WITH :STELLA ADI
Like nearly everybody else I know, paris was right up there in my . bucket list. And when i finally got the chance to visit, it really did live up my expectations.
Paris living is cheapest in the months leading up to summer. The earlier you make your booking, the cheaper it’s likely to be.I booked my flight and reserved my accommodation way in advance using an online booking service, many of which require no deposits.
Deciding where to stay can be daunting.start by making a list of what you would like to experience while in Paris.The city is divided into 20 municipal districts, each uniquely different depending on what your budget is, your duration of stay and interests.
As a first-time visitor, I picked the bustling Latin Quarter. We couldn’t wait to discover the Pantheon,an 18th-century mausoleum where Voltaire and Rousseau are buried.I also really wanted to visit the famous Sorbonne University, the picturesque jardin des plantes, Notre Dame and the Louvre.
We stayed in a charming a very French hotel called Hotel St-Jaques with the friendly host couple who excitedly narrated to us their Kenyan safari experience many years ago.
The hotel is on a lively street that hosts many other charming hotels. To save every shilling, scout for online offers while doing your booking.
The cafés and boutique restaurants are intrinsic to Parisian culture and the best part is that you can enjoy it at pocket-friendly prices. Do eat out at lunch time instead of dinner as dinner services tend to be more expensive.
Also avoid eating in overly touristy streets which tend to be overpriced. Instea , venture into the less pricey, more authentic cafés and bistros. Rue Mouffetard is another market street worth visiting for its yummy baked goodies and decadent sweets.
For a traveller on a budget, there is a lot you can see and do in Paris. Take a tour of the grand La Basilique du Sacre’ Coeur in Montmarte, enjoy a picnic on the lush lawns of Jardin du Luxembourg, explore the sights and sounds of the bustling street markets and souvenir shops or take it at any one beautiful Parks scattered all over the city.
Few things are as breath-taking as the Paris landscape from the peak of Eiffel Tower though views from the ground can be just as spectacular.Make a picnic of it at the Parc du champ de Mars or better yet, go at night -view of a lit Eiffel Tower.
For us,a visit to the remarkable Notre Dame Cathedral was essential.We took the awe-inspiring tour and luckily missed the winding queues which can sometimes go for a few kilometres. Afterwards, on a leisurely stroll back along the swine, we spotted the accordion guy! That was a highlight.
Museum lovers, you are spoiled for a choice in Paris. Save a few euros by getting your hands on a museum pass which will cover you for 60 sights.
Also, note that the first weekend of the month, most museums are free. On our first morning there, we visited the Musee’ National du Moyen Ages (National Museum of the middle ages),a step into the medieval times.
For about two hours ,we got lost in the massive collection of remains ,artefacts,craftmanship,and tapestries from another era.
For navigation around Paris,you can walk,take the wide reaching metro or ride in the bus for shorter distances for about €1.50equivalent to Ksh 167/=.
The streets of paris are lined with modern,buzzing shopping stores and quaint little bookshops and vintage stores.Spend an afternoon window-shopping in any of the dozens of antique shops and eccentric market places.
There are also many reasonably priced pubs and night clubs that waive the entrance fee.If you are in Latin Quater,try Le crocodile,their cocktail list is bound to impress you.
Free Paris adventures:
Sail along the Seine-They allow you to celebrate your birthday with a free cruise.
Fashion shows:Not quite the paris fashion week you’ve seen on telly,but for two days a week you can catch the latest trends on the runway from leading names in the industry at the Galeries Lafayette.Reserve early!
Le Louvre:No stay in Paris is complete without a visit to the Louvre.You can see the Venus de Milo,the winged Victory of Samorathrace and the Mona Lisa for free on the first Sunday of every month from October to March.