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Tourists take pictures of the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Buckingham Palace, in central London.

Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

My partner and I are planning our first visit to London and Paris around Victoria Day. Our budget is $200 a day for hotel and food. The ideal hotels will be located in the city core. Any recommendations?

In these popular cities, $200 a day may be difficult, but not mission impossible.

The average visitor in the English capital spends about $184 a day, says Rebecca Smith from Visit London, but that figure includes all expenses and all travellers, including those who get around by chauffeur.

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There are numerous budget inns and B&Bs listed at VisitLondon.com. EasyHotels ( easyhotel.com), for instance, runs as low as $40 a night, although be prepared for a room without a view; in fact, some rooms have no windows. Smith also suggests Umi Hotel ( umihotellondon.co.uk), in Notting Hill, with rooms starting at $111, or London Premier Inn County Hall (premierinn.com), on the city's Southbank, with an average nightly room rate of $187. You can also keep expenses down by dining at cheap eateries such as Masala Zone, or filling up at the food markets from the historic Borough Market.

In Paris, $200 a day may be a struggle, but it's possible, says Dominic Earle, editor of the Time Out Paris guides.

For penny-wise accommodation, he recommends the historic Hotel Chopin ( hotel-chopin.com) in the 9th arrondissement, with rates starting at $122; and character-rich Hôtel les Degrés de Notre-Dame ( lesdegreshotel.com), with rates starting at $153.

"Eating-wise, [I]would need to stick to places like Chartier ( restaurant-chartier.com), A La Bière and Polidor (polidor.com)," Earle says. "[They're]cheap, but full of atmosphere, as many Paris restaurants would blow the $200 budget."

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