Friday, 23 March 2018

Low-budget Paris: How to Enjoy a Weekend in the city of Love on a Student Budget



Paris is definitely the city that makes anyone day dream with the beauty of its architecture, the museums, the delicious food, the infamous fashion week, the lights and shopping strip on the Champs Élysées…and at that point you’re reminded that you’re still a student who most likely can’t afford fine dining and shopping-like-no-tomorrow. 


"...one can enjoy (almost) all of the pleasures the city has to offer by making some clever research and by asking around."



It is no secret that the City of Lights can have no mercy on tight knit wallets, but what most people ignore is that living in Paris as a student doesn’t necessarily mean to be living in a Dickensian novel. In fact, one can enjoy (almost) all of the pleasures the city has to offer by making some clever research and by asking around. Since you are here, below are some friendly tips to be Paris savvy when your wallet is tight.

Activities

Get lost in Parisian Streets or take a Guided Tour

There’s no better way to get to know a city than walking around and getting lost in its streets, discovering the little things that make it unique. But getting lost might not be really fun, especially if you’re not quite familiar with the place and don’t speak the local language. So why not getting acquainted with the surroundings little by little by participating to a guided tour? Generally, this kind of activity can be quite pricy, but you are smart and Google is your second best friend so it won’t take you long to find websites such as Sandeman’s and Discover Walks! These sites propose (short) free guided tours around different areas of the city. So now you don’t have any excuses, grab your tennis shoes and camera and go explore!

"There’s no better way to get to know a city than walking around and getting lost in its streets, discovering the little things that make it unique."

Check out the Museums

Are you an art-freak and would like to visit every single museum in town? Or would you just like to quickly see the Mona Lisa just to tick it off your bucket list? In either case, why pay the ticket if you can get in for free?! In fact, students studying in Europe who are below the age of 26 can visit (almost) any museum without having to pay the ticket! Also, the first Sunday of the month is free to anyone.  
Here you can find more details about free admissions to Parisian museums. What are you waiting for?! Go and see that beautiful Mona Lisa’s smile.

Take a stroll in a Park

Everyone knows the beauty of the Jardin des Tuileries and of the Jardin du Luxembourg, but there are many other less known green corners hidden in the maze of Parisian boulevards - one just needs to keep an eye open. While walking on the Champs Élysées you might want to get a bit off of the beaten path and walk around or even just sit on a bench in the nearby and marvellous Parc Monceau. For a more romantic and quieter setting, you should absolutely have a twilight picnic (even better if in company of your significant other) on the grass at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, located a bit further away from the city centre but definitely worth it.

"...there are many other less known green corners hidden in the maze of Parisian boulevards - one just needs to keep an eye open."


Meals

Eat out the French way

Picture yourself walking around Paris with a baguette under your arm -  is there anything more cliché to check off your bucket list than enjoying a crêpe to go while exploring the quartier latin? If you’d like to tick this point off your bucket list, then you should definitely try out Au petit Grec, a small crêperie that will give you a taste of how serious are French people when it comes to food. Sweet or savoury, a crêpe is always the perfect snack however when the big hunger strikes, you should definitely go for a full meal and what is better than an entrecôte accompanied by a glass of wine?

Bistro Victoires, with its oh-so-French allure is probably the first place you should pay a visit to for lunch. If you are one those daring and curious people (as I think you are), then you should definitely give a chance to L’as du fallafel (yes, with double “l”) and to Le Comptoir Général. The first one might look like just the typical döner place, but don’t judge a book from its cover, the menu goes well beyond the usual falafels and will take your senses straight to the Middle East. Whereas the second option has an African-style atmosphere which is a very peculiar and cool not only to have a meal or a drink, but also to dance and assist to all kinds of performances.

Don’t Wait, Procrastinate with a Glass of Wine

Since everyone loves French clichés, concluding a long day around Paris in a very French way is a must: enjoying both an apéro and sunset on the Seine at Barapapa, a wonderful French brasserie. Although the scenario might seem typically Parisian, this lovely bar will surprise you since you can pair your aperitif up with delicious Italian pizza or amazing Chinese dumplings and play table tennis afterwards. Another wallet-friendly destination for drinks (and food) is the Grand Train, which is more of an urban-chic place. As the name may suggest, the place is literally on the railway and hosts a variety of train-themed activities: bars, restaurants, expositions etc. So, if you are always looking for original places or love trains at least half as much as Sheldon does, then believe me, it will become one of your favourites!

Nightlife

Dance ‘till you Drop

Are you a night owl and when the sun goes down you become a party animal? Good news: most of the clubs in Paris are free-entry and Nüba, located in the cité de la mode et du design, is what you need to get acquainted with the Parisian nightlife. This place is literally situated in the beauty of the city from the club’s terrace (of course the view is on the Seine). The good vibes of the place will literally take over and make you stay until sunrise. A completely different place to try out is the club Au Bonheur des Dames (the ladies’ happiness, literally). The music and the setting might be a bit rudimentary, but fear not - on Thursdays, there’s a special treatment reserved to the ladies to kick start the evening and actually make them happy: free drinks and food until 11 pm! What a slam dunk for students!


"Just because your wallet is tight does not mean that you can’t have some fun. Get out and explore!"

A French Tip to Conclude

Just like most of students worldwide, Parisian millennials do organize pre-drinks at friends places before going out clubbing, which is cheaper than buying alcohol at the club (and also more effective J ).

So, what are you waiting for! Just because your wallet is tight does not mean that you can’t have some fun. Get out and explore!


Written by Costanza Poser, 1st year Grande Ecole MiM Student

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