Catch ya Brissy and g’day Paris… I mean bonjour!
This trip was booked spontaneously. I know that probably seems a little farfetched considering this is a broke girl we’re talking about, but take a seat and hear me out…
How I found myself in Paris…
I was looking up flights to Europe for no other reason then for a little bit of a “LOL yeah right” and cry myself to sleep. There is absolutely no way ‘broke girl’ would be on a flight into Paris unless I snuck into someone’s check-in luggage… That is, until I came across flights that were $1,300 return. Yes, RETURN!
Lo and behold, two weeks later I was onboard a Thai Airways flight to Paris, with just one stopover in Bangkok for a mere 3 hours. I’m not too fond of flying (okay, I hate flying), but Thai Airways was honestly amazing. Despite the fact that absolutely no one was booked in my row (FOR EVERY FLIGHT!) and I had 3 seats to myself to sleep (#winning), the food was delicious, the attendants were absolutely lovely and I watched bulk movies the whole way there.
In true broke girl form, I figured two days in transit meant two days of spending little-to-nothing, free food and an endless stream of movies… now that’s livin’ Barry.
Finding a place to stay…
After making my way to the Latin Quarter and being lost for a solid hour (as well as being low on cash, I’m also directionally challenged). I eventually found Hotel Saint Andres Des Arts, my quaint, rickety and incredibly French hotel – by ‘found’, I actually mean stumbled upon it by accident. It was incredibly well-priced and is also known-well as a very affordable Parisian hotel.
I had booked a little single room, but was lucky to be given a spare double room at no extra cost. Breakfast was provided every morning which included black coffee (seriously, you won’t really find any better coffee than this, DRINK IT!) and the most amazing baguettes.
I couldn’t close my shower door or shut my window properly, but I seriously would not have booked anywhere else. I highly recommend this hotel. Not only was it full of character but it was in such a great location. I walked everywhere from here. Literally, everywhere. FYI, pack sneakers. You’re kidding yourself wearing anything else.
Top 10: to-do
1. Notre dame
This was one of my favourite places to visit. You’ll see lots of people enjoying lunch outside the Cathedral. Go for a walk through the Notre Dame and then grab a bite to eat and make like the locals and sit outside and enjoy the view .
2. Eiffel Tower (well, duh)
It’s an obvious one, but you’ve got to do it! Enjoy a crepe under the tower… or three.
3. Palace of Versailles
Give yourself a day for this and make sure you pack lunch; it’s expensive for food and even water, but an amazing day out.
4. Galleries Lafayette
It was daunting with the overwhelming number of designer brands that I definitely could not afford to even look at, BUT go up to women’s fashion and you will find a broke girl’s heaven including the best of Topshop, Zara, Urban Outfitters and more.
5. Night Tour (with the Paris Tourism Agency)
See the Eiffel Tower and other sites with their neon lights on, it’s a very cheap tour and definitely worth the ride.
6. Sacré Coeur
Make sure you go on the weekend when the markets are on, enjoy the view of Paris, and also explore the area of Montmartre.
Wander the street, window shop the designer brands AND actually shop the Zara’s and H&M’s. Make sure you check out the Arc De Triomphe.
8. Point Neuf
Grab yourself a feast of pastries and enjoy a picnic on the tip of Point Neuf.
9. The Louvre
It’s a must-do, especially if you limit yourself to just one museum on your visit. When you get to the Mona Lisa, make sure you get a photo of everyone else taking a photo her #lol
10. Love Lock Bridge
Put a lock on it! Prue + Coffee 4eva…
Top 10: to eat
1. Pastries, pastries , and more pastries
Doesn’t matter where you are. Eat. Every. Croissant.
2. The Market
A tiny little supermarket with everything you need. I purchased a packet of 5 croissants and a bottle of wine for less than $10 AUD, seriously. These were my 90c croissants and $2.20 bottle of wine… AUSTRALIAN! Get your picnic bits and pieces from here – don’t forget plastic cutlery and glassware!
3. L’éclair De Genie
Just do it. I ate two in one sitting.
4. Boulangerie Carton
An amazing bakery that’s also incredibly affordable. Make sure you learn – un croissant s’il vous plait!
Also known as, ‘day light robbery’ but the best macaroon you’ll have – not broke girl, but must-do (just get ONE!).
The most delicious gelato shaped like a rose – make sure you try the coconut and of course get a pic!
7. Pizza Rustica
Giant (and delicious) pizza for less than $10 AUD.
8. Café Kitsune
The best coffee in Paris. There is no other.
You’ll see Paul everywhere, it’s affordable and delicious. You can trust Paul.
10. Markets at Sacré Coeur
Try the snails! Such a cool atmosphere here too.
1. Pack sneakers and walk everywhere
I discovered so much more by wandering the streets… and actually getting lost.
2. Download the CityMapper app.
Two words. LIFE CHANGING. You can map out all of your journeys with the free Wi-Fi at your hotel and then off you go! Save your journey for offline use and it will track where you are and where you need to go without internet. Seriously amazing.
3. Learn your basic French
“Hello”,” Goodbye”, “Sorry I don’t speak French, do you speak English?”, “Can I please have 10 million croissants?”, and you’ll get by.
4. Read up about those dam scammers before you visit
Men, women and even children will come up to asking if you speak English, ask you to sign a petition, and then demand money from you. Be careful and avoid any strangers that come up to you in the street!!! I had people in less touristy areas also do it. Look like you know where you’re going and just walk straight passed them.
5. Keep your bags close, especially on public transport
Bring a bag that has secure closure. I wore my bag under my jacket to be safe. Broke girls gotta hold on to that shit, we can’t afford replacements.
I fell in love with Paris. I was so taken back by how beautiful it is, and pleasantly surprised with how little I ended up spending each day.
Written for Student Flights.