While there are undoubtedly cheaper cities than Paris to visit, the capital has an allure that many of us find hard to resist. Whether you want to go because you’ve never been before and want to see what all the fuss is about, or because you want to take a romantic break with a loved one or simply because you love the city it is possible to get there without spending a fortune. From London Paris is an eight hour bus ride – longer than it would take by bus or plane but at a fraction of the cost.
So, tip number one: travel by bus. The tickets can cost as little as £35 with iDBUS (per person, one way) and if you book four tickets the fourth is free. If you are flexible about what time and date you can travel you can simply search for the cheapest journey. If you need to book in advance because of set work holiday dates then rest assured that the price on the iDBUS website will not change whether you book early or at late notice: it will always be their best price for that journey.
You can travel overnight and arrive having slept en route so that you are ready to start your holiday from the moment you disembark, or you can travel during the day and enjoy the views of the English and French countryside. Take advantage of the free on-board Wi-Fi and plug sockets and the hours will fly by. iDBUS’s website makes it easy to select your journey from London to Paris (and back) and displays the prices for all the different times very clearly so you can choose the journey that suits you best.
Tip number two: book accommodation outside the main tourist areas of Paris. The various sections of Paris are all interconnected by excellent public transport links. It is easy to get the Paris Metro from the outer areas of Paris into the central areas and you will save a small fortune on hotel costs. Similarly, campsites outside Paris (particularly numerous on the north side) are inexpensive and often have dedicated buses that serve the site to take you into the city. Or look out for cheap, budget chain hotels in France: you will get a bed and a small bathroom and not much else, but if you are planning to use it just as a base to leave your clothes and to sleep then that’s all you really need.
Tip number three: enjoy the museums and art galleries at a discount with the Paris Museum Pass, which you can buy to be valid for two to five days. It will let you enter around 60 museums and galleries around the city for the number of days paid for, and lets you skip the queues. To get around the city you can take the Metro or you can hire a bike, just like you can in London.
Tip number four: If you want to see the city in the most economical and time-effective way, you can pre-book your Paris tours from Local Paris Tours as they provide tickets to all the tourist attractions at amazing prices
Final tip: to save money on food, nip into any bakers and buy the makings of a picnic with some baguettes, cheese, crisps and drinks. Take them all to one of the city’s many parks and enjoy an afternoon eating, drinking and feeding the birds.
*Image of Eiffel Tower, symbol of Paris via Shutterstock