A visit to the cosmopolitan city of Paris is often associated with expense, opulence, gourmet food and luxury accommodation, so it’s easy to assume that getting the most from this city while on a budget may not possible. That’s certainly a mistaken assumption, however, because if you do your research, stay in one of the excellent youth hostels and plan well, you can eat, sleep and enjoy some of its great attractions for a surprisingly small outlay.
Where to Stay and Getting Around
Firstly, it’s important to note there are some great youth hostels in Paris, many of which are conveniently located close to the city centre. A stay in one of these youth hostels guarantees you a safe environment, a friendly welcome and a reasonably priced stay. Most are also located close to the excellent public transport system the city is well known for. Individual tickets and daily and weekly passes are inexpensive and ideal for allowing you access to every corner of Paris. While the Metro is extremely convenient, the public buses are a great way to see the city above ground. (The staff at the youth hostels will be able to provide all the information you need to get to where you want to go.
There are also a number of hop-on, hop-off bus tours, which make travelling between the main attractions very easy; the running commentary that accompanies these tours offers an important insight into the city’s history and main points of interest.
When to Go
While summer is the favoured time of year to travel, visiting Paris in the low season also has a certain charm and some distinct advantages. Fewer crowds, smaller queues at galleries, museums and attractions, and lower fares and accommodation rates offer the budget traveller a much more laidback and affordable stay.
Sightseeing on a Budget
It’s universally agreed that Paris is a luxury city and its iconic landmarks and elegant reputation definitely attract the well-heeled celebrity set. But despite this, there are plenty of museums, galleries and significant monuments that are free to visit, including the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral and Sacre Coeur. For the museums that do charge, the most economical way to visit them is to invest in a Paris Museum Pass that includes the main museums at a reduced overall price. It’s also worth noting that many of the city museums are on a ‘rota’ of free entry days – so on any given Sunday of the month, one or another will offer free admission.
Of course, one of the best free ways to see Paris is under the power of your own feet – it is surprising just how much you can take in when strolling around in your own time. Wandering the gorgeous parks, enjoying some café culture, and absorbing the atmosphere of this beautiful city are among the best ways of getting a real sense of its true heart and soul.