Paris for Students – A Guide to (Cheap) Barhopping

In Paris, you are never too far from a bar. And every time of the day is the right time to enjoy a glass of wine, or as they say, prendre un verre.

But be warned: drinking in bars is not cheap. To give you a general idea about the price of drinks…

  • Glass of wine: around 4€
  • Drinks during happy hour (between 6-9pm): 6-8€
  • Drinks at normal price: 9-13€
A couple cool bar districts I would recommend are:

The area around the metro stop Place Monge (Metro stop: Place Monge, Line 7 and 10). Very underrated, and packed with French people. Yay locals!

The bars in the red light district in Montmartre (Metro stop: Blanche, Line 2) but be careful at night because it can get pretty seedy. Typically full of tourists too, and the Sandeman pub crawls circulate around here.
The Bastille area is also really popular with French youth (Metro stop: Bastille, Line 5,1, and 8). Another place that gets pretty sketchy late at night, but soooo many bars to choose from.
The Latin Quarter has some pretty cool watering holes that are normally priced. You will most likely find fellow foreigners too, and a million shwarma shops to feed you late at night. Yum! (Metro stop: Saint Michel-Notre Dame, Line 4 or RER B on the suburban trains)
A note on going clubbing

Paris nightclubs are pretty damn good, and can be open as late as 6am. But beware: the metro stops running at 2AM, and opens at 5AM so if you’re going to go out, plan to head home early or stay out all night because taxis are hard to come by and aren’t cheap.

Paris is beautiful at night, and nothing should stop you from enjoying it!

Shiv 🙂

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Day 26: Moments of weakness

1 month later and it’s finally happened – for the first time, I’m disappointed in my exchange so far. A couple dilemmas I am facing are:

Not meeting many French people. It’s not that they are unfriendly, but they have established their friend groups ages ago, and international students leave in a couple months anyway…and to be honest, I’m still quite shy about my level of French. And there are so many cool events for international students, how do I pull myself away from them?

Still not finding some solid friends. I’ve always had a support system around me, be it my childhood friends or my family, but I haven’t met anyone I would trust as much as I do my friends in my home country. I hope this changes because it’s scary as hell.

Finding out I want to improve a lot about myself. I tire out so easily when I travel, I’m not as outgoing as I’d like and I’m sure I could be spending my time more wisely (actually applying to internships in Europe, for instance. God I need to get going on that). I also wish I had researched the places I’ve visited more thoroughly before arriving, so I know a couple reasons why this building is cool other than knowing that it’s very big and old.

NEW GOALS FOR THE SEMESTER!

  • Start working out regularly
  • Join sports clubs at school
  • Travel alone at least once, if not more often
  • Start applying to internships around Europe TOMORROW

I wonder if other exchange students face the same dilemmas. It’s so easy to get caught up in the social life, it’s easy to prioritize finding the best restaurants or reinventing your wardrobe, but I must remember that that isn’t why I’m on exchange. It’s just a bit hard remembering why I’m here with all these lovely distractions 🙂

Disappointedly yours,

Shiv 🙂

 

Day 6: Speed dating and other things that make me uncomfortable

There are many things that make moving to another country scary, uncomfortable and ultimately exciting. For instance:

1. Going to an all French class, with French people. My french is pretty good, but I’m definitely not as fluent as, oh, my very French professor and my French classmates. I’m very lucky I kept up my French after high school through movies and music, because the speed they speak is FAST, YO. I walked out of that lesson with fresh determination to find real French people to help me out.

2. Sharing a bathroom with guys and girls. Everywhere I go in this city, the guys and girls bathroom are so open you can basically see guys peeing. And now, I found out there are 2 guys on a floor of 10 girls and they have 2 urinals beside the stalls. I am now afraid of going to the bathroom. But on the other hand, being so ‘c’est pas grave’ or ‘it’s not a big deal’ about different genders’ bodily functions is quite progressive – a body needs to do what it needs to do, right? It is only natural.

3. Speed dating. This is a pretty good story, actually. I have never speed dated before and I definitely didn’t go into it too seriously – I just thought it was another weird event the International Student society at HEC Paris set up for us to meet people. But it was actually really…awkward. Maybe if  I didn’t already meet all the guys at  the rest of the parties this week it wouldn’t have been, but I knew all of them from before so it was like hanging out with friends in a romantic setting but with the added bonus of ranking them and being ranked on date-ability. *Shudder.

But this week has been really exciting so far. I’m trying to arrange a massive wine-tasting party/picnic in my dormitory by getting everyone to buy a really cheap liquor and having everyone have a taste. The objective is to find the best tasting cheap thing to make the official drink of my dorm 🙂 Who needs to take expensive wine tasting courses when you can do it at home with a bunch of amazing people for around 2 euros?

Gros bisous!

Shiv 🙂