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Paris on a budget: a little guide for your first trip to Paris

Paris-Abesses

I’ve been working on this little guide for a few weeks. If you are wealthy, have all these bags and you think you will never take the metro… well I don’t know how you got here… welcome!! But sorry, this post isn’t for you. If you are young, you have a small budget but love travelling and want to make the most of Paris, then keep reading. This might be helpful. I really hope so!

A few years ago we were a little bit poor, not too much, just a little bit, but we wanted to visit Paris so bad that we saved some money, got on a plane and spent four amazing days discovering the city, eating baguettes and window shopping like crazy. Being on a budget and loving expensive things is hard, but with a little bit of time to browse the internet, patience to prepare your trip and lots of enthusiasm, you can live awesome experiences!! Having said that, I have to admit that now that we can afford wonderful hotels and amazing restaurants we love travelling even more. And it’s so much easier. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it really helps to buy a lot of things, like nice spa treatments and yummy room service ;)

We have prepared this little guide thinking about our first trip to Paris, but there are lots of other blogs that can help you, like Pret a voyager or Lost in cheeseland among others. Ok, let’s get started!! We have divided the city in five areas. Today, we will start with two of them: Montmarte and Île de la Cité & Île Saint Louis. If you come back on Thursday, you will find out about the other three.

Paris-Montmartre
Montmartre: This is the first thing that you should do when we you arrive in Paris. You can get there by metro (Anvers) and walk towards the steps that take you to the Sacre Coer Basilica. Up there you will have a first beautiful impression of the city. Well, if it’s not totally foggy or clouded, like it was during our first visit to Paris. I hope you find a wonderful sunny weather, we had two hours of sun and it was marvellous! Anyway! After visiting the Basilica, you can go deep into the little streets of Montmartre. Next to the Basilica there is a very nice square, Pl. du Tertre, where lots of artists exhibit their work. You can simply admire their work or buy some typical Paris watercolor to hang up on your living room wall back home. Just don’t buy those horrible fake watercolours from the tourists shops. Keep wandering through the streets until you find those gorgeous sheer little steps that allow you to enjoy breathtaking views of the city. Basically, just get lost. It’s very easy and rewarding. Buy a café and a pastry in one of the fantastic boulangeries of the neighborhood and you will complete a perfect Parisian morning. You can end your walk in Abbesses, with its typical French metro sign. It would made a perfect Instagram update ;) From there you can go to the city center with the green or blue metro lines. Click here for information about Paris metro lines, tickets, etc.

Paris-Ile

Île de la Cité & Île Saint Louis: This is my favorite area of Paris. If you take the metro, the stop you are looking for is Cite. You can start by looking for the Palais de Justice. You don’t want to miss the Saint Chapelle, enclosed within this mid-19th century building. Normally there is a huge queue to enter the building, so be patience. Just behind the Palais de Justice you will find one of the most charming squares in Paris: Pl. Dauphine (Picture above. Me, reading a city guide Baudelaire) There you can admire the breathtaking views of the river and the Poent Neuf. Now, retrace your steps and in a few minutes you will be facing the wonderful and unique Notre Dame. It deserves a good long visit. Take your time to admire its majesty. Behind the cathedral there is a beautiful garden, small but oh so lovely, and a little further on you will find the Bridge of Saint Louis, which takes you to the beautiful island of Saint Louis. This island is not as spectacular as other areas of Paris, but for me it sums up the Parisian charm. Continuing along the Rue Saint Louis en L’Ile you will come across small nice shops of all kinds, from food to design objects. I’ve already talked you about this street here. If the weather is nice, you should buy a couple of baguettes, some cheese, a little bit of foie gras, maybe a bottle of wine, and enjoy all the yummyness in one of the benches of the river banks. Oh, life at its best!

We tried two little but lovely restaurants in this area that had really convenient prices and  a charming atmosphere:
Auberge des deux Ponts (7, Rue des deux Ponts – Île Saint Louis)
This a tiny but very romantic place. You can have the formula menu: a starter and a main dish, or a main dish and dessert. You should go for the second option and ask for the crème brûlée. The owner was very nice and brought us a huge box of chocolates with our coffe :)
Creperie on the Rue Saint Louis en Île.
Sorry but I don’t remember its name. Anyway, I’m sure that once you see it, you will recognize it. A tiny tiny tiny place with a wooden door.

Paris-Pont

So, that’s it for now. On Thursday: Marais, Latin Quarter and Paris all time classics!!!

4 Comments

  1. Perfect guide for the “first steps” in Paris. But well… Paris is always a good idea!

    Kisses,
    Simone

  2. Pingback: Paris on a budget. Part II « theslowpace

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