Chasing Kimberly

Traveling Paris on a Budget (2020)

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Oh, Paris! The City of Love.

Coming from a non-EU country, I thought that Paris is quite expensive to travel to.

But I was wrong, it is possible to travel to Paris on a budget. Let me share with you my tips on how you can do it too!

1. Book a Budget Airline Fare

As a Filipina, one of the misconceptions I had before, was that traveling to Europe is expensive. But, when I started traveling here I proved myself wrong.

I wrote a blog about how I score cheap flights anywhere around the world  and that includes Paris France.

Truthfully, since Tourism has become one of the major industries of most countries, Traveling anywhere has become so easy. 

There are about 20-40 low-cost airlines in Europe and I think the most famous is Ryanair.

We usually flew with Ryanair when we are traveling around Europe. 

They fly to more than 30 countries not just in Europe, but also in North Africa and the Middle East.

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There are 3 main Airport in Paris

  • Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)

CDG is the most prominent among the 3 airports. It is well connected from different parts of the city by RER Train, buses, and shuttle services. 

It takes about 1 hour to travel to the City Center. 

CDG is the primary airport in Paris so expect that the fares are higher here compared to the 2 airports.

  • Paris Orly Airport(ORY)

Orly Airport is the nearest airport to the city. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the city center. 

I would recommend flying to Orly Airport if the flight fare is comparable to or lower than the CDG airport. This is because it is has a good connection to the city center too and it is easy to move from one terminal to another. 

Plus, it is a smaller airport compared to CDG so flight delays here are lesser.

  • Paris Beauvais(BVA)

Beauvais is the farthest from the city. It takes 1 hour and 20 minutes bus ride but it also depends on the traffic. It can get up to 2 hours bus ride to get to the City Center. 

However, if you are on a tight pocket and want to travel to Paris on a budget, you will probably be landing here.

Most of the budget airlines fly here like Ryanair and Wizz.

Although the flight fares are low, you may want to look at the travel time too. 

So if you are pressed on time or have only limited time in Paris, you may reconsider landing to another airport.

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2. Hotels in Paris on a Budget

It comes to no surprise that hotels in Paris will be expensive. But do not fret, it is still possible to find one that will fit in your budget.

I like booking my accommodation with Agoda because they have wide range of accommodations from budget to luxury and it is so easy to compare the prices. 

To find budget accommodation you can filter the prices and locations to find the best deal there. I always get one with them.

When choosing your hotel, there are two things that you may want to consider;

  • Stay in Central and save on the transit

I would say that Paris is a very compact city. It is not as walkable as Rome Italy but if you have a central starting point, it is easy to hop from one tourist site to another. 

Paris is divided into 20 districts and it is called “Arrondissements”. 

The numbering starts in the Center of the town where the Louvre is located and it spirals clockwise out. 

If you want to stick to the Center, you want to stay in 1 to 9 Arrondissements. 

So staying near the Louvre, The Opera, in the Latin Quarter or near the Eiffel Tower will save you bucks in transportation.

  • Save on the hotel and commute

Now if you do not mind commuting or walking all day, by all means, you can stay outside the city center of Paris.

But I’d say be careful though, there are some areas in Paris that you do not want to stay especially if you will be out until dark.

This is one of our mistakes, as we want to travel to Paris on a Budget, we decided to stay outside the center because we do not mind commuting and walking around. 

When we were there, we booked a hotel in North Paris  located in the 18th Arrondissements.

Though the hotel is quite nice and did not disappoint us with their service, the surrounding area was particularly sketchy and we did not feel comfortable, especially walking during the night.

It will definitely be cheaper outside the Center but it depends on how brave you are, so be extra careful when choosing your accommodation in Paris.

Do not compromise your safety even if you want to travel to Paris on a budget.

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PRO TIP: When choosing your hotel, go where breakfast is offered for free. 

You can have huge savings for eating outside.

3. Going around Paris on a Budget

Depends on where Airport you will be landing, you have different options on how you can get to the City Center.

Usually, tourists hop on to the RER Trains but know that there are public buses that will drop you off to the Center. 

Except for the Paris Beauvais Airport which your only option is to take the Bus that will take you to Porte Maillot and will cost you 17 Euros for a one-way trip.

Paris Metro Station
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 TIPS when commuting around Paris

  • Be careful riding Taxis

I never ride a taxi everywhere I traveled. Well, because they are an expensive means of traveling. And Paris is no exception.

Taking a taxi from the Airport will cost you 50 to 70 Euros for a one hour trip, so unless you are traveling with your pals and you can share the Taxi fare, you want to stay away from taxis in Paris.

Also, the charges change depending on the hours of the day. So expect extra charges if you are traveling during morning rush hours, Sundays or Holidays.

PRO TIP: Airport Taxi Fares are fixed. Do not be surprised if after seating in your meter says 50 Euros because that is the flag down price.

You also do not want to take taxis while on the City Center especially on short distances because the flag-down fare is 7 Euros

  • Use UBER over Taxi

Now if you need to use a Taxi or other Transpo other than Bus or Train, then get an Uber.

Uber is quite popular in Paris too and another easy way to get around the Center.

Plus you do not need to worry about paying cash because you can always use your card to pay directly through the app.

Uber is generally cheaper than Taxis in Paris and you get the comfort and privacy that taxis give.

  • Buy the 10 Pack of Metro and Bus Tickets

If you know that you will be doing a lot of commuting in Paris, I highly recommend that you buy the 10-Pack tickets. You can use this for both Metro and Bus.

One Ticket cost 1.90 Euros but if you buy the 10-Pack called Carnet (pronounced as Car-nay) you will save 4 Euros.

One good thing, kiosks accept credit card payments so if you run out of cash you can easily buy your tickets.

PRO TIP: Always hold on to you Ticket, Officers usually check them especially inside the Metro. If you get caught without a ticket or with a ticket but not validated, you can get a hefty fine. I am sure you do not want that!

4. Eating in Paris on a Budget

I wrote a list of the best places to eat in Paris on a budget so make sure to check it out.

Paris is all about the amazing Boulangeries, Patisseries, Cafes and more. 

It is everywhere in Paris. You can see them in every corner of the street.

No day passed when I was in Paris, that I do not have a Croissant or another Pastry in my hand that I am munching away while walking in the streets of Paris.

PRO TIP:  Look for a hotel that offers free breakfast, then grab a croissant along the way so you will be full until lunch.

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Things to remember when eating in Paris

  • A tip for service is not expected in Paris. Simply because it already included in your bill. But if you must, then you can but you can stick between 15 to 20% of your total bill and it is greatly appreciated.
  • If your hotel does not offer a free breakfast, then go ahead and shop around for breakfast. 

When you are in Cafe though, some of the Cafes charge based on where you are eating. Strange but true. 

So whether you are sitting on a table or standing on a bar your coffee price will depend on it.

I prefer to just buy my breakfast and have it take away and eat it in a nearby park.

It is a free and good way to watch the city as people pass you by.

  • Pick up your lunch in Outdoor Market

Foodies including me will find Paris as heaven. You can eat your way through it.

There are thousands of mouth-watering restaurants out there but do not take for granted the Outdoor market and make sure you visit one.

There are tons of foods to try here from cheeses, local produces and local delicacies for really cheap prices.

  • Bring a water bottle and Refill

Paris like Rome has a water fountain everywhere you can take advantage of for free drinks. 

We saved a few bucks because we did not have to buy bottled water anymore.

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5. What to SEE in Paris on a Budget

Although it is said that Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world, you can still see it without breaking your bank.

I wrote about the 10 things that you can do for free in Paris so make sure you to check it out.

For now, let me give you some tips on how you can see Paris on a Budget.

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  • If you are keen on seeing the inside of most tourist sites like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre, then you are better off buying the Paris Pass.

With Paris Pass, you have access to over 60 attractions around Paris.

Plus it gives you unlimited rides both to the Paris Metro and buses. Amazing right?

To book you can just go to their website and buy it online to save some bucks compare to buying it on the retail price.

It is a good deal to see Paris on a budget because most of the famous attractions are included already plus you get to save time queuing to buy individual tickets for each attraction.

However, if you are fine seeing the outside of the tourist sites then you can skip the Paris Pass.

For example, I thought that it is not worth it to climb the Eiffel Tower. Though you will surely have some nice views of Paris, there are other free places that you can do this.

Plus, if you climb the Eiffel Tower for the view, it is not as picture-perfect because Eiffel Tower won’t be on your photo.

Instead, you can climb the stairs of Trocadero and have some awesome views of the city including, of course, the Eiffel Tower.

  • Time your trip and see Museums for free

Most of the museums in Paris are free on a particular day of the month.

For example, the Louvre is open for free to the public every first Saturday of the month. 

Musée d’Orsay is open for Free during the first Sunday of the month.

But remember, since it is free it can be packed. So if you want to take advantage of this free deal, you want to go there as early as possible to beat the crowd.

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  • Take advantage of the Free Tourist Sites

Surprisingly, there are tons of things you can do and see in Paris for free.

I wrote about the 10 things that you can do for free in Paris so make sure you to check it out.

One of my favorite free tourist sites is the Jardin du Luxembourg. 

It is said that once the Frech Royalties housed here but now it is home to the French Senate.

You can not visit the Palace but you can sit and wander in the Garden which is more than enough sightseeing. 

Alright! I have given you my top tips on how you can manage to travel to Paris on a budget.

You see that it is doable. 

So now you can start planning your Paris trip.

To help you with it, I wrote  a blog post about my 3 days itinerary in Paris.

I will share with you how I planned my Paris trip and also give you  a Travel Planner exclusively for your Paris Travel.

If you like this post and you think that it will help others too, do not be shy and share it!

Spread the love. Ciao!

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