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Paris on a Budget!!!

Discussion in 'Personal' started by charlene_bell, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Hi Guys, my OH and I were given a trip to Paris as part of our Xmas box. We are going in half term but due to lots of unforseen mishaps we are not going to have as much money saved as we planned.
    This is probably the only time I will go to Paris for a long time and I have wanted to go for as long as I can remember.
    What are the places you absolutely must see and do you have any money saving tips whilst we are out there?
    I really want to make the most of my trip but will need to keep the purse strings very tight. We are going for 3 days and have to feed ourselves whilst we are there also.
    Hug big thank you to any one who helps me out
  2. Off the top of my head:
    Buy a 'carnet' of ten tickets for the metro
    Do free sightseeing (Sacre Coeur, Pere Lachaise cemetery, wander along the Seine, Bois be Boulogne etc)
    Choose a 'prix fixe' menu for eating out and eat larger meal at lunch (cheaper) rather than evening
    Coffee will cost a fortune in cafes in tourist areas! Find smaller backstreet cafes
    I think you can buy a museum pass that last a couple of days

  3. chicabonita

    chicabonita New commenter

    How lovely! Is it the first time you've been?
    I would recommend you climb up to Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur for a wander round and for the view- similar to that you get from the Eiffel Tower but for free, and if you walk up from Pigalle you get the whole 'Amelie' vibe on the way. Mind out for hawkers.
    The Eiffel Tower is the Eiffel Tower though... only you will know if its entrance fee is worth you paying.
    Museums are free (I think- they were when I was there but admittedly that was in the days of the franc) and I think the closing day is Tuesday, but do check! Also free is wandering around taking in the atmosphere and I'd recommend doing the more expensive areas this way (St Germain des Pres, Place Vendome, Opera etc). Cite des Sciences is good if you are into science and hands-on stuff, otherwise the Orangerie for Monet, the Louvre of course, and the Picasso Museum is excellent if you're interested in him.
    The Latin Quarter (studentsville) and, the Marais are worth a wander around, too. Don't bother with the Champs Elysee, it's boring and expensive!
    If you're happy to eat croque monsieur or steak-frites, you should be able to get something reasonable for not too much money. PMU bars tend to be VERY cheap, and quite reasonable for sitting and passing time in. There are funkier places of course, particularly in the Latin quarter and Bastille area.
    I hope my tips aren't too far out of date! Have a lovely time.

  4. jazz2

    jazz2 New commenter

    Buy a copy of Pauper's Paris by Miles Turner.
    I went to Paris on my own a very long time ago - I found extremely cheap flights (way before cheap flights were common) and bought them on a whim because I'd always wanted to go to Paris. I then realised I was about to go to a strange city where I knew no-one, had no-where to stay, and virtually no money.
    The book sorted everything out for me - gave me all the info I needed about what to do, where to go, how to manage despite being penniless.
    Had a great time :)
  5. marshypops

    marshypops New commenter

    I can't remember what age you have to be under (so you might be too old) but Europe has a scheme wherby if you're under a certain age and can prove it then you get in for free. It's probably 21 but for some reason 25 popped into my head - worth checking out anyway. You just have to prove your age - it made Versialles really cheap (not my choice but someone wanted to see it and they got in for free!).
    The Rough guide to Paris is also very good for offering ideas etc on a budget if you can get hold a copy - send me a message and I'll post you my old copy if you want.
  6. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    Agree with the carnet. Last time we went was several years ago. There was a chain of restaurants called Pasta Papa - probably their equivalent of our Zizzi's but the food was lovely and great value.
    We spent one night just travelling around by metro and seeing all the sights lit up - fabulous because it was Christmas. Another free activity is window shopping on the Left Bank. I could have done that for days.
    My must see would be going up to the roof of Notre Dame to see the gargoyles.
    Don't waste your money on a boat trip - you can walk along the river for free. I also wouldn't bother with the Louvre. I much prefer Musee D'Orsay.
  7. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    • Take your GTCE card with you: teachers are supposed to get free access to museums, but tbh it depends on the mood of the person on the door when it comes to accepting GTCE.
    • Walk, don't metro.
    • Don't sit at a lovely cafe and order a drink from the waiter who comes to serve you - it'll cost a fortune! Pop into the local alimentation and buy bottles of water/cans and carry them with you to sit and have a drink when you are thirsty.
    • The "Batobus" is good value - hop-on/hop-off boats that go from Pont de l'Alma (Eiffel Tower) to Ile de la Cité (Notre Dame) and back again. You can get on/off as many times as you want and its much cheaper than a bateau mouche.
    • Pompidou Centre - some areas are free.
    • RER out to Versailles and have a picnic in the grounds by the Grand Canal: no charge for the grounds, only for the palace!
  8. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    ..oh and see if there is a "Flunch" near you - cafeteria-style food at its French best!
  9. Museums are expensive, unless you're lucky enough to get the teacher discount. There's one day a month when they are free (I think its the first Sunday of the month) but they are packed then and its not worth it.
    The Time Out book of Paris Walks will map out routes for you. Your local library might have it.
    Get the bus rather than the Metro and pack in some sightseeing as you go along.
  10. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Going up the Arc de Triomphe is a good alternative to the Eiffel Tower. The view from the latter can be quite disappointing in hazy conditions. It's not free but it's not a fortune either.

    Montmartre at evening time is very atmospheric. Keep an eye out for when they light up the Eiffel Tower.
  11. Musee D'Orsay is lovely and much better than the Louvre. OH and I also loved Jardin de Luxembourg, go to one of the patisseries, buy lunch and have a wander round the garden - it's beautiful.
    Have a great time! x
  12. About the carnet of 10 tickets, this kind of ticket is only limited to zone 1, you can also use them in buses in zone 1 as well as in other zones, and in 'metros' to any terminus. If you're taking the RER be careful about the zone, in that case, you may need to buy another kind of ticket. There's also what is called 'ticket journalier' (daily ticket) you can buy like from zone 1-2, or zone 1-3, or 2-3, etc. They don't sell for one zone only, it must be at least for two zones. This gives you unlimited travels within the day (uptill midnight). This might be interesting if you're going to Versailles and visiting other places within your chosen zones.

  13. Thank you all for your replies, you are all lovely. I am so excited and taking note of all your suggestions so I can plan my trip. Want to squeeze every second out of it.
    Both my OH and I are NQTs and always skint so this trip means a lot.
    Just want it to be half term already [​IMG]
  14. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    I trust you speak French?
    or at least a bit?
    In my experience, you can save a lot by going to "local" places to eat if your language skills are sufficient. If you rely on restaurants that speak English you will expect to pay a premium.
  15. French is limited but always have a crack at it. If push comes to shove I do the ignorant british thing and point. My accent is terrible
  16. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Find ordinary workingman's cafes and have your morning coffee and croisant at the bar. You'll sve a small fortune.
  17. We were thrilled to visit the Statue of Liberty on our last visit ... but then we love National Treasure ... I would agree that Sacre Coure is well worth a visit and that the view from the Arc de Triumph is ace ... also the Arc de la Defense is a great viewpoint

    Just wander ... from the Louvre to the place de la concord (sp) ... from Musee d'orsay to Notre Dame
  18. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    ..... so you should use the next few weeks to build up some stock phrases and practice!
    As a French specialist, I can assure you that the Parisiens will take the mick if you do not <u>try</u> to communicate in French, but will bend over backwards to help you if you do!
    If you do not have/cannot get a French phrase book, you could at teh very least, go over to MFL and ask us to provide you with som every basic phrases.
    This website is good for pron (although a bit more US that I owuld prefer!)

  19. jazz2

    jazz2 New commenter

    Mine too. But they always appreciate the effort! [​IMG]
  20. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    I agree with whoever suggested the Batobus - you can buy a ticket for the day and get on and off as you please and it stops near the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elys&eacute;es, Notre Dame etc.
    A lot of the main touristy places are within walking distance of each other. I went to Paris with a friend a few years ago (well, 2008) and we walked everywhere, except for one evening when we went out for dinner and drinks in the Bastille area (which is really expensive by the way, so don't go there!) and got the m&eacute;tro. We stayed about 10 mins walk from Montparnasse main station.
    I've been to Paris quite a few times, both as holidays and running the school trip, and love it there. I think it's worth going up the Eiffel Tower if you've never done it, but it is quite expensive. I've never been up the Tour Montparnasse but have been told the views are just as amazing. Personally, i like just wandering about, walking everywhere, looking at the shops etc.

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