A cheap weekend in Paris is a chance to unwind, create new memories, romance that special someone in your life, or expose your young family to a foreign culture. Whatever your intention, it’s possible to enjoy a weekend in Paris without missing out on any of the experiences available to you, or spending too much money. These tips and tricks to getting the most for your money in Paris will help you create an experience of a lifetime that will leave you wanting to return again and again to the city of love.
The first thing you need to remember is that timing is everything when planning your fun weekend. From the cost of your flight and hotel to the availability of rooms at bargain prices, you need to figure out the best time to plan your weekend trip. Impromptu weekend getaways are often times the best kind of escape from daily life, but it all depends on the time of year. While Paris in June is usually packed with tourists, July and August offer a lot more options to those looking to experience a little piece of the Paris life. The city isn’t as busy during these months, providing you with more choices in terms of flights and hotels. You can enjoy the many sights of the city without dealing with the crowds of the busier months. Of course taking advantage of July and August means dealing with the high temperatures of the summer months, so be prepared to deal with the sweltering heat of Paris in the summer.
Off season weekend trips to Paris can also be the choice for you if you’re looking to travel between November and and March. While you’ll probably have fewer hotels to choose from, those that remain open during off peak tourist season in Paris can offer you lower rates and may even be open to bargaining for the room price if you’re willing to take a chance and not book in advance. Airline costs are also significantly cheaper at this time, saving you hundreds of dollars on airfare. Another perk of planning your trip to Paris during off season is fewer crowds, allowing you to enjoy sightseeing when the main attractions are a lot quieter. If you’re looking forward to a night on the town however, off season may not be the one for you, as Paris nightlife really thrives during the summer months.
Once you decide when you’ll be going on your cheap weekend getaway, its time to make arrangements. If you’re planning on proposing to the love of your life, you can often find romance tours that include airfare, accommodation, and nighttime tours of the city’s most romantic attractions. Nighttime boat rides are a great way to see the lights of Paris from a distance, and can be the perfect location for popping the question. If you’re set on proposing on the Eiffel tower, you can skip the tour and head to the nearest metro station. Depending on the location of your hotel, the Eiffel tower may even be within walking distance. Paris on a budget can mean that your choice of a romantic restaurant may be limited, but you can always find an affordable location to celebrate the next chapter of your life.
For the traveling family or someone interested less in nightlife and more in experiencing the culture and history of the city, a weekend getaway to Paris is the perfect time to visit museums and famous sites such as Arch de Triomphe. Picking up a map of the city and letting your inner explorer take the reins can save you money, especially if your hotel is in a central location. If you’re athletically inclined, you can rent a bike, and depending on the season, you may be able to negotiate a cheap deal for bikes for your whole family. The metro is a great way to visit locations that are a bit further away from your hotel, and you can also hop on an open top buses to roam the city. While some of the museums and famous buildings in Paris may require an entrance fee, having a conversation with the staff at your hotel’s front desk can get you the insider scoop on the best free tourist attractions to visit. If you’re more interested in relaxation than sightseeing, there are quite a few beautiful parks to visit, where you can indulge in some people watching or simply watch the city life go by.
You’ll probably be tempted to indulge in room service if its available at your hotel, but keeping costs down means exploring the neighbourhood for budget friendly meal options. If your hotel includes a free breakfast, you can probably afford to splurge a little on lunch at one of the many quaint cafes and restaurants in the city. Choosing a hotel that offers a kitchenette is a great way to save money if you’re willing to prepare a meal or two yourself. Visiting a local supermarket can be an experience in itself since you’ll probably get lots of inspiration from the different products you find there, and you’ll have fun translating the labels too! You can shop like a local, and whip up a great meal back at your hotel, saving you service charges and other additions to your bill at a restaurant. If you’re not that great in the kitchen, the hotel staff can guide you to the best and cheapest local eateries and cafes that may not be frequented by tourists, allowing you to experience Paris cuisine just like the locals do.
Once you have your plans in place and your budget set, a getaway to Paris is right around the corner. Remember to take along your camera to capture the memories you’re sure to make while visiting this culturally rich and historically significant city. You’ll probably find that one weekend in Paris isn’t enough, and you’ll soon find yourself yearning to return to this vibrant city.
Photo by Håkan Dahlström