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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Paris

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world. This comes as no surprise because it has plenty of museums, restaurants, attractions, bakeries, iconic structures, quaint cafes, and everything in between. The City of Light has plenty to offer visitors.


The Wandering Juan budget and itinerary for Paris


I spent a few days in Paris during my trip around Europe.



Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Paris

Paris is a centuries old city that has seen empires rise and fall. It is widely considered as a center for politics, economics, culture, commerce, art, and cuisine not just in Europe but the world. It's the center of the country's Île-de-France region. More than 12 million people call Paris their home. Paris is also one of the top cities with a high cost of living. It has an extensive rail network that connects it with various regions in the country. The city is a transportation hub which makes it easy to get anywhere within the country's borders and outside of it as well. Here you'll find famous museums and landmarks such as the Tour Eiffel, Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, Arc de Triomphe, Musee de l'Orangerie, and so many others. You'll also find numerous restaurants and cafes that not only serve French food, but also other types of cuisine around the world. You'll easily fill your budget and itinerary for Paris whenever you visit this vibrant city.


Getting a Visa

You'll need a valid Schengen visa to enter France. For this trip, I applied and got my visa from the Czech Republic's Embassy in Metro Manila. The process and requirements are similar regardless of the embassy you pass your application in.


Here's a more detailed post: how to get a Schengen visa for Filipinos



How to Get to Paris

Paris is a well-connected city whether you arrive by land or by plane. You can book a bus ride through www.flixbus.com or look for train schedules through www.trainline.com



By Plane

You'll most likely arrive at either Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or Orly Airport (ORY). You have some options when it comes to transportation from either airport to the city center.



Via CDG

You can take the RoissyBus from all three terminals of CDG. It stops at Opera at the center of the city. The trip can take an hour or longer depending on the traffic. 

Fare: €13.70 

Check here: RoissyBus Schedule



You can also take the train from CDG to Paris. The station you need to get to for the train is at terminal 3 Roissypole. If you arrive at terminal 1 you'll need to take a CDGVAL Airport Shuttle to terminal 3. From either terminal 3 or 2 just follow the signs pointing you to the train station. You'll have to take the RER B train. The trip can take 35 minutes or longer depending on where you have to go in the city. My accommodation was in Gare du Nord. You have to buy a Navigo Easy Pass for €2 then top it up with credit. 

Fare: €11.40



Via ORY

From ORY Airport you can take the OrlyBus to Denfert-Rochereau then switch to a RER B train or the metro to get to your accommodation.

Fare: €10



Taking public transportation is an affordable way to get to the city. However, it doesn't operate 24 hours. You can take a private transfer to reach your accommodation directly. 



Book your Paris Airport Transfer



Things to Do and Places to See

You'll easily fill your budget and itinerary for Paris when you browse for things to do in the city. Simply put, there's a lot to do regardless of what your interests are. The city is full of quaint cafes, museums, art galleries, interesting architecture, and a lot more.



The Louvre


Louvre Museum The Wandering Juan





The Louvre is one of the mosr recognizable landmarks of Paris. It's one of the biggest museums in the world and used to be the home of kings. You'll find thousands of works of art here from different parts of the world and various epochs. Art buffs could spend days seeing all the artworks in the Louvre, but casual visitors such as myself only need a few hours. The usual highlight of a visit is the Mona Lisa. There's always a group trying to take a photo of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece. There are other noteworthy works of art such as the Venus de Milo, Victoire de Samothrace, Le Sacre de l'Empereur Napoléon Ier, La Liberté Guidant le Peuple, and The Dying Slave just to name some.


Entrance fee: €17 (online) €15 (in the museum), I highly recommend you book a ticket online to avoid queuing for a long time


Book here: Louvre Museum Entrance Ticket


*Covered by Paris Museum Pass

*Closed on Tuesday



Musee d'Orsay


Musee d'Orsay The Wandering Juan


Musee d'Orsay The Wandering Juan


This museum used to be a railway station. It's now home to various masterpieces from different masterpieces. Here you'll find Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings from Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Cezanne and others. There are other artworks on display if you have the time to see them. You might have had your fill of art after visiting the Louvre.


Entrance fee: €16 (online), €14 (in the museum)


Book here: Musee d'Orsay Entrance Ticket


*Covered by Paris Museum Pass

*Closed on Monday



Musee Rodin


Musee Rodin The Wandering Juan


Auguste Rodin is a famous sculptor renowned for works such as The Thinker, The Cathedral, The Age of Bronze, The Kiss, The Walking Man, and others. There's also a garden where you can relax and appreciate the sculptures.


Entrance fee: €13


*Covered by Paris Museum Pass

*Closed on Monday



Musée de l'Orangerie


Musee de l'Orangerie The Wandering Juan


The Orangerie is an art gallery where you'll find many Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works of art. The highlight of a visit is to view and experience Claude Monet's Water Lillies. Like other galleries and museums in Paris, you'll also find other artists and painters' works on display such as Renoir, Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne and others. You can book a ticket and time slot online to avoid long waiting times.


Entrance fee: €12.50 


Book here: Musee de l'Orangerie


*Covered by Paris Museum Pass

*Closed on Tuesday




Arc de Triomphe


Arc de Triomphe The Wandering Juan



Napoleon had this structure built in 1806 but was unable to see it finished in 1836. It was built to commemorate the soldiers that fought for the First Empire and the Revolution. Architect Jean-Francois Chalgrin designed the Arc de Triomphe. Many national holidays take place here such as Bastille Day, the Armistice of 1918, and the end of World War II. Tourists can go up to the viewing platform to get overlooking views of Paris including the famous Champs-Elysees. This is also one of the places where you can see the Tour Eiffel towering over the city, that's why you should include the Arc de Triomphe in your budget and itinerary for Paris.


Entrance fee: €13




*Covered by Paris Museum Pass



Tour Eiffel


Eiffel Tower The Wandering Juan


The Tour Eiffel or Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic structures in Paris. It's easily recognizable whenever one visits this city. When it was first finished, many considered it an eyesore, but fast forward to today, it's one of the most visited attractions in Europe. Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel designed the tower. It stands 324 meters high and used to be the highest structure in the world after its construction. You can go up to the viewing platforms. The tower is lit up at night.


Entrance fee: €26.80 (adult ticket lift access to the top), €17.10 (adult ticket lift access to 2nd floor), €10.70 (adult ticket stairs access to 2nd floor), €20.40 (adult ticket with stairs and lift access to 2nd floor and top floor)


Book here: Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line Ticket (Klook) | Eiffel Tower Ticket (GetYourGuide)



Notre-Dame Cathedral


Notre-Dame Cathedral The Wandering Juan


This centuries old cathedral dates to 1163 when King Louis IX founded it. It took more than a century to finish construction. The design is a mix of early and high Gothic style. As of this writing the cathedral is under construction because of the fire that caused extensive damage. The cathedral will reopen in 2024. .


Entrance fee: It's free to enter the cathedral but there are separate fees for the towers and crypt.



Sainte-Chapelle


Sainte-Chapelle The Wandering Juan


This 13th century chapel is near the Notre-Dame Cathedral and is beautiful in its own way. This chapel was constructed from 1242 to 1248. The most eye-catching feature of the chapel are the striking stained-glass windows. 


Entrance fee: €11.50


Book here: Sainte-Chapelle Ticket (Klook) | Sainte-Chapelle Ticket (GetYourGuide)


*Covered by the Paris Museum Pass



Sacré-Coeur 


Sacré-Coeur The Wandering Juan


This church sits atop the highest point in Paris. The walk up to the church provides you with overlooking views of the city. Construction began in 1875 and finished in 1914. Some say that the church resembles a wedding cake when you look at it from a distance. The church is associated with Saint Denis' martyrdom. 


Entrance fee: Free



Montmartre


Montmartre The Wandering Juan


This quaint neighborhood has many cafes, restaurants, and shops. It used to be home to many renowned artists such as Picasso, Erik Satie, Renoir, and Modigliani just to name a few. This is a nice place to walk around in during your trip around Paris.




The Pantheon


Pantheon The Wandering Juan


The Pantheon was built as a mausoleum for the most renowned citizens of France. Some of the people buried here include Marie Curie, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Descartes, Rousseau, and others.


Entrance fee: €11.50 


*Covered by the Paris Museum Pass




Latin Quarter


Latin Quarter Paris The Wandering Juan


This neighborhood is home to many universities such as Sorbonne, College de France, Paris City University and others. Since it's a university area, there are many restaurants, bars, and bistros. 



Palais Garnier


Palais Garnier The Wandering Juan


Charles Garnier designed this opera house with Baroque influence and was commissioned by Napoleon III. It took more than a decade to complete this project. The exterior has elaborate columns and sculptures. The inside is just as beautiful as the facade with a grand staircase and ornate lamps and interiors. Many cultural events such as ballets, operas, and classical events are held in the Palais Garnier. If you're not watching a show, you can pay to go inside to learn more about the opera house or simply admire the architecture. 


Entrance fee: €14


Book here: Palais Garnier Ticket



Hotel de Ville


Hotel de Ville The Wandering Juan



This building is the city hall of Paris. It houses the mayor and their cabinet, local government council, and is also a venue for various events. It has a history that dates to 1357. It has undergone reconstructions and additions over the centuries. 


If you plan on seeing a lot of attractions in Paris in a few days, I would recommend getting the Paris Museum Pass. You can buy a 2-, 4-, and 6-days pass for your trip. I bought a 4-days pass and saved a lot of money. I used it for the Louvre, Versailles, Orangerie, Orsay, Rodin, Sainte-Chapelle, Pantheon, and the Arc de Triomphe. I could've seen more places if not for the day trip I did to Strasbourg and Colmar. The 4-days pass pays off pretty well if you maximize all four days sightseeing.


Book here: Paris Museum Pass (Klook) | Paris Museum Pass (GetYourGuide)


 

Klook.com



Other places of interest you might want to include in your itinerary:

  • Place de la Concorde
  • Jardin du Luxembourg
  • Place Vendome
  • Centre Pompidou
  • Hôtel National des Invalides
  • Place du Châtelet and Tour Saint-Jacques
  • Place de la Bastille
  • La Conciergerie
  • Grande Arche de la Défense
  • Musee de Cluny
  • Musee Picasso-Paris
  • Musee Gustave Moreau
  • Trocadero

There are a lot of other things to do and see while in Paris.


Paris The Wandering Juan


Paris The Wandering Juan



Paris The Wandering Juan



Paris The Wandering Juan


Paris is also a great city to walk around in during the day and night, there's beautiful architecture and quaint nooks in each of the arrondissements. I walked from the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre, with stops in between to eat and rest. I also walked around the Latin Quarter, Montmartre, Île-de-la-Cité, and some other places. There were also parts that were not so pretty and where I didn't feel safe. I can understand the mixed reviews I heard from friends and others who've been




Getting around Paris

It's easy to get around Paris because of the transportation options at your disposal. Walking is a good way to get to know the city and admire the beautiful architecture. You can also take the trams, buses, RER, SNCF, and metro to get around the city. You can use Uber and Bolt. There are several taxis ready to take you wherever you want to go. Taxis and Uber (or Bolt) are more expensive compared to taking public transportation.


Rather than buy single tickets, get a transportation card to make it easier to explore the city.


I bought the Navigo Decouverte for €27.80 from one of the counters at the station. The card itself is €5 then I topped it up for a week (€22.80) and used it for all types of public transportation from Zones 1 to 5 (this included my day trip to Versailles and the trains to CDG). This is a handy card to have as I went to various zones of the city. The card is valid for 10 years and you can top it up whenever you're in Paris. You have to bring a photo when you first buy the card. If you don't have one with you, you can have your photo taken in one of the booths in the stations. You can also purchase a Navigo Easy Pass for €2 and just top it up whenever you take public transportation.


Alternatively, you can buy a Paris Visite Card. This covers all transportation networks in Paris Zones 1-3 or Zones 1-5. It's valid for 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive days and provides you with some benefits from their partners. 

  • A pass for Zones 1-3 costs €13.55 (1 day), €22.05 (2 days), €30.10 (3 days), €43.30 (5 days)
  • A pass for Zones 1-5 costs €28.50 (1 day), €43.30 (2 days), €60.70 (3 days), €74.30 (5 days)
  • These are adult prices, children from 4-11 years old pay half price. 


Day Trips from Paris

If you have the time and interest, you have a few day trip options when you start planning your budget and itinerary for Paris.


Versailles


Palace of Versailles The Wandering Juan



The Palace of Versailles is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that King Louis XIV built. It started as a small hunting lodge that Louis XIII had built in 1623. Louis XIV then expanded it into a palace through the years of his reign. Fast forward to today, it's now a tourist attraction. You can spend up to 3 hours or more exploring the interiors and spend another half day walking around the huge park. I only spent half a day here and just went to the interiors, didn't have enough time to explore the park (maybe for another trip). One of the highlights of the palace is the elaborate Hall of Mirrors. 


Tip: It's better to book a ticket and time slot online instead of showing up at the entrance.


Entrance fees: €21.50 Passport (includes Palace, Estate of Trianon, and garden), €19.50 (Palace ticket), €12.50 (Estate of Trianon ticket)


Book here: Versailles Palace Ticket (Klook) | Versailles Palace Tour with Garden (GetYourGuide)


How to go: It's convenient to go to Versailles by train. You can take the RER C train to Chateau Rive Gauche station. Alternatively, you can also take the train line L from Saint Lazare to Versailles Rive Droite station. Both stations are within walking distance or a short bus ride to the palace.


*Covered by the Paris Museum Pass


Strasbourg


Strasbourg The Wandering Juan



If you have a day to spare, you can add another city to your itinerary such as Strasbourg. I actually liked Strasbourg more than Paris. It's a small city with a distinct charm. It's historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located at France's eastern region near Germany. Some of the places you can visit include Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, La Petite France, Eglise Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune, Quartier Krutenau and others.


Book here: Paris to Strasbourg train ride



Colmar


Colmar The Wandering Juan



Not too far from Strasbourg is the quaint town of Colmar. This destination has a fairytale look and vibe to it. There are several colorful houses scattered all over town. It's a picturesque destination worth visiting as an escape from the hustle and bustle of a big city like Paris. Colmar has a history that spans several centuries. It has been part of Germany and France over the course of its history. It's possible to do both Strasbourg and Colmar in one long day trip from Paris if you start early. Colmar is small with many of its attractions close to each other.



Book here: Strasbourg to Colmar train ride


Paris Disneyland


If you love theme parks, you can spend a day in Paris Disneyland. Enjoy the shows, rides, and everything in between during a day in Disneyland. It's not too far from Paris and you can reach the park by public transportation.


Entrance fee: €81 for a one day dated ticket for two parks, €56 for a one day dated ticket for one park, €105 for a one day undated ticket for one park, €130 for a one day undated ticket for two parks. Prices vary if you visit for more than a day. 


Book here: Disneyland Paris Ticket (Klook) | Disneyland Paris Multi-Day Ticket (GetYourGuide) | Disneyland Paris 1-Day Flexible Ticket (GetYourGuide)


How to go: You can take the RER A train to Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy station.



Klook.com



Where to Stay in Paris

Paris is a huge city with plenty of arrondissements (districts). The city is also one of the most expensive to visit in Europe. However, like any big city, you'll still find affordable accommodation. There are hostels with dorm rooms. I stayed at St. Christoper's Inn Gare du Nord during my visit. It was near the train and metro station, which made it a convenient choice for me. 


You have plenty of options when it comes to accommodation, whether you want a luxurious place or a budget one. The closer you are to the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower, the more expensive accommodation tends to be. 


You can find a place to stay through www.booking.com 


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Budget for Paris

I spent a few days in Paris. I was able to see and do most of the stuff I wanted when I planned my trip. There's plenty of things to do and see that warrant multiple trips. Paris isn't exactly a budget destination, but it's manageable. 


Here's a list of my expenses that can help your budget and itinerary for Paris.


Everything's in €.


83.78 - 3 nights at St. Christopher's Inn Gare du Nord (includes €5 for late check out)

3 - Locker in St. Christopher's Inn Gare du Nord

3 - City tax

10 - OrlyBus from airport 

123.05 - Food and drinks

27.80 - Navigo Decouverte (transportation card)

25 - Train from Paris to Strasbourg

16 - Train from Strasbourg to Paris

28.20 - Return ticket from Strasbourg to Colmar

5 - Versailles audio guide

73 - 4 days Paris Museum Pass (GetYourGuide)     


397.83 - Total for 4 days and 3 nights


I didn't include the amount I spent for souvenirs because it's a variable expense. I tried to stay within my initial budget, but went over it because of the day trip to both Strasbourg and Colmar. Food in general is expensive, but there are places to get affordable eats, if you don't mind eating sandwiches or grocery food. I was able to save a lot of money because I bought a Paris Museum Pass. I went to a lot of art galleries and museums to maximize its value. It pays off after visiting highlights such as the Louvre, Versailles, Arc de Triomphe, Sainte-Chapelle, Musee d'Orsay, and a few other places. You could definitely spend more or less than me depending on your travel style, where you eat, how you get around, where you stay, what you do, and if you go shopping or not. I can say that €80-€90 a day is a safe, budget travel amount if you stay in dorms, eat out rarely, don't drink too much (I had a few glasses of wine during my stay), take public transportation, and enter just a few paid attractions.


You might want to visit these other places in Europe:



Tips for Travelers

  • Consider staying in a dorm room, it allows you to save some money compared to staying in a proviate room.
  • Watch out for pickpockets. There's plenty of them in the metro and tourist areas. 
  • Use any of the transportation cards to save some money whenever you take public transportation.
  • If you plan on going on a day trip to another region from Paris, buy train tickets in advance. Train tickets are cheaper if you buy them early.
  • The Paris Museum Pass provides great value if you plan to see multiple attractions in a few days. 
  • It's better to reserve a time slot for famous museums like the Louvre rather than risk going on the same day and stand in line for an hour or so.



Itinerary for Paris

Here's a sample itinerary for 4 days in Paris.


This assumes you start with one full day.


Day 1

The Louvre

Musee de l'Orangerie

Arc de Triomphe

Champs-Elysees

Tour Eiffel


Day 2

Musee d'Orsay

Day trip to Versailles Palace


Day 3

Musee Rodin

Hotel Invalides

Sacré-Coeur

Montmartre



Day 4

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Sainte-Chapelle

Latin Quarter

Pantheon


This is just a sample itinerary you can follow. Feel free to add or remove places depending on your interest. You could just hang out in some arrondissements' cafes and restaurants while adding a few paid attractions. You can also venture out to other cities or Disneyland Paris.




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