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Paris – on a budget



As someone who regularly visited Europe with my family when I was younger, it’s a surprise that I had never been to Paris before last week. Especially considering it’s the closest capital outside of the UK.

With that in mind, my boyfriend and I packed our bags and headed on the Eurostar for a three-day trip. Not long, but it’s all we needed to see the most romantic city in the world. With barely speaking a word of French between us, we knew we were heading for an adventure in an unknown city as our first holiday together.

As, between us, we’re a couple of students and part-time workers, we were on a budget. We were pleasantly surprised – France are very generous to people aged 18-25. And this is what we did:

Sight-seeing

Eiffel Tower:

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On recommendation from a friend, we decided against going up the Eiffel Tower. It’s claimed that the best views include the huge monument itself and, although the view from the top is beautiful, if you want to save money then just avoid it. Instead on our first evening we walked there (huge regret – definitely should have got the metro: a realisation over an hour into the walk). We hung out by on the grass, whilst just chatting and people watching as it began to get dark. It was lovely. We didn’t feel like we missed out at all. The atmosphere is vibrant, the people are kind, the tower is impressive. It was all we needed after a day of travelling.

Arc de Triomph:

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Free to climb for 18-25 year olds within the EU (glad we came now rather than in two years time ;)), this was an absolutely perfect way to end the day. We were expecting to pay 9€ (the prices of adults normally), and so we were pleasantly surprised when the lady at the kiosk told us it was free!

Climbing the 284 steps, although painful (my DAYS am I unfit!), was totally worth it. I won’t say any more, I’ll let the pictures speak for me.

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Notre-Dame

This fairy-tale place, that took me back to my childhood, was exactly that: a fairy-tale. It was beautiful. It’s architecture was breath-taking, from front to back, top to bottom. Every time I looked at it, there was something new to see. Although an astonishing 800 years old, both the outside and the inside were so well kept. It was a quiet, cool place, with beautifully finished pillars and pews inside. It was remarkable. The dim lighting and candles, in which you could light yourself, complemented the peaceful ambiance of the cathedral. Here are some pictures:

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Moulin-Rouge

Home of cancan dancing, an upper class evening out, and a seemingly random design in the middle of an industrial city. Although not time-consuming (we were there for all of ten minutes) it’s a fun, free thing to see near the Sacre-Coeur.

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Sacre-Coeur

I definitely recommend visiting this beautiful cathedral, located on the top of a hill with stunning view of the city, in the evening time. It’s rammed with people, both tourists and locals, going out for dinner or merely hanging out on the steps. The atmosphere is lively, with street performers, illegal retailers (you know, the random people selling a crap-ton of hats laid out on a tarpaulin or something), and small food-cart kiosks. It’s lovely. It’s cobbled streets are exactly how I’d imagine Paris would be depicted in the tourist guides.

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Things To Do:

Champs-Elysees

You may be thinking: why is the most expensive shopping street in Europe featuring on a budget-Paris post?! And your confusion is valid. However, we spent next to nothing. The Champs-Elysees is a pretty street, albeit busy, that encompasses everything you think of when you think of France: food, wine, and expensive fashion. On a budget, you can get away with just window shopping. To be honest, even if you’re not on a budget, the average person couldn’t afford much down here anyway! It’s just an enjoyable walk with ample opportunity to stop for a drink and watch the world go by. It’s peaceful in a noisy sense. The security may be at an all time high, understandably (my bag was checked going into the Disney store), but that will never stop you from prancing around looking at fun Euros merchandise or designer handbags that you’ll never be able to afford. What a treat!

The Louvre

Free to enter and something to make you feel cultured (at least in our case). We spent around two hours in here, looking at the incredible marble statues and, of course, we tried to see the Mona Lisa but that was somewhat difficult with the 10-foot barricade of stereotypical tourists! Still, we enjoyed it and the food that you can by inside was typically French and surprisingly a reasonable price!

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Jardin du Luxembourg

Or the Luxembourg Gardens to those, like me, who speak next to no French. A vast aray of flowers, water features and play parks for those with kids. Although not very cultured of us, we decided to pay for a little data and go on a Pokewalk through here! Don’t judge. We caught many a Lickitung, no regrets. We hung out in the sun, watched kids play with toy boats in the fountain, and had such a relaxing time. We even bought some delicious crepes from a kiosk! Lovely way to spend the afternoon. And – of course – free!

 

Thanks for letting me bang on about the loveliest long weekend I’ve had in ages!

Over and out

Amy xoxo



The BEST holidays

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