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How to Plan an Affordable Romantic Weekend Getaway in Paris

Enjoy the city's irresistible je ne sais quoi without paying a steep price.

U.S. News & World Report

How to Plan an Affordable Romantic Weekend Getaway in Paris

Caucasian couple walking near Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

You don't have to spend a lot to experience the City of Love's cultural hot spots, impressive museums and cozy cafes and bistros.(Getty Images)

With its wide boulevards, iconic architectural landmarks and alluring bistros, the City of Light has long been enchanting its visitors. Yet Paris' romantic charm – from its Belle Epoque buildings to its brightly lit streetlamps to its cozy cafes – makes the French capital one of the most romantic cities in the world. And thanks to the strong U.S. dollar, plentiful cost-effective accommodations and reasonably priced plane tickets, it's easy to stay on budget while enjoying cheese, wine, art and culture with your better half. Here are savvy tips for planning the perfect weekend getaway in the City of Love without paying a high price tag.

Search for Promotions and Deeply Discounted Tickets on Low-Cost Carriers

Typically, the priciest part of a trip to Paris is the journey across the pond. However, with a little research, it's easy to secure reasonably priced plane tickets. Google Flights currently shows round-trip flights from major New York City airports to Paris for under $700 in March and round-trip routes from top Washington District of Columbia airports for less than $800. Even better, Air France is offering a variety of package deals to Paris. Currently the airline is offering an advance purchase promotion that allows you to book round-trip tickets from Washington, D.C. starting at $640 for a seven-day trip, as long as you purchase your trip 28 days in advance. What's more, if you're a Delta SkyMiles member, Air France is a partner, so you can redeem those miles for the trek over with a small fee. Alternatively, you can look for deeply discounted fares available through low-cost carriers like Icelandair.

Consider All Accommodation Options

Let's get this out of the way: Airbnb is not for everyone. Though it's easy to secure affordable rates with a peer-to-peer booking site, if you want the amenities of a hotel, a boutique may be a better fit for your needs. And fortunately, there are plenty of bargains to be had. The recently redesigned Renaissance Paris Republique, for example, offers nightly rates starting at around $200 and places guests within walking distance of must-see areas, including Le Marais, Place de la Republique, Canal Saint Martin and Gare du Nord. Inside the well-appointed accommodations, you'll find airy windows outfitted with black-out curtains spacious bathrooms, a top selling point for value-seekers. Other affordable accommodation options include Hotel du Petit Moulin, a former 17th-century bakery that features sleek interiors designed by Christian Lacroix, and the Hotel Villa Saint-Germain, which offers an enviable location in the Latin Quarter, with close proximity to the Louvre and the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Rely on Your Own Two Feet

In Paris, the best way to get acquainted with the city's charming arrondissements (districts) is on foot. Avoid transportation costs altogether by walking to must-see attractions across the city center. Alternatively, you can pick up a reasonably priced one-day metro card if you plan to explore attractions outside of Zone 1.

What to Do, See and Eat

A simple way to save on sightseeing across the city is picking up a Paris Pass, which grants you entry into 60 top city attractions, including the Musee d'Orsay, the Louvre and the Versailles Palace. Two-day adult Paris passes cost 135 euros and include a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, along with other perks.

As for food, if you want to enjoy an authentic bistro meal without paying a steep price, skip the Michelin-starred restaurants in favor for more casual eateries. For mouthwatering beef bourguignon in a charming bistro, head to Bourgogne Sud, located in Neuilly, a suburb of Paris. The eatery has no website, but you can make reservations in advance on at lafourchette.com. Also make sure to pick up delectable French specialties on the go, such as a croque-monsieur, a baguette sandwich and a pan au chocolate at local cafes to trim costs. Finally, if you want to load up on delicious French staples for a picnic to remember, visit Laurent Dubois, a legendary cheese shop, which offers many locations throughout the city and boasts in-house experts to advise you on plate composition and complementary wines, according to your preferences and budget.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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