Paris: A Youngster’s Paris Travel
January 1, 1970
by Özge Kıter
Besides a lot of nice things said about Paris, we can say it’s an expensive city. If you ask me, you should visit Paris at least two times in your life. First, when your energy is completely with you but you haven’t got too much money, in brief when you are young. The second is when your age’s getting older and you have got enough money. Thus, you can see the same places in very different atmospheres. I’ll try to tell you how to travel in Paris with fair prices because I just get the first step.
Before to start thinking places to go and things to do, you should arrange the accommodation. My boyfriend and I decided to stay with one of my friend who we met in Couchsurfing. She had stayed in my home before. Couchsurfing is a web site that makes so easy to travel around the world. By registering that system, either you can have guests from all over the world or you can find a home for yourself anywhere you want. You’ll not spend any money for accommodation if you choose this way. At the same time, your visits will be more enjoyable than staying at hotels and you will notice how couchsurfing had enriched your point of view. These are my main reasons for suggesting couchsurfing. But you might hesitate about staying someone’s house who you don’t know. In a situation like this I’ll suggest you the “Dorms”. There are ordinary dorms and dorm option of some hotels. It’s easy to find them on the internet for booking. I haven’t got any experience yet about dorms, but I searched it and it looks like a good option. Because of some problems, we made the biggest amount of expenses for our flights. You don’t need to worry about it if you could buy the tickets early. Since choosing hotel for accommodation causes the most of spendings, these options will relieve your budget.
Food is another thing that you must spend your money for. You’ll see a lot of markets and restaurants around. We stayed in Paris for 5 days and if we had eaten in restaurants during this period it would be very expensive for us. When you go to the supermarkets, it doesn’t take long time to understand that the restaurants were not needed. French don’t seem like spare time for cooking. I think because of this they don’t have a big cuisine. There are a lot of frozen foods even some food that you can eat cold in the markets. You can find pastas, sandwiches, sushi, snacks, any kind of drinks…Little triangle shaped sandwiches easy to carry and to get into their tastes have saved us. Also we like their long bread too. For sure I don’t say you never go to restaurants. There are many beautiful places. However many of them put French menu outside and to get English one, we found it stressful to go inside and then decide not to eat there. Italian restaurants were life savers in those moments. One of them near by Shakespeare & Company Bookstore was named Benedetto, it has offered a delightful pizza or pasta menu with drink and desert for 17 €.
Without mentioning Chartier, the session for restaurants will be lacking. It has been suggested heartily in advance. It is really classy and offers fair prices as been told. Although you may go for lunch or dinner, keep in mind it is a little crowded in dinner time. Another tip: If you don’t like to see blood in your dish, don’t hesitate to insist on “well-done” warning (“bien-cuit” in French).
I must admit, none of the restaurants was as memorable as the picnics we made. First we decided to copy a lovely couple that we saw during our walk in Seine Riverside. They were eating their own food and drink wine with the river and Eiffel Tower view. All the parks and other natural areas, even banks in the city, are the wonderful places for picnics with their Paris view.
For breakfasts, bakeries are very popular. I like the most the sweet ones. I suggest you especially macarons without thinking of its price. They are so delightful and colorful. Délices de France near Louvre is a sweet shop which became my favorite. Louvre Museum might have different meanings for others, but we have a nice memory of a breakfast in its huge garden. (We spared that museum for our next visit to Paris.) In brief, you may enjoy to use whole Paris as your personal restaurant.
The view of Paris
It’s not reasonable to leave Paris without being nearby to Eiffel Tower. For going top, it is been suggested to buy tickets from internet in advance. After seeing the long queuing line, we have noticed the importance of that tip. Moreover it was neither a cheap view nor a time saving action for our first type of visit. Since we decided to enjoy the night view of the tower with lightings. I must say how I fell in love with that beautiful view while I was approaching it from the far edge of the Park. Again with some snacks, we made a spontaneous picnic there, and stared unblinkingly the Tower. It was one of the most beautiful times for me.
Some warnings: Do not expect decreasing in crowded because of night. Also, stay away from the people who want to sell you anything all around the Paris. They might be so insisted.
There is one more alternative to watch Paris from the up. Even it is not the same, Sacré-Cœur Basilica was built in the highest part of the city. You may visit the church and enjoy the beautiful view at the same time. And it is free of charge like many churches except Sainte-Chapelle. We stayed on the stairs in front of the Sacré-Cœur to watch the funny show of a pantomime artist, listen music from a little orchestra. You feel happy to be surrounded by artists. The area below is named Montmartre where you can experience many kind of art.
Some places to visit
Notre-Dame Church is also another must-seen. It is also serving for the routine ceremonies even it is a touristic place. Unfortunately we had to wait for a while to enter. We have noticed later that we could check internet to learn the crowded times of many options. You may use it while planning your day.
I found it so useful to download the map of Paris and the metro to my smart phone. They help us to go anywhere we headed. Paris metro is a huge one but so user friendly. When you buy multi-tickets for days or week, you pay less than daily ones. It is really a reasonable option to rent a bicycle, but you have to pay with credit card which we haven’t got yet.
I want to mention some special places to visit. First, Shakespeare&Co. Bookstore; a famous and special one. They sell various kind of books in downstairs. The upper floor is for reading only. I like that part so much because it is cosy, cordial and beautiful place with old books and notes from visitors.
Pompidou Center is an interesting place. That building with an extraordinary and awarded architecture is being used as art museum and library. The library is free, while museum entrance is approximately 8-12€. I’m sure the ones interested in modern art would love it.
I wanted to visit Père Lachaise Cemetery because of Jim Morrison. To see that his grave was stuck and undistinguished in comparison with the other huge and dashing graves caused disappointment for me. Some graves were like having a little church on them. That cemetery deserves to be visited, but since it is very big, it may be hard to finish all.
We saw two comics stores near to Sorbonne University. We made the most of shopping from one of them. Figures, books, posters and so many other things were being sold there. One who were interested that kind of things may find really good stuff, even they were not very cheap. However the most appropriate place for shopping is Champs-Elysées by walking all that street long. Don’t forget to enter Disney Store.
I want to mention another store before finishing. I heard its name from a blog and it is a tea store called as Dammann. I, a real tea-fun, immediately decided to visit that shop where so many kind of teas were being sold. I found it in Vosges Square (Place des Vosges), the area where also Victor Hugo’s house was. I bought an African tea with caramel aroma. Per box was generally for 10 €, but there were more expensive ones.
I want to suggest you to look around for special and interesting pieces, instead of buying souvenirs with Eiffel symbol or shape. For example, I found a nice shop for hat and scarf typical French. Because I really wanted to buy one of that Parisian hats. My most important suggestion is do some plans before you go. Think about where do you want to go? What do you want to buy from there? What do you like to do or learn when you go to another country? Just feel free about doing your own plans.
I want to write that article to help you mainly for expenses and some places to visit. In internet you may find many writings on Paris trip as I did, but I hope my own experiences will also guide you in some specific topics. Wish you the happiest trips in advance!