By Jackie Burrell
Sunday, March 16th, 2008 at 6:00 am in Family Travel.
Paris, anyone? This week’s travel experts are a pair of Lafayette retirees whose ideas for doing Paris on the cheap were so fantastic and so kid-friendly, we just had to share. Best of all, these intrepid travelers have a thing for YouTube, so you can catch Rick Steves-like glimpses of their travel finds.
THE TREK IN A SEC: This Lafayette duo spent six glorious weeks living in Paris, which gave them “oodles of time to explore off the beaten path,” says Steve. “Anyone for a canal ride under the streets of Paris?‚ÄĚ
THE TRAVELERS: Early retirees Steve, a Lindsay Wildlife Museum volunteer interpreter, and Patty Tanenbaum.
BEST LODGING: Rent an apartment, says Steve, if you’re looking for “ultimate comfort” at “cheapskate prices.” The 2-bedroom apartment they found through New York Habitat was their third and best-ever apartment rental in Paris – great city center location, elevator, 100-ft. to the Metro, huge 2-bedroom, owner-furnished and all this for $77/day for six weeks. The single week rate for the same place was $252 per day for a place that sleeps five people, a bargain compared to booking multiple hotel rooms. Want to see it? Check out Steve’s YouTube video tour.
MOST MEMORABLE MEAL: ‚ÄúLove it or hate it, Chartier offers memorable Parisian dining,‚ÄĚ says Steve. ‚ÄúIt is a two-story historic landmark serving brasserie dining to the masses since 1890. We ‚Äėsurvived‚Äô noise, crowds, shared table and stuffy waiter scribbling our bill on the tablecloth. Also a good variety of eats at reasonable prices. Salads $4-$7, mains like yummy salmon and OK veal scallop-$16 and desserts $3-$7.” Take a peek at the brasserie via this French YouTube vid.
For even more reasonable dining, don’t miss the best food court in France, says Steve: Le Bon March√© (La Grande Epicerie de Paris).
And Flunch offers cooked-to-order entrees and a buffet of 20 side dishes for $7.
COOLEST OFF-THE-BEATEN-PATH SIGHTSEEING:
1. A fun, leisurely boat ride passes through quaint old locks, swing bridges and then under the streets of Paris. It’s a long cruise, so you’ll need to decide what’s appropriate for your kids’ attention spans, though. Here’s the YouTube peek.
2. A real Paris waterfall, lovely quarry lake, wildlife and bridge in Parc des Buttes Chaumont, created by Napoleon III in the 1860s.
3. Check out the open air markets such as the famous, 17-acre Clignancourt flea market or the Place d‚ÄôLena street market, where the Tanenbaums found elegant carpets, fine wines, gourmet cheeses and foie gras. The Place d’Lena market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. near the Lena or Alma-Marceau Metro stops. Clignancourt is open Saturday, Sunday and Monday, get off at the Metro Clignancourt stop.
1. Use an ATM card that pays all foreign ATM fees.
2. Buy ‚ÄėPariscope‚Äô at any newspaper kiosk ‚ÄĒ 40 Euro cents for the city‚Äôs best mini-magazine, with listings for every Parisian museum, concert or movie.
3. And for more tips from the Tanenbaums, check out their travel blog.