Our Top 5 things to do in Paris (on a budget):
Paris is an expensive city for sure but you can actually holiday (and really experience it) without feeling like your missing out on anything or having to sit at home and eat toast. We have been living and loving Paris for under AUD $70 a day (including accommodation).
You simply must:
1 – Picnic! Ensuring you buy as much of your food from the morning markets, a fresh baguette from a boulangerie, cheese and crackers from a Fromagerie and a BBQ chicken from the butchers, take a rug and a bottle of wine and choose any one of the beautifully maintained public parks of Paris to enjoy it in.
2 – Climb the Eiffel Tower on a clear day. The Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous monuments in the world and is now a symbol to the outside world of both Paris and France. Climb the stairs (to justify the chocolate crepé you ate) to the first level and then hop in the lift for the dizzying ascent up to the top. Paris is pretty hazy from pollution so go on a clear, sunny day to get the best view. It’s pretty special.
3 – Hire a ‘velib’ bike and ride around Paris for at least 2 hours. It’s a cheap and awesome way to see a lot of Paris and you stumble across amazing little non-touristy areas as well, which is always a win.
4 – The Catacombs of Paris. Jono loved this because it was a ‘different’ experience (ha!). The catacombs are old quarries and tunnels under the centre of Paris that go for kilometers and have been used for a bit of everything over the ages. The few kms you can legally walk through house the remains of over 6 million Parisiens! Paris isn’t that big and yet a lot of people have lived here, when the cemeteries filled up they started digging up old bones and throwing them down the catacombs. Someone then artfully arranged them into piles and patterns, creepy. Get there early, as in before opening time, to avoid long queues. They only let a certain number of people down at one time. I was stoked about this as you don’t really want anyone squashing you too up close and personal with the old bones!
5 – Go out for an incredibly delicious traditional French meal in a bistro (‘brisrot’, any that looks busy every night of the week and doesn’t have an English menu). Then go for a long walk or ride home late in the evening and see as much of Paris and as many of the awesome monuments lit up at night as you can. Paris really is a beautiful city, especially in the rain – it shines.
We did lots of sightseeing, chilling out, wandering around and eating in Paris and didn’t feel like we missed out on anything by being on a budget. If you are planning a trip to Paris here is a bit of information that should help you out. Our total cost for a month in Paris for 2 people (excluding transport to and from Paris) was 3277 euro. These costs can be broken up as follows:
– accommodation in a one bedroom apartment 1392 euro
– transport including bike hire and metro 137 euro
– food and drink 987 euro
– entertainment 481 euro
– clothes 254 euro
– laundry 35 euro