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Itinerary, tips and lessons learnt from visiting Paris on a budget



Paris is not a cheap city to visit, but here's 5 tips and lessons I learnt from various places that really helped me keep the cost of my euro trip down whilst still experiencing much of what Paris has to offer.

Itinerary

A summary of my itinerary provided below. For more details, check out the relevant day's trip journal.

Day 1

  • Arrival at Paris & check in to Three Ducks Hostel
  • Notre Dame Cathedral (Free) and Ile De La Cite Neighbourhood
  • Ile Saint Louis Neighborhood
  • Latin Quarter Neighbourhood
  • Sainte-Chapelle (Museum Pass)
  • Conciergie  (Museum Pass)
  • Eiffel Tower (13.50 Euro see tip #2 below)

Day 2:

  • Reu Cler Neighbourhood
  • Army Museum (Museum Pass)
  • Marais Neighborhood
  • Orsay Museum (Museum Pass)
  • Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe (Museum Pass)

Day 3:

  • Versailles - Chateau, Trianon Palace and Domaine de Marie Antoinette (Museum Pass)
  • Louvre Museum (Museum Pass)

Tips

1. Skip ticket lines with the Museum Pass


Long story short, the Paris Museum Pass helps you save money and time by providing free access most of the major monuments and museums in Paris (except the Eiffel Tower) and allowing you to skip lines. 

At 56 Euro for the 4 day pass, visiting the Sainte-Chappelle, Conciergerie, Army Museum, Orsay Museum, Arc De Triomphe, Versailles (Chateau, Trianon Palace and Domaine de Marie Antoinette) and Louvre Museum would have cost me 81 Euro if bought separately.

But in my opinion the greatest value in buying the pass is the ability to skip many of the ticket lines at the popular sights. This proved especially valuable for the Orsay Museum, Arc De Triomphe, Versailles and Louvre Museum as I was able to skip long lines and get more done each day.

2. Travel the metro/tube with carnets

If you plan on taking the public transportation frequently, buy a carnet which provides you with 10 tickets for only 14.10 Euro instead of 18 Euro if the tickets were bought separately.

One of the things I really liked about Paris is the incredible efficiency of their public transportation. Transfer between metro lines usually take less than a few minutes and allowed me to get around Paris in an easy and painless manner.

3. Walk up the stairs of the Eiffel Tower


The Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic monuments in Paris, unfortunately it is also one of the busiest monuments in the city.

Taking the stairs to the 2nd level of the Eiffel Tower saves you time:
  • Ticket office for the stairs is a lot shorter than the ticket office for the lift
  • There is a ticket office in the 2nd level, if you decide you want to go to the top. This ticket office doesn't have a long line, but the line to get into the lift is somewhat long at times.
 and save you money:
  • Ticket for Stairs to 2nd level = 7 Euro
  • Ticket for Stairs to 2nd level and ticket for lift to summit purchased from 2nd level = (7 Euro + 6.5 Euro) 13.50 Euro
  • Ticket for lift to 2nd level = 11 Euro
  • Ticket for lift to summit = 17 Euro
In my opinion, the best time to visit the Eiffel Tower is near sunset as it allows you to get the best of seeing the incredible views from the tower during daylight, and then see the city of light and sparkling light show offered by the tower at night.

4. Sleeping and Eating


Eating and sleeping in Paris is not cheap, but it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. 
  • Hostels like the one I stayed at called Three Ducks Hostel provided modern and well equipped accommodation at only 40 Euro per night. 
  • There are a lot of street foods and cafes spread across Paris that serve delicious food at a reasonable price such as savoury crepes or fallafel from the famous L'as Du Fallafel

5. Audio Tours from Rick Steve's App

You don't have to join a tour company to be able to understand what's around you in Paris. The audio tours from Rick Steve's  provide you with your own audio tour and PDF maps that you can download into your smartphone and includes:
  • Historic Paris Walk
  • Louvre Museum
  • Orsay Museum
  • Versailles
These tours helped me to get oriented and understand what I was looking at in the museums, and was also made the trip to the Versailles interesting. 

I would also recommend checking out the guide books as they were really helpful in planning and during the trip.

Main Expenditures

  • Accommodation at The Ducks Boutique Hostel (3 nights) - 151 Euro
  • Paris Museum Pass - 56 Euro
  • Eiffel Tower (walk stairs to level 2 and lift to summit) - 11 Euro
  • Return train tickets between Paris and Versailles - 8 Euro
  • Metro Carnet (10 rides) - 14. Euro 

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