Money Saving Tips for Paris {or Any City}
Leah Walker January 11, 2013

I spent more on my ten days in Paris than I did the other twenty days in Europe combined, and that’s not counting the Louis Vuitton purse, Frédéric Malle perfume, or the two Frey Willie rings I bought. Paris is fabulous, but oh-so-expensive, y’all.

Paris_Tower

Even though I love to travel, I understand how expensive it can be when you’re planning a holiday to a popular {and expensive} destination like Paris. Costs add up…coffee, subway rides, pain au chocolat, wine, cheese, entrance fees….you wouldn’t believe how much a trip can be if you are not careful with your planning. This is why it is absolutely essential to make all of your arrangements ahead of time in order to find the best deals possible. Here are five tips to book your trip to Paris {or any city} without breaking the bank:

Plan Ahead

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Duh, right? Even though it’s an obvious tip, it’s one of the best pieces of advice I can give to anyone wanting to visit the City of Light. By planning months in advance, you will be able to get the cheapest deals for Paris. It’s actually amazing at the amount of money saved when you avoid booking things at the last minute. Set a date as soon as possible and then immediately start shopping around and making arrangements.

Go in the Off-Season

Paris_Corilion

I’m not a fan of crowds or high prices, so traveling in the off season is something that I regularly do. Paris is pretty crowded in the spring and summer, therefore with a higher demand comes higher prices. The only problem with traveling in the off season is that you may miss out on certain Parisian festivals or activities during the high season. That’s not something that I really care about, but it is something to consider nonetheless.

Research Hotels & Don’t Be Afraid to Travel

Paris_LockBridge

Location…Location…Location. The closer you are to the heart of Paris the more you’re going to pay. One thing I suggest to people is that you need to research your hotels carefully. Always look at reviews before booking and don’t be afraid to get a hotel on the outskirts of the city. Traveling a bit will help you save money in the long run. This is one way to save additional money. I stayed in the 10th arrondissement, which certainly wasn’t in the city center. However, it was a short walk to the subway and a few stops away from everything I wanted to see.  Research is everything when traveling, especially for those who may have never been to Paris.

Saving Money When Flying

Paris_Night

Flights are another thing to keep in mind when traveling to Paris as it’s often the greatest single expense. Booking a flight can be incredibly expensive, but one way that I save money is by continually gathering and using frequent flyer miles. These are reward points that add up the more that you travel. If you travel often like I do then there is a good chance that you’ve already racked up some miles. If you’re not a frequent flyer or don’t use a credit card that helps you accumulate miles {you should do this!}, then set price alerts on various Websites that will send you emails when the price drops for your desired route.

Always Use the Internet

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I’m on the computer often and always have my eyes pealed for deals. I’ve always found it more convenient, less time consuming, and cost efficient to do my booking online. The Internet allows you to research, compare, and read reviews. You can usually save money just by researching and comparing different flights, hotels, tours, and events online. Also, Twitter and Facebook are great sources to find travel deals. And BONUS, the money saved on hotel and flights can be put towards important Parisian experiences like shopping, drinking Champagne, and eating macaroons.

Paris_OperaHouse

I’m already plotting my return to Paris in the spring. Flight alerts are set, points are being accrued, and my craving for pain au chocolat and Bordeaux wine is growing by the day. Jusqu’à ce que nous nous reverrons, Paris.

Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, USA Today 10 Best, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel and wine ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's lived in Paris for four years, and was awarded additional time with a Passeport Talent visa renewal. Though, her talent for speaking French is abysmal.

26 Comments

  1. Great tips! Don’t forget to play with the days of the week when looking for cheap flights, ask for hotels to include breakfast in the price, stock up on bottled water and snacks at Monoprix or Carre Four to keep on hand and spend less on the hotel which gives you more money to spend during the day.
    Bon voyage,
    Priscilla

    1. For sure, Priscilla. Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays always seem to be more expensive when flying. I always hit up a grocery store for water and a few nibbles. It saves a ton of money and is more convenient.

  2. Personally, I am a huge fan of shoulder season. Less expensive that peak but nicer weather than off! Frequent fliers and hotel loyalty programs certainly go a long way too! I also like to eat at restaurants a few streets off the main drag…they get away from all the tourists and tend to have more locals, better prices and sometimes, better food! (I remember reading about restaurants in a major tourist destination and the recommendation was to avoid them as their attention to quality ingredients was lower as they knew their customers were not repeats but tourists passing through! Mind you – I have yet to have a bad meal in Paris!!!!) Thanks for the flight alerts tip…haven’t used that one yet!

    1. I agree, Anita, the shoulder season is also an excellent option. And I never eat near main attractions and rarely in places that have their menu in English…except in China. I needed a menu with photos to order there. Great tips. Thanks!

  3. Great tips indeed. I’m a huge planner and do everything I can to save money- hate knowing I’m on a seat of a plane that could have cost half!
    Also try to avoid school holidays as much as possible!!

    1. Oh, I always look around and want to know what everyone else paid. I get so angry when I see the price drop, which usually happens about two days after I’ve bought the ticket. Now I just don’t torture myself with looking.

  4. Great timing! I’m planning a trip to Paris (Eurostar) in February and I’ve been wondering if it’s going to be cold and miserable. Then I thought…Hey! It’s Paris! I can eat and museum my way through the cold, dark day, yes? Now, if I could only choose one of the 100 great hotels I found…

    1. Yes, Paris is Paris. I was there in the cold and a bit of rain. It didn’t matter. I just walked around and didn’t care. Have fun!

  5. I live in Paris and hear you on those little things adding up–I’ve decided to cut down on my cafes this year and brew coffee at home so I’ll have more money for macarons and dining out! For those who want to save money on food but don’t want to dine a la Monoprix, I’ve also got a list on my site of my ten favorite places/dishes to eat in Paris under 10 euro.

    1. Yes, Edna, I’m sorry we weren’t able to arrange a meeting when I was there. Please post the link to your post. I, and I’m sure many others, would love to read it.

  6. both times i’ve been to paris, it was the off season–first in october (right after fashion week) and then in february for the superbowl (feminine wiles made that one happen). it felt even more special being there when it was a little on the quiet side. plus, more macarons for moi. ha ha haaaaa! xo, the romantic

    1. It is nice not being surrounded by a million tourists, isn’t it? It’s certainly worth dealing with the possibly sub-par weather. I say we plan a return trip. What say you?

  7. Thank you for the great tips and tricks. We’re knee deep in our Paris travel plans and are taking all of this into account. I don’t think I’ll be able to say no to pain au chocolat or macarons though. SO.GOOD.

    1. Yeah, don’t skimp on the pastries. And again, you know how to reach me for the rest of my tips, tricks, and opinions. 😉 I’m glad you’re finally headed to the City of Light.

    1. I’m pretty sure if you’re traveling with unicorns then you wouldn’t need any money. It’s a fact. Unicorns poop gold bars.

  8. Living on coffee and baguettes in Paris, I usually don’t spend a ton there. But good tips here – knowing when to go is definitely key!

    1. You can afford to do that with your fabulous figure. 🙂 Wait until you’re my age…never mind. It still won’t matter for you.

  9. Great tips! I actually went off season as you mentioned. Tickets from Chicago to Paris the week of Thanksgiving we’re reasonable. Also, I’d recommend getting the weekly train pass if you fly in on a Monday which is good for 7 days. It’s called Navigo Découverte. You’ll need an extra passport photo since they’ll put it on the pass. This pass will get you through all the zones on the train so you can go from the airport to the center of Paris as well as all the way to Versailles.

  10. I’m already plotting my return to Paris in the spring. Flight alerts are set, points are being accrued, and my craving for pain au chocolat and Bordeaux wine is growing by the day. Jusqu’à ce que nous nous reverrons, Paris.

    Those are the best lines I have read… I am a budding Travel writer and I think I’ll end up digging a tunnel from India to the rest of the world if I don’t get a trip soon. 🙂

    Incredible tips! I love meeting new people and I think Off seasons are the time to do it!

    https://therevolvingworld.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/why-i-started-blogging-and-other-facts-about-the-place-i-have-visited-over-ten-times/

    1. What a kind thing to say, Hardeep. Thank you. Best of luck in the travel writing and getting that next trip. I can certainly relate with what you’re feeling. Just switch Texas for India. 😉

  11. One of the obvious saving that you failed to mention is the use of a rented apartment over the hotels. We have used the services of Perfectly Paris for over a decade and have always saved monty. Her address is perfectlyparis.com. Check it our. You will become a fan I am sure.

    1. Yes, you’re correct. I’ve stayed in an apartment in November and will stay in an apartment next weekend in Paris.

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