Experience Paris on a shoestring

Planning a budget holiday in the French capital? Invest in a Paris Pass to save time and money.

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My partner and I are going to Paris on a budget weekend next month. Can you suggest affordable hotels, restaurants and sightseeing tours that won't break the bank?

With November to April being the off season, you've picked the right time for a budget holiday in Paris - decent, inexpensive accommodation is not difficult to find and airfare is affordable. For example, Etihad Airways has return flights from Abu Dhabi to Paris from Dh3,515, including taxes. Go to www.etihadairways.com.

For cosy and clean accommodation, try Campanile Paris Tour Eiffel (www.campanile.fr) on Rue Saint Charles. It's within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower and a couple of kilometres from the Louvre. Double rooms cost from €99 (Dh496) per night and come with complimentary internet access.

Eating out in Paris is not cheap, although some sidewalk cafes and local bistros, such as the chain Le Brioche Dorée, offer inexpensive and tasty meals – a hearty sandwich, drink and dessert costs about €6 (Dh30). Chartier (7, Rue du Faubourg-Montmartre, 9th; 00 33 1 4770 8629) offers inexpensive, traditional food with main dishes from about €7 (Dh35). Most restaurants have a prix fixe or set menu comprising three- or four-courses from around €20 (Dh100).

To save time and money, invest in a Paris Pass (www.parispass.com), especially useful if you have a lot of sightseeing planned. Costing €28 (Dh140) per day (the longer you stay the more you save), it allows you to skip queues and gain entrance to nearly 60 attractions around the city, including a river cruise down the Seine, entry to 30-odd museums (including the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay), discounts at several restaurants, unlimited travel over two days on the metro and buses in central Paris, access to Les Cars Rouge's hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city, and a guidebook with maps.

The cheapest way to see the city is to go on a self-guided walking tour. Paris Walking Tours (www.paris-walking-tours.com) offers a dozen routes charted in intricate detail, with mentions of metro stations, bus stops and any historic monuments, public parks or attractions you might come upon along the way, for free on their website.

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