our belated Honeymoon and when we found round trip tickets to Paris for $400, we couldn’t resist! I mean, could you?? Click here on how to find cheap flights. Paris, one of the most romantic destinations in Europe, was the perfect place for us. We booked the plane tickets on a whim and saved up for 6 months to help us get the most out of our Paris honeymoon. After all, Paris is for lovers right? We had the trip of a lifetime for a total of…. $1500! Yes! You read that correctly. SOOO, I’m spilling the details! This post includes; free things to do in Paris, eating cheap in Paris, and having a fantastic trip without the stress of spending an arm and a leg. Below is your guide to getting through Paris on a budget!

*Note, regardless of your age or occupation, these tips and tricks to save money in Paris are applicable to everyone!

a couples guide to Paris

We love Paris!

The Basics to Paris on a Budget

GENERAL

I want to recommend traveling to Paris during the shoulder or off-season. This is from October to April. Traveling during the off-season means shorter lines, less crowds, cooler temperature, and more discounts. Cole and I were in Paris in March and we didn’t have the best weather, but still had the BEST TIME. Do the research and figure out when traveling to Paris would be the best for YOU. Remember, Paris is such a magical city regardless of when you visit.

TRANSPORTATION

Let’s talk about getting from place to place in Paris. The cheapest form of transportation is walking! Try to walk as much as possible (plus it’ll help you burn off all the chocolate croissants). Try to spend one day and see all the sights in the same general area, that way you can walk to everything you want to see that day. Paris is a pretty spread out city so I understand that you might HAVE to use transportation. In that case, to save money, DO NOT TAKE A TAXI. They are overpriced and the traffic is so bad in Paris and that could take up a lot of valuable time.

Instead, look into taking a train or the metro. If you stay for a week, look into a  “Navigo” card. The card is valid from Monday to Sunday and costs less than the tourist pass. All you have to do is to go to a teller (at any metro station), they will take a photo of you, establish a card (about 5 Euros) and you fill it for less than 25 Euros. With it, you can use all the means of transportation in Paris up to Versailles. The only catch is that it HAS to be established on a Monday. If you are unable to establish the “Navigo” card on a Monday, look into a metro ticket with 10 tickets and use them sparingly.

The complete information on subways, buses, trains are on – www.ratp.fr

FOOD

Food is probably one of my favorite things about traveling and there is no shortage of amazing food in Paris! But food can also be very expensive and WAAAY overpriced around the tourist attractions – do not fall into this trap! Eating cheap in Paris was a must for us. I knew that I wanted to eat a lot of good food, but I also did not want to spend an arm and 2 legs on every meal. Cole and I decided that we only wanted to spend money on ONE meal a day (don’t worry, I promise we ate 3 meals a day).  Here’s how we did that.

  • When booking your stay at a hotel, check to see if the hotel has free breakfast or if you can get free breakfast included in your stay. This will save you a surprising amount of money that use can use toward other things.
  • We brought oatmeal, ramen noodles, granola bars, and a lot of snacks in our luggage with us. We used the coffee maker in our room to boil water for the ramen and the oatmeal to use for breakfast or if we were hungry in the evenings. We also took a few snacks with us out every day to eat if we got hungry in-between meals. If you don’t want to use valuable luggage room for food, I recommend visiting the market at the beginning of your stay to stock up on fruit, bread, and cereal to eat throughout your week. Trust me, you do not want to eat out all three meals every day!
  • Try to drink only water as a way to save money. In restaurants, water is free whenever it isn’t bottled. Ask for a “Carafe d’eau”, it’s tap water and it’s safe to drink. I don’t drink wine or coffee and I know that is a huge part of Parisian culture. If you choose to try wine or coffee, I recommend limiting it, according to your budget.

inexpensive things to do in ParisMUSEUMS

Art and culture is such an important part of Paris! You have to check out all the art the city has to offer – BUT at a free or discounted rate. Here is a list of the museums that we visited on our last Paris trip and how to got into all of them for FREE.

LOUVRE/Musée Eugène-Delacroix:

  • Free admission on the first Sunday of the month – from October to March
  • Free admission every Friday after 6 p.m. to anyone under 26
  • Free admission to anyone under 18
  • Free admission on Bastille Day (July 14)
  • Free admission to European Union residents under 26
  • Free admission to practicing teachers of art, history of art and archaeology, visual arts, applied arts and art history
  • Free admission for the disabled and an accompanying person

Visitors eligible for free admission can skip the line for ticket sales and go directly to one of the entrances to the collections

D’ORSAY:

  • Free admission on the first Sunday of the month
  • Free admission to anyone under 18
  • Free admission to European Union residents under 26
  • Free admission to practicing teachers of art, history of art and archaeology, visual arts, applied arts and art history

POMPIDOU:

  • Free admission on the first Sunday of the month (this includes the View of Paris and the Galerie des enfants)
  • Free admission for anyone under 26
  • Free admission for the disabled and an accompanying person

RODIN:

  • Free admission on thefirst Sunday of the month – From October 1st to March 31st
  • Free admission for anyone under 18
  • Free admission to European Union residents under 26
  • Free admission for University and state school art students up to age 30 and who are enrolled in architecture, history of art, archaeology, visual arts, graphic arts, museum, heritage, and landscape. (This excludes students who are enrolled in evening classes).
  • Free admission to practicing teachers of art, history of art and archaeology, visual arts, applied arts and art history

ORANGERIE:

  • Free admission on the first Sunday of the month
  • Free admission for anyone under 18
  • Free admission to European Union residents under 26
  • Discounted rate 18-25 years old inclusive, non-nationals and non-residents of the European Union

how to visit museums for free in ParisACTIVITIES

There are SO many things to do in and around Paris that are free or cost little money.

VERSAILLES:

  • Free admission to the Estate of Versailles on the first Sunday of the month from November to March
  • Free admission to anyone under 18 years old
  • Free admission to European Union residents under 26
  • Free admission to disabled people and the person accompanying them
  • Free access to the Gardens or Versailles every day, except during the Musical Fountains shows and Musical Gardens
  • Free access to the coach gallery
  • Free access to the estate of Marly
  • Free access to the Royal Tennis Court

inexpensive activities in VersaillesNOTRE DAME:

Entrance to the Notre Dame is completely free, BUT Notre Dame is also extremely busy. Get there early, especially if you want to climb the bell tower. Be aware that the bell tower is about 8.50E at the entrance. I recommend walking around the Notre Dame. There are beautiful gardens around the back that are free and usually not as busy.

SAINTE CHAPPELLE:

This cathedral is a MUST. Normal entrance fee is up to 15E.

  • Free admission on the first Sunday of the month from November to March
  • Free admission to anyone under 18
  • Free admission to European Residents under 26
  • Free admission to primary and secondary school teachers
  • Free admission for the disabled and an accompanying person
  • They also offer student discounts: I got in on a reduced rate with proof of my student ID.

LES INVALIDS:

  • Free admission to anyone under 18 years old.
  • There is a reduced ticket price for everyone, every day from 5 pm in summer and 4 pm in winter, as well as Tuesday nights.

FREE ACTIVITIES/ATTRACTIONS

There are so many cool things to see around Paris for free! Remember that walking around and exploring the city is completely free and my favorite way to experience Parisian life. Here is a list of completely free things to do in Paris:

  • PALAIS ROYALE AND GARDEN
  • GALLERIES LAFAYETTE
  • PRINTEMPS HAUSSMAN OBSERVATORY
  • LUXEMBOURG GARDENS
  • SACRE COEUR/MONMARTE
  • PERE LACHAISE CEMETERY
  • TRACADERO SQUARE
  • PETIT PALAIS
  • CHAMPS ELYSEES

free things to do in ParisLAST BUT NOT LEAST – USING THE TOILETS

When out and about, you will eventually have to use the facility. Any café, restaurant etc. has toilets though sometimes they charge you 50 cents or so to use them. Restrooms should technically be free to use, but are you going to call the police and complain, especially in the urgency of the situation?

There are also some brown machines in the street that are entirely cleansed after every use and free. The problem with these is they are normally around touristic sites with a long line.  I recommend using the restrooms in public places like museums and hospitals, as they tend to be the most reliable.

couples budget guide to ParisCiao for now and happy travels xx,

Savannah

Ultimate Guide to Paris on a Budget

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