Once again, Imei has helped compile these tips for the journey to Paris, France.
- We all know that Paris is just beaucoup expensive for Americans, thanks to the strength of the Euro. However, there are ways to save a little here and there, and hopefully that will take some stress off your pocketbook so you can enjoy your stay in this beautiful city.
- Many of the museums of Paris have a free visit evening listed on their websites. It will likely be a an off-night, such as a Thursday, and it will only be for the evening hours before close, but hey, free is free.
- Take the Metro. If you’re staying for at least a week, buy a pack of Metro passes rather than single tickets. They never expire, so you don’t have to worry about using them in a certain time frame. Any left over? Gift ’em to a friend, and pay it forward.
- From the CDG airport, check for the closest RER (A or B) that runs nearest to your area of Paris. It’s cheaper than a taxi, efficient, and easy.
- Looking for some inexpensive gifts for the gals back home? What is Paris without a scarf? Go to the Arabic speaking area near Montmarte, and haggle for anything from scarves to Egyptian style cover ups. I found two scarves made out of velvet and chiffon for 10 euros, gifted one of them, and still get compliments on the other. Hint: inspect them carefully. You might find a small tear or a “burn” where there a glue gun went rogue.
- If you like eating well, always go for the prix fixe meal at the local bistro. You’ll have more than enough food, and for 12-15e, your appetizer, main, and dessert will feel like a feast. Adventurous? Eat at the Arabic gyro-style shops, and get a wrap containing lamb or beef, veggies, pita bread, and a soft drink. Don’t even try to super-size it. [Speaking of super size, the French equivalent of McD’s is Quick].
- Need some inexpensive house or personal items? Tati is a low-end department store equivalent to Kmart in the U.S. Just know: you get what you pay for. [Imei notes: I have to say that the fancy underpants I bought there is still holding up nicely, ooh la la.]
- Like to walk? Visit some of Paris’ beautiful gardens and scenic areas, such as Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg, and Boulevard St-Germain. Want to try something different? See if you can get in on a game of Petanque.
- If you are bold and have balls, you can rent a bicycle: the clunky, grey Velib that has taken Paris by storm. But I warn you: don’t let those buses creep up next to you. Not only will the buses take off all the door handles of the cars on a narrow street, but they will leave you nowhere to go if you don’t know where you’re going.
- Single Ladies: you are the cat’s meow. Repetez, s’il vous plaiz: you are the cat’s meow. Going to a nightclub? Go early, get in free. Grab your drink tickets, and don’t use them. Let men buy you drinks. Gift those men with your drink tickets later. And if the nightclub has more than one floor, like Bain Douche, be sure to switch floors and start the process all over again: “Je suis Americain… “. Have fun!
- Single Men: women own this place. If you want to get anywhere, you will have to pay. They know it, and you know it. End of story. Bring cash. If you want to save $$, forego the women, go out with your best buddies, get some beers, or better yet, bad boxed wine from the local market (yes, even France has bad boxed wine). Factoid: buying beer or wine from the local Casino (one local supermarket) is significantly cheaper. Don’t go too cheap however: wine under one Euro isn’t even fit to cook with. At Nicolas (wine shoppe), ask the store keeper for valuable advice on French wines. [Imei adds: I always take a bottle or two back for the cellar back home.]
So, how do you save money in Paris, France?