Paris on a Budget: 12 Tips to Save Money & More

A boulangerie, which is a place where you can have an affordable breakfast when you are in Paris on a budget

Even though Paris isn’t the most affordable city to visit, it’s definitely possible to visit Paris on a budget.

Paris is an amazing city to visit and with this guide, your trip to the city can be very affordable. There are many ways to save money in the city and this guide starts with several tips to do so. For example, I give some tips on how to save money for public transportation, visiting museums, and having breakfast. After that, you can find information about where to have food and where to stay if you’re in Paris on a budget.

Tips To Save Money If You’re Visiting Paris on a Budget

Avoid Staying Near the Famous Sights

View of the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower

If you want to save money, the place where you are going to stay in the city is a significant factor to consider.

Of course, the price of the hotel or apartment where you are going to stay depends on the type of hotel or apartment, but it is also dependent on the location of the place.

If you want a cheaper stay, you can consider staying in Montmartre, which is further away from some of the most famous sights in Paris, such as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.

Hotels are often more affordable in this area as you are further away from those sights. You might think this is inconvenient for your trip, but that’s not the case. The public transportation of Paris is very good.

By bus, you can get from Montmartre to the Eiffel Tower in about 30 minutes, and to the Louvre Museum in about 25 minutes. Other famous landmarks are as easy to reach as these!

Get a Travel Card Instead of Paying for Single Rides on Public Transportation

Ticket machine in Paris
Ticket machine

Public transportation in Paris isn’t very expensive, but it can be even more affordable to get around the city when you buy a travel card.

You can buy the Paris Visite travel pass, which is a pass that allows you to travel for 1, 2, 3, or 5 consecutive days as many times as you like. You can make use of all buses, trams, metros, and RER trains within the Paris region.

Another benefit of this pass is that it includes going to the airport as well.

Visit the City’s Museums for Free on the First Sunday of the Month

Musée du Luxembourg from the outside
Musée du Luxembourg

The museums of Paris are amazing, and I recommend visiting them when you are spending some time in the city.

For example, one of the best museums in the city is the Louvre Museum, which is the most-visited museum in the world and where you can find a collection of about 600,000 objects from all around the world and from many periods in history.

Many museums can’t be visited for free, and sometimes there is a high admission fee.

If you want to visit a museum for free in Paris, you can do so on the first Sunday of the month. On that day, many museums in the city have no admission free.

Some of the museums that are free on that day are the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and the Musée Rodin.

Have Breakfast at a Boulangerie

Boulangerie in Paris

The city of Paris has many great restaurants where you can have breakfast. There are so many options to choose from where you can start your day in an amazing way.

However, these breakfast restaurants can be expensive, so they are not so great when you are on a budget in Paris.

Instead, you can have breakfast at a boulangerie in the city. You can find thousands of boulangeries throughout the city, and these places are all great if you want to have a cheap breakfast.

At most boulangeries, you can order a cup of coffee with a pastry or other food. For example, you can have an espresso (expresso in French) with a croissant at all boulangeries.

Walk Instead of Using Public Transportation

Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor
Footbridge in Paris

With a travel pass, you can get around Paris by public transportation for a low fee, but there’s an even more affordable way to get around! You can explore the city on foot instead of by public transportation.

Paris is a very walkable city, and you can find many of the most famous sights near each other, which makes it easy to walk from one spot to the next.

For example, it will take you only 50 minutes on foot to walk from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, and there’s much to do in between these famous sights.

What’s great about walking is also that you can see much more of the city, such as the Seine River.

Visit Paris During January and February

Garden in Paris in winter
Paris in winter

You can save a lot of money when you visit Paris during a time of the year that is less popular.

Two months during which you can visit the city to benefit from this are January and February. After the holiday season, the nightly prices for hotels and apartments are often lower.

There is much to do during January and February, so you will still have a great time when you visit Paris during these seasons.

Visit a National Museum for Free if You Are Under 26 Years Old and a Resident of the EEA

The Louvre Museum from the outside
The Louvre Museum

If you are between the ages 18 and 25 (including 25) and if you are a resident of the European Economic Area (which consists of the countries of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway), you should know that you can visit many of the city’s museums for free.

The permanent collections of national museums in the city are free for this group. For this, you’ll have to show your identity card or your passport.

Some museums that are free are the Louvre Museum, Musée d’Orsay, and Centre Pompidou.

With this free admission measure, the government wants to increase the number of young people who visit a museum.

Make Use of Ouigo When Traveling to Paris

There are many ways to get to Paris. For example, you can travel to the city by high-speed train.

When you are getting to Paris from a city within France, or when you are traveling from Paris to a city in the country, you should consider traveling by Ouigo train.

This is a high-speed train alternative to regular high-speed trains, but Ouigo is much cheaper.

The cheapest tickets for riding the train are 10 euros for a single journey for adults, and 5 euros for a single journey for children.

For this low price, you get a basic experience. If you want to buy extras, such as reserved seats, you have to pay more.

Some places that you can reach from Paris and from where you can get to Paris by Ouigo train are Lille, Nice, Lyon, and Bordeaux.

Cook Your Own Meals

Paris is a city with amazing food and lots of great restaurants, and when you are in the city, I recommend having dinner at one of the restaurants.

You can save money in Paris by having dinner at a more affordable restaurant. For example, a popular restaurant where you can get great classic French dishes for a low price is Bouillon Chartier Grand Boulevards.

You can also decide to cook your own meals to save a lot of money.

You can stay at an apartment with a kitchen, buy ingredients from a grocery store in Paris (check out my guide about grocery stores in Paris for more information about this), and make your own dinner!

Visit Free Sights Instead of Paid Ones

Sacré-Cœur from below

There are many things to do in Paris, and many places have an admission fee. For example, you have to pay a fee to go to the Louvre or to go up the Eiffel Tower.

Instead of going to a sight with an admission fee, you can go to a free one.

There are many places that you can see for free.

One of the most popular sights that you can visit for free is the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. This is a church that you can find in the Montmartre area, and you can see the interior of the church without a fee.

The bookstore Shakespeare and Company is another great place to check out for free. This is an old English bookstore with a beautiful, historic interior and an interesting selection of books.

Besides that, there are many sights in Paris that you can see from the outside, which is a fun activity by itself. For example, you can see the Palais Garnier, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Pyramid from the outside.

Don’t Have Coffee Near the Eiffel Tower

Near the Eiffel Tower, there are many cafes that are great if you want to have a drink and food. Some offer an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower, and their location is also convenient if you want to go there before or after visiting the Eiffel Tower.

However, the closer you are to the Eiffel Tower, the more expensive the drinks and food at a cafe are, so that’s not convenient if you’re in Paris on a budget.

So if you want to enjoy a cheap cup of coffee, I would recommend not having coffee near the Eiffel Tower.

Bring Your Own Shopping Bag

When you are doing groceries at a grocery store in Paris, you should keep in mind that you don’t get a free shopping bag to carry your bought groceries. The same holds true for other stores in the city.

Instead of getting a free shopping bag, you have to pay for a bag if you need one.

That’s why I recommend bringing your own shopping bag with you whenever you are doing groceries or going to another store in the city.

Where To Eat If You’re on a Budget in Paris?

There are many places in Paris where you can have a cheap meal.

One of the best cheap eats in Paris is Miznon. This is a place where you can get a variety of delicious and cheap pitas.

Another great place for cheap food is Bouillon Chartier Grands Boulevards. This is a historic and very popular restaurant where you can have great classic French dishes for a low price.

Monoprix from the outside

The Monoprix supermarket is a great place for a cheap and quick lunch. Most Monoprix locations have a small food court or some other food offerings close to the entrance. There are also tables and chairs where you can sit down to have your food.

Affordable Places To Stay

View of buildings in Paris
Buildings in Paris

You can find lots of budget hotels in Paris where you can stay for a low nightly price. You can stay at a hotel that offers a basic room and not many other amenities.

An example of a less expensive hotel to stay is Hôtel Astoria.

Besides that, you can, as I already mentioned in this article, stay further away from some of the most famous sights. A great area where you can stay is Montmartre. Prices for hotels are lower here than in other areas in the city center.

Besides that, there are many hostels in the city that are often much cheaper.

More Paris Travel Guides

Things to do near the Louvre

How to use the metro in Paris

Famous streets in Paris

As you see, it’s possible to visit Paris on a budget. Have fun exploring the city!