Related Posts with Thumbnails

Monday, August 2, 2010

Champagne or Crémant? Four (Budget) Days in Paris

I had a bit of an unexpected surprise last week. And thankfully it wasn't the same type of surprise as finding our flowers thoroughly dry & crispy when we returned from chez les parents the week before.  Although our neighbor still received quite a fancy pack of madeleines from La Lorraine, I'd call her watering skills questionable at best. So when a call came about an unexpected business trip to Paris, it was either stay home & watch the flowers wilt, or hit the City of Light for some last minute summer fun. Hmm, tough decision.
    [Hotel de Ville, Paris]         

Since this trip is quite spur of le moment, & considering that we'll be taking a trip to Piedmont, Italy in two weeks, we're going to stick to our current summer spending plan: 80% Crémant / 20% Champagne. If you're familiar with Cremant, you'll know it's a sparkling wine that comes from various regions of France (Burgundy & Alsace being arguably the most recognized) but does not carry the same prestige as it's luxury cousin. A French teacher of mine swore that more expensive Crémants (we're talking about €15 here) could rival Champagne for taste & quality, but as Nicolas has dubbed it Champagne pour les Pauvres, I still have my doubts. Nonetheless, we've been enjoying our share of Crémant bubbles & stocking away some Euros for bella Italia in the process.   

[Crémant de Bourgoune & a Paris café in the Marais]

While I'd love to hunt down some last-minute bargains at les soldes, I'm hoping with a little creativity to revisit some old favorites while experiencing some new neighborhoods with the help of a few Paris experts (Rick Steves don't fail me now). 

[Are they trying to tell us something? The summer sales in Paris]

Some budget ideas to kick-start any dernière-minute trip to Paris.

1. Day One (via Rick Steves & Paris Heather):
Soaking up the Rue Cler and Romantic Paris
I stayed in the Rue Cler Neighborhood during my first trip to the city & found it quite as Steves had described, a village-like neighborhood in the midst of a bustling city.  Here's a bit of what's on tap for the day:

-Breakfast & browsing at Marché Boulevard de Grenelle (Weds. market)
-Lunch (budget options: Café du Marché, Le Petit Cler, Creperie Ulysée en Gaule)
-Musee d'Orsay (One of my favorite spots in the city, but is it really walking distance from Rue Cler  
 as Steves suggests? I guess we'll see...or pass-out trying)
-Evening cocktail at Flute Etoile Champagne Bar as featured on Secrets of Paris. Doesn't sound very
 budget I know, but it is part of the 20% & the bar's supposed to have reasonable prices and feature Jazz on Wednesday nights.

2. Day Two (via David Lebovitz):
La Vie Gourmand
There are some excellent recommendations for prime foodie shopping, & munching, on the DL web site and since I plan to be doing more of the later, I'll be spending an extended Thursday morning and afternoon at Rue Montorgueil.

-Morning must-sees: Stohrer, La Mere de Famille, L'Atelier du Chocolat
This is a morning made for strolling, and that's just what this street seems perfect for. I'll be packing my trusty camera, & a skirt with an elastic waist-band, ready to get some shots of the confectionery treats & snap-up some of the delicious pastries for myself.
-Lunch: Foody's (touted as a great place to pick up a serve-yourself salad, my waistline will be thankful)
-Dinner at Chartier (another Lebovitz, among others, recommendation for a budget dinner with an old Paris feel. Stashing an extra pair of street-level pumps for line-standing)

3. Day Three (via the City of Light):
Window-Shopping & A Slice of the Seine
-Morning stop at Galleries Lafayette for coffee & dreaming window-shopping. I just like going. Even without a shopping spree on the docket, if I can put on the right outfit & drift around the airy galleries, I'm a happy gal.
-Afternoon at Paris Plage. Sand along the river, outdoor cafès, Paris in a bikini; enough said.
-Evening Picnic at the Eiffel Tower
The last attempt at romantic and budget. Will it work?..stay tuned for the compelling finale..Planning to buy the picnic goodies in the Rue Cler neighborhood.

4. Day Four (via my taste-buds):
The Great Lounge-In
I feel slightly tired just writing out this itinerary, so let's see how much I can actually get accomplished. Since we depart Paris at about 5pm on Saturday, I'm leaving this day open for beach lounging, cafè lounging, or eating. This just might be the best day of the trip. In any case, I'd also really like to check out Creperie Bretonne, as David Lebovitz called it, oh yeah, the best creperie in Paris.  Should be worth a looksy I'd say.

Are you exhausted already? Phew, that was fun, feel like I've already been to Paris & back. But wait, there's that relaxing TGV train ride to look forward to.  Ok, I'm back in.

I know there are a zillion & one Paris travelers (not to mention the expert Parisian expats) out there, so if you have any other budget tips, please send them along (be checking them from le train that's for sure).


  1. Oooh, sounds lovely! I love Paris, always have, and will be travelling with you albeit via the computer. Enjoy yourself and report back on how successful you were on your itinerary!!!

  2. I love how you have everything planned out, I'm the exact same way. Unfortunately I don't have any great tips because I've only been to Paris a couple of times, but when the sun is shining, I do love to stroll around the Tuileries Gardens with a takeaway coffee from the Paul kiosk.
    Have a great time and do a little Galleries Lafayette window shopping for me!

  3. I wish I had an unexpected trip to Paris long enough to enjoy some of the tips you have!

    Enjoy your trip :)

  4. Lovely blog !!! Beautiful pictures!!

  5. Just back, thanks for the nice comments. I stuck mainly to "le plan" but splurged on what was undoubtedly the best thing to blow the budget on: food. Hmm, worth every Euro. Writing up a few of the budget tips that were helpful, xx