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Travel Cheap: Went to Paris, Skipped The Louvre

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Today I’m super chumped to welcome Mrs. Frugalwoods to talk about a combination of two of her three favourite topics!  A lot of my travel has been on an expense account, so while not extravagant it’s not inexpensive either (plus there’s too much work involved – hi ho!).  The Irishman and I want to get back to doing some travel either annually or bi-annually, when we are financially independent.  We’ll be looking for ways to stretch our travel dollar, so I’m just lapping up the ideas and I rate the Frugalwoods as frugal travel extreme!  Mrs.  Frugalwoods ?….

We went to Paris and didn’t go to the Louvre. Yep, it’s another edition of Travel Cheap with Mr. and Mrs. Frugalwoods. I’ve talked about our courageous palates and willingness to travel at unusual times  in the past. Today, I’m thrilled to be here on Debt Debs sharing my cheapo sightseeing tips. Many thanks to Debs for taking a chance on me since this is my first ever guest post. Woo hoo! Hope it’s going OK so far; what do you think, guys?

Use Your Feet

Walking a city is equal parts frugal and the best way to truly experience the local culture. A decent map, a willingness to get lost, shoes (optional), and a sack-o-food are all key to personalized walkabouts. While I’ve shared previously that guide book restaurant suggestions miss the mark nearly every time, the walking tours are totes¹ fabulous! I recommend Rick Steves’ tours in particular. If I were a normal person, and not a frugal weirdo, I’d suggest you buy his guide books. But let’s be honest, you’re probably a frugal weirdo too and wouldn’t anyway. So, go ahead. Check it out from the library and photocopy the pages you need. We both know you’re going to.

Mr. Frugalwoods and I have wandered into the most interesting neighborhoods on foot and been fascinated by poking around true local haunts. Haven’t been arrested for trespassing yet, so we must be doing it right. Public transit is fantastic for far-flung destinations, but short rides around a city can really add up. Best to walk if at all possible.

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If you’re an intrepid cyclist with a helmet in your suitcase, many cities offer bike rentals. As long as you’re able to safely navigate foreign traffic lanes and avoid offending locals with your spandex bike shorts, this is an excellent option as well.

Would you enjoy a brief anecdote about why walking is so great? Here you go: In Krakow, Poland we discovered the Krakus Mound. Contrary to what you’re thinking at this moment, I am not making this up. There does, in fact, exist a Krak Mound in Krakow and Mr. FW and I trekked around it.

The abandoned fort in Krakow, beyond which we viewed Krakus Mound

We had our photocopied map and a rough approximation of our location. We ambled through an entirely residential district for a few miles (lots of nice Polish homes and people staring at us: yes, hello, we’re just sort of walking through your neighborhood.) We came upon an abandoned medieval fort/castle/stronghold? in an open field and  tromped around for awhile. We then crested a peak in the field and beheld the Krakus Mound! Fortunately our guidebook offered a bit of insight–it’s a tumulus whose origins and original usages are unknown. But the book went on to note, in so many words, that not a lot of people bother to walk over here. Fabulously beautiful and, you guessed it, free!!

London was a favorite of ours, but let me tell you, it is hard to find a deal there! Everything is expensive. So, we carefully selected the sites we wanted to pay for and then enjoyed the rest of the city en plein air (that just means outside, but I really wanted to sound fancy ). We discovered that we could criss-cross the river Thames on foot via several of its multitude of bridges. This was a perfect method for seeing the city without paying for a ferry boat, bus tour, or a ride in the London Eye ferris wheel. We really are the worst consumers. Using our feet! The nerve.

Basically, Avoid Cars

Don’t take a cab unless you absolutely have no other option. They are, in general, exceedingly expensive and it’s difficult to know if they’re taking you on the most efficient route. You might end up overpaying for a meandering drive.

Renting a car might make sense if you’re headed to a more rural or remote locale, but don’t even think about it in a city center. The cost of parking, gas, insurance…. don’t get me started. On the other hand, if you road trip to your destination–like Root of Good did this past summer–you can save serious dough on transport!

Check out distances ahead of time and determine your walking comfort level. Knowing in advance how far you’re going will help avoid surprise foot blisters/situations* necessitating an unplanned cab ride.

*In Zagreb, I was wearing boots that I’d, uh, glued together following an unfortunate de-soleing incident earlier in the trip and my glue system began to break down. I took on a lot of icy water and, not wanting to cut our evening short, kept walking around. My foot grew increasingly numb and I eventually realized I couldn’t feel it. We hightailed it (still on foot) back to our hotel where Mr. FW (in a gallant gesture) carried me into a warm bathtub. Assuring him I could thaw on my own, he went on a quest for our dinner and returned with super tasty & cheap kebabs and a bottle of Bezalkoholno Kool Beer. In case you’re wondering, Bezalkoholno means “non-alcoholic” in Croatian. And let me tell you, it was not good non-alcoholic beer either. Consider yourself warned and travel armed with a phrase book.

Pursue Outdoor Pleasures

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Our front-row view of the Eiffel Tour as we munched our grocery store picnic

Hiking, biking, walking, picnics! Some of our fondest memories are of free, outdoor journeys. In Kauai, we hiked the Na’Pali coast to a waterfall that we swam under. One of the greatest experiences of our lives–and totally free of charge. In Paris, we simply had to see the Eiffel Tower. But, in lieu of paying something like 10 euros a piece to go up in said Tower, we packed a resplendent sack-o-food, complete with wine, and had a dinner picnic on the lawn facing the Tower. We got to drink wine, not pay a ton of money, and not wait in line an hour for the privilege. Don’t assume you have to pay in order to experience the riches a city boasts!

Free Days!

Scope out discount days at museums and sights ahead of time. Many offer a free day or hours at some point during the week. If you’re a student or veteran, investigate discount opportunities! Also, consider if the admission price is really worth it—I’ve passed on a lot of museums I felt were just too expensive. Know what you enjoy and don’t mindlessly go to every “must-see.” Conversely, some things are pretty reasonable and definitely worth seeing.

Bletchley Park vs. Art Museum #101

Unsurprisingly, Mr. FW and I tend to seek out the more unusual sights in a given city. While I love me some art, I’ve probably been to a hundred art museums. We seriously did not go to the Louvre in Paris. I’d been before (on a college backpacking extravaganza) and while it’s an incredible art museum, it’s just an art museum. Controversial! I know! We instead took a day trip to Versailles outside of Paris. I’m what you might categorize as mildly obsessed with castles and ridiculous displays of royal grandeur, so this was a must and, it wasn’t actually that expensive.

In London, we skipped the Tower of London (while a castle, it’s not an exciting one in my opinion) and other run of the mill sites. Where would some frugal weirdos go instead? Why to Bletchley Park of course! All of the computer geeks reading this just went “oooOOOOoohhh” and everyone else went “say what?” Being in the latter category myself, my sweet software-programming Mr. FW led the charge on this sojourn.

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A working reconstruction of an early-model computer called Colossus, which was built at Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park  was the headquarters of the Allied code-breaking efforts in WWII where new technologies in cryptography and computing were pioneered. I must say, it was fascinating and I even sat through the hour-long lecture on the origins of computing. Seeing as I don’t understand the current world of computing, that was love. Also, we were sitting in the front row (thank you, Mr. FW) and I couldn’t extract myself without crawling over four elderly English couples (who, by the way, were the only other visitors there).

In Nowa Huta, Poland, Mr. FW and I walked several miles (through a forest at one point) to a steel factory in order to gaze upon its classic Soviet architecture. Common for tourists? Definitely not based on the fact that we saw zero other people who weren’t steel factory workers. But, Nowa Huta was a planned Soviet city and we learned a lot just by walking around. It was a cheap train ride from Krakow and a priceless history lesson. Best part? The whole thing was free (well, except for the train ride).

We are all about going to places that are nearly impossible to replicate or visit anywhere else in the world. Hence, an art museum in London that boasts Italian Renaissance paintings? Not my cup-o-tea.

Churches: They Are Free

This is a universal maxim, except in a few rare cases (looking at you, St. Paul’s Cathedral* in London). Cathedrals of epic proportion and endless grandeur are free to tour. Bonus is that they often contain rare and priceless works of art. Remember all those art museums we skipped? Getting art-ed up for free now! The Sagrada Família in Barcelona stands out in my mind since it is still under construction. The ability to witness the craftsmanship that goes into these sacred buildings was, for me, awe-inspiring.

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St. Elizabeth’s Church (aka “The Blue Church”) in Bratislava, Slovakia

An incredible aspect of many European cities is that there are ancient cathedrals and churches everywhere you go! Mr. FW and I would often duck into a relatively unassuming cathedral just to warm up and collect our thoughts for a moment and, almost without fail, be blown away by the art, tapestries (I have a thing for tapestries), and statuary!

*Mr. FW and I really are consummate cheapskates. We attended a church service at St. Paul’s in order to tour it for free. We were deeply respectful and enjoyed the service. But, we also got to see the church for free.

Be Fearless

I leave you with this parting missive: Don’t limit yourself to things within your traditional comfort zone. Be open to new experiences, cuisines, people, and languages. Get a phrase book, learn a few key words, divest yourself of the tourist-tromped paths and above all, observe and do as the locals do. When all else fails, remember that someone else has probably gone before you and been even more of a frugal weirdo (that would be me).

What are your favorite sites and your best frugal sightseeing tips?

FrugalwoodsMrs. Frugalwoods blogs at www.frugalwoods.com about her journey towards financial independence and a rural homestead, which she hopes to reach in three years at the ripe ol’ age of 33. Until then, she documents adventures in frugal city living in Cambridge, MA with her husband, Mr. Frugalwoods, and their greyhound, Frugal Hound. She is a very serious financial writer and certainly is not humorous at all.

 

Thank you Mrs. Frugalwoods for sharing how you really enjoy your travels, and especially when it’s quite reasonable.  I totally agree about the artwork in the churches.  I had the pleasure to attend mass last year at Notre Dame cathedral and then spent hours afterwards seeing everything (and I gave in the collection basket! ;-) ).  Of course I like to stop and talk to people with dogs when I’m traveling too, and I see Frugal Hound is conspicuously absent in this travel post.  Did I mention I’m starting a dog sitting business?

¹Editor’s Note: I add to look up the use of the word ‘totes’ in this context:  From the Urban Dictionary:  “A shorter more convenient form of the word: totally. This word is most commonly used by teenage girls.”  I’m totes cool with that.

Part of Friday Jet Fuel #12

   

Author: debster

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at debtdebs.com sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

82 thoughts on “Travel Cheap: Went to Paris, Skipped The Louvre

  1. Wow! “totes” awesome tips for traveling on the cheap! Which was your favorite country to visit?
    Downstairs and in Debt recently posted…Frugal FinCon Fiesta!My Profile

  2. Great advice Mrs. FW. We haven’t been to Paris – or Europe for that matter – but I would be interested in seeking out some of the “less traveled” areas. I’m not sure I could pass up the Louvre, though.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…How to Resist Spending TemptationMy Profile

  3. I also didn’t go to the louvre when we were in paris (probably my least favorite city I’ve been too….) we just didn’t care that much to see what was in it. To save we always look up to see if the place we’re going has a city attraction pass for discount and we always look for non-hotel lodging options too (like we rented an apt in NYC).
    Catherine recently posted…How Much House Can We Really Afford?My Profile

  4. I love it! We try to walk everywhere when we go places, because it saves money, it’s great exercise and we spend more time together talking as we walk. We also seek out free place! Washington DC is one of the best places to go, because everything is paid for with tax dollars, as far as the museums go.
    Kalen Bruce recently posted…Why You Should Always Read Your Insurance Policies CarefullyMy Profile

  5. We are going to Paris in about a month and I don’t think we’re going to the Louvre. Might change our mind by then I suppose, but I doubt it. There are only a few things I would want to see there anyway.

    • Holly, it takes a long time to see The Louvre to get your money’s worth. By then your feet are so tired and you’re sick of paintings and statues. While I’m glad I went, I don’t think I would go back. Mona Lisa is really small compared to what you’re expecting. I do love the big gigantic paintings, but you can see those in churches or in Versailles palace. Speaking of which, the thing I did in Paris was the Fat Tire Bike tours where they take you on their bikes and you take them on the train to Versailles. Touring the grounds is wonderful on a bike if it’s a nice day. I really recommend that. The other thing I enjoyed last year in Paris was the Catacombs.

      • Totally agree with Debs! I couldn’t even get close enough to see the Mona Lisa properly when I went to the Louvre my first time in Paris. The throngs of people surrounding it made the experience feel cheap and touristy.

  6. I love all of your suggestions Mrs. FW!! Especially the one about visiting churches. I recently saw a Nova on the design features of ancient churches and it made me want to visit them. They are works of art on their own and like you mention, they are free. I think it also makes sense to avoid the tourist traps and try to get creative. As a New Yorker, I never understand why people always flock to Times Square, the city has plenty more interesting things to discover, you just have to look for them.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Attention to Details Pays OffMy Profile

    • That’s a great NOVA program–we really enjoyed watching that one too! Agreed on Times Square. When I lived in NYC, my office wasn’t far from Times Square and I was always shocked at the concentration of tourists in that one little area.

  7. “This word is commonly used by teenage girls, haha.”

    Fascinating read, Mrs. FW! Too bad you couldn’t relocate the castle to the states and live there! Heating bills may be a tad high but shooting arrows from the top would be pretty epic.
    Will @firstqfinance recently posted…My Experience Flying on a Private JetMy Profile

  8. You have great tips Mrs. FW! I completely agree, some of our favorite travel experiences have been FREE! And some of our least favorites have been the most expensive (Westminister Abbey, not to mention any names ;) LOL).

    After spending a month in Germany, Belgium, France, and Switzerland this summer… I vowed I would NEVER travel without a phrase book/dictionary, ever again! LOL.

    We’ve found that same thing about restaurants in the travel books… but Trip Advisor usually has amazing recommendations! Your Eiffel Tower dinner picnic date looks perfect… I’m thinking we will try the same thing because like you I want to see it but no desire to go in it.

    London has tons of FREE things if you ever get the chance to come back (we are currently living ~2 hours away). A lot of the museums are free (Natural History Museum, British Museum (has things from all over the world), National Portrait Gallary are a few of the top ones). Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Buckingham Palace, several Gardens/Parks, of course take your picture with Big Ben and Tower Bridge. Piccadilly Circus and several markets to explore. Window shop at Harrod’s (not really my thing, but some people love it). I agree Tower of London is kinda pricey for what it is. The crown jewels weren’t as impressive as I had imagined in my head but the Beefeaters are quite humorous tour guides. :)
    Nichole @Budget Loving Military Wife recently posted…Retirement DreamsMy Profile

    • I love London! I’ve been there more times than any other place and I could keep going back!! You’ve made me want to go again right now :)! I studied abroad in Leicester for a semester in college and just fell in love with the entire country :). Very cool that you’re living there now!

    • Me too! I wanna go back to London again. I was there last summer but only for the weekend and visiting family in surrounding towns. We were there right after Princess Diana died (coincidence) and I wanted to go to see the funeral procession but my cousin said “Let’s just watch it on the telly”! (Figured crowds would be unwieldy)

  9. I totes agree about traveling by foot if you can! Not only are you able to find hidden gems, but you also avoid my 2 flat tyres in the middle of the Scotland Highland experience. At least it was beautiful!

    I’ve heard Krakow is amazing. Gosh I can’t wait to go.

    I went to the Lourve in Paris. What an overwhelming experience! I felt like an overstimulated child. After seeing all that art, I just needed a nap.

    Way to go on your first guest post! You did great :)
    Kate@GoodnightDebt recently posted…My Painful Money MistakeMy Profile

  10. I’ve been to Paris twice and both times skipped the Louvre. I’m not a big art lover and I preferred to walk the streets and get some finger licking good French pastries! I made sure to visit the Eiffel Tower, L’Arc de Triomphe and The Panthéon among other places. I definitely made use of their uber complex subway system. I have yet to visit England and I actually want DH and I to visit the trifecta (England, Ireland and Scotland) when we reach FI. Thanks for sharing your view of where you’ve been in the world.
    Kassandra @ More Than Just Money recently posted…A Ground Stop ReminderMy Profile

  11. With Europe travel, I found the best thing was just to wander around cities. I should have skipped the Louvre because it just didn’t do it for me. Oh, there is the Mona Lisa. Yawn. lol…I’m just not a big fan of art. But I loved walking around and just absorbing the amazing architecture of the buildings. And walking is the best. I found I could eat whatever I wanted and didn’t gain a pound because I did so much walking! Bring on the gelato!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Music to His Ears: Rhythm Republic’s Jared YoungMy Profile

  12. Great overview of how to skimp on travel spending without skimping on seeing awesome stuff! As you note in the article about our recent road trip, we are fans of traveling on the cheap, too!

    I’m always amazed at the folks that think you have to hit the main tourist attractions in a particular city or country and totally overlook the less visited spots that are (1) cheap or free (2) less crowded and (3) something you haven’t already seen a million times in photographs and on others’ facebook pages.
    Justin @ Root of Good recently posted…August 2014 Financial UpdateMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Justin! Mr. FW and I both enjoyed your road trip logs–and now we really want to drive to Canada! Indeed, the best things are often not the “top” tourist attractions. My favorite aspects of my own city aren’t tourist destinations, so I always figure that’ll hold true in cities I’m visiting.

  13. I love these tips! I haven’t traveled much, but I am dying to go to some many different places in Europe. I’ll store this post under “things-I-am-doing-once-I-am-debt-free” :)
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…To Pinch Pennies or Increase Income — Which Is Better?My Profile

  14. Great tips here! I doing travel much but I am dying to go to so many places in Europe. I will store this under “things-I-want-to-do-once-I’m-debt-free” :)

  15. Is the Louvre expensive or is it annoying just because of the crowds? We are doing Dublin, Edinburgh/St Andrews, London, Paris, and Amsterdam next summer and I am looking for all the help I can get. It’s a bit different when traveling with a child, so we will walk as much as humanly possible and take public transportation if we have to. I feel like we’ll take the stairs on the Eiffel tower since we are in shape Colorado hiking stars, but maybe we don’t even need to do that? I loathe taxi rides. Besides the expense, I feel out of control and it’s just scary sometimes. I seriously had to close my eyes during the one taxi we took in Rome years ago.
    Kim recently posted…Owning Rental Property: Year TwoMy Profile

    • That sounds like a wonderful trip, Kim! I haven’t been to Dublin or Edinburgh, but the other three are favorites of mine! Agreed on the taxi hatred–I always feel trapped and like I have no idea where I’m going. The Louvre is not terribly expensive (€16 per person), but more than we wanted to pay for the two of us. The crowds, however, are definitely annoying :)

    • Parts of the Louvre are crowded. Others aren’t. Obviously the more popular areas are. There’s a (monthly?)
      free museum day in Paris but suspect the crowds mean it’s worth just paying for entry on a normal day.

      London and Paris metros are amazing. I seem to remember good weekend passes and possibly family passes in Paris. Amsterdam is very walkable. I think the trams were a bit pricey. Edinburgh is also pretty walkable.

      • Yes, Paris Metro is good except during rush hour. I think we might have done the free day at The Louvre and yes, there were a lot of people.

  16. I always love hearing about your frugal travels! I think walking as a means to getting around applies everywhere, and I know you’re in agreement on this. =) I always seem to discover new things just walking around our neighborhood. It gives you a chance to soak everything in and not fly by it at 50mph. Sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower having a picnic sounds just fine to me.
    Erin @ Journey to Saving recently posted…How to Split Your Household Bills After Moving In TogetherMy Profile

  17. If I ever build a house myself you can bet on it that it’ll look exactly the same as that Polish fort! Awesome! :)

    Great tips, Mrs. Frugalwoods! Really like the one about churches. I’m one of the weird people that has to see every single church in a city on the inside (except when they’re protestant, because b-o-o-o-ring – there’s nothing to see in there).

    What I like about Scandinavian countries and the UK is that most art and history museums are completely free or really cheap (especially when you compare them to France and the South of Europe), which makes them an instant must-do for me on vacation.

    Also, pro-tip for the Europeans: chances are there’s a lot of free stuff to see in your own city that you didn’t know about but would gladly pay into the tens of euros for in another European city abroad!
    No More Waffles recently posted…Track Your Dividend Portfolio With My Dividend SpreadsheetMy Profile

    • You, Will, and Mr. Frugalwoods all apparently want to live in that fort! Maybe you can get Frugal Hound to join in and be your guard dog (unlikely as she prefers snoozing). I like your European pro-tip :)

  18. I love reading about your travels as well! It certainly makes us want to close up shop and just travel right now. Mrs. FI has been all over Europe to study abroad, we’ve both been to Costa Rica to SA and we love going to British Columbia. I’ve gotta get across the Atlantic and see Europe for myself though. And walking is the way to go! Well, not walk across the Atlantic–you know what I mean!
    Mr. FI recently posted…The Dictionary Defines Awesome as Manual Labor: Part 1My Profile

  19. Yes, London is terribly expensive but then again, I feel a lot of the UK is. Which sucks when you live here.
    Tania at Pinching Pennies recently posted…5 Hard and Fast Rules to Make Money Blogging (Or Not)My Profile

  20. Mrs. FW,

    Awesome tips. And I’ve gotta give you guys mad props for hitting the church up for the free service so you could tour. :)

    I was in Europe once as a child, but I’d love to really see some of the great cities when I’m FI in a few years. Keeping my fingers crossed. And I’ll avoid taxis as much as possible when I go!

    Best wishes.
    Dividend Mantra recently posted…Recent BuyMy Profile

  21. Yes to walking around! We have done this when we visited Barcelona… I had a very strict itinerary, but my bf would always want to walk around. I think that was the best part – my anxiety of getting lost was diminished with the cutest little cafe I have been to and the best espresso I have ever had!
    CielBelle recently posted…Its the little things : Weekend RecollectionsMy Profile

  22. I’m not religious anymore, but I always like going to a mass (usually Catholic) in whatever country I am visiting for the experience. Even if I don’t speak the language, the format of the mass is similar enough to follow along and it’s a great way to get a feel for the culture and see the church for a longer period of time without feeling rushed through a tour group.

    And yes for walking everywhere. In some rainy locations, a good umbrella also doubles as a nice walking stick/cane to lean on when you get tired from walking all day. Jeez that makes me sound really old. =)

    I also really love renting bikes and having a destination in mind without a firm plan on how to get there. Even if (when?) you fail along the way, it’s usually an absolute blast.
    Mrs. PoP recently posted…Getting The Plans For Our Dream KitchenMy Profile

  23. I remember going to New York City in my early twenties to visit a friend. I was only there for a week-end, and she was determined to be a good hostess and make sure that I saw all of the sites – like going through a checklist. I slowed her pace way down – I think she was disappointed. For me, it was a thrill to walk down the street and see a parade just happening from out of nowhere. I lingered to watch it as she tried to hurry me along to the next site. Walking is the best way to travel. And getting the feel of a city does not mean frantically getting to each of its tourist hot-spots. You and your husband know how to travel!
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted…Debt and Challenge for ‘Wus’ Parents: Growing a BackboneMy Profile

    • Agreed, Prudence. I’ve learned to slow down, do less and enjoy more! Now if we are talking about Disney World, that’s a different story!

  24. Haha. We went to the Louvre, for free. Students FTW!

    But we went to NYC and didn’t go up the Empire State or TOTR.
    NZ Muse recently posted…A non-exhaustive list of things that scare me about parentingMy Profile

  25. Hubs gets to travel to places like Paris and London for his job (and Saudi Arabia and China, so don’t be too excited for him). I’m going to have to pass along these suggestions. He usually only has a day or two and of course we have nothing in the budget for site seeing in foreign lands!
    Kirsten recently posted…Live Like You Were Dying: a 31 Day ChallengeMy Profile

  26. Frugal weirdo – LOL I have not been to Paris but hope to one day. I agree that some of the best things are off the beaten path and non-tourist attractions. Those places are usually just filled with out tourist. Fun to go where the locals are.
    May recently posted…Rethinking FashionMy Profile

    • One thing you have to be careful of in Paris (or any big city) is scammers. I was obviously a tourist (big camera around my neck) and walking through le Jardin des Tuileries with lots of people around. This lady motioned and picked up a ring off the ground and tried to tell me that we should share in the value of the ring because I brought her good luck because I was right before her. Obviously planted, and right there in broad daylight with throngs of people. I shook my head and took off. Hubster had same problem in Shanghai where some girls tried to get him to go for tea with him at a tea house. We later learned that this is a common thing where the girls are in on a scam with the owner of the tea house, and the person is presented with a humongous bill from the tea house after the girls have taken off.

  27. Awesome post, Mrs. FW, and I cannot believe that St. Paul’s charges to go in there – how naughty!!!! We would be perfectly content traveling in this fashion, and like you, would prefer it. Much better than taking the road more traveled. :-)
    Laurie @wellkeptwallet recently posted…How One Family Paid Off $30,000 of Debt in 18 MonthsMy Profile

  28. If I’ve learned something about myself in the past few years it’s that I much prefer the experience of the city and culture outdoors than inside a museum. Bonus, it’s so much cheaper!
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…New York City Is As Expensive As You Want It To BeMy Profile

    • Me too. Prefer the outdoors, which is why I loved the bike tour around the gardens of Versailles. I do get FOMO though when I think there’s something in a city I should be seeing while I’m there in case I never get back there.

  29. Great tips. I’m a museum buff so it’d be hard for me not to go to Louvre. :D
    Tawcan recently posted…Living the dream… or notMy Profile

  30. Good travel tips, I want to go to ITaly one day, and I need all the advice possible. Renting a bike is a good idea, and you can get around much faster to help you not lose out on all the daylight for the limited days you have on vacation.

    • Me too, one of many countries in Europe I have not made it too. Would definitely do the bike thing. Thanks for visiting!

  31. Really enjoyed reading this post. Many of my favorite travel memories have involved “hidden treasures” and yummy foods (street food, little cafes, homemade ice cream etc.). Just proof you don’t have to spend a lot of money to experience new places and build new memories.
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted…Oops they did it again: 8 Tips for Buying a Used Car on a BudgetMy Profile

  32. We went to the Louvre a couple years ago and liked it. I hear pickpockets are really bad there but we were pretty careful with our belongings. I found the food to be very cheap there – a picnic dinner of wine and cheese cost us around $10
    Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet recently posted…Handling Lifestyle InflationMy Profile

  33. Ah! More Frugalwoods adventures. I love these stories.
    Anne @ Money Propeller recently posted…Here’s my #1 Blogging TipMy Profile

  34. Great post Mrs Frugalwoods, although you’ve got me all excited again about planning a trip to Europe, to see the many many places I haven’t been! Similar to Debs, my only real travel to Europe has been for business, but was lucky enough to spend a weekend in Paris, and absolutely loved it! But the best part was simply walking around the city, not any of the particular attractions, which is one of my favourite things to do most wherever I go (and an early morning run around the city if I can manage it!).
    Jason @ Islands of Investing recently posted…A grown man’s first Disney experience – from AustraliaMy Profile

    • Good stuff Jason. I hope you get a trip to Europe or even North America in the foreseeable future. Hey, I found another Australian blogger for you – see my next post. There’s also Glen Stephenson at How to Save Money and Monster Piggy Bank if you don’t know him already. I already told you about Cheapskate Cathy. Also NZMuse but I know you Aussies and Kiwis don’t like to be mixed up (mistaken) for each other no more than we Canadians like to be confused with Americans. ;-)

    • Thanks so much! I hope you’re able to get to Europe for a proper vacation soon!
      Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Weekly Woot & Grumble: RIP Spatula FaceMy Profile

  35. I am totally the opposite! I LOVE art museums and galleries. The Lourve is one of my favorite spots in Paris and I cannot, not go to it whenever I visit. I always find something new there. And I loved your Tower of London thing. We’re visiting in November and it is the top of my list. We’d be horrible travel companions, Mrs FW!

    But I do love the free stuff as well. We’re big people watchers, so we tend to skip fancy dinners and lunches and instead head to a public park with a picnic lunch from the grocery instead. I am not a church person, but I do love to stop in and see the art. I also try to find free public concerts and tours of buildings (like the Paris Opera House).
    Michelle recently posted…Frugal European Planning III: Cheap European HotelsMy Profile

    • Michelle, here’s my Tower of London story: When I was at the Tower of London and standing outside with my Mum listening to a Beefeater talk about it, all of a sudden I saw my old boss from my work standing about 15 feet away from me! Talk about confusion seeing someone out of context. I had no idea she was going on a trip to UK nor she me, as we weren’t in daily contact anymore. We were both so excited at the coincidence amongst the throngs of people that do through there daily, and we were screaming / squealing / talking loudly and finally some guy told us to shut up because he couldn’t hear the Beefeater talk.

  36. We are currently planning our own cheap Europe vacation during the month of November. We just booked our Airbnb spots.