Saturday 29 October 2011

A tight wad's guide to Paris

We visited Paris the same way as we did 2 years ago - on a shoestring. This means instead of staying in one of these...

Three of us stayed in one of these, just 15 minutes by train outside of Paris, but situated on an Island in the middle of the Seine. A snip at £165 Monday - Friday including the ferry crossing! Staying here means that we can make ourselves a decent breakfast before we go out, buy ham and cheese baguettes at the local Boulangerie for 3 euros each before we get on the train, and return to eat in the local town instead of paying Parisian prices. When 2 x coffee's, a coca cola and a very small bowl of ice cream cost 25 euro's in central Paris, you can see why it makes sense to do this!
The Eurocamp caravan was really comfy and they even greeted us with a free bottle of wine. Its not the quietest place on earth with a train line nearby,aeroplanes coming in to land and huge barges passing by, but this is a city break after all. We were very luck with the weather again and got to sit out on the deck on a couple of occasions.

The railway station is a 10 minute walk from the camp site, and the trains are every 5 minutes. They deposit you on the top of the Champs Elysee - right under the Arc de Triumphe.
The young man hates shopping, but would happily spend all his holiday in the spectacular shops on the Champs Elysee. We saw our first "celebrity " spot of the day in the Adiddas shop - Nigel Clough - son of Brian and current manager of Derby County.
We walked down towards the Place de la Concorde, the Tuilleries Gardens and the Louvre. This is one of my favourite bits of Paris.

I am blown away by the scale of everything here. The little black machine on the pyramid was cleaning the glass - so thats how they do it!

One thing I really love about Paris is that if you have enough stamina, things are close enough to see most of them in one day. We certainly charged around like loons on our first full day in the city.
I had read about the bridges where lovers leave padlocks - to signify that they will return again as lovers on Paris Daily Blog, and was delighted to come across these. Next time I am taking a padlock!! Most had their names and dates engraved on them, some had just written on them in felt tip pen. Its wonderful to know that there is so much love and hope in the world.
We hot footed it over to the left bank to find another haunt - which much to my disappointment was closed!! (just for the day!!). Its here we saw our 2nd celebrity spot - but I cannot think for the life of me what her name is. Can you help? She is a Black American lady who appears on TV - I thought she was a comedienne, but I'm sure Ive seen her on Andrew Marrs show recently. She used to be fairly large, but she has had weight loss surgery and is much slimmer now, and she has short hair. Any clues? Any way, she was as disappointed as I was to find the Shakespeare and Co closed.

Edited to say "many thanks" Rosie - it was indeed Jenni Trent Hughes.
At 6.30pm, we decided to take a trip on a Baton Mouche. Nicely timed as we were on the point of collapse! (especially the teenager!)

You get to see the fabulous detail on the amazing bridges. I introduced the phrase "Belle Epoque" (Beautiful Era) to the young man and pointed out features in the Belle Epoque style. I realised a few days later that he though I was saying "Belly Pork"!
As well as providing a nice sit down and a running commentary, we got to float through the city at dusk, and watched her change from her day time attire, into her sparkly evening gown.

A great way to end our first day.


Louise said...

All that just on the first day?! It's good to make the most of your time though. The price sounds very reasonable and I much prefer to be able to cater for myself as I'm a fussy veggie!

Rosie said...

I love your idea of Paris 'On the Cheap'.
We went many years ago and have been put off going again because we spent so much money the last time.
I think the person you are thinking of is Jenny Trent Hughes.

Lx @ Twelve said...


What a very good idea - may have to steal it for us @ 12, it gets expensive planning family trips.... Love the photo's, especially the padlocks, how romantic....(mushy moment)


diane b said...

You sure saw heaps on your first day. All the famous icons and captured them beautifully. How clever of you to find a cheap way to eat and sleep in Paris.

Sue Hayton said...

What a good idea for B&B! PAris has got SOO expensive.

lazylol said...


Jo said...

What a great way to see Paris on a budget. It looks like you did loads on your first day, and I love the padlock idea. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip.

Elderberry-Rob said...

What interesting pictures - I didn't know about the padlocks, the bridges ... a sort of 'secret Paris' revealed! and all the better for being on a budget. Thanks.

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

Fab pics as always. Thanks for sharing your tip on staying in a caravan. We're thinking of going to Paris, all being well, next year.

Rosie said...

What a great idea! I've really enjoyed your photos and you certainly did a lot of walking on your first day. I read a book a couple of years ago by a man who'd worked at Shakespeare & Co - I'd love to see the shop what a shame it was closed on the day you visited. I love the trips on the bateaux mouche. How interesting about the padlocks on the bridge I didn't know about those:)

Selfsewn said...

What a good idea, I love a bit of baguette and fromage!

I so want to go.

Nick and I went for a day about 14 years ago in our europe van tour, try an imagine our battered old camper, white and grey primer, parked outside Notre Dame!

Did you get to clingoncourt (spelling?)

Kathy said...

Ooooohhhh I love Paris!
But you're right, it is getting so expensive. Well done for finding an alternative to the city centre hotels and restaurants. We've taken our caravan a few times and stayed near Disney, an hour away from Paris by train.
What a pity about Shakespeare and Co ... we spend hours in there each time we go.
Can't wait until your next post to see what you got up to next!

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Sounds like a great way to see Paris - affordable and fun! Have a good week Diane. x

greenthumb said...

I like the way you saved you money and did it on the cheap. Very pretty photos.

Ticking stripes said...

Great post Diane! And so much to see - I have Paris envy!

Little Blue Mouse said...

The campsite you found is so convenient, what a great idea for keeping the spends down.

A garden just outside Venice said...

How lovely to take a ride on a bateau mouche at dusk! You lucky thing!
LOL at Belle Pork, ha ha ha!

Lyn said...

oh it is bringing back lots of lovely memories, thanks Diane.