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Q&A


By Ilona Kauremszky


Q: We'll be on a tight budget on our next trip to Paris. I was hoping you could provide some suggestions on what we can do without killing our pocketbook.

A: Like most European cities, Paris opens its doors to many landmarks free of charge. Sure some of them have separate pricing for bell tower trips, but you'll find churches and cathedrals perfect stops for solitude and beauty. Over at Notre Dame Cathedral, marvel at the stained glass windows that cascade a rainbow of colors onto the altar or drop by the Sacre Couer in Montmartre where buskers attract their own crowd by the worn limestone stairs leading up to the historic building.

On an early morning, venture onto the side streets for some local market shopping. Here you can purchase baguettes, cheese and fruit and store them for an afternoon lunch along the many benches that line the famous Tuileries garden or Luxembourg garden.

Prized public sculptures abound everywhere in the City of Light. You can snap your photo with the historic Eiffel Tower in the background or stand beside the group of Rodin statues situated amidst the green oasis of the famous Luxembourg Garden.

Cemeteries are also loads of fun. It's been said that among the 15 cemeteries in Paris, the Montmartre Cemetery is one of the most picturesque together with Montparnasse and Pere Lachaise. I meandered over to the Montmartre Cemetery in the 18th arrondissement and paid respects to film director Francois Truffaut, Degas, Greuze and Stendhal.

One amazing web site you may wish to bookmark is http://www.freetodofrance.freeserve.co.uk/page110.html. It's chock-ablock of info on free things to do in France. One of the best features of this site is that it organizes info based on your region of interest. So, if it's Paris where you wish to leave your heart, then click on this valuable resource and read through the scrolls of text.

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