You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time, and this applies to short breaks and long vacations. Preparation and planning for a holiday is very important. By researching your destination weeks in advanced you can set yourself an appropriate budget to spend on travel, food, accommodation and entertainment.
Like London, Paris is an expensive city to live in but if you have the opportunity to visit I recommend it as it is a city that offers a lot of history and culture. This article offers tips to make sure you have the best Parisian experience on a small budget.
Getting to Paris: You can take the coach but the Eurostar train is the fastest way to travel into central Paris with journeys taking less than 3 hours. Trains depart from Kings Cross in London and arrive at Gare du Nord in Paris as early as 9.30 am. A return journey usually costs £78, but if you are lucky to purchase a ticket during their sales you can purchase a seat for only £58 (saving you £20). Personally, I enjoy traveling by Eurostar train as seats are quite comfortable, and there is also an electrical plug next your seat so you can charge your personal electronic devices.
Travelling around Paris: If you are staying more than a day in Paris then travelling by foot is the best way to explore the city, however if you are short of time then taking the Metro system is the quickest way to get around. Purchasing a Ticket Mobilis covering zones 1 and 2 (central Paris excluding La Defense and Disneyland) costs €7, and is equivalent to a 24 hour travel card valid until 4 am the following day. It will enable you to hop on and hop off the metro system (excluding RER lines) and the bus network.
Mobilis – 24 hour bus and underground ticket
Views of Paris: Make sure to visit Montparnasse Tower for the sweeping views of the city. The tower is easily reached by taking the number (4) metro line towards Marie de Montrouge. Visiting the tower is a perfect way to end the day as the city lights brighten up the night sky making the Parisian skylinelook even more beautiful. For travellers under 26 years old the viewing platform from the Arc de Triomphe is free and the view there is just as amazing.
Arc De Triomphe (Under 26s Free)
Connecting in Paris: Any social media addict will understand that using a smartphone without internet is like living without oxygen and water. The internet has become integrated with our everyday lives that we need it everywhere. So if you don’t have a prepaid plan with your mobile network then you can expect expensive data roaming charges. However, Paris is a city which offers plenty of reliable Wi-Fi spots, which means you can Snapchat your friends at the top of the Montparnasse tower.
However, be warned as Wi-Fi can drain out your battery really easily so creating an itinerary before travelling to Paris, as well as carrying maps and guidebooks would be best to avoid using navigation apps to get around the city.
Eating in Paris: There’s nothing embarrassing about bringing your own packed lunch. As far as I know there are currently no restrictions taking food with you on board the Eurostar so you can bring your homemade sandwiches and other snacks. If it’s a sunny day then why not have a picnic as there are many beautiful parks around the city, but I recommend the ‘Champ de Mars’ located next to the Eiffel Tower.
Also, there is a chain store called Monoprix almost everywhere in the city which I can only describe as the French equivalent to British store Marks & Spencers. They offer clothing, homeware and gifts, as well as a supermarket. You can buy an assortment of French food here for less than 10 euros. But if you are feeling homesick then there are fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Union Burger (which is similar to Burger King).
To summarise, be wise and spend less in Paris as it could mean you have some money left over to save for your next European adventure.
Written and edited by RC