Europe’s great cities on the cheap – Paris

IT is known as the “city of love” and as romantic as the atmosphere is, it is the city itself that most people fall head-over-heels in love with.

It has one of the most recognisible skylines in the world, largely because of the beautiful lattice iron Eiffel Tower that dominates it – a potent symbol of both France and it’s home Paris.

But the real love affair with Paris is when you look beyond those oh-so-familiar landmarks and explore its network of backstreets and claim Paris as your own.

But how to enjoy this holiday romance at prices that won’t leave you heartbroken?

In the second in our series on Europe’s great cities on the cheap Booked.net offers some answers.

Paris

Hotels

What did you expect?

You’re trying to find a bed in a city with a metropolitan population of more than 12 million, add to that an average of 28 million visitors per year and it is easy to see this equations adds up to considerable expense.

However, traveling on a budget in Paris can be done with some hard work.

Believe it or not the historic artist hangout of Montmartre – frequented by Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso among others is also home to some budget hotels in Paris.

Hotel Place Clichy (www.booked.net/hotel/place-clichy-paris) is a good example offering rooms starting from €91 a night.

Dining

In a city famed for its fine dining and haute cuisine – eating does not come cheap, but consider eating on the run.

This is a city of breads and pastries that can be found at the patisseries (bakeries) spread throughout the city and you can easily snack on these throughout the day.

For dinner simply check the menu or look for a board detailing the “menu du jour” – this is usually three-courses served with a bottle of wine that should not exceed €20.

Sites and attractions

You can visit Paris’s most popular cultural monument, Notre Dame Cathedral for free.

If you can brave the massive crowds you On the first Sunday of the month, you can get also get into the Louvre (www.louvre.fr) and Musee D’Orsay (www.musee-orsay.fr) for free.

At the Eiffel Tower* opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator or lifts (it costs €5 for a stairs ticket, opposed to €8.50-€14 by elevator).

Navigating

Be sure to pack some good shoes and be prepared to do a lot of walking, but, if you get tired of this, tickets for the Metro, one of the best and most efficient in Europe.

The Metro stretches to every corner of Paris and won’t break the bank – use the automated machines to buy a ‘carnet’ of 10 tickets for about €12 (www.ratp.fr).

Look out for the next city in this series Vienna and be sure to check our hints and tips for Rome on a budget here.

*Interesting fact: The Kiev TV Tower in Kiev, Ukraine, stole the Eiffel Tower’s title of world’s tallest lattice tower when it was completed in 1973.

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