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Paris on a budget or not?

When you plan your stay in Paris, it is very important to know if some information you might know about the city is true. For example: is Paris expensive? Is it possible to visit it on a budget?

I have lived in Paris at its fullest and I have the answers you need to not be surprised once you are in the city.

First of all, I must say that every budget per day calculator for Paris is useless. They don’t work and they don’t always have all the parameters you need to calculate how much you are going to spend in Paris.

The city is huge so it is possible to visit Paris on a budget or planning your expensive holiday in Paris doing the best things you can afford in both situations.


What you can’t do on a budget in Paris


There are some things that you just can’t do in Paris being on a budget.


  • Airport transfers: there are no special tickets I can recommend for airport transports.
    The price is equal for everyone and the ticket is not very cheap. Just think that 6 minutes in the Orlyval shuttle costs around 10 euros! Anyway, what you can do to save some money is to arrive and leave Paris from the same airport so you can buy a ticket that is good both to and from Paris.


  • Museums in Paris: every museum has a ticket with a price. You can look for reductions or buy your tickets in advance. You can still save money buying a pass or planning your stay in Paris visiting all the free attractions. Take a look at 20 things to do in Paris For Free!


Now, let’s find out which are the solution for everything you might do in Paris both for those who want to travel in Paris on a budget and for who is looking for the most expensive things to do!


Paris on a budget and most expensive experiences

Yes, it’s true: Paris is on top of the most expensive cities in the world. If you plan everything you can both save your money to travel on a budget or to afford the most expensive things!


Flights (or trains) and accommodation


  • On a budget: If you book in advance your flight to Paris, you pay a very small amount of money. It always depends on where you are traveling from but booking in advance is always the best to save money. It is the same for your accommodation. The best advice is booking an apartment, so you won’t be eating out all the time.
    Anyway, if you don’t want to cook on holidays, I will suggest how to eat around Paris on a budget too!


  • More expensive: If you don’t have trouble with money and you are coming to Paris, you have the advantage to control your time. This means that you can book your flight or train whenever you want. A


Transports in Paris


  • On a budget: As I mentioned, if you want to save money while moving around Paris, choose the best transports pass for you. If you are in Paris at least for one week, I suggest Paris Navigo!


  • More expensive: You can opt for private transportation all around the city. It can be a personal driver that you can even book online in advance. Also, you can choose to take taxis all the time.
    Even if one of the films where you can admire Paris is named “Traffic” (by Jaques Tati), Paris is not stuffed with cars. You can easily find parking spots too!


 Food and restaurants in Paris


  • On a budget: You can find budget restaurants, bistros, and brasseries in Paris. You will have to search a lot and carefully look at the menus. Anyway, in most cases, prices are very well visible so you will always know which amount you are going to spend.
    A piece of good advice is eating in foreign cuisines restaurants too: Chinese, Indian and Greek restaurants will always be cheaper than a French bistro.
    Also, consider the idea to buy your breakfast and lunch at a Parisian bakery. You will spend a few euros and discover French tastes!
    I also recommend buying water at the supermarket (where it costs around 0,30 cents), since in other places it costs at least 2 or 3 euros!
    In the end, if you want to have a break with a coffee, don’t sit down but take it at the bar. I know that many people also recommend taking a look at the menu formulas but I think you can eat on a budget in Paris having the power to choose what to eat anyway.


  • More expensive: If you can spend lots of money to eat in Paris, you will find the place to go pronto!
    I would take a look at the reviews of the places where you want to go because even if French cuisine is famous all over the world, not every place propose the great tastes you are looking for.
    The top places to go are in Le Marais, the very heart of Paris. In this post about Le Marais, I suggest what to do there, where to eat and where to shop.
    If you want, you can also go to Italian restaurants and pizzerias or in Japanese restaurants: they both are expensive but when you pay a lot of money to buy in these places, it is also a guarantee that you are eating fresh food cooked by a pro.
    I also suggest trying expensive gourmet burgers (I love Bioburger). If you want to try the luxury of a very expensive breakfast in Paris, don’t forget to order a Café Gourmand too! You will get coffee and French sweets.


Shopping in Paris


  • On a budget: I always suggest going to markets but in this case, you might have a plus reason to go. In flea markets, you can find clothes and food that have a cheap price but not cheap quality.
    You might have the chance to buy something of the most famous brands in shops in Le Marais or Champs Elysees avenue. This only if in the sales season! When you can buy with sales in Paris, you are sure to make great affairs.


  • More expensive: The most expensive stores you can go to are the ones of the most expensive brands in Paris! Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Gucci, Prada, Rolex, Chanel, and Cartier are the most expensive brands in Paris.
    It is very difficult to recommend the greatest shopping mall. I would go to Galeries Lafayette and BHV in Le Marais! There are many shopping streets there.
    Also, you can consider Champs Elysees avenue as a huge open-air shopping mall. You will find lots of shops in the greatest brands from all over the world. It’s the place to be for very fashionistas!


Tricky topics


  •  Paris vs London
    If you are in Paris for a long stay, you have all the time to go at least for one day to London. Somebody might think that London is even more expensive than in Paris. The truth is that the food is cheaper and most of the museums are free, so I wouldn’t worry that much.
    London is amazing: why losing the chance to visit it?


  •  Disneyland Paris
    Disneyland is tricky for money because you can save some money or at least know how much you are going to spend to enter thereby buying your ticket online. Anyway, even if you book everything in advance with meals included, you will spend more money once you are there even to buy a bottle of water. There are not many possibilities to save money or living on a budget in Disneyland Paris. Anyway, you can still afford to go there if you do everything carefully.