17 Tips for Traveling on a Shoestring Budget in Paris

Paris is a magical city for travelers. There are so many attractions, and it can be overwhelming to see everything in just one trip. If you're planning your first visit or just need some tips on how to stretch your budget while visiting Paris, here are 10 tips for traveling on a shoestring budget in Paris:

1. Use the Metro

The metro is the best way to get around Paris on a budget. You can buy your tickets at any station, and there are ticket machines that accept coins as well as credit cards (you'll need a European-style chip card).

Once you have your ticket, simply swipe it through the turnstile and enter. If you're going through during rush hour or if there's been some kind of incident that has caused delays, hold onto your ticket until you exit so they don't make you pay again!

2. Get a Museum Pass

If you're planning to visit several museums in Paris, then the Paris Museum Pass is your best bet. The pass allows you to enter almost all of the city's major museums for free (or at a discount) and is valid for one day, two days, three days or five days. You can purchase it online or at any participating museum during opening hours.

3. Go to Markets

If you're looking to save money on food, markets are one of the best ways to do it. The best markets in Paris are located outside of the city center and offer fresh produce at reasonable prices.

One of our favorite markets is Marché Bastille, which has been around since 1871 and has been visited by everyone from Pablo Picasso to James Franco (seriously). You'll find everything from fruit and vegetables to spices and cheese here--and if you're lucky enough, maybe even some locally made honey!

Another great option is Marché d'Aligre near Place d'Italie--it's slightly smaller than Marché Bastille but equally as delicious.

4. Walk Around the City

Walking is the best way to see Paris. You'll be able to cover more ground and see more of the city than if you were taking public transportation, and it's also cheaper than taking a taxi or Uber. Plus, walking gives you exercise while helping keep your budget in check!

5. Eat Street Food

  • Eat street food. You'll save money while getting to try some of the best cuisine in the world.

  • Eat at a bakery instead of a restaurant. You can find many bakeries in Paris that offer fresh-baked pastries and breads, as well as sandwiches and other snacks if you're looking for something quick and inexpensive to eat on-the-go.

  • Buy food at the market and make your own picnic! There are markets all over Paris where you can pick up fresh produce, meats, cheeses--and even flowers--to bring back home with you (or enjoy later). When in doubt about where these might be located: look for signs pointing towards Le Marche St Germain which is one of my favorites because there's always something new happening there every weekend!

  • Visit the Louvre Museum on Sundays when admission is free!

6. Buy Local Wine and Cheese

  • Buy wine and cheese from local vendors. The best place to buy wine is in a supermarket, but if you're looking for something more authentic and local, try the market or a cheese shop.

The best place to buy cheese is either at a market or in a specialty shop (like Camembert Cheese Shop). If you want both options combined into one experience while still having access to all the other things on this list, head over there!

7. Take Public Transportation to Versailles

  • Take the RER C to Versailles-Rive Gauche. The train station is right outside of the palace and it's easy to walk from there.

  • Get a bike tour of the grounds (if you don't want to ride yourself). This is a great way to see everything without feeling rushed or having to worry about paying for public transportation after your visit.*

  • Take advantage of guided tours--they're free! There are both English-language and French-language tours available, so make sure you book one in advance.*

8. Buy a Museum Pass

A museum pass is a great way to save money on your trip. You can purchase them online or at any of the museums themselves, and they're valid for multiple days. The passes are good for either five or ten days, depending of course on how long you plan on staying in Paris.

Musee du Louvre and Musee d'Orsay both offer free admission to one special exhibit each day (tickets are required). These exhibits change frequently so it's worth checking their websites before visiting these museums if you want to see something specific!

9. Stay in a Youth Hostel or AirBnB, Not a Hotel

The first thing to do is to find a place to stay. In Paris, there are plenty of options for cheap accommodation--but many of them come with drawbacks. If you're on a shoestring budget and want to stay in a hotel, your best bet is probably going to be something like the Ibis or Holiday Inn chain hotels which offer rooms starting at around $50 per night (for reference: youth hostels can cost as little as $25). However, these options are not ideal because they tend not only be expensive but also sterile and impersonal--and they don't allow guests much freedom in terms of what kind of amenities they get or how much space their room has compared with other hotels nearby.

A better option would be staying at a youth hostel or booking through AirBnb! Youth hostels are generally cheaper than most hotels ($25-$40 USD per night) and provide more social experiences than traditional lodging options since people from all over Europe come together under one roof while exploring Paris together during their travels abroad."

  • Youth hostels are a great way to meet people and save money in Paris. You can get a private room for about $20 per night or share a room with other travelers for less than $10 per night. Most hostels have kitchens where you can cook your own meals, which saves even more money!

  • If you're traveling alone or don't feel like staying in an entire dormitory full of strangers (though sometimes this can be fun), book yourself into one of the many hotels that offer private rooms with shared bathrooms instead--it'll still cost less than $50 per night at most places!

10. Eat at a bakery instead of a restaurant.

Bakeries, like those in Paris, are not just for bread and pastries. Many bakeries have a full menu of food that is far less expensive than what you would find at a restaurant. If you're looking for something quick and affordable, this is the place to go! And if you're feeling adventurous, try some of the more exotic options (like escargots).

Bakeries also offer great value because they're open late--you can grab dinner after midnight or even during breakfast hours!

11. Buy food at the market and make your own picnic.

  • Buy fruit, vegetables and cheese from the market.

  • Make your own sandwiches.

  • Take a picnic blanket.

  • Eat in a park! (This is my favorite thing to do.)

12. Visit the Louvre for free on Sundays.

The Louvre is open from 9am to 6pm on weekdays and until 9pm on Sundays. If you want to visit the Louvre, go on Sunday, which is free for everyone. The museum also stays open late on Fridays (until 10pm) and Saturdays (until 8:45pm). On Mondays when most museums are closed or charging an entrance fee of up to $20 USD per person, the Louvre remains open all day long without an admission fee!

13. Take public transportation.

One of the best ways to save money is by taking public transportation. You can take the metro, bus or tram, and even bike share. If you're feeling adventurous, try taking a train or ferry!

Paris has a great network of public transportation that makes it easy for visitors to get around the city cheaply and easily.

14. Don't buy bottled water or soda at restaurants

  • Buy water at grocery stores.

  • Buy soda at grocery stores.

  • Don't buy bottled water at restaurants or cafes.

The prices for these items are much higher than they would be if you were to buy them in bulk or take a bottle with you from home, so save your money by buying them at the store instead!

15. Visit museums for free on Wednesdays after 4pm (or all day Thursday).

  • You can also get a free ticket to the Louvre by showing your hotel reservation confirmation letter.

  • You can only get a free ticket if you have a reservation at a hotel.

16. Download audiobooks from the library before you go so that you can listen to books without spending money on them while you're traveling in Paris.

If you're a fan of audiobooks and want to bring some with you on your trip, download them from the library before leaving. The library has many titles available for free download, so there's no need to spend money buying them while traveling in Paris.

The best part? If there's something else that catches your eye while browsing through the library catalog, just check it out too! You might find something new and exciting that sparks an interest in learning French or exploring another culture.

Get cash out of an ATM before going into the city center so that you don't have to pay exorbitant fees there on using your bank card or withdrawing cash from your account at foreign banks.

Avoid the banks in the city center and take advantage of any local ATMs that may be available. The best ones are at post offices, but they're often closed on Sundays and holidays, so check ahead of time if you need a withdrawal during those times!

17. Avoid tourist traps if you want to save money while traveling through Paris by using these tips

  • Don't fall for the tourist traps.

  • Take public transportation, and don't worry about missing out on anything by not taking a cab or Uber. The Metro system is easy to navigate and runs 24 hours a day, so you'll be able to get anywhere you need with ease.

  • Stay at a youth hostel instead of an expensive hotel room--they're cheap, fun, and full of other travelers who will make your trip memorable! And if you don't have time for Paris' famous museums? You can always visit them for free on Sundays!

If you're looking for a great way to save money while traveling in Paris, then these tips are for you! You can avoid paying high prices for food, transportation and more by following these simple guidelines.