6 Ways to Survive 6 Days in Paris - on a Budget

If you're a Filipino and you've been to Paris, you have probably said any of these, more than once when you were there-

"OMG! Seryoso, ganito talaga kamahal?!"

"4km? Lakarin ba natin o tren? Tara, lakad na lang! Sayang 4€."

"Papasok pa ba? Wag na kaya? Pa-picture na lang tayo sa labas!"

"3€ ang isa?! Anong klaseng tinapay yan!"

We did! Because we are not rich... It goes without saying that we need to really save up before we can go to that side of the world (to any trip, actually). And now that we are back from our 21-day #eurotrip, we want to share a few advice on how we survived Paris on a budget, while keeping our sanity :-)

1. Eat To-Go

The level of luxury with eating near the main sights is probably the reason why people see Paris as an expensive city. In a touristy place, a pasta dish can cost 16€, appetizer- 10€, water- 3€, plus sitting charge and another for service charge. And if you eat there 3 times a day, you will spend 5000php/day for your food. Wow!

So, what to eat? Anything to-go from a local grocery, boulangerie or even from Monoprix! Obviously there are no Michelin stars in this selection, but the expense really depends upon the choices that you make! Here's an estimate on food cost when you eat to-go:
  • Large baguette with cheese, meat and vegetables - 4€ 
  • Large and hot gyros - 6€ 
  • Hot crepes - 3€ 
  • Pain Au Chocolat / Croissant / McDonald's Salad - 1€ 
  • Coke / bottled water / cookies / mozzarella bites from groceries - 0.50€ 
  • Small wine - 3€ 
Unfortunately, rice meals are rare.

2. Learn a few French words related to food so you won't end up ordering the wrong ones

For an added français experience, in a boulangerie, why not try to act like a local and say,"Bonjour! Un baguette, s'il vous plait." Make it nasal, you will love it!

I don't know where the best crepes in Paris are, but this one is good enough. Hot crepe perfect for the cold weather! 

Since Paris is a top tourist destination, I thought the menus would be in English. Unfortunately no, most of the menus are in French. Even in McDonald's! Be aware that some food attendants don't speak English too (or, choose not to speak English). Here are a few words I'm glad I learned before going to Paris, else I might have spent more by ordering the wrong ones:
  • Hot - chaud / cold - froid / drink - boire 
  • Cheese - fromage / Tomato - tomate / Lettuce - laitue / Apple - pomme 
  • Poulet - chicken / Meat - viande / Fish - poisson / Beef - boeuf / Egg - œuf / Pork - porc 
  • Fries - frite / Bread - pain / Pasta - pates / Rice - riz 
  • Cake - gateau / Candy - bonbon 

3. Book through AirBnb or stay at a hotel away from the Eiffel Tower, 1st and 2nd arrondissements

Did you know that you need at least 110€ to stay in a decent hotel at the center of Paris (i.e. 1st/2nd arr, Marais, Grand Boulevards)? You can cut that to more than 50% if you use AirBnb! For 51€, we stayed in a nice Parisian apartment at 2nd arr; It's just a few blocks from the Louvre! Plus, the owner was a beautiful and calm French woman.

However, if you are short of budget, yet privacy, convenience and comfort are very important to you, try to book a hotel away from the center. Try the Bastille area for example. I cannot argue that the closer you are from the city center, the better. But you need not to spend 110€ a night for privacy and comfort. There are many hotels in Bastille for around 55€. Just use the train to get to the tourist sites. And did I mention that their Métro will take you anywhere?! Anywhere!

This impressively-sized room houses a series of large Water Lilies painting 

4. Avoid the train pass, buy carnet of tickets instead

If you will not ride the train for more than 5x/day, just buy a carnet of tickets - 10 tickets that can be shared and will only expire after a year. It's cheaper than the 24hr train pass. Carefully plan the places you want to see daily so you can estimate how many train rides you'll need. I think we've only used the Metro 3x/day at an average. Walk and you will appreciate Paris even more. Also, keep your sanity and use the RATP Android app as your guide to Paris' incredible metro system.

TIP: It's free to see the Eiffel tower. If you want to climb it cheaply, buy the "Stairs ticket" for €7 (with access to 1st and 2nd floor); The lift costs €11 and it will bring you to the top of the tower

5. Consider purchasing the Paris Museum Pass

Paris is so beautiful that even walking along its streets and bridges is extremely satisfying! Taking pictures outside the main sights can be an experience on its own, and I thought admiring them from the outside would be enough. Definitely, getting inside the museums is really an experience that shouldn't be missed. We were so happy we went inside the main sites! If you buy the 2-day Paris Museum pass, you can have an unlimited access to the biggest museums of Paris:
  • The Louvre (17€) 
  • Versailles (18€) 
  • Saint Chapelle (8.5€) 
  • Notre Dame Towers (8.5€) 
  • Centre Pompidou (13€) 
  • Musee d'Orsay (9€) 
  • Musee l'Orangerie (9€) 

Total of 83€ if tickets are bought individually.
Paris Museum Pass: 42€ (41€ total savings)Disclaimer: We went to Paris on first week of December and there were very few tourists. Hence, the queues were considerably shorter.

Sainte-Chapelle - €8; included in Paris Museum Pass! 

6. Visit the free sites - La Siene, city gardens and famous churches

Entrance is free if you want to go inside the Sacre Coure Basilica and Notre Dame Cathedral (though you have to pay 8.5€ to climb the towers). Paris has very pretty parks where you can just sit down and feel the Parisian life, My favorite park is Jardin du Luxembourg because it's less crowded than other large parks like the Tuilleries.

Inside Notre Dame Cathedral :-) 
I am very sure that there is more to Paris than just visiting the Eiffel tower, Louvre, Seine river. But considering the limited amount of time and money we had during the trip, I can still happily say that we have totally enjoyed our time in Paris. Even if it meant eating some of our meals in McDonald's!

PARIS on a budget IS POSSIBLE! :-)

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  1. Hi! Any more details on the budget? Hihi thanks!

    1. Hi Nicole! I spent around 110k php(all-in including airfare) for a 21day eurotrip. If youre asking for Paris alone, I dont have the figure right now. But yea, i'll be posting an entry for that very soon! When are you going to Paris? :-)

    2. Wow! You only spent 110k! I can't wait to read more about your Euro Trip!

    3. At least that's what my offline spreadsheet tells me, lol! But okay, dont kill me, probably it can go near 120k. Really, not sure. I'll post the itinerary soon. From there, let's see kung 110k nga haha!

      Btw, we went to 12 cities! :D For that price, we had a gondola ride, climbed the eiffel tower and went to many museums in Paris, stayed in nice hotels. I'm excited to post the details. Please stay tuned!

  2. Hi! Any more details on the budget? Hihi thanks!

  3. Hi again Nicole, here's my entry for Paris under 50k, with airfare din http://www.oneweektotravel.com/2016/04/manila-paris-budget-itinerary.html

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Care to share the airbnb place you stayed at near the Louvre?

    1. Hey there,

      Not sure if the listing is still available, but you can check it out here :)

  6. Hi beenda ,
    I love your blog.
    I am planning my europe trip.
    Do you mind sharing your full europe itineray?
    I am confused which country that is must visit while controlling mu budget.

    1. Hi Andrew!

      I really wanted to share the details but they are not ready yet :(
      We toured 6 countries for 110K per head all in, i think 90K is possible depending on the cities you'll choose. We did:
      Paris - 2 days
      Amsterdam - 2 days
      Prague - 3 days
      Budapest - 3 days
      Milan / Venice - 3 days
      Florence - 3 days
      Rome / Vatican - 3 days
      Spain - 2 days
      Paris - 4 days

      Hope this helps even just for a bit though! I really wanted to bloooooog about my Eurotrip but work sucks so.. :(

      What's your itinerary?


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