Bonjour! Travel to Paris on a budget!
Paris is incredibly expensive, and we’re sure you’ve heard that from your friends and relatives who have gone before. Unfortunately, they aren’t lying. However, there is a way to visit the city of love without having to break the bank! Read on to find out how!
What you need to know before your trip:
1. You will need to secure a Schengen visa
If you’re a Philippine passport holder, you will need to first secure a Schengen visa. This visa is applicable to all countries in the EU, however, you might need to prioritize your Paris trip in your itinerary in order to get your visa approved!
2. Livelihood in Paris is expensive
People are not kidding when they say Paris is expensive. Anything from food to activities can be very costly – especially if you aren’t careful with how you spend your money. And although this is a budget guide, it’s still highly recommended that you save, save, save before this trip!
How to get to Paris, France
1. Flights from Manila to Paris
Many airlines offer flights from Manila to Paris, however all the available routes right now include a stopover depending on the airline chosen. That said, travel times vary from 14 hours to as long as 24 hours.
2. Identifying the best time to travel
One technique that hasn’t failed us (saving wise) is booking ahead of time! So if you’re planning a trip to Paris within the year – it’s best to book two to three months ahead of time to get the best deals! We recommend traveling during the off-peak season, which is around Fall (October to early December) or late Winter (late January to March). From May to August, the city will be swarming with tourists while locals are on their vacation as well, so it’s best to skip this time of the year.
3. Comparing prices
In order to save big, take some time to compare airline prices. One platform you can refer to is Skyscanner. Just indicate potential dates and adjust according to your budget! Below we’re punched in travel dates for October 15 to 22 for your reference. As you can see, if you book these dates around August, one way tickets fluctuate around Php 14,000 to Php 17,000. Remember to check regularly – if you’re lucky, you might be able to book a roundtrip flight for as low as PHP 21,000!
* Please take note that prices change everyday and per chosen departure date.
Where to stay in Paris
Although it would be ideal to stay in an accommodation with a view of the Eiffel Tower, it may not be the most budget-friendly option for us penny pinchers. But, fear not! There are other lovely locations all over Paris that you’ll be surprisingly glad to stay at such as Bastille, Le Marais, and Saint Michel.
1. Airbnb under PHP 2,000
The best way to get to know Paris is to live like the Parisians do. One way to do this is to rent out a room or an apartment under Airbnb. Fortunately, there are a number of affordable apartments that give you the ultimate Parisian feel! If you’re a solo traveller, one way to really save some cash is to opt for a shared apartment or private room.
2. Hostels under PHP 2,000
Surprisingly, hostels are slightly more expensive as compared to Airbnb apartments, however, many of the options on Hostelworld still fit under the Php 2,000 mark! Many young travellers opt to stay in a hostel so we can guarantee this is a great way to meet new people from all over the world!
For a community-centric hostel, we suggest looking into St. Christopher’s Inn Gare Du Nord. Majority of their travellers are consist of young solo travellers! You can also consider Plug Inn Montmartre by HipHopHotels for a quintessential French neighborhood experience, or Generator Paris for unbeatable views of the city!
Klook Activities in Paris
1. Hop on/Hop off Bus – Paris City Bus Tour
If it’s your first time in Paris, joining a hop on hop off bus tour is definitely one way to get to the major hotspots in town in under a couple of hours! With a hop on hop off ticket, you can simply hop off the bus and explore attractions that pique your interest then hop on to get to another attraction! Check out this map for the available bus routes on this city bus tour.
2. Paris Museum Pass
Fortunately for art lovers, Paris is home to several of the world’s most impressive art collections. If you’re planning to visit museums like the Louvre or Musee D’ Orsay, purchase a Paris Museum Pass and get the bang for your buck! Pass holders can also get access to the Arc de Triomphe, Château de Versailles and 60 more museums and monuments around the city all for the price of one pass! Best of all – you can skip the long ticketing lines!
If your visit to Paris lands on the first weekend of the month, you would be glad to know that most museums, including the Louvre, offer free admission during the first Sunday! However – everyone knows this, so you may have to either go very early or time your visit at night.
3. Versailles Guided Tour
Leave the city for a couple hours and venture off to the Palace of Versailles, just 45 minutes from Paris. This flamboyant estate tells so much of France’s history, so it’s definitely something you cannot miss! The palace is incredibly huge and will take time to cover, so this guided tour will help get you through the important bits!
4. France Eurail Pass
There are a number of things to enjoy in the city, and you’ll surely never be bored. However, you should consider taking a day trip outside of the city! There are a number of beautiful cities outside of Paris worth visiting, such as Strasbourg, Mont St. Michel, Champagne, or Honfleur!
If you purchase the France Eurail Pass, you can explore as much of France as you’d like, depending on how many days you intend to travel. This is the most budget-friendly option if you intend to travel to several cities outside of Paris!
What to eat in Paris
Despite being a world-class culinary industry, it’s actually pretty easy to save on food in Paris! Plus, if you’re staying in a hostel or budget hotel, these accommodations usually include a free breakfast! Another way to save would be to avoid restaurants or cafes nearby major attractions. Prices are sky-high in these locations, so you can expect a cup of coffee to be priced somewhere from €3 (Php 185) to €7 (Php 430). To cut costs even further, you can purchase local goods and packaged meals at the grocery!
You can’t say you’ve been to Paris if you haven’t had a taste of their crepe! No other place in the world does it better – and the locals know this very well. It’s no challenge looking for a crepe in Paris – there’s at least two in every block, a cart in every attraction, and you can bet every restaurant serves it as dessert. But, while you’re in Paris, you should consider visiting an actual creperie! Our top choices are Chez Nicos and La Droguerie. Both places give you a choice of savory (galette) or sweet!
Act like a local and go on a trip to the nearest boulangerie for a freshly baked croissant or baguette, plus a cup of espresso. If you’ve got a strict schedule, you can munch on these as you go – just like the Parisians do!
Surprisingly, you can get a whole lot of delicious Persian food all over Paris – and especially at the Latin Quarter! They’re a serious hit with both locals and foreigners, so make sure to be on the lookout for some long lines by any Persian restaurant such as L’As du Fallafel. Trust us, you won’t find it difficult to find – they’re everywhere!
Paris is a pretty walkable city, so you don’t actually have to spend so much on transportation! Although walking from one attraction to the next may seem quite tiring, you actually won’t notice how long you’ve been walking thanks to the charming sights of the city!
In the event that you may be rushing to get to a certain location, Paris actually has a very dependable subway system called the Metro! Although it’s very intimidating at first, it’s quite easy once you get the hang of it. For a single one-way ticket, it would cost you €1,70 (Php 105). For ease of transportation, we suggest downloading the Paris Metro Map App!
Free activities in Paris
1. Jardin du Luxembourg
On a sunny day, hundreds or thousands of Parisians flock to this part of town to bask under the wonderful weather! Spending time at the Jardin du Luxembourg, or Luxembourg Gardens, is a quintessential Parisian activity – most especially during the warmer months. You can rent out boats to sail on the basin, couples stroll along the vast gardens, or simply pop open a book and read until the sun goes down. For tourists, we suggest spending a couple hours in this place in order to experience how the locals live!
2. Champs Elysees
Walking through Champs Elysees is technically free, since there’s no fee to window shop! But with the amount you’ll be able to save, you might be able to just treat yourself to something nice! This long road is filled with mid-range to high-end shops and as well as some local boutiques if you’re interested in purchasing something made in Paris.
For a cheap meal, there are a couple restaurants in this area as well. If you’re craving some pastries, local boulangerie chain PAUL has a location here. However, if you’re up for a more hearty meal, you should definitely give their McDonalds a try – the menu is pretty different, so don’t expect to find your favorite chicken and spaghetti over here!
3. Eiffel Tower
Technically, a visit to the Eiffel Tower is free. If a picture with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop is okay with you, then there’s no need to splurge on a trip to the top of tower!
Klook Tip: For the perfect photo, drop by the Trocadero (7-8AM) and have the view of the Eiffel Tower all to yourself. If you want to have a nice picnic with the tower in the background, a great option is to bring your wine and baguettes to Champ de Mars!
4. Le Marais
Locals say that Le Marais is pretty much Paris in one arrondissement. It’s filled to the brim with local boutiques, restaurants, and novelty shops that you’ll definitely have a great time peeking through. You can also get some of the best food in this area! Some of the best falafels, coffee, and crepes are hidden in the nooks and crannies of Le Marais, so feel free to do a whole food trip while you’re here!
Known as the art district of Paris, the city of Montmartre is situated at the top of the hill, providing tourists with a impeccable view of the city. This little town is packed with artists, cafes, and boutiques apart from the famous Sacre Coeur and Moulin Rouge. For an additional fee, you can climb up the Sacre Coeur for even better views of the city, or opt to stay by the locals gathered at the steps of the cathedral while listening to street musicians share their music!
6. Arc de Triomphe
From Champs Elysees, you can walk straight up to the Arc de Triomphe! However, as the structure connects twelve streets in Paris, you can expect it to be quite busy! So while you wait for the signal to cross, snap a photo by the stoplight before the pedestrian crossing!
7. Notre Dame
This landmark is not one to be missed! For one thing, if you’re a fan of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, you’d be able to spot the references from the famous novel and film. But beyond that, the cathedral’s interior is absolutely stunning – and you have to see it for yourself! And the best part – it’s absolutely free! Just make sure to queue up at the front of the cathedral and observe silence as some attendees may be praying or attending mass.
For an additional fee, you can walk up to the top of the Notre Dame and get unparalleled views of the city!
* We advise tourists to bring more than enough pocket money in case of emergency