A Weekend In Paris – Perfect Itinerary & Budget

Are you planning a budget weekend in Paris?

If you want to know how to plan a budget weekend in Paris, then you have come to the right place.  As we have done exactly this.

We decided pretty last minute to take a mini road trip to Paris for a weekend from Amsterdam.  We planned to arrive early Saturday morning and leave Sunday Afternoon, spending just one night in the city.

Both of us had been to Paris in the past and loved it.  This time our trip to Paris was in all honesty, just an excuse to get away for a weekend.  Also, I wanted to prove we could fit in all the main attractions in 2 days.  And we did of course! 

Now I want to share how we managed it and how we kept all costs to a minimum. 

A Weekend In Paris Itinerary

Of course, there are close to a million different ways that you could spend a weekend in Paris but this is everything we did, follow the most efficient route to save on time.

Paris Itinerary – Day 1

On day one in Paris you will be visiting;

  • The Louvre
  • Jardin des Tuileries
  • Pont Alexandre III bridge
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • The Eiffel Tower light show in the evening
A map of a walking route through some of the main sites in Paris city centre

Starting the day at the Louvre Museum and the famous Glass Pyramid. This Metro station was easiest for us to get to and it makes a perfect starting point for the day. Arrive here and take your time to snap some pictures, enjoy the atmosphere and feel free to take a look around the Louvre too if you like.

On this trip we didn’t go inside the Louvre, only admired it from the outside. It is easy to spend an entire day inside so it is up to you if you add it to your itinerary or not. If you do, I suggest looking up their floor plan online and planning in advance the pieces you would like to see and just go straight to them.

The glass pyramid of the Louvre museum in Paris with lots of people walking around it

After you are done at the Louvre, it is time to head out for a walk through the Jardin des Tuileries.  This garden is really big and busy and has lots of beautiful statues and fountains.  This is a great spot to stop and enjoy a picnic.

When you are done picnicking in the park, it’s time to cross the Pont Alexandre III bridge. This is a very well-known bridge but we found the best spots to take photos of it were from either end, rather than on the bridge itself.

Once you are off the bridge turn right towards the Rue de l’universite street and follow it all the way to the Eiffel Tower. It is a long street, which starts as just a regular street.  When you reach the end of the street and can see the Eiffel Tower through the buildings you realise why it is such a popular spot for photos.

It does then go without saying, that it was very busy. But not to worry there are plenty more spots we will take you to that are great for getting shots of the Eiffel Tower.

For example the Champ de Mars gardens below it. This will naturally be the next visit on the itinerary as you go towards the Tower, the gardens are large and hard to miss. There will be people from all walks of life enjoying the space, singing, dancing, selling trinkets and meeting with friends.

It doesn’t matter where you go in this wide open space there will be plenty to take in.  Besides the up-close views of the Eiffel Tower, we could also see families playing ball games and even a dance crew rehearsing.

The only downside is the constant sellers trying to sell you wine or souvenirs. Just a polite no thank you and they will be on their way.

This is also a great time to head up to the top of the Eiffel Tower if you want to. I recommend booking this online in advance as it is REALLY busy, all the time.

✅ Book this skip-the-line, Eiffel Tower summit access Ticket Here!

After you have finished enjoying the Eiffel Tower from this point of view, keep going along the river to the Pont de Bir-Hakeim Bridge and cross back over. This was the best spot we found to take an uninterrupted photo of the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, standing tall above the trees on a sunny day

Next, it’s time to go for a stroll down Av. Kleber to the Arc de Triomphe (you can’t miss it trust me). Spend some time taking in the madness of this gigantic roundabout.  Unfortunately, while we were there it had construction work and cranes all around it.  But hey, such is travel life.

After all this, we headed back to our hotel to shower and eat a takeaway pizza (€5 each).  Before heading back into the centre of the city later in the evening.  We went to a called Place du Trocadero, to sit with a couple of €1 beers and watch the Eiffel Tower light show.

The light show is pretty special and it’s not hard to catch it.  Every hour, on the hour, after dark, they sparkle the lights for around 5 minutes.  Trust me it’s worth heading back out for.

Paris Itinerary – Day 2

On day 2 of your Paris Itinerary you are going to visit;

  • Sacre Coeur
  • Notre Dame
  • The Pantheon

The first stop for the day was Sacre Coeur – My favourite place in Paris! Sacre Coeur is a beautiful white church up on top of a hill with incredible views of the city.

Sacre Coeur Basilica in Paris, one of th ebest things to see on a weekend in Paris

It is situated a little further out of the centre but was closer to where we were staying luckily. Regardless this is a great place to start the day, once you get there you will see why.

The whole Montmartre area is beautiful to explore.  The highlight for us was paying just €7 each to go up to the top of Sacre Coeur.  You get undisturbed, 360-degree views of the whole city.  Now that really was a treat, and definitely worth the 300 steps to get there!!

A view of the city of Paris from above with the Eiffel Tower in the distance

Make sure to spend time exploring the streets here and enjoying the local atmosphere. This is a great place to grab a coffee or lunch on a terrace or have a street artist draw you in true Paris fashion.

When we were done exploring this area we headed back to the Louvre museum metro station. This is an alternative time you could opt to go inside the museum depending on which day you think you will have more time to spare.

The reason we came back to this metro station was because it is just a short walk from there to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral.

Notre Dame is currently still closed to go inside due to repairs, but that doesn’t stop you from admiring the beauty of the outside. It truly is a very impressive building and definitely one not to be missed when in Paris.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

After admiring Notre Dame, continue walking just a short distance and you will arrive at the Pantheon. This enormous building could fool you into thinking you were in Rome, with its large pillars and stunning architecture.

Feel free to explore and take a look inside as this is the last stop of the day, giving you enough time to get back home.

A Weekend In Paris – Where To Stay

Arriving from the northeast of the city, I will let you in on my number 1 trick to saving money on accommodation in cities.  We found a map of the metro lines.  Picked a line that ended in the northeast of the city, but you could pick any line.  Then using Booking.com we checked what was available at the end of the metro line. 

Being further from the centre is always cheaper and this way we guarantee getting in and out of the centre wouldn’t be difficult.

We stayed at a hotel Campanile Pantin and used metro line 5 to get to and from the hotel.  The hotel was a good budget option for only €60 a night.

✔️ Save time and Money as we did and Book your stay at Campanile Hotel Here!

A Weekend In Paris – How To Get There

On this occasion, we drove from Amsterdam to Paris.  It took around 4.5 hours which wasn’t bad at all.  The important part was we left super early so we could arrive in the city around 10 am.

By Car

When in Europe driving yourself is without a doubt the best and most fun way to get around. Hiring a car is easy and often very affordable and roads are generally very safe.

🚙 If you enjoy having the freedom of your own car then compare rental prices and find a great deal with Discover Cars here!

WATCH OUT*** France is full of toll roads and they are not cheap!

Fly to Paris

Of course, you can always arrive in Paris by Plane.  We used SkyScanner to compare flight prices. However, for us, it was cheaper to drive. If you are coming from further away then flying will most likely be your best option.

✈️ Compare flight prices and find the best deal for you here!

By Bus

If you are already in Europe and don’t want to rent a car, you could also take a bus. Luckily buses are a pretty cheap way to cover long distances but they do tend to be pretty slow so keep that in mind if you only have a weekend to spare.

🚌 You can compare the bus prices here!

Arc de Triumph in Paris with a crane next to it

A Weekend In Paris – How To Get Around

The fastest and easiest way to get around Paris is by Metro.  A ticket for zones 1-3 for 2 days is €19.50 each.  You can buy tickets in the machines at any station.

Pro TIP – the metro ticket machines are only in French from what we saw, so having Google Translate ready to go on your phone will come in handy.

The Metros in Paris are perfectly safe to use but if you prefer some privacy you can always use Uber. Just keep in mind this may be slower due to heavy city traffic.

A Weekend In Paris – Budget Breakdown

So you can clearly see how much the weekend cost us, here is a breakdown of the total spending;

Hotel for 1 night – €60

Parking overnight at the hotel – €15

Transport costs for Driving From Amsterdam (fuel & tolls) – € 130

Metro tickets x2 – €39

Food and drinks – €30

Attractions – €14

Total spend for the weekend – €288

Naturally, this will be more if you pay to enter the Louvre, go up the Eiffel Tower and go inside the Pantheon. However, everything we did was free to do showing you don’t have to spend anything on activities if you are on a tight budget.

Bonus money-saving tips

  1. To save money on food we packed breakfast for the car journey and lunch to eat on day 1.  Plus plenty of snacks.  We also always carry water bottles that we refilled whenever we could.
  2. We bought beers in a supermarket and sat outside taking in the views rather than paying more in a bar with no views.
  3. Stick to metro zones 1-3 as beyond that the price jump is quite big.
  4. If you need to take a train or flight then book around 2-3 months in advance to get the best prices.  We looked 3 weeks before so by that point prices were far too high.

If you want even more tips on how to plan a very low-budget trip, then this blog may be exactly what you’re looking for.

a girl standing next to the river in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the distance

When Is The Best Time To Visit Paris

We went in October.  Avoiding the busy summer period, may not have saved us any money but it was a lot nicer than if it had been super crowded.  The weather was still great too.

I have been before in summer and it was uncomfortably hot and sweaty in the metros and the crowds were often huge at popular sites!

A Weekend In Paris – Final Thoughts

We both had a lovely weekend but something was off and we couldn’t quite place it.  Having both been before we knew we loved the city but this time it was different.  All fountains were empty and the city felt a bit dirtier than we remember it being.

That being said, we did agree that the city is beautiful and the architecture is stunning.  We are really glad we went and at the price we paid for the whole weekend, we could never complain.