Monday, April 23, 2012

Expat Blog Hop (With A Prize For You!)

I'm proud to be participating in this year's Expat Blog Hop, sponsored by Blog In France! For this event we're encouraged to write something about the experience of being an expat. So what's it like? Take a look after the jump, and also enter to win my super-amazing Paris Cheapskate prize!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Sabrina and Barbara (from Austin, TX), who each won a personalized postcard from me (and Paris). If you're one of those ladies please be sure to send your address to parischeapskate - at! - so I can send you some Paris love!

For me, I was afraid when I moved here that I would not have enough money to truly experience Paris. I spent all last year saving up my money to live here, but I wasn't sure how long that would last me. As it's very difficult for Americans to get a job here, I knew that this little nest egg was going to be my main (and perhaps only) source of cash flow while I'm in Paris. But I was determined to make it last as long as possible, so I inflicted a pretty stringent budget upon myself. During my first couple of months I focused very hard on (and completed) my first novel, which was the perfect thing to do in winter. Just hole up and write. But as the sunshine of March beckoned me outside, I realized that my time in Paris would be wasted if I didn't let myself get out there and enjoy it.

Sure, Paris is the land of expensive hotels, extravagant dinners and elegant clothes to break the bank. But most of the people I hang out with aren't rich. I knew there were ways to make the most of Paris without crushing my nest egg, but every time I'd Google "cheap things to do in Paris" I'd get a list of museums that were free on Sundays or suggestions to go hang out at cemeteries. Anybody could run through this list in a week. There had to be something for the rest of us. I knew I couldn't be the only one out here trying to save a buck. And thus was born Paris Cheapskate.

It's almost a selfish endeavor, because working on the blog forces me to be in the know on what's happening all around Paris, and the absolute cheapest things possible. When I say I am cheap, I am cheap. I will not pay more than 4€ for a sandwich (even that's a stretch). When I went to a museum exhibit the other day and paid 9,50€, I got really pissed off. And I will never post a concert here that is over 20€ (usually 15€ or less), because I wouldn't pay more than that myself (since Led Zeppelin is no longer).

So, that's my commitment to you, fellow Cheapskates. I'll try to keep us all in the black, and you keep reading and sending me your suggestions. I believe that the best things in life are simple, and usually cheap. That's why I'm offering a prize to TWO lucky readers: a heartfelt, personalized postcard, sent from yours truly to wherever in the world you may be. Imagine opening up your mailbox and there, nestled amongst the bills and junk mail is a carte postale from Paris. Just leave a comment below letting me know your favorite thing about Paris, or (if you've never been here), what you'd most like to experience in the great City of Lights. The winner will be chosen at random tomorrow. Good luck... keep those wallets zipped and keep reaching for the stars!  

x.o. jenna

Check out the other Blog Hoppers here:


  1. LOVE glad I found you! I'm a fellow blog hopper in the exact same spot: just moved here 2 weeks ago, hoping to stay for a year if I can make my money last. Feel guilty when I work on my book and don't get out to see Paris; then I feel bummed out when I work on freelance because I need money but it takes me away from seeing things. Still trying to work out the balance and the cash flow, but am excited to read more of your suggestions.

  2. Good luck with the novel, I was lucky enough to have an interview about mine on the Girls Guide to Paris radio spot.

    Fellow Blog Hopper.

  3. Thanks for taking part in the blog hop.
    I was in Paris for the first time recently and the prices were really shocking. It's good to know you're out there to point people in the direction of cheaper alternatives!

  4. Fab idea - I am always been asked about how to enjoy Paris without spending a fortune and I'll be pointing them all in your direction! Its been super to "hop" with you today

  5. Congratulations of completing your first novel - here's hoping that there will be many more written while you're living in Paris. As you said - keep reaching for the stars.

    Since I'm someone who is frequently shocked by the price of coffee/tea/whatever, I think this is a wonderful idea for a blog! I'll be checking in often to learn about your new discoveries.

    Happy Expat Blog Hop Day!

  6. One of my favorite things in Paris are the parks in summer. I love a little picnic on the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower or a quick nap in the sun in front of the Louvre or a stroll in the pretty Jardin du Luxembourg. My favorite parks of all was outside of Paris though - the rose gardens. Gorgeous!

  7. With 4 kids the only way is to budget budget budget.
    I read a blog about an old metro-line walkway in Paris. I have no idea where it is but I like the idea of a view of Paris for free from a totally new angle. If only the train fares were cheaper to get 5 of us to paris tho' sigh. keep up the good work...

  8. As someone who also wrote their 1st novel in France, Bon Courage! And thanks for the unusual take on Paris.

  9. Have you read the book Paris Pas Cher? You can find it in most libraries. My favorite thing about Paris are The Wallace Fountains b/c you can fill up your water bottle for free and the water is good.

  10. Hello and good luck with seeing as much as possible for as little as possible. I love Paris and the best thing for me is walking - you see more, and it costs less than the metro! Glad to have found you via the blog hop!

  11. Well done for completing your novel - I'm still at a very early stage with my own. Like all capital cities, Paris is expensive but there are a lot of things to do for free and, as Jacqui says, there are so many things to see if you just walk about. Pleased to meet you via the blog hop!

  12. Paris on the Cheap - a fabulous idea, we also have experience in this area. Great blog!

  13. Just found your blog by hopping over from Out and About in Paris and am inspired by your enthusiasm and sense of adventure. My favorite thing about Paris (4th trip coming up next month)is when I first arrive coming up the steps of the St. Paul Metro stop, just 3 blocks from the rental apartment I return to each year, I have to just stand there and take it all in, trying not to shout out loud, "Yipee,I'm really here!"
    Best wishes for a long stay in Paris.
    Austin, TX

  14. Hello! Nice to meet you via Blog Hop! I have so much admiration that you've written a novel-how exciting!! I'm so glad that I found your blog because I'm a firm believer that a lot of the best memories are created with good friends and little money! Look forward to reading more :) Kristen x

  15. Hey there, I found your blog from Out and About in Paris. I just read a few of your recent posts and I'm really enjoying them. There are plenty of ways to enjoy Paris for cheap if you put your mind to it.

    One of my favorite things I did in Paris, besides just walking around, was the Seine cruise at sunset. It was a magical experience, and very reasonably priced.



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