Sorry London, I’ll take Paris any day

Dirty. Smelly. Unfriendly. People painted an unflattering picture for Paris for us, and given its popularity as a tourist destination, I went in with low, low expectations. But as with Venice, I wound up falling in love with the place.

Dirty? Ain’t got nothing on Naples. Smelly? Only down the occasional alleyway. Unfriendly? Not at all.

Our week in Paris flew by in a blur of baguettes and cheese, flan (I lost count of how many pieces of flan T consumed), crepes, pastries, cakes, tarts, and yes, a couple of macarons (it’s official: they just aren’t my thing).

Paris - night boat cruise down the river seine

Paris - Arc de Triomphe

Paris - river by night

Saint Jacques tower - Paris at night

Paris Louvre glass pyramid at night

Paris Louvre at night

Paris by night - street corner cafe scene

Paris bridge at night

A slightly drizzly night walk with some other Couchsurfers made us feel all Midnight in Paris.

Paris night concert

Paris night concert

Confetti at night blur

Montparnasse tower at night 40th birthday

Along with one of our Airbnb hosts, I headed out to a free concert in Montparnasse one night

Paris street performer soccer ball montmartre

An out-of-this-world street performer with mad talent in Montmartre

We managed to stay pretty close to budget, which I’m stoked about – and not pay for any sightseeing at all. That’s right, not even at the Louvre.

How to visit the Louvre for free

If you’re under 26 and heading to Paris, weekends can be a great time to go. Why? Because unlimited one-day metro passes (ticket jeunes) are half the regular price … AND you can get into the Louvre for free on Friday evening.

EU citizens under 26 can visit the Louvre free of charge at any time, but should you hail from somewhere else, you have a small window of opportunity to do the same – after 6pm on Fridays. Just head on up to the entrance (you can bypass the ticket booth) and show your ID to the staff member.

Museums are also free on the first Sunday of every month, and during Heritage Days. The queues are outrageous, though, so you may have to make a hard choice about what’s worth more to you: time or money? We missed the first Sunday but were there for Heritage Days, and can testify that the lines are rather daunting. Fortunately, we’re just as happy walking around soaking up the vibe in the city’s various charming districts as we are inside cultural attractions – actually, more so, in fact.

How to skip the lines at the Louvre

Don’t be lured by the shiny glass pyramids. Head downstairs to Le Carrousel du Louvre, and navigate through the mall until you see the small glass pyramid. You’ll need to get in line and go through the security check, then keep going down the passage until you get to the information and ticketing area.

11 thoughts on “Sorry London, I’ll take Paris any day

  • Reply The Asian Pear September 27, 2013 at 10:03

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved Paris. LOVE.
    But there’s something about London that makes me want to visit it again and again. <3

  • Reply krantcents September 27, 2013 at 12:48

    I always start in London, but I enjoy the countryside up and down England and Scotland much more. I have a special place in my heart for Amsterdam after visiting it 6 years ago. I still like Paris, but Amsterdam just feels like home!

  • Reply cantaloupe September 27, 2013 at 20:48

    I found London boring and pedantic and depressing. Paris was breathtaking and beautiful and cinematic. I can’t wait to go back. London…. will take an actual reason for me to return.

  • Reply Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way September 27, 2013 at 20:49

    Thanks for sharing your great pictures! Oh how I wish I can visit there too and it’s too bad I’m already 27. hahaha!

  • Reply mochimac @ save. spend. splurge. September 28, 2013 at 02:30

    Paris for me was beautiful, but no longer. IT is not what it used to be, but that’s also because I’m with a Parisian who tells me what it USED to be like even before I visited a while ago (it was great then).

    Paris has great landscape and so on, but it is too expensive for my taste and I am way too picky now about real baguettes and real croissants.

  • Reply Charlie September 28, 2013 at 03:41

    Well, I’m biased knowing London all too well, Paris holds more magic for me. I visited over ten years ago now (so long!) but plan to do a little solo trip there before starting our travels next year. I can’t wait to explore the city again (since I can’t actually remember it that well!) I think Paris is one of the perfect places for simply just soaking up at atmosphere rather than wasting time standing in line for things.

  • Reply Mo' Money Mo' Houses September 28, 2013 at 10:00

    Gorgeous photos! I hope to visit Paris in the next few years.

  • Reply Lunaguava September 30, 2013 at 04:08

    Paris and Venice are two European destination that no matter how overhyped I still find breathtaking. Good call on the free days at the Louvre. However, people tend to miss out on the Musée de l’Orangerie, which is a shame. If into Impressionism, it’s a must see. Paris is a deeply cinematic city and is also brimming with really cool bars and hidden corners. As for London, it’s gotten better with every visit, but ultimately… meh.

  • Reply Karen October 3, 2013 at 02:45

    It has been several years since I’ve visited both cities, and I’m hoping to eventually visit both of them again sometime soon. Although Paris is lovely and your pictures make me nostalgic, I enjoyed London more. Out of all the cities I’ve been to in Europe: Barcelona and Florence were my favourite.

  • Reply Emily @ Urban Departures October 5, 2013 at 04:22

    I agree- I’d take Paris over London any day. But macrons not your thing?! How can you say not to that delightful confectionery?!

    Thanks for sharing your Lourve tip. I am, unfortunately, a few years older than 26 and can’t take advantage of that, but I’m going to pass on the information to my younger sister.

  • Reply Link Love - I'm Falling in Love With Fall | MoMoneyMoHouses February 3, 2014 at 13:50

    […] Sorry London, I’ll Take Paris Any Day by Musing Of An Abstract Aucklander […]

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