Paris on a Budget

February 19, 2019

by Nisha Shankar

Are you one of those folks who’s always aspired to travel a lot, especially to different countries, but somehow lacked the means? It can seem a pretty daunting task to plan for a vacation that looks so clearly out of your reach. That’s what a lot of us think. I thought that way too. But with a little foresight and quite a bit of sound planning you can bring life to that dream of yours. Take it out of the dusty shelf you’ve put it in and breathe new life into it. Let’s dive in and discuss some of the best places to visit in Paris along with a few tips on how to do it on a budget and without making a huge dent in your savings.

Top tips for a low budget vacation to Paris:

Touted to be the most romantic city on earth, Paris offers a plethora of options for the starry eyed first timers. Once you land at Charles de Gaulle, you will find that the metro is quite simply the most economical and easy option to get around here. The entire city is very well connected and it is possible to get everywhere you want to go. Download the Paris metro map  to chart out your course.

Easy on the clothes, not on your tummy. Resist the temptation to pack multiple clothing options and instead plan to pack a lot of snacks, protein bars and instant meals because eating out every time will prove to be an expensive luxury. Plan a few meals outside so you can sample the culinary treasures of your dream destination, but try and keep them minimal. Supermarkets also come in handy for staples that don’t cost much.

Take some time out to check out blogs and recent articles on this subject. Airbnbs can be helpful when you compare them with hotel pricing but for those who find them a bit on the pricey side, sites like Booking.com and Expedia.com provide low-priced, comfortable accommodations. Always make sure to check the ratings and reviews of wherever you decide to stay, make sure it comes equipped with a kitchenette and book months in advance to ensure cheaper rates.

Carry a water bottle at all times. There are a few water fountains around the city which you can use to save on the cost of water.

Make sure that the bags/backpacks you carry are lightweight and small in size. There are quite a few locations in Europe which do not allow large personal belongings to be taken inside. So, travel light with only your essentials.

Must see places in Paris:

Once you are off on your adventure, here are a few of my recommendations you may like to visit.

Arc de Triomphe:

An architectural masterpiece situated at the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle, built to honour the valiant brave hearts of France and commissioned by Napoleon himself.

Arc de Triomphe

Neoclassical sculpture in Arc de Triomphe

Avenue des Champs-Élysées:

From the Arc de Triomphe located at the western end, window shopping enthusiasts can take a walk down this avenue which has a variety of luxury shopping stores.

The Louvre:

The most famous museum in the world also houses the mysterious Mona Lisa. Your trip won’t be complete without taking a peek at her and the other beautiful renditions by the Great Masters. From experience, I recommend getting your museum pass well in advance, online. Owing to the space you will have to cover, I also suggest that you download the Louvre map, as well as free apps like Rick Steve’s audio guide in advance on your phone, to help you navigate the vast museum without a paid tour guide, easier. And pay attention to the entrance you pick because this simple act is bound to save you a lot of time. It is always going to be crowded, but it helps if you choose the Carrousel du Louvre over the others.

The Musée d’Orsay:

While not quite as popular as the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay houses some beautiful paintings including those of Van Gogh and quite a few sculptures for the discerning art aficionado.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris:

A beautiful serene Catholic church that speaks volumes in its Gothic architectural majesty and more in the spiritual silence that settles on you when you step inside. The stained-glass windows and vaulted ceilings are bound to immediately draw your attention. Try to visit the cathedral early in your day to escape the crowds that flock in as time wears on.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Tour Eiffel:

The wrought iron lattice of the Eiffel Tower, one of the seven wonders of the modern world, is a definite choice for anyone visiting Paris. Since this is the most visited paid monument in the world, you should be prepared to navigate a heavy queue for quite a period of time to gain entrance. But the view is seriously worth the time spent.

Champ de Mars:

Spread a blanket and settle down for an unhampered view of the majestic Eiffel Tower at Champ de Mars, which is a public park nearby. This is an ideal spot for photography buffs who want to get the iconic setting just right.

The Tour Maine-Montparnasse:

This is for those of you who want to savour the experience of looking down at the Eiffel Tower. It is the only building which is taller than the Eiffel Tower and offers a magnificent bird’s eye view of the entire city from the observation deck right at the top. Strangely enough, this tower doesn’t see the same crowds as the other tourist spots. It’s relatively empty and for those itching to experience an unhindered and relaxed panoramic view, this is a good option.

Jardin du Luxembourg or the Tuileries Garden:

If you want a leisurely stroll through gorgeous gardens, experiencing the fresh air, greenery and beautifully manicured lawns, you can opt for these, one of which is located right next to the Louvre.

Château de Versailles:

But in my personal opinion, you are in for a treat if you choose to visit the Versailles Palace and more importantly the gardens, to encounter the true beauty of nature. The palace itself is quite beautiful and can take almost half a day to explore, but make sure you don’t leave before you’ve experienced the exquisiteness of the gardens. If you are ever here, make sure to buy a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice sold by vendors in carts all around the gardens and believe me when I say that it will be the best you ever tasted in your life.

Palace of Versailles

Versailles Gardens

The Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Sainte-Chapelle:

They also offer much in the way of architecture. The stained-glass windows which glow like jewels, gilded columns and the fleur-de-lis symbol are a recurrent theme in many of these buildings.

 

Sacré-Cœur Basilica

The Pantheon:

Looking for architectural diversity? You can visit the Pantheon to have your fill of Grecian designs and construction.

Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité:

Scenic and pretty, these are picturesque little natural islands on the river Seine. There is nothing specific to do here, but the cobbled roads, cafés and apartments with flowering window boxes are the perfect eye candy.

Shakespeare and Company bookstore in the Latin Quarter:

For avid bookworms, no trip to Paris will be complete without paying a visit to this iconic, quaint and old-fashioned place, housing a variety of books.

Rue Cler:

This is one of the most famous markets in Paris, filled to bursting with fruit stalls and other eateries and undeniably worth a visit for foodies.

Every street has a boulangerie or pâtisserie and you can find shops galore, selling sweet and savoury crêpes. So you can munch on hot chocolate croissants (Pain au chocolat), baguettes, tarts and every other French pastry your heart desires, as you explore the city. On the plus side, these are inexpensive as well as delicious!

Confectionery store

 

That concludes my recommendations.

What are you waiting for? Start planning your budget vacation right now! Bon voyage!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nisha Shankar

By Nisha Shankar

I'm someone who's loved reading right from when I was eight. Writing of course happened as part of the natural progression of things. I've been writing stuff for quite sometime now and have published a book - 'Wednesday's child and other stories' available on Amazon. I'm not someone who's an extrovert so I find writing a way of expression that suits me best. Not very keen on self praise but if I've got to say something about my style then I'll just say I've got a flair for language and a narrative style of writing that is uniquely me.

Read more at thebroadmindedtraditionalist.com

Leave a Comment...

Iniya

February 22, 2019

Neatly written and so very useful...it really makes someone to plan a trip to Paris soon...

Sriram

February 22, 2019

Very informative and feels like a must visit place once in a Life time. Kudos to the writer for narrating such beautiful Travel Destination in a nut shell.

Venkat

February 22, 2019

Awesome blog!! Amazingly well written and captures all the important info one needs for a budget trip to Paris!!

Neha Bhardwaj

February 22, 2019

I loved reading through the article. Look forward to visit Paris. :)

Neeraja

February 22, 2019

Took me to Paris! Very nicely written

Padma Malini Shankaran

February 22, 2019

Well written, Nisha! Makes me want to pack my bags and set sail!