Paris, France

Paris – the city of love.  It’s really hard not to fall in love with Paris.  It’s a place that exudes culture, sophistication, class, and style.  There is thousands of years worth of history in this city.  It’s the city that fits everyones needs and wants.  It takes a lifetime to see the whole city.  Paris is probably one of the few cities that actually lives up to its hype.

MUST GO TO PLACES

Activities – Paris is an expensive place.  Free things are hard to find.  Most tours and tourist attractions cost money.  Take advantage of parks and walking around to save some money.  The Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame are must sees.  Keep a budget of 50-70 EUR a day.

Transportation – The Paris public transport system is one of the world’s most comprehensive and efficient. Every other block has a metro (subway) stop. A single-use metro/bus ticket costs 1.90 EUR (2 EUR if you buy it on the bus).  A “carnet” of 10 single-use tickets costs about 14.50 EUR, or you can get a day pass for all modes of public transportation (bus, metro, trams, and suburban trains called the RER) for around 11.65 EUR. The day pass, called ParisVisite, also gives you discounts to some major Parisian landmarks.

  • Arc De Triomphe – This monument is in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle and is one of the most famous land marks in Paris.  You can climb to the top for an 8 EUR panoramic picture of the city.
  • Champs ElyseesThe Rodeo Drive of Paris.  One of the most prestigious avenues in Paris.  Cinemas, cafes, and luxury shops are all located here.  It’s also one of the most famous streets in the world, running down from the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre.  It’s a great place to club hop at night or snap photos during the day. Come in the very early morning to see the place utterly deserted. It makes for great photos.
  • Explore the LouvreThe biggest museum in the world.  It hosts pieces from the 19th century.  It costs 15 EUR for admission.
  • Latin Quarter – A historic area near the Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter is filled with tiny, winding streets that turn at weird angles to open into little cafe-lined squares.  There are a lot of bars here and it’s very popular with students at night.
  • Panthéon – Located in the Latin Quarter, this neoclassical building was originally built as a church but was turned into a state burial site for France’s heroes, like Marie Curie, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Louis Braille and Voltaire.  Admission is 7.50 EUR.
  • Jardin Du Luxembourg The largest public park in Paris.  The garden contains just over a hundred statues, monuments, and fountains, all scattered throughout the grounds. In the morning, you’ll see lots of runners. At lunch on a nice day, a park full of people having a picnic.
  • Montemartre – The home to starving artists for decades, this area gives you a stunning view of Paris.  It’s home to the only winery within the city limits and is great for those wanting to visit the hangout spots of folks like Hemingway and Gertrude Stein.
  • Eiffel Tower It is defiantly recommended to take the elevator and not the stairs (unless you want to put your fitness to test).  Get there early to get to the top as the lines are long, especially on a nice day where your line of vision may stretch for over 40 miles.  To access the second level, it costs 11 EUR for the elevator and 7 EUR to climb the stairs.  To access the third level, the only option is the elevator, which costs 17 EUR.  It’s open from 9am-12am during the summer and from 9:30am-11pm the rest of the year.
  • Notre Dame – Paris’s Gothic masterpiece was constructed between 1163-1334.  To climb the tower, it costs 10 EUR. It’s open 10am-5:30pm every day with the exception of some holidays.  It’s open an hour later during the summer.
  • Palace of Versailles The palace of kings.  Visit Marie Antoinette’s home and spend time walking the huge and spacious gardens.  Admission to the palace (including Trianon palaces and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate) is 18 EUR.  
  • Sainte-Chapelle This is a beautiful Gothic church.  It’s small compared to others, but it still has most of the original interior and stained glass and decor.  There’s usually a long line to get in but museum pass holders can skip it.
  • Paris CatacombsUnderneath the city, there are tunnels.  The French resistance used these tunnels during World War II, and rave parties flourished there during the 90s.  Within this maze of tunnels, lie the famous Catacombs of Paris.  Here you can visit the tunnels and see the old burial sites of the city.  It’s one of the freakiest and coolest sites in Paris, often times missed by tourists.  They’re open daily 10am-8:30pm except for Mondays. It costs 27 EUR.
  • Tour Montparnasse – Head to the top and get the most beautiful views of Paris.  Adults are 17 euros and students are 15 euros.  They are open 7 days a week all year!

ACCOMMODATIONS

Hostels in Paris can be pretty expensive.  A typical stay will cost around 30 EUR if you’re in the middle of the city.  More affordable hostels can be found in smaller neighborhoods in places like Montmartre or Latin Quarter for around 17-20 EUR per night.  During the summer time the prices will increase.  Check out websites like hostel.com to find some better deals then what the hostel is offering.

  • St. Christopher’sThere are 2 options in for this hostel in Paris.  You can stay on the canal for 16 EUR per night or Gare Du Nord for 17 EUR per night.  
  • Trendy HostelQuaint hostel in Paris for around 20 EUR per night.
  • Generator HostelFor 20 EUR per night, you can stay in a large shared room.  The perfect place if you’re a social butterfly.  

BARS & RESTAURANTS

Eating out is not cheap in Paris if you’re just a regular person.  Gluten free meals will run a little higher.  Expect to pay around 20-40 EUR for dinner (including wine of course).  Avoid tourist areas.  You will end up having a 10-30% higher bill.  It’s common to pick up your own ingredients and make your own food and have a picnic.  Creating your own meal will cost around 9-15 EUR, depending on what you buy and if you get wine.  If you eat at a restaurant, try doing a “prix-fixe” meal.  It’s a set menu that offers you a deal on a 2-3 course meal for about 20 Euros.

  • NogluThis is a go-to place for gluten-free sweet and savory treats. Not only is it the only French bakery with a fully organic and locally-sourced menu, but it’s also a grocery store and a take-out eatery!
  • ChambellandThis bakery is entirely and naturally gluten-free bakery in Paris.  Located in Popincourt Village, the bakers and pastry-cooks bake exclusive recipes using rice and other flours, all naturally gluten-free.
  • Season – Provides fresh produce for gluten free eaters.  From kefta dumplings to pastrami sandwiches, to naan, Season offers a kitchen open to the world, healthy and revisited with a touch of French touch.
  • Bob’ KitchenBob has a juice bar, a bakery, and a kitchen.  All three places are super affordable and very delicious. 
  • Bears and RaccoonsAwesome gluten free sandwiches.  It’s all 100% gluten free and located in a very charming neighborhood.  The menu is affordable with an average spending of 11 EUR for a meal.
  • KapunkaA tiny restaurant that makes the best gluten free pad thai.
  • Au Petit Sud OuestThis restaurant serves everything duck.  The servers know what dishes are gluten free and GF bread is also served upon request.
  • Wild & the MoonExcellent selection of juices and coffee. Tons of options for vegetarians, vegans and gluten free.  They even provide options for detoxes. 
  • Aux FoliesA great place to find young locals.  A beer is around 2 EUR and a cocktail is around 5 EUR.  In the evening, red lights go on beneath the bar, and the friendly, efficient staff remain cheerful despite the throng.  In summer, the terrace crowds spill out on to the narrow Rue Dénoyez, and on weekends on the semi-pedestrianised street the art galleries set out stalls, bands strike up, and graffiti artists start tending to their frescoes.
  • La CordonnerieIts happy hours offered probably the cheapest pints in Paris, as well as rums and cocktails at minimal prices, imported beers, and free couscous on Thursdays and Saturdays. 

  • Le Bar Dix – This local dive has been miraculously preserved (in sangria) since 1955. You’d be hard put to find something more ‘real’ than this tiny venue – more of a musty-smelling cave covered with posters and a patina of nicotine.

MONEY SAVING TIPS

  • Buy a metro card – Paris has over 300 subway stations, so it is easy to get around the city.  A day pass is only 11.65 EUR.  However, if you buy 10 tickets or a “carnet”, it only costs about 14.50 EUR, much cheaper than the 1.90 EUR for each individual ticket. The day pass, called ParisVisite, also gives you discounts to some major Parisian landmarks.
  • Discounts at The Louvre – The Louvre is free after 6pm on Fridays and on the first Sunday of October to March.  It is closed on Tuesdays.  It’s located in the center of the city and has two metro stops – both marked “Louvre.”  Get off at either one.  If you enter from the Louvre stop, you’ll be able to skip the line.
  • Picnic in the parksThere are many beautiful parks in Paris.  Therefore, a free dining are.  Pick up some ingredients at the local market to make your own food.
  • Paris Museum Pass – This is a prepaid card that gets you access to over 70 museums and monuments around Paris.  A two-day one is 42 EUR, a two-day pass is only 56 EUR, and a six-day pass is only 69 EUR.
  • Go to the free museums – All national museums are free admission on the first Sunday of every month.  If you happen to hit this day, be aware of potentially large crowds and long lines.
  • Dine out during lunch – Food in Paris is not cheap.  Restaurants do a pre-fixe menu for between 10-15 Euros.  It’s the same food you would buy for dinner but at half the cost. 
  • CouchsurfCouchsurfing is an app available on the Apple Store and Google Play.  It allows you to stay with a local for free or a very low cost.

Other Reads & Need to Knows About Paris

  • Bastille Day – Every July 14th, a group of spectacular events in Paris celebrates the infamous storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution. There’s a huge, televised parade and an amazing, renowned fireworks display. This is French independence day and one of liveliest days in the country.

  •  Cinema en Plein Air – Every July, Paris rolls out the inflatable screen in the Parc de la Villete for this major outdoor cinema event in the 9th arrondissement. It’s hugely popular with locals who tend to bring food and wine!

     

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