Transcript for Episode 435: Free in Paris: Uncovering Hidden Gems on a Budget

Table of Contents for this Episode

Categories: France on a Budget, Paris

Discussed in this Episode

  • Do venture into the 12e and 13e arrondissements of Paris
  • Paris cemeteries are interesting and always free
  • Paris has some of the best parks in the world
  • Vélib bicycles are free the first half hour
  • Food markets in Paris (March d'Aligre)
  • Saint-Ouen flea market
  • Galeries Lafayette and the view from the roof
  • Paris Plage
  • Places where you can go danse are Quai Saint-Bernard or Quai de la Tournelle and Place Colette
  • Free movies on at La Vilette (look for Cinéma en Plein Air)
  • Go to the Carrousel du Louvre
  • There are a lot of free museums in Paris either always or some of the time
  • You can go all the way up to the Pompidou without a ticket
  • Brâncuși Studio
  • The permanent exhibit of the Petit Palais is free
  • Maison de Balzac in Passy
  • Maison de Victor Hugo on Place des Vosges


[00:00:16] Annie Sargent: This is Join Us in France episode 435, quatre cent trente-cinq.

[00:00:23] Annie Sargent: I’m Annie Sargent and Join Us in France is the podcast where we talk about France. Everyday life in France, great places to visit in France, French culture, history, gastronomy and news related to travel to France.

Today on the podcast

[00:00:37] Annie Sargent: Today, I bring you a conversation with Elyse Rivin of Toulouse Guided Walks about delightful treasures that Paris has to offer all without spending a single Euro.

[00:00:49] Annie Sargent: That’s right, in this episode we’ll take you on a tour of the most captivating things you can experience in Paris absolutely free. From world-class museums to iconic landmarks, tranquil parks to vibrant street performances,

[00:01:06] Annie Sargent: Paris is a city that caters to everyone’s desires regardless of budget.

[00:01:10] Annie Sargent: So grab your béret and a warm baguette and join us as we meander through the cobblestone streets of Paris and discover the hidden gems that will not cost you a thing.

[00:01:24] Annie Sargent: Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, this episode is your all-access pass to experiencing the magic of Paris on a shoestring budget. So are you ready to immerse yourself in the rich culture, history and charm that Paris has to offer without breaking the bank? Alors, alons-y! Let’s dive into the captivating world of free things to do in the magnificent city of Paris.

Podcast suporters

[00:01:54] Annie Sargent: This podcast is supported by donors and listeners who buy my tours and services, including my Itinerary Consult Service and my GPS self-guided tours of Paris on the VoiceMap app. And you can browse all of that at my boutique

After the interview: French politics and what to do when there are strikes

[00:02:14] Annie Sargent: For the magazine part of the podcast, after the interview, I’ll discuss the French political landscape and for the travel question of the week, I’ll answer Shelly’s question about what to do when visiting Paris when there are protests going on.


Annie and Elyse: Free in Paris!

[00:02:38] Annie Sargent: Bonjour Elyse.

[00:02:39] Elyse Rivin: Bonjour Annie.

[00:02:40] Annie Sargent: Okay, we have an episode today for people who are in Paris and would like to enjoy one of the many things that are free to do in Paris. And I suspect that this will be of particular interest to younger people, perhaps people who are in Paris for the first time. I remember when I was younger and we visited cities. I remember going to Italy, you know, we didn’t have that much money to begin with for our trip, and even when we had the money, I was never sure should I spend money on this or not. So we looked for free stuff everywhere. And in France, and in Paris in particular, there is a lot of things that you can do without spending a penny.

[00:03:23] Annie Sargent: Of course, you get, you’ll need to get yourself there.

[00:03:26] Annie Sargent: That’s true. That’s true.

[00:03:27] Annie Sargent: But once you’re there, a lot of wonderful things are free and we are going to go through quite a few of them today. Now, our list is not necessarily exhaustive. It’s not like we know all of the things and we’re not going to try and list all of the things, but we’ll list so many that you won’t have time to do them all anyway.

[00:03:46] Elyse Rivin: That is a fact, right? That is fact. Yes.

[00:03:48] Annie Sargent: And also the other thing that I want to mention, because I do itineraries with people and very often people give me the impression that they want to leave Paris because they’re worried that there won’t be enough things to do in Paris. Honestly, you can stay in Paris for a whole month and not do everything, even if that’s all you do.

[00:04:07] Annie Sargent: Like, you know, you go to Paris, you spend a month, you won’t do everything there is to do in Paris. So don’t rush off to, I don’t know, Normandy or Strasbourg or whatever. If you only have a week, 10 days, stay in Paris. Much easier for everybody and also easy on the wallet, because you won’t have to pay for transportation.

[00:04:28] Annie Sargent: Okay. Tell us about the stuff that’s free in Paris, Elyse.

You CANNOT do this without good walking shoes

[00:04:32] Elyse Rivin: Well first of all, I’m just listening to you thinking the first thing to say to everybody out there is you need to have good walking shoes.

[00:04:40] Elyse Rivin: Because one of the first things you want to do when you go to Paris, and it’s probably something you can do for several days and never, ever, ever cover the same ground is walk. Walk through the different neighborhoods, walk through the different arrondissements, that’s the different districts. You will be surprised how much you can see and how much you can discover. And many little things that suddenly take your fancy and you stop and look at them. There is no way to know everything that there is in Paris. And just to tell everybody as an anecdote, my husband was born and raised in Paris and lived there until he was in his twenties. And when we go back we sometimes discover things together that he didn’t even know about.

[00:05:28] Annie Sargent: Of course, of course, yes. And now people often mention this walking in Paris thing. What’s important to know is that especially the first arrondissements, so if you go walking through First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, it’s really, you are really close to the heart of Paris and those are the ones that are most interesting.

[00:05:50] Annie Sargent: Now, is it really fabulous to walk through the 20th arrondissement?

[00:05:54] Annie Sargent: Not really. I mean, there are a few things that you might want to see, but by then you are in the suburbs and actually some of those parts are not, you know, as safe as other parts of Paris.

12th arrondissement of Paris, worth it!

[00:06:07] Elyse Rivin: But talking about that it is a fact that there are certain arrondissements that people almost never go to that actually have some very, very interesting things. For instance, if you go to the 12th, which is, and I know these because of having spent a lot of time in Paris, thanks to having some in-law family and other things that I suddenly find myself in neighborhoods going, okay, what do I do here?

[00:06:29] Elyse Rivin: And then when you walk around, you discover there are lots of things, there are little pocket parks, and it’s beautiful squares everywhere in Paris. Now, if you go to the 12th, it’s an area that has a huge, where there used to be the wholesale wine merchants, very close to the Seine River. It’s been turned into a kind of village that actually has a Bercy, thank you. A museum of circus things and things like that. When you walk around some of these areas, these are not necessarily areas that are at the absolute outer extreme, but you will discover things.

13th arrondissement, also worth it!

[00:07:05] Elyse Rivin: The 13th, for instance. This is interesting, most people, and almost everybody including me, one of the parts of Paris I love the most is the Latin Quarter, which is basically the Fifth.

[00:07:15] Elyse Rivin: You have St. Germain which is the Sixth. If you go to Rue Mouffetard, and you walk around that area, which is behind the Pantheon, and you come down, you actually are entering into the 13th Arrondissement, which I mean, you wouldn’t know that, there’s no sign that says you are now leaving the 5th and you’re entering the 13th.

[00:07:34] Elyse Rivin: And there’s this absolutely incredible avenue called the Avenue des Gobelins. And there’s Des Gobelins is a manufacturer of tapestries that it still exists. And if you walk up that area, and you go towards the Place of Italy, Place d’Italie.You find wonderful little streets with little back pocket parks and you get a view of the Gobelins.

[00:07:54] Elyse Rivin: You can even go inside the lobby and see things. And in the 13th there’s this tiny little area that’s on a bute, on a hill, that is like a mini, mini, mini, mini Montmartre filled with restaurants. And I never knew it existed before. So if you are adventurous, and do this of course during the day, and these are not areas that are dangerous, you can discover things and you can wow people that you know by telling them about them.

[00:08:23] Annie Sargent: Yes. And very recently, I think two or three episodes ago, I did a whole section about places that are not desirable to go to in Paris, but it’s very specific, and most places are wonderful, you know, and it’s worth exploring. And definitely, the 13th is a wonderful little place.

[00:08:42] Elyse Rivin: It’s a wonderful place. I mean, it’s one of those places, it’s like, really?

The 14th arrondissement

[00:08:45] Elyse Rivin: And even the 14th, which has some very interesting things in it. And of course you have the entrance to the catacombs in the 14th. It butts up against the 5th and the 6th.

[00:08:54] Elyse Rivin: There are wonderful walking spots in all of these things. So it’s really worth it. Obviously once you get past you’re, I’m going to walk through the Marais and I’m going to go through Montmartre and all of that, but explore. It’s really, really fun to do that. And you’ll take lots of photos.

[00:09:10] Annie Sargent: Agreed. Fantastic. And that’s always free. Walking around Paris is always free.

Cemeteries are visitable and always free

[00:09:17] Elyse Rivin: And the other thing that’s always free is the cemeteries. Now it’s very strange, but in France, cemeteries are visitable. There are things that people do as tourists.

[00:09:28] Annie Sargent: They’re worth visiting because they’re interesting, right? Yeah.

[00:09:31] Elyse Rivin: And of course everybody knows about Père Lachaise, which is up in the, I think it’s the 19th and 20th, but I’m not sure. It always kind of, I think it’s halfway and halfway, but I’m not even sure.

[00:09:39] Annie Sargent: Perhaps don’t remember, but it’s in that direction.

[00:09:41] Elyse Rivin: It’s in that direction. Everybody knows about Père Lachaise. That’s where Jim Morrison is. That’s where some very other famous people are. But there are two other cemeteries that are also filled with very interesting things from, and very famous people, writers and singers, and that is the two cemeteries of Montmartre and of Montparnasse.

[00:10:02] Annie Sargent: Yep, they’re both very nice.

[00:10:03] Elyse Rivin: They’re both very nice andit is a fact thatpeople, young people, sometimes go and sit in the cemeteries as a place where they, where it’s quiet and you can study, but they are open to the public and obviously they are free.

[00:10:18] Annie Sargent: Yes. Most cemeteries in France close at 6:00 PM. But year round, I’m pretty sure, in the winter I know for sure. In the summer, maybe they stay open an extra hour, but the one,the Montparnasse one is very close to the catacombs.

[00:10:34] Annie Sargent: So if you go to the catacombs, right there, you have a beautiful walk you can take through the cemetery and I recommend that you look up these cemeteries before you go and see the famous people that are buried there, and then try to find the graves because it’s a bit of a treasure hunt and some of these graves are not easy to find.

[00:10:57] Elyse Rivin: No. And in fact, I think the last time I went to Père Lachaise we gave up, I mean, there’s a map you can get when you go in. There were two main entrances, one on the north side, one of those outside, but honestly, it’s a huge cemetery, Père Lachaise. And it was after a while it was like, okay, nevermind. But you’re absolutely right. I think, I’m not sure, but I would guess that Montparnasse and Montmartre also have maps.

[00:11:21] Elyse Rivin: Well, they do, but very often when you go to pick up a map at the entrance, they ran out. Because these are photocopies. So it’s best if you can download them on PDF at home and print them out before you arrive because I have done tours inPère Lachaise in person, and so I had planned it out really carefully and I was with a few people and several other people seeing that I was giving a tour followed me to these graves, which is fine, there’s no problem.

[00:11:49] Elyse Rivin: But they wanted me to give them a printout and I’m like, well, I’m sorry. I only got enough for the people I’m with. So print them out at home before you arrive.

[00:11:58] Elyse Rivin: It’s safer.

[00:11:59] Elyse Rivin: Yeah, you know, I mean there are guides, particularly in Père Lachaise, there are professional guides you can’t be a tail on one of these, but as a guide person, I know that basically, you know, they might shoo you away, you know?

[00:12:11] Elyse Rivin: So if they’re, if they don’t consider that you’re part of the group, be prepared to do it on your own, just in case, you know?

[00:12:18] Annie Sargent: Definitely. Yes.

There are a lot of wonderful free parks in Paris

[00:12:19] Elyse Rivin: And of course the parks, right? I mean, obviously this is one of the things that you can do without having to worry about paying for anything unless you’re going to buy your ice cream or whatever that is inside the park.

[00:12:30] Elyse Rivin: But there are lots of parks in Paris and there are the most famous ones, which of course are The Luxembourg Gardens, the Tuileries Gardens, which is really backs upon to the Louvre and goes to the Place de la Concorde and the two huge parks that are actually more than what we would consider a park that are on the extreme east and west side, which are the Park of Vincennes and the park Boulogne. Which I guess, I don’t know what the word would be because they’re hundreds and hundreds of acres and they have lakes and they haveplaces to eat and they have other activities. So they’re more than just what you would consider to be a kind of inside the city park, and that’s where people often go biking if they have a bicycle and things like that.

[00:13:17] Elyse Rivin: But you have other parks inside the city that are really quite nice. And a couple of them are the park of Montceau, which is I believe in the 8th if I’m not mistaken, and a very lovely, very chic part of the city. Very beautiful andhas a few sculptures. These all have kiosks, of course, if you want to buy a little snack or have a coffee or an ice cream, but they’re just really lovely.

[00:13:41] Elyse Rivin: And the other one, which is really fun, and if I’m not mistaken, is up in the 20th, but I, again, I’m not sure is the Butte-Chaumont.

[00:13:49] Annie Sargent: Right, right. And I’ve been to both. Now, is a little bit out of the way, but it’s a lovely place. It’s a, it might be in the 20th, but it’s a totally safe part of the 20th. It’s a nice view. All parks in Paris or in France, as a matter of fact, are going to be busier on Wednesday afternoons, Saturdays and Sundays, and during school holidays.

[00:14:10] Annie Sargent: So if you want to go during a time when there’s a lot of other people around and it’s, I mean, it’s fun to just watch kids at the park or whatever. So in that case, go you know, if you go in the middle of a dreary day in January, it’s not going to be the same as a beautiful day in the middle of July.

[00:14:31] Annie Sargent: And we did a whole episode, episode number 290 was about the best parks in and out of Paris, and that one included some parks a little further away, or ones that don’t get mentioned very much like Andre Citroen and things like that. There’s a lot of parks in Paris, including some tiny, tiny ones. And almost all of these parks will have opening and closing hours and they will usually have free Wifi during opening hours, they usually have benches and garbage cans. So if you bring a picnic, dispose of your trash carefully. And they usually have a few playground things for kids. Okay, not a lot. One of the big playground kids for things is by,

[00:15:22] Annie Sargent: there’s a park and it’s not far from the modern museum, La Bourse. Yes. And it’s a pretty big park, it has a lot of playground stuff, obviously totally free.

[00:15:34] Elyse Rivin: Yes. And there’s actually one, it’s very mysterious because a lot of people don’t know about it.

[00:15:38] Elyse Rivin: If you go to the southern part of the 14th Arrondissement there is what they call the Cité Internationale. And it’s a huge area with dormitories for international students as part of the university. And there’s a huge, absolutely gorgeous park there.

[00:15:52] Annie Sargent: I don’t know that one.

[00:15:53] Elyse Rivin: I don’t know if it’s artificial or not, but it’s got hills, it’s got, you know, meadows.

[00:15:57] Elyse Rivin: It’s got, I don’t think there’s a big lake or anything like that, but it’s got lots of places to sit and lots of places to picnic and people go there and bike around and do a little bit of the trails there. It’s really nice.

[00:16:08] Annie Sargent: Very good. Yeah. Do you remember what it’s called?

[00:16:10] Elyse Rivin: I think it’s just, no, I don’t.

[00:16:12] Elyse Rivin: I was going to say, it’s not just called the Park of the Cite International. I should look it up. I don’t remember the name of it. I just know that it’s actually part of the land that belongs to the university where all of these dormitories are.

[00:16:24] Annie Sargent: Very good. Yep. Thank you.

La Coulée Verte

[00:16:26] Elyse Rivin: And talking about parks, there is this wonderful Green Trail.

[00:16:30] Elyse Rivin: It’s in the 12th. I did it a lot. I walked it a lot because when my mother-in-law was still alive, she lived in the 12th right nearby. And it was a really nice thing to go. What they did was they took the, there was an overhead train line that had since been stopped, that has since closed down.

[00:16:50] Elyse Rivin: And they turned it into an absolutely gorgeous walkway with beautiful plants on both sides and lots of benches to sit. And it’s really beautiful and I think it’s about two kilometers long.

[00:17:03] Elyse Rivin: And it ends just at the south of the 12th, just as it comes up to thethe Bastille.

[00:17:09] Annie Sargent: I think you can go all the way to the Château on there.

[00:17:12] Elyse Rivin: Oh, can you?

[00:17:13] Annie Sargent: Yes. And so if you go in that direction, if you go that far, you are also not far from the Picpus Cemetery. Which is one, we mentioned cemeteries but not that one, it’s a much smaller cemetery, but it’s the one where Lafayette is buried.

[00:17:28] Annie Sargent: There you go. So if you walk the Coulée Verte, one of the things you could do, it would take a whole day if you go all the way to Vincennes, but you could also include the Picpus Cemetery.

Bike trails and Vélib bikes

[00:17:39] Elyse Rivin: There you go. I’m going to have to do this. This is one that I did not know about. Yeah. And of course, talking about walkways and trails, there are bike trails. Now I need to confirm with you, Annie, is it still the case that you can rent a bike for first 30 minutes for free?

[00:17:55] Annie Sargent: Yes. For the first 30 minutes, it’s free, but you do have to set up an account, which includes a credit card because obviously, they will charge you if you go above that. And you have to change, so you have to switch bicycles every 30 minutes. So it’s a bit of a pain, but you can, andthe Vélib, they’re called in Paris are not that expensive. I think you can ride for most of a day for maybe 10 bucks or something, but you could do it free if you swap bikes every half hour. But that’s a pain in behind because wherever you plan to drop off the bike, there might not be another one that you can pick up, or the ones that you can pick up are busted, which happens a lot.

[00:18:39] Annie Sargent: So, yeah. It’s free, but.

[00:18:42] Elyse Rivin: It’s free, but, okay. Just keep that in mind though for those who are really interested in doing a little bit of biking in the city. And you’re right though. Unfortunately, you have to know and you need to know where the places are that keep the bikes.

[00:18:54] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And if you’re going to do that, I would recommend that you set up your account at home before you get to Paris, because the little screens that they have on the Vélib stations are sometimes impossible to read. If the light is shining on it or something, it’s really hard to read.

[00:19:13] Annie Sargent: So set up your account at a computer or on your phone, and then it’ll be faster.

[00:19:19] Elyse Rivin: That reminds me, that’s very similar to what happens with the parking meters now that they’re all basically computerized.

[00:19:25] Elyse Rivin: You have to be careful about the reflection and being able to see what you were doing.

[00:19:29] Annie Sargent: And electric car chargers. This is often a problem. Sometimes I have no idea what it says, so that’s why I have an RFID card and I just slap it on and hope it works.

[00:19:39] Annie Sargent: And it works. Usually it works.

[00:19:41] Elyse Rivin: Everything mechanical and electronic works for you, Annie. That’s the way it goes, right?

[00:19:46] Annie Sargent: I wish.

Outdoor markets

[00:19:47] Elyse Rivin: Next, of course… we’ve gone through cemeteries, we’ve gone through parks, we have to talk about outdoor markets.

[00:19:54] Annie Sargent: Correct.

[00:19:55] Elyse Rivin: Here we go.

[00:19:55] Annie Sargent: Which there are lots in Paris, but of course once you get there, you might want to buy things, so…

[00:19:59] Elyse Rivin: Yeah. Well, but there are actually two that are food markets, if you have an opportunity to do, of course it becomes hard to not want to buy something, but then you have to eat. So we’re not going to talk about not eating, but there are two. One of them is very famous and it’s in the 12th arrondissement also and it’s called the Marché d’Aligre.

[00:20:21] Elyse Rivin: And it is really interesting, it’s not huge, I would call it medium sized. Butit is really where Parisians go to buy their food. They buy their fruits and vegetables. There’s a part that’s indoors, that’s a covered market that has of course, cheeses and meats and things like that.

[00:20:38] Elyse Rivin: But there’s a huge part on the outside that’s many vendors including organic fruits and vegetables and it’s surrounded by two or three little streets that have lots of tiny little restaurants and cafes, which makes it very much of a foodie area. And it’s really fun to go there. And right next to it is a kind of very funky, small little flea market. And it’s really the older people from the area that come and do a kind of exchange of goods.

[00:21:04] Elyse Rivin: And it just gives you a taste of, for me, what Paris might have been like a long time ago, you know. That kind of a place where it is very bustling, it’s very crowded, be careful about your pockets. But it’s really kind of fun to see.

[00:21:17] Elyse Rivin: And there’s another one, which most people don’t really know about that is one of the biggest food markets I’ve ever found in Paris, and that is when you go up the canal St Martin towards La Villette. And I don’t remember, if it’s one or two days a week, I don’t remember how many days a week, but it is enormous, absolutely enormous. It is outside of what is largely the biggest tourist area, but I have never seen such a big food market in Paris in my life.

[00:21:46] Annie Sargent: Do you know the name of the market?

[00:21:47] Elyse Rivin: As far as I know, it was just the food market of La Villette, but I’m not sure. I couldn’t find any other name for it online. It was astounding. I mean, there was a whole section that was just fish and then there was a whole section that was just meat.

[00:22:00] Elyse Rivin: It was enormous. Absolutely enormous.

[00:22:02] Annie Sargent: Okay, but with a little caution that La Villette area can be a little edgy.

[00:22:09] Annie Sargent: Okay. I mean, they stop people for selling crack in that area. So it’s, this is not the touristy parts of Paris where, you know.

[00:22:19] Elyse Rivin: But this is close to where The Museum of Science of La Villette is.

[00:22:22] Elyse Rivin: I mean this is, it’s morning up until one o’clock in the afternoon. And it’s really,it’s really fascinating to see. If you could ever make it out to the Wholesale Food Market, which is now of course, outside of the city center. But it was really a very interesting thing to go to. Again, with any of the markets because they are always crowded, you just watch your pocket books and watch your pockets. You just be careful.

[00:22:45] Annie Sargent: Yeah. So it’s called Marché Villette.

[00:22:46] Annie Sargent: And it’s opened on Wednesday mornings and Saturday mornings, it looks like that’s it. So, and it’s from 7 until 1:30 or 2:30 depending, on Saturdays it’s 2:30.

[00:22:59] Annie Sargent: That’s good to know. That’s really good. That’s really big.

[00:23:02] Elyse Rivin: It’s very big. Yeah. Yeah. And of course, there are small food markets in every arrondissement in Paris.

[00:23:08] Annie Sargent: Yeah, everywhere. Like, yeah, if you just walk around Paris in the morning, I think you can’t really walk very far without seeing one. So, you don’t really need to make a point of going out to these. You just walk around in the morning and you will find them.

[00:23:23] Elyse Rivin: Right. I mean, I have friends who live in the 18th and a nice part of the 18th that’s not far from going up to the hill at Montmartre, and I don’t remember which day of the week, but right on their avenue, when you come out of their apartment building, you know, there’s one day a week when there’s just this big market, you know?

[00:23:39] Elyse Rivin: So it’s fun to see. Yeah. Wherever you go, you’ll find one. yeah, yeah.

The flea market of Saint Ouen

[00:23:42] Elyse Rivin: And then of course there’s the flea market of Saint Ouen.

[00:23:45] Annie Sargent: Yes, and we did a whole episode about that one as well. I’ll look up the number because I don’t remember.

[00:23:50] Elyse Rivin: Now, just correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that’s several days a week or all the time.

[00:23:56] Annie Sargent: I don’t remember.

[00:23:58] Elyse Rivin: It is not every day.

[00:24:00] Annie Sargent: No. No, it’s not every day.

[00:24:02] Annie Sargent: It’s weekends. The details are on the episode page. I don’t recall them off the top of my head, but I think it’s only two days a week plus one evening.

[00:24:11] Annie Sargent: Okay.

[00:24:11] Annie Sargent: Let me look up the episode number.

Visit department stores

[00:24:14] Elyse Rivin: Okay. And then one of the other things that you can do without having to buy anything. Obviously, there’s a certain temptation, but you can go visit some of the department stores because they’re absolutely beautiful. You havethe famous Le Printemps and then next to it, the Galleries Lafayette, which are both absolutely gorgeous Art Nouveau buildings, and have the most beautiful detailed domes and colored glass and everything on the inside. And believe it or not, a lot of people just go inside and look at what the building looks like. Look at the decoration. At Christmastime, the gallery Lafayette has this Christmas tree that’s, what is it, like 50 feet high or something like that. That has this gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous stained glass dome.

[00:25:00] Elyse Rivin: You can go in and visit the department stores, and since everything there is expensive, you won’t be buying anything anyway, you know.

[00:25:08] Annie Sargent: I never buy anything there. I mean, I don’t, I might go to the food area and, you know, to the restaurant on very top of the Gallery Lafayette and it’s a very good cafeteria like things, it’s, don’t expect miracles. It’s only a cafeteria, but it’s a good cafeteria. And if you walk outside you have beautiful views onto the roofs of Paris.

[00:25:31] Annie Sargent: The flea market episode, the Paris Saint Ouen flea market is the name of the episode, and it’s episode 332. Again, that one, there are some things that will be unsightly to some visitors, but if you follow the instructions we gave in that episode, you will avoid most of that because there are different ways to arrive at the Saint Ouen flea market. And the one that my guest on the episode lays out is much better than the normal way where you have to walk through a lot of stuff that’s like, ah, what is this? So there you go.

Paris Plage

[00:26:10] Elyse Rivin: So let’s go to summertime because I, this is, I wanted to add these because I think this is really fun. You’re in Paris in July and August and it is a hot day. One of the things you can do is you can go and get a chaises longues in the sand that is along the Seine because Paris has something called Paris Plage.

[00:26:32] Annie Sargent: Ah yes, yes.

[00:26:33] Elyse Rivin: And this has been around now since, well, at least 15 years, maybe longer.

[00:26:38] Elyse Rivin: I’m not even remember. I don’t remember. But what you have is for a period of time in July and August, you have the banks of the Seine on the right side, on the right side of the river are covered with tons of sand and they put out chaises longues and you can just sit there, don’t go thinking about swimming in the river because you will not, because it’s not allowed and it’s disgusting and you don’t want to anyway.

[00:27:03] Elyse Rivin: Oh, it’s getting better. I think some of the 2024 Olympics events are going to be taking place in the river, so they’ve cleaned up a lot the river, but still, today you cannot swim in it. Perhaps we’ll get there in the next couple of years.

[00:27:19] Elyse Rivin: That would be nice. That would be nice. But it is really nice and believe me, it’s popular. So, if you go and if it’s a hot day, you should go early or maybe at the end of the day. But it’s lovely and it really, there are hundreds and hundreds of these chaises longues and people just use it as a way of chilling along the river.

[00:27:37] Annie Sargent: I just want to interject that in 2024 when the Olympics are taking place, a lot of it is going to be right along the river. So probably, I’m not sure if Paris Plage is going to be set up that year. Yeah, the Olympics, a lot of the things that we mention might be different in the Olympics especially, anything that’s close to the river.

[00:27:59] Elyse Rivin: You’re absolutely right. You’re absolutely right. In fact, people are starting to ask about what’s going to happen with that. I think that we’ll have to find out a little bit more about what they’re actually going to do with the city.

Dance along the Seine

[00:28:07] Elyse Rivin: The other thing that you can do, if you like to dance, is that on the left bank of the river, further up going towards the al where Austerlitz is, where the Jardin des Plantes is, there is outdoor dancing in the evening, along the Seine, and it is… it’s not even guinguette. There are two or three areas that actually have set up for music.

[00:28:31] Elyse Rivin: So one is salsa, one is other kinds of music and people come out and if you ever do, as I’ve done a couple of times a night boat ride, you watch them, you can see them dancing there, it’s really kind of cool, you know?

[00:28:45] Annie Sargent: Yeah, and so the reason why this happens is that in France we have a lot of dance clubs. We have a lot of clubs of all sorts, but we have a lot of dance clubs, and dance clubs organize times when they meet up outside and dance. And another place where this happens is on Place Collette. It’s right by the Comédie-Française, not far from the Louvre, as a matter of fact. So if you look at Place Collette and it’s also where that beautiful Metro Exit with a big jewels, that’s where it is. On that plaza you have dancing quite often when the weather is good. And it’s all because of these clubs that just set up different appointments and they were trying to, during the pandemic, they didn’t want people dancing with strangers, you knowand the cops constantly had to go shut them down because they would try, still try to do dance things in public, during the pandemic. Anyway, now that’s all, all over, we don’t have to worry about that. You don’t have to worry. Hopefully never again. The reason why it works is because you have all these really good dancers who meet there and it encourages everybody else to join in. And it’s not necessarily fancy music or anything. I mean, they might have a big boom box or something. It’s not like some big setup, but…

[00:29:55] Elyse Rivin: It’s fun. And as far as I know,the area of dancing that’s close to the Jardin des Plantes, every once in a while, I don’t know if it’s all the time, they actually have someone who volunteers to give lessons.

[00:30:06] Elyse Rivin: So if you want to learn to do salsa or something like that, it’s really, I think it’s joyful. I mean, it’s just one of those things, it’s like, and of course it’s the summertime.

[00:30:13] Annie Sargent: Sure. And also we mentioned the parks, but we didn’t mention that in some of the parks there’s free concerts. Like at theKiosk in the Luxembourg Gardens, they often have different bands, different local bands, and I mean, like, marching bands, you know, not rock bands usually. I’ve never seen a rock band there.

[00:30:32] Annie Sargent: It’s mostly like, you know, some group of kids who do band together and they’ll play something and, and it’s free. But that’s not the sort of thing you can plan on. Like, if you go to the Luxembourg Garden on a busy day, you’ll probably run into it, but don’t go in the middle of the winter because well, nothing’s happening.

[00:30:51] Elyse Rivin: I actually was in the Luxembourg Garden once when a carol group started singing in the middle of the park.

[00:30:58] Elyse Rivin: And who would’ve known? You know, I mean, it’s just, it’s fun. It’s fun that these things happen, but unfortunately, you cannot necessarily know ahead of time.

Outdoor Cinema

[00:31:05] Elyse Rivin: I mean, which includes the fact that there are a couple of places, including one along the Canal St Martin I know that’s not your favorite place, but the southern part that’s close to the new Opera House, they have outdoor free cinema. And this is something they’ve done for the last two years. They’ve been doing it since, well, not the last two years, since last year when the basically at the end of the Covid thing, they decided it was time to start putting out chairs again. And so there are two or three places and that you can check out.

[00:31:30] Elyse Rivin: You can just go online and plug in Outdoor Cinema and see, obviously again, this is a summer activity, but it’s kind of fun.

[00:31:39] Annie Sargent: Yeah. And the part of the Canal St Martin that’s close to the opera house is fine.

[00:31:44] Elyse Rivin: It’s fine. It’s fine.

[00:31:46] Annie Sargent: No problem. It’s further along that it gets problematic.

[00:31:49] Elyse Rivin: So, and obviously, we don’t have to talk about the fact that you can walk the Champs-Elysées, you can walk around the Arc de Triomphe down below.

[00:31:59] Elyse Rivin: You don’t have to pay anything to do that. You can walk around the base of the Eiffel Tower and you can crisscross the bridges that go back and forth across the Seine River. There are two or three that are absolutely beautiful, like the Pont des Arts. This is all part of the Walking Paris, let’s call it that.

[00:32:16] Annie Sargent: You can also walk underneath the Louvre for free. You do have to go past security, but you can go under the pyramid of the Louvre for free, but you have to go through security. So at the Louvre you have several entrances. The one that’s the fastest and the best one, in my opinion, is the one that’s to the sides of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel so there’s a mini Arc de Triomphe not far from the pyramid of the Louvre.

[00:32:44] Annie Sargent: On both sides, and you cannot see it very well from the outside, you know, unless you’re right there. But there are stairs that will take you down below and underneath that whole plaza, you go through security, you walk under there, you can see the old wall of the fortification.

[00:33:03] Annie Sargent: And it’s a beautiful, there’s a little mall. It’s a beautiful little thing to do if it’s a hot day and you don’t have to pay to get into. Because up until the time when you are inside of the pyramid and to get into the Louvre you have to get on escalators.

[00:33:19] Annie Sargent: Now, to get beyond those escalators, you have to have a ticket to the Louvre, but to do everything else before, no need for a ticket, you can just go in and enjoy it.

[00:33:29] Elyse Rivin: And you can stand down below and actually admire the glass pyramid from inside. And you’re absolutely right. It’s cool. Not only do you see part of the ancient medieval walls, but they’ve actually taken a few Greek sculptures and put them out in a part that’s close to where the ancient medieval walls are.

[00:33:44] Elyse Rivin: And so they’re giving you a kind of taste of what’s inside the Louvre.

[00:33:48] Annie Sargent: And there’s also several metro stations close to the Louvre. I’m not, I don’t remember which one has the, in the metro station, there are copies of statues.

[00:33:57] Elyse Rivin: I think it’s the Rivoli Louvre, but I’m not sure.

[00:34:00] Annie Sargent: And people are always horsing around those. Yeah. Good photo op .

Free Museums in Paris

[00:34:05] Elyse Rivin: The good photo op. Now then we get to, of course, the one huge area that we haven’t yet talked about, which is museums.

[00:34:12] Annie Sargent: Yes, a lot of free museums in Paris. And you know what? Kudos to Paris for this and to London as well, because in London lots of museums are free. If you go to the US, zero museums are free.

[00:34:26] Elyse Rivin: Except in Washington, DC.

[00:34:27] Annie Sargent: That’s true, washington DC they’re free. That’s right, that’s right. The Smithsonian, museums.

[00:34:31] Elyse Rivin: All Smithsonian museums are free.

[00:34:33] Elyse Rivin: Right. But outside of that you will pay through the nose for those museums. It’s outrageous. I have to mention it, Gatlinburg, Tennessee to get into the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum, which I did because, you know, I’ve heard about it all my life. I wanted to see it. It’s like 46 bucks. And it’s a ridiculous museum. There’s not, ah, anyway, Yes. So, enjoy the free museums in London, in Paris because they are world-class museum that you don’t have to pay a penny for.

[00:35:07] Elyse Rivin: So to just explain and of course, you can find out all of this information eventually online.

[00:35:13] Elyse Rivin: There are basically two categories of museums in Paris. There are those that are always free. And those that are either free only one day a month, or under certain conditions, okay? Yeah. There is a slight difference. I’m just going to go through very quickly through those that are free.

[00:35:31] Elyse Rivin: There are probably others. Some of these are places that I personally have never even been to. A couple of them you’ve been to Annie that I have not been to, but it’s interesting to see that there are some that are completely free all the time. And then I would say there are more that are free just once in a while.

Carnavalet Museum of the History of Paris

[00:35:50] Elyse Rivin: So those that are absolutely free, the most important probably for everybody to know about is the Carnavalet, which is the Museum of the History of Paris.

[00:35:58] Elyse Rivin: The politics of this museum, because it is about the history of the city, is to make it free and accessible to everybody. Just know that even though it is free, there are times of the year when you do have to get a timed ticket.

[00:36:12] Elyse Rivin: And they do sometimes have temporary exhibits, and that is one of the reasons because they have a huge number of people coming that even though you don’t have to pay, you might have to have a time ticket to get in. Okay.

Museum of the Legion of Honor

[00:36:24] Elyse Rivin: Other than that, you have the Museum of the Legion of Honor. I’ve never been to it.

[00:36:30] Annie Sargent: It’s not open very much because I’ve walked past it many times. I’ve never seen it open. You’ve never seen it open? So check the hours on that one.

Musée Curie

[00:36:38] Elyse Rivin: The Curie Museum. You’ve been there, right?

[00:36:40] Annie Sargent: Yes. Also, limited hours. Curie it’s a big room, it’s one-room museum. It’s fascinating if you’re interested in the history of the discovery of what is it called?

[00:36:53] Elyse Rivin: …Well, well, well, that’s how we get our radiologues, right? You’re absolutely right.

Fragonard Museum of Perfume

[00:36:57] Elyse Rivin: There’s aperfume museum called the Fragonard Museum of Perfume that I’ve been to many, many times. It’s right across the street from the Opera Garnier.

[00:37:05] Elyse Rivin: Fragonard, besides having been an artist in the 18th century, is actually the name of a company that produces perfumes and soaps that is in Grasse in Southeast France. But they have created this very interesting small museum that really explains how perfumes are made and gives you a very nice little exhibit ofthe history of perfume and perfume bottles and how they were used in the last few centuries.

[00:37:29] Elyse Rivin: For those of you who like perfume, it’s really lovely, actually. It’s very small, but it’s really interesting to spend time in.

Brâncuși Studio is free

[00:37:36] Elyse Rivin: There’s the Brâncuși studio. I’ve actually been in online talking to a couple of people recently. We were talking about artist studios. Brâncuși was a sculptor who lived in the first part of the 20th century. And when he died, I don’t know if it he was the one, or it was his family, they left everything that he had to the city of Paris. And so they created, they recreated and right next to the Pompidou Centre of Contemporary Art, they rebuilt a room to look like the studio that he had had, and they put everything back in, so that it looks exactly like that. So you can go in, he was a very interesting sculptor. He did very beautiful kinds of work. It’s in the Marais. It’s right, it’s really attached tothe Centre Pompidou.

[00:38:23] Annie Sargent: Oh, okay. But that part is free.

[00:38:25] Annie Sargent: That part is free. Yeah.

[00:38:26] Annie Sargent: And I think going up the top of the Pompidou is also free.

[00:38:32] Elyse Rivin: Just as long as you just go up the escalator all the way to the top.

[00:38:35] Annie Sargent: Right, because how this works is that they let you move around the museum and at one point they ask for your ticket to enter the actual rooms of the museum. But up until the point where you get to that, including going up the escalator, it’s free.

[00:38:51] Elyse Rivin: Yeah, which is fine because you get a nice view.

[00:38:54] Annie Sargent: It’s wonderful. It’s wonderful. Just going up and down the escalator is interesting. Ah, I’m easily amused probably, but I like it.

[00:39:02] Elyse Rivin: I’ve done that in Gallery Lafayette a few times since I look at the price tag and I go, nevermind, you know.

[00:39:07] Elyse Rivin: Right, just looking around the store.

[00:39:11] Elyse Rivin: There’s a contemporary art center that I very honestly do not know, that apparently sounds very interesting for those of us who are interested in contemporary art.

[00:39:19] Elyse Rivin: That’s in the 19th Arrondissment, which I probably should try and find.

Musée Zadkine is free

[00:39:22] Elyse Rivin: There’s a museum called Musée Zadkine. He was an artist, he was a Russian immigrant at the beginning of the 20th century, who was friends with Picasso and all these people. His little museum, which is where he lived and had a studio is free all the time. It’s in the 6th, it’s in the Saint-Germain area.

Museum of the Shoah is free

[00:39:39] Elyse Rivin: And of course, the Museum of the Shoah, which is the Museum of the Holocaust, which is in the Marais, which is free and open to everyone.

[00:39:48] Annie Sargent: An amazing place to visit. I cannot recommend it more highly. Be prepared to cry a little bit, especially if you read all the, if you read all the signs and you understand what you’re looking at. Oh, it’s like a it, it’ll tear through you, but worth it. Do it.

[00:40:06] Elyse Rivin: Now, there are some museums that are either free when there’s no temporary exhibit, or not free when there is, it’s kind of confusing. The best thing to do if you don’t want to go up to a museum thinking it’s free and get stuck there because you have to pay, is to really check online.

The Bourdelle Museum and other free museums you may have to pay

[00:40:26] Elyse Rivin: But let me just very quickly mention some of them because some of these are more well known. You have the Bourdelle Museum, which is, he was an artist. So again, it’s a place where it has his studio in his house.

[00:40:38] Elyse Rivin: You have the Cernuschi Museum, which is a Museum of Asian art. You have the Cognacq-Jay, which is a gorgeous private mansion right near the Picasso Museum that has some very beautiful things but is, again, you have to pay if there’s a temporary exhibit.

Petit Palais

[00:40:53] Elyse Rivin: You have the Petit Palais, which is theoretically free, which is interesting because the Grand Palais which is just across from it is not. But the problem with the Petit Palais is that the part that’s free is the permanent exhibit. If there’s a temporary exhibit, then you do have to pay.

[00:41:11] Elyse Rivin: But you can go in to a place like the Petit Palais and only go to the permanent exhibit, in which case you do not have to pay any money.

[00:41:19] Annie Sargent: I think the Grand Palais is closed right now for renovation for a while anyway, and they moved some of the collections to the Champ de Mars.

[00:41:27] Annie Sargent: So when you’re up on the Eiffel Tower, there’s this, on one side you have the Trocadéro. On the other side you have the Champ de Mars and there is a big white tent. It’s for the temporary house of the Grand Palais.

[00:41:41] Elyse Rivin: Oh, they’ll be interesting to see. There’s a very lovely little, if you’re interested in the history of French writers in the 16th in the area that’s called Passy, which is a kind of a part of the 16th Arrondissement that used to be a village.

[00:41:54] Elyse Rivin: There is the home of Balzac, the famous writer, and it’s fun to visit. It’s actually kind of neat thing to visit. It’s free.

[00:42:02] Annie Sargent: Right. And so I walked by it once I went on purpose and hadn’t checked if it was open or not, and it was not. Denied. Denied. I should have. I should have checked.

[00:42:13] Elyse Rivin: That’s the problem with some of these. The same is true for the House of Victor Hugo on The Place des Vosges. It’s free.

[00:42:19] Annie Sargent: Yeah, but that one is, it’s free and it’s open quite a bit. Because it’s on The Place des Vosges so, you know, there’s a lot of visitors walking through the area. So that’s, that one’s open, and they refurbished it not long ago. I haven’t seen it since the refurbishment, but I might try and go inside this time. I’m going to Paris on Monday and I might try to go, we’ll see.

[00:42:39] Elyse Rivin: And the last one, which is one that I’m going to try and go see soon because I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard some interesting things about it. It’s called the Museum of Romantic Life. What a name for a museum. I think that’s kind of cool.

[00:42:51] Elyse Rivin: Yes. It’s in the 9th, which means it’s in a very chic part of the city. And the pictures make it look very pretty. It’s a big private house with a little bit of a garden in front, there’s a cafe there. And I’m just kind of curious to see what’s there and why. Always free. Oh, no, I’m sorry. No, it’s part of the group that’s free except when there’s a special exhibit. Yeah.

Museums that are free on the first Sunday of the month

[00:43:12] Elyse Rivin: Which, you know. Now, what is left? What is left is all of the big famous ones that you’ve all heard of that are mostly the National Museums, which of course includes The Louvre, Orsay, Cluny, The Picasso Museum, Branly, the Museum of Jewish History, the Orangerie, Les Invalides, Rodin Museum. All of these are museums that are only open free one day a month, and that is the first Sunday of the month.

[00:43:43] Annie Sargent: Right, and they’re also mobbed that day.

[00:43:46] Elyse Rivin: And they’re also mobbed that day, which is part of the problem. Yes. That is really the problem with these, if you really want to go to those museums and you don’t want to be suffocating in a crowd, then you will probably have to pay. And they all have one night a week that’s open late, which makes a bit of a little bit of a difference in terms of the crowds, but it’s hard to, unless you can handle being with zillions and zillions of people, just know that those unfortunately are the museums where you will have to pay to go in to see them.

[00:44:19] Annie Sargent: Yeah, I mean, and also the problem is it’s one day a month, and so you have to be there on the right day to enjoy it. This is for people who, this is meant for people who live in or around Paris and want to go as a family and…

European Kids under 18 get in free to almost every cultural institution in France.

[00:44:33] Annie Sargent: Another thing that I want to mention is that kids under 18 get in free to almost every cultural institution in France. The trick is you have to be european. So if you are English, no more.

[00:44:54] Annie Sargent: If you’re American, no more. So perhaps you’ll have a well-meaning person at the booth who will not charge you for your kids, but don’t count on it, okay? This is only Europeans and you need to be able to prove that you’re european, so you have to have your ID or whatever. Yeah, don’t count on it. If you’re visiting from Australia, the US, Canada, England. That doesn’t apply to you. And I still have a lot of people asking me, you know, should I even buy a ticket for my kids? And I’m like, well, it’s hard to decide because it’s entirely possible you show up and that day you’ll have somebody nice who won’t charge you for the kids, but then you have to leave it up to that day to buy all your tickets and you might have to line up for an hour, so it just depends.

University student under 26 get a reduction

[00:45:45] Elyse Rivin: Let me just add one little thing to that. It won’t make it free, but if you are a university student and you are under 26, you will get a reduction.

[00:45:53] Annie Sargent: Yes, bring your student ID. If you have one, bring your student ID.

[00:45:57] Elyse Rivin: Even if you’re from Australia or the United States. Yes.

[00:46:00] Annie Sargent: Student ID are recognized from anywhere, so do that. Yes.

Art galleries

[00:46:05] Elyse Rivin: Now, and then of course the last, but not least in terms of talking about museums is that there are lots and lots of art galleries. And even the School of Fine Arts of Paris, which is in the 6th in the Saint Germain area, right near the Seine River, is open to the public. There’s a part of it down below with a lobby that usually has exhibits either of the student’s work of other kinds of work, but it’s in this gorgeous 17th century mansion. Art galleries all the way around there. The Sixth and Seventh Arrondissement are the ones that have the most, even though I’m sure there are art galleries in other parts of the city as well, and art galleries are free.

[00:46:41] Annie Sargent: They are indeed.

[00:46:43] Annie Sargent: Now, one thing I wish were free and it’s not is the Garden of the Rodin Museum. Unfortunately, that one you have to pay even to get in the garden. Which is too bad because they have the thinker there so obviously it would be mobbed. Yeah, that okay. I just talked myself out

[00:47:02] Elyse Rivin:

[00:47:02] Annie Sargent: of that.

The Park of the Chateau de Versailles is free

[00:47:02] Elyse Rivin: But you’re right, because in the back, the part that’s not, that doesn’t have that much, has a little bit of sculpture, but it’s really a park park. You know? I mean, it’s almost like a neighborhood park, and it is kind of a shame that it’s not open. Which brings us to the fact that it is a fact that if you want to go out to Versailles and you don’t want to spend the money on a ticket for the Château, you can visit the park, which is immense. Which is absolutely fabulous in beautiful weather. And you do not have to pay.

[00:47:33] Annie Sargent: Correct, yes. The gardens of Versailles, unless it’s a special day where they have the waters and the lights show, and that. In that case, and again, those are regularly scheduled. Check their website for the dates. I think it’s Tuesday nights, Thursday nights, Friday nights during the summer months. But check the website because I’m just going off of my memory. And for those days you have to pay to get even into the garden, but the rest of the time it’s free. Like there’s people who live in Versailles, have family in Versailles. They go in the gardens whenever they feel like it. In and out, not a problem.

[00:48:13] Elyse Rivin: And is beautiful.

[00:48:15] Annie Sargent: And it is beautiful. Obviously, not as beautiful in January and the winter months as it is in the fall and summer. It’s a garden.

[00:48:23] Elyse Rivin: It’s a park. It’s a park.

[00:48:25] Annie Sargent: All right, Elyse, you have done a fabulous job recapping all of this. So if you are somebody who is on a budget, if you are a young person and you’re not sure you have the budget, which is how it is with young people, right? They want to go everywhere, but then once they get there, they’re like, oh, I don’t know if I can pay for this.

[00:48:44] Elyse Rivin: Use your, if you’re young and you can get a hold of a student card, it really helps. It even helps you get a reduction in the cinema.

Don’t be shy and ask if there are discounts!

[00:48:51] Annie Sargent: Cinema, the metro and you know,French people love nothing more but to help you get a good deal. So instead of trying to navigate these websites that give you a million possibilities and you’re not sure, you know, use the websites to know if it’s open or not. That’s really good. But then to be very specific about how much you’re going to pay, like which metro tickets are the best, just go talk to a human. There are booths in the metro everywhere. Go talk to a human, tell them it’s me and my three kids, and they will find you the best deal. You won’t have to read the fine print for all these, because the prices are complicated. It just depends on where you’re going and we can’t explain it easily. But if you are there and you can talk to a human, they will direct you to, to the best price.

Go to the Jardin des Plantes!

[00:49:46] Annie Sargent: It’s the same with like the places, like the Jardin des Plantes. The garden, walking around is free and it’s gorgeous. Gorgeous. And once you get in, and I think at that one even families of any origin, the kids would get in free. The parents would have to pay.

[00:50:05] Elyse Rivin: The Museum of Natural History,

[00:50:06] Elyse Rivin: I think it’s under 12 there. I think that’s what it is.

[00:50:08] Annie Sargent: Yes. But do go ask them, because you know, if you’re thinking, oh, we’re going to pay 30 for everyone in the family, that’s a lot. But if you only pay 30 bucks for the two parents, thenit’s fine. It’s a good price. And when I was there with my niece and my daughter and whatever, and they told us about a family discount. So talk to them. They often have discounts for families and young people and all that.

[00:50:36] Elyse Rivin: And usually it is a fact that in the booths there, they will understand your English if you…

[00:50:42] Annie Sargent: Yeah. Generally they will. Merci Elyse. Merci.


Patrons and supporters

[00:50:55] Annie Sargent: Again, I want to thank my patrons for supporting the show and giving back. Patrons get several exclusive rewards for doing that, you can see them at Thank you all for supporting the show, some of you have been doing it for many years now, you are wonderful. And a shout out this week to new patrons, Andrew Kandrevas and Scott Manville, thank you so much for becoming patrons and making this podcast possible.

[00:51:23] Annie Sargent: Patrons, I would like to encourage you to install the Patreon app on your phone. It’ll help you enjoy the rewards while on the go, including audio and video rewards. This week I released an exclusive reward for my wonderful patrons who are eager to enhance their French language skills, by focusing on the pronunciation of each and every stop on the Paris Metro line 3, you’ll be on your way to sounding like a true Parisian.

Preparing a trip to France?

[00:51:52] Annie Sargent: And if you’re gearing up for a journey to France and immersing yourself in as many episodes as possible to prepare, keep doing it, you are doing it right! This podcast is an excellent resource to help you get ready for your adventures.

[00:52:07] Annie Sargent: You can also take advantage of my expertise as your personal itinerary consultant. To get started, simply follow these steps.

[00:52:15] Annie Sargent: Number one, purchase the service at

[00:52:19] Annie Sargent: Number two, complete a questionnaire to share your travel ideas and preferences.

[00:52:24] Annie Sargent: Number three, schedule a phone appointment during which we’ll discuss your plans for about an hour.

[00:52:30] Annie Sargent: And number four, after our conversation, I’ll send you a comprehensive document outlining the itinerary that we discussed. Please note that my schedule tends to be really, really booked up several weeks in advance. To find my next available date, visit the only place where you can buy this service, the Join Us in France boutique.

[00:52:51] Annie Sargent: Secure your spot and let’s create a memorable French adventure tailored just for you.

Self-guided tours

[00:52:57] Annie Sargent: And if my schedule is fully booked and you’re unable to consult with me directly, fear not,

[00:53:01] Annie Sargent: you can still take me along for your Parisian adventure with my GPS self-guided tours available on the VoiceMap app. I’ve created seven immersive tours, each showcasing a distinct iconic neighborhood of Paris.

[00:53:17] Annie Sargent: Choose from the Eiffel Tower, which is available in English or French, Ile de la Cité, Le Marais, Montmartre, Saint Germain des Prés or the Latin Quarter.

[00:53:28] Annie Sargent: Embarking on one of my tours in the morning during your Paris visit and exploring the various stops will ensure a fantastic experience. It’s a far better alternative to aimlessly wondering while attempting to recall snippets of information that you’ve heard or read.

[00:53:45] Annie Sargent: With my guided tours, you can leave your worries behind and fully immerse yourself in the Parisian ambience.

[00:53:52] Annie Sargent: You can access my tours directly from the VoiceMap app, but if you purchase the tour codes from, you’ll receive a special listener discount. Happy exploring to you!

[00:54:06] Annie Sargent: An anonymous person left this comment about my Ile de la Cité tour last week. And I quote: “we did this tour today. This is the third one we’ve done, Latin Quarter and St Germain. The tours are great because we love getting the little history lessons. We ate at St Regis because we were starving after Musee d’Orsay and the tour, the food was excellent, chicken ravioli and the salmon. North Americans may find the portion small, but it’s probably the right healthy amount. I would encourage Annie to add more restaurant recommendations. I’m always worried that I’m stopping at an overpriced, so-so tourist trap”. Hmm.

[00:54:47] Annie Sargent: Well, thank you very much for this review. Recommending restaurants can be challenging because they often change ownership. In my tours, I focus on suggesting establishments with a longstanding history, increasing the likelihood that they’ll be still there for years to come.

[00:55:04] Annie Sargent: As for concerns about overpriced dining, it’s important to remember that French restaurants are required to display their prices outside. Simply search for the menu before entering, and you’ll never be caught off guard by unexpected costs.

French political landscape

[00:55:21] Annie Sargent: This in French news, I would like to tell you a little bit about the French political landscape because there’s a lot of political stuff going on and it would be helpful I think, if you understand how things roll in France. Navigating the French political landscape can be intricate given the multitude of parties and ideologies vying for power and influence.

[00:55:42] Annie Sargent: Here’s a concise overview of some prominent players.

The Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste or PS)

[00:55:47] Annie Sargent: The Socialist Party, Parti Socialiste or PS. It’s a center-left party, traditionally central to French politics. It has recently struggled a lot. The party supports wealth redistribution, social welfare programs and environmental protections.

[00:56:05] Annie Sargent: However, it has lost significant influence as demonstrated by the decline in parliamentary seats from 280 to 27 over the last 10 years.

The Republicans (Les Républicains, LR)

[00:56:19] Annie Sargent: Les Républicains, The Republicans, a center-right party, previously known as Union for a Popular Movement, the UMP. They champion a liberal economic agenda, lower taxes, reduced government, market intervention, strong national defense and law and order politics.

[00:56:39] Annie Sargent: This party has seen a decrease in parliamentary seats currently holding 97 and I think they will lose more going forward.

The National Front (Front National, FN)

[00:56:50] Annie Sargent: The National Front, so that the Front National or FN. This far-right party has gained considerable support in recent years promoting nationalists and anti-immigrant policies, skepticism towards the European Union and globalization and stringent law and order policies. Its representation in Parliament has increased from 0 to 44 seats. I fear if an election were held today, they would make even bigger gains.

La République En Marche! (LREM)

[00:57:23] Annie Sargent: La République En Marche! That’s LREM, founded in 2016 by Emmanuel Macron, this centrist party advocates liberal economic policies and strong European Union ties.

[00:57:37] Annie Sargent: Despite its recent emergence, the party now holds 170 seats in parliament, although it faces challenges in maintaining its momentum.

The Greens (Europe Écologie Les Verts, EELV)

[00:57:48] Annie Sargent: The Greens, that’s Europe Écologie Les Verts, EELV. This left-wing party emphasizes environmental issues and sustainability, advocating progressive social policies such as LGBT rights and gender equality.

[00:58:04] Annie Sargent: Historically, they have held only a small fraction of vote, but maybe they’ll increase seats in the future election. They are anti-nuclear, so that’s a big problem with them.

La France Insoumise (LFI)

[00:58:19] Annie Sargent: La France Insoumise (LFI). Established in 2016 by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a former Socialist Party member. This left-wing populist party is critical of the European Union, it champions policies like a much higher minimum wage, increased social spending and a transition to renewable energy without nuclear power.

[00:58:42] Annie Sargent: Now the French political landscape, as you can see, is currently characterized by polarization and volatility.

[00:58:50] Annie Sargent: Parties and coalitions can rapidly gain and lose support leading to a fluid political situation. France now has two prominent populist parties, one on the far right, that’s Le Pen, and the other one on the far left by Mélenchon. With traditional parties losing ground, the political map is undergoing significant changes.

[00:59:14] Annie Sargent: I hesitate to forecast the future, but it appears to me that there is an immediate necessity to identify methods for addressing the concerns of ordinary citizens in France who feel left behind by globalization and struggle to find stable well-paying jobs.

[00:59:33] Annie Sargent: As a result, I hope that President Macron and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne can continue pushing for the idea that we should not fund pensions through borrowed money. I do believe that it’s acceptable for nations to incur debt in order to make significant progress, like decarbonization, invest in health, in education. That kind of debt is great, but debt for pensions? No. You shouldn’t do that.

[01:00:03] Annie Sargent: I really think that there’s incredible values in pensions continuing to be self-sustaining as much as possible. I know, this view is not widely shared, as a matter of fact I’m in the minority here by a lot, but I really believe that it’s important for it to get traction because that’s where the future is, you know, don’t get in debt for pensions. That is just the wrong way to go about it.

The travel question of the week: what to do about strikes in Paris?

[01:00:31] Annie Sargent: The travel question of the week. Shelly asks, “Hi, Annie, I am in your Facebook group and so enjoy all the posts and recommendations. I don’t post much publicly, but I’m traveling to Paris in 10 days and wanted to get your opinion of being there with the protests and how best to enjoy our visit there during this time. Any suggestions you have are so appreciated.”

[01:00:54] Annie Sargent: Okay, great question, Shelly.

[01:00:56] Annie Sargent: When visiting Paris or France encountering protests, it is best to prioritize your safety and enjoy your visit without disruptions as much as possible. Here are some suggestions for dealing with this.

[01:01:11] Annie Sargent: Stay informed. Keep an eye on local news and social media to stay updated on the potential protests or disruptions in the city. You can also check with your hotel for advice on the current situation. These big demonstrations are never announced very far in advance. We normally know the night before, so you have to ask locals, what’s going on tomorrow, if anything.

[01:01:39] Annie Sargent: Avoid the protest areas, obviously. If you know that there’s a planned protest, just don’t go to that area at all. Once in a while protests escalate into violence. It’s not common, thank God, but it’s safer to steer clear of those hotspots.

[01:01:55] Annie Sargent: Maintain a flexible itinerary. Be prepared to adjust your plans if protests or demonstrations are affecting popular tourist destinations or public transportation, have alternative attractions or activities in mind and be ready to reschedule visits to certain sites if necessary.

[01:02:14] Annie Sargent: Use alternative transportation. If public transportation is disrupted due to protests, consider using taxis, ride sharing services or walking to get to your destination. I think walking is best on big protest days. Always have a map or GPS handy to navigate through Paris.

[01:02:35] Annie Sargent: Remain calm and respectful. If you find yourself unexpectedly near a protest, for example, if you come out of a metro station and there’s a protest going on around there, stay calm, maintain a respectful distance, do not engage in any arguments or discussions with the protestors as it may escalate tensions. Also realize that local authorities are there to ensure your safety, but also the safety of the protestors. They are making sure that the protests can proceed peacefully. They’re not there to break their heads unless the protestors start to be aggressive towards the police.

[01:03:16] Annie Sargent: So pay attention to any instructions or guidance that they give you, because they are there to keep order for residents and visitors.

[01:03:27] Annie Sargent: It’s always a good idea to inform your embassy or consulate that you’re going to be, you know, visiting Paris. That’s a general thing, and that way you get alerts on your phone.

[01:03:37] Annie Sargent: Those alerts are usually really pessimistic, but you know, sometimes it’s good to have them. But it’s even better to talk to the person manning the booth somewhere or at your hotel.

[01:03:50] Annie Sargent: If you take these precautions, you can minimize the impact of protests on your visit to Paris and ensure an enjoyable trip.

[01:03:58] Annie Sargent: And I think the protests are going to go down further. The law is not passed completely yet because the constitutional council is looking at it, but it’s getting closer. It’s getting close to the end.

Podcast Promo

[01:04:12] Annie Sargent: if you’d like to assist your friends organize their trip to France, you can visit and share the podcast trailer with them. It’s concise, it’s engaging. The trailer might be exactly what they need to get inspired. And I’d love to play more voice feedback on the show. If you have a question or comment, record a voice memo on your phone and email it to me annie@JoinUsinFrance.Com. And if you let me, I’ll play it on the podcast.

[01:04:43] Annie Sargent: A big thank you to podcast editor Cristian Cotovan, who produces the transcripts so you can find in which episode we’ve talked about the place that you’re interested in.

[01:04:53] Annie Sargent: Next week on the podcast, an episode about spending four days in Strasbourg with Marion Hill and Brenda Orozco. They had a great time and shared some magnificent tips.

[01:05:06] Annie Sargent: Thank you so much for listening, and I hope you join me next time so we can look around France together. Au revoir.


[01:05:13] Annie Sargent: The Join Us in France Travel Podcast is written, hosted, and produced by Annie Sargent and Copyright 2023 by Addicted to France. It is released under a Creative Commons, attribution, non-commercial, no derivatives license.

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Categories: France on a Budget, Paris