How to See Paris on $100 a Day - Page 2

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Luxembourg Palace in Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France
Luxembourg Palace in Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, France  (iStockphoto)

Laissez-Faire Lunching
Paris is a city made for picnics. In no other metropolis could you derive quite the same joy from the simple combination of fresh, crusty bread and soft cheese or hot crepes filled with Nutella, enjoyed while basking in the sun in one of dozens of gorgeously landscaped parks. Picnicking is a quintessential Parisian pastime, even when winter chills the air. Most parks, like the spectacular Jardin du Luxembourg, are also home to petite cafés serving up distinctly French café au laits, usually for no more than €3 or €4 (around $4). It’s easy to let an entire afternoon float by while, say, watching wooden toy sailboats bobbing about in a park fountain. The best part is that the money you’ll save lunching in a park in Paris on the cheap will free up your wallet for set-service restaurants for dinner. Total cost: $5 to $15.

Culture du Jour
The Paris Visitors Bureau offers a range of packages that help visitors explore the city’s stunning museums and other cultural attractions for less dough than buying individual tickets. The Paris City Passport is valid for one to five days and offers priority Louvre entry tickets, a Bateaux Mouches sightseeing cruise, Metro passes, and discounted entry to select museums—starting at €33 ($43) per day. Or you could try the Paris Museum Pass, sold for two, four, or six consecutive days that give you the freedom to visit more than 60 museums or monuments in and around Paris, starting at €39 ($50) for the two-day pass. Either way, the time you’ll save on priority entry alone will make this a worthy investment. However, if you want to save to the max, consider touring on free-entry days (usually the first Sunday of the month) at select museums. Total cost: $0 to $35 per day.

Rendezvous for Less
Remember two wonderful facts when planning for Paris: Americans love visiting Paris and Parisians are ardent international travelers. These add up to a beautiful benefit: you probably already know someone there, either directly or through friends. Consider approaching such worldly new acquaintances for a place to crash for cheap or free (not counting the dinner or gifts you should contribute, bien sûr). Alternately, look into swapping homes for the trip, especially if you live in a popular U.S. city. And if the personal connection doesn’t do the trick, look for a room on or a couch to crash on with, two great ways to save money in Paris on the cheap. Total cost: free to $80 a day.

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