I think we’ve all dreamt of going to Paris at least once in our life. And some of us may have even been thinking about it since we were kids. I, for one, couldn’t stop thinking about going to Paris ever since I watched Mr. Bean The Movie. Wouldn’t you wanna try fresh oysters and huge ass prawns in Paris after watching Mr. Bean? But here’s the problem, you’re tight on budget. You’re only a student (or on a student budget) and you think you can’t enjoy the best of Paris. WRONG. Anyone can enjoy the city of love without spending a million bucks. And I’m here to tell you how to visit Paris on a budget!
1. Buy food from the farmer’s market
Restaurants are crazy expensive. One meal can cost you up to €25 (Php 1,500 or 30 USD) and the cheapest meal costs €15 (Php 900 or 18 USD). And most of the restaurants you’ll probably end up going to are tourist traps. I know you may think “Oh, I’m in Paris so every restaurant must be good” but that’s what they’re counting on you to think. You’ll usually find them right next to popular tourist attractions and oftentimes, they’re just really overpriced low quality meals.
So, you’re better off buying from small food stalls and the farmer’s market. You can make your own sandwich by buying bread, cheese, greens, and meat (ALL FRESH) and it will only cost you more or less €5 (Php 300 or 6 USD). If you can cook your own meals, then it’s also really cheap to buy from the grocery store. You can even find absolutely delicious French wine for as little as €1 (Php 60 or 1.20 USD).
2. Shop at thrift stores
Paris is home to so many quirky and charming thrift stores selling items ranging from books to clothes to vintage items. You can spend a whole day walking around little alleyways and I’m telling you, you won’t miss a single thrift store. If you look hard enough in these stores, you might even snag branded clothes from Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton at a really discounted price! Crazy!
3. Visit museums for free
Most entrance to major museums in Paris are FREE but you have to be an EU citizen. For holders of tourist visas and short term ones (less than 3 months of validity), you can enter some museums in Paris for free but only on certain days of the month. But for non EU citizen who have long term Schengen visas, then you can visit all major museums in Paris for free. For a more detailed post, read my post on free admission to Paris museums.
4. Use automated public toilets
It may sound like a weird tip for how to travel Paris on a budget but using toilets in Paris will cost you at least €1 (Php 60). And you may not notice it but every little thing adds up. I actually prefer using these automated toilets because they are cleaned automatically every after use and they are open 24/7. And of course, because it’s for free.
5. Rent a bike with Velib bike-share
Like most major cities in Europe, Paris has a really great bike-sharing system called Velib. If you rent the bike for less than 30 minutes, it’s free. How does it work? First, you have to register in one of the bike stations. Make sure to fill in your credit card details in case you lose the bike. Then you will get a number as a key-code to open the lock of your bike. If you go beyond 30 minutes, they’ll charge you around €2 (Php 120 or 2.40 USD) per hour.
So what I do is I return and rent a bike every 30 minutes. That way, I get to explore Paris the whole day without spending a single cent on metro tickets, which cost at least €1.20 (Php 77 or 1.50 USD). Nor do I have to spend for the bike rent itself. Note that Velib will automatically charge your credit card once you exceed the free 30-minute window. So better set an alarm clock!
I traveled Paris (on a budget) while I was doing my Erasmus in Prague back in 2017. For 5 days I was able to cover all major sights in Paris because of these tips. And because I traveled Paris on a budget, I got to treat myself with a fancy lunch complete with dessert .
So like I told you, every little thing adds up. These 5 simple tips to travel Paris on a budget will definitely help you save money. If you like doing activities, then try to use Klook.com. I love using this website because they always have discounted vouchers for a lot of tourist sights and adventures. And in case you haven’t booked your accommodation, here are my suggestions:
For solo travelers: I recommend you to stay at a hostel. This way, you can stay at the cheapest dorm room possible while making friends along the way. You can search through Hostelworld.com for the hostel that best suits your preferences!
For group travelers: Try using Booking.com which gives you a list of hotels around the city. You can sort and filter it based on your preferences as well. If you use my link, you can also get 10% OFF your booking! Or for a cheaper alternative, try Airbnb! Sign up using this link and get
If you plan to travel Europe by bus, then make sure to book with Flixbus. They offer the cheapest fares and have the most convenient app to manage all your bookings. I personally used Flixbus when I traveled Europe for 5 months! Click the link for a discount!
If you have any more tips, please do share it in the comment box below!