Paris for $100 a day? No, we haven’t lost our marbles — it is very much possible! And you’ll even have a great time experiencing the best the City of Lights has to offer. But doing Paris on the cheap will take a bit of thinking ahead and careful spending.
Here are some tips to help you have a haute time…with low funds.
(Our post assumes you already have cheap international flights booked and that you don’t have a car. At the time this post was updated, US$1 is equal to €0.88.)
Finding inexpensive (but also clean and safe) accommodation in Paris can be tricky, but it’s not out of the question. We’re sure you’re aware of home and room sharing apps and websites, which could prove fruitful in finding somewhere to stay that won’t break the budget. There are other affordable options that leave out so much guesswork though.
Hostels present one way to save money on where you stay. Paris is full of reputable hostels with rates from €5 upwards, though most have a price of around €25 to €40 per night. It all depends on if you want to share a room, if you’re willing to bunk, and if you don’t mind sharing a bathroom.
Prefer your own room in a hotel? Understanding how the hotel rating system works in France can save you money big time when you visit. A one- or two-star rating for a hotel doesn’t mean it’s a bad hotel, just that it doesn’t have certain amenities and luxuries that hotels with higher ratings do. They’re still expected under the law to be secure and well maintained and may be located in central parts of the city.
Some tips on keeping rates down include avoiding staying over the weekend for hotels in especially touristy areas or in the heart of Paris. Conversely though, some nice and conveniently located business hotels that see most of their rooms filled during the week may offer surprisingly low rates for weekend guests. If you can acquaint yourself with a map of the Metro (Paris’s underground train network) and you don’t mind a short commute, you might be able to book a good place just out of the center of town but within easy access.
Sure, it’s easy to splurge on a fine dining feast at one of the many Michelin star restaurants in Paris, but if you’re just looking to eat well you can do it for far cheaper. Eating for €20 or slightly less isn’t an unrealistic goal. Key to your success is being streetwise and doing it like the locals do.
There’s a reason the stereotype of a typical Parisian is seen as someone carrying a baguette. This long crusty bread is ubiquitous around town – and with good reason. It’s delicious, filling, and affordable. You’ll come across boulangeries everywhere and you’ll be very unlucky indeed if you happen upon one that doesn’t sell quality baguettes and other quality made onsite baked goods at low prices.
Grocery stores of varying size are situated across Paris. They can provide an affordable way to eat and offer the chance to try out some French cheeses and other delicacies without blowing the budget. Grabbing a baguette, some cheese and charcuterie and maybe a beer or bottle of wine and heading to the park or the banks of the Seine is a frugal way to spend a sunny day in Paris and a great opportunity to take in some people watching while you’re at it.
There are plenty of fast food restaurants in Paris as well, including the usual suspects (McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC) and local chains such as Quick. Expect prices in line with what you’d pay back home.
And like so many cities these days, the street food and food truck scene in Paris is huge – and delicious. Go “bobo” (the French equivalent of “hipster”) with a burger or such from foodie heroes, Le Camion qui fume, or stick with the tried and true Parisian favorite — a crepe at one of the city’s many streetside creperies.
Walking and taking public transport are your best bet for getting around Paris, whether you’re on a tight budget or not. A Paris Visit pass for one day of access to public transportation (zones 1 to 3) costs approximately €13. The same pass is around €22 for two days and around €43 for five days. Such a pass should get most visitors everywhere they need to go.
Of course, depending on where you stay and what you hope to see and do, you might not need to take a train or bus at all. Paris is pedestrian-friendly city with lots of its main attractions within easy walking distance of each other.
Paris has a public bike sharing scheme too with thousands of bikes to hire for cheap throughout the center of town.
You can get more information on public transport options and ticket prices at parisinfo.com.
RELATED: Looking for more affordable European adventures? Read about The Cheapest Cities in Europe to Visit This Summer!
Attractions and Sightseeing
You’ll definitely want to check out some museums, cathedrals, historical sights, and other attractions while in Paris. One affordable way to do it is to purchase the Paris Museum Pass. It gives you access to more than 50 museums and monuments across Paris, including the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the d’Orsday, the Picasso and Rodin museums, Sainte-Chapelle and tours of Notre Dame. A two-day pass is €48.
Keep in mind that on the first Sunday of every month, many of the city’s museums offer free entry. Also, some have discounted rates on special days of the week or after hours.
So there you have it — everything you can do to enjoy Paris on a super low budget. Now all you have to do is start searching for some cheap international flights and you’ll be well on your way to an unforgettable, low-cost holiday in a one-of-a-kind city! Bon voyage!
What are your money-saving tips for visiting Paris? Let us know in the comments section