Paris and France on the cheap
Paris and France on the cheap Reviews
Jul 11, 2007
My companion and I learned the hard way how to do France on the cheap, when our money was stolen. We had already planned on staying in youth hostels and to camp if we could, but when you are in Paris, even hostels can be very expensive. If you can stay in the city as little as possible, the cheaper it will be. In the city, there are several youth hostels, and all are priced differently. We stayed in an out of the way place in the Republique district, but the Metro makes even that convenient. It cost almost half that of the others in the city (though that was a long time ago!). The location is now called Hotel Richard, 35 Rue Richard Lenoir, and you can find booking info at http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/HotelRichard-Paris-2600 .
Outside of the city we found that camping was not as easy as it sounds, but we managed to set up a tent several times along the rail system. We found the hostels easier and much cheaper (then!) and that they usually had interesting histories. The one in Carcassonne was in the old Le Cité on a narrow cobblestone path. In Tours the hostel was in a French version of a YMCA.
We found the French warm and friendly people, so long as we were respectful of their culture. If someone behaves like an “ugly American”, they are going to be treated with disdain, something I see too often on my travels. I tell my friends to take an interest in their hosts – when you enter a shop, compliment the shop, ask the owner or clerk how business is or some other question that points towards what that person would be interested in and they will treat you like a friend. Paris, more than any other place I have been, smarts over the ugly American syndrome, and I have found that taking extra care to be thoughtful and respectful will reward me with a wonderful experience.
Don’t miss Versailles if you can help it. Yes, it is a monument to decadent, absolutist oppression, but it has some of the most amazing art I have ever seen. The paintings, architecture, sculpture, and landscaping are awe-inspiring.
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