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10 Really Good Things I Know about Paris...

 

Robin Locker Lacey is a travel consultant for Italy and France, freelance writer, photographer and foodie. Her blog, My Mélange, features info on her favorite European cities, travel essays, hotel recommendations, and budget travel tips. We asked Robin to give us 10 helpful tips about Paris. She didn't disappoint...

 

Affordable sleeps...

Paris is certainly home to many luxury hotels, but if you shop around, you can find some basic bargain sleeps. One of the oldest hotels, with a lovely and quiet prime central Paris location is the Hotel Henri IV on the Place Dauphine, which offers rooms from 60€ per night and includes breakfast. And if you don't mind attending mass or spending some time in adoration, some churches offer affordable, albeit bare-bones, guest housing. Try Maison Eymard, just two blocks from the Arc du Triomphe, which offers singles, doubles and even triples from 32€ per night with breakfast! The Maison d’accueil Ephrem, the guesthouse of famed Sacre-Coeur Basilica in the charming Montmartre district offers basic rooms from 13€ per person, per night. Three meals per day are available at an extra cost.

 

Picture perfect picnic places...

One can't travel to Paris and not partake in at least one picnic. One suggestion is to take a walk along the market street of Rue Cler, in the 7th arrondissement and pick up your provisions (like cheese, bread, fresh fruit and even wine!) at the shops and then stroll on over to the Champ de Mars and join the locals on the lush green lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower. Enjoy your lunch or dinner with an up close view of the tower. Other popular picnic spots include the Luxembourg Gardens, the Tuileries, Place des Voges and Buttes Chaumont. Or you could always claim your own picturesque slice of quai along the banks of the Seine and watch the boats cruise by.

 

Watch the sun reflect off the Seine...

Romance and Paris go hand in hand, and what could be more romantic than watching a beautiful sunset in a tranquil location? Whether you're alone or with a special someone, head to the very tip of the west-facing Île de la Cité, which can be reached via a staircase near the statue of Henri IV on the Pont Neuf. At the bottom, you'll find a park called the Square du Vert-Galant, which is one of the most idyllic spots in the city. Sit on one of the park benches that line the teardrop-shaped walkway or venture out to the edge of the stone landing. Dangle your feet off either side and take in the equally stunning panoramas of the right and left banks at dusk and watch the sun reflect off the Seine as it sets behind the Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge.

 

Flea markets that entice...

The original Marché aux Puces, or flea market, was born in Paris. Many an antiques shopper heads to Saint-Ouen, which is really a confusing jumble of many different markets in one, in search of French treasures. This famous market is huge, and as such, can be overwhelming, exhausting and quite expensive. Another smaller and more manageable option is the Vanves flea market, named for the nearby metro station. And just like any neighborhood yard sale, you'll surely find the prices reasonable. The Village Saint-Paul, with its collection of over 200 antique shops on the peaceful cobblestone pedestrian-only streets in the Marais, is another alluring alternative.

 

Organic in Paris...

Paris has many organic and vegetarian-friendly options for travelers. If you're looking to shop for your own produce try one of the organic food markets in Paris - the Marché Biologique Batignolles,which is open Saturdays or the Marché Biologique Raspail, which is open Sundays. If a large supermarket is more your style, seek out chains like Biocoop and Naturalia. Organic breads, croissants and pastries are available at a Moisan boulangerie, which has locations all over the city. For a large selection of organic wines try Le Verre Vole in the 10th or La Cave des Papilles in the 14th. Those looking to dine out have options like Breizh Cafe, Au Grain de Folie and Le Potager du Marais. When shopping or studying menus, look for the words biologique or just simply bio when seeking out organic options.

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