Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Summer Holidays : Paris... on a budget!

I have already talked here about what I would like us to do when we go to Paris this Summer. But I omitted an important point : we are on a budget ! Yes...

So here is a post about visiting Paris without spending next month salary (and many ideas if you want to break the bank too!).

Getting there:
Eurostar boasts Paris tickets from £69 pp but you can't book more than 4 months in advance.
Easyjet offers fares from £52 pp.
We are actually travelling with Brittany Ferries, £548 to cross the Channel and stay two weeks in France. Train to Paris the second week, £180.

Accomodation :
We are lucky to have family who can put us up so no cost here. But you don't necessarily need to know someone who lives there to save money on accomodation.
On this website you can find a holiday home that won't cost you anything providing that you're ready to lend your home too. I personnally know a family who's been home swapping for years now and they've always been more than happy with their holiday home. You don't need to live in a 10 bed mansion either, there are many other factors that can help you find the right match : location, dates, availability of a car, attractions in the area, you can offer long week-ends as well, you can make your ad personnal and talk about your favourite restaurants, picnic spots or days out with the kids.

If home swap doesn't appeal to you, you could rent this in the heart of Paris for £583 a week, sleeping 4. I was actually quite surprised about just how much self catering accomodations are on offer in Paris.

Supermarket prices in France are not hugely different from the UK. For sausages and mash (4 Toulouse sausages, 1.5kg potatoes) and a bottle of Chardonnay you would pay €13.00 in a Monoprix.

You can eat lunch at the restaurant du Musee d'Orsay for less than  €20.00.
Or have a light lunch in Amelie's café Les Deux Moulins (couldn't find prices though).
Or why not try these Farmer's style sandwiches for €6.00 (an interesting, quirky website here!).

You can get a travel card called Paris Visite which allows you to make an unlimited number of travels by metro, RER and bus, as well as 10 to 30% or special price on attractions. You can choose between 1, 2,3 or 5 days for Paris centre or Paris, suburbs abd airports.
Prices go from €9.75 for 1 adult, 1 day, Paris centre, to €53.40 for 1 adult, 5 days, Paris, suburbs and airports.

You can also get a Paris pass which includes the Paris Visit travel card as well as free entry to 60+ attractions, for 2, 4 or 6 days (€34 for a 2 days child pass, €61 teens, €105 adult).

The Paris Museum pass gives you access to museums and monuments + Paris Visite travel card as well: €39 for 2 days, €54 for 4 days, €69 for 6 days.

Things to do that won't cost anything:

Sunbathing or doing one of the free activities on the programme of Paris plages.
 "Bouquinistes" along the Seine.
 Champ de Mars playground, looking up to the Eiffel Tower.
 Going up to the top of the 'butte Montmartre' in the cable car (included in Paris Visite travel card) and coming down the stairs.
Visit the basilica of Sacré-Coeur.
A number of free exhibitions here (the ones that say GRATUIT) if you can drag/bribe the children to go and see them.
Going to an open market.
All museums are free every first Sunday of the month.
Playing or watching 'boules' games.
Parks and gardens.
Visit the cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris

From cheapest to dearest:

Take the children to see Guignol (the French Punch and Judy) in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont: €3.50 per child and per adult.
Morrocan mint tea and 'patisserie' at the Mosquée de Paris : €4

A swim at the Josephine Baker swimming pool  : €5.00 (free with Paris Pass) per person.
Visit the Eiffel Tower : from  €5 adult, €3.50 over 12 years, €3.00 4-11 years, free under 4 years ( to go up to the second floor, taking the stairs).
Music festival for children at the Parc Floral, the 'Pestacles', every Wednesday: €5.50 (over 26 years), €2.75  (7 to 26), free under 7.
Cité des Sciences, Parc de la Villette,Cité des Enfants (2-7 years and 5-12 years) : €8 adults, €6 children
Paris d'enfants, guided visit (with a guide-interpretor) for families, choice of 50 visits and activities (treasure hunt, museums, buildings or areas of Paris) with a booklet for each child : €9 per person.
A stroll with a theme and puzzles to solve, here: €9.99 (to download from website. 1 price for all the family).
'Flight' in a static hot air balloon : from €10 adults, €9 children
La Ménagerie, le zoo du Jardin des Plantes : €10 adults, €8 children
Louvre Museum : €11.60
Discover Paris in a 2CV with '4 Roues sous un Parapluie' : €10 for a discovery tour of 15mn, €20 to have a ride on the Champs Elysées, €42 to go to the Eiffel Tower and have lunch in the tower restaurant, and much more.

Have fun !


  1. We are heading off to Paris next week, so this has been perfect for us! Thanks so much!

  2. Very happy that it will have been useful for at least one family ! I hope you will blog about it...! Have fun :-)

  3. I just discovered THE Twiiter to follow when visiting Paris, the official Twitter for the Ville de Paris : @Paris

    Although one of the 'Baladenigma' (the stroll with puzzles to solve, normally at 9.99) is FREE, associated with Paris Plages activities!!