22 Apr 2016

Paris: First Day - Making your money go further + La Tour Eiffel

First off, we can't recommend the Eurostar from London to Paris enough. Cheaper, more comfortable, less travel time (if you include airport transfers etc.), no baggage charge, and you leave from the centre of London, arriving in central Paris. Brilliant!

Our top tip for Paris is to buy all your cultural site tickets in advance, and compare the price validity of the Paris Pass, as it's often cheaper to NOT go with the Paris Pass you see advertised everywhere and simply book your sites individually. We booked everything except the Eiffel Tower through Paris Info. Choosing to book our Eiffel Tower tickets direct through their site instead. This not only meant we skipped a bunch of queues, we estimate it saved us about 30% off the final ticket costs for all sites combined.

Our second tip? Buy local. 

We saved a packet by making up our own baguettes from local bakeries, supermarkets etc. We managed to keep our food spend down to no more than €10 for the two of us per day, which if you know Paris is incredible.

An Airbnb often gives you access to a kitchen, making dinners cheaper also.

Full disclosure here, this was L's first time in Paris (N's 2nd) so we're gonna try highlight a first timers experience (although to be sure N's views will spill through).

After arriving at Gare du Nord, we made our way to our Airbnb, conveniently located within view of the Eiffel Tower. If you're looking for great, well priced accommodation in Paris, Airbnb is the only way to go. Anything else will be a rip-off and will most likely cost you bunch in Metro travel expenses due it's location.

One of our biggest tips to travelling cheap in Paris is to use your feet, especially if you're only there for a few days. We've found it's always better to find great priced accommodation as close to the sites you want to see as possible, so you can walk rather than catching public transport. This way you also get a better feel for the city you're visiting rather than just popping up from a metro station like a gopher.

Okay so back to the main event...
In L's words, "La Tour Eiffel by today's standards is not particularly tall, however size isn't everything and in comparison to the rest of the city it's definitely an iconic landmark. The rest of the city is no more than say 5-6 stories high, so against the low lying skyline of Paris it is certainly impressive. When I see it I also think about when it was built, and for its time it was a feat of engineering, that would be copied the world over (Tokyo Tower, we're looking at you)."

We were lucky enough to receive some going away euros from both of our workplaces, so on our first night treated ourselves to a non-budget French meal at Le Pere Claude. We decided on a set menu (at €35 per head) + drinks and escargot.

If you're on a serious budget, or any real budget for that matter we wouldn't recommend it. However, although we travel cheap, we always plan to have one experience in each place we visit that perhaps costs a little more, but gives us an insight into the culture, history or feel of the place. Le Pere Claude was this for us, a  traditional French meal, we were just lucky enough to have had it paid for us by our ex-workmates. If you do go to Le Pere Claude, definitely go the set menu, and the duck is a winner!

Still to come, the Paris Catacombs, Pompidou Centre, Euro Disney, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur and more!

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