If you are on a tight budget, no need to freak out, it’s possible to visit Paris without breaking the bank. This is what $100 (88 Euros) will get you in the French capital:

Culture and museums

$100 will get a generous dose of culture and some treats to keep you going.

For $78 you can obtain a six-day Paris Museum Pass providing admission to 60 museums and monuments in and around Paris without waiting in line. Some of the top museums included are: Louvre Museum, Orsay Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Palace of Versailles, and the Arc de Triomphe. The remaining $10 will get you a treat from any bakery on every one of these six days.

You can also opt for a two-day pass ($47.50) or a four-day pass ($63) and stuff your face with more buttery goodness. Your choice.

Restaurants

Depending on how big your appetite is, $100 can get you:

  • 25 traditional Parisian sandwiches (half a baguette spread with butter and filled with ham and cheese). Most bakeries also have a lunch menu that include one sandwich, one drink (beer is usually available), and one pastry for about $10. That’s lunch for 10 days for you.
  • 3 dinners for two at a crêperie. These Breton restaurants can be found all over Paris and provide great traditional food for little money. A common meal consists of one or two galettes (a savoury buckwheat crêpe), one desert crêpe, and a bôlée of cider.
  • Way too many pâtisseries.

Drinking

Photo: Dan Zelazo

Your travel budget, even small, should always allow you to enjoy some French wine:

  • $100 will get you about 20 glasses of wine in any café or brasserie.
  • You can also hit the supermarket and get yourself an assortment of bottles. Prices range from about $5 to $20. Don’t forget to include the price of some plastic cups if you want to enjoy your finds in a park or by the Seine.

Transportation

Transportation in Paris is rather cheap and quite efficient. Your $100 bill will get you:

  • 50 single trips on metro lines, RER lines within Paris (zone 1), Ile-de-France bus lines, tramway lines, and the Montmartre funicular. However, a single ticket is only valid for one trip and you’ll have to line up every time you need to travel. Remember that lines can be long and that the self-service machines are often broken. If you need to go to the counter to purchase your metro fare from the teller, I’m afraid you’ll lose faith in people’s kindness, so the following might be better options.
  • Buying tickets by bunches of ten will save you some money and you’ll be able to ride around Paris about 60 times.
  • To make the most of you travel money without wasting any time is the Paris visite pass. You can purchase this transportation card for up to 5 consecutive days for $76 and it provides unlimited travel in zones 1 to 5. This way you won’t need to worry about topping up your ticket to go to the airport or check out the Palace of Versailles and you’ll be able to get to treat yourself with the $24 you have left. Croissants, anyone?

Tours

  • 2 hop-on hop-off bus tours of Paris valid for one day ($70)
  • One-hour River Seine cruise for 2 ($32)
  • Private tour of Paris in an open 2CV for 2 adults ($72). The 2CV is the car every French family’s had at one stage; they are bouncy, they are loud, and they are the epitome of cool.
  • 30-minute audio-guided tour of the Paris Catacombs for 2 ($26). Those with claustrophobia issues should scratch this one off their list.

Accommodation

Photo: Gregory

To recover from all that museum-walking, wine-drinking, and bread-eating your $100 will get you:

  • 4 nights for a single adult in a hostel dorm in central Paris.
  • 2 nights for 2 in a hostel’s private bedroom in Paris intra-muros.