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Student City Guide: Paris

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I've just returned from an Erasmus year in Paris and I absolutely loved it. Paris is such a vibrant, exciting city steeped in history. The architecture is breath taking and the pastries are amazing! Whether you’re there for a few days or a few months you’ll love it too - here's a guide to one of the best cities in the world...

Places to eat:

For cheap places to eat in Paris, there are simply too many to name. Pop down to the Latin Quarter or up to Montmartre and there are lots of really good restaurants which offer three courses for around €15.

One cool place to eat is the Brooklyn Diner on Rue de Grenelle. It’s got a really laid back American feel to it and the food is great (just make sure to order your burger VERY well done.. it’ll still be pink..)

Le Paradis du Fruit, just off the Champs Elysees, is very cool juice drink bar.

Café de Flore – former haunt of Simone de Beauvoir and many other literary greats (amazing hot chocolate).

Where to avoid:

Just one place - Quick. It is hailed as the French McDonald’s and it’s a bit cheaper than McDonald’s, but is terrible!

Things to do:

Note: If you’re a EU citizen and under 25 basically everything in Paris is free for you, which is fantastic.

Musee D’Orsay - home to the works of Monet and Manet (to name but a few), this museum used to be an old railway station and houses the most stunning ballroom, complete with massive chandelier and mirrored walls. My favourite art museum in Paris.

Musee de Louvre - home to Da Vinci and older works. Another stunning building with the famous glass pyramids outside. Great spot for Da Vinci Code enthusiasts and the gardens (Jardins des Tuilieries) are beautiful.

Musee Rodin – a quiet little haven in central Paris. Filled with Rodin’s sculptures which are displayed in his old manor house or among the trees in what would have been his garden.

Pompidou Centre - very wacky looking building filled with modern art. Worth a visit.

Le Marais - a great area to wander around and find treasures in some one off stores or vintage shops. Also great for falafel on a Sunday).

Disneyland - you’re never too old! Only a 45 min train ride on the RER C, Disneyland is amazing be you young or old. The closing fireworks are fantastic!

Laduree – the best macarons you’ll ever have. Fact. There are a few in Paris, but the Rue Royale one is my favourite; the décor harks back to the 19th century.

Versailles - again free if you’re from the EU and under 25. It’s absolutely stunning and the opulence is breathtaking. The gardens stretch as far as the eye can see and you can hire a golf buggy to see around or a rowing boat to sail around the large canal in the centre. Marie Antoinette’s little village is well worth a visit.

Parc des buttes Chaumont – a lovely park just outside the city centre. It has a man made island complete with moat and temple at the top. It’s much slower paced than central Paris and off the tourist trail.

Sitting in the Champs de Mars in the evening watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle – magical.

Speakeasys - there are numerous old speakeasys around Paris hailing back to revolutionary times.

The Eiffel Tower - of course! Great viewing point of Paris.

Explore each arrondissment. Each one has its own distinct personality.

Night Life:

Best bars: Prescription Cocktail Club, W Bar, Café Bonnie, Café Universel

Night clubs: Head to Chatelet, Parmentiers or Grands Boulevards – they are areas of Paris which are just filled with various cheap bars and clubs, and are great fun (Café Oz is amazing). For gay bars Le Marais is fantastic, RAIDD and Cud bar are very famous and a bit crazy! There are lots of fancy night clubs in Paris too but they can be quite expensive. The best are Le Queen, Chacha Club and Rex Club.

To avoid: Collins Irish Bar (popular with students but the drinks are dodgy), Le Truskel (just a den of smokers.. unpleasant)

Travel:

If you're only going to be there for a few days i would recommend just buying a Carnet T-10 for the metro (10 tickets= 10 journeys). The tickets can be re-used within half an hour. 

Insider’s tip:

On the roof of Galleries Lafayette is a café and viewing area. The view of Paris is fantastic and best of all – it’s free! Not many people know about it so it’s usually pretty quiet up there too! It’s amazing at sunset. 

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