You’re in desperate need of an exotic getaway. The caveat: It cannot break the bank. What if we told you you could visit Paris for $75 a day? Yep, it’s possible. We even made a lovely (and budget-friendly) itinerary for you. You’re welcome.
First thing’s first: You need to check in to your Airbnb. This adorable—and affordable—option in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés comes with chic rooftop views and will set you back just $81 per night. (FYI, split with your travel companion, this breaks down to just $40 a night.) Check in and get situated. Then, since you’re probably a bit jet-lagged, keep things low-key by scooping up a baguette ($2), some fromage from Androuet or a local grocer ($15) and vino ($10) to drink discreetly as you dine alfresco in Luxembourg Gardens. (It’s about a ten-minute walk from your apartment in the 6th arrondissement, which means no cab or metro ride required. Savings score.)
Total Amount Spent: $67
Let the sightseeing commence: Grab un café and a croissant ($3) for an inexpensive but oh-so-French breakfast, then hop on the metro ($2) to Montmartre—located in the 18th arrondissement. There, you can make like Amélie and stroll around free (and Instagram-worthy) sights like Rue Foyatier and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica. For lunch, seek out a less touristy spot like Le Relais Gascon, known for its charcuterie and oversize salads ($15). After, hop back on the Metro toward your ‘hood to check out nearby Notre Dame (entrance to the medieval cathedral is free) and enjoy an afternoon pastry ($3) by the Seine. For dinner, continue strolling to L’As du Fallafel in the Marais for a falafel sandwich ($7) overflowing with pickled veggies, fried eggplant and spicy tomato sauce. Yum.
Total Amount Spent: $70
You can’t go to Paris without at least browsing one of the many farmers’ markets stocked with everything from fresh strawberries to peonies. (Do advance research to find the market closest to you.) For example, in the 6th (next to your Airbnb) you’ll find Marché Biologique Raspail, which comes alive every Sunday. Snap photos, buy breakfast—and pick up groceries to cook for dinner, too. (Hey, isn’t that the point of an Airbnb?) Aim to spend around $15 max. Enjoy lunch on the go—like a savory crepe from one of the sidewalk kiosks ($5)—then head to Jardin des Tuileries to relax and people-watch. Spend the afternoon at the Musée d’Orsay ($13) before treating yourself to a self-scheduled pastry crawl. (Ladurée and Pierre Hermé are both nearby, and macarons will set you back about $1.50 a pop.) Optional: Use the leftover cash from days 1 and 2 to splurge on a bottle of wine ($10) for your home-cooked dinner in, and you’ll still stay on budget.
Total Amount Spent: $75
So, you definitely can’t leave Paris without at least meandering past la Tour Eiffel. Plan another continental breakfast (pain au chocolat, coffee—you know the drill), then take the metro ($2) to the 7th arrondissement early to avoid the lines. It will set you back about $18 to take the elevator to the top (it’s also best to make an online reservation in advance), but trust us, the views are worth the expense. After, plan to enjoy a picnic lunch (a baguette and some Brie for $8) on the Champ de Mars. Spend the rest of the afternoon meandering along the Champs-Élysées and the Seine. For dinner, enjoy leftovers at home before hitting a local bistro for a nightcap. (Table wine—even at a fancier spot—will run you about $4 a glass.)
Total Amount Spent: $75
The Seine is lovely, but you’d be remiss to leave Paris without peeping Canal Saint-Martin and the intricate works of graffiti and street art dotting its path. Treat yourself to a sit-down breakfast at nearby Café Charlot. (Don’t worry, you can still keep it cheap—around $10—with a pastry or Croque-Madame.) Then, skip a traditional lunch in favor of ice cream at iconic spot Berthillon on Rue Saint-Louis. Take in the spectacular bridges (like the Pont Neuf) as you make your way to one more museum—the Centre Pompidou—before you depart. (You can get into the modern art museum for $15, FYI.) OK, the last night calls for a gourmet and traditionally French dinner out. Bouillon Chartier is deliciously authentic and will set you back only about $10 per plate.