You can’t do an Erasmus in France without visiting Paris. It’a a given that you’ll spend some days in “The city of light”. Even though Paris might be beautiful (I wasn’t THAT impressed by the city to be honest), it is at the same time very expensive. Since I did the number one thing you have to do, I’d like to pass on the information to everyone’s that’s looking into going there in the near future.
What to do:
If you’re a european citizen and you’re 26 or younger, you can visit all the museums for free. So make the most of it! The Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay are absolutely brilliant. Don’t even think about skipping them. If you love painting and art in general you will be mesmerized. If Monet is one of your favorite painters go to Musée de l’Orangerie and take a look at the incredible Water Lilies cycle. Maybe three museums is too much for you. For those who are even braver than that, there is always Centre Pompidou. Right in the centre of the city, on the yellow metro line, Centre Pompidou has a museum(that is free), a library and temporary expositions that will blow your mind away.
Take a stroll along the Seine and in the city centre. Le Marais is a very trendy quartier (had to show of my french, didn’t I) full of hipster boutiques, coffee places and restaurants. On the other side of the river, you should definitely see the quartier Latin, the Sorbonne and Pantheon on foot. And the Jardins de Luxembourg are right around the corner, if you have enough time (we didn’t unfortunately). The Jardin des Tuilleries is, also, beautiful, especially if the weather is nice. Basically, if you’re in Paris and thirsty for adventure, just walk around and find where the city takes you. There’s millions of things to do and see in Paris so don’t get too caught up in seeing all the sights. Explore.
What to eat:
If you want to eat well and not in a tourist trap, don’t rely on the restaurants next to the big sights. Walk a bit more in the city centre and find those small falafel shops, L’As du Fallafel is a very well known one in Le Marais. Get in those boulangeries and grab a pain au chocolat, a croissant or a sandwhich. You can always look up for a traditionnal bistrot on Tripadvisor or Google Maps wherever you go. Ah! And keep in mind that getting water from a street shop or a coffee house will cost you a fortune.
Where to stay:
This depends on you, but if you’re on a budget, hotels won’t do the trick. They’re too expensive and if you find something less pricey, it’s going to be too far from the city centre. Airbnb and hostels are the way to go! There aren’t a lot of hostels in Paris but there are surely a few choices that are more than great for a five-day trip. We stayed at Les Piaules at Belleville, a new hostel in a lively, animated neighborhood (with a great bar scene!). It was the coolest hostel we could find and the best if you take in account the price, the distance from the city centre and the amenities. I would gladly extend the trip just to stay there a tad bit longer! So, if you’re looking into hostels for Paris, definitely check it out.
Paris has something for everyone. Even on a budget you can have a great time and see a big part of the city. I had a great time there with my friend and I hope that you do too!!
Till next time,