I have always been intrigued by Paris. I haven’t visited it very much, only a couple of times however have wanted to go for a long time and actually make the most of everything this beautiful city had to offer. I also wanted to do it on a budget as there are so many attractions, museums, bars, cafes and restaurants in the city of love that it’s very easy to spend a lot of money for a short trip away.My best friend (Shelley) and I had had a trip away planned for a long time. We met a couple of years ago when we both performed at Thorpe Park’s Fright Nights and since had been trying to fit in trips away together. First we had a short trip away to Brighton, then Amsterdam, then Dubai, and finally we had Paris.
Where to stay: As both of us are students, budgeting is a must so we decided to book and stay at an apartment as opposed to staying in a hotel. I found this beautiful apartment on Booking.com and, even though I have never stayed in apartments before abroad thought I would try it this time. It was in an amazing location right by the eiffel tower and the host was very helpful when it came to arranging checking in and out. He was also on hand to help with anything else we needed. We paid £335 in total for 3 nights at this apartment which is about £167 each. Definitely worth every penny!
Technically this trip was a little bit over 48 hours – we landed at 5:30pm but due to the distance between the airport and Paris and rush hour, we didn’t get to the apartment until about 7:30pm. We decided to chill that evening but first thought we’d have a wander around to get to know the neighbourhood – any nice restaurants near by, where the supermarkets were, and what we were close to. After walking for about 5 minutes we found the eiffel tower – I thought we were a bit further away than we actually were so realising it was on our doorstep was a real treat! Our first evening was accompanied by the prettiest sunset so we couldn’t not take a few photos. We then chose to stay in and order sushi through deliveroo – being in Cornwall I miss both sushi and food delivery sites so we couldn’t not do it!
Breakfast: €1 (croissant from supermarket), Lunch: €7 (crepe and beer), Dinner: €18 (pizza and drink)
The next morning was when our trip properly began. We had decided to book a couple of tickets for attractions through Viator and for today, only had tickets to the Arc de Triomphe booked and there was no particular time slot for our tickets so we had the whole day to explore.Being the organised person that I am, I wrote up an itinerary of the things we needed to see and tried to fit them into a logical order. We began with walking down to Notre Dame as that was the furthest landmark away from our apartment and then we could walk back towards where we were staying.
Unfortunately, the day we landed in Paris was the afternoon the fire broke out in Notre Dame. At first, when my mum messaged me about it I thought she was joking however then I saw it on the news and was shocked. We decided to still walk down that way and see it and pay our respects. The streets were filled with people. Tourists, news reporters, locals, police, everyone was there to see it. A lot of streets were closed, as well as the area surrounding the cathedral.
Afterwards we took a slow walk up to the Louvre. On our way we stopped for a coffee and also decided to go into a Carhartt store. Both me and Shelley like the brand however our boyfriends love it. I wanted to get Jake something from Paris so what better than a new top from one of his favourite brands? After feeling like the best girlfriends every we continued our day and went up to the Louvre. We decided not to go in so only stopped to see the outside and continue walking through the Tuileries Garden up to the Place de la Concorde. On our way up we stopped in one of the cafes in the Garden for a quick lunch before continuing up Champs-Elysees. One thing I love about Paris is how close every landmark is. Everything is all basically in a straight line so it’s very easy to walk from place to place however it is a lot of walking. I had never been to Paris in the Spring before so I stopped to take a lot of photos on the way.
After walking up Champs-Elysees, we ended up at the Arc de Triomphe at about 3pm and were ready to walk up one of the most iconic monuments in Paris with some of the best views at the top. We bought this ticket for access and I would highly recommend it as it’s only £10.50 and saves you from queuing for access to the terrace.
We then strolled back to the Eiffel Tower and had a few drinks in the Champ de Mars garden.Although the weather was quite cloudy on this day, we were very lucky that it didn’t rain.We ended up having dinner at a Pizzeria between the Eiffel Tower and our apartment. The food was delicious and the staff were lovely.
Breakfast: inc. with Versailles Lunch: we were still full from breakfast Dinner: €9 (picnic in the park)
Since booking the trip, Shelley had wanted to go to the Versailles Palace. I found tickets on Viator for skip the line access to the palace with breakfast at the Ore Restaurant inside the palace. These came to £37.39 each which I think is an amazing price.
We began the sunny day early and walked to the train station by the Eiffel Tower which the RER C goes straight to Versailles. The tickets cost about £7 each for a return ticket which is a lot cheaper than if you were to get a taxi and the journey is very quick, a lot quicker than if you were to drive there.Our breakfast was booked in at 9:30. After the 10 minute walk from the station we arrived at the impressive palace. The queue was already very long so if you are planning on going to Versailles I’d recommend you get skip-the-line access regardless.
After an amazing and relaxing breakfast in the restaurant, we went straight to the front of the line into the palace. It was great learning about the history of the place and being able to walk around at our own pace. After exploring the inside of the palace we then went out into the extensive gardens. Sadly we didn’t have time to explore all of it as we were slightly pushed for time but I would definitely come and do the whole thing again. Even though we weren’t able to explore all of the gardens, we still saw a lot.When we arrived back in Paris the temperature had increased massively so we quickly went back to the apartment to change before we were due to go up the Eiffel Tower.
When booking tickets for the eiffel tower there were a lot of websites offering skip-the-line access, summit tickets and second floor tickets all from about £35-£80. I almost bought one however thought it was very expensive so went on to the official Eiffel Tower website and learnt something very interesting. All these websites selling skip-the-line tickets are lying. There is no skip the line access so you are wasting your money booking it. You get into a smaller line if you have pre-booked however there is no option to get you to the front. We paid €8.10 each for our tickets from the official site to the second floor so don’t get scammed by these travel sites offering you something that isn’t actually possible. We were put in a smaller queue as we had pre-booked and after security you then go into another queue to go up. Again, there is a separate queue for those who already have tickets for an allocated time and it is a lot smaller. I would definitely book to go up the Eiffel Tower but do it through the official website linked above.
After going up and seeing some breathtaking views we went to the supermarket to buy some food and had a picnic in the Champs de Mars garden with a few drinks for our last night. We then went back to the apartment as we needed to be up early for our flight home in the morning.Tips:
- Stay in an apartment near the landmark that interests you the most
- Book tickets online for attractions you want to see in order to save money and time queuing
- Instead of going to a bar to drink, buy drinks at the supermarket – Paris has a lot of beautiful gardens where you can sit down, enjoy the city and save money having your favourite drink
- Book eiffel tower tickets off the official website
I hope this blog post has helped you plan your trip to Paris with a budget in mind. Below is a breakdown of prices to help you out.Prices:
- Flights – £135.51 return from London Luton to Paris CDG
- Apartment – £167pp for 3 nights
- Taxi to and from airport: €50-60 (approx, each way)
- Day 1: €41
- Day 2: €65
- Total spent pp: £450