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Paris, France: How To Spend Less In Costly City PDF Print E-mail

Senior Travel Correspondent CJF, Detroit MI: Everyone says Paris is the most expensive tourist city in the world. To experience April in Paris, we challenged ourselves on a recent visit to do everything possible to enjoy at least one frugal senior day in the famed City of Lights.

Sleep on the cheap: It costs up to $1,200 a night at the super-upscale Paris Ritz, and not much less for other snobbish Paris hotels. So we trekked over to the Woodstock Hostel in busy Montmartre. The charge was about $40, sheets and towels $5 extra.

It’s full of young backpackers and without much privacy, but there’s a little swimming pool for relaxing, and basic French breakfast is absolutely free! 48 rue Rodier, 75009. For more info, hostels.com/hostels/paris/woodstock-hostel Stroll Montmartre: Join a free guided tour on almost any morning in the smart Left Bank area. On our day, many were student groups and senior tourists. We had friendly chats in English and (my) high school French.

Notre Dame Cathedral: A visit to Paris isn’t complete without experiencing the famed gothic church of song and story. It has many interesting, often shocking attractions, such as the statue of decapitated Saint Denis holding his head. However, we didn’t encounter the bell-ringing Hunchback.

Notre Dame tours are free, and if in a spooky mood, venture below to the catacombs. In the gloom, imagine ghosts of the thousands of people entombed there since the 12th Century. www.notredameparis.fr

Luxembourg Gardens: Surrounded by sculptures, blossoming trees and flowering gardens, it’s a great free place to picnic with a sandwich au jambon (ham) and wine from a nearby deli. We strolled through a free art and photography exhibit among the springtime beauty. www.gardenvisit.com

The Champs Elysees: In old Technicolor movies, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly danced down this beautiful, tree-lined boulevard. We hiked by the many outdoor cafés and exclusive shoppes. Looming over one end of the street was the Arc de Triomphe. We marched through as had many victorious GIs at the end of World War II.

Pay respects to Alex, Jim, Ed And Oscar: The Cimetiere du Pére Lachaise in Montmartre is the final resting place for many greats, including authors Alexandre Dumas and Oscar Wilde, as well as artist Edgar Degas. We visited the grave of musician Jim Morrison, who died in Paris at age 27 in 1971.

Dans a la Parisienne: On a springtime Sunday we experienced free music and dance performances. They were on the Left Bank of the Siene, near Notre Dame. We were pleasantly surprised that the music was old French country tunes and many dancers were senior Parisians and fellow tourists.

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