ONE Friday night last month, I stood watching a North African band called Daxar perform at the Satellit Café world music club in Paris and was considering having a beer. By the time the band had finished its Magrebian take on the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” (“Do you know this one?” the band leader asked coyly. “It’s not ours.”), I had decided against it. Such luxury could cost me the Louvre on Sunday, or wine with lunch Saturday.

I was trying to make it on $100 over a weekend in Paris, and that meant forgoing the beer — and the Louvre and wine with lunch as well, it turns out. But who needs beer when you’ve got a cool band to listen to? Who needs the Louvre when you’ve got the free and fascinating Musée Carnavalet? And who needs wine when you’ve got a luscious duck confit on your plate?


Still, Paris is a tough place to be thrifty. As with my $100 weekend in New York, I excluded the cost of lodging — this time I crashed with the friend of a friend near the Bastille — but everything else counted, from subway fare to the aspirin I thought I’d need to battle a hangover from the wine I ended up not being able to afford.  Read more>>>