Paris On A Budget: Musée d'Orsay And Musée du Louvre

Paris On A Budget: Musée d’Orsay And Musée du Louvre

Paris on a budget trip to visit the two most famous museums of the worlds — Musée d’Orsay And Musée du Louvre. Itinerary, hotels, food tips.

Paris is a top tourist destination in Europe, and since it gets more tourists than it can handle, prices can skyrocket. But what if you are truly keen on exploring the art museums, the bohemian lifestyle, and the iconic landmarks that you’ve seen over and over again in movies and TV shows and read about in books? 

It almost feels like Paris is a luxury holiday destination, with no in-between solution for those of us (and we are not a small crowd) who just want to visit a museum and have a normal croissant in a not-so-famous boulangerie. What about us? 

Well, if you want to go visit museums in Paris on a budget, then this specific blog post is especially for you.

After many years, I went back to Paris, and I did just this – a budget trip to Paris! 

It was said it can’t be done, but I am living proof that IT CAN be done! And I will tell you everything about it! 

So don’t trust anyone telling you otherwise, because I have the complete itinerary (+ tips) for 2 days in Paris on a budget, tried and tested by myself, in February 2024.  

In this blog, I’ll go over the essentials of a Paris budget trip, such as places to stay in Paris on a budget, Paris food on a budget, the average cost of a trip to Paris, the best time to visit Paris on a budget, and all my tips for visiting Paris on a budget! 

So let’s get into it. 

Paris On A Budget: Musée d'Orsay And Musée du Louvre
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Is it possible to visit Paris on a budget?

I know this is a huge promise, but I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t have the exact blueprint for this Paris budget trip.

I have to warn you, cheap is a relative term, and it greatly depends on your home country. 

But the prices and tips I’m about to share are the best ones for prices in Paris, so keep that in mind. 

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Another thing to keep in mind is that trying to plan a trip to Paris on a budget might actually mean a mid-range trip to someplace else in Europe because this is where we’re at. I also wrote a while back an ideal itinerary for 2 days in Paris for anyone visiting for the first time, but that’s a more expensive itinerary.

The reality is that Paris is by far the number one destination in Europe for travellers from all around the world and this impacts greatly the prices in all locations.

Everything from accommodation to small cafes and experiences has inflated prices because of the abundance of visitors willing to pay those prices. 

That’s why I am always reluctant to recommend Paris, especially to budget travellers. 

However, if this is your first time in Europe, or you are coming to europe specifically to visit Paris, then I can’t blame you. It’s a must-see destination, but I just want to make sure you set your expectations right. 

To be honest, a lot of the European travel bucket list destinations are not cheap anymore, but they’re worth it.

Paris On A Budget: Musée d'Orsay And Musée du Louvre

Paris is huge, and planning to see it all in just a couple of days is simply not possible. All those iconic places you’ve seen in movies are spread all across the city, and getting from one spot to another can take a while. 

Then you also have to consider the crowds. 

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Even if you make it to all those places on your Paris itinerary, getting that perfect Instagram photo might take a while. And you can consider yourself lucky to get the picture in the first place. 

Remember that all those pictures you see online are taken at crazy hours, at 5 or 6 am, before everyone else gets to those places. 

My advice is to stop trying to control every single aspect of the trip and embrace Paris as it is: crowded, colourful, and busy. 

Best time to visit Paris on a budget

If you’re travelling to Paris on a budget, the best time to visit Paris is outside of the high season. 

The high season in Paris, and all across Europe is summer time, specifically during July and August. This is when you can expect the highest prices and the highest changes to find everything booked out, sold out, fully booked and extra crowded. 

As a European traveller, I recommend visiting Paris either in February to April or October to December. The weather isn’t as bad, but it mainly depends on your luck. However, this is when you have a shot at finding good accommodation close to the centre that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. 

I personally don’t understand why you want to visit the central and the southern parts of Europe during summer when everything is melting around you.

Unless you are visiting Scandinavia (Iceland, Sweden or a road trip in Norway), you should stay away from any place or city that is known as a touristy place during July and August. Trust me on this one; I am from Europe. 

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Paris budget airline

How do you get to Paris on a budget? 

Of course, this will depend on your origin location.

If you are travelling to Paris from the U.S., you can fly with French Bee, a low-cost airline flying from NY or Miami to Paris Orly airport. I used them to get to Miami, and it wasn’t as bad as people describe the experience on the internet. 

If you’re already in Europe, you can choose between a bunch of low-cost airlines, depending on your origin:

  • Ryanair
  • Wizzair
  • Vueling
  • EasyJet
  • Eurowings
  • Transavia

Just to get you an idea of the budget airline prices in Europe, I paid 239.86 EUR with Ryanair to get from Bucharest (OPT) to Paris (BVA). It’s a 3-hour flight, and it includes priority (1 personal item and one carry-on, no checked luggage) for two people and paid seats. This wasn’t the cheapest, and it was only purchased about 2 weeks in advance, which isn’t ideal for when you’re planning a budget trip to Paris. 

If you have more time to plan a trip to Paris than I had, then you can book your trip at least one month in advance, and you can pay much less. 

The issue with low-cost airlines in Europe is that the extras are expensive and quickly add up. For instance, for the basic price, you only get to carry a personal item, such as a small backpack, to fit under the seat in front of you. 

You will then get allocated a random seat, and if you are travelling with family, they will do their best to keep you apart when allocating the free seats. This happens with all the airlines I listed above. 

Paris On A Budget: Musée d'Orsay And Musée du Louvre
Hôtel du Cygne Paris is located in Centre Pompidou, near Westfield Forum des Halles shopping mall, which has a supermarket with ready-to-eat food

Where to stay in Paris on a budget?

If you are looking for a cheap stay in Paris, then finding a place to stay should become your number one priority as soon as you start planning your trip. 

Usually, for any other destination, I would wait until the last minute to find some discounted hotels for a night or two. But not in Paris.

Hotels are always busy in Paris, and the good-value hotels are always fully booked months in advance.

But if you’re travelling off-season, as I strongly suggest you do for a Paris budget trip, then try to scout some hotels as soon as possible. 

I recommend choosing a hotel closer to the center area, closer to the tourist attraction, even though it might a bit more expensive than other hotels in the outskirts of Paris.


Because if you only have a couple of days in Paris, you don’t want to waste that precious time commuting from your hotel to the places you want to see. Also, you will end up spending a ton on public transport, potentially offsetting any savings from the hotel room. 

When choosing a hotel in Paris, I would strive to get the best value for money while still being close to the centre (walking distance, preferably). 

This last trip was exactly this – 2 days in Paris on a budget, and I stayed at Hôtel du Cygne Paris and paid €230,90 for 2 nights for 2 adults. 

The hotel is modest but clean and has everything you need. It’s located in the Centre Pompidou area, and close to the Chatelet Les Halles metro and train station. That’s where Westfield Forum des Halles shopping mall is, where you will also find a big supermarket.

From the Chatelet Les Halles metro and train station, you can quickly access public transport and it has a direct line for the RER B train headed towards Paris Orly airport, which you might use if you’re travelling from the US using French Bee (a budget airline in Paris for long-haul flights). 

Hôtel du Cygne Paris is also about 15 minutes on foot from the Louvre, so I think it’s better to save time and transport costs and pay a bit extra for the hotel. 

For sure there are other budget hotels in the same area, but you will have to book them in advance. I booked this hotel only a week or so in advance, and it was the last room available for those dates. 

Paris On A Budget: Musée d'Orsay And Musée du Louvre
Walking along the Seine River in Paris is the best way to explore the city

Paris for cheap: How to get around

The main ways to get around Paris are:

  • By foot
  • Public transport
  • Taxis

Walking in Paris

Since Paris is huge, and distances between its most popular spots are too big to be done on foot, then I recommend the metro for most of your trips around. 

Well, of course you will also walk around in-between some spots that are closer to each other. Expect plenty of 15-20 minutes walk at a time, but if you want to get to Mortmante from the Eiffel tower, then you will want to take the metro or a bus. 

You can safely rely on Google Maps to indicate the best itinerary for your trip. It is very accurate, and it will also indicate any disruptions in the schedule of the public transport. I share in the tips section, at the end of this post how I always stay connected to the internet.

Taxis in Paris

Can you take taxis in Paris? Yes, you can also use Bolt and Uber, car-sharing services, but it will depend on the time of the day.

If it’s during the night or outside of the rush hour, yes, taking an Uber is an option, but it might not be the best option if you’re doing Paris for cheap.

That’s unless you are with a group of friends and you end up splitting the cost of the Uber among four people. 

Public transport in Paris

The best way to get around Paris is by public transport. 

Do note that you can buy 10-trip tickets from the machines at the metro station, or you can get day passes.

To get the best deal and stick to your budget travel plans in Paris, I recommend mapping out all the trips you want to take and calculate how many times you will use the public transport. Tickets are not cheap and it’s worth having a plan. 

I ended up getting only one metro ticket, to get from the spot the airport shuttle dropped us to the hotel. 

You can get all the tickets from the machines at the metro stations, bus stations, and tram stations. Here are the prices you need to know about:

  • t+ tickets (one-way trip using any of the metro lines, the RER within Paris, the Île-de-France region’s bus routes) costs €2,15 for 1 trip. Note that this ticket is valid for metro, bus or tram, and it is valid for 90 minutes after validation. In some buses/trams you can get a ticket on board, but it will cost €2,50.  
  • Bonjour RATP app to buy tickets uwing your phone. 
  • Île-de-France (IDF) point-to-point tickets for specific destinations outside Paris. For instance, I needed a ticket from the centre of Paris to Paris Orly airport. Luckily, you can find some of the popular routes, such as airport routes, in the menu options on the machines. Note that these tickets are more expensive. If you’re travelling as a group, it might be cheaper to get a taxi. 

Paris airports

Paris has 5 airports, but here are the 3 most popular used by tourists: 

  • Paris-Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) – get here by metro
  • Paris Orly Airport (ORY)  – get here with airport shuttle 
  • Paris Beauvais–Tillé Airport (BVA) – get here by train or bus

Paris-Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG)

If you’re travelling from CDG, which is right in te city, you can get more easily around, with public transport or even taxi. This airport is used by most big airlines, such as AirFrance and Turkish Airlines, but some budget airlines, such as Vueling or EasyJet, too.

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Paris Orly Airport (ORY)

Then you have Paris Orly, which handles more budget airline flights, but also some AirFrance flights. 

We used FrenchBee to get to the U.S. from Paris Orly, which is a great budget option for flying to/from Paris.

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Paris Beauvais–Tillé Airport (BVA)

The BVA airport is located more than one hour away from Paris, and it’s used mostly by Ryanair and WizzAir.

My advice is to get the Paris shuttle from the airport (just in front of the exit) at the time you purchase your tickets, as Ryanair offers better prices for the shuttle than the official website (I tried all these things, and that’s how I know how to save money for any trip not just this Paris budget trip).

But if you want to be more comfortable, and your Paris budget allows it, you can always book a private transfer just for your group.

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So to get to Paris I used Paris Beauvais–Tillé Airport and then departed from Paris Orly Airport. While both seem far away, the transit is smooth and you have multiple options. 

TIP: Check out Kiwi for bet budget options to get to Paris from your location.

Note: We were two adults travelling to Paris Orly, and it was about €14.50 x 2 for two people, which is a total of €29, which is almost the cost of the taxi fare estimated on Bolt or Uber, which are the main car sharing services in Europe. Because we didn’t have a lot of luggage, I didn’t want to risk getting stuck in traffic. But if you have a lot of luggage and you are a group of at least two, then this is a great way to get more comfortable and arrive at the airport. 

Paris On A Budget: Musée d'Orsay And Musée du Louvre

Itinerary for 2 days in Paris on a budget

If you’re planning a trip to Paris on a budget, and this is your first time in Paris, then you will probably look to visit some art museums and enjoy nice views while having a taste of the Parisian lifestyle. 

If you feel like you can spend a bit more, then check out this ultimate 2-day in Paris itinerary, which is more complete but implies more spending and might be a bit more tiring.

So here is what I did for 2 days in Paris on a budget. 

Day 1 – Arriving in Paris and visiting

My flight was early in the morning, and at 9 AM, I was already at Paris Beauvais–Tillé Airport (BVA) airport. 

Then, I took the shuttle bus from BVS to the centre of Paris. From the drop-off area, I had to get the metro to my hotel. I discovered the area around the hotel and then went to visit Musée d’Orsay. 

The visit lasted for about 3 hours, but you can stay for longer if you wish to. 

In the evening, you can either choose to dine at one of the cafes near the hotel or get a very budget-friendly dinner from the supermarket, which a lot of locals do. That’s why it’s important to choose a hotel with cheap food options around it; even if the hotel is a bit more pricey, you will save money in the end. 

So here’s a breakdown of how to spend the first day in Paris if you’re on a budget:

9:00 AMLand at the airport and take a shuttle to Paris centre. If you’re already in Paris, have a nice breakfast. I recommend BO&MIE, which is near the hotel where I stayed. 

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11:00 AMArrive at hotel. I recommend staying at Hôtel du Cygne Paris as it has a great location, close to restaurants and a shopping mall, including supermarket, budget food options and also close to public transport. It’s also walking distance from the Louvre Museum and Musée d’Orsay. So I think this is a great value for money hotel in Paris, especially if you’re attempting to visit Paris on a budget. 

I stayed at Hôtel du Cygne Paris, and it was nice. The rooms are small but clean, and the WiFi works. 

12:00 PM Have lunch. Nearby our hotel was Centre Pompidou and the Forum des Halles shopping mall, where you will find Monoprix supermarket, which offers ready-to-eat meals. You can even eat there, or take it back to your hotel. If it’s a sunny day, you can eat in the park in front of the mall. Don’t forget to also buy a fork for your food. If your budget allows it, you can eat in one of the many restaurants around; there will be plenty of options for all. 

1:30 PMVisit Musée d’Orsay. You need to pre-book your visit to enter the museum faster. There’s a queue for those who have already booked tickets online, and it moves a lot faster. However, if you don’t have a ticket, there’s a different queue (much longer), and it might take hours to get inside. 

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Paris On A Budget: Musée d'Orsay And Musée du Louvre
Paris On A Budget: Musée d'Orsay And Musée du Louvre
There are two Van Gogh self-portraits at Musée d’Orsay and one version of the famous Starry Night.

6:00 PM – Walk along the Seine River, back to the hotel. On your way back, you can stop by the Louvre Pier to take some photos. For dinner you can stop at any of the restaurants around that fit your budget and dietary requirements. 

Paris On A Budget: Musée d'Orsay And Musée du Louvre

Day 2 – Full day of visiting Paris

The second day in Paris on a budget is full of sightseeing and visiting. It’s not going to be easy, but if you want to save money and have a cheap stay in Paris, you’ll want to try and squeeze in as many things as you can in one day. So prepare yourself for a long day, with a lot of walking. 

8:00 AM — Breakfast. If you don’t have time for breakfast, just go to the museum. After you enter and take some pictures, you can stop at one of the cafes inside the museum. The prices are not that ridiculous, and it’s worth it for the convenience. We had coffee and pastry at Café Mollien inside the Louvre Palace, which is close to the Mona Lisa Hall. 

9:00 AM – Visit Louvre Museum (also known as the Louvre Palace). You need to pre-book your tickets online, as they are often sold out for the day. 

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I wrote a comprehensive guide about visiting the Louvre Museum, where you will find my best tips for making the best out of your visit at this world-famous museum.

Paris On A Budget: Musée d'Orsay And Musée du Louvre
On the left is the world-famous Mona Lisa painting behind a glass wall, and the crowd is a few meters away. This is the closest you can get to it, and it’s a huge crowd

3:00 PM – Lunch. You can have lunch at the restaurants inside the museum, but it will not be a budget option. However, you can stop at the food court located under the Pyramid (exit the museum through the main hall, follow the signs for exit, near Paul’s boulangerie). 

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There are a lot of good and affordable options (considering the location). We spent about 15 EUR each for a salad and a small beer there. It’s good option to maximize the time you can spend in the Louvru Museum without having to spend money to eat inside. 

4:30 PM – Walk along the Seine river. From the Louvru, you can walk to the Eiffel Tower. Simple walk along the river, to explore some of the views of the Seine river on your way there. Cross the river on Pont Alexandre III Bridge, which is in my opinion the most iconic bridge in Paris. 

Paris On A Budget: Musée d'Orsay And Musée du Louvre

From there, continue walking on the other side of the river, and then head over to Rue de l’Université, up to the famous Rue de l’Université photo spot (Google Map location). It will be crowded, but this is a really popular spot for pictures. 

5:30 PM – Visit the Eiffel Tower. You will need to prebook your tickets, as they also get sold out. 

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Unfortunately, the staff at the Eiffel tower were on a strike when I visited in February 2024. Always keep an eye for the most recent news, as staff strikes are common in France (for airports, transportation or attractions). 

But even if it was closed, you can walk around it, as the Jardin de la Tour Eiffel is free for visitors. If you want a different angle of the tower, head over to Trocadéro Square, on the other side of the river. 

Paris On A Budget: Musée d'Orsay And Musée du Louvre
Rue de l’Université photo spot – Google Map location here.

7:00 PM – Seine river cruise. Just in front of the Eiffel Tower you will find the boat tours which run frequently. If you want to, there will also be dinner cruises on the Seine, but those might not be exactly what you want if you’re doing a Paris trip on a budget. 

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It might be a bit of a splurge, but a 1-hour Paris cruise for about 20 EUR or less is worth it as it offers an audio guide and you can relax and sit down as you explore Paris, especially after such a long and exhausting day. I skipped this because this wasn’t my first time in Paris, but I think it’s a small cost to add to total trip and it’s worth it.

8:30 PM – Head back to the hotel or dinner. I took the metro back because I was super tired. If there’s little left of your budget, then head over to a Monoprix supermarket for a quick and cheap dinner in Paris. It’s not glamorous, but it is the best way to eat cheap in Paris. 

On your way to the hotel, you can stop at the famous Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, for some pictures. Unfortunately, the cathedral was still closed in February 2024, after its devastating fire in 2019, but it looks like the restaurantion works are soon coming to an end. 

And that’s it! That’s how you do Paris on a budget! I have tried and tested this itinerary, and I know for sure it works.

Yes, it’s not all there is to see in Paris, and I mainly focused on cultural sights. But remember that if you only have 2 days in Paris, then you will have to choose what you spend your money on, as everything comes at a cost, and most importantly, you will feel exhausted no matter what your Paris itinerary is. So plan wisely, according to your personal preferences, and don’t blame yourself if you can’t do it all, because nobody can! We’re only humans. 

The best thing to do is to come back to Paris and see the rest of it. Adding more days isn’t necessarily the best thing, as you will feel more pressured to do more, see more and will only end up being more tired than ever. 

And if you’re anything like me, you might not enjoy your Paris visit as much as you would when you’re tired and grumpy. 

Of course, the dream is to visit Paris for a week or longer, stay in a nice central hotel and eat or rest whenever you feel like it, but this kind of travellign is called luxury travel and that’s not what you came here to read about. 

Tips for planning your Paris trip on a budget

After all this has been said and done, I have a set of tips to make your trip to Paris as enjoyable as possible while not breaking the bank. Here are my top tips for planning a Paris budget trip:

  • Choose a hotel close to center. Even if it costs more, you will end up saving on public transport tickets and saving your time and energy. 
  • Eat at supermarkets. In France, Monoprix offers great ready-to-eat options, regardless of your dietary needs. 
  • Book your tickets for attractions online. You’ll might not find any tickets available if you expect to buy them when you show up. It will also take a lot longer to get inside if you have to wait in a separate queue just to buy the tickers. 
  • When going to museums and attractions, only bring a small backpack, so that you are not required to leave it at the cloakroom/locker. 
  • Bring snacks and water with you in the museum. But be reasonable. You are not allowed to eat or drink near paintings or inside the galleries, but there will be spots where you can sit down and rest for a while. This will save you money as you don’t have to buy water or snacks from the expensive cafes inside the museums. 
  • Bring comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet for most of the day. 
  • Get roaming on your phone. I always use Airalo for international travel, and it works great. It’s the best way to stay connected while in a foreign country, as you might need to use the internet to find the best route to your next spot on your Paris itinerary. 
  • Plan your trips with the public transport. That way you can calculate exactly how many trips you need to take with the metro or any of the public transport and you can optimize your costs, which doesn’t seem a lot but can quickly add up. That’s why I focused my itineray and hotel in one area, so I can minimise time and costs of getting around. 

Cost to travel to Paris

Here’s a breakdown of all the costs for this budget trip to Paris. Note that these were the prices in February 2024. 

cost per person in EUR €observations
flights in Europe115in Eur via Ryanair (from Bucharest, Romania), one way, carryon included
Flights to the US325from/to the US via French Bee, one way, carryon, seat and meal included
hotel115for 2 nights
museums38(€16 Orsay Museum + €22 Louvru Museum)
public transport35.7(€2.15 x 2 public transport tickets € 16.90 shuttle from BVA airport + €14.5 to the Orly airport)
food48.4(€20 supermarket, €6.50 Louvru cafe, €16.90 Food court exist Louvre, €5 Morning coffee last day )
Total in EUR677.1

Note that this does not include any extra treats, desserts, or souvenirs.

This is a bit extreme on the budget Paris trip, which many will find hard to plan. There are many temptations in Paris.

I also didn’t add the cost of the cruise because I ended up skipping it since it wasn’t my first time in Paris. I’m also not a foodie, and I had some snacks that I brought from back home to hold me for a day or so. 

This is probably the basic cost you can expect if you are travelling to Paris for 2 days. Of course, if you are travelling from any other place to/from within Europe, the cost will drop as European low-cost airlines have very low prices.

Also, if you book your plane tickets in advance, you can pay anywhere between €50 to €100 for a plane round trip ticket in Europe. But I bought my tickets just 2 weeks in advance, and the prices were going crazy.

Ready to travel to Paris on a budget? 

Honestly, I didn’t think it’s still possible in 2024 to travel to Paris on a budget, until I did. 

I hope this very detailed guide on how I planned my budget trip to Paris will encourage you to plan a trip to Paris, too.

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If this will be your first trip to Europe, then Paris will be worth it (although it will be the most expensive destination on your itinerary, besides London). 

If you need to plan a trip in Europe, check out my 3-week Europe itinerary, as this is the perfect itinerary for anyone visiting Europe for the first time
If you have any questions, I’m always available on social media, especially Instagram.

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a travel expert, blogger, engineer, freelance copywriter, and a curiosity-driven personality. She sees travel as the ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth, and that's the main topic of her blog,

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