Any time of the year is a great time to see Paris, but Winter will always be less expensive.

For the budget-conscious traveller, Paris may seem inaccessible—but it’s not. Think of all the natural attractions that don’t cost a cent to see—from the glass pyramids above the Louvre, to the stunning stained glass and flying buttresses of Notre Dame. You don’t have to pay the sky-high prices to have a memorable and fulfilling Parisian experience. There’s a wealth of wallet-friendly activities for any kind of traveller on a budget. If you plan wisely you can save on lodging, meals, transportation, and entertainment with just a little effort. A cheap Paris holiday is possible when you follow Cover-More’s guide to navigating Paris for less:

Choose your season

Think about Paris in the middle of summer. There are families on holiday, tourist groups running amok through the landmarks, sweltering heat and endless lines for attractions. Basically, summer is not a cheap season in Paris. But don’t fret. Winter sees lower volumes of tourists in the city; people are in school, holidays keep folks at home with their families, and the colder temperatures aren’t appealing to many tourists. As a result, flights and hotels are often cheaper. If your schedule is flexible, do a quick cost-analysis and see which months are cheapest. To get the best rate, try to avoid holidays and festival seasons.

Plan ahead

Many museums and attractions offer free days; it’s just a matter of being in-the-know. Every first Sunday of the month is free museum day, as are other days, though these dates vary by museum. Make a list of the museums you plan to visit and research entry fee prices. Pay special attention to whether museums are free for tourists or French citizens only—and if necessary, make a French friend on your trip. It’ll save you a couple bucks and give you access to some of the most interesting museums in Paris.

Take public transportation

Many tourists are skittish about taking public transportation in a foreign city, but cab companies can take advantage of that discomfort and by the end of your stay, a significant portion of your budget will have gone towards cabs instead of something more exciting and memorable. Avoid this needless spending and embrace the public transportation system as soon as you arrive. Take comfort in knowing Paris has one of the most extensive and reliable subway systems in the world. Do a little research on the tickets, then buy a fare card and ride the buses and trains like the locals do. You can even catch a train or bus from the airport to jumpstart your exposure to the way public transportation works in Paris.

Find a free tour

Several companies such as New Europe Walking Tours and Paris Greeters offer free walking tours given by locals. This is a two-for-one bonus because you’ll have a guided tour of the city while getting insider information from your tour guide. Ask about their favourite restaurants or hotspots. You’ll get genuine opinions and insight into normal Paris life in addition to a more authentic experience. Check out different companies and see if package sightseeing deals are right for you—often these have lower prices per activity.

Buy a museum pass

If you are in love with art and museums and history, it will all be ok. Don’t let the entry fees stress you out. Whether you love impressionist paintings, period rooms or sculptures created long ago, there is a way to pinch pennies while still seeing everything you’d like to see. Museum-hop with the Paris museum pass. They start at just 39 Euros and are good for two, four or six days, depending on your plans. This little pass will give you entry to over 60 museums and monuments in the city so you don’t have to worry about the entry costs adding up.

Planning ahead is essential to any low-budget trip abroad—but the problems you don’t plan for can quickly drain your budget. Before you leave for your Paris getaway, book travel insurance from Cover-More Travel Insurance. A little money upfront can save you thousands in future expenses if you are injured abroad or your flight is cancelled. Choose Cover-More for cost-effective travel cover.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Vincent Jarousseau