Bypass the city’s famed Vélib’ bike-sharing system, which doesn’t work for travelers without a European security chip in their credit card, by renting a bike ($11 a day per bike, $27 for a weekend) from Cyclo Pouce, alongside the Canal de l’Ourcq. In the morning, pedal to the 18th Arrondissement for coffee and tea, fresh baguette and brioche, jam and butter ($6) outside the charming yellow-walled Coquelicot. Then hunt for rock-bottom prices with African immigrants and fashionistas alike at the area’s three Guerrisol thrift stores, whose large, constantly changing stock holds treasures seldom priced higher than $30. For lunch, speed south toward rambunctious rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis until you come to Chez Jeannette, a comfortable fifties brasserie favored among cool young Parisians for its cheap beer and hearty French fare. Bike back north to the 9th Arrondissement’s avenue Trudaine and troll the strip’s funky-posh trove of brocantes (thrift shops), paying particular attention to a shop marked simply “Brocante” at 72 rue des Martyrs (+33 01 40 23 94 02), whose stock of retro tableware is priced mostly under $100. If it’s Sunday night, head to Rosa Bonheur around six p.m.: The old guinguette (drinking hall) draws a fun-loving mixed crowd that drinks and dances to eighties French and American pop hits. Head back to Montmartre afterward for a cheap dinner at La Colline d'Asie, a small Vietnamese eatery that serves great bo-bun (sliced beef over rice vermicelli). End the night in true Montmartre hipster style drinking a few cheap bottles of wine until the sun starts to rise on Place Emile-Goudeau, with its stunning views over the city.
5. Oddball Day
Published on Nov 18, 2010 as a web exclusive.