Paris on a Shoestring

Hi everyone, welcome back and happy Sunday. Today I want to share with you the story of my days in Paris. It was the very beginning of my Europe trip and I was feeling very stingy. I wouldn’t say this is a guide on budget travel but maybe it could inspire you and show that you can have a great time in these expensive cities without spending your life savings. Enjoy the read!

Eiffel Tower in Spring

When I first found out you could get the bus from London to Paris it blew my mind. It wasn’t long before I was £23 down and one bus ticket up. Roughly three months after the day of purchasing, I was hopping on the Ouibus, with a pack on both front and back, ready to embark on a beautiful journey.

If anyone here is from the UK and planning a Europe trip, I would highly recommend starting with a bus journey. It felt so much more special than flying, it costs less and it is better for the environment.

My bus took a route through lots of different cities before Paris, I remember finding it really exciting getting to see more of the country. The bus was comfortable and time actually when a but too quick for me.

I arrived in Paris at around 10 PM. Before hand I had scribbled the directions to my hostel in my journal. After hearing lots of talk about how unsafe Paris could be, my mind and body were on high alert.

Areas around bus and train stations don’t always give me the best vibes. I’m also low-key still afraid of the dark so that never helps. So I went into the zone I go into when I feel unsafe- memorised the tube stations and changes I needed to make. I packed my phone, passport and purse in my safe space of my bag, stuffed my journal in too so I wouldn’t have to open it up and seem distracted at any point and I went in search of the underground.

Walking into the hostel, my first hostel, I felt my defence wall coming down. I was out of the unknown streets and inside a haven of chilled out, friendly travellers. My first of many travel crushes was on the gentleman that checked me in. He showed me to the 18 bed dorm room I would spend my following two nights. I chose my bed and begun to wind down.

I didn’t really talk to anyone in this hostel. In my experience, hostels in the larger cities tend to be harder to meet people. That’s unless you’re in South East Asia and are big on binge drinking.

The next morning I went to reception hoping that the lad with the charming smile from last night would be there, he wasn’t but the receptionist that was there was happy to help me, so I asked for directions to the Eiffel Tower. He explained how I navigate there with the underground, there was no way I could afford that. So I walked. I just had to walk North to reach the River Seine and then that would lead me the rest of the way.

Off I set with my small backpack and the snacks my aunt had packed for me in London. I walked north.. and then further north and I kept walking North until I reached the Seine. Then I spent the next few hours strolling along the river with ‘Our Last Summer’ by Abba stuck in my head the whole way- particularly the line ‘walks along the Seine, laughing in the rain’

It was the beginning of Spring when I was there so I was able to admire the Parisian Blossom in Jardins du Trocadéro. The whole day was magical and romantic. In my opinion, one of the best acts of self-love a person can do is go on a solo trip.

Paris Blossom

By the time I returned to the hostel that evening it was already dark. I was starving at this point and more than ready for dinner. There wasn’t much room for fine dining in my budget.. in fact there was barely room for hostels. So I went out in search for the closest ‘greasy-spoon’ I could get. I have a theory that a Geordie can sense a kebab shop from a mile away. At least I can.

My kebab that evening was incredible.. I won’t lie to you I think kebabs are my favourite thing to eat in France. It is definitely the country where I have found the best ones. It set me back roughly 5 Euros but filled me up for the evening.

With a belly full of love, I ambled back to my dorm bed. Pleased with my day of walking and the meal that followed. I lay up for a while listening to the rain fall on the window. My bunk was right below a slanted window so it felt all the more magical and immersive. To this day, when I think of Paris, that moment is always what comes to mind.

Thank you for reading!

What are your experiences of Paris like? Do you have any good recommendations for budget food in Paris? Let us know in the comments below.
Have you read how I came to the point of booking a one way ticket to Paris? Check it out here at How I became a traveller.


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3 thoughts on “Paris on a Shoestring

  1. Pingback: 2021 Bucket List – Elle on Travel

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