One thing that has remained consistent in my life for the past 20 years, truly the only thing, has been my passionate desire to visit Paris. My father encouraged my brother and me to learn French as children (which worked on me but flopped big time with my brother) by reading us bilingual picture books, and ever since, I have been fascinated by French language, history, and culture. And croissants. Who doesn’t love croissants?
I started taking French in school when I was ten and continued through college. I even took a French film course sophomore year! Jules et Jim, La Femme Nikita—all the classics! I’m pretty sure that my
basic existence inspired Childish to rap “I’mma be on these tracks like indie girls on Amélie“. I read (and loved) the book How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are. Trust me, though, Francophilia is hardly a sympathetic condition. Revealing that you speak French at a party is like revealing that you have whooping cough—no one wants to be around you after that. So I’ve been quietly biding my time, waiting for my moment to finally hop the pond and visit la Ville Lumière.
But what’s the biggest obstacle to any dream? Money, honey. International travel is expensive af (or at least it has been presented to me that way), and until a few months ago, I was a broke college student working a retail job. I mean, now I’m a broke prospective grad student working a retail job, so, not much better, but we’ve got that wedding nest egg squirreled away and my credit score is on the rise! #tmi
So, why bring this up now? After 20 years of futile dreaming, why put a Paris trip back on the table? Well…my parents. Let me explain. My mother’s husband has family in Germany, so they recently appended a few days onto their trip to visit Paris. That’s correct—a woman who know zero French words and has no interest in coffee, wine, or fattening food has been to Paris. That was a bit of a dagger in the back, but she deserves to travel, right? She works hard! Then, my dad revealed that this year, he wants to turn 50 in Paris. It has also been his lifelong dream to go there (apple, tree), so he’s in the early stages of planning a trip for his birthday. 50 is a big occasion!
Since I’m the tech-savvy one in the fam (which is a sad, sad reality), I’ve started browsing for flights and AirBnbs in order to help him get a realistic picture of the expense of the trip, and what I’ve found has shocked and delighted me. A trip. To Paris! Is totally doable! You can get round-trip flights for under $600 if you don’t mind stopping in Iceland! AirBnbs go for as cheap as $50/night! I haven’t even begun to factor in the cost of meals, nor have I converted Euros to dollars (the exchange rate is super close right now), but still: with each Internet search I become increasingly hopeful about my chances of making my dreams a reality.
Turns out, the touristy stuff that one simply must do is all super affordable!
- From October to March, the Louvre is free on the first Sunday of the month! I imagine that Paris is stunning in October…first anniversary trip? It’s also free on Bastille Day! Every other day, it’s only 15 euros, which is a shockingly inexpensive price to pay to see one the world’s greatest collections of art!
- The Tuileries are free as well!
- Versailles for the day is 20 euros! How is that possible? Of course, Versailles is situated about an hour outside the city, but going to Paris and not seeing Versailles seems like a massive waste.
- The Eiffel Tower is, max, 17 euros! Fun fact—I did a school project on the Eiffel Tower in the third grade, because I stay on brand, bbs!
- The Musée D’Orsay is 12 euros! That is, literally, less than the price of two iced venti coconut milk caramel macchiatos (as I recently painfully discovered).
- Père-Lachaise Cemetary is free! This is where the big-deal celebs are buried—Balzac, Édith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Molière!
There are so many more free or inexpensive things to do in Paris, which is super inspiring to the broke among us! The money saved on attractions can go towards food! According to Pinterest, eating vegetarian/vegan should be a breeze there—for all of my Francophilia, classic French cuisine just doesn’t do it for me!
So, when are we going, guys? Tomorrow? All I ask is that I see Paris before I die, so let’s pack our freaking bags! That might be the most stressful thing of all—how to dress in the world’s most fashionable city. My wardrobe is not worthy!
À bientôt, mes chèrs!