Bohemian Paris…Camping in the City of Light

If you fantasize about going to Paris, but think it is too expensive — think again.

Camping is a way of stretching the length of your Paris stay. Another option to the “Hurry-Up-and-See-the-Eiffel Tower-Tour”, camping allows you to experience Paris rather than just seeing it. An extended stay affords you the luxury of time; the time it will take to understand why so many great artists and writers have gravitated to Paris. And with the money you save, you may afford to buy a Picasso. Well, not quite.


If your taste is the Four Seasons hotel, stop reading.

If you are more adventurous, keep reading.

The Forest

The setting is the Bois de Boulogne – a forest hugging the west side of Paris, 4 kms from the Eiffel Tower. Think of camping as a bohemian experience – casual, rustic, and cheap.

The view outside your tent is not the Eiffel Tower, but you can step out of your tent and stroll along the river Seine. Lined with houseboats and a walking path, the Seine is a calming element of your camping experience.

Warning: you may have to deal with a few prostitutes working outside your tent, but that’s part of the adventure.

Did I mention it was cheap?

The Affordable Paris

For 16 € (Cdn$22), you get a spot of grass for a tent. Amenities include a grocery store, restaurant, clean washrooms and gated security.

What to do with the Money you Save?

My travel philosophy is deny yourself (somewhat) and then indulge. Splurge on important things like delectable food and wine. Food is an important past time in Paris, so you can choose from a myriad of restaurants.

My Bohemian Highlights

Bohemian: a person (writer or artist) living an unconventional life.

If bohemians live an “unconventional life”, this is an unconventional view of Paris.

Cafés and More Cafés

Absorb the history of the cafés in Paris, and be inspired to write that next great literary work.

Café de Flore. You can feel the profound thoughts of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre as you sit and sip your red wine. Maybe you’ll be inspired to write the next “The Mandarins” or “Nausea”.

La Coupole. The décor, including pillars painted by Henri Matisse, makes you feel smart, elegant, and sophisticated.

Les Closerie des Lilas. Hemingway’s hangout.

Access to the City

You might say to yourself, “I’m not interested in a long commute”, but the campground is approximately 4.5 kms to the Porte Maillot metro station. Options:

  • RATP Bus #244 (6am-8:30pm daily)
  • Camp shuttle bus to Porte Maillot metro station (runs April to October)
  • Walking (approximately 4 kms to the Eiffel Tower)
  • Bike rentals (Paris Cycles ☎ 01 47 47 76 50 M° Porte Dauphine, on the northeast side of the Lac Inférieur)

Exploring the Bois de Boulogne

Rose Garden - Parc de Bagatelle

Appreciating nature is also a part of the bohemian experience. The Bois offers sites of its own. If you need a quiet day, explore the following:

What to Bring

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag & pillow
  • Swiss army knife (with corkscrew)
  • Wine glasses
  • Small sitting cushion
  • Journal
  • Speakers for MP3 player

Bois de Boulogne Campsite Information

More camping details at the Camping du Bois de Boulogne website.

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About Organized Bohemian

Dana M. Petric is a writer/landscape gardener/blogger/performer/office temp/web designer. Her wrestle between creative and money-making ventures permeates her writing. Self-publishing her first book, Growing Iris, Dana continues on her path toward writing full-time. Beginning her post-secondary education at UBC (Liberal Arts dropout), she prevailed at George Brown Theatre School (Theatre Arts Diploma) and matured at BCIT (Technical Writing Diploma). She lives in Vancouver, BC with her partner Eric and daughter Cleo.
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