Paris Value Travel: From Those In The Know

Paris can be the city of dreams and light. But unless you are a trustafarian, prince or dignitary you must find a way to enjoy Paris without breaking the bank. One seldom thinks of Paris as a “ budget travel” city. But there are values to be had. Value travel is not defined as budget travel; it is realizing great reward for the money spent. Planning your trip from the UK is easy. Compare the price of  hotels and airlines before you book .  Hint: Fall is the perfect time to go!

Get yourself to Paris for the great deals in  Fall shoulder season .  Credit Kurt Winner

To help you maneuver around in Paris here are tips offered by those in the know: an international businesswoman from New York City, a francophile who divides her time between Paris and Honolulu and an international travel journalist.

Where to Stay

Businesswoman: Beauchamps Hotel is just steps away from the Champs Elysees.  The famous chestnut trees are leafy green in the spring and summer and at Christmas they are draped in tiny lights making the view from the Arc de Triomphe down to the Ard du Carousel near the Louvre a classic view, with many Xmas markets nearby to Le Grand Roue . The Ferris wheel is close by too- down at Place de la Concorde.

A walk from this superbly located hotel down the Champs, past the Eiffel Tower, through the Tuileries and to the Louvre is perfect on a pleasant May day. The hood is also filled with art galleries. Christie’s just opened down the street, and Gagosian from NY and other galleries very close by with art deco furniture, paintings, etc. And, you are dangerously close to the designer boutiques and can can walk over to rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré where you can do some really serious credit card damage  at  the likes of  Houbigant, Lanvin, Hermès.

Flowers spill out of florist shops on the streets of Paris.  Kurt Winner

 

General Tips

Francophile: Buy your museum pass online before you go to France. You won’t have to wait in line to get in the museums. www.parismuseumpass.com.

Buy your Metro tickets in groups of 10, which is less expensive. It’s called a Carnet de tickets (pronounced kar-nay).

Take the RER to Versailles, Monet Gardens, and quick out of the city excursions. You can purchase tickets at Chatelet, Pont Alma, Arc de Triomphe for a nice day trip.

If it’s raining and you can’t find a taxi, go to a hotel and ask them to call a taxi for you. A small tip to the concierge or desk clerk will be appreciated.

For medical assistance, go to the Emergency Room at the American Hospital in Neuilly. Everyone speaks English and you can get any kind of medical care for much less than in the U.S. You can use a charge card to pay and normally your medical insurance in the U.S. will reimburse you 80%.

Do not carry a lot of money around tourist sites. There are many pick-pockets especially looking for back-packs. A new scam is to stop someone and wave a badge and ask to see your ID. When you pull out your wallet, he will run away with it.

The best open market I’ve found is on Avenue du President Wilson between Avenue Marceau and Place Iena every Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Many times we have seen famous chefs shopping for produce at this market.

I shop the Galleries Lafayette, especially during sales in January and July. A great place for lunch before or after is “Cafe de la Paix”; a little pricey, but well worth the value.

Best place for souvenirs is in front of Galleries Lafayette or on the Rue de Rivoli, which are all open on Sundays.

To shop for fantastic fabrics and window dressings, you will find many shops with thousands of fabrics not available in the U.S. near Montmartre on rue St. Pierre, rue Ronsard & rue Nodier in the 18th. Use Metro stop “Anvers” in the 18th Arr.

Journalist:  Take a pre-paid shuttle van from the airport to your hotel. Avoids paying extra in a taxi for bags and traffic delays.

Also check Rick Steeve’s guides. He favors the Marais area for good hotel rates in a charming neighborhood with Renaissance architecture in an area not usually considered by American tourists. Guide book is packed with value tips for restaurants, sights, and museums. His Paris pop-out map is compact. Great for those that can’t really make out the map apps on their phone.

 

Dining and Experiences

Context Travel foodie guides take you through  Paris to visit butchers, bakers, cheese mongers and ice cream and chocolate artisans.

Journalist:  I cover luxury travel. But when publisher is not paying, I fend for myself. When visiting the d’ Orsay Museum the reasonable lunch menu at the upstairs restaurant is wonderful and if you score a river view table – a consummate experience. There is an offer on the website for dinner and museum entrance on Thursday nights by reservation; “dinner and drinks” is 55 Euros.  Take a moment to look at the Exquisite ceiling and chandeliers above you.

Delicious, moist fish luncheon entree from the kitchen of the d’Orsay Museum restaurant.

 

 

 

Intimate walking tours of Paris with Context Travel experts are fantastic and educational for first-time and seasoned Paris travelers. The offerings run from architectural , gastronomy, and art history to special events.

 

I like to buyRailEurope passes good for a few days for a comfortable dash out to the countryside or day trips when I have a week or two in France. Buy a sandwich at station to carry onboard.

For a treat you can train it to Angers and stay overnight in a beautifully restored fairytale castle, Chateau Challain.

Chateau Challain is but a short ride via the TVR train from Paris. Kurt Winner

For a free art gallery show? Le Royal Monceau an artsy five-star Raffles Hotel with a galler,y Art District Le Royal Monceau, open to the public showing such topics as Dennis Hopper’s traveling show “ Photographs from the Sixties.”

After your gallery tour stop in for a very expensive but truly chic drink at Monceau’s Le Bar Long just off the entryway. Think of it as part of your entertainment budget. You’ll see a parade of Paris elite, some nearby showroom models and yes that trustafarian, prince and a dignitary or two.

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

Michelle is a freelance journalist specializing in luxury and experiential travel. Her readers number in the millions through her various online outlets and print magazines. She loves to explore a culture through their culture and food. "Sometimes, " she says , "luxury can be a shack on the beach with a sand floor and a ceiling of stars."

4 Comments

  1. The GypsyNesters August 25, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Great tips, and trustafarian is one of our favorite words. There were tons of them around when we lived in The Virgin Islands.

  2. Michelle Winner September 17, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Thanks Gypsys! Appreciate your comments and visit to our site. MW

  3. Fiona Trowbridge February 16, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Great tips, Michelle. I love exploring Paris on foot although it has taken several visits to really see it all, but that was no hardship. http://www.fionatrowbridge.com

  4. Trees Rotteveel April 17, 2017 at 9:54 am

    This is a great read and I will certainly use it!

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