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Paris: I Love Cheap Thrills

Updated: May 23, 2022

As you may already know, I graduated this week with an MPH from the University of Minnesota. What this means for this trip is that I don't have a lot of spending money. So, here are some of the cheap thrills that I recommend in Paris.

1. Breakfast specials at your local bakery (€2-10), which usually consist of a croissant or pain au chocolat, an espresso, and an orange juice. You'll pay more if you stay to eat (sur place), and less if you take it to go (à emporter).

2. The Père Lachaise Cemetery walk with the Rick Steves audio guide - free. As is becoming clear, I never travel in Europe without Rick. This audio walking tour was the perfect way to start my morning in the 20th arrondissement. The Cemetery is an oasis in the city, calm and lovely. It is also the site for memorials for national tragedies. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because the cobblestones are uneven.

3. Scenic bus route 69 from Gambetta to Champ de Mars - one metro ticket (€1.90). I stole this idea from Rick, but it's a great way to get from the 20th (near the Père Lachaise Cemetery) back to central Paris. Traffic in Paris is frustrating, but this above-ground transit option is faster than walking, and allows you to get an overview of the city and see many of the big sights. It ends by the Eiffel Tower. Rick also recommends the 63 and 73 bus lines.

4. Les Maisons de Victor Hugo on Place des Vosges - free. While La Place Des Vosges is the real star here, the free museum offers a great view of the square, free WCs, and handsome rooms with a nice art collection (including the Rodin pictured below). La Place Des Vosges is located in the Marais neighborhood, which is well worth a wander. Cute shops, art galleries and cafes abound. I always find something I didn't even know I was shopping for when I visit the Marais.

5. Grocery stores. This may be obvious, but you can get great deals on prepared foods and snacks (as well as Orangina), by going to the grocery store. I am partial to Monoprix (similar to target but with more groceries and fewer other things). Don't forget your reusable shopping bag!

6. Eating sandwiches in public parks (€5-10 to go). There's nothing quite like French bread. Find a park and enjoy a sandwich and people watching. Many Parisian parks feature trash cans and water fountains with tasty water!

That's all for now - à très vite!

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