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When you plan a vacation, you generally budget a certain amount that you want to pay for airfare and a hotel. Yet, many forget to plan for all the little expenses—which can really add up if you’re not careful.
Here’s our handy cheat sheet for what you can expect to pay for some basic items in Paris, as well as tips for finding a cheaper alternative.
Cup of coffee: €2.50+
While a simple espresso generally will cost around €2.50-€3 when sipped seated at a café, anything fancier (latte, café crème, etc.) is going to tack on an extra euro or more in price. Cafés in central Paris also increase their prices for other basic items because they know tourists will pay.
When grabbing a coffee at a touristed café (or any café, for that matter), stand at the bar with the locals and pay half the price. For a leisurely café experience, why not venture to a spot along the Canal St. Martin in the 11th arrondissement where prices should be more reasonable?
Ticket to the Louvre: €9.50
That full-price admission ticket for the Louvre’s permanent collections doesn’t even include the €6 audio guide.
For a cheaper alternative, visit the museum on Wednesday or Friday evening from 6 PM to 9:45 PM for €6 and download the free Louvre app from the Apple store before you go. Better yet, aim for the first Sunday of the month when museum admission is free (although crowds can be a problem later in the day).
Many other museums also offer reduced rates for evening admission and most participate in the free first Sundays.
Lunch at a restaurant: €10+
Even at lunchtime, a main course at a moderately-priced restaurant in a touristy neighborhood will probably run upwards of €10—and that doesn’t account for wine or other beverages.
Instead, pick up a prepared sandwich at a boulangerie for about €3 or go for the “formule” that includes a sandwich, dessert, and drink for €5-€7. For a really cheap alternative, pick up a €1 baguette, a €3 bottle of supermarket wine (still tasty even though it’s so cheap!), and some cheese and find a spot for a picnic.
Pint of beer in a bar: €6
Even when compared to New York or London, I find alcohol to be pretty expensive in Paris at even the diviest of bars.
However, in supermarkets it’s fairly cheap. Since drinking in public is legal in most places in Paris (and even in places where it isn’t, most cops will turn a blind eye if you’re discreet about it), you can opt for a less expensive night out by picking up a bottle of wine or a couple of beers at the nearest Franprix and finding a place to sit along the Seine.
If you do want to order a beer at a bar, try a pint of French-made 1664. But to really feel like a local, ask for “un seize” (meaning “16” – the first part of the beer’s name in French).
Add your tips
How have you kept your expenses low in Paris? Have some tips to share? Please add them in our comments section below!