Hi Frugalistas! Last year I posted on how the same itinerary can be made to fit any budget. It was a fun post, was popular and received great feedback from you. Now, I present how to travel to Paris on any budget. The point of this post is demonstrate that a limited budget doesn’t have to mean limited travel fun. Or missing out on any of the special treats Paris has to offer.
I’m basing my post on a day in Paris. I’ve decided not to include sightseeing – a trip up the Eiffel Tower costs the same regardless of your budget. Instead I’m focussing on girly day in Paris: having a facial, doing some shopping (in particular, we are going to buy a man’s tie and a lady’s scarf), then eating and having somewhere to stay.
I’ve centred the day around the 6th and 7th arrondisements, where I can. It’s not a particularly cheap part of Paris, but it is one I know well.
As in my previous post, I’ve looked at three price structures:
Cheap and cheerful;
Frugal first class;
Money no object.
I’ve based accommodation costs on what I could find online in January 2014. Other costs were based on what I could find in Paris in October 2013.
You shouldn’t rely on any of the prices I’m quoting absolutely, however, they give you an idea of the relativities.
Accommodation in Paris on any budget
Genuine budget options are in short supply in the sixth and seventh arrondisements. The cheapest I could find was the Hotel de Nantes in the sixth. It comes in at EUR100 a night, when booked on a special rate on a booking website.
Frugal first class travel travellers will prefer a 3 star, and I can’t go past my favourite Paris haunt, the Hotel Muguet, 5minutes walk from Rue Cler. A double room is EUR170 per night (cheaper for stays of at least 4 nights).
Break the budget options are far more plentiful. My favourite choice is going to be the Hotel Montalembert over in the sixth, just off posh Rue du Bac. The top of the range Christian Liaigre suite is just EUR1034 per night. But that does include Continental Breakfast for two!
Facials in Paris
I had a facial in Paris the last time I was there. It was a lovely experience, and definitely different to having a facial back home. Given Paris is the home to many of the world’s great cosmetics houses, it is no surprise that premium facial options are plentiful. The sky really is the limit in terms of price, but for this exercise I’m going very traditional – a Royal Facial at Guerlain for EUR210.
If EUR210 for 90minutes is a bit outside your price range, why not consider something at a local beautician’s? I found a 60minute Sothy’s facial near my hotel for EUR60. Far more realistic, if a lovely splurge is part of your plans.
Regular readers will know I like chef schools as a good budget food splurge, so I’m also going with a beauty school for my budget facial option. The closest one I could find near our location is on Ave Kleber in the ever-so pricey 16th. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a price list! Hairdressing schools will put you back about EUR30 for a shampoo, cut, colour and blow dry, so I’m guessing a pretty great facial is probably about the same – or even less!
Lunch in Paris on any budget
All that facial relaxation has no doubt built up the appetite, so I’m sure some lunch is in order. Budget travellers will head to any nearby supermarket for a sandwich or roll and a drink to go. Allow about EUR7-8. Ultra budgetters will make sure they eat a big breakfast and skip lunch altogether!
Mid-rangers can head over to the 9th to the cafeteria of Galeries Lafayettes – one of my favourite lunch spots in Paris. The beautiful view of the Paris Opera, the Invalides and the Eiffel Tower is free, and lunch sets you back approximately EUR16 for roast chicken and salad, dessert, bread roll and either a bottle of water (large) or a bottle of wine (small).
If you’ve got more of a splurge in mind, why not consider one of the grand Paris brasseries? Les Deux Magots on Boulevard St Germain is easily accessible from the Left Bank Guerlain salon, so make a convenient lunch spot. A meagre EUR40 gets you a salad and dessert. Drinks are extra, bien sur!
Shopping in Paris on any budget
Having refuelled at lunch, it’s time to hit the shops! We’re off to buy a tie and a scarf, so blow the budget shoppers will definitely want to head to the legendary Hermes. One of their famous silk scarves is EUR320, while a silk tie looks cheap in comparison at a mere EUR150. Don’t forget to ask for the VAT refund on those!
Mid-priced shoppers are spoiled for choice, but I’m suggesting you stay in the grands magasins. Pure silk ties at both Galeries Lafayettes and Au Printemps are a more affordable EUR35 and there are plenty of choices for silk scarves at EUR25-40.
Budget travellers head straight to Monoprix, where I found the prettiest silk scarf for EUR20 and a reasonable range of classic men’s silk ties for a miserly EUR25 (complete with instructions on how to tie them!)
Dining in Paris on any budget
A grand meal in Paris is one of the highlights of any trip to Paris. Regardless of your budget, do plan for one splurge meal.
Budget travellers can head to Café Cler on rue Cler, for a splurge meal of main course (entrée), dessert, a glass of wine and coffee for EUR35-40 a head.
For my frugal first class travel splurge I’m suggesting L’Ami Jean, just near rue Cler, where EUR60 will buy you the biggest meal of aperitif, terrine and bread (no charge for this, so don’t order an appetiser as well!), a main (entrée), dessert, coffee and a couple of glasses of wine. Order a dessert, and you’ll be given a little box of homemade meringues to take home – perfect for a snack with coffee the next day! Just be ready to waddle home afterwards!
For a blow the budget splurge, visitors to the Hotel Montalembert have to look no further than next door and the fashionable and pricey L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. Eating at such a temple to food comes at a price – EUR150 for a degustation menu, plus drinks. But at least you don’t have to pay for a taxi home!
Whether you are budget, frugal first class or spending the kids’ inheritance, it is possible to stay, eat and spend in this expensive part of Paris. What is your favourite money saving tip for enjoying your time in Paris? What is your favourite splurge?