Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Paris on the cheap

Paris - Sapeurs Pompiers 1, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

It can be done!

A few tips:

Book a train to Paris in good time and you can get a return ticket (from Amsterdam for € 69, we paid € 110, which is still not bad). Just be prepared for a long journey until you get to Brussels. The high speed rail link should have been finished about ten years ago, but is still not with us and yesterday we had to hear about yet another delay. Maybe by 2009, we will be able to get a train to take us at 300 km/hour to Brussels and then onto Paris in less than three hours. The journey from Paris to London will take just 2 hours 15 minutes from next month. It is more expensive though.

When in Paris, find a one star hotel and you can stay there for € 38 a night for a clean and spacious double room with own shower and toilet. We stayed at the Palace Hotel in Rue Bouchardon (+33 1 40 40 09 45), near the Strasbourg-St Denys station, about a twenty minute walk from Gare du Nord. They will serve breakfast for € 3.50, which is a lot cheaper than the € 8 or 9 which they like to charge in the bars, albeit with a seat on a terrace.

Lunch can be had for € 3 in the form of a thickly filled baguette, followed by dinner at any number of cheapish restaurants, my favourite being Pizza Grill Istanbul on Rue Fbg St-Denis, where a generous helping of delicious Adana Kebab with rice and salad can be had for € 9. A take away shoarma or a falafel (try the ones at Chez Marianne in Le Marais for € 4.50) will cost less and may also be delicious, but it is nice to have a sit-down meal with service, in a restaurant full of local Turkish people. An alternative is any one of a number of Indian restaurants in the alleyways in the area, many of which have formula meals for about € 10.

Drinking in the wrong lace in Paris can be very expensive nut a half litre of beer at the Cox Bar on Rue Des Archives will cost only € 3.50 during Happy Hour (18.00-21.00) and € 4.80 afterwards, free if one of the barmen likes you.

Further, I have mentioned yesterday how cheap it is to go racing. A tip for travelling around the town is to buy a carnet of ten bus/metro tickets for € 11. Another is to take one of the bicycles on offer. It costs € 1 a day membership and the first half an hour of any bike ride is free, and you can have as many half hours as you like. Not that cycling arund Paris can be much fun with all the traffic lights and bad cycle paths, but still its a good alternative for tired legs and feet.

But like I said yesterday, what Paris needs the most is sunshine and that is always free, as is watching firemen perform their drills!


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