You’re probably busy if you’ve recently arrived in France as an immigrant. There will be enjoyable activities, such as learning about French culture and making new friends. There will also be more practical challenges, such as adjusting to your new job or learning how taxes work.

There’s also the issue of budget management to consider. This is especially important if France has a higher overall cost of living than your home country. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 7 money-saving tips in France and 14 tips for Paris in France to help you spend as little as possible while living here.

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7 Money Saving Tips In France

Use Public Transport

You may have an instinctive desire to own a car in France. However, this is not the best option if you’re on a tight budget. A vehicle can be expensive, but there are also associated costs, such as fuel and insurance.

Because France has excellent public transportation, you may not need to pay for your vehicle. Consider the city of Paris. The iconic French capital has an extensive transportation network, including the Métro, trams, and buses.

A Navigo pass allows you to travel unlimited times per week, month, or year. The benefit of using an annual pass is that you get a full month of free travel. Furthermore, if you live in the Île-de-France region, which includes Paris, your employer must reimburse at least 50% of your travel pass.

The Citymapper app makes navigating major French cities like Paris, Lyon, and Marseille even easier. Real-time data provides instant guidance on the best routes from A to B.

Look Out For Discounts

Look out for any discounts you might be eligible for. Passengers over 62, for example, may be eligible for a 50% discount on monthly Navigo passes in Paris. Similar discounts are available to students under the age of 26.

You can also save money on many popular attractions in France. Depending on your circumstances, some may even be free. Consider the Louvre, home of the Mona Lisa and arguably the world’s most famous museum. Visitors under the age of 26, as well as job seekers and the disabled, will be admitted for free.

As a general rule, we always recommend checking online for discounts before visiting a French attraction.

Use Money-Saving Apps

Some apps, such as Citymapper, make life in France easier. Some can even help you save money. Consider iGraal Market, which is available on Google Play and the App Store. You can earn cashback on your purchases when you use the app while shopping at major supermarkets such as Monoprix and Carrefour. The app also displays regular discounts and offers additional cashback if you play quizzes or watch promotional videos.

Another money-saving tip for expats in France is to use the intriguing Mon Avis Le Rend Gratuit app. This translates as ‘My Opinion Makes it Free’. The app, as the name implies, allows you to receive free products in exchange for providing feedback via questionnaires. You can select items to claim on the app, ranging from chocolates to beer to toiletries.

Do you enjoy eating out? France is well-known for its culinary scene, and using The Fork reservation app can help you save money on restaurant visits. Booking a table through the app can save up to 50% off your bill.

Use Loyalty Schemes

Another great money-saving tip in France is to use loyalty programmes to reduce your day-to-day expenses. Monoprix is one of France’s largest retailers that offer such incentives. Its La Carte programme offers discounts on Monoprix-branded food and household items. Every month, it also offers more than 150 exclusive deals. Look out for similar schemes from retailers such as Intermarché and Carrefour.

Consider purchasing city cards or passes. These aren’t loyalty programmes, but they give you unlimited access to museums, river cruises, and other attractions for a set period. They make it much cheaper to visit cities ranging from Bordeaux to Nantes.

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Visit Free Attractions

You don’t have to spend money to enjoy the natural beauty and eye-catching architecture of France. Consider the Eiffel Tower. While a ride to the top can be expensive, you can see this world-famous landmark from the ground at Parc du Champ-de-Mars. Indeed, both locals and visitors enjoy picnicking in this historic park while admiring the Eiffel Tower.

Many cultural attractions, such as the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, are free of charge. Nature lovers should visit the Gorges du Verdon in Provence, the country’s deepest gorge. Alternatively, take a stroll along Nice’s Promenade des Anglais, which has been the playground of celebrities and royals for generations.

Open A French Savings Account

In France, there are numerous banks to choose from, and we look at some of the best options for immigrants here. Some transactions, such as paying rent or receiving a salary, may necessitate opening a local bank account. It’s also a simple way to avoid any international fees from your current bank.

You should also consider the savings accounts provided by French banks such as Crédit Agricole and BNP Paribas. Examine how savings accounts work and what interest rates are available. Saving a portion of your earnings in a good savings account can help you build your financial future in France.

Don’t Pay Too Much For International Money Transfers

Sending money to loved ones back home may be one of your top priorities while living in France. This could be something done once in a while to commemorate birthdays or new year’s celebrations. Alternatively, you may be required to provide consistent and critical financial assistance. In either case, you’ll want as much of your money to translate into your home currency as possible.

When it comes to remittances, it can be beneficial to compare your options because some routes may be more cost-effective than others. Online money transfer services, such as Remitly, can be a great alternative to banks and high-street outlets. Because they do not operate expensive physical facilities, they can afford to charge low fees and offer very competitive exchange rates.

You can learn more about Remitly by downloading the app and trying out the service for yourself.

Travel In France On A Budget

Traveling in France can quickly become prohibitively expensive. To fully enjoy the French “Art-de-Vivre,” you must plan ahead of time and avoid the main tourist traps. Most importantly, plan your stay as a French person would! Here are our best tips for saving money while traveling in France.

Travel Around France Cheaply

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Cheap Travel By Train In France

The fastest train in France, the TGV, connects the majority of the major cities. However, a TGV train ticket can be very expensive. Especially during the Christmas season, the Easter holidays in France, and the summer vacations (July and August). To avoid wasting your money on one-way tickets to Marseille, we recommend: – Taking regional trains in France: To travel from one city to another, instead of taking the TGV, take the regional train TER. They are slower than the TGV, but who cares when you can enjoy the beautiful countryside of France! Another option is to plan ahead of time and obtain “exclusive online tickets” for TGV and TER – look for the best prices here.

Cheap Travel By Bus In France

Traveling by bus in France is very convenient and inexpensive; the cheapest bus company is OUIBUS, which the French National Railroad Company SNCF operates. The buses are comfortable, with free WiFi and air conditioning. From Paris to Marseille, the average fare is only 35€! Check out their prices here.

Cheap Travel By Car In France

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Renting A Car In France

Driving around is the most cost-effective way to explore France! The major car rental companies are extremely competitive, and prices have dropped significantly! If you are searching for the best and cheapest car rental rates, check out Drivy, a successful French startup. In a nutshell, it is a car rental marketplace that focuses on private car rentals.

Best Apps For Saving Money While Driving In France

A few apps are extremely useful when driving around France. The first, Parkopedia, will locate all free parking spots throughout France. The second app, called Peago, will adjust your routes to avoid toll roads. There is no offline version available. To use them, you must have internet access.

Save On Accommodation While Traveling In France

When you’re on a tight budget but still want to see a lot of France, we recommend avoiding spending too much time in Paris. On average, a hotel room in Paris costs 120€, and a decent Airbnb not far from the city centre costs at least 80€. At the same time, it will be less expensive in other cities.

To save money on lodging in France, we recommend staying in “gîtes” rather than hotels. “Gîtes” are similar to bed and breakfasts but less expensive. The official “gîtes” in France can be found here.

Taking the night bus or train from one city to the next is another way to save money on accommodation while traveling in France!

It should be noted that most “Gîtes” do not provide free internet access.

Save On Food And Drinks

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Get Cheap And Delicious Local Food

Every city in France has a local food market. It is typically set up on the largest square in small towns and one of the largest avenues in larger cities. You can find out more information online, and there is usually at least one food market open during the week and one open on weekends.

These neighborhood food markets are always very nice farmer’s markets where you can get a lot of delicious fresh food for a very low price! When traveling on a budget, it is always preferable to get a fresh croissant from the next-door bakery for breakfast and a nice picnic for lunch with groceries from the farmer’s market rather than going to the restaurant three times a day!

Get A Good Deal On Drinks During “Happy Hour”

During “happy hours,” which usually last from 6 to 8 p.m., all cafés and bars in France offer half-priced drinks. After work, just before dinner, the French enjoy a drink. Please take advantage of it and sample some fine French wines and liquors!

Paris On A Budget: Expert Tips For How To Save Money In Paris

Paris is well-known for its high prices all over the world! The city of love has a cost, and that cost is not romance. But there are numerous ways to visit Paris on a budget if you plan ahead of time (and have a little insider knowledge). Here are 10+ tips for saving money in Paris (while still seeing all of the iconic Parisian sites!).

Paris is one of Europe’s, if not the world’s, most expensive cities. And I’m not even aware of it. My friend once ordered a coke and vodka in the 15th arrondissement and paid €15 for it. If you want to use the restroom near a famous museum, you’ll have to pay €1.50. And, regrettably, neither of these statements is exaggerated! But, while Paris is expensive, you can still visit on a budget!

Note: First and foremost, a word about the Paris Pass. If you wish to visit all of the top Paris attractions while saving money, consider purchasing a Paris pass.

This all-in-one ticket is a bit more expensive to purchase, but it allows you to see all of the city’s major attractions with a single ticket, including skip-the-line functions.

The best way to determine whether the pass is right for you is to add up the individual costs of the attractions you want to visit and see if you’ll save money!

Best Tips For Saving Money In Paris

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Take Advantage Of All Of The Free Activities Available

One of the best ways to save money in Paris is to take advantage of all of the free activities available. From free admission to the Louvre every first Sunday of the month to all of the city’s green spaces, there is no end to the number of free activities available in Paris.

Moving around the Sacré Coeur (and exploring the rest of Montmartre), looking for antiques at Port St Ouen, and wandering around Père Lachaise Cemetery are some of the best free things to do in Paris (final resting places of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison).

Order Tap Water At Restaurants 

You may not realize it, but it is possible to order tap water in all restaurants, cafés, and bars in Paris. Rather than spending your money on bottled water, order ‘une carafe d’eau’. And if you’re thinking about getting a cup of coffee at the same time, you should!

Use Public Transportation

Obviously, walking is the cheapest way to cross Paris! And a major part of the city is best explored on foot. If your destination is too far away to walk, consider taking the metro or a bus instead of a taxi.

When taking a taxi to the airport, you should be aware that the prices are fixed and that this is the best option if you want to take a cab. This is in contrast to ride-sharing services like Uber, which do not have fixed prices between the airport and the city center, which means that during peak times, you may end up paying well above the odds and much more than you would have otherwise!

Purchase A Carnet Of Metro Tickets

While we are on this subject of the metro, consider purchasing a carnet (pack of ten) of metro tickets to save money. Instead of paying per journey, buy these in packs of ten at the machine and save at least 20-30 cents per ticket. Please keep in mind that carnet paper tickets will be phased out by 2021 but can still be purchased on the Navigo Découverte.

Also, keep your ticket with you at all times: random inspections are common on both the platforms and within the metro carriages, and if you’re caught without one, you’ll face a hefty fine.

Visitors to the city have been able to go paper-free since mid-2019 by purchasing the Navigo Découverte, which allows you to load a carnet onto the card.

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Free Entry To Museums Only On The First Sunday Of Every Month

Every first Sunday of the month, a collection of museums and monuments throughout the city of lights open its doors for free. These days can be quite crowded, so arrive at least half an hour before the opening time or risk a three-hour wait—especially for Paris favorites like the Louvre.

If you’re visiting the city at another time of year and want to see a lot of cultural sites, I recommend getting the Paris Museum Pass. There are several free museums throughout the city, including the Musée d’Art Moderne (Museum of Modern Art) and the permanent collections of La Musée de la Vie Romantique (Museum of romantic life- an oasis at the bottom of Butte Montmartre).

Consider Having A Picnic (Or Two)

If you want to save money in Paris, consider visiting a green space with your friends. Paris, especially in the summer, is one of the best places in the world for a picnic.

So, rather than going to an expensive restaurant, consider purchasing some supplies (like baguette, fruit, and wine) from a local supermarket and enjoying your dinner outside as a Parisian picnic.

Explore Offbeat Districts (Don’t Just Stay In The Touristy Areas)

As in any city, some districts are significantly more expensive than others. The ‘tourist’ districts of Paris are the most expensive, meaning you can pay up to double the price for the same meal elsewhere in the city.

Get away from the tourist traps and explore the city’s lesser-known areas. You’ll get a feel for the rest of Paris while avoiding the overpriced fees of the tourist attractions. Coffee can be up to €2 less expensive, there will be fewer tourists, and you will see a side of Paris that few others get to see!

Visiting less touristy areas will also save you money on restaurant and café bills, allowing you to stick to your budget easily! While some arrondissements charge up to €6 for a glass of wine and €4 for an espresso, others (such as the 11e) charge as little as €2.50 for wine and €1.50 for an espresso.

Consider Purchasing A Paris Museum Pass Or A Paris Pass

With many of the city’s major museums charging admission, such as the Louvre, Musée Rodin, and Musée d’Orsay, the cost of admission quickly adds up. If you enjoy art or want to visit all of the major museums in Paris, consider purchasing a Paris Museum Pass. The Paris Museum Pass entitles you to free admission to over 50 museums and shorter lines (which may well be a reason to purchase the pass). The pass is available for purchase here.

On the other hand, the Paris Pass includes much more than just museums (such as transportation and several Parisian landmarks).

 Never Pay Or WiFi (Ever, Ever, Ever!)

If you want to save money in Paris, never pay for WiFi! Instead, numerous restaurants, cafés, bars, and shopping malls throughout the city provide free WiFi.

Although many hotels will try to charge you for it, there are plenty of parks, fast food restaurants, and other tourist attractions where you can connect for free. Out of all the methods to save money in Paris, this is the simplest!

Purchase Drinks During Happy Hour

If you want to enjoy a drink but want to avoid paying a high price for it, look for Happy Hour beers, cocktails, or even non-alcoholic drinks. Many bars throughout the city have daily happy hours, with some even having ‘all night long’ happy hours. Enjoy half-priced cocktails and good prices on glasses of wine throughout Le Marais and much of the 11e.

Take A Free & Self-Guided Walking Tour Of The City

There are numerous free walking tours in the city that cover everything from where to buy the best pastries to the city’s rich history. Wear comfortable shoes, ask plenty of questions, and bring your camera! If you want to plan your own itinerary, consider doing a self-guided walking tour of Montmartre.

Choose Your Accommodation Wisely And Book Well In Advance

While Paris is notoriously expensive (though there are plenty of ways to save money if you’re creative), your hotel/guesthouse/hostel will likely be your biggest expense during your stay. As a result, I recommend booking well in advance to ensure the best rate. Here you can find rates and availability for the best hotels in Paris.

When planning your trip, make sure to include a visit to the city center. Many people mistakenly believe that booking your accommodation outside of the city center is a good idea, but believe me when I say that this is your first mistake.

Many budget-conscious travelers will book hotels outside of Paris’s central business district, perhaps near Disneyland Paris. I only recommend staying in this area if you intend to visit Disneyland Paris.

After all, if you do this, you could end up spending up to an hour and a half each way to get into the city each day, wasting a lot of your valuable time there. This website is where I go to find the best hotel deals in town.

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Make The Most Of All The Budget-Friendly Paris Restaurants

Whether you want vegan food, a quick bite to go, or to try some French cuisine, Paris has something for everyone (and, of course, every budget). I highly recommend L’As du Fallafel on rue des Rosiers in the city’s Le Marais district for a quick and cheap veggie lunch.

Otherwise, Le Bouillon Chartier is one of the best places to enjoy delicious French cuisine at reasonable prices. This 19th-century restaurant is located within a former train station concourse in the city’s 9th arrondissement, close to where all of Paris’ covered passages can be found.

Make The Most Of Set Lunch Menus

While we’re on the subject of dining out, one of the best ways to make the most of foodie Paris is to go out for lunch rather than dinner. Lunch menus are typically much cheaper than dinner menus and allow you to sample several courses for the price of just one!

Final Words

What comes to mind when you think of France? Perhaps delicious cheese and wine, amazing bread, perfume, and a plethora of fashion? France is the go-to spot for world-class gastronomy, high-end fashion, and all-things opulent. Yes, while a vacation to France allows you to experience the finer things in life, it does not require you to go broke in the process. Even if you’re visiting Paris on a budget, no one wants to pay more than necessary, right? So, with that out of the way, this article can help you to save money on your next vacation in Paris and other parts of France.

A trip to France may not appear to be a cost-cutting opportunity at first glance, but there are always ways to stretch your dollar without foregoing any must-have experiences. You could spend more time traveling and making the most of your trip if you saved money.