How to have a city break in Paris on a budget with kids!

If you’re wondering how to have a city break in Paris with the kids on a budget then you’ve definitely come to the right place! We’ve had some fantastic family adventures in Europe over the last few years exploring cities like Verona, Venice, Florence, Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris, and Interlaken – and it’s easier to do on a small budget than you might think!

So, here’s how to have a budget friendly city break in Paris with the kids – I’ve included money saving tips to help you to cut costs on travel, accommodation, excursions, transport and food. And, have a browse around my website for more money saving travel tips, and lots of travel reviews too – family travel on a budget is my thing! 😍

So here are 10 ways to have a city break in Paris on a budget with the kids…

1. Pick your travel dates wisely

The weather in Paris can be hit and miss, just as it is in the UK! So, the timing of your visit needn’t be during peak summer dates – and if you’re able to travel during the off-peak season then you’ll most certainly save money on both flights and accommodation.

If you need to travel within school holiday dates then you’ll likely find May half-term, Easter and the October break cheaper than the summer holidays. Hotels and other accommodation options are also usually cheaper during the week, with more inflated prices at the weekends, and flights often follow this pattern too! So if you’re able to have a midweek family getaway, and avoid weekend dates, then that can be a great way to save money on your city break even if you’re holidaying when the kids are off from school.

City break in Paris on a budget with kids, travel guide, france, family holiday, budget travel tips, frugal mum photo eiffel tower

 

2. Stay outside of the city centre

The best way to keep costs down on your city break to Paris is to look for accommodation outside of the city centre. Staying centrally can be really expensive, but picking somewhere slightly further out will be an instant money saver. We do this a lot, as we love exploring cities with the kids, and not only is it cheaper, it’s also nice to come away from the city when we’re finished and have other elements to the holiday too.

When you’re choosing your accommodation, looking for somewhere to stay that charges per party rather than per person is also a great money-saver. And, Eurocamp campsites are a fantastic way to plan affordable family holidays – we’ve had most of our European adventures hopping between Eurocamp sites and it’s enabled us to travel more often, for longer periods and on a small budget.

Eurocamp accommodation options title image, mobile home, frugal mum review

Eurocamp have recently added some new holiday parks and there are now 7 Paris based options which will cost for a week what many hotels in Paris will charge for one night. Travelling into the city to explore via public transport is a great way to keep things on budget – and look for family tickets on the Paris metro system to save some money there too.

Here are some of the Eurocamp campsites available in the Paris area – with dates this month around just £200 per family for a whole week! Plus they come with swimming pools, activities, entertainment and everything else that makes a good child-friendly family holiday. There are quite a few, some are closer than others, but most are around 1 hour away from central Paris,  making them perfect base to explore the city from.

City break in Paris on a budget with kids, eurocamp budget family holiday, france deal one

City break in Paris on a budget with kids, eurocamp budget family holiday, france deal two

City break in Paris on a budget with kids, eurocamp budget family holiday, france deal three

City break in Paris on a budget with kids, eurocamp budget family holiday, france deal 4

City break in Paris on a budget with kids, eurocamp budget family holiday, france deal seven

Click here to take a closer look at all of Eurocamp’s Paris campsites.

 

3. Look for cheap travel options

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll already know that we’re obsessed with road trips! 😂 But I honestly do believe that travelling by road is the best way to explore Europe on a budget with the kids. Paris is the perfect city for a road adventure as it’s only a 3 hour drive from Calais, so if you’re able to drive you’ll likely save on time and travel costs compared with flying.

When I contacted Eurocamp recently for up-to-date prices, though things fluctuate slightly, the cost of a return trip on the ferry was around £120, whilst Le Shuttle was £250. It does add an extra hour onto your journey to opt for the ferry over the Channel Tunnel, but it’s around half the cost so it should definitely be considered if you’re trying to travel on a small budget. (And booking directly through providers like Eurocamp when you book your accommodation will usually be at a discounted rate too.)

For more info on European road trips, check out my article: How to road trip on a budget around Europe – the ultimate family guide!

How to road trip on a budget around Europe, the ultimate family guide, frugal mum tips

If you need to fly then use Skyscanner to compare flight prices, check the budget airlines, opt for hand-luggage only if you’re not visiting for long, and look at flying at anti-social times. Flights to cities can actually be pretty affordable – they generally have so many flights going in and out each day that it keeps costs down.

 

4. Book self-catering accommodation

If you do want to stay in the middle of the action, and enjoy the hustle and bustle, then look at booking an Air Bnb rather than a hotel. Not only is it likely to be cheaper if you’re staying for a few days or more, but you’ll also have more space to spread out and hopefully some cooking facilities to avoid the high costs that come with eating out. Visit local city markets for fresh affordable ingredients, or head to a budget supermarket to stock up.

You could even book through Trusted Housesitters to get your city getaway accommodation for free. In exchange for looking after someone’s pet, you can stay in their home – making travelling to your favourite places so much more affordable. A bonus of using Trusted Housesitters is that lots of people will want school holiday dates, to fit around their own trips away, so it can be a good way to travel during peak dates. For the yearly membership fee of £99, you can book a stay through their website as many times as you like.

If you’re booking a Eurocamp accommodation, slightly further out from the city centre, you’ll be pleased to know that their holiday homes come with full kitchens, decent sized fridges and a dining area for meal times. Take a look at my Eurocamp accommodation guide for more info.

City break in Paris on a budget with kids, travel guide, france, family holiday, budget travel tips, frugal mum photo eurocamp accommodation

 

5. Be prepared to avoid fines

If you’re taking a road trip, prep your car properly with the mandatory things that you’ll need for driving in France, as well as the documents you should carry too. You’ll need to carry your driver’s license, car registration certificate and insurance papers if you’re driving in Europe. Plus breakdown cover and travel insurance are a must! (We get an annual European policy so that it covers all of our trips in one swoop!).

If you’re driving within Paris, you’ll need to buy an emissions sticker to stick on your windscreen to avoid a fine. And, check your route so that you’re prepared for the cost of any tolls and fuel, and aware of speed limits. The rules for driving in Europe also insist that you have mandatory items in / on your car (like reflective jackets, a UK sticker etc) so make sure that you’re properly prepared – you can get a ready-made EU driving kit from Amazon.

eu driving kit amazon, road trip essentials to pack

 

6. Plan your excursions wisely

Pre-plan your excursions to fit around your budget. The Notre-Dame de Paris has got to be one of the most impressive and interesting places to visit – and fortunately you can enter for free. It’s been undergoing extensive renovations following a fire but it’s finally due to reopen later this year – so keep your eyes peeled.

City break in Paris on a budget with kids, travel guide, france, family holiday, budget travel tips, frugal mum photo eiffel tower

Ticket prices to the Eiffel Tower vary dependant on whether you want access to the very top, and whether you’re happy to use the stairs rather than the lift. So, if you’re on a budget you can save a fair bit of money but stopping at the lower viewing platform, or using your legs! You can also get right up to close to it without paying a penny, so if you’re happy to take it in from the ground then you can do so for free. (And, visit in the evening to watch it light up!)

City break in Paris on a budget with kids, travel guide, france, family holiday, budget travel tips, frugal mum photo eiffel tower

Taking a boat ride on the River Seine was probably Finn and Lola’s favourite thing that we did during our trip to Paris. Exploring by boat is a great way to save little legs from getting too tired – and lots of places will offer combined tickets for multiple attractions, which can be a great way to save money compared to buying individual tickets. But, if it’s a little bit too costly, then consider hopping on a bus instead to explore in comfort on a budget.

City break in Paris on a budget with kids, travel guide, france, family holiday, budget travel tips, frugal mum photo river seine boat ride

There are several beautiful parks in Paris, including Luxembourg Gardens and Parc-des Buttes Chaumont. Every city has it’s free gems so balance out paid excursions by visiting parks like these, wandering cobbled streets, exploring free buildings like Basilique du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre and viewing the sights from the outside.

 

7. Pack picnics, drinks and snacks

To keep costs low when you’re exploring Paris, take drinks, snacks and a picnic for lunch with you when we head out for the day. Preparing your own baguettes is a great way to save money, and bakeries in France are never hard to find!

When we’re exploring we also use refillable water bottles to keep our drinks cool all day, and even pack a flask for our lunchtime coffee fix. A cool bag rucksack is a must for keeping everything fresh and it’s a brilliant investment for both holidays and days out with the kids at home too.

family travel with kids, road trip packing tips, cool bag rucksack

If you’re still in the city into the evening then opt for something easy like McDonalds (or another budget fast food option), or eat like locals and enjoy some street food at dinnertime. As much as I’m not a fan of junk food, and it would be nice to enjoy restaurant food when we go away, it can be really unaffordable when you’re travelling as a family of four.

We’ve also noticed on our travels that the shops and restaurants closest to popular monuments and sights are often the most expensive, so wander away from places like the Eiffel Tower before choosing where to buy food or souvenirs to avoid overpaying.

 

8. Walk or cycle

When we travel we clock up an insane amount of steps when we’re exploring cities. We like to walk as much as possible as it’s the best way to really see a city, and it doesn’t cost a penny! Before we set out for the day, I’ll plan a route to make sure that we see everything we’d like to see without going back on ourselves or adding in unnecessary steps – and that (and ice-cream!) seems to be the best way to keep everyone happy. (If you’re driving, and you’ve got a bike rack, you could even bring your own wheels! We explored Amsterdam by bike and the kids loved it!)

frugal mum photo amsterdam bikes family trip

 

9. Take your supplies with you

When you book campsites with mobile home accommodation, like Eurocamp, just little things like taking your own bedding will save you a bit of money. Make sure that you also pack things like anti-histamine tablets, antiseptic cream, bite cream, bug spray, paracetamol and plasters too – these items can be really expensive from pharmacies abroad (compared to our UK budget store and supermarket prices) so it pays to be well prepared for every eventuality! Check out my Ultimate Family Holiday Packing Guide – with free printable checklist to help you to get organised.

frugal mum free printable family holiday travel checklist

 

10. Plan wisely and set a budget

When you’re planning your Paris family holiday, think about what you’re able to spend and then take out the main factors to see how much spending money that will leave you. You’ll need to price up the big things like accommodation, travel costs (ferry, tolls, fuel, flights etc) and food.

Cities can be extremely expensive to visit if you’re not careful, so pre-planning, being well-prepared and knowing what your daily spending limit is will be the best way to keep your spending on track and stick to a budget.

Whatever’s left in the kitty is the spending money for excursions and days out. Thank goodness for the internet, it’s actually really easy to find toll costs and predict fuel usage nowadays and you’ll be able to find the cost of things you’d like to see and do too. Being organised and planning everything properly is the best way to make sure that your trip is affordable. Happy travels! 😍

City break in Paris on a budget with kids, travel guide, france, family holiday, budget travel tips, frugal mum photo river seine

 

Planning a budget family holiday in Europe? You might be interested in these articles too…

The Ultimate Eurocamp Holiday Guide – and money saving tips!

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Why do we use always Eurocamp to travel in Europe with the kids?

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Budget Family Summer Getaways: July & August school holiday deals under £1000!

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Family road trip essentials: 13 things to pack on a road trip with kids

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Our 3 week Italian Eurocamp Family Road Trip Itinerary: How to visit Italy with kids on a budget!

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Our Eurocamp Interlaken Family Holiday Guide: How to visit Switzerland on a budget with kids!

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How to have a European city break with kids on a budget!

how to have european city break with kids on a budget, frugal mum tips, family holiday

 

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