Traveling internationally doesn't have to be expensive. After living in Paris for a number of years, I’ve compiled a list of 12 ways to save money in Paris, France. Today, I’m excited to share with you my biggest tips and tricks for saving money in the city of lights!
Take the metro or walk
A simple way to save money in Paris is to avoid using Uber and take the metro or walk. The Paris Metro system is one of the most connected, and easiest metro system to use in the world. Paris is a big city but relatively small at the same time, you'd be surprised how walkable the city is. I always tell people when they come to visit to make sure to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes because you will be walking at least 10,000 steps a day.
If you're traveling from CDG and don’t have a lot of luggage then you can definitely take the Metro into the city. It’s important to be aware that not all metro stations have elevators so you might have to carry your suitcase up and down steps. If you do decide to take a car service from the CDG be aware that taxi drivers and Uber drives have a set amount that charge based upon where you are staying. If you travel to the left bank then the set amount is €53, if you’re traveling to the right bank the set amount is €58.
Use Google flight to book your flight and Track Flights
To save money before you even travel to Paris, make sure you use Google Flights and set up alerts to track the flight. If you are flexible on the dates you want to travel, you can specify how long you want to go to Paris and months you are open to going. Then let google do their thing, and every couple days it will send you alerts for cheap flights to Paris. I’ve seen roundtrip tickets from NYC for less than $400.
Take advantage of the Vat TAX Refund
If you plan to go shopping in Paris and spend over 100 Euros, you qualify for what’s called the VAT TAX refund. The VAT Tax refund allows you to receive on average a 12% refund on the items you purchase. This is a great way to save money in Paris when shopping. If you want more details about the VAT TAX Refund I’ve written an article about the entire process.
Avoid tourist restaurants
Another easy way to save money in Paris is to avoid restaurants in the tourist areas. The best rule of thumb to follow is if the restaurant is on the corner and has a view of a famous Parisian monument it’s more likely going to be a tourist restaurant which means higher prices and not as good of food. I would recommend finding a hole in the wall restaurants that has no more than 20 seats inside. The best restaurants I’ve found are off the main roads. Keep in mind that tipping in Paris, is very different from tipping in the US.
Shop during the Summer / Winter sales in Paris / Vintage shopping
Stay at a budget friendly hotel or Airbnb or shared rental
One of the biggest expenses you’ll have when traveling to Paris is your accommodations. The best way to save money on your accommodations in Paris is to stay at a budget friendly hotel, an Airbnb or even a shared rental. If you are open to staying a little outside the city then you can find some amazing deals.
Pack a lunch and have a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower
An easy way to save money in Paris is to simply head to the grocery store (Monoprix, Carrefour, Franprix) and pick up meats, cheese, snacks, and a bottle of wine. Then head over to the Eiffel Tower and enjoy a picnic. This is by far one of my favorite things to do in Paris during the summer. In addition to the Eiffel Tower area for a picnic, Paris is home to several free gardens that you can visit and enjoy an outdoor picnic at.
Free walking tours of Paris
Paris has several free walking tours available throughout the city. There are tour services out there that can take you around the city by foot. If you are looking to do a walking tour of the city by yourself there are several maps and routes online that you can take. Whenever I had people come visit me in Paris, I told them to put on a good pair of walking shoes and let's walk around and visit all the monuments. Paris is so beautiful you can easily spend all day walking around enjoying the city.
Take advantage of the museum pass
If you plan to visit multiple museums in Paris an easy way to save money is to take advantage of the museum pass. The museum pass allows you to visit over 50 museums for a discounted price. The price of the pass depends on how many days you want for the museum pass. I highly recommend this pass if you plan on visiting more than 4 museums in your stay in Paris.
Cook at home or ask for take away food if you don’t finish
Another great way to save money in Paris is to cook at home. This goes hand in and with booking an Airbnb. Parisian grocery stores are filled with meat, cheese, and tons of delicious food. Many times I would find myself having wine, cheese, cold cuts, and a baguette for dinner. If you don’t finish your meal when you dine out don’t be afraid to ask for your food to go. In Paris, it’s referred to as “take away.”
You don’t need to spend a lot on Wine
One way Parisians are able to save money is on knowing which wine to purchases. In France there are over 27,000 wineries and because of this you are able to get extremely affordable wine. When you go to the grocery store, alcohol shop or a restaurant you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a great bottle of wine. On average, we spend between 5–10 Euros for a delicious bottle of wine.
Take advantage of the free public bathrooms
A not so known way to save money in Paris is to take advantage of the free bathrooms around the city. Paris on average charges 1 Euro to go to the bathroom so if you can take advantage of the free ones that will save you some money. The best places to use free bathrooms include, department stores in Paris, Starbucks, and Paris has some free bathrooms located around the city outside (Although these typically aren't very clean).
Final Thoughts on ways to save money in Paris
Remember, that traveling to Paris doesn’t have to be expensive, there are several ways to save money while visiting the city and save money while shopping in Paris. Enjoy all the free things Paris has to offer! I’d love to hear in the comments if there were any money saving tips you used while visiting Paris.
Sincerely Petite in Paris,