Even those who are on a budget, Paris is an unexpected pleasure

I remember when my husband first took me on a canal ride on Canal St. Martin. A canal that is only open to boat rides during the summer. A canal that cuts through the 4th and 10th arrondisements, that is the heart of the bohemian Paris. Of course, as I read this article in NY Times, I was reminded once again, the democratic pleasures of Paris… that the Proustian aspects of Paris need not be costly….

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IF YOU GO HOW TO GET AROUND

The Vélib’ bicycle-rental system has become exceedingly popular. Rental stations are located all around the city, and a one-hour rental costs only 1 euro.

The Métro is the best alternative (besides walking). Tickets are 1.60 euros each, but can be bought in packets of 10 (un carnet) for 11.40 euros, about $16 at $1.41 to the euro. If you’re going to be in Paris from Monday through Sunday, or plan to ride the Métro frequently, invest in a swipable Navigo card. The card itself costs 5 euros, and a weeklong unlimited credit is 16.80 euros. Hold on to the card when the week is up — you can use it on your next visit.

WHERE TO STAY

Hipotel Paris Belleville, 21, rue Vicq d’Azir, (33-1) 4208-0670; singles from 32 euros.

Hôtel des Arts Bastille, 2, rue Godefroy Cavaignac; (33-1) 4379-7257, www.paris-hotel-desarts.com; doubles from 59 euros.

Les Chansonniers, 113, boulevard de Ménilmontant; (33-1) 4357-0058, doubles with shared bathroom from 46 euros, with ensuite bathroom from 59 euros.

WHAT TO SEE

Musée Carnavalet , 23, rue de Sévigné;(33-1) 4459-5858; www.carnavalet.paris.fr, free admission.

Musée Cognacq-Jay, 8, rue Elzévir; (33-1) 4027-0721; www.cognacq-jay.paris.fr., free admission.

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, 62, rue des Archives; (33-1) 5301-9240, www.chassenature.org; admission 6 euros, free the first Sunday of every month.

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK

Pink Flamingo, 67, rue Bichat; (33-1) 4202-3170; www.pinkflamingopizza.com

Le Verre Volé, 67, rue de Lancry; (33-1) 4803-1734; www.leverrevole.fr.

Bistrot Victoires, 6, rue de la Vrillière; (33-1) 4261-4378.

Chez Georges, 11, rue des Canettes; (33-1) 4326-7915.

Le Baron Rouge, 1, rue Théophile-Roussel, (33-1) 4343-1432.

Churrasqueira Galo, 69, rue de Dunkerque, (33-1) 4874-4940

Le Garde Robe, 41, rue de l’Arbre Sec, (33-1) 4926-9060.

Le Cul de Poule, 53, rue des Martyrs, (33-1) 5316-1307, is super-playful from its name (literally, chicken butt; figuratively, double-boiler) to its décor (orange chairs, bed-like banquette). But the cooking is serious, precise, creative and affordable, with two courses 23 euros, and three for 26.

Le Bar à Soupes, 33, rue de Charonne; (33-1) 4357-5379; www.lebarasoupes.com, offers an excellent lunch deal: a fresh market soup, two types of cheese, bread and a glass of wine for 9.90 euros.

WHERE TO SHOP

À Chacun Son Image, 35-37, rue Charlot, (33-665) 2395-0300; achacunsonimage.wordpress.com.

Native Kingdom, 24, rue de Poitou

A.P.C. Surplus, 20, rue Andre del Sarte; (33-1) 4262-1088; www.apc.fr.

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