Many have dreamed of visiting the glorious sights of Paris, grabbing a ‘petit café au lait’ and a ‘pain au chocolat’ in a neighborhood café for breakfast, before progressing to the Louvre to ponder the works of DaVinci and his many peers all afternoon. In the midst of your cultural excursions and stopovers in the charming bakeries of the French capital, you may be tempted to look past the sticker price and spend a ridiculous 10 euros on a glass of orange juice, as hey, it is Paris after all! Indeed, few and far between are the tourists who escape the City of Light without having spent many more of their travel checks than they had intended upon arrival! Fortunately, experiencing the wonder that is Paris can be easily done on a shoestring budget, without missing a single must-see painting or can’t-be-missed landmark.
For starters, finding one’s way around Paris can be a true challenge, but the Parisian métro provides easy access to every imaginable corner of the city. Many tourists find themselves purchasing ‘carnets,’ small stacks of ten tickets, on ticket agent’s recommendations. Though such purchases may make sense for the Parisian crossing Paris for one single voyage during the course of the day, most tourists have a full agenda of sights to see and wonders to explore, and can easily find themselves all out of tickets!
Several travel passes are available to the Parisian tourist. A pass called the ‘mobili” will give any budding traveller unlimited access to the entire travel network of Paris, including the buses, métro, and tramways, for the price of a few measly tickets. Young weekend visitors are privy to even better prices, as a ‘Ticket Jeune’ gives unlimited travel to anyone under the age of 26 on Saturdays and Sundays. As all of the well-known Parisian monuments and landmarks are found within the main zones of the city, spare the added expense of zones beyond zone 2, unless you have a specific need to visit the Parisian suburbs.
Additional discounts for the youthful Parisian visitor abound. Why not dress up for the evening and enjoy a French comedy in one of the small theaters scattered throughout the city? Visiting the ticket offices an hour before the show time can pay off for would-be theater critics younger than 26 years old! Tickets for nearly every play on the Parisian stage are available for the economical price of 10€!
‘Grown-ups’ should take heart, as discounts for every age are available in many other arenas. Those hoping to dip their forks into a 3-star chef’s ‘plat du jour,’ can do so at prices more than 50% lower than those found on dinner menus by visiting any of Paris’s renowned restaurants at lunch time! While such a visit may still be a bit expensive, the luxurious food and wine will go down a bit easier with the knowledge of how much money is being saved by savoring one’s ‘foie gras’ with the lunch crowd!
Travelers with a full itinerary should also consider purchasing a pass for unlimited access to some of Paris’s best-known landmarks. Visiting Notre Dame, l’Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre? Consider purchasing the Paris Museum Pass (http://www.parismuseumpass.com/) before leaving home, or at any Parisian airport or museum. The museum pass gives unlimited access to more than 60 different landmarks and museums scattered throughout Paris, meaning you can visit dear Mona Lisa as many times as you want during your stay in the City of Light!
Regardless of where your travels take you in Paris, by following a few simple guidelines, the Parisian visitor doesn’t have to spend thousands of euros! Saving all of those euros may just mean your next visit to Paris will be sooner than expected!