Ah, Paris. There’s so much to do and see. A stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries, sipping mint tea at the splendid Café de la Mosque, or contemplating one historic monument after another while on the number 38 bus. These are just a few of the many idyllic pleasures Paris has to offer. But wait – it’s possible to do all of this for well under 10 euros! C’est une blague?! No, it’s not a joke. Here are some more ways to economize.
Arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport
Fresh off a flight that may have lasted eight or more hours, the intrepid traveler now must negotiate his way to the hotel, apartment, or hostel where he will stay. He won’t take a taxi. And he definitely won’t accept limousine service from the representatives who approach him. He won’t even take the Air France Bus (€12), Roissybus (€8.40) or the RER train (€8). Since he packed light, he’s getting on the city bus.
Paris City Bus Lines 350 and 351
With small bags and a little extra time, traveling into the city on lines 350 and 351 is the cheapest option, at €4.20. The buses pick up passengers at terminals one and two. Line 350 ends at Gare de l’Est. Line 351’s final destination is at Place de la Nation. The buses don’t run at night, however, and nobody should take the city bus with a lot of luggage. Discover France! has handy route maps for both lines at their site.
Apartments in Paris
Our budget-minded traveler may like pinching centimes, but he enjoys living comfortably so he’s renting an apartment. Even hostels like Perfect Hotel & Hostel offer fully equipped apartments for €30 a night. With a kitchen, it’s possible to make one’s own meals, and this means going shopping at the outdoor markets, which is really fun and easy on the pocketbook. Sites like locaflat.com have listings for apartments, where rates become lower the longer the stay.
An Evening at the Louvre
Tuesdays and Fridays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. the Louvre museum offers a discount to visitors. Entry is €6 instead of the usual €9. For those under 26, Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. is free. Inside one of the world’s most magnificent palaces at night, enjoying the museum without the shuffling hordes, saving €3… what could be better?
Tati: Les Plus Bas Prix!
Many people rave about the department store sales that take place in January and at the end of June. Because this is the only time the big stores have sales, prices are drastically reduced. But Tati is always cheap. With cute tunic sweaters for €9.99 and men’s jeans for €7.99, who could feel bad about missing the sales? Used clothing stores have also become hugely popular over the past decade, with shops like Vérotonic offering designer label items by big names like Hermès, Dior, Chanel, and Versace.
Ethnic Eats in Paris
The traveler looking for a deal might get a sandwich at a corner bakery for lunch. Some bakeries have paninis, too. In addition to these simple basics, there is a wealth of inexpensive ethnic restaurants in Paris. In the Marais, there are a few great falafel joints. And passage Brady is not to be missed: it’s a covered walkway full of Indian
restaurants. For those who read French, there’s this forum, where participants tell where to get a great meal for under €10. There’s French cuisine in there, too.
These are just a few of many ways to have fun on a budget in Paris. There are also the marché aux puces, or the flea markets. And the cathedrals: Notre Dâme, St. Eustache, Basilique de St.-Denis, Sacré Cœur, to name a few. And of course there is baguette – affordable and scrumptious. Finally, remember that not everyone is rich in Paris: thousands of students, recent immigrants, and regular old working Joes live there. Travelers can hang out where they are and enjoy themselves.