Paris for Students – Where to eat (for cheap)

Cheap eats in Paris

A typical meal out at a nice French restaurant will cost around 15€. This is pretty steep. But if you really want that typical French restaurant experience..

1. I recommend eating lunch out and staying in for dinner – lunch menus are generally cheaper than dinner. Plus it is usually less crowded!

2. Eating in the restaurant will cost more than getting things to go, too – unlike in North America, Parisian restaurants charge a premium for people to eat in, even in places like MacDonald’s. I think it makes sense, since there is limited space in the city but this is a good-to-know fact so you don’t get mad when you see the price difference.


Vous allez…(Are you going to)
Manger sur place – Eat here?
Prendre à porter – Take it to go?

3. My friend took me to the Vietnamese district around Place d’Italie (Metro stop: Place d’Italie, Line 5,6 and 7), on Avenue d’Ivry, which you get to after walking down Avenue de Choisy and passing the Parc de Choisy. If you are looking for an amazing pho place, I highly recommend Le Lotus on Avenue d’Ivry. A bowl of pho will be around 8€. And in case you were looking for some hard-to-find ingredients there are also a lot of Asian grocery stores in the the area.

Yummy beef noodle soup!

4. I’ve heard 13e arrondissement is China Town, but I never got around to exploring the neighbourhood. It’s the area around Place d’Italie, but it seemed more like a mini-Vietnam than a Chinatown.

Bonus Tangent!

French people don’t seem to know the difference between types of Asian people yet, so you see a lot of ‘Asian’ restaurants which are, upon closer inspection, not Chinese but Vietnamese. I’m not complaining because I love Vietnamese food, but after growing up in Vancouver, a very Asian influenced city, I know and appreciate the difference between Asian foods and don’t like to see them grouped together: Sushi ≠ Korean BBQ ≠ Pho ≠ Pad Thai ≠ Chow Mein, and should therefore NOT be generalized.

6. And if you’re starving near the Louvre, get some ramen at the mini-mini Japanese district on Rue Sainte-Anne (Metro stop: Pyramides, Line 7 and 14). I went to Sapporo Ramen, and it wasn’t too bad but it definitely wasn’t as good as anything I could get in Vancouver. Not bad for around 9€ though.

There’s usually a line going around the corner, but it goes fast!

7. If Asian food’s not your thing, shawarma/donair and crepe places are almost everywhere.

Oh crepe nutella, how I miss you so.

8. And finally, if you want French baked goods on the go, the popular bakery franchises that sell baguette sandwiches are Paul, Brioche d’Oree, and Pomme de Pain and they are always decently priced – around 4€ for a baguette sandwich. If you wanna be spectacularly French, eat that baguette while on the Metro gawking at gorgeous Parisians – t’es trop cool.

Went to this one at Charles de Gaulle everytime I got back from a weekend trip. Good sandwiches. Good times.


Bonus tangent: A little known fact: All European students can get into most museums in France for free! It worked with a one year international HEC Paris student card, anyway 🙂 You’ll read all over the internet that all the museums are free on the first Sunday of every month, but they will also be VERY crowded – and with a student discount, museums are usually between 5-15 euros. So skip the crowds and enjoy them properly!

Happy eating!

Shiv 🙂


Paris for Students – Best places to people watch

One of my favourite things to do in any city is people watch. I don’t find many places to do this peacefully in Vancouver – usually I’m getting the death stare from the waitresses for sitting for hours with a coffee, or it’s too cold and wet to sit on the grass and watch people jog by with their dogs.

But Paris is the perfect city for sitting and watching people! It’s not only acceptable, but it’s a part of parisien culture: just sit, relax and watch the world. You will have the best time, if you let yourself. Oh, but a little warning – don’t gawk at the gorgeous people and outfits walking by, and at least wipe the drool from your mouth once in a while. Parisiens are hot. You have been warned.

I had a couple of favourite haunts in Paris that were great for people watching. Maybe you like them too 🙂 So, in no particular order…

**Warning: Almost all of them involve food because food always makes the experience better – no exceptions.

Buy some wine, cheese, a baguette and grapes to have a picnic on the grassy part below the Sacre CoeurYou will be looking at the best view of Paris.

paris views people watch students

The view from the Sacre Coeur. Sometimes, you'll be serenaded by French artists here too!

Bring blankets and a couple beers to enjoy on the lawns of the Champs de Mars, near the Eiffel TowerWatch the hordes of tourists go buy and watch the lights of the beautiful metal symbol of Paris 🙂

paris for students champs de mars

The grassy parts you're allowed to sit on...and stare at the glorious metal tower 🙂

Sit on the sloped cement area near the Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges PompidouYou’re in the heart of Chatelet Les Halles (my favourite area of Paris, great for shopping and loitering around pop art stores). And you can watch the people walk around the crazy museum tubes.

centre georges pompidou people watching paris

Join the pigeons. They know what's up.

Drink a coffee or a glass of wine in any cafe on the street. Is there any way to do soak in the culture than a good book, a glass of something delicious,  fresh air, a good street view and your own thoughts? No. There isn’t.

paris street cafe people watching

Aren't you jealous? Yeah, me too.

So to get you even more immersed in the street life of Paris…Here is an introduction to what you will hear on the streets! Enjoy!

Happy creeping,

Shiv 🙂

Day -1: The night before I go on exchange to Paris

Words alone cannot express how I am feeling the night before the morning I leave for 4 months to study abroad…so I will use anime to fully express myself.

It’s the night before I leave for my loooooong awaited trip to Paris, France, to study Business at HEC Paris!! And needless to say, I’m pretty fired up.


But there are a 2 things I’m sad about:

1. It’s sad to leave my friends and family for such a long time

2. I leave in 6 hours (my flight is in the morning) and I’m STILL AWAKE!

Why can't I sleep?!

I’m pretty sure it’s because I’ve been waiting for this day for years so needless to say, I’m pretty excited.


Oh well. The next time I’m in a bed, I’ll be in my new dorm room in PARIS, FRANCE!!!

Insomniacally yours,

Shiv 🙂

Chronicles of a jobless student: Part II

So…I kind of have a job now. It’s a part-time waitress/busser position at a breakfast diner in the city, run by a nice Taiwanese family.

But here are the catches:

  • It doesn’t pay all that well
  • It has NOTHING to do with Marketing
On the upside:
  • The people I’m working for are super nice.
  • The work itself is really easy
  • The customers are adorable – They’re mostly these old people who’ve been coming to the diner for 10 years, they’re such characters it really reminds me of old-fashioned diners in movies. In fact, a movie approached the diner I’m now working at to ask if they could film a scene there – and they will, in June.
      The work environment itself is a big bonus, BUT I gotta be cutthroat about making money if I want to afford my trip to France. Which means I’m still going to an interview for another part-time position this week, and I’m also scheduled to promote Captain Morgan’s Rum in liquor stores for a day.
      I’m actually kind of looking forward to that, because all I do is give away free samples, hope people buy it, and let them take pictures with a giant cardboard Capt. Morgan….LOL!
        The job search continues for another job to supplement the one I have right now, because I know I won’t make enough money serving people toast a few days a week. I’m really glad that amidst all this uncertainty, my internship is pretty kick-ass. I do a little work with it everyday, and it was such a good idea to give my time for free to a business that’s more in line with my future career path. My friend, who’s studying Business at SFU, is planning on doing the same – Canada Border Agent by day, fashion blogger by night. When she starts it up I will definitely promote her on this site 🙂
                                                                                        BONUS TANGENT!

A happy side effect of working on my internship is finding out all these GREAT travel blogs that I’m *forced* to look up (I know, poor me). So here are some great travel articles I’ve just come across recently:

1. Travel and the Single Girl (oh yeah, this one hits close to home)
2. NOT a porn article, but a hilarious and offbeat adventure of a girl traveller in Hong Kong
3. Travel Talk on Twitter – the topics of discussion and dates are all on this facebook site, and I’ve had a lot of fun reading the discussions as a break from studying
4. Unusual places around the world worth seeing
5. A Dutchman who freeloaded his way across the world, and ended up travelling all across Europe, eventually ending up in Canada without spending any money. May I have your life, please?
6. And what would a list from Shiv be without a nod to food? Here’s a must-eat foodie checklist of the best places to eat the best dishes (makes me proud that I’ve definitely had one of them – Nanaimo Bars – before!) 
BONUS TANGENT #2!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The radio is right beside my bed at home, so when I have trouble getting up, or if I’m just feeling jaunty in the morning, I click it on and squirm in my bed before I finally get up. I was REALLY pleasantly surprised to here this song about Vaseline first thing in the morning, and actually got out of bed giggling because of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Flaming Lips – She don’t use jelly

How to go to France and come back a d-bag

My friend posted this article, “How to go abroad and come back an a-hole,” and it’s pretty hilarious.  And also super relevant to moi. Although I am not American, I will be going abroad to Europe and I anticipate many ‘reflective pose with my scarf on a cobblestone street’ pictures. JUST KIDDING….maybe 😉

So if I may modify this list a little to make it a bit more France-centric…

Number 1

Complain about the crappy quality of food as compared to French cuisine. In fact, a true d-bag would spit out any wine that is not French. Can you even call it wine?

Number 2

Use any opportunity, appropriate or not, to show off your new ‘perfect’ French accent. And scorn the Quebecois accent – it is not ‘real’ French anyway.

Number 3

Upon your long-awaited return, sigh and audibly wish you were back in France.

Ok. So.

I definitely value food and wines from around the world, so the first bullet on my list will NEVER happen.

And my love of Quebec runs pretty deep, Quebec just has this great vibe that makes it a fun-loving, easy going place. I really have nothing against their accent, since I was taught French by both Quebecois and non-Quebecois teachers so they both seem normal to me.

But I make no promises for #3 😛