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Paris on a budget

Written by 31 August 2012 4 Comments

I like to believe that money should not determine whether or not you get to travel, I even enjoy making it a challenge to travel places on small budget and so I also turned down the financial help offered by my parents when I told them that I was going to Paris. As a student, my travel budget is tiny but as long as a few precautions are taken it can be done..

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1. Find a cheap flight.

I’m everyone has heard about cheap European airlines such as Easyjet or Ryanair. If you can manage to fit your belongings into a carry-on you won’t be charged extra for checked in suitcases, in some case allowing you to fly places for less than €20. You just need to look for good discounts and ideally buy in advance to get the best rate available.

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2. Surf couches

Definitely the cheapest way of finding accommodation in a city where you don’t know anyone is to couchsurf. Sign up on www.couchsurfing.org and check their listings – they have hundreds and it’s a great way of meeting locals and getting good insight into what life is like in the city you#re visiting. Many Parisian apartments are quite beautiful and old-fashioned, so the experience can be quite rewarding on many levels. If sleeping at stranger’s apartments is not your cup of teat, try staying at a hostel. Many of them are quite stylish and prices usually start from 15 euros for the night.

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3. First think, then eat

Avenue des Champs-Elysees is a well known rip-off street so if you consider going there, don’t even think of buying any of the food there if you want to be a sensible and thrifty Travelette. Instead go for healthy vegetables at Montmatre markets, yummy French baguettes in local bakeries and roasted chestnuts on Place Pigalle. If you want to go to a restaurant, avoid those on the main street and go exploring into side alleys for more affordable and often better quality options.

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4. Use subway or… a bike!

Think twice about buying single-use tickets (€1,70) if you plan on staying in the city for a bit longer. Instead get a carnet of 10 tickets (€12,70), a one-day pass (€6,40) or one-week pass (€19,15). French students can be a bit rebellious when it comes to using the underground “Le Parisien” journal wrote once. They think the tickets are too expensive so some just go through the gateway without a valid ticket. They do that because some student unions have got together and formed some sort of insurance where everyone gives between 5 and 7 Euros a month and if someone gets caught without a pass and is fined the going fee of €50 the insurance goes and covers it. Much better than riding the metro without a ticket is riding a bike. The velib bikes are available throughout the city, with the first 30 minutes being free of charge. Find out more about how this works here.

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5. Plan your sightseeing wisely.

Are you looking for a tour guide? Just ask your CouchSurfing host! As a local they will probably be able to point you in all the right directions and tell you about what is hot or not. If you’re under 26 and a European Union citizen, most of the museums, churches and other touristic places are opened for you for free. the Louvre, Musee des Arts decoratifs, Notre Dame, Sacre-Coeur, Arc de Triomphe, Moulin Rouge, the Pere-Lachaise cemetery and of course, the Eiffel Tower. But instead of paying €10 to climb on top of it, simply sit down in the park outside of it and enjoy it from there, like the locals do. All this for free.

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6. Do things you will remember.

Someone once said it’s better collect moments than things. Eat a baguette on the stairs of Sacre-Coeur, rather than buying a mini-version of the white church. Drink cheap wine by the Seine River instead of having a fancy glass of it at a restaurant, after all, what you really need to see of Paris happens on the outside, not inside bars or shopping centers and the like. Take a stroll through the Latin Quarter, catch a smile from a waiter, stop for a chat, have a laugh, attend a free concert (there are lots of those in pubs, especially in the 11th arrondissement), catch a free movie in the open-air cinema at Parc de la Villette), laugh, take pictures, breathe in and out.

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I went to Paris for 6 days with 125 euros in my pocket. I ate well, saw sights and met lots of great new people. I came back with an old French Vogue bought from a book shop for 2,5 euros in my hand and a heart full of memories.

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Bildschirmfoto 2012 08 13 um 10.01.31 150x150 Paris on a budgetAgnieszka Dobrzyniecka is 19 and has been traveling since the day she was born, she has since been to 21 countries. She loves analogue photography, cheap flights and I’m a big fan of cheap flights and couchsurfing. Her specialty is traveling on tiny budgets.

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4 Comments »

  • Kristina said:

    Where did you buy the old Vogue magazine? Thanks :)

  • vindij said:

    i think you have spend wonderful holiday in romantic paris city.me too love paris

  • Agnieszka said:

    Kristina, I bought the old Vogue from an old bookinist by the Seine River!

  • josie said:

    inspiring! thanks i am sooo excited to go! xxxx

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