On A Budget? Here Are 10 Free Things to Do in Paris

On A Budget? Here Are 10 Free Things to Do in Paris

Did you know that Paris was initially called the City of light, as it was one of the first cities in Europe to adopt gas street lighting during the Age of Enlightenment? Walking down the river Seine soon became a romantic affair amongst the Parisian population and slowly people from all walks of life came to Paris, hence the arrival of Paris' other nickname: the City of Love!

Aside from the main attraction of Paris, to add extra french flair to your Parisian adventure, plan your trip to coincide with one of these occasional festival freebies:

La Fete de La Musique 

La Fete de La Musique, also commonly known as Make Music Day or World Music Day, is an annual music celebration that takes place on the 21st of June. Originating from the streets of Paris in 1982, it has since then become a worldwide phenomenon. 

This free festival features concerts taking place in theatres, bars, on street corners, in parks and even serenading folks whilst balancing on the edge of their apartment window. Join the throng and by a stroke of serendipity let it lead you to a show. 

Galeries Lafayette 

Paris being one of the major cities for fashion, fashion shows are something that happens very often. However not everyone gets a chance as tickets are almost impossible to obtain for those of us who are not part of the fashion industry or press world. 

But, here is your chance! Galeries Lafayette, an upmarket French departmental store, organises a free fashion show every week on a Friday. However, seating is limited and advanced reservations and confirmations are required in order for you to secure a seat! 

La Nuit Blanche

Paris – City of love, fashion, literature and last but not least a music treasure trove. Inspired by St Pertersburg’s ‘White Nights’ where night is almost indistinguishable from day, La Nuit Blanche is a free dusk ‘till dawn carnival. Where the city blossoms on a autumn night into a comely harvest of art, music and theatrical events.

Parc de la Villette

Another thing Paris is known for is its large parks where you will often witness locals with their colourful picnic mats and sun hats. Parc de la Villette is the third largest park in Paris whose design was picked out of 450 proposals. I has been made in a way to cultivate a wandering heart and sense of adventure to discover all the different sites at the park. Some features include the largest science museum in Europe, IMAX theatre, a concert arena, an outdoor cinema theatre where annual film festivals are held and much more! Go explore for yourself to find out more 😉

Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg is no typical park. Inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence, the gardens cover over 25 hectares and is split into French and English gardens. In between the gardens lie a geometric forest and large pond where you can have a picnic! The Jardin du Luxembourg is not only an attraction but educational, where there is an apiary for you to learn about bee-keeping. A garden with over 106 statues, activities and facilities for children such as puppet shows, rides and slides and for the adults there is chess, tennis, bridge as well as remote control boats you can sail into the large pond. Definitely a fun and non-costly way of spending your afternoon in Paris.

Musee l’art Moderne de la ville de paris 

Musee l’art Moderne de la ville de paris is one of my personal favourites. With over 10000 contemporary and modern art works, it presents us with a wealth of artistic creation as well as monographic and thematic exhibitions of trends in today’s art. Never a dull moment in this exhibition, for most of the art work is spilling with colour and acts as a faucet of inspiration. 

Parc des buttes – chaumont 

A plethora of opportunities to indulge in park life is something Paris offers from Jardin du Luxembourg to Parc de la Vlilette. This next park is often missed by weekenders who are not keen on straying too far off the typical attraction spots. Parc des butteschaumont is definitely something off the beaten path and worth taking a stroll around on an afternoon in Paris. From meandering paths, waterfalls, temples, vertical cliffs and last but not least a hangout place after your stroll that is open till midnight and gives you a stunning view of the city below. 

Place des Vosges 

A graceful and charming square garden, with beautiful symmetrical fountains placed at all four corners of the square and a serene green oasis surrounded by rows and rows of red brick houses that feeds the aesthetic appeal. Place des Vosges is also a place of great historical value as it is the same place as where the medieval royal palace used to stand. An absolute pleasure to visit and an ideal place to sit back, relax and sip some wine. 

Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris 

If you have watched the movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame, this is the place you should visit to see the famous frightening gargoyles as well as spectacular view of Paris. The Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris is one of the most visited sites in Paris, recording over 14 million visitors in one year alone. This Cathedral is known for its subtle balance of architecture and design. Like how asymmetrical elements are being introduced in order to avoid monotony and in line with the standard Gothic style. Notre Dame being very much in the heart of Paris, it is a very easy and cost free attraction to visit. 

Musee de la Vie Romantique

Paris is given the name as the City of Love for a reason. In Paris, Romanticism was an artistic movement and fed inspiration to countless of artists and writers from Europe. In the early 1830s, Dutch painter Ary Scheffer transformed his beautiful home, Hôtel Scheffer-Renan, into a salon. Which was later visited by many artists such as George Sand, Frederic Chopin, Eugène Delacroix, Franz Liszt whose artwork is hung up in the museum.
The museum actually organises temporary exhibitions, concerts, book readings and children activities. And for those of you who are planning your trip from March through October, the museum opens up its tearoom in the garden’s greenhouse. A beautiful sight indeed, sipping tea and crunching on local snacks on a patio with friends both old and new. Definitely something to look forward to. 

Know of any other attractions and places you can go to for free? Comment in the section below. I would love to hear about them!

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Top Tips for Planning a Vacation on a Tight Budget

Top Tips for Planning a Vacation on a Tight Budget

There are many factors that will influence the cost of your vacation, such as airfares, accommodation, meals, transport and other miscellaneous expenses. But that does not mean that the budget-conscious cannot travel. In fact, it is possible to travel on a budget as long as you do enough research and know when and where to get the best deals.

Here are some tips for budget-conscious wanderlusters!

1. Plan and book early

The earlier you book, the more options you will have when it comes to flights and accommodation. You also get to take advantage of lower prices and early-bird offers, which means you are less likely to fret over exceeding your budget. Airfares and accommodation costs will only escalate as you book closer towards your planned travel dates so you have every reason to plan and book your vacation early!

2. Travel off-peak

The demand for travel is highest during summer, which translates into higher prices so avoid travelling during the warmer months where possible. The best time to travel is typically between January to April, when demand for travel is lower – airfares and accommodation are not only cheaper, you also have more options to choose from. With fewer tourists around during the off-peak travel season, you are unlikely to be faced with long queues at attractions – less time spent queuing means you will have time for more activities in your travel itinerary! Travelling on a budget is also about making the most of your holiday!

3. Self-catering accommodation

Self-catering accommodation is typically cheaper than a hotel stay and gives you the option of preparing your own meals. Having your own kitchen will not only save you the hassle of looking for eateries to dine at during your travels, but also allow you to save on meals. Dining out can be a costly affair and eateries at touristy spots tend to be overpriced. Ingredients at grocery stores are not only cheaper, but can also last you for a couple of days so you effectively save more by preparing most your meals when you travel.

Check out online platforms such as Airbnb or Holiday Lettings to book your self-catering accommodation!

4. Travel light

Travelling light is not just about reducing the load of your suitcases – it is also about bringing one less bag. Depending on the airline that you take, not bringing a checked-in suitcase means that you pay a lower airfare. Apart from airfare, having just a carry-on bag also gives you greater convenience as you will be able to get around more easily and take public transport – you will spend less on transportation since you do not have to resort to taking a cab. 

5. Discounts and deals

Make use of discounts and deals available in the destination you are in, whether it be dining coupons or group discounts for entry to a particular attraction. If you are planning to visit many different attractions in a city, you may wish to consider getting a travel pass that offers you free entry or discounted ticket prices to various attractions. Such passes may even include free rides on public transport too! 

6. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is an expense that no traveller should cut off. The last thing you want is to be caught off-guard in the event that anything unfortunate happens. With insurance, you can be assured that you will not have to fork out unexpected costs should anything unfortunate happen during your travels. 

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Tips for Packing Light When you Travel

Tips for Packing Light When you Travel

Packing light is not a travel tip that only budget travellers and backpackers swear by – seasoned travellers also see the benefits of going light on packing. A lighter suitcase will enable you to travel with greater ease and comfort, not to mention save you from excess baggage costs with airlines. Your shoulders and back will also be spared from the strain of heavyweight bags. On a side note, shopaholic-travellers will have enough space in their baggage to fit their purchases during their travels when they pack light! 

Carry less weight the next time you travel with these tips!

1. Do not pack your entire wardrobe 

Clothes take up a substantial amount of space in every traveller's suitcase. While a daily change of undergarments is non-negotiable for hygiene purposes, you do not need a completely different outfit for each day. In fact, you can have just enough clothing to last you through the duration of the trip and still look fashionable. Mix and match different pieces of clothing – neutral-coloured clothes are easiest to pair with other items. If you are concerned about clothes smelling bad, consider bringing a small amount of detergent to do some washing but be mindful that this will work best if you are staying in the same accommodation throughout your travels. 

Before you begin packing, do check the weather conditions of the destination you are headed to have an idea of what sort of clothing you will need. Fashion-conscious travellers may also want to think about their daily attire before deciding on which clothes to bring along. 

2. Check amenities offered at your accommodation

Depending on the accommodation that you stay in, amenities such as hairdryers, kettle, toiletries, shower cap or sewing kits may be provided. Should the amenities that you need to use be provided, you will not have to pack them into your suitcase. Your suitcase will be lighter and you will have more space to fit other essentials.

3. Toiletries

If you have to bring toiletries along, pack them into travel-sized containers and bottles. Simply buy some travel-sized empty bottles and load your existing shampoo, shower gel and cleanser into them. Use a toiletry bag to organise your toiletries and ensure that your bottles and containers are tightly sealed to prevent spills – you may place them in a plastic bag for extra security. If you use makeup, bring only the basics and bring travel-sized ones if possible. You really do not need your entire collection of makeup. 

Bear in mind that you may not have the time for an extensive routine during your holiday so only bring the toiletries that you will use. Do not worry about running out of toiletries – if you stay in a hotel, it is highly likely that the basics such as shampoo, conditioner and shower gel are provided. 

4. Shoes

Where possible, make do with a pair of comfortable shoes in tip-top condition and you will not have to bring additional footwear along. If you intend to bring a second pair of shoes, wear the one that is heavier and bulkier on the day you travel around to save space and weight in your suitcase. You should also place the shoe in a dustbag or shower cap to prevent clothes and other items in your suitcase from getting stained and dirty.

5. Electronic gadgets

Many of us are inseparable from our electronic gadgets and it comes as no surprise that they accompany us on our travels. But they can be a hindrance to packing light so you should only bring the devices you need. Apart from your mobile phone, consider bringing only one other gadget, such as your compact tablet. Remember that you will also need to bring chargers along, which will occupy space and weight in your suitcase. Fewer chargers will mean more space and weight! 

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Travellers Tips: How to Eat on a Budget in Europe

Travellers Tips: How to Eat on a Budget in Europe

Dining on the cheap does not have to be a stretch for budget travellers in Europe, for the region presents an array of inexpensive dining options. 

Here's how you can be a money-savvy foodie during your sojourns: 

  • Do Your Food Shopping at Bakeries and Sandwich Shops

Bakeries and sandwich shops are great spots to grab a quick and cheap meal for your breakfast and lunch. In most stores, you will find an array of sandwiches, pizzas and local eats commonly consumed within the region. For example, you are likely to come across a wide selection of croque-monsieur sandwiches in France, or chance upon an array of pizzas and pastas in Italy. If in doubt, just follow the lunch crowds, and they are likely to lead you to an eatery that offers hearty bites at affordable prices.  

  • Cook Your Own Meals

Rent an apartment or reside in a guesthouse that provides cooking facilities. In this manner, you can whip up a feast of delights at a fraction of the price that you would be paying if you dine in a restaurant. 

The search for fresh ingredients to make your meal is not a difficult one, for Europe is home to a wide array of outdoor markets. Exploring these markets will be a joy for foodies, for the market is often buzzing with a vibrant vibe, filled with a myriad of cheerful colours, lively chatter and diverse tastes. Travellers are likely to find a variety of fresh produce, as well as freshly-baked breads, cheeses and spreads – items perfect for a satisfying breakfast or a delicious picnic lunch outdoors. 

  • Savour the Unique Flavours of Street Eats

Mhmmm street food!

Apart from being cheap eats, street food also allows travellers to savour local flavours that are unique to each country. During their sojourns, Europe travellers will find a multitude of stores selling crisp pizzas in Italy, flavourful souvlaki in Greece, piping hot crepes in France and tasty bratwurst in Germany. You cannot go wrong by following the crowds – be sure to make a beeline for stalls with a lively buzz and a queue snaking around it. 

  • Restaurants: Dine Where the Locals Eat

Make each and every meal at a restaurant count by getting the best bang for your bucks when you dine outdoors. The key to doing so is to follow the locals. Make your way to off-the-beaten-track joints that are not frequented by tourists. Venture a few streets away from tourist attractions, or explore the streets close to residential neighbourhoods, and you are likely to find a selection of restaurants that the locals head to. 

In most instances, the menu is a good indicator – restaurants with menus written in multiple languages are likely to be touristy joints that you would want to avoid. 

  • Eat with the Locals

Eating can offer a unqiue travel experience of its own…particularly when you are eating with the locals, in the comforts of their cosy homes! 

These fun-filled experiences do not cost an arm and leg. We have a handpicked selection of budget-friendly dining experiences listed below:  

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese with Giorgia

An Original Taste of Italy with Giorgia

Tasty Crescentine with Giorgia

A Traditional Dinner with Andrea

Savour Tuscan Flavours with Lilia

International Breakfast with Emma

A Picnic by the Sea with Francesca

A Hearty Breakfast with Cristina

All-You-Can-Buffet with Cristina

Eat What You Like with Magherita

Asian Fusion Flavours with Poom

Mediterranean Magnificence with Steven

Brazilian Delights with Erika

Swiss Fondue with Erika

Image credits: Flickr, La Pensione Hotel, Land of Travel

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