From Paris

Where to Stay Cheap in Europe: Budget Hotel and Hostel Reviews

As soon as we walked into our room in Munich, I had to say it. “I hate to admit this,” I told my blogging partner Yoshke, who was in charge of booking our accommodations, “But you did great finding these hotels.”

“Of course,” he answered. The smug look on his face turned smugger. But giving credit to where credit is due, it was truly amazing how he was able to find good hotels and hostels that are within the very limited budget range and the multiple restrictions that we set for this two-month European trip.

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Top 5 Scams to Watch Out for in Paris (And How to Avoid Them)

As soon as we emerged from the Charles de Gaulle Airport, a middle-aged woman approached me and my friend and tried to communicate using sign language. She was deaf, I thought, which was supported by the piece of paper on a clipboard that she showed us. I caught the words “deaf” and “petition,” as the woman handed a pen to my friend. As he was signing, I excused myself and took photos of the airport for this blog. When I came back, the woman was already demanding money from a friend. Too bad for her, we didn’t have cash and our ticket to the city was already settled even before we exited the airport terminal.

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First Time in Paris: 6 Tips to Remember

When the light began to dwindle, I rose from a curl and found a spot among the tourists that stood with their jaws dropped and breaths taken. The horizon was a giant magnet and we were but paperclips drawn to the edge of the rooftop, watching the clouds bare their silver linings and the sun go for a dive. The honey-colored sky became the perfect backdrop for the mighty Eiffel Tower that rises from a concrete maze. It was a glorious view that begs to be captured, so glorious every single one in the crowd whipped out their smartphones and cameras to take home a piece of the moment.

I was in a trance. I have always had an intense fascination with anything French. I tried to learn the French language, obsess with classic French cuisine, and hold Francois Truffaut – my Film god – on a pedestal. There I was, at the top of Tour Montparnasse, living a moment that for the longest time was just a flight of fancy.

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Père Lachaise Cemetery: A Spirited Walk in Paris

I was walking around the graveyard feeling a bit too spirited. And by spirited, I mean tipsy. There I was, exploring what many consider the world’s most visited cemetery, half-drunk. It was four in the afternoon.

I never planned on having a drink on the way here. How it happened is a a long story, but here’s the short of it. Having worked all morning and having nothing but a serving of crepe the night before, I finally emerged from my hotel totally hungry. No, famished. It was past two, and I was too starved to actually care about where to eat. I could eat the first person that I could grab in the streets of Paris, and I wouldn’t mind. With my fingers shaking and tummy grumbling, I swore to dine at the first restaurant I would lay eyes on. A block later, I was standing in front of a pizzeria.

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The Best View of the Eiffel Tower: Tour Montparnasse, Paris

It wasn’t just my first night in Paris. It was my first night outside Asia. And I swore to celebrate it with the best view of the French capital.

A quick consultation with my best friend, Google, gave me a few suggestions: the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, the rooftop of Centre Pompidou, and the top of the Eiffel Tower itself. The most compelling was Tour Montparnasse 56, “the city’s one and only skyscraper.” The best view of Paris, the reviews promised. (If you’re coming from the UK, you can fly to Paris via Flybe. They also have code-share agreements with Air France and KLM.)

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8 Tourist Attractions from Champs-Élysées to The Louvre: A Paris Walking Tour

With a paper plate of chocolate-banana chocolat banane waffle in one hand, I surveyed the park for a vacant seat and found one punctuating a grove of manicured trees. Sweet, I whispered as I pulled a chair and settled. The scene was just as cliché as I imagined, but, heck, I was loving it. I was enjoying waffles in one corner of the Tuileries Garden and listening to Lana del Rey while keeping my eyes on that pointy metal structure that poked the Parisian sky — the Eiffel Tower.

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