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Categorized | France

Think Parisian, Not tourist

Posted on 21 October 2008 by Natalie

Avoiding long lines and steep admission to museums and other monuments, forces one to appreciate Parisian life on a different level.  Below is a list of a few highlights I enjoyed while in Paris.  These aren’t in the guide books:

  1. A picnic in the park below the Eiffel Tower.  Avoid the line and the fee to take the lift.  Perhaps even witness a film crew and body guards following the “hip European boy band” we still don’t know the name of.
  2. Savor each bite of your FREE croissants in the morning.
  3. Walking through the Latin Quarter on a Sunday afternoon as couples dance in the street to their friend playing an accordion outside their favorite cafe.
  4. Cimetiere du pere Lachaise (a big cemetery) was recently opened to the public (read: 200 years ago) and entrance is still FREE, who knows how long this will last.  Here we visited Oscar Wilde’s grave and counted the number of women who have kissed his large tombstone.  I lost count, but the amazing variety of lipstick shades, colors, and gloss is rather entertaining.  In case you were wondering, I did not pucker up, it just seemed to much of a bio-hazard.  Plus, have you read, The Picture of Dorian Gray?  It’s creepy.
  5. While standing on Pont Neuf (a bridge on the Siene) we spent some time closely looking at the boats individuals permanently live on.  Look for the colorful rainbow boat, with the largest collection of rubber duckie’s I have ever seen in my life.  I even realized that these floating “households” have mailboxes build into the sides of the bridges, accessible only with a key, of course.  They wouldn’t want a curious tourist like me trying to steal their water bill.
  6. Shopping around for the cheapest crepe in town.  Why pay 8 euros for a crepe near the Eifel Tower or Notre Dame, when you can get a Nutella crepe for 2 euros?  Oh, and make it look so delicious that a group of French photography students begin practicing through the lense with you, and your crepe eating husband, as their subjects.
  7. Don’t spend 40 euros on a soup and salad!  Instead buy food, at the best bakery, cheese shop and produce markets.  Return to the kitchen at your hotel, hostel, inn or other place of lodging and cook your own gourmet meal for around 4-7 euros.
  8. Walk along the art show’s in the evening.  We caught an incredible photography display outside the Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Gardens).
  9. We also discovered a secret little park around Notre Dame that opens only Sunday mornings until around noon when they lock it once more.  You can enter, take a few pictures, and smell the roses.  Just don’t try to bring your dog in.

If you end up in Paris sometime in the future, I wouldn’t recommend trying to experience the same things we experienced.  Instead, have your own incredible Parisian adventure.  Be creative, have fun, and try to think less like a  tourist and more like a local.  But I guess that advice could serve you well in any location

After talking to locals, as well as a few Australians and Americans living in Paris for 3-6 months, we have discovered easy ways to live on $30 (USDS) or less, per person, per day.  And still have a comfortable bed, a hot shower and great food and entertainment.

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5 Responses to “Think Parisian, Not tourist”

  1. Justin says:

    Seriously man, me too. Me too.

  2. debbie lowman says:

    Hi from Michigan!
    I loved to hear about Paris because I agree that the best times we had were hanging out at the cafe’s and watching people. We did the main tourist spots with Grandma and Grandpa and Wendy since it was their first time in Paris.
    Looking forward to hearing from you from Spain?? Keep away from the bull runs…okay.

  3. I really love your blog!!

    Can anybody tell me whats the best Hotel in Paris for my honey moon? I going to married next month..

    Thank you

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