Paris on a budget redux

Even on a budget, you can afford to grab that table and have an aperitif

Well, the Experienced Travelers’ post reviewing the NY Times Frugal Traveler’s weekend in Paris on a miniscule budget was popular with the Readership, and Paris travelers everywhere.  (If you haven’t read that post yet – click here and catch up!)

Here at Julie’s Paris, people felt that the Frugal Traveler (FT) was too parsimonious with his Paris weekend.  Our wise and wonderful Readership made their voices heard:

  • Reader Diana insists travelers can do Paris perfectly on a budget and still have special splurges.
  • Reader Nicole shows us a true Found Money way to see the Louvre by waiting at the museum exit and asking departing visitors if she can have the all-day admission ticket  that they’re about to throw away!  The ETs are going to investigate this excellent strategy!
  • Reader Phillip rightly clarifies that the FT budget was  74-euro. He also reminds us that the article does show people that they can visit Paris on a tight budget and enjoy themselves.
  • See all the comments here

Our friends at The Paris Blog included our post on their site, and comments were right in line with the Readership’s. 

Meanwhile remarks about the article on the NYTimes website followed suit – even suggesting ways the FT could have saved more (ie. save the tip! It’s strictly for exemplary service, and then just a few euros for a meal.)

The ETs "at home" in their Paris apartment rental

Many comments raised two topics of interest to the Experienced Travelers.  First, readers suggested that renting an apartment instead of staying in a hotel can be cost-saving and fun.  The ETs are apartment-rental enthusiasts and wholeheartedly endorse this approach.  

Cooking breakfast chez vous keeps euros in your pocket, and packing a picnic lunch to enjoy in a shady garden saves even more.  The real Found Money comes from a simple home-cooked meal of market-fresh food.  Reader Diana says “our best and most memorable meals were those we ate in our tiny apartment.”

Chef Nurse prepared our dinner chez nous so we could spend the Found Money later in the cafes.

Par example, the ETs feasted on Nurse’s French culinary creations, then went out for dessert or drinks to take in Paris at night.  It worked like a charm and saved us at least 35 euros every time!   Ka-ching.

Riding the rails in the Paris Metro

Reader Phillip echoed many comments when he raised our second topic of interest;  smart-chip credit cards that are common in Europe, but unavailable in the US.   Smart-chip cards use chips instead of the magnetic strips that US bank cards employ.   Thus, US travelers can’t swipe their credit cards in smart-chip systems like self-service kiosks for metro tickets, pay-at-the-pump petrol and the utterly fantastic Velibes, Paris’ community bike rental system. 

Certain ETs made unsuccessful inquiries of Canadian banks in the hope of getting a smart-chip card. Establishing residency in Europe requires a significant financial windfall, and the Swiss banks won’t return my calls. Until the US banks get smart, the only path left to the ETs is marriage to an ageing Duc in poor health.

Smart-chip cards get you a ride on the Paris Velibes bike rental system. Imagine the thrill!

So what is a US traveler to do?  For now, get in line and buy your metro tickets at the manned booth. (Always keep an extra in case the station you use doesn’t have attendants on duty.) 

Sadly, the Velibes are off-limits.  The ETs want to coast the rue St.-Jacques hill, across the Petit Pont to the Parvis Notre-Dame.  But until they have a smart-chip in their wallet, it’s just a magnificent dream they hold fast in their hearts.

The rue St.-Jacques. The ETs want to feel the wind in our hair as coast this hill on a Velibes

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One Response to “Paris on a budget redux”

  1. Paris on a budget? « Julie's Paris Says:

    […] Paris Sous le ciel de Paris « The Legendary Brasserie Balzar Paris on a budget redux […]

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