Paris has more to offer than haute couture and Michelin-starred restaurants. It is city built by strivers and schemers, who continue to show that classic Parisian indulgence doesn't have to cost a fortune. And one of the great democratizing institutions of the summer is a picnic on the Pont des Arts, left.
Sandwiches for sale at a bakery in the Marais.
Dining on the terrace of the Bistrot Victoires, where the décor is just as classic as the food. Order the grilled rib-eye (11 euros), topped with burning thyme, and the crème brûlée (5 euros).
Dinner at Le Baron Rouge, a bar in an old working-class neighborhood where most of the nearly 50 wines cost less than 3.50 euros.
On Thursday nights, many galleries, especially in the Marais, have openings where wine flows freely.
The Place des Vosges is one of the city's many majestic (and free) spaces.
A room at the Hôtel des Arts Bastille, a fine old seven-story building with a mansard roof, Juliet balconies and an elevator. Doubles are from 59 euros.
The bookstore Shakespeare & Company lets aspiring writers stay on its second floor free in exchange for a few hours of work a day.
Picnicking on the banks of the Canal St.-Martin.