This article is by Zoe Price
The French capital of Paris is one of the world’s most unique and vibrant cities, and is just a short hop away from the UK. There are so many ways to get there that there’s almost always a way to make it cost efficient, from driving or a short flight, to travelling by train on the Eurostar, or opting for a cheap and cheerful coach ride.
Many people visit Paris from the UK on a romantic weekend break, but with its reputation for being a pretty expensive place to go, not so many see it as a top holiday destination for a week or two away. Paris has an incredible amount to do for solo travellers, couples wanting a longer break, and even families on the hunt for a cultural getaway. As one of the most famous cities in the world it’s fair to say that Paris has a lot to offer – it’s just a matter of figuring out what it can offer you.
Paris is known for its food, wine, museums and art galleries, as well as boasting riverboat tours and historical landmarks that are hundreds of years old. Here you can find some of the best restaurants in Europe, often just a few streets away from each other, and while it hasn’t always been particularly vegan and vegetarian-friendly, that aspect is on the up. From street food to high street chains, there are tonnes of awesome culinary experiences to be had.
If you’re contemplating a trip to Paris but don’t want to break the bank, here are three ways to get to Paris for less and enjoy some of the best art, history and culture any European city has to offer on a smaller budget.
Book Tickets in Advance for Shows and Tours
To see everything that the city has to offer, and to save money while you’re at it, it’s a good idea to book tickets in advance for shows and tours.
As an example, you can discover the Catacombs of Paris for less thanks to discount tours that allow you to book ahead, plan your itinerary and save as much as half the price of entry just by booking in advance.
Like lots of other European cities, tour operators around Paris offer discounts and queue jumps for people who pre-plan, and the Catacombs are just one of hundreds of attractions where you could save cash.
From the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, a cruise of the Seine or a cabaret show, just about anything you might want to do during a trip to Paris can be booked ahead for a discount. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for free walking tours, run on a tip-your-guide basis, which are popular in most major European cities.
Planning tickets for shows and tours in advance, or at least having a vague itinerary ready, means that you know you will be able to see everything you want to see whilst you are there. If you are travelling with a group of friends, creating an itinerary also helps to ensure that everyone gets to see what they want, whether it’s all together or in separate smaller groups.
Make Extra Savings on Budget Airline Travel
Budget airlines have revolutionised European travel, with cheap flights available that are often much less than the cost of fuel and taking a car through the Eurotunnel. (Note from Tabby: as France is so close to the UK, travellers who are interested in keeping their trips as sustainable as possible should look at trains and coaches to see what discounts are on offer – book at the right time and you can travel to France overland for under £50 return!)
Being flexible on travel dates and times, and travelling with different airlines for outbound and return travel are both ways that you can reduce the cost of getting to and from Paris, and there are plenty of different apps where you can set reminders to let you know when the prices of certain flights are dropping. This is can be one of the best ways to secure a flight for the right cost for you, without having to stress too much. Taking the stress element out of booking a holiday is always a win-win.
Find the right provider for you, set a reminder and you will be on your way. You can even try getting on the phone with some transport providers, to see if they’re willing to lower their fees to beat a price you’ve found elsewhere.
Rent an Apartment Instead of Booking a Hotel
Online services like Airbnb and Booking.com have apartments and homes available to rent that can slash the cost of accommodation for a week or two-week holiday, and allow you to reduce the cost of eating while you’re away by providing self-catering facilities. There are many low-cost self-catering apartments available in Paris, and using these instead of a hotel or bed and breakfast can save you hundreds of pounds.
Note from Tabby: It’s also a good idea to look outside of the city centre, and see what accommodation you can find in the suburbs. While central venues have the convenience of being closer to certain sights of interest, suburban apartments and even hotels can come in at a much lower price than accommodations that are right in the middle of Paris.
In the past decade, the cost of European travel and staying in European cities has dropped considerably, but it is still possible to find extra savings.
By saving money on travel, tours and accommodation, you can extend your stay in a city like Paris for a few extra days, and see more of what it has to offer a traveller who takes the time to scratch beneath the surface. Whether you are looking for art and history, food and drink, or to sleep through the day and party at night; Paris has something for everybody.
Hopefully this guide has given you some ideas to help you make a week or two in Paris your next holiday destination, for less money than you would think.