Tuesday, 16 February 2010 17:33
People often want to go to Paris, but don’t because they feel it will be too expensive or boring if they don’t have a lot of money when they are there. Clearly, getting to Paris and finding affordable accommodations is the first step. Below is a list of attractions and activities that I can personally vouch for as I don’t have a lot of money, I love Paris, and I go there 5 or 6 times per year. Paris has been called many things, but it is the biggest destination for tourists because it is magical and enchanting, not necessarily because a lot of money was spent.
Below is a list (most of these are completely free and if there is a cost, I noted it):
- Eiffel Tower – If you’re going to Paris, you have to go visit the Eiffel Tower. Just seeing the Eiffel Tower is a humbling experience. It’s much bigger than you can imagine. (To go up the elevator is as much as 11 euros per person.)
- Champs Elysees – The Champs Elysees is perhaps the world’s most famous boulevard. Walking up and down it is certainly an all day affair. Many shops and theaters are open very late and eating at the Pizza Pino restaurant is always a treat after a long day of visiting and exploration. At the top of the Champs Elysees is the Arch of Triomph and it ends at the Concorde Plaza.
- Church of Saint Marie Madeleine – La Madeleine as it is referred to in Paris, is a uniquely built church as it in the style of a Greco-Roman Temple. The interior abounds with gold leaf and colored marble, paintings, mosaics and sculptures. One of its highlights is that it holds on of Paris’ largest organs.
- Trocadero Gardens – The Trocadero Gardens descend to the Seine, which is the setting for fountains includes about 20 jets shooting almost directly into the sky. Visit at night to let yourself experience these dramatic lights in all their power.
- Concorde Plaza – Place de la Concorde is one of the worlds most impressive squares. In the center is the Obelisk of Luxor, it originally stood before a temple at Thebes in Egypt. It is 23 meters high. Surrounding the center are statues and 18 green-bronze and gilded columns. At one end of the Plaza is the end of the Champs Elysees and the other the entrance to the Tuileries Gardens.
- Tuileries Garden – The Tuileries Garden sits behind the Louvre Museum. Whenever you see movies of Paris and they include a little pond with kids and their sailboats, you are seeing the beginning section of the Garden. Considered one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe, it’s definitely worth a stroll and picnic.
- Basilica of the Sacred Heart – Sacre Couer as it is known in Paris, is definitely worth the trip. One of the most beautiful and breathtaking views of Paris is found here. There are two statues, one depicting Joan of Arc and the other Saint Louis. The interior is decorated extensively. It contains the largest mosaic in the world, depicting Christ and the Sacred Heart Worshiped by the Virgin, Joan of Arc and Saint Michael.
- Montmatre Cemetery – The Montmatre Cemetery is one of the three great cemeteries in Paris. (The other two are Pere Lachaise and Montparnaisse). There are plans that show the exact location where famous individuals are buried including Rodin, Berlioz, Delibes, Degas, David d’Angers and others. You will see very elaborate tombs.
- Belleville Park – Offers on of the best panoramas of Paris. Arrive early morning to see Chinese locals practicing t’ai chi. You just have to go and see it.
- Hotel De Ville (Paris Town Hall) – The Hotel de Ville has a large square which is frequently used for large public gatherings. It was the first municipal authority authority created in Paris by Louis IX in 1264. You can visit see where the famous Kiss at the Hotel De Ville was taken. Many visitors, including myself, try to recreate the “Kiss” with our loved ones. However, when you are visiting the Hotel de Ville realize that this was the location of many public executions. The executions where often gruesome and including executing Protestants, assassins, sorceresses, highwaymen, murderers, revolutionaries and criminals.
- Bastille Plaza – Place de la Bastille is one of the most famous junctions in Paris. adjacent to the Plaza is the Opera National of Paris Bastille, also adjacent is the Aresenal which is an armory established by Henri IV. The main focus of the Plaza is the famous July Column with the statue of the Liberty sitting on top. Even though there is little left to resemble the revolutionary history surrounding the plaza, protests and marches still often start or end from this location. I personally enjoy having coffee at one of the Cafes there and there is a lively night scene for those interested in dancing or clubs.
- Notre Dame Cathedral – Notre Dame Cathedral is located on the City Island mid the Seine.
- Pont Neuf (New Bridge) – The new bridge, or Pont Neuf, is the city’s oldest bridge. It crosses the Seine and leads to and from the Latin Quarter.
- Seine Riverbank – walk and visit with the street vendors along the riverbank near the Latin Quarter. You can descend from the main road and walk closer to where the boats moor and see students and others relaxing and talking amongst friends. My favorite descent point is near the St. Michel bridge.
- Montparnasse Cemetery – This cemetery is weirdly romantic. This is the second of three great cemetaries in Paris and totally worth the afternoon and early evening stroll.
- Church of St. Germain Des Pres and Church of St. Sulpice – visit each of these churches. They are free, the first is Paris’ oldest Roman era church and the latter is famous thanks to the Da Vinci Code Movie. Saint Sulpice is one of my favorite churches to visit in Paris. I consider it to be the most beautiful.
The above is just a short list of the Free places one can visit. There are many more free and interesting places to visit, including the actual streets and statues that adorn the city everywhere. There are hundreds of places to visit for around 5 euros and not more than 10 euros. Paris does not have to be an expensive city to visit. You can visit Paris on a budget and experience the magic and enchantment that is Paris.
(Note: I originally put this list together for guests who stay at the Hotel Armstrong as it is one of the better quality discount hotels in Paris.)
Good luck and bon voyage.
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