Paris: a destination sophisticated, yet familiar. You hum songs about it, read books about it, and watch films set in the City of Lights. Wherever you call home, Paris is pretty much always high up on the must-see destination list. And why not? With stunning architecture, rich history, and no shortage of delicious cuisine, a trip to France’s capital city is a guaranteed good time. That being said, it can also be an expensive time. If you want to take the trip and keep an eye on your budget, our 7 tips will help you see the city in just 48 hours for under €200. Read on to find out how…

Eat for under €70

Paris is the world capital when it comes to fine dining. But this doesn’t mean that the best meals are the most expensive. We suggest splitting your budget into thirds, with one third (about €70) reserved for meals. Assuming your accommodation has breakfast covered, here’s where and how to spend your money on lunch and dinner.

Eat your way through the famous foodie capital.

1. Savor the street food 

Head to the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis to sample some culturally diverse dishes at refreshingly affordable prices. Grab some chicken shawarma at Le Daily Syrien, a Kurdish sandwich at Urfa Durum, or a veggie lunch under €5 at Le Delice du Chateau D’eau. In the evening, order a cocktail one of the many bohemian bars that line this street if you want to mingle with locals.

A picnic pre (or post) climb is always a good idea.

2. Make a picnic with fresh produce from the market 

The best part about dining in Paris? You can’t go wrong when it comes to the basics. If you want to skip a sit-down meal in favor of a picnic blanket, we get it. Grab some cheese (the stinkier, the better) and a bottle of wine from Julhès, a gourmet store and dining spot, and have a Seine-side picnic. If you need a bit more sustenance, swing by the Marché couvert Saint-Martin, a 19th-century covered market. 

Experience Paris for under €130

We’re down €70, which leaves around €130 to spend on sightseeing and experiences. Whether you want to head to the top of the Eiffel Tower or spend a few hours in one of the city’s many galleries, we’ll tell you where to go.

Don’t waste time waiting in line at any of Paris’ famous sites.

1. Plan in advance (and choose wisely)

… and prioritize the best stuff. Consider this when you plan your trip: some of the city’s major sights are incredibly popular (like the Eiffel Tower) and you can’t always escape lines and crowds (unless you find an affordable skip-the-line ticket).

Remember to choose wisely. The Eiffel Tower might look just as good twinkling in the background of your photos, for example, without you ever needing to climb it. And maybe stick to window-shopping while on Champs-Elysee, a famous avenue which stretches between the two iconic landmarks Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde.

See the city all lit up on an evening cruise down the Seine.

2. See the icons

With your time and wallet in mind, we recommend giving yourself a brief overview of the iconic stuff. That is, see something royal, something cultural, and something cool (it’s still Paris, after all). After you check off a couple of the biggies, you can relax on the Seine knowing you covered all your bases.

For art-lovers on a budget (€17-20), we suggest a skip-the-line tour of the royal collection at the Louvre, or a skip-the-line tour of the Musee d’Orsay, a former railroad station that now houses a stunning range of Impressionist paintings and early 19th-century artworks.

Take advantage of bike-sharing and Paris’ public transportation.

3. Use public transportation whenever possible

A lot of money can be saved on local transport, but it depends on your comfort level. If you like biking in the city, consider taking advantage of the city’s bike-sharing system. And if two wheels aren’t for you, stick to the extensive public transportation system. It’s equally accessible and efficient. 

See masterpieces at the Louvre when you want with skip-the-line tickets.

4. Take advantage of travel hacks for the best deals

There are still endless ways to cut costs on a sightseeing trip to Paris, even if you only have a day to catch all the top attractions of the city. The first Sundays of the month are sacred for art-lovers on a budget because it’s when most of the top museums open their doors to visitors for free. The Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, and countless other galleries make their collections available to the public every month at this time, so it might be worth it to book around these dates if you’re trying to save. If you happen to miss a free Sunday, it’s still worth it to have an informed guide and a skip-the-line ticket to some of the best ones.

There are also a ton of free art galleries in Paris, like the Paris Museum of Modern Art, which houses over 8,000 pieces of contemporary art by Picasso, Braque, and Matisse, among others. You can also check out Maison de Balzac, the former home of the renowned writer, to see his old manuscripts and where he wrote some of his most famous works.

Walk the streets of Montmarte to soak up Paris’ most picturesque district.

5. Explore on two feet

The best way to take advantage of the city might be on two feet. It’s free to walk the Montmarte neighborhood and go inside the Sacre Coeur, and you’ll get a perspective of classic Parisian life while you’re at it. Or, pause for a rest from the hustle and bustle at Luxembourg Gardens, the original spot for many a romantic rendezvous.

Enjoy some premium people watching at a cute cafe (and don’t forget to order some croissants!).

6. Indulge in the good life

Don’t stay so money-focused that you forget to indulge while you’re in Paris, especially where it counts. Sure, you might not be able to visit a Michelin restaurant, but any self-respecting Parisian bakery will serve delicious pastries. Once you’re sitting pretty with a croissant and a coffee, all that’s left is watching the city go about its (fashionable) business.

Plan your trip to Paris