When we set ourselves a daily budget of $100US for our RTW trip, we assumed that we’d come in well under this while traveling through Asia, but more than make up for that by steamrolling it while in Europe. I was certain that if London didn’t annihilate our budget, then Paris surely would. It’s not a city known for being friendly on the wallet after all. (Especially if, like us, yours is stolen while on the Metro at rush hour…)

But I guess you don’t travel for 20 months without learning how to stretch your budget, even in Paris: a city famous for haute couture and the finer things in life. Many of our favorite moments in Paris were the ones that cost nothing at all and many of our favorite meals were the ones we prepared for ourselves or were shared with friends. Would it be nice to have unlimited funds when visiting Paris? Absolutely. But we hope this post shows you that it’s certainly not a prerequisite and it’s definitely possible to visit Paris on a budget. Paris was a great reminder for us that often our best moments when traveling are the ones that money simply can’t buy.

Read on for details on how we tackled the City of Lights and actually managed to come in under budget!

Paris By The Numbers

Total Number of Days Spent in Paris: 8

Average Daily Cost, per person: $44.93 US

Projected Daily Budget, per person: Our overall trip budget is $50/person, so we were $5 (per person!) UNDER budget! Not a huge margin by any means, but being under budget in Paris? We’ll take it!

Cost of transport from London to Paris (Eurostar train): $71.50 US per person. We purchased our tickets approximately 2 months in advance and were able to get an awesome deal!

Cost of 90-day visa: Free! France is part of the Schengen Zone and so visitors from the U.S. and Canada can stay for visits of up to 90 days (within a 180-day period) inside the entire region free of charge. Note: This does not mean you can stay for 90 days in France and then pop over to Germany for another 90 days, etc., It’s 90 days for ALL Schengen countries.

Total Paris Costs PER PERSON: $430 US

Paris Daily BudgetA Note On Daily Costs: In our daily costs, we have separated out the cost of our transport into Paris. We did this because we believe that including the price of getting into or out of a country results in a figure that does not accurately reflect our actual day-to-day costs. Moreover, not everyone will choose to enter the country in the same way or from the same departure point as we did, so we include the price we paid separately for your edification. We believe our Lodging, Food, Transportation, Attractions, and Miscellaneous Shopping costs are reasonable estimates that may be informative for other like-minded travelers; however, we believe the cost of our transportation into any country is best considered a separate lump sum expenditure, and we will continue to treat it as such.

(Also, the Miscellaneous Shopping category is one that many travelers fail to include, which we believe is shortsighted and misleading. Although it is true that on an extended trip you are unlikely to spend money on extravagant souvenirs, other unexpected but necessary expenses will crop up… such as buying a replacement wallet when our original one was stolen in Paris! Although these costs are rarely extreme, (though they sometimes are!) it would be an oversight not to include them in your long-term travel budget. At some point on the road you will find yourself buying shampoo and deodorant… we hope!)

Accommodation: Even when I visited Paris a decade ago, it was known to be a city where accommodation tends to be poor value for money—you can find nice places to stay, but you will pay for that privilege! It was one of the few places in Europe where my backpacking buddy & I decided to actually stay in a small hotel rather than a hostel, because a private room was hardly more expensive (but infinitely more enjoyable) than 2 beds in a sleazy dorm.

Of course, there wasn’t AirBnB then, and we didn’t know about CouchSurfing, but we relied heavily on both of these options to keep our costs reasonable in Paris this time. We knew we would want to self-cater quite a lot during our visit, so staying in an apartment where we had access to a kitchen (if only to refrigerate our cheese!) made sense for us. We wound up renting a bedroom in a shared flat that was about a 15-minute walk north of Gare du Nord, which we had lukewarm feelings about. It wasn’t the best part of town (though, not the worst, either… but next to one of the worst!) and the non-bedroom parts of the flat were a bit dirtier than we would have preferred. Also, given that this is France, it’s always worth explicitly asking in advance whether smoking is allowed in the flat—it wasn’t mentioned so we assumed it was not, but the other person in the flat definitely smoked and the smell permeated certain parts of the apartment. That said, at $47US/night, this was far cheaper than any hotel or hostel rooms we were able to find, and definitely one of the cheapest places to stay in Paris proper, I think.

Parisian Cat
Our apartment also came with a surprise cat!

Thankfully, we were able to CouchSurf with a fantastic couple & stay with friends of a friend for 5 nights, which not only meant nicer digs (& free lodging), but getting to spend time with wonderful people who knew and loved Paris. Yes we saved money on our lodging, but spending time with these new friends definitely resulted in some priceless experiences that we consider highlights of our time in Paris. Because we did not have to pay for lodging on those evenings, our daily average accommodation budget is undoubtedly unrealistically lower than one should actually budget if intending to stay in paid lodging the entire time; rather than budgeting $8US/day, I’d say you need to look at spending at least $25/night/person on lodging while in Paris.

Food: We were really looking forward to the food in Paris. With all that bread & cheese, how could we not? However, if we’re being completely honest, we found dining out in Paris to be kind of disappointing. We went in with the goal of self-catering most of our meals and eating out no more than once a day, and I can’t say it was all that hard to stick to that. It was just so much more affordable to prepare food for ourselves than it was to dine out, and it was generally tastier too. We wouldn’t say that we had any outright bad meals in Paris, but there weren’t really any that stand out in our minds for being especially excellent or even very memorable either. Maybe it’s because we were trying to stick to a budget and so missed out on some of the city’s better restaurants, but regardless, we left Paris feeling that whenever possible, picnic spreads of bread, cheese, meat & wine are the way to go!

French Cheese Plate

Of course, we did eat out a few times, but to keep costs reasonable, we tended to limit our dining out to lunch time when most restaurants offer slightly more affordable fixed-price menus (referred to as either a “formule” or “menu”). Prices vary depending on the place and the location, but you’ll generally get two (sometimes three) courses for less than what a single main course would cost at dinner.

One thing we always did to save money was to request tap water at our meals, skipping the fancy bottled stuff. Tap water is perfectly potable in Paris, and it’s illegal for restaurants to refuse your request. Simply ask for “une carafe d’eau” and they’ll know what you mean. (But be forewarned: apparently Parisians drink miniscule amounts alongside their meals, and it’s exceedingly hard to get a refill on your pitcher. So ration your water, lest you spend the second half of your meal parched!)

Overall, I would say our food budget is reasonable for a budget traveler to Paris who is willing to eat out a few times (& splurge on some macarons at Pierre Hermé), but who self caters a lot too. You could probably go a bit cheaper, especially if you only ate at home, but you could easily double or triple our food budget if you wanted to go crazy and dine at some of the city’s finest establishments.

Transportation: Paris has a really affordable and well-connected public transport network, but most tourists will stick to using the Metro because it’s the easiest (if also the smelliest) and will pretty handily get you wherever you need to go around central Paris. Of course, the truth of the matter is that central Paris (and certainly the touristy part of the city that most visitors are interested in explore) is really very compact and it’s not that hard to walk wherever you would like to go.

Paris Metro Sign

Generally our approach was to take the Metro somewhere in the morning and then walk our way back to our lodgings by the end of the day. There may have been one day when we took public transport twice, but that was an anomaly. Consequently, although there are visitor passes that offer unlimited rides, we would say they are generally not a good investment, because you’d have to take the Metro four times per day or so to make them worth it, and you just won’t. The Metro is one of the worst parts of the city (even people who don’t think Paris smells like pee in general will admit that the Metro reeks of urine. Also, pickpockets love to hang out there… it’s where we were robbed!) and you’ll miss out on much of Paris if you’re always traveling underground.

Instead, buy a 10-pack of Metro tickets (a carnet) for €13,70 (~$17US) if you’ll be in the city for a while or are traveling with a friend. It’s cheaper than buying tickets individually. You can use these anywhere within central Paris (zones 1 & 2), on the bus, or even the trams. Note that you DO NOT get free transfers between modes of transportation (so if you get off the Metro and decide to jump on the bus, you’ll have to use a second ticket.).

Our Transportation costs also include our transfer to the airport on our final day in the city, which is why they are slightly higher than just a single Metro ride per day. We wound up taking the RER to Orly Airport, which cost €11.65 per person (~$14.50US). You can buy a bundle ticket at most Metro stations that will include your Metro fare and your RER fare. It’s not especially cheap for public transportation, but it was the best option we could find. It was fairly straightforward, although the signage is confusing down on the platforms where you transfer onto the RER line (since not all trains go to the airport), so keep that in mind if you do the same!

Attractions: We wouldn’t say that Paris has the same abundance of free attractions that London does, but it does have a decent amount of museums and sights that can be enjoyed for free. And if you can plan your visit to include the first Sunday of the month, your options for free attractions will increase immensely. Because we happened to be in town at the beginning of June, we were able to visit 3 museums for free, and netted ourselves a savings of €60 (~$75US)! As a result, the only attraction we paid to visit was the Louvre.

Realistically, if you’re planning to visit museums in Paris, $2US/day per person isn’t going to cut it unless you are in town for a while and only plan to see one or two museums: The Louvre alone costs approximately $15US! So, if you’re not visiting during the first Sunday of the month, definitely plan to bump up this part of your budget.

Arc de Triomphe, Paris

One nice thing about the first Sunday promotion is that other attractions, like the Arc de Triomphe and Sainte Chapelle, are also free. Of course, we found that you could also enjoy things like the Eiffel Tower and Sacré Coeur simply by wandering by them as it generally only costs money to enter them. There are also the various parks/gardens and most of the churches (including Notre Dame) are free to enter (you have to pay if you want to climb up Notre Dame, but you can visit the main worship area for free). There is no shortage of paid activities in Paris, but most of the sights most tourists know from postcards aren’t ones you have to pay to experience.

Miscellaneous/Shopping: One reason our daily average in Paris is a bit higher than it otherwise might have been is because we were pickpocketed during our visit. Normally we don’t do much shopping except for the essentials, but we did need to replace Tony’s wallet and, as our luck would not have it, we had just visited the ATM that morning when our wallet was stolen and so we lost €130 (~$160US), which bumped our daily average up by $10US/person. Certainly an unfortunate blow, but all things considered, I suppose it’s even more impressive that even absorbing the cost of the pickpocketing we were able to come in under budget in Paris!

Highs & Lows

Rodin's Thinker

Best splurge: At €2 a pop for a mouthful, macarons from Pierre Hermé wouldn’t exactly count as cheap, but they certainly aren’t so pricy that trying one or two will bankrupt you either. Really, they’re the perfect splurge! Loved the flavors & despite all the hype, we get it. We never understood the fervor over macarons before, but now we do! (Steph & Tony)

Worst splurge: To be perfectly honest, we were pretty responsible with our money in Paris and didn’t do tons of splurging, so it’s hard to identify something we spent money on that we regret. If we had spent money to visit the Musée Rodin, we would have thought it was our worst splurge. Can we call losing €130 to a pickpocketer a splurge and call it a day? (Steph & Tony)

Best surprise: Given that the thing I was looking forward to the least about our time in Europe (aside from the prices) was being dragged to all the museums, I have to say that barring the Musée Rodin (which I didn’t hate, I just thought it was the least impressive of the museums we visited) I really enjoyed all of the museums we visited in Paris. I never would have guessed that! (Steph); We’ve never had a bad CouchSurfing experience on our travels so I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise how great our hosts in Paris were, but it was certainly an aspect of our visit had a lot of unknown variables about it but it worked out wonderfully. Nico & Marianne, and then Sara & Michael, really outshone Paris as far as I’m concerned! (Tony)

Worst surprise: Is it bad to simply say “Paris itself”? From being pickpocketed, to not being bowled over by much of the food, to the persistent smell of urine everywhere we went, we just weren’t charmed by Paris. And that was a surprise, because we were confident we would! So, sadly the worst surprise about Paris was how much we didn’t love it. (Steph & Tony)

Favorite meal: I don’t think I even need to say it at this point but: all the cheese! I loved the indoor picnics we had together, and then the ones we had with friends. Not everything lived up to my memories of Paris, but the bread & the cheese did not disappoint! (Steph); I feel the teensiest bad saying my favorite meal in Paris was something that isn’t French, but the falafel we had really was incredible. (Tony)

Least favorite meal: Although we didn’t really love any of our meals out in Paris, we didn’t hate any of them either. That said, whenever we ordered steak, we were really disappointed in it, both in terms of the quality of the meat and for it being improperly prepared. We definitely didn’t think steak frites could be disappointing, but there you have it. (Steph & Tony)

Best memories: Catching our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower together; popping into beautiful old churches to get out of the rain; browsing books at Shakespeare & Co. (while hiding from the rain!); lazing in the Jardins Luxembourg on one of the rare sunny afternoons; picnicking by the Seine with Sara, Michael & Joe; playing boardgames & putting together our “best beaches in the world” presentation with Nico & Marianne.

Hidden gem: We didn’t really stray from the tourist trail in Paris, so it’s hard to suggest something that we think most tourists overlook. We’re not sure if Musée de l’Orangerie counts as a hidden gem in Paris, but we don’t hear many others talking about it even though it is beautiful. Everyone should get to gaze on Monet’s amazing Nympheas at least once in their lifetime.

If We Could Do it All Over Again?

Notre Dame at night

There’s so much we would do differently about our time in Paris. We showed that it’s possible to visit the city on a relatively tight budget, but we both feel that preferable should not be confused with possible. At times we felt quite poor in Paris and there were definitely moments when we thought we’d be enjoying ourselves a lot more overall if we didn’t have to worry about money. Probably the first thing we would do on a repeat visit to Paris would be to cut our time there in half, but double our budget.

With a bigger daily budget, we would also pony up the money to stay in a better location. Friends told us that the best arrondissements were 1 through 10, and we would have to agree with that. Part of why things started off shakey for us was that our rented apartment and the area it was in just wasn’t that nice. It showed us a side of the city we probably would have been happier not seeing, at least not so soon after arriving. We also could have spent a little more money when dining out, which might have allowed us to sample some of the exquisite meals that Paris is famous for.

Finally, there were a few attractions that we didn’t see that we really would have liked to. We really wanted to view the beautiful stained glass of Sainte Chapelle, but had been told that it was currently undergoing renovation work that had really detracted from the overall experience, so we skipped it since Sainte Chapelle charges admission. Also, we planned to visit Versailles, but then wound up feeling too burnt out to actually follow through on a day trip, so that’s certainly something we would make a priority on a return visit.

Paris definitely wasn’t our favorite place that we’ve visited, so it’s not somewhere we’re honestly chomping at the bit to return to, but we recognize that with a different approach, we could very well enjoy ourselves more. There are certainly more things we’d like to see & eat, so maybe we aren’t quite done with the city after all. Perhaps rather than au revoir we should simply say à bientôt to Paris instead!

Written by: Stephenie Harrison


In another life, I moved from Toronto, Canada to Nashville, TN to pursue my doctoral degree in Psychology. That chapter of my life is now finished, but I did earn the right to demand you call me Dr. Steph (though I respond just as well to plain old Steph). I am an avid reader whose book collection is rivaled only by my many pairs of cute shoes. I also like to knit, hold impromptu karaoke parties, and try new and unusual foods. Generally not all at the same time. I also really love to learn languages, which may explain why I took 3 years of Latin in highschool. I'm turning over a new leaf, so instead of looking forward, I'm going to work on enjoying the present, so the country I'm most looking forward to is whichever one we're in right now!

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Read comments (28)

  1. November 14, 2014 at 8:38 am
    Nov. 14, '14

    When you guys couchsurfed did your hosts speak English or did you use your French? I’m sort of afraid to go to France without speaking French. I would like to spend a few days in Paris but maybe explore the countryside. The food looks amazing! I love cheese
    Rebekah recently posted..China’s Singles Day

    • November 14, 2014 at 9:19 am
      Nov. 14, '14

      Our hosts were French, but they had both English & French on their profile on CS. When I wrote our request, I wrote the intro paragraph in French and said that I was able to speak French but Tony was not, and that my spoken French was way better than my written so I would write the rest of the request in English but would be open to practicing my French as much as possible in person. Because Tony doesn’t speak French, we only spoke in French about 15% of the time, and that was really just for me to practice.

      I would use your prospective host’s profile as a guide—if they have written it in English, then chances are they will be receptive to you speaking English to them even if you don’t speak French. If it is only written in a language you don’t understand, then they probably aren’t a good fit for you! We have CouchSurfed in many countries where we don’t speak the native language (Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Italy) and it was never an issue. I’m curious about language so I would often use these opportunities as a chance to learn some phrases in the local tongue, which I think our hosts appreciated. But, just as I would say one shouldn’t let lack of a language stop them from traveling somewhere, I don’t think you should let it stop you from trying to CouchSurf if you’re interested either!

    • December 4, 2014 at 12:24 am
      Dec. 4, '14

      Our Airbnb hosts spoke English but not all that well – it was definitely a bit difficult when it came time for us to meet/get to the apartment! Lots of back and forth over the phone.

      There were also a couple of times when we just used Google translate (when we were sitting in the lounge together). It doesn’t help that I’m terrible when it comes to understanding foreign accents. But all good fun.
      NZ Muse recently posted..(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Shantytown

  2. November 14, 2014 at 3:16 pm
    Nov. 14, '14

    Sounds like your Paris experience was like mine with Rome! I was expecting to fall in love (like I did with London), but ended up feeling rather “meh” about it all. Just another check off the bucket list. We may be visiting Paris this spring, and it’s really encouraging to know that you can keep yourself to a budget! Will be revisiting your tips if we end up going!
    Katrina recently posted..Liars & Lovers in Rome

    • November 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm
      Nov. 16, '14

      Interestingly, we had some mixed feelings about Rome too, although we did enjoy it more than we did Paris overall. I think part of our problem with Rome was similar to one we had in Paris which is that we just didn’t spend enough money on our lodging and so wound up in a less convenient/less desirable location that really degraded our overall experience of the city. There were more factors at play during our visit to Paris, certainly, but I think that it is one city where it may be worth it to spend a little more money in order to be a little more central.

  3. November 15, 2014 at 5:04 am
    Nov. 15, '14

    You did so well budget wise in Paris considering how expensive it can be. We felt a bit the same about it, especially Dale, in fact he always says that it isn’t is favourite European city he’s been to so far. One of our splurge whilst there was going to a concert of a band we both love that was performing on a boat, how cool is that? We couldn’t miss it and we are still so glad we managed to find tickets considering the venue had a small capacity.
    It’s such a shame you’ve been robbed, that definitely made the whole experience less pleasant and less enjoyable.
    Franca recently posted..Guggenheim Museum & ‘The Bilbao Effect’

    • November 16, 2014 at 3:34 pm
      Nov. 16, '14

      That’s such an excellent splurge during your time in Paris! It may not be your typical Parisian experience, but it is one I know you’ll always remember (And really, I can’t think of a better way for you to spend your travel budget.)!

  4. November 15, 2014 at 7:06 am
    Nov. 15, '14

    Steph, I love Paris, love French food…but have had the same experience…I think it costs way too much to eat good food in Paris. You have to go out of the city to find it more reasonably priced. Self-catering does help..especially when it comes to cheese!
    Corinne recently posted..Weekend Travel Inspiration – Philippines

    • November 16, 2014 at 3:36 pm
      Nov. 16, '14

      I’m glad that even a true blue Paris lover can agree that the value for money just isn’t there when it comes to dining out in Paris! I know French food can be delicious, but I think that midrange dining in Paris is mediocre at best. I don’t think I should have to shell out 30euros/meal in order to really have super tasty food (especially when you can self-cater and enjoy the great tastes of France for a fraction of the price!).

  5. November 15, 2014 at 5:58 pm
    Nov. 15, '14

    Still love these guides! I find it especially interesting to compare the cost breakdown between Paris and somewhere like, say, Sri Lanka.
    Tim | UrbanDuniya recently posted..The Duniya Look: Melbourne

    • November 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm
      Nov. 16, '14

      Glad you are enjoying them, Tim. I agree, it’s interesting to see how different places compare when it comes to cost, and how much of your budget takes up by what. Sometimes it’s actually pretty surprising!

  6. November 16, 2014 at 4:58 am
    Nov. 16, '14

    The fact that your daily average was $45 per person is so impressive. After traveling around SE Asia for 7 months, my boyfriend and I were so tempted to do phase two of our big trip in Europe. We chose to go to South America instead purely based on cost. We figured we would have more luck sticking to our $40-a-day budget in South America versus Europe. But whenever I read posts like this I’m realizing that it is possible to travel to Europe on a budget. I’ve never actually done the whole CouchSurfing thing, but apparently that’s something I need to try. I’m seriously going to consider traveling to Europe whenever I’m able to take my next big trip!
    Justine recently posted..A Frugalista’s Guide to Kuta, Bali

    • November 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm
      Nov. 16, '14

      Certain parts of Europe are a lot easier to stick to a budget than others—Paris was tough, and so were certain parts of Italy, but Spain & Portugal seemed a lot more budget-friendly. Obviously, however, if you’re willing to get creative, it is possible to stick to a budget even in pricier parts of Europe.

      I can’t say enough good things about CouchSurfing, not just for how significantly it helped us stretch our budget, but more because of the amazing people we met and the incredible memories and experiences we had as a result. I really believe our trip would not have been half so rewarding or rich if we hadn’t included CouchSurfing. It’s not for everyone, but we’re both big fans of it.

  7. November 16, 2014 at 12:24 pm
    Nov. 16, '14

    Love how you broke down your budget. It is possible to survive on a lot less than most people would expect in a lot of “expensive” cities. I’ve been to Paris very briefly, but should be going back in the next year and a half. It’s never been on the very top of my list because many people have told me they found it disappointing – I feel like I find most major cities fairly disappointing, it’s the small towns that make me fall in love time after time (of course with a few exceptions).
    Stacy recently posted..Getting Stranded in Venice, Italy

    • November 16, 2014 at 3:48 pm
      Nov. 16, '14

      We really enjoy big cities for the most part, but they rarely are very representative of countries as a whole. Visiting the smaller towns often provides some depth and insight into countries that you just can’t get by visiting only the capital city. Paris is such an iconic city that it’s certainly worth visiting it and making up your own mind, but there is certainly far more to France than the City of Lights.

  8. November 23, 2014 at 6:02 pm
    Nov. 23, '14

    You did a really good job Steph of trying to keep to your budget. I’m extremely sorry that you were pickpocketed during your visit. Considering that you ran out of money before you had to, I’d say that you were extremely fair with your conclusions.

    I’ve been to Paris a few times but bearing in mind that I’m British where prices are much higher or similar, Paris was just “the usual.” Now that I live in Berlin, prices are of course higher but I try as much as possible to wander around and explore hidden corners. In fact, on one of those hidden corners I bumped into Noel Gallagher from the British britpop group Oasis!
    Victoria@ The British Berliner recently posted..You’re not British if you haven’t walked down Abbey Road, Penny Lane, and Strawberry Fields, with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!

    • November 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm
      Nov. 24, '14

      OMG to your Noel Gallagher meeting! If that had happened to me, it probably would have made Paris my very favorite city in the world! I am a crazy Oasis superfan girl and Noel was always my favorite. Instead, I went to Paris and all I got was pickpocketed! 😉

      Weirdly, even though we knew London was expensive, it seemed more affordable than Paris. There seemed to be a lot more options for cheap eating apart from self-catering, or maybe it’s simply that we enjoyed the food we ate out in London a lot more than Paris. Also, so many of the things we enjoyed doing in London were free, whereas in Paris, it just seemed like there was less available to those of us on a budget.

  9. November 24, 2014 at 11:09 am
    Nov. 24, '14

    Hi Step, I was surprised to read about your “Worst surprises.” It sounded more like Barcelona or Rome with pickpocketing. I didn’t expect it and haven’t heard it happening in Paris before. I’m also surprised you were not impressed with the food. I really love Paris, especially the food culture. I hope you give Paris another try and like it better the next time.

    • November 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm
      Nov. 24, '14

      Yeah, unfortunately crime in Paris has really been on the rise. After our visit, a friend of ours was also robbed within hours of arriving in Paris, and when my parents arrived a few months later, they were also targeted when arriving at Gare du Nord and some guys tried to make off with their luggage (thankfully they were thwarted!). Ironically, we also visited Rome & Barcelona during our time in Europe and had absolutely no incidents whatsoever and felt really very safe.

      I think that all our time in Asia has definitely changed our tastebuds. As you’ll read, Paris wasn’t the only place we visited where I was less than bowled over by the supposedly fantastic food…

  10. November 30, 2014 at 6:49 am
    Nov. 30, '14

    Yeah I definitely got the vibe while you were there that even though you went with a positive attitude Paris just didn’t shine. But I agree, if you hadn’t been pickpocketed and if you had a bigger budget it might have been ok. I guess there are some places in the world where you just have to spend a bit of money. I think we travellers are often always looking for budget options and in many places it’s still possible to have a great time on a budget, but realistically there are some countries (such as Western Europe, Scandinavia or Australia) where you just have to bite the bullet and splash out.
    Karyn @ Not Done Travelling recently posted..I Don’t Think I Want To Be A Travel Blogger Anymore

    • December 1, 2014 at 8:26 am
      Dec. 1, '14

      You’re absolutely right, Karen—nearly everywhere on the planet can be tackled on a budget, but some places really are less enjoyable when you’re pinching pennies than others. I think there was a combination of factors that ultimately resulted in us being less than impressed by Paris, but I do think if we had been less concerned about our bottom line that we would have likely had a better time overall. It’s a good lesson for the next time we visit Europe, that’s for sure!

  11. November 30, 2014 at 9:27 am
    Nov. 30, '14

    Wow, awesome. Congrats on going under budget in Paris – no easy task. I was supposed to be heading back to Paris this year, but things didn’t pan out that way. It’s a destination I do really want to revisit as I didn’t enjoy it the first time around. You’ve given me a little hope that it can be done without violating the bank account!

    • December 1, 2014 at 8:32 am
      Dec. 1, '14

      Ironically, if we had one major piece of advice for Paris, it would be to ignore your budget while in town (or at least aim for a slightly higher one than what we had!). I think if we could have devoted a little more money to meals out and to maybe starting off our time in the city in a slightly better area, it would have resulted in us ultimately enjoying our time in the city more than we did. Being on a budget in London didn’t actually feel like such a hardship, but it really seemed to suck out a lot of the fun of being in Paris. It’s one of those places we’d say you’re better off spending less time but the same overall amount of money to really enjoy your time there.

  12. December 4, 2014 at 12:20 am
    Dec. 4, '14

    We lucked out and managed to find a first time Airbnb for under $50 a night, which was awesome! Toward the outer edges of Paris (I think 15th arondissement), but just a few minutes from the subway and close to lovely parks and shops.

    I’m not really into French food and I hate macarons, so I didn’t expect much foodwise. But bakeries…. OMMMM. Ate so many croissants and other sweet treats (except macarons…) And so many times we just went into supermarkets and bought baguettes and cheese, and picnicked on the grass. Heavenly.
    NZ Muse recently posted..Hokitika, the home of greenstone and treetops

    • December 4, 2014 at 8:57 am
      Dec. 4, '14

      I was actually surprised at how reasonable AirBnB room rentals were in Paris—we found a lot of places that were well under $60US per night when we searched far in advance, but we dithered and wound up missing out on most of them. (Certainly one of the pains of being a last-minute/spontaneous traveler!) The place we ended up staying was ok, but not great, and the same was true for the neighborhood itself. It was fine, but it abutted a really dodgy neighborhood and if I were to return to Paris, I wouldn’t stay in that area again.

      I don’t know why, but we didn’t eat nearly enough croissants in Paris, though we certainly ate more than our fair share of incredible baguettes. I may not have been blown away by all of the French food we sampled, but the bread & cheese definitely did not disappoint!

  13. December 19, 2014 at 12:32 pm
    Dec. 19, '14

    I didn’t love Paris the time I was there either… I feel if I go back, I will make use of the airbnb situation as much as possible. I get the sense that Paris is the kind of place you need a lot of money to REALLY enjoy. You’ve shown that it’s possible to do so without a lot of money, but there is so much that is luxurious about this place that it seems it is meant to be enjoyed on that level. I felt this way in Vienna. I tried to stick to a budget, so often just felt like I was missing out on all the really fancy things – decadent meals, nights at the opera, nice hotel, etc. Maybe one day!
    And I love those first glimpses of iconic sites… the Eiffel tower… it is so special when we finally see those things with our own eyes!
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..Where Sky Meets Water

    • December 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm
      Dec. 22, '14

      I think you understand me perfectly because I felt the EXACT same way about Vienna as you! Everything was so expensive (heightened by the fact we had just come from Prague, which wasn’t even on the Euro at that time and so was impossibly cheap!) and it made us feel so very poor. You could do the city on a budget, but it wasn’t as much fun as other places and you did feel you were missing out. That’s pretty much how we felt about Paris too.

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