Viva la recession: Paris on a budget
The Palais-Royal's arcade and gardens are ideal for a free afternoon stroll. Credit: Monique Stringfellow
By Monique Stringfellow
Special to amNewYork
Paris is associated with many things haute couture, fine cuisine, architectural opulence but a good deal is not often one of them. Suprisingly, though, Parisians are actually very sensible spenders. So, Paris on a budget is less about cutting corners than doing the city like a Parisian.
What to do
Go to Notre Dame, but skip the overcrowded climb to the top of the tower (for 7.50 euros) and opt instead for a (free!) wander within the main area of the worlds most famous Gothic Cathedral.
Climb the steps of Montmartres SacrÃ© Coeur for an unbeatable (and free!) view.
Weather permitting, follow Hemingways example and transform the city into a moveable feast. Picnics are the best way to combine sightseeing, people watching (a favorite Parisian pastime) and eating (another fave pastime.) without the high cost of a cafÃ© meal.The Champ de Mars the grassy area beneath the Eiffel Tower is a favorite for local families and the banks of the Seine host a lively social scene on sunny days.
Do some market-hopping at Clignancourt, the citys largest, at the northern edge of the city. Find art, antiques and vintage clothes. Its free to look and, should you decide to buy, bargaining is not at all gauche, so go for it.
Where to stay
Located in the cool 20th Arrondisement, the Philippe Starck-designed Mama Shelter is a design snobs dream. At 79 euros per night, its also a steal. Rooms are outfitted with 24-inch iMacs and Kiehls supplies the bath products.(www.mamashelter.com)
Where to eat
Parisians are almost as cosmopolitan as New Yorkers when it comes to dining out.
For amazing Cambodian, try Le Cambodge (10 Ave. Richerand) in the un-touristy Canal area.
For couscous, Chez Omar (47 rue de Bretagne) is a Marais standby.
The Belleville neighborhood boasts Vietnamese and Thai restaurants that more than hold their own against New Yorks best.
The specialty of Domaine de Lintilllac (20 rue Rousselet) is foie gras. While that would seem to disqualify it for inclusion, it miraculously doesnt. Entrees like cassoulet and duck confit hover around 10 euros, while a generous amount of top quality foie gras goes for a reasonable 12 euros.
A typical French night out often involves sitting at a local cafÃ© over a carafe of house wine. Coming from the land of $14 glasses of merlot, the 10-to-12 euro price tag should cast off any lingering doubts about Parisian affordabilitÃ©.