10 Ways to Save Money on Family Travel to Paris
You've booked the flights, gotten the guidebooks, and are finalizing your budget for your trip to Paris. Now that reality has set in, it's a good idea to find ways to save money on Family Travel in Paris. Never fear! Although Paris can be expensive, there are definitely ways to cut costs without turning your journey into a cheapskate's dream. There are many free things to do in Paris, and we've got some money-saving tips as well.
You can walk (which is free), and see more of the city. You can definitely ride the metro - get a Navigo pass to save money. Buses are a great way to save money (again, get the Navigo pass) and experience Paris like a local. If you have a metro ticket or Navigo, you can take the navette boat for free, between Gare d'Austerlitz and Charenton le Pont. You can also rent bikes through the Vélib bicycle rental program - there are bike stations all over Paris. Trips under 30 minutes are free, while an hour costs €1. If you've got a big family, a taxi might be cheaper for rides to and from the airport.
If you're staying in a hotel, a good choice would be to look for ones that are in less-popular arrondissements, off the tourist track. You could also look to websites that provide a discount - Wimdu has a large selection of affordable late rooms all over the city, at affordable prices.
Do your research and check out comfortable and low cost apartments. This can save you a bundle over hotels, especially if your family is large. You'll have plenty of space to rest, play, and relax - and get a sense of what living in Paris is like.
If you're staying in an apartment, take advantage of having a kitchen and shop the markets. You'll save a bunch by cooking your own meals - and be sure to garner recipes from the market vendors. You'll discover new ingredients and recipes that you'll cherish forever. You can also buy lovely dishes and a baguette for a picnic - perhaps at the Luxembourg Gardens? Your kids will never forget the chocolaterie, nor the boulangerie, or playing with sailboats in the fountain while you're sitting nearby, eating well.
World-wide, restaurants charge less at lunchtime than at dinner. If you'd like to eat out, time it right. A lunch out will cost you much less than a dinner. Also discover the smaller, ethnic restaurants. These will cost far less than traditional or tourist-focused restaurants.
All city-run museums are free - all the time! There are also free days at the larger museums, usually on First Free Sunday. Again, do your research and plan your days - you could save a bundle. Give your kids a sketch book and pencil, and watch them while the time away.
Buy the Paris Museum Pass and you'll not only save a load of money on entrance fees, but you'll also be able to skip lines at many major attractions, including the Arc de Triomphe, Centre Pompidou, Musee de Louvre, Tour de Notre Dame, Musee D'Orsay, Pantheon, Musee Rodin, Sainte-Chapelle, Chateau de Versailles, and over 60 museums and monuments. Of course, many attractions are free - spend an afternoon in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, or count cars circling the Arc d'Triomphe.
8. Meet Locals
There are many ways to meet locals and get to know neighborhoods and Paris much better! Paris Greeter is a volunteer organization that leads personal walks through different neighborhoods. Tripping is a global organization that serves to connect travelers with locals. You could arrange a play date for your kids! Get outside, play in the parks, connect with kids there.
9. Learn History
Cemeteries are free. You know your teen will want to go see Jim Morrison's grave, while your spouse might prefer to wander over to Oscar Wilde's. Over 1 million people are buried in Paris. You could also find an audio tour and listen while you walk around Paris, soaking in the history. Context Travel runs several Paris walks, for those interested in learning history, as well.
10. Books, books, books
Shakespeare & Co. Libraries. They will all have events going on - including some for kids! Be sure to check the events schedule at the American Library in Paris. You'll meet fascinating people, find lots of great books, and experience a different side of Paris than most travelers see.