A Long Weekend in Paris On a Budget

Posted on 21. Jun, 2011 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, France

weekend in paris on a budget

Planning a weekend in Paris on a budget is not simple task, and I had to face it a few weeks ago.

My fiancé and I had to visit the Canadian embassy for paperwork and we didn’t want to spend a fortune on a trip we hadn’t even considered taking. Fed up with hostels but not into the luxury scene, we crunched the numbers and came down with a €225 budget for three days. Let’s see how we did it.

1.   Accommodation: €120

Accommodation is always the biggest chunk of the budget in terms of travel. There’s no going around that!

We scored a €60 room deal near the Pigalle métro, in Montmartre. Some might find this area seedy and unsafe, but I don’t think you need to be any more cautious than you would be anywhere else - just watch your bag and don’t be bothered by weird people. The room itself was on the small side, but the view on Sacré-Coeur and Paris was amazing. I think this hotel was one of the greatest deals I got during all my travels.

2.   Food: €70

There are many easy ways to save on food expenses.

First, we decided to skip the €6.50 breakfast at the hotel and paid a visit to the nearby boulanger and grocery, eating a healthy and nutritious breakfast with fruits, croissants and yogurt for €5 per morning - that’s €16 more in your pockets right there!

Then comes lunch - that was a bit trickier because while hundreds of bistros offer great €12 per person deals, it was still more than we wanted to spend. Instead, we stuck to baguettes and cooked meats, indulging on a large Starbucks frappucino (we don’t have these back home!). Definitely not the most fancy lunch, but when eaten at a scenic location like the Champs-de-Mars, it ain’t so bad - and these €5 meals were good enough to keep us going for the rest of the day.

The dinner choices were largely helped by this map of Paris little places approved by locals, and we were able to get away with a €25 bill for sushi and €35 for a three-course Indian. A weekend in Paris on a budget will never be as tasty!

3.   Transportation: €12

Now that’s the easy part - Paris is one of the most walkable cities in Europe, due to its relatively small size.

Since most of the sights are a few hundred meters away from each other, it gives you the opportunity to work out those calves and walk around the city, taking in the hustle, the beautiful buildings and the quirky art. Just watch out for dog poo! The easiest option is to buy a stack of 10 tickets, which you will be able to use whenever you want and on buses or metro.

4.   Activities: €0

No budget for activities? If you visit Paris on a tight budget, you simply don’t need to budget for activities.

The best things  in Paris are free: Tour Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, Pyramide du Louvre, Tuileries, Sacré-Coeur, Notre-Dame… they are all just as enjoyable from the outside.

Have fun observing the architecture, the hundreds of parks and squares, the bistros, the Seine banks. For free. And if you must visit a museum, make sure to check out the free evenings or days - you might be lucky enough to be in town during one of them!

Now, if you do the math, the total comes up to €202, meaning you even have an extra €13 to spend on cheesy Eiffel towers replicas on the Trocadéro (make sure to hone your haggling skills), extra expressos if the walking has worn you out, or La Durée macarons if your sweet tooth is calling out for you.

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What do you think of this budget? Have you spent a weekend in Paris on a budget? Have you scored deals in the City of Light?

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24 Responses to “A Long Weekend in Paris On a Budget”

  1. Lauren

    21. Jun, 2011

    These are awesome tips! I can’t believe you found such great accommodation for only 60 euros/night. Sigh… so envious of your travels-and I love your new layout!! :)

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      21. Jun, 2011

      Thank you so much Lauren! I think the price of the hotel is a bit lower than others because of the seedy reputation of the area, but frankly, I never felt in danger or anything. I would certainly book this hotel again!

      Reply to this comment
  2. John

    24. Jun, 2011

    Great ideas. You can save even more money by opting for Campanile or Premier Classe hotesl from the same hotel group (Louvre Hotels). They’re a little further from the centre but close to the RER.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      01. Jul, 2011

      Thanks John! I think Campanile hotels are actually part of the Kyriad group, no? I might need to get a points card or something :) Thanks for your comment!

      Reply to this comment
  3. Heather on her travels

    26. Jun, 2011

    I’ll have to bookmark those Kyriad hotels - rooms in Paris always seem to be expensive & tiny although €6.50 for breakfast doesn’t seem excessive as hotel breakfasts go.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      01. Jul, 2011

      Kyriad hotels are great - they always have excellent customer service, clean rooms and fancy bathroom products. The only downside is breakfast, I thought 6.5 euros for 2 croissants and an orange juice was a bit excessive :)

      Reply to this comment
  4. Laurence

    22. May, 2012

    Great tips for Paris on a budget :)

    Reply to this comment
  5. Kurt

    23. May, 2012

    60 Euros sounds very good for a night in Paris. Really great actually. Nice job on that one.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Alexa Meisler

    23. May, 2012

    Definitely a great idea to plan your budget ahead of time. And you did good considering Paris is quite an expensive city.

    Reply to this comment
  7. I spent 4 nights in Paris a couple of years ago. I cannot tell you what I spent, but I was definitely proud I did it on a budget. Scored an amazing deal on a hotel room a 7-minute walk from Notre Dame (and it included breakfast). I had yummy 1 euro baguettes for my lunches. And alternated dinners out with dinners in made from fruit, fancy cheese, and boutique French wines.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Andrew

    28. May, 2012

    That is a pretty good number to come out with in such an expensive city. Even at a little bit more expensive, we really liked having the day passes on the metro instead of the packs of 10. The expense meant a little more freedom.

    The food seems to be where the money really flies unfortunately.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      28. May, 2012

      But on the other hand, I really walk a lot so daily passes aren’t that worthwhile for me. But for anyone who prefers the take the metro, then it’s a really good investment.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Abby

    30. May, 2012

    Love that photo of the rooftops! What a wonderful view to wake up to.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Anne

    12. Jul, 2012

    For EU citizens under the age of 26 all the national museums and sights are free - that includes Louvre, normally you don’t even have to wait in line for bying a ticket, just show your ID, and they will let you in

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      30. Jul, 2012

      I knew about the discount, but not about the line - thanks for letting me know!

      Reply to this comment
  11. Great ideas for making a trip to Paris affordable!

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      30. Jul, 2012

      It is possible to be on a budget in Paris and still have a good time.

      Reply to this comment
  12. Sofie

    02. Nov, 2012

    I’m going to Paris for the weekend in two weeks… Hotel for about €50/night.
    Jeej!

    Reply to this comment

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