icon
icon
article hero

Paris On A Budget: 10 Insider Tips You Need To Know

AvatarName

Syahirah Aiman  •  Mar 01, 2016

icon

[Updates as of 18 Jul 2019] Paris is the city of dreams: the romantic Seine, the captivating Eiffel.
Credit: giphy And while Paris may be associated with the more luxurious side of Europe, the truth is that Paris is indeed doable for those more conscious of their budget! To help you out, we've rounded up our to tips for travelling to Paris on a shoestring 😉 [Check out: Dine Like A Parisian At These 5 Muslim-Friendly Restaurants In Paris]
1. When to visit
It's probably no surprise that Paris' peak season for tourists is during the summer months (June to August). With sunny days and pleasant temperatures of about 20 degrees Celsius, it's a marvellous time to see Paris at its best. It also, however, means that it's usually the most expensive time to visit. The cheapest time to visit Paris is during the winter months, from December to February. Temperatures range in the low single digits (between 3 - 9 degrees Celsius), so as long as you get your Uniqlo Heatteach and wrap up warmly, it will still be wonderful visit, especially as you'll get to see all the Christmas splendour.
 Alternatively, you can opt for the shoulder months, which are the spring months of March to May as well as fall months of September to November. The spring months tend to see heavier rainfall, while in September hotel prices may still be high, thanks to it being the tail-end of the summer months, as well as the month in which Paris Fashion Week is held. It's best to track prices using TripAdvisor or other hotel aggregators and see what works for you! #HHWT Tip: The above are general guidelines, but do remember to bear in mind special events that may cause spikes in prices. This includes the Easter and spring break period in April as well Christmas-time in December.
2. Flights
 One great thing about Paris is that there are so many airlines that service routes there from KL, Singapore and Jakarta. Singapore has non-stop flights to Paris (through Singapore Airlines as well as Air France), while several airlines provide connecting flights from KL and Jakarta, including Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Oman Air, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, KLM and more. Given the competitive nature of the route, prices run the spectrum - based on our checks, flights were available from KL starting from RM2,200 onwards (with the Middle-Eastern airlines seeming to offer the best prices). Keep an eye for special deals with these airlines through their social media platforms. 
3. Accommodation
Try as best as possible, if you are on a budget, to ask friends, friends of friends, far-flung relatives, (you get the idea) etc. who are staying in Paris if you could stay with them. Nonetheless, there are always hostels and Airbnb apartments which start from around RM100 (SGD35). I would recommend staying around Chatelet or Montparnasse, as these areas are near most attractions and sights, plus halal food is fairly easy to get too. [caption id="attachment_6179" align="aligncenter" width="1084"]
airbnb-apartment
A Chatelet Airbnb, “Charming Apartment in the heart of Paris”, 50 € per night.[/caption]
4. Transport
Using public transport is an easy way to keep your costs low, and Paris has an established network in place that'll make it easy to get around. From the airport to the city
Credit: @loanav on Instagram One option to get to the city from the airport will be the train service (known as RER) from Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport. Take the RER B line from stations at either Terminal 1 or 2 of the airport to head to the central area of Paris (taking about 30 minutes). It costs EUR10.30 (or EUR7 for children aged 4 - 9) for a single trip, and you can buy tickets from vending machines easily available. 
Credit: @chat0n_v0yage on Instagram Another popular option is the Roissybus, which is an express bus service that operates between CDG airport to the Opera metro station, costing 12 €. There are also public buses that run from the airport too (Bus 350 that goes to Gare de L’est and bus 351 to Nation), costing EUR6. However, if you're bringing bulky luggage it might be more difficult to navigate! Around the city
Credit: @thierepy on Instagram Paris has a wide public transport network spanning the metro, tramway, bus and trains, which are operated by their transport service provider called RATP. The public transport network uses a zone system (zones 1 to 5), with fares increasing to travel to each subsequently-numbered zone. Correspondingly, there are a few different options in terms of tickets for using public transport. Locals use the Navigo pass (their version of Touch N' Go or EZ-link) which provides the cheapest access across all zones, however, Navigo is targeted towards residents - if you're not staying for an extended period of time in Paris or aren't a frequent visitor, it may not worth the hassle as a tourist to acquire one. If you do not plan to travel so frequently for one day, single trip tickets (known as t+ tickets) start from EUR1.90. You can also buy a booklet of 10 tickets for EUR14.90. The booklet can be shared between travellers. Read more about t+ tickets here. If you're planning to use public transport several times, another popular option for tourists in the Paris Visite travel card, which is convenient and fuss-free, although more expensive if you compare it with the Navigo pass. It is great for stays up to three days, after which the Navigo pass would be more value for money.
Credit: RATP You can choose a Paris Visite pass for either Zones 1-3 or for all zones (Zones 1-5). Subsequently, you can also choose how long your pass is valid for, starting from 1 day or up until 5 days. Prices for the pass start from EUR12 and go up depending on how many days the pass will be valid for and whether you choose Zones 1-3 or Zones 1-5. In terms of which pass to opt for, it will depend on which attractions you're visiting and what your itinerary is like, though Zones 1-3 is generally adequate unless you're planning to go to Disneyland Paris or Versailles. There are also some additional perks: with the Paris Visite pass, you're eligible for discounts at select attractions and stores, including 25% off the entrance fee to the Arc de Triomphe. 25% off the entrance fee to the Grévin Museum and 10% discount at Galeries Lafayette department store. Read more about the Paris Visite pass here. #HHWT Tip: Don't forget to write your first and last name on the travel pass, along with the starting and ending dates of validity. Read more about tips on using the pass here.
5. Take advantage of free walking tours
Free walking tours are the fastest way to see the city. The Sandemans has free English walking tours daily in Paris. The 3-hour tour visits, among other notable sights, the Notre Dame de Paris, Tuileries Garden, the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay.
6. Visit key attractions on free days
 There are simply too many things to see in Paris, which is chock-full of historical sites, monuments, world-class museums, and beautiful parks and neighbourhoods. But for a first-timer to Paris, there are a few places that end up on the must-visit list: places such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the Champs-Élysées. Check out this list for attractions that you can't miss! And it gets better: did you know that many of Paris' museums, monuments and key attractions offer free admission on one day of the first weekend of the month? This includes their most popular and impressive attractions such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacre Coeur and even the Louvre! For example, the Louvre is free for all visitors on the first Saturday of each month, while the Musée d'Orsay is free on the first Sunday of the month. If you time your visit to coincide with these free days, you'd definitely be able to save costs by not having to pay the admission fees. On the flip side, however, these free days naturally attract large crowds, and you may be waiting in line for a long time, especially in the warmer months when there are a lot more visitors in Paris.
7. Get a Paris Museum Pass
 If you aren't visiting Paris on the first weekend of the month, or perhaps you're not willing to deal with the crowds, another option that would be value-for-money is to the Paris Museum Pass (assuming that you are looking to visit a certain number of Paris' key paid attractions). 
Credit: @jeong_kim on Instagram The Paris Museum Pass (not to be confused with the Paris Pass) is a pass that gives you access to over 50 museums and monuments in Paris, and includes all the main attractions you'd want to visit. You can how the validity period of the pass (between 2, 4 or 6 days), and prices will vary accordingly (beginning from EUR48 or around RM222 or SGD76 for a 2-day pass). You can book your Paris Pass online at their website, or alternatively through third-party providers like Klook or KKday though it may be logistically easier to just purchase it upon arrival at CDG airport (vs. buying it online and having to arrange for delivery or pick-up of the physical pass). #HHWT Tip: Buying at the airport is a good idea, even though you can also buy it at many of the attractions where you'll be able to go to using the pass because there will likely be no crowds waiting to purchase the pass there. It's relatively easy to get your money's worth out of the pass - if you take a 2-day pass, you'd need to visit just 3-4 attractions to recoup your cost. But another awesome perk is that with the pass, you'll be able to skip queues (with the exception of the Palace of Versailles)! This alone might be a worthwhile factor to consider taking the pass, especially during the busier periods. 
8. Visit one of Paris' (many) free attractions
Paris has many, many free attractions that don't cost a penny to explore. If you're into art, there are several free art museums that will house amazing works of art like Rembrandt, Picasso and more. Notable free museums include the Petit Palais and the Paris Museum of Modern Art (though please note that the Paris Museum Of Modern Art is currently closed for renovations and will be re-opening in 11 October 2019). We've compiled a list of other free things you need to enjoy in Paris here, but below are some key places you can't miss! Grande Mosquée de Paris
Credit: @strangerdz16 on Instagram Constructed between 1922 and 1926, the Mosquée de Paris has a patio surrounded by sculpted arcades, like the Alhambra in Granada. I loved going here for Friday prayers because there would be a Quran tafseer (interpretation) class afterwards. Because of this, this mosque holds a special place in my heart. Opening hours:  From Subh to Ishaa’ daily  Address: 2bis Place du Puits de l'Ermite, 75005 Paris, France Phone: +33 (0)1 45 35 97 33 Nearest Metro Station: Censier - Daubenton (line 7) or Jussieu (lines 7 and 10) Info: Website #HHWT tip: Check out the mosque’s inner courtyard and garden. Really beautiful! Jardin du Luxembourg
1024px-Jardin_du_Luxembourg
Rdevany at English Wikipedia [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons The Jardin du Luxembourg is a manicured garden, perfect to have a picnic. Grab some sandwiches, chips, salads and drinks, and chill like the locals here. Opening hours: Opens between 7.30 am and 8.15 am, and closes between 4.30 pm and 9.30 pm according to the season Address: Rue de Médicis - Rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris, France Phone: +33 (0) 1 42 64 33 99 Nearest Metro Station: Odéon (Metro lines 4 and 10), or Luxembourg (RER B) Info: Website Avenue des Champs-Élysées
Credit: @vincentperryjr on Instagram Strolling along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, you really feel the ‘Frenchness’ of Paris. This epitome of luxury streets houses boutiques, flagship stores, restaurants, and hotels. It is quite difficult to find halal food in this street so please come with a full stomach! You would definitely need the energy to walk (shopping is optional!) this 1.9 km Avenue if you want to see all of it. (3.8 km to see both sides of the Avenue :p) Address: Avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France Nearest Metro Station: Charles de Gaulle Étoile (line 1) Info: Website #HHWT tip: Get off the Charles de Gaulle Étoile station. Admire the Arc de Triomphe and stroll from there down to Avenue des Champs-Élysées. This Avenue is pretty at night-time too!
8. Admire the Eiffel Tower from a different point of view
No visit to Paris is complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower! Built for the 1889 Paris Exposition, the Eiffel Tower was not intended to be permanent. Yet, over the years, it has developed to become synonymous with Paris. Start looking out for it even before you land, from your plane’s window. I tell you, it is such a thrill to spot it first from a bird’s eye view!
 And if you're on a tight budget, you need not be on top of the Eiffel tower to revel in its beauty. I recommend you drop off at Trocadéro Metro station, rather than Bir-Hakiem, then walk towards the Eiffel – it's a different (and in my opinion much better way to discover the Eiffel). Read these tips for more info you need to know when visiting the Eiffel Tower! #HHWT Tip: Please note that the Eiffel Tower observation deck, is not, unfortunately, included under the Paris Museum Pass 🙁 P.S. Check out these other picture-perfect spots you need to see in Paris!
9. Shop at lesser-known places
Barbès
Credit: @rahimo83 on Instagram I love Barbès because of its ghetto feel, halal restaurants, patisseries, and Muslimah-wear shops; it gives a different view of Paris. The Barbès market is below its Metro Station (Barbès – Rochechouart station, metro Lines 2 and Line 4), every Wednesday and Saturday, 7 am to 2.30 pm. #HHWT tip: Produce here is fresh and cheap. A kilogram of fresh ripe tomatoes, for example, is 1 €. In summer, try berries (strawberries, blueberries, etc) and stone fruits (apricots, peaches, etc) at a third or a quarter of prices that you would pay back home. Châtelet
IMG_6129
Credit: projetleshalles From branded clothing to ordinary streetwear, mass-produced to obscure labels, latest trends to vintage - Châtelet has it all! Chatelet is definitely more budget-friendly as compared to Avenue des Champs-Élysée. This is definitely a must-visit for those who adore shopping. Nearest metro is Châtelet – Les Halles.
10. Cheap food
 Paris has a rich culinary scene that's a wonderful melting pot of all the cultures that have found its way to the city. And while eating out can easily become a quickly expensive experience if you opt for the more gourmet offerings, don't worry - there's definitely choices for the budget-conscious too! Here are a couple of places you can check out. Tilal
Credit: @egg_nick on Instagram Tilal is a Lebanese cuisine restaurant nestled right in the very heart of Châtelet Les Halles. Châtelet is in the first arrondissement, or district, of Paris, and is a shopping haven. Near to the Centre Georges Pompidou, Tilal is definitely convenient to pause for a quick bite, have lunch, or even dinner. #HHWT tip: Tilal is located in a great shopping area, and near Centre Georges Pompidou. Halal Status: Halal meat available Address: Rue Rambuteau 74, 75001 Paris, France Contact Number: +33 140269551 Opening Hours: 11.30am to 11:30pm (Monday to Saturday, Closed on Sundays) Price: Around EUR10 on average Directions: Châtelet – Les Halles (M1, M4, M7, M11, M14) Sahil Restaurant
Credit: @haniiiaaa on Instagram This is the place to get your Pakistani-Indian food fix. They have all sorts of curries, masalas, briyanis, tandooris, naans – a long menu with something for everyone. The pictures here do not do justice. Gare de l’Est feels a bit like Little India, with many Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian restaurants and shops. Sahil’s fare is very reasonably priced; you could get a meal for 6€. Its décor is homey and warm; you will immediately feel at ease here. Halal Status: Uses halal ingredients, Prayer facilities in the establishment Address: 106 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, Paris, France Contact Number: +33 142478453 Opening Hours: 12:00pm to 11:30pm (Every day) Price: Around EUR6 onwards Directions: Métro Gare de l’Est (M4,M5,M7) Last of all, safe travels! Remember to pay attention to your belongings and beware of pickpockets! Paris is all you imagined, and more! It’s not all glitz and glamour, it has a strong dose of realism blended in too, thus immerse yourselves in its culture, and enjoy your trip.