Paris is no doubt must-see place on everyone’s list. It’s one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, with its history, food scene, and unique atmosphere, receiving 44 million visitors per year. Situated beautifully along the Seine River, Paris is picture-perfect. So many artists have adopted this great city as their second home because there is something magical here. Woody Allen’s movie, Midnight in Paris, describes it well:
“You know, I sometimes think, how is anyone ever gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony, or a sculpture that can compete with a great city. You can’t. Because you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form and when you think that in the cold, violent, meaningless universe that Paris exists, these lights, I mean come on, there’s nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune, but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafés, people drinking and singing. For all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe.”
I visited Paris a couple years ago during my Runaway Europe trip. I mean, how could I not include this city? I decided to spend five days here, longer than most of the cities I’d been to, just because it was Paris. It was well worth my time.
For first-time visitors to frequent visitors, I recommend renting an apartment when you are here. I did, and it was one of the best decisions on my Europe tour. Through an apartment rental website I got a good deal on a small apartment in Montmartre. It was near the Sacré-Cœur, only a couple blocks from the subway, with Moulin Rouge down the road and local markets and supermarket close by. This trick works well in major cities like New York or Paris. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling with an ample budget or a rather thin wallet, I recommend looking for a vacation rental.
Save here, spend there
Hostels in Western Europe are not cheap. Also, their quality can be questionable. While getting an apartment is not the cheapest option, they are usually in good shape. Many Europeans rent out their apartments while they are out of town, which means it is a working home with all the typical comforts. I spent €350 for five days in Montmartre and enjoyed have privacy and comfort of living local.
I would rather spend money on food and experiences than accommodation. That’s just my policy. In France it meant I could afford some more great French wine, a lot more fresh baguette in the morning, a few more sights, and maybe some shopping.
Eating Chez Moi
Paris has numerous world-class restaurants no doubt, but the price will follow. What I enjoyed more was eating in at the apartment. Grocery stores in Paris were my happy place. We bought five to seven different kinds of cheese and sausage, picked up a bottle of champagne, got a fresh-baked baguette from a local bakery, and had a feast. It was the simplest and most fulfilling meal I had in Europe.
Live like a Parisian
After a long day of sightseeing, I loved the feeling of coming home. There weren’t three other roommates in the dorm room, I had a bottle of cold white wine waiting for me in the fridge, and I got to spend my evening without feeling like a tourist. After I closed the front door, I had my own piece of Paris all to myself.