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4 Ways to Stay in Paris on a Budget

We all want to travel the world and see the different cities with all their culture and history fully on display—we want to eat their delicious food and find ourselves immersed in famous locales. But…and there is a but…usually our efforts in trying to do these things are met with one, demoralizing, and nearly unavoidable detail: it’s expensive.

So what’s the solution to that?

In simplest terms, the solution is to plan. Planning is the difference between eating out every night for dinner, and buying a week’s worth of food at the grocery to cook at your leisure. On the one hand, there’s an exciting spontaneity to eating out and exploring a new place—on the other, spontaneity can wear a hole in your wallet faster than you’d like to admit. However, there are tricks to making the planning faster, and far less complicated.

Paris is an expensive city in many respects. From the food to the shopping to the lodging—it’s ready and waiting to wear that hole in your wallet. But this blog, specifically, is meant to give you our recommendation of where to rest your head. Hotels and inns and even B&B’s around the Paris city center can make your trip short lived—and if you made it all the way to the City of Love, that’s the last thing you’d want. But there is hope. Paris is small, it’s centralized, and with the metro system, it is extremely easily accessed.

With that, these are our recommendations and things to know:

1. Don’t wait! The sooner you book, the better.

There’s a basic rule with lodging: the sooner you’re able to find a place for a good deal that’s within your budget—jump on it. Unlike airlines, that can often fluctuate in pricing closer to the flight, lodging is most effective when you get it in advance. Of course, there’s always stipulations—unforeseen problems. When we traveled across Europe, we weren’t sure what country we’d end up and much less what city (we wanted an adventure, first and foremost)…but as soon as we found out, and set a day limit for the location we’d be in, we jumped straight to reserving a place to stay. Knowing you have a place to sleep is the greatest stress reliever that you don’t even notice until you don’t have one. It was the times where we hesitated, where we were unsure, that we were stuck with the bill we wish had a less menacing decimal point…or we camped out (but that’s for another post).

2. Be willing to spend your nights outside the city center.

Airbnb is quickly becoming the most popular way to stay in more expensive cities—and we highly recommend it for anyone traveling on a budget. Before making our flight to Europe we found an Airbnb outside the city, it was a 15 minute metro ride to the Opera House stop. For 32$ a day we stayed in a wonderful Paris apartment in Issy-les-Moulineaux, with the place to ourselves, for 7 days!

3. Take advantage of the metro system for travel.

As far as it goes, across America and much of Europe—Paris has one of the cleanest and most easily accessible metro systems we’ve encountered. At only 1,90€ (a little over $2 U.S.D.), you can make it to any landmark in Paris only having to walk a block or so. So, if your hotel or Airbnb is outside the city, don’t worry. Paris is littered with wonderful moments on every road. On our way to the metro we stopped every day at a little patisserie far cheaper than the one’s in the city center. Each morning, we got our water for the day, and our pain au chocolat filling us up on the short walk to our nearest metro entrance. In some ways, being on the outskirts and making our way forward gave us the realest experience of Paris—not only the beautiful sights, but the wonderful people. (and don’t believe any rumors you may hear, you’ll meet kind and rude people anywhere you go, both home and abroad—just a part of the experience of travel)

4. The place you rest your head is far less important than the way you spend your day.

Of course we all want to be comfortable. Most likely, we’ve come to Paris because we’re on vacation…we want to relax. But, in the end, why come to different city with a completely different culture if our hotel is so luxurious we never feel the need to leave? Now, of course, to each their own—but in our experience, the most memorable part of Paris was the time we spent outside, walking the different streets. No maps, just venturing from landmark to landmark and having the money saved from inexpensive lodging to experience it all with little to no stress of where our money was ending up.

We hope this was helpful for you in planning your next trip—follow our blog for more travel and adventure related posts!

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