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(or, “how to enjoy the most beautiful city in the world without breaking the bank!”) (or, “Paris on a budget”)
If you're reading this, you are most likely either planning to go, or on your way to the most beautiful city in the world; Paris! Years of being THE tourist mecca have allowed “The City of Light” to become rather pricey, and in the eyes of many, pretty much unaffordable.
But before you hit the brakes on your Paris adventure, here's some very good advice on how to actually enjoy Paris without smashing your piggy bank!
Lodging – Let's face it. This is where the biggest piece of your pie will be taken up. Hotel prices in Paris have skyrocketed over the past few years, and finding anything decent under €100 is a thing of the past. But, there is hope. Thanks to the internet, there are many good cheaper alternatives than hotels. Just look online for apartament rentals in Paris, and voilá you'll find better alternatives.
Tours – Once you make it to Paris the task of figuring out where to go and what to see might seem daunting.Wego Walking Tours, provide free and fantastic daily walking tours of Paris. The guides live off the tips they make so they work incredibly hard, they are lots of fun and know the city upside down. They advertise as the best tour in Paris, and they don't lie.
Transport – There are few things as Parisian as the Paris métro. With their art nouveau signs, old trains, and smelly corridors, the metro is the easiest way to get nearly anywhere in the city. Weekly and monthly NAVIGO passes are available. There are also 10 ticket carnets available that provide a good discount when buying tickets. Mobilis tickets allow for a full day of travel both on metro, buses and trams and are a good idea if you're in Paris for a short stay. Vélib public bicycles, are absolutely fantastic for getting around. If you have a chip and pin on your card, you can go get a bike right on one of their stands. If you don't, go on their website(it's available in english) and buy your bike pass there. Keep in mind helmets are not provided and you should bring your own.
Eating – This is another area that if not done carefully can burn a hole right through your wallet, the pastries, escargots, croque monsieurs, accompanied by endless flowing streams of wine are tempting, but there really is an easier way of going about this. Most supermarkets sell pre-prepared meals, to be eaten on the go. You can get a chicken salad, taboulé, veggies or all of the above and eat them on a park bench. Boulangeries (bakeries) are your go-to if you're craving a big sandwich on freshly baked baguettes. Cheap sandwiches will be around €4.50, much cheaper than sitting down at a brasserie. If you like being outside, picnics are a great idea. Buy yourself a baguette at the bakers, get some cheese at the supermarket of fromagerie, and get some cheap wine anywhere (remember to get a corkscrew!). Then go to the park, sit on the grass and enjoy the heavenly cheap meal that a french picnic is!
Museums – Very few attractions in Paris are free, and museum tickets can really start adding up. If you want to visit many museums, the Paris museum pass is a great chance at getting a discounted ticket into most museums. The best part is, you algo get to skip the line at many of them, hence saving lots of time, and as they say, time is money!
Put all of this together and you have the perfect mix to a cheap, fun filled stay in Paris!