Today I thought I'd share a little Paris guide of a few things you can do when you have no money. That would be me at this time. With an intense love of travel, I need to save up, and I can't afford to go for coffee or lunch or drinks or dinner (etc) every day. Paris is an expensive city. Traveling back and forth to the US, to Dublin, to Colombia has definitely shown me how expensive it is. Sometimes I just get lazy and stay at home because it's so much cheaper than going out... but you get cabin fever that way. Binge watching a TV show is fun from time to time, but it gets old really quickly.
Paris is big and you usually have to take the metro. Personally, I always need to take the metro to get into Paris. One ticket is 1.80€ or and the monthly navigo is 70€. Once you take that into account, you try to walk way more and try to skimp on other things like food... or fun. But it's such a shame! We don't have to be miserable at home because we have no money. Here are a few ideas on things to do!
1. picnic in the park or by the Seine
There are so many parks and so many places by the Seine where you can sit for a picnic! My high school was near Parc Monceau, so that's where loads of us would go for lunch. It's a gorgeous little park. For my birthday, we went to Tuilleries (read here), but there are many others depending on which area you are in. Champ de Mars (Eiffel Tower), Quai de la Tournelle (Notre Dame), place des Vosges (Marais), square du vert galant (Pont Neuf), Buttes-Chaumont (northeast), Bois de Boulogne (west)...
2. walk along the canal St Martin (aaaand picnic)
I haven't spent enough time walking around that area. I've only gone to the canal a handful times in the past few years. Insanity! It's very lively and lovely and full of young people. If you walk long enough, you'll see many different sides of Paris. Once again, this is another place to have a nice picnic. Two-for-one deal.
3. visit free exhibitions and galleries
This is Paris. There are loads of museums and loads of places to see art. There are free galleries and exhibitions all over, during the entire year. All you need to do is a bit of research, and be on your way! PLUS: On the first Sunday of every month, many museums are free! (careful, lines can be very long on those days.)
4. go to open mics
There are many open mics around Paris, some better than others. If you want to go out for a cheap happy hour priced drink with friends (or alone) and enjoy some music/poetry and fun, I can help you. Mondays: Oz Bar in the 13th or Galway in the 6th. Tuesdays: Oz Bar in the 9th. Wednesdays: The Highlander in the 6th.
5. on Tuesdays and Fridays, go to Belleville market
Maybe try to plan your picnic at canal St Martin on one of those days... The Belleville market is insane, full of people, hard to walk through, but so amazing. Prices! oh the prices! And the beautiful fruit and vegetables... Finally mangos that aren't a million euro a piece! Finally avocados I can afford. So many good deals. I once got four cucumbers for ONE euro. Now, I don't know if you need four cucumbers on your picnic... but it's a great deal.
6. go to cemeteries
I've yet to visit Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise. I'm sorry Jim, I am. It's been on my to-do list for ages now. I ever read about Patti Smith visiting cemeteries in Just Kids last month, and here I am in Paris, 12 years and not one cemetery. But they are free, and they are spooky attractions apparently, so why not?
7. get a cool view of the city
Enter Galeries LaFayette near Saint Lazare (lines 3, 12, 13, 14), Chaussé d'Antin La Fayette (line 7, 9) or Opéra (line 3, 7, 8). Buy nothing because you're broke. Go up seven or so floors. You're on top of the woooorld. It's quite a lovely view, I have to say. I went there once this summer. There were places to sit, even vendors where you could buy street food. Roof top food, really. I bought nothing, but I sat on the fake grass and wrote for a while. I bet you can even bring a sandwich and have a picnic here... so many places for picnics in Paris!
8. walk down La Promenade Plantée
My friend Kady told me about this one. She loves plants so I guess that's why this appealed to her most of all? It's for everyone, of all ages. It takes you 4.5km from Bastille to Bois de Vincennes, and is elevated in certain sections so you get some lovely views of Paris. I can't wait for Kady to be back – this is the first thing we will do. It's Paris, expect long (beautiful) walks!
9. discover Paris! Walk around, see monuments, admire the architecture
Honestly, this is what I do most of the time. Just walk. Why wouldn't you? Paris is beautiful, and every neighborhood is unique. I loved getting to know the 13th with Rozena and Ari on two different occasions. I know the 6th oh so well, and the Marais even better. My favorite thing is to piece all the different arrondissements together. Paris used to be just four different chunks
10. make a reservation at a restaurant through La Fourchette
You probably want to eat out from time to time. I eat out way more these days than I did as a teenager. But I've been trying to cut back because it can be quite expensive. If you join La Fourchette, you can some really great deals. My mom and I once went to a pretty fancy restaurant where I had a lobster avocado sandwich (I still dream of going back) and we had a 40 or 50% discount, so while it was still pricier than usual (we did get a bottle of rosé though), we saved a bunch and enjoyed an amazing dinner!