Have your own”Midnight in Paris” experience this summer.
By Florin R. Ferrs (Paris Midnight Stroller)
In Woody Allen’s latest romp “Midnight in Paris”, the hero of the story goes for a midnight stroll in Paris and is soon transported (in a vintage car, no less) to the Paris of the 1920’s. A time when the city was full of talented (and not so talented) American expats, hell bent on riding out prohibition in the bars and cabarets of Paris. Those were heady days, best described by Ernest Hemingway in his novel Fiesta and in his memoir A Movable Feast. In the movie, the shocked protagonist meets face to face with Hemingway, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and other members of the American expat community that mingled with European artists like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali back in the 1920’s.
Your Own Private Midnight in Paris
You can now recreate your own midnight stroll in Paris. Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds may be long gone, but the beauty and inspiration that Paris gave to these writers and artists is still there to be found. Paris is a treasure trove of monuments, museums, parks and boulevards. Even its cemeteries are full of art and history. From the illustrious guests of the Père Lachaise cemetery, including Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison and Marcel Proust, to the thousands of bones stored in catacombs beneath its streets.
The City of Light
Your midnight stroll will take you along the neon windmill of the Moulin Rouge, still spinning in the Pigalle night, just like it did in the can-can days of Toulouse-Lautrec. And if you climb up to Montmartre and sit on the steps of the Sacré Cœur Church, you will be rewarded with the best night view of Paris (even better than from the top of the Eiffel tower, and it’s free). From this perspective, Paris is truly the city of lights. The Eiffel tower sparkles like a jewel in the inky night and the city spreads majestically in rows of white lights emanating from the many boulevards surrounding the Arc de Triomphe.
Another cheap Paris experience is to join the Parisians enjoying their summer picnics along the banks of the Seine river. You can pick the best baguettes and cheeses from any local boulangerie and fromagerie and a reasonably priced bottle of good French wine from a local supermarket. Another great place for a picnic in Paris is on the greens of the Esplanade des Invalides, with great views of the river and the Eiffel Tower.
For dinner, budget conscious travelers can head to the Champs-Élysées for Moules et Frites at Leon de Bruxelles (a steaming plate of mussels and fries), washed down with a pint of Belgian white ale. Or you can try the time tested budget travelers trick of ordering a good pizza and a salad for two in a quaint neighborhood restaurant, accompanied by a carafe of local wine. Other good cheap eats in Paris include great Moroccan couscous aux legumes and many neighborhood bistros located in the less touristy districts that serve honest French food for a fair price. This is where the locals eat, and you will be glad to eat with them.
Paris Side Trips
Another wonderful feature of Paris is its high speed trains. You can be in London in just under three hours by jumping on the Eurostar train. It speeds under the English Channel and delivers you from city center to city center in air conditioned comfort. This is perfect for a bonus side trip to either London or Brussels in about two hours. You can spend the day along the Dutch canals and be back in your Paris hotel that same night. Other speed trains, such as the TVG, connect Paris with the warm beaches of Southern France.
Fly to Paris on a Low Cost
You can get to Paris for less this summer with XL Airways France, they are a French low cost airline serving trans-Atlantic flights from New York and Las Vegas to Paris. European travelers have long taken advantage of the superb discounted airfares offered by low cost airlines and it’s about time that the American public begins to pick up this great custom. After all, who wants to pay more to fly over the water in the summer? I found a hot deal on XL Airways from $712 this summer from New York to Paris. Now I’m getting ready for my own Midnight in Paris experience, and you should too.