So my cousin threw down the gauntlet recently when he stated that he thought I was overindulging in my style of travel. Another friend rubbed it in further by saying that I was trying to save the world, one luxury holiday at a time.
Although I know these statements were made in jest I took these comments as a personal challenge and decided to see if I could stay, eat and tour a city for less than €25 a day. A modest amount by anyone's budget!
Paris was my city of choice to take up this challenge last weekend. Instead of staying in a hotel, I booked into the lovely accommodation offered by a dear and close friend who lives in Paris. Her home is in the north of the city. With the pleasure of her company as an added bonus, I chose to stay with her for an evening instead of a hotel. Total cost? Zero.
After a good night's rest I woke early to a cup of home brewed Nespresso. Total cost? €0.20.
Following, I embarked on a walking tour of Paris. From Sacre Couer, near where she lived, I walked down the Boulevard du Courcelles to the Champes De Elysees all the way to the Grand Palais, past the National Assembly and the Concorde. I took a brief detour through St Germain (as by this stage I was getting a bit peckish). I picked up a beautiful French baguette with something typically French, Camembert cheese. Total cost? €3.
As I scoffed at the challenge ahead, I walked past the Muse D'Orsay and stumbled upon a street of vintage and antique wares, all the while eating my delicious yet very inexpensive baguette.
As students appeared in masses form nowhere I realized I must be near the Sorbonne and walked around like a kid in a candy store ogling at the beauty of the architecture around me. On to Notre Dame, another feat of architecture. I stopped for a bottle of water which I must say was a bit pricey compared to the cost of my lunch. Total cost? €2.20.
I then double backed to cross a bridge I had heard stories about the day before. Apparently there was a bridge on the River Seine where lovers had made it a tradition to fasten locks with their names emblazoned on them. They then threw the keys into the River Seine to represent their eternal love. What a sight.
I walked past the Hotel De Ville to the Louvre Museum and again sat staring at my surrounds. If you're like me and see fascination in things like the way the light bounces of the triangulated glass of the Louvre building or the beauty in the machinations of a macaroon colored so brightly that it looks like a peach there is no need in Paris, if it's not within your budget, to even walk inside a museum as there is beauty all around you. From the Louvre you can see the Eiffel Tower, the Jardin Des Tuleries and many other buildings. Sit, relax and enjoy. Total cost? Zip.
My walking tour of Paris lasted from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. By now another snack was deserving and I had quite a few euros to spare in my budget, so I stopped off and grabbed some sushi. Total cost? €6.90.
Total cost of my day? €12.30
Total pleasure? 100%
Be it on a budget or with a bulging bank account, if you enjoy the moment in whatever shape or form it offers itself you will enjoy traveling on any budget.
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