In the current economic climate, a holiday can be a real drain on the finances. Here are some great ideas for saving money during your break in France. Thanks to the Telegraph for the inspiration.
The price of petrol and diesel is quite frankly ridiculous on both sides of the Channel at the moment, but, at the time of writing, I can assure you that it is cheaper to buy fuel in France than in the UK. But if possible, avoid filling up at the autoroute service stations where a hefty premium is charged. Instead, look for the major supermarket chains such as Leclerc, Auchan, Carrefour etc which are often easily accessible from autoroutes which pass near major cities. Their fuel may be up to €0.20/litre cheaper than at motorway service stations which can add up to quite a saving over long distances. The French government has also very helpfully produced an immensely useful website which tells you where you can buy the cheapest fuel locally. Bookmark it now!
Lunchtime is when you will find the best deals at restaurants in France. Look for the ‘formule diner’ which will be a set menu of 3 courses for a fixed price which is often under €10.00! Bread and a jug of water will be included. For evening dining, check out the website The Fork which allows you to book online at around 5,000 French restaurants, many of which offer interesting reductions to subscribers. The restaurants are all across France and generally of a good standard. Site registration is free. I think I may sign up myself!
If you are self-catering and are on a tight budget, stock up on staple items at Lidle, Aldi, Netto or Leader Price which offer substantial savings on many products when compared to the main supermarkets. For example, you can buy a 2L bottle of spring water from Aldi for €0.17 whereas a 1.5L bottle from Carrefour may cost €0.40! For fresh fruit and veg, make sure you find out when your local market takes place (the French Market Days website is invaluable for this) where you can buy direct from the producer at the best prices. Look for local wine too and take along your plastic water bottle to fill up direct from the vat in the back of the producer’s van! At €2.00/ltr or less, you could make big savings in the course of a week and it’s usually very drinkable!
Things to do and see for free
All over France, you can find activities and things to do that are cheap or completely free. This website has a pretty comprehensive run down of the best and there is also the Paris museum pass which is well worth getting if you have some time to spend in the city.