@lilyfaith: I misspoke about the St. Germain area…it’s in the 7th & 6th, not 5th – which is the Latin Quarter (very cool area, too, but more student driven, as the Sorbonne is right there). As for advice, I’m with @Georgia Bee, conversational French is helpful…anytime you speak first in French, people are more willing to help you, even if your French is horrible (mine is; I too didn’t study French before coming here). In fact, I just got a compliment from our local grocer (not super market) that my French pronunciation is pretty good & he likes that I’m trying to communicate in French. Speaking of grocers…if you’re honeymooning on a dime, find out how to get to your local super marche (soo-pear mar-shay) to save money on things like water, cured meat (deli meat), butter, jam/jellies, coffee & tea, juice, milk/cream, etc. basically anything NOT fresh (milk/butter exempt). Then find out where your local boulangerie/patisserie (bow-lahn-zheh-ree/pah-tea-sehr-ree) for bread & pastries, local marche (mar-shay…this could be a grocer’s store or a street market – like a farmer’s market, depending on your location), cave (kah-vay) for wine, & brasserie/cafe (brah-sehr-rie) for “less than a fortune” meals out. You want fresh items for what’s mentioned above & super markets in Paris don’t do “fresh” all the time. Also, buy for each day…things can go bad quickly (made with less preservatives), so only buy what you need for the next day.
I mentioned tea/coffee…definitely pop into your local cafe/brasserie for a cup o’ joe at least once, but unless you like paying 1-3 Euro for each cup (no refills here), get some for your coffee maker at your apartment. If you order standing at the counter (comptoir) you pay less than sitting down at a table. And I mentioned “less than a fortune” meals…these are still decently expensive: 10-16 Euro for a plat (plah…French for entree, entree here is an appetizer), 13-18 Euro for a formule (for-mool…entree+plat or plat+dessert), which translates to $13-20ish for a plat & $17-25 for a formule. Add wine or a drink to that (soda can be 3-5 Euro or $4-7), and you’re paying $30+ per person for a meal…and that’s for lunch; dinner goes up. However, there are cheaper options: Emporter (ehm-pohr-tehr) is “to-go” in French…look for these signs if you want a cheaper lunch option; not a usual choice for dinner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
Finally, definitely do as the locals do & put together a picnic of bread, cheese, cured meats, fruit, chocolate, wine/beer/drink & find a park to sit and eat. Mr. & I have done this on Champs du Mars (practically under the Eiffel Tower), in front of Notre Dame (not a park, but hey…oooh, there’s the John Paul XXIII park “behind” Notre Dame!), & in the Luxemborg Gardens. Each time, we were surrounded by French people of all ages doing the same.
Okay…all this info has been about food…hmmm, I guess I’ve started to think like the French & plan my days around meals instead of activities. Oooh! Pick up a cookbook with French recipes…there’s lots to choose from: the famous Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, anything by Jacques Pepin, buy the cookbook from your favorite French restaurant, etc…I bought Mireille Guiliano’s the French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook. I’ve made a couple things out of it already. This last option is really if you plan to make the time to cook; if you’re staying a week, you may already have it jam-packed with plans. Good Luck!