Doni Belau, Founder of the Girls’ Guide to Paris, interviewed me this morning for her radio show…
Question: “Kathleen, what’s your best budget-saving tip for anyone wanting to live in Paris?”
Answer: Don’t keep a car. You don’t need one.
Question: “Five best things to do in Paris on a budget?”
Answer: Picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens…rent a Velib bicycle (free for the first 30 minutes)…visit the Musee Carnavalet (one of the best-kept museum secrets in Paris and free every day)…Thursday gallery openings often offer free wine, beer, and snacks, along with the art (also free)…take a walk.
Question: “Best Paris dining-out tip?”
Answer: Find a small restaurant nearby where you’re staying that’s popular among the local Parisians and become a regular. The kinds of neighborhood places I’m thinking of can be very affordable, typically serve wonderful and quintessentially French fare, and provide a great opportunity for you to get to know your neighbors.
Here’s a more practical dining-out tip: Never buy bottled water. Ask instead for a “carafe d’eau“. Bottled water is expensive. Plus, only tourists pay for water in restaurants!
Question: “What do you miss most about Paris?”
Answer: Being able to walk everywhere. The architecture. The museums. The seasons.
Question: “Favorite day-trip from Paris?”
Answer: Giverney, Monet’s house. Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicompte, an architectural jewel with beautiful gardens. Better as a weekend trip but can be done in a day.
Question: “Favorite restaurant?”
Answer: La Fregate, on the quai, alongside the river, across from the Louvre. Despite its super-touristy location, La Fregate manages to retain the feeling of a neighborhood restaurant. And, as it was just a few blocks from our apartment when we were living in Paris, it became my favorite spot for lunch, dinner, or afternoon drinks. We spent many evenings, in all seasons, sitting at the sidewalk tables, watching the passers-by, the traffic, the river, and the activity in the courtyard of the Louvre across the way. Inside, the ceilings and walls are elaborately painted with Belle Epoque-style murals. So much charm and atmosphere for a very reasonable cost.