Tag Archives: travel


Paris OffBeat: See Paris Like the Parisians


I recently discovered Paris OffBeat, a company that caters trips around Paris based on your personal interests and budget to help you see Paris like a native. Founder and owner, Ludovic Yken, sat down with me to discuss how Paris OffBeat is a great option for students who are visiting Paris or who are looking to explore the city they calling home while studying abroad to see Paris like the Parisians do.

AB: What kind of trip itinerary would you recommend to students traveling around Paris on a budget?

LY: Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world but there are some tips to avoid spending a fortune. Food is always expensive and it’s very hard for students to find a good and cheap restaurant. Here are the top 3 restaurants that I recommend for students that won’t break their wallet!


Frenchie To Go (http://www.frenchie-restaurant.com/en/frenchie-go)
9 rue du Nil
75002 Paris


After the launch of popular restaurants « Frenchie Le bistro » and « Frenchie The Wine bar (with those delicious tapas) », what can the Parisians expect from Gregory Marchand with this new restaurant Frenchie To Go? We have to acknowledge that every time he regales us with his highly flavorful food, your taste buds explode within two bites. Well, this is still the case here. Marchand delights foodies with his spin on hot dogs, sandwiches, fish & chips, and much, much more to eat in house or enjoy via take out. This is haute couture, tailor-made, gentrified “street food” which has been transformed. Marchand’s fish & chips or hake replaces haddock with extra fries and tartar sauce- exceptional ! In short, it’s really top tier pastries and food. Congratulations to Greg and his talented team. Guaranteed to enjoy.


Tempero (http://www.tempero.fr/)
5 rue Clisson
75013 Paris


Finding a really good restaurant with really good food for only 15 € in Paris is a challenge. But the search is over as Tempero is here! This bistro has it all: a lovely setting; a warm welcome; and perfect service and cuisine that exceeds all expectations. Not to mention an international staff including a charming, Italian waitress and a remarkable team of foreign leaders. Tempero’s menu is fresh from the market and offers a variety of meat, fish, and vegetarian dishes. Upon being seated at a table, you are seduced by the sumptuous bread and appetizer of a bowl of cold beef broth with foie gras seasoned with coriander, chives and onions, and raw salmon miso. Aside from the delectable flavors, the appetizers are a pure delight overflowing with finesse and balance. Its risotto with porcini mushrooms, bib, cream potatoes and chanterelles are extremely pleasurable to the taste buds! The original pear poached, stewed eggplant and vanilla ice cream is a super, sweet treat.


Ô Divin
35 rue des Annelets
75019 Paris


It’s premium quality, down home cooking with yummy sauces and seasonings. Ludovic was seduced by the charm of mini-room adjoining a private yard and by the friendly welcome of Naoufel. In the kitchen, Redha (the owner’s brother) plays second chef. Excellent organic Gamay (great French red wine) accompanies a stunning lens-haddock and radish salad and variation around the burrata and beets. These are two colorful and very palatable dishes. The back of hake, onions, potatoes and broth pea pods and pork cheeks, plump and tender like a cherub, mushrooms, butternut and smoke emulsion are also delicious.

Thanks for sharing those suggestions!

AB: Do you offer something special for students like discounts, packages, events?

LY: I know how difficult it is to be a student and try to have a a nice life in Paris. I tried it myself for a few years. My wish is that everybody can afford to use a service like Paris Offbeat. I offer a 15% discount for students- just send me an email with the your major and where you’re going to school in Paris. It’s that simple!

AB: Are you able to create a trip itinerary for students who are studying abroad in Paris and are not sure what to see/where to go to have a native experience?

LY: This is exactly the mission of Paris Offbeat : Understanding a traveler’s needs to meet their expectations and wishes. Students often seek places where the young Parisian twenty-somethings hang out, where the best parties are and the cool, trending places that don’t cost a fortune. I know where they can find all of them- I’ll give them my secret spots!

AB: What piece of advice can you offer foreign students studying abroad/visiting Paris for the first time?

LY: First, don’t be afraid of the size of Paris. Contrary to popular belief, Paris is a small city for a capital. Students must be curious and explore all areas of Paris. When you spend so much time in Paris, you can not limit yourself to the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and Saint Germain. You must discover the areas around Bastille, République, Place d’Italie … Be adventurous and visit all the districts!

AB: Is there any district/ attraction in Paris that is student oriented?

LY: The triangle of intersecting streets rue Oberkampf, Jean-Pierre Timbaud and Saint-Maur is the place where students go on Thursday and Friday nights. There you’ll find funky bars such as L’orange Méchanique, l’Alimentation Générale ou l’Internationale which has a very electric atmosphere. And the music and festivities are allowed to continue up to two in the morning!

Paris Offbeat is Twenty in Paris approved. Visit www.parisoffbeat.com and contact Ludovic to plan your next trip to Paris or to learn something new about your host city while studying abroad.


Ludovic Yken is the founder of Paris Offbeat, a 100% online guide that organizes your customized trip to Paris off the beaten path. Contact him to discover Paris like a local.



Study Abroad Interview with The Abroad Guide Founder on Her Experiences Abroad

Recently, I had the pleasure to interview study abroad tour de force and social media mogul, Jessica Dante, founder of The Abroad Guide about her experiences studying, living and dating abroad. Let’s find out what she had to say.

pic JD

(that’s Jess in Italy)

AB: Hi Jessica. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

JD: I studied Marketing at James Madison University in Virginia. I knew I wanted to study abroad before I even started college, and I ended up in Belgium because I was able to complete my first semester in the college of business there. I’m so glad I chose that program because Belgium is underrated!

AB: How did you prepare for studying abroad (the process of obtaining a visa, the experience of living abroad and being in a new school)? Did you find that your preparations were helpful in having realistic expectations of the study abroad experience?

JD: I didn’t require a visa for my study abroad experience, but to prepare I asked all of my older friends who had studied abroad in Europe for any advice they could give me. They were so helpful and sent pages of information and advice. I don’t think you can ever be completely prepared for study abroad– but that’s the fun of it!

AB: Did you experience the “study abroad blues” (the down moments during the transition process) and if so, how did you overcome those moments?

JD: I didn’t really– I’m not much of a homebody and I was having so much fun that I barely was homesick. In the first few weeks that I was abroad, I broke up with my boyfriend at the time who was still back at home, which was a bit tough, but after that I realized that the world really was my oyster and I had a fresh new perspective.

AB: How long did it take you to feel comfortable enough in your home country for you to start thinking of it as home?

JD: Honestly, only a couple of weeks. I had great people around me that I became close with really fast, and we explored Antwerp as much as we could so it became home quickly.

AB: Tell us a story about a funny cultural/linguistic misunderstanding you had while studying abroad and what did you learn from it?

JD: This was kind of funny– one night at the student bar, one of the other international students bluntly told me and my group of friends that he thinks Americans are all fat. But hey, relatively speaking, he was kind of right!

AB: Can you give us any advice on what it’s like to date someone from another country?

JD: It’s really fun actually! I love learning about new cultures and being different from other people, so learning about my now-husband’s cultural differences was (and still is) really interesting!

AB: Did you work while you were studying abroad? If so, can you tell us a little more about that (how many hours should students expect to work, rough pay- is there a minimum wage?, how soon should students start looking for a job- can this be too much during the transition process? , did you have to pay taxes as a foreign student?…)

JD: I didn’t work when I studied abroad. I don’t recommend for students to in fact, unless it’s just a few hours a week. I think it cuts into your fun and exploration time (as well as your study time) so just enjoy the fact that you have an excuse to not work for a few months!

AB:Did you travel (inside and/or outside the host country) while studying abroad? Can you give us some pointers on how to travel on a budget?

JD: Oh my god we traveled SO MUCH! I think we did 13 countries in three months? My advice on traveling on the cheap while abroad is to use Skyscanner to find the super cheapo flights (like Ryanair and EasyJet ones). Also, if you plan on traveling in a big group (20 or so people) look into charter bus options– whether it be just to the airport or all the way to your destination. This could save you a ton of money and city-to-city service is pretty sweet.

AB: What’s your secret to making friends abroad and in a new college?

JD:Find out where you can participate in your hobbies, whether it be by joining a sports team, signing up for a cooking class– whatever. You can meet people with the same interests as you and you can get out of the “American study abroad student bubble”.

AB: Tell us one way in which studying abroad made you the person you are today?

JD: It showed me that a life filled with travel is the only life that I could see for myself. After my study abroad semester, I lived in NYC for a summer, I went to Nicaragua on an alternative spring break trip, and then moved to Italy for a year. And now that I live in London and work for a travel company, I know that traveling will never NOT be a part of my life!

Jessica’s story is one of inspiration. Her embrace of and zest for new adventures and travels laid the foundation for a smooth transition and quick immersion in her study abroad and living abroad experiences. For more information about the study abroad experience, check out theabroadguide.com



Jessica Dante realized that she was born to travel while studying abroad in Belgium during her junior year of college. Her travel experiences since then include volunteering in Nicaragua, backpacking through Europe, and a year-long adventure in Italy. In addition to being social media specialist, she is the creator of The Abroad Guide, a blog that helps American students make the most of their study abroad experience.


Studying Abroad Can Open the Door to Your Heritage

(photo by: magazine.enlightennext.org)

Studying abroad is a great opportunity for academic and personal growth. But did you know it is also a great way to discover your heritage? I am the granddaughter of a Frenchman who gave up his language and culture to become American. Growing up, it was always difficult to believe that Grandpop was French because, well, he didn’t do anything French! Whenever I saw my grandfather he spoke English; ate American food; celebrated American holidays; and acted like everyone else I knew who was American. For years I thought being French meant having a last name that no one could spell or pronounce. It wasn’t until I began French foreign language studies in high school which continued into college that I only began to merely understand what it meant to be of French heritage. After years of learning about France’s impact on the world in terms of science, history and philosophy, I decided to get some hands -on knowledge and find out what it really means to be French by studying abroad.

In an earlier post (Why Paris was not the ideal host city for me), I mentioned that I had a unique opportunity to not only discover France hands-on but to actually interact with family. This was an amazing excursion into my grandfather’s past; to meet all the people he left behind to start his new life in America over half a century ago. I found out things about my grandfather and my family history that I never would have known had I not studied abroad. If you are able to study abroad in a country where you have long, lost relatives or from where your family originated (even if many centuries ago), I highly recommend it. It will give you an insight into your heritage and maybe into you / your family that you would not have had if not for studying abroad.


Alexa’s Study Abroad Journal: A New Year, A New Life

By: Alexa Wybraniec

I ran twelve miles this morning.

When I’m running, I think up little mantras and repeat them inside my head. Today I thought, “Resolutions can happen whenever I want.”

I decided to change my life last spring, right in the thick of 2013. Running twelve miles this morning was absolutely not affiliated with January 1, 2014. The first time I finished a twelve-miler (a week ago) I signed up for a half marathon and spent the rest of the day confused. I thought, “I don’t know anything, it’s not possible for me to run twelve miles, I can’t do that. But I did it, so nothing makes sense, and I don’t know anything for sure anymore.”

I still think that, and it’s kinda nice. Applying that mindset to my future in Paris is the most liberating feeling on earth.

My lifestyle change has proved efficient. I earned my straight As this semester, and now I’m taking a winter class online. When summer rolls around, I’ll pick up a summer class. These are the small sacrifices I need to make in order to study abroad and graduate on time because core requirements cannot be fulfilled abroad. It’s not so bad, really, because I genuinely love learning new things. I’ve clearly got a handle on how to do the whole college thing in the States, but will that hold up in France?

I need to start thinking about, well, everything. I had a relaxing break, full of gift-giving, hikes and Chipotle trips, but having class everyday grounded me mentally. The new year, while insignificant, inevitably inspires forward-thinking.

My favorite presents received over break include:

- Victoria Trott’s “Paris City Guide”
- Aurelia D’Andrea’s “Living Abroad in France”
- a 2014 Parisian calendar
- luggage tags
- RFID-blocking neck pouch
- detachable silk bra pocket
- cold, hard cash (to be transformed into Euros ASAP)

The neck pouch claims its  “special blocking material prevents high tech identity thieves from downloading and stealing personal information stored on micro chips in your passport and credit cards.” I don’t know any high tech identity thieves but hey, now I have somewhere to store my passport, keys, cash, and whatever else I may be wary about toting around in a foreign city. The bra pocket seems to be the better option for a less “hey-look-at-me-I’m-a-tourist” ensemble.

I’ve started paging through the travel guides, and just when I thought I couldn’t be more excited, here I am. I can already see myself reading some sections within the next few days (“Social Climate,” “History,” “Food”), which sections I’ll reference over the next few months (“Preparing to Leave,” “What to Bring,” “Sample Itineraries”) and the sections I’ll pour over in my bedroom once I get there (“French Phrasebook,” “Travel and Transportation,” “Daily Life”).

I’ve been talking to a lot of people (pretty much anyone I come in contact with/anyone who will listen) about studying abroad. Absolutely everyone over the age of 50 is simply dazzled by my plans. Better yet, almost everyone over the age of 50 is more traveled than I am. I’ve had some great conversations over break so far, with so many family gatherings and that general amicable feeling of the holiday season.

Some of the best advice that stuck with me, while not the most original, went something like, “If I could do it all over again, I’d have traveled the world while I had the chance. Now, I’ve got a wife, kids, and a mortgage to pay.” This is exactly my thought process when I wake up in the morning. I turned twenty recently, and I’d rather not waste the potentially best years of my life. I’m in my best condition, both physically and mentally, right now.

I like to tell people that I’m moving to Paris next year. Now, I get to say I’m moving to Paris THIS year. Let the life-changing begin!

About the author:

Alexa Wybraniec is a journalism major at Rutgers University. She is going to be studying abroad in Paris at Sciences- Po for a year starting in the fall semester of 2014. Check back every Monday for a new post from Alexa. You can connect with her via Twitter.