5 Ways to Travel in France on a Budget

Do you know what is even better than travelling to France? Travelling to France and not having to spend too much money. Read more on how to spend less.
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5 Ways to Travel in France on a Budget


Incredible food, gorgeous landscapes, and some of the most iconic tourist attractions in the world. It’s no wonder that France attracts more travellers than any other country annually, with more than 90 million tourists visiting each year. That’s around 10% of world tourism! The country is undoubtedly amazing, but it can also be dreadfully expensive. Don’t let that put you off though!

In this post, take a look at 5 of the best ways to travel to and in France on a budget. Hopefully, it’ll help you to plan and make the most of your vacation. Let’s check them out!

1. Travel during the offseason

As mentioned before, France is one of the most popular countries in the world among tourists. That means that in high season, it can get seriously busy – not to mention expensive. And for a lot of people, this can take away the enjoyment of a holiday. After all, who wants to constantly be in crowded, busy places, no matter how beautiful it is?

Happily, there’s an alternative which will save you money, so you can explore even more. Instead of travelling at the height of summer, consider travelling in the offseason. Flights and hotel rooms are much cheaper – if you really do your homework you might end up staying in a chateau for less than €100! You could check out some of these VRBO vacation rentals in France for inspiration of where you could stay some nights

The one downside to travelling in the offseason is that some restaurants and hotels are seasonal. Especially at beaches. Happily though, in the South of France, the weather is warm year-round and you’ll be able to enjoy the landscapes and the cities even in December and January. However, it’s probably wise to give swimming in the Mediterranean a miss!

2. Eat local food

France has a reputation for being one of the best places to eat in the world. Delicious cheese, incredible wines, and a whole range of mouth-watering dishes in every city and region in the country. It simply wouldn’t be right to visit France without sampling at least some of this!

You don’t need to go to a Michelin Star restaurant to find these tasty dishes. A great and inexpensive way to try the local dishes is by requesting the plat du jour at a restaurant. You can get a three-course meal for as little as €10. Especially if you’re not in a big city. On that note, if you are in a big city and you see somewhere that’s screaming tourist trap… AVOID IT! Not only is it more expensive, but the food is likely to be of lower quality.

One last point on food – delis and supermarkets serve some real quality stuff in France. So, consider heading to one of them instead of a restaurant. You could eat a picknick in a really beautiful spot as well.

3. Avoid the toll roads

A road trip can be expensive. You’ve got to pay for petrol, and if it’s not your own car, rental costs too. You don’t need more expenses on top of that! So, set your map app or satnav to avoid the toll roads. Trust me, you’ll be thankful for it! Not only will you save a lot of money (you may use a little more petrol) but you’re likely to find some hidden gems for food or a beautiful view where you can watch the sunset. These scenic routes are a great way to get to know France better.

Also, if you’re driving in a city, try and avoid the centre. Most French city centres are pedestrianised. And while this is great for sightseeing, it can be very stressful for drivers! Parking can be quite expensive in cities. Be sure to check out Mobypark to find a cheap deal on pre-arranged parking in your city of choice!

4. Check all your accommodation options – and don’t stay in the city centre

No matter when you travel, whether it be the high season or the offseason, the most expensive places to stay are in the city centre. So, why not considering widening your net? After all, if you stay outside of the city centre, you might end up in a gorgeous chateau, or a Dordogne farmhouse. Both of these would be more memorable than a bog-standard hotel!

Also, for those with their own transport, parking near hotels can be difficult and expensive. Rest at night knowing that your car is safe and sound and easily accessible!

5. Check out the free attractions

Certainly, there are a lot of bucket list activities in France, but sometimes the best things in life are free. Churches are often free to enter, walking tours show you the best sites of a city from the outside, and is there anything more enjoyable than people watching with a coffee in a sunny square? Note – you do have to pay for the coffee! If you do a bit of research beforehand, you should be able to find a number of cool free activities – no matter which French city you’re visiting!

Booking tickets for places like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower can be frightfully expensive and if you end up changing your plans, you won’t get any money back! Better to wait until you’re actually in France to book them. If you’re seriously interested in visiting all the cultural sites in a city, it may be worth picking up a sightseeing pass. Paris, Bordeaux, Marseille, and Nice are just some of the cities which offer such a scheme.

So, now that you know how to travel to France on a budget…

You’d best start planning your trip. If you’re travelling to France by car and you’re worried about wasting time and money on parking, simply book your parking in advance through Mobypark. Through the platform, you can reserve a number of parking spots at private owners across France. The rates are lower and if you’ve reserved your space in advance, you won’t have to drive around looking for a space for hours! So, check it out, arrange some nice free activities, have picknicks and enjoy your France vacation!

Also interested in reading about how to travel more sustainable? Read Mobypark's easy tips on a more sustainable holiday.

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Working in Communications and Digital Marketing, Michelle is enthusiastic about people, travel and the sharing economy.