Friday, 1 June 2012

Five Ways To Save Money In Paris

Paris may bear the nickname of the ‘City of Love’, but for a holidaymaker visiting the city for the first time, their feelings may be anything but romantic towards the cost of living in the city. Just like any capital, Paris’ prices are a little higher than in the rest of the country, but don’t be fooled into thinking that you still can’t afford to visit – there are plenty of ways to enjoy cheap holidays to Paris, without missing out on its fantastic attractions. Here are five handy ways to cut the costs during your trip, or afford to do more than you thought!

  • Swap Cabs for Cycles
Notorious for its high volumes of traffic, Paris can be a nightmare to navigate at certain times of the day, which is why increasing numbers of visitors and residents are embracing the city’s Vélib' self-service bike-sharing scheme. At numerous locations around the city you can pick up a Vélib' bike and hire it for as long as you like – you simply pay by the hour using your credit card, plus your first half hour is free! As long as you return the Vélib' bikes to a station when you aren’t using them, you’ll have a cheap and stress-free alternative to taxis, and a much more fun way of getting around than the Metro.

  • Beware of the Expensive Arrondissements
Geographically, Paris is divided up into several neighbourhoods or ‘Arrondissements’, each with their own personality – and radically different price tags. In Paris’ most alluring Arrondissements you’ll find many unmissable attractions, but it’s best to avoid the restaurants, bars and shops there, unless you want to remember your day for the wrong reasons!

The priciest Arrondissements in central Paris are the 6th, home to the exclusive street of Saint Germain-des-Prés on the River Seine, the 7th, which is where you’ll also find the Eiffel Tower and the 8th, which is shared by the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées and Place de la Concorde. Instead of eating and drinking around here, head to the more affordable 9th and 10th Arrondissements, where the locals tend to hang out too.

  • Get Familiar with the Free Museums
You simply can’t miss out on visiting Paris’ best museums during your holiday, but one thing that you can eschew is paying those steep admission fees. If your visit coincides with the first Sunday of the month you’ll be able to enter a number of museums for free, including the Centre Pompidou, the Musée de Orsay and the Louvre – but get to these places as early as possible on the day to beat the queues.

In addition, there are also plenty of other fascinating museums in Paris that never charge an entry fee, such as the Musée des Parfumeries-Fragonard, the Musée Carnavalet or the Museum of Paris History, and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris or Museum of Modern Art, where you’ll have a memorable day out, without forking out.

  • Seek Out the Happy Hours
Forget eating at your regular mealtimes – dining out in Paris should be dictated by the restaurant lunch deals or happy hours, which are often during the afternoon or early evening. When you arrive in Paris, take a stroll around the area by your hotel to see what’s on offer, and make a note of the times so you don’t miss out.

However, if the weather in Paris is good when you visit, consider ditching the restaurants altogether and just grab a baguette from a boulangerie, and some cheeses from the supermarket, and have a picnic in the park. You’ll also pass a bewildering number of falafel stands on the streets of Paris, which also make delicious and cheap lunchtime options.

  • Don’t Take a Seat
Here’s one way to save money in Paris that we bet will surprise you – when you go into a coffee shop or bar, you’re likely to more for your drinks by being served at a table, than if you simply enjoy your drink standing at the bar. Look out for the price list which should have two sets of prices, one for ‘au comptoir’ or ‘zinc’, which is at the bar, and ‘à terrace’ or ‘salle’, which is taking a seat.

Bear in mind too that the cheapest beverages in Paris are usually coffee, wine and beer, and fizzy drinks, fruit juice and bottled water can be costly. Best to not buy these from a bar or café altogether, and just stock up in the supermarket.

Content provided by Jet2Holidays

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