miércoles, 9 de agosto de 2023

Paris 23 (English version)

Hi, how are you?

I just returned from a last minute trip to Paris and London. I bring you my general impressions and some recommendations. It hasn't been a long time since my last trip to these countries; however, nowadays many things have changed and that's why, I hope,  my article will help you to plan your next trip to any of these two cities. 

My trip was a low cost trip so I give you tips and ideas to minimize costs without losing the glamour of a trip to Europe!

In this article I will only talk about Paris. London I leave it for the next article because  it may be too long both cities in the same one. 

General Considerations

In Canada, cell phones are very expensive. For this reason we decided not to have internet access on our  phones and to go around all the cities as it was before: with maps and asking people for directions or routes. We used the WIFI access available at the hotel and places where we ate.

As we walked, we carried a tote bag for umbrellas, a sweater or jacket, water bottles and snacks. Yes, snacks are key to be able to walk long distances and not make so many unnecessary stops. Our snacks were fruits, cheeses, yogurts.


Then I carried a kind of small waist bag or fanny pack to keep my subway tickets, cell phone, personal documents and cash.  

Public restrooms: Spot them! Near the main rivers or central squares there are always public restrooms where you don't have to pay to use them. They are very prudent and sometimes not easily seen. They are your best friends! 

THE GYM: many people commented on my stories about our visits to the gyms in the two cities. Before traveling we checked if there were gyms nearby. You will be surprised to know that there are everywhere!

We have a routine that we wanted to maintain because we know that after two weeks going back to the gym was going to be too much of an uphill climb if we didn't do any exercise during our trip. Although we walked up to 25,000 steps in one day, we were able to go to the gym and exercise other parts of the body without a problem. We took advantage of the free trials and  then we paid for the following visits. In Paris we paid 10 euros per person and in London 6.50 pounds. 

NO cash! Me, very old fashioned lady, the first thing I did when I arrived to each city was to change euros for Paris and pounds for London in cash: WRONG! Even the smallest place and the most insignificant amount, everything is paid by card! My debit card never worked so I used my credit card for EVERYTHING I bought! Apparently after the pandemic all the stores decided to have  apps and smart screens for orders. 

NO TIPS!!! I had completely forgotten but you don't have to tip. It's not used. If you do leave, you will be seen as the most generous person  in the universe :)


Your perfect ally is still the metro. We bought a three day pass, which is cheaper than buying single day passes. We didn't use the bus system so I can't tell you about them although they are included in the same metro ticket.

Eat like the Parisians! On every corner there is a café with something called a "menu of the day". If the restaurant or café offered more universal food like pizza, burgers or pastas, we didn't choose it. We preferred places that had a menu with two choices and a fixed price. It was a sign that the food was fresh and that the locals would approve. We never failed! We had steak with green salad, salmon quiche, fish of the day. Everything was delicious and for a price ranging from 16 to 19 euros. Some cafes even offered an entry  or dessert as part of the menu of the day. 

Breakfasts and dinners were  lighter. We shopped at the grocery stores, local markers and bakeries near the hotel. Chains such as Subway and McDonalds also offered good value options and we chose them if the other places were closed.

Don't follow the crowd, get lost! I can't find a more ideal city to get lost than Paris. Every corner is a gem with beautiful buildings and something new to discover. Since we already knew Paris and its iconic sites, we skimmed the crowded places like the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower. We preferred parks, gardens and open areas. Logically, we divided the city according to metro access.

Our itinerary was: 

Day 1: Latin Quarter, L'île de la cité and the Jardin du Luxembourg (This garden was perfect for a little siesta to endure the jetlag in the best way).

Day 2: Pyramid of the Louvre museum, gardens of the Royal Palace, the Eiffel tower, walk along the Seine river, the small palace, the marais, the Vosges square.

Day 3: Montmartre, Père Lachaise cemetery, Galerie Lafayette.

Day 4: Cremieux street (pastel colored houses), Paris City Hall, Cognacq-Jay Museum, The Marais again, Saint Louis island, L'Orangerie museum, Les Tuileries gardens. 

Day 5: Walk along the canal St.Martin (before taking the train)

As you can read, everything we did was free. The only entrance we bought was the ticket to enter the Orangerie, museum where the wonderful water lilies of Claude Monet are.

Have a coffee at Galerie Lafayette: It's the perfect place to take a break from window shopping and enjoy the wifi and restrooms. Remember the views from their rooftop terrace. 

My hotel in Paris: I paid 72 euros per day and it is a 3 star hotel. It was perfect! It was small and super well located, with access to everything I needed: the ATM (although I later learned it was useless to have cash ) I had 4 cafes, 2 bakeries, two fruit markets, a small grocery store, the subway, McDonalds, the metro station and the gym less than 5 minutes away.

The rooms were a cutie and they make your bed and have room service every day. The name is Libertel and the one I used was the Canal St Martin branch/ Jaurés metro station. Here is the link.

I'll leave it here for today. I hope it has been useful for your next visit to Paris. I remind you that on my instagram account I have some reels, some highlights and many photos with more details of our trip. (@carolina.arts)

Thank you so much for reading me!

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