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Traveling in France can get expensive very fast. If you want to explore a lot and fully enjoy the French “Art-de-Vivre”, you need to plan ahead and avoid the main tourist traps. And most important – organize your stay like a French would do! Here we give you our best tips to save money while traveling in France.
TRAVEL AROUND FRANCE CHEAPLY
Cheap travel by trains in France
The easiest way to travel in France is the fast train TGV which connects most of the main cities. But the cost of a TGV train ticket can be very expensive. Especially during: Christmas season, Easter holidays in France and Summer holidays (July and August). To avoid spending all your savings on a one way tickets to Marseille, we recommend:
– Traveling with regional trains in France: Instead of taking the TGV, choose the regional trains TER to go from one city to the other. They are not as fast as the TGV but who care when you can enjoy the beautiful landscape of the French country side! Another option is to organize yourself month in advance and get “online exclusive tickets” for TGV and TER – look for the best prices here.
Cheap travel by bus in France
– Traveling by bus in France: Traveling by bus in France is very convenient and cheap, the cheapest bus company is OUIBUS operated by the French National Railroad Company SNCF. The buses are comfy, you’ll have Free WiFi and air conditioning. From Paris to Marseille it only costs in average 35€! Check their fares here.
Cheap travel by car in France
– Renting a car in France: Driving around in probably the cheapest way to explore France! The biggest rental car companies are very competitive and the prices have dropped significantly! If you are looking for the cheapest fares for car rental, check out this successful French startup – Drivy. In short, it is a car rental marketplace, specialized in private car rentals.
– Best apps to save money when driving in France: There are a few apps which are extremely useful when exploring France by car. The first one Parkopedia will locate all the free parking spots all around France. The second will adapt your itineraries to avoid toll roads – this great app is named Peago. They don’t have an offline version. You’ll need to have internet access to use them. Check our guide for driving in France.
SAVE ON ACCOMMODATION WHILE TRAVELING IN FRANCE
When you are on a tight budget but still want to explore a lot in France, first of all we recommend to avoid spending a long time in Paris. The average price for a hotel room in Paris is 120€ and for a decent AirBnb not to far from the city center count 80€ minimum. Whereas in other cities, it will be less expensive.
To save on accommodation in France, we recommend to choose a “gîtes” instead of hotels. “Gîtes” are like bed-and-breakfast but more affordable. You can identify the official “gîtes” in France here.
Taking the night bus or the night train, to go from one city to the other is another option to save on accommodation while traveling in France!
Note that in most of the “Gîte” you will not have free internet access. Check our article about connectivity in France.
SAVE ON FOOD AND DRINKS
– Get cheap delicious local food: In every city in France there is always a local food market. It is usually set up on the biggest square in the small towns and in one of the biggest avenues in the bigger cities. You can find the info online and there is usually at least one food market on weekdays and one on weekend.
These local food markets are always very nice farmer’s markets where you can get a lot of delicious fresh food for very cheap price! When on a budget while traveling it is always better to get a fresh croissant from the next door bakery for breakfast and have a nice picnic for lunch with groceries from the farmer’s market rather than going to the restaurant 3 times a day!
– Get cheap drink during the “happy hour”: All over France in every cafés and bars you can get half priced drinks during “happy hours” usually from 6pm to 8pm. French people love to have a drink after work just before dinner time. Take advantage of it and taste nice local wines and French liquors!
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