Paris has never been cheap. A cost comparison survey this year listed Paris as the second most expensive destination for a city break in the world, behind London (New York was a close third). Despite this, it was the most visited city in the world in 2012 and was only narrowly beaten by London in 2013.
Here are ways to ensure you can visit Paris without breaking the bank.
1. Don’t dine out for every meal
Eat your main meal of the day at midday and choose the fixed price menu, or buy a picnic lunch from a gorgeous food market or one of the many boulangeries (such as the one above) dotted around Paris and enjoy it while relaxing in one of the city’s splendid parks.
2. Pay less for musuem visits
Time your visit to coincide with Free First Sundays at the big-hitting museums such as the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay (above) and Pompidou Centre, and bear in mind that the Musée Carnavalet and many of the smaller museums are free all year round.
3. Get around the city by bicycle
Hire a bicycle for short journeys. Figure out how the Velib system works, and use it to your advantage. A day’s use of a bicycle is just €1 if you only take trips of half an hour or less. Trips of longer than half an hour start to get expensive, so avoid this. The trick is to return your bike to a Velib rack whenever you are not on the saddle and simply pick up another for your next journey.
4. Take advantage of discounts
For longer journeys around Paris, buy ten metro tickets at once to save money and time, and consider buying a Paris Museum Pass for reduced entry over two days.
5. Don’t spend too much on your hotel room
Choose your hotel with care. The Good Hotel Guide website has launched a new series of recommendations for Paris (our printed guide to hotels in Continental Europe was long a favourite of readers and editors alike). Our initial selection includes two hotels that offer great value:
It’s not easy to find good value options in the Marais, but rooms start at €80 at this little gem close to the Place des Vosges. It looks out onto the Place du Marché-Ste-Catherine, a sweet little tree-lined square with restaurants with outdoor tables, perfect for summer evenings. Although there are steep narrow stairs – and no lift – and there’s no air-conditioning, rooms are comfortably furnished, bathrooms are modern and the staff unfailingly friendly and helpful.
Located at the end of a glass-roofed shopping arcade, or passage, on the Boulevard Montmartre near the Opera shopping district, Hotel Chopin still has its original façade (from 1846). Although the creaky staircase feels a bit ancient, too, and the rooms may be basic and simply furnished, they are clean and freshly decorated. Rooms are quiet; those on lower floors can be a little dark, and those higher up have rooftop views. The cheapest rooms (€87) look out onto a wall, so you may wish to go for the next level up (€118) – pleasingly, the hotel has fixed rates all year round. You do need to book well in advance, though. There’s no air-conditioning but you can leave the windows open and fans are provided.
If your budget stretches further, we recommend these fantastic hotels in Paris. We’re looking for more. If we’ve left your personal favourite off the list, or you’ve stayed somewhere you can recommend at any price level, we’d love to hear from you. While you’re there, check out our recommendations for Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Provence too, with more to come.
Best of all you can now book your hotel directly from our website, simplifying your planning that much more.