Uncovering Europe's best budget hotels since 2001.
With my pointy arrow, I feverishly pen this post from Paris. February marks my one-year anniversary with EuroCheapo! In honor of this sparkling occasion, I pop open the flashbacks along with a few brand-spanking-new insider nuggets!
Read on, Cheapo!
A for Abbesses
By now it’s no secret that “Amélie” was filmed here, but did you know that its original title was “Amélie des Abbesses”? If you come by Metro, do take the lift. The station is ten stories underground!
B for Brocante
Throughout the year you’ll find “brocantes” (antique/junk sales) and “vide-greniers” (garage sales) scattered all over. For a listing, click here.
C for Coquelicot
Next to Metro Abbesses, you’ll find the Coquelicot boulangerie. Thierry Racoillet’s old-fashioned and award-winning Picolla baguettes are not to be missed. They also give bread to the homeless.
D for Dalida
The late pop diva’s house is at the bend in rue d’Orchampt, and her grave is in the Cimetière de Montmartre. Pilgrims still visit both shrines to the female Elvis of France!
E for Eiffel
Not only did Madame La Tour Eiffel recently celebrate her 102nd birthday, but now it’s possible to buy tickets online prior to your visit!
F for Flea markets
Junkies, note that the Porte de Vanves is open Saturday and Sunday mornings, while the Porte de Clignancourt flea runs all day Saturday through Monday.
G for Serge Gainsbourg
Long live the late French King of Croon! “Vie Héroïque,” a film about his life, was just released. His former pad at 5 bis Rue de Verneuil is now covered with layers of graffiti left by ardent fanatics.
H for le Halle Saint Pierre
Visionaries, naives, and outsiders, oh my! Homemade quiche with a view of Sacré Coeur! If you like Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum, you’ll love Halle Saint Pierre, a giant cultural center with plenty of attractions.
I for “I Love Sympa”
Practice the art of elbow-to-elbow bargain bin shopping in the heart of Montmartre, elbow-deep in garb by Kookai, Jennyfer, Naf-Naf, Pimkie, Sinéquanone, and Sandro . . . at only a fraction of original cost!
J for Jardin des Tuileries
This is the place to read your book or museum catalogue—and people-watch! Nab a bench and stay till sundown.
K for Kilos
At the markets, think seasonally! Produce will taste better and cost less. Asparagus rules in May, cherries star in July, and apples shine in early autumn. The lively marché d’Aligre in the 12th arrondissement is a favorite.
L for Jardins de Luxembourg
Run, Cheapo, run! Each loop is about 1.25 miles. Forgot your watch? There’s a clock on top of the Palais du Luxembourg.
M for Marais
The great discount bookstore Mona Lisait and the Musée Carnavalet are practically neighbors in the Marais! Carnavelet has an entire jewelry shop designed by Mucha and featuring Marie Anoinette’s dancing slippers. Bookshop tip: Avoid heels, the floor is ancient cobblestones.
N for Napoléon
High and aloof atop his column in the Place Vendôme, le petit caporal overlooks the Hôtel Ritz, (where the daring Cheapo will sashay through, just to have a look, see).
O say, can you see the Opéra?
The best spot for ogling the Phantom’s lair is the Metro Opéra entrance.
P for Pariscope
Pick up a copy at any newsstand. The pocket-sized weekly lists the week’s cultural happenings for brows of any height.
Q is for Quizzes
Expect more to come, Cheapos!
R for Raindrops
They fall often but never for long. Pack your “parapluie!”
S for Studio 28
Thank heaven for little cinemas! At Studio 28, you’ll be wooed by Jean Cocteau’s fantástico chandeliers, a crushed velvet fainting couch in the lobby, an art gallery, café, and footprints of the stars!
T for Taxi!
Need a cheap airport ride? Contact Lizza at Art-Trans Voyage.
U is for “Erope”
What’s missing? You!
V for Bazaar de l’Hôtel de Ville (BHV)
At grand magasin BHV, you’ll find one of my favorite souvenirs, the French bath mitt. Pair it with Provence soap and you’re good to bathe.
W for Wallace Fountains
Test the waters at 108 fountains sprinkled around Paris. Bring your own bottle; the water’s free.
X for the Unexpected
Sometimes the best things in life take us by surprise.
Y for Degas’ “Young Dancer”
Where bronze meets tulle at the Musée d’Orsay.
Z for Émile Zola
Signing off with a mantra by Zola, “I am here to live out loud!”
Speaking of “out loud,” Cheapos, let’s hear from you! What tips would you add?