10 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Trip to Paris

10 ways to save money on your next trip to Paris

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Trip to Paris

Traveling to Paris can be expensive, but there are small ways to save a little extra money along the way to make your trip more affordable. You can still have a great time without breaking the bank! Below are 10 tips to save money on your next trip to Paris. If you have any tips to share with readers, feel free to comment below.

P.S. I highly recommend purchasing a Paris Pass. Skip the lines, save time and money. If you are planning to visit a few museums or Versailles this pays for itself. You will fast-track to the front of the line at major monuments and museums across Paris.

Flight Deals

My favorite app for scoring flight deals is Hopper and you can also set a Google flight alert. You can set alerts on your phone for dates you are looking at traveling. It will send you a notification when there is a good fare. I always book directly with the airline vs going through third-party selling websites. Keeping an eye on flight deals will really help save costs, this is a great way to score a deal on airline ticket prices.

10 ways to save money on your next trip to Paris

Travel in The Off Season

The summer months are a popular time to travel in Paris and hotels and airfare are a lot more expensive. The high season runs from spring through summer. If you have the opportunity to travel at a different time of the year such as in January/February or late October/November you will have much better deals on flights and hotels. January is cold but I really love visiting when the city is quiet. I have gotten tickets from Chicago for $500 for January and the hotels have been extremely reasonable. You are much more likely to get upgraded at hotels during this time too due to low occupancy.

Ride the RER into Central Paris from the Airport

The RER B goes directly from the Charles de Gaulle airport to Gare du Nord which is located in the city center. This is the cheapest way to the center of the city. Make sure you have a few euros before you land in Paris just in case the machine doesn’t accept your credit card. I have had trouble with this machine in the past and it is much easier to pay cash. There are ticket booths to buy your RER tickets with a person in English. Depending on how many people you are traveling with and the amount of luggage, this is a great option. If you are traveling solo, this is the best way. For group travel, it may be a better deal to split a taxi or Uber.

Beware of pickpockets on this train. But as long as you watch your belongings you should be ok. For more safety tips you can see this post. Once you are at Gare du Nord you can either take a quick taxi/uber to your destination or hop on the metro. Make sure to keep your ticket with you to exit and enter the RER and metro.

Museum Pass/ Free Museums

On the first Sunday of the month, a good amount of the museums in Paris offer free admission. The free museums include the Musee D’Orsay and the Centre Pompidou. (for the full list see this post) Plan accordingly for long lines. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to get them all seen in one day. Pick one or two and stop for lunch in between.

Buy a Paris pass for two or three days. You will have access to major attractions and museums in the city. This includes the Arc de Triomphe which has a great view of the Eiffel Tower. The Louvre museum, Versailles, and L’Orangerie are also included on the Paris museum pass. Versailles is a great day trip from Paris.

10 ways to save money on your next trip to paris

10 ways to save money on your next trip to paris

Picnic in Paris

Weather permitting, create a picnic lunch or dinner in the park. I love Place des Vosges or Jardin du Luxembourg for this. You can stop by a local market or grocery store and grab picnic supplies or try grabbing a baguette sandwich at a local boulangerie. It’s a great place to people-watch and enjoy the beautiful parks of Paris. If you are traveling solo, bring a book and spend an afternoon in the garden.

10 ways to save money on your next trip to paris

Visit the Local Markets

Visiting The Bastille Market is my favorite Sunday activity. Even when I am staying in a hotel, I still love to people-watch and walk up and down the aisles. The French eat seasonally so expect to see fruits and vegetables to coordinate with the time of year. Try the apples and pears in the fall, berries in the spring, and apricots in the summer.

If I am staying in an apartment, I love picking up roast chicken and potatoes. This can cost around 10 -15 euros depending on how many people you are feeding. I did this with my family when they visited in 2016 on Rue Cler and it is still one of their favorite memories. There are a few Rôtisseries on market streets such as Rue Cler or Rue de Bretagne. On Sundays, expect a line because you won’t be the only one with the same idea.

cheese at the Paris Bastille Market everyday parisian

Enjoy Coffee at the Bar vs Sitting Down

The price of a coffee at the bar is half the price of sitting down, around 2.50 euros to 9 euros. It all depends if you are looking for a long sit to read or people watch or a quick coffee. The price is listed at the bar so you won’t be surprised when you get your bill. I personally love standing at the bar early in the morning, it is usually a bunch of men and me but the people-watching is great! Some of the coffee bars have stools if you want to sit for a minute. Typically, the French will stand take a quick coffee pay with euros and leave.

When you order a coffee at a café, the table is yours for as long as you like. This is a good option if you are planning out your next activity or waiting out the rain. Once you order your drink, the waiter may leave you a ticket when he brings your drink but you don’t have to pay and leave quickly. It may take a bit of time to flag down your waiter to pay the bill, this is typical French culture. If you are in a hurry, you can pay as soon as the waiter delivers your bill.

Modern coffee spots are a bit different where the price is the same to enjoy it in the shop or for takeaway.

Paris coffee and drink prices at a typical Parisian bar

Parisian Breakfast

Depending on how you booked your hotel room, you make get a free breakfast included in the rate. If you have to pay an additional fee for breakfast, it’s a good idea to skip it. A croissant at a boulangerie (bakery) will cost you around a euro. This is easy to pick up at any bakery in Paris that you walk by, of course, there are some that are better than others, you can see some of my favorites here.

A typical Parisian breakfast at a local café is a croissant and coffee (or tea). There are some variations that include a tartine which is a baguette with butter and jam and a hot drink, they may offer fresh squeezed orange juice.

a typical Parisian breakfast at a café

Lunch in Paris

Prix fixe menus can save you a lot of money on food, this includes a starter and a main course or a main course and dessert for a reduced price. Daily specials will be written on a chalkboard menu or a specific menu to order off of for the prix fixe. They may offer a similar meal at dinner but this will be a better deal in terms of value and cheaper. Lunch in Paris is the main meal of the day and the French typically go lighter for dinner.

Pro tip: The tap water in Paris is perfectly safe to drink. Instead of ordering a bottle of water for a meal which can be over 5 euros, ask your waiter for une carafe d’eau. Save that 5 euros for a glass of wine instead 😉

You can purchase bottled water at the grocery which is much cheaper than buying it out. There are several different brands, just look at the price per bottle when purchasing. Max cost should be around one euro. They do charge extra for chilled water so unless you really need it, just head to the back of the store to grab water.

10 ways to save money on your next trip to paris

Ride the Metro / Purchase a Carnet of Tickets

Public transportation is a great way to get around the city of Paris. There are metro stations at all major tourist attractions around the city. You can buy a pack of 10 metro tickets at a reduced price and can purchase these at the machine in English or in person at a ticket booth.

Make sure to hold onto your ticket until you exit, I have been stopped a few times to show my ticket and the fine is 50 per person. They don’t really make exceptions for tourists that don’t speak French.

P.S. For don’t miss my post on Budget Friendly Hotels in Paris. All are under $200.

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  1. Hi, I will be going Paris 11/9-11/16. In your expert opinion should I bring a rain coat, trench, or parka? I’m from Chicago 🙂

    I am really stressing about what to wear daily, what coat and shoes. Its crazy.

  2. Hi Rebecca – love your blog, especially the fashion notes and insider tips.  
    Question:  In your recent photo shoot with the Sezane sweater and Sarah Flint boots — you’re wearing skinny jeans, rather than straight leg.  Are both styles still pretty much on trend?  I will be in Paris, Normandie and Loire Valley in November and looking at denim options now.  Thoughts?

  3. Also look out for offers on travel that may be included with your train tickets. You can save on a Seine cruise with some tickets and also ride the trundle around Montmartre at a reduced cost or for free. Been a couple of years since i last went, so i cant remember details, but it is definitely worth checking. A great way to see the city if the weather is decent is to ride the hop on hop off buses. But definitely pre purchase tickets for these as they are much more expensive to buy on the day.

  4. Terrific tips, thank you.! You an also buy a carnet of tickets from any Tabac displaying the turquoise RATP sign outside their shop. They will also recharge your Navigo Pass.
    A handy way to get into town from CDG is Le Bus Direct. It stops at each terminal, there are 2 different routes with convenient stops in Paris, and you can print your ticket at home or keep it on your device: 18€/one way, 31€/round trip.

  5. I love the list. I’ve lived in Paris and been there several times after that and I’ve never been to the market in Bastille! I will certainly add to my list of places to go! I would also suggest adding to that list: “Walk”. Paris is such a a “walkable city” and you can enjoy it a lot more when walking, instead of underground using the subway. Planning where you want to go that day and wearing comfortable shoes is all you need.