How to See Paris on $100 a Day

Are you a penny pincher with wanderlust? Don't fret Paris-seekers, here is our guide to continuing your love affair with the City of Lights without spending more than $100 a day.
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Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France  (PhotoDisc)
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The common theory is that a trip to this fabulous city is only for those with fabulously padded bank accounts. Au contraire! Those packing a sense of both adventure and thrift can make the most of the City of Lights in many romantic and authentically Parisian ways. There’s a reason why starving artists are drawn to this enchanting world capital: because a €1-baguette and €5-wheel of divine French cheese is enough to fill your belly and leave a few coins for a glass of fine house red. With smart planning and open-mindedness, navigating Paris on the cheap will be easier than hitching a bateaux ride down the Seine.

Freedom of Expression
The Left Bank of Paris has two of the city’s most famous intellectual neighborhoods—the Latin Quarter and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.  Both teem with bookstores, libraries, and cinemas as enchanting as any museum or Parisian park. Shakespeare & Co. is the most famous bookstore, with its long history as an English-language haven for expatriates from back before WWII. The bouquinistes of Paris—the small bookstands that line the Seine River—offer another charming opportunity to stroll-shop for printed goods, be they books, postcards, or vintage posters while in Paris on the cheap. These stalls are rich eye candy, and offer glimpses of French culture and history that you’ll find nowhere else. Meanwhile, the American Library in Paris, near the Eiffel Tower, offers another literary destination with a long history, robust collection, events and readings, and kid’s and holiday programs. Total cost: $0.

Don’t Stop Velibin’
Get this: It costs just €8 ($10) to have a conveniently located bicycle at your disposal for a full week in Paris on the cheap. Launched in 2007, Velib is the city’s successful bike-sharing program. For either a one-day or seven-day “subscription” (plus $195 refundable deposit), you can use a Velib bike for up to 30 minutes, as often as you like. If you go over that half-hour, another one will set you back just €1. Velib bike racks are all over the city and are easy to find with the online or printed map. The sturdy bikes have baskets and adjustable seats. And to top it off, the city’s network of bike lanes is ever-expanding and European drivers in general are accustomed to sharing their roads with bikes, making Paris one of the safest big cities for bikers. Besides, what’s better than cruising the Seine with the wind in your hair and a baguette in your basket? Total cost: $2.20 or less per day.

Simply Metro
OK, so maybe biking just isn’t for you. No problem—the Paris Metro rivals any mass-transit system in the world for efficiency and economy. A metro pass will set you back a reasonable amount for either a 10-ride card (a “carnet”), or daily, weekly, or monthly unlimited Navigo pass (which requires a passport-sized photo). Note that Metro fares vary by zone, but most tourists stay within zones one and two. Total cost: $4 to $8 average per day.

Published: 12 Dec 2012 | Last Updated: 13 Dec 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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3 Comments:

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