Hi everyone, I’m Shera, part of the K|W team. There are many of us actually who will slowly be revealing themselves from the dark (cewah!). But for now, it’s just me Shera, and I will be talking about Paris on a budget.
“Seriously??!! Paris, on a budget??!!” Yeah I can hear that coming from a mile away. To be honest, doing Paris on a budget is not a choice. I first went to the city in 2010, and I was only 20. Whether I liked it or not, it had to be on a budget haha~! I went for a week, and brought 80 euros with me (this is excluding transportation and lodging). I didn’t know what to expect, but I remember telling myself “Shera, you gotta be one hell of a cheapskate this week!”
But Paris is one of my favourite cities in the world. I’ve been there FOUR times! So if some of the readers have the proper cash to do Paris in style, this post probably isn’t for you. Don’t you worry I will be writing about Paris more in the future from a different light.
But for now, the question is…. how do you do Paris on a budget?
1. Buy everything from Carrefour or cook everything at home
When you look at the prices on the menus in Paris, your eyes will wanna leave its socket and never turn back. It. Is. Expensive. In. Paris. But you can overcome that by going to Carrefour or any other small stores to get instant things like frozen fish or bread for breakfast. It’s not classy, it’s not extravagant, but it will do.
But Paris is the food capital? How can we not eat out?! Well, if you go for five days for example, eat in for four days or bring food for home, then on one of the days you can go all out on a meal. That’s what I did and it was truly worth it. I also made sure to save up for the most amazing thing you can find in Paris: the croissant, chocolat au pain and baguettes.
2. Take the metro and buses
Avoid taxis at all cost, if you can. Avoid driving too if you don’t want to turn into a sour monster (roads in Paris is one of the most complicated systems I’ve ever seen in my whole life!). The Parisian public transport is one of the most efficient I’ve ever used. It’s also quite cheap if you get the weekly tickets and if you’re staying longer, just invest on the monthly ticket. I’m sure many people have commented that the Parisienne metro… well… they don’t smell very good. If you can’t stand it, take the bus.
But the thing is, the Parisienne metro is what makes Paris for me. Did you know that it’s been around since just before the 1900’s? When you take a metro in Paris, you are riding along with part of Paris’s history! Yeah it smells like pee, yes it’s overrun by homeless people – but that’s the reality of Paris. You can’t simply see it as a glorious city of fashion and food and other expensive things. Paris is raw. Paris is an art. Paris is more than just all the materialistic things and taking the subway makes you realise that everywhere you go is the same. There are ups and downs. There are rich and poor. When you begin to see a city for its true self, all the facade and stereotype about it will dissipate and you start to appreciate it for what it truly is.
3. Do all the free things!!!
Often when people ask me what to do in Paris, they’ll ask “Should we go to Disneyland?” My answer is simple. “No.”
You can go to Disneyland if you want to, but if you’re asking for my opinion, this is not what Paris is about. The best thing about Paris is that a lot of the things you can enjoy there is… well… free!
Buy some croissants and petits four from Carrefour and enjoy a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower…
… or take a super long stroll up Montmartre (which is my favourite part of Paris!)
There are two ways to go up Montmartre, either by stairs or the cable car. The staircases will allow you to see many beautiful art and quirky shops but don’t take it if you have any muscle or back problems. It’s really steep!
… when you’re up there don’t forget to stick longer at Sacre Coeur to see all the street performers…
To be honest, I played a little game up there. Have you seen Amelie, the movie? If you are planning to go to Paris, make sure to watch this movie. What I did was to retrace the places she’s been to in Montmartre and from there, I already had a whole day planned 🙂
The spot where Amelie searched for her lover hehe
When everyone goes to Galerie Lafayette in Paris, they go there to shop. This is the place where all the branded goods are. I’ll let you in a little secret. Take the lift all the way to the top, then go up the stairs to the rooftop. There you will see one of the best views you can get in Paris 🙂
Macam hero Malaya 😛
And take the metro allllll the way to Porte de Clignancourt on Line 4. Most Malaysians have probably never reached this stop because it’s really really far! If you come here, you can visit one of the biggest flea markets in Europe called Les Puces. Trivia: some parts of Inglorious Basterds have also been filmed near this area!
To go through Les Puces may take you a whole day! It has everything from knockoff goods, to cheap furniture to thousands of collections of books, to the most expensive antique you’ll ever find (I found a store selling only one chandelier. One. It cost 250,000 euros though).
Art and things in Le Puces
So there you have it! Those are my three little tips for doing Paris on a budget! It went longer than I intended it to. You can ask me for advice and I will try to give you as much as I can. For those who are looking for a different side of Paris, don’t worry! I’ve been there three other times, and the budget kept expanding every time haha! So look forward to my future posts.
– Shera Rahman