There is no denying it, Paris is one of the most magnificent cities in the world. Home to a plentitude of history, romantic charm, mouth-watering cuisine and architectural splendour beyond compare, it’s no wonder Paris is still the number one destination for tourists to visit. As a result, the city has been overrun by tacky souvenir shops, long queues to see attractions and overpriced restaurants resided exclusively by tourists. Nowadays, experiencing the genuine charm of Paris like a local is a lot tricker than it once was. Fear not! I’ve teamed up with Paris local, Bouchra Benhalima, founder of BouBouTeaTime, to bring you the insider’s guide on how to see and experience this city like a true Parisian local.
Head to the bakery and supermarket and pick up chocolate croissants, slices of baguette, strawberry and orange marmalade, and fresh orange juice to wash it all down! For a sit down breakfast, Le Caféothèque is a great place for a traditional Parisian breakfast with very good coffee, and is a popular local hang out.
Have a picnic in the park in true Parisian style! Instead of opting for the clique spot beneath the Eiffel tower, try Parc des Buttes Chaumont for a place with a very unique view. Sit back and enjoy the striking cliffs, shimmering lake and an incredible centrepiece of the Temple de la Sibylle, perched on top of the hill. Don’t forget the baguette, cheese and wine- if you want to experience Paris like a local, you’ve got to get your Parisian picnic food right!
For a romantic evening meal out in Paris, head to the restaurant at the Hotel Particulier Montmartre or the Restaurant l’Oiseau blanc in Peninsula palace hotel. Parisians do everything with an air with elegance and class, and a visit to either of these restaurants will give you a taste of local sophistication. Put on your best dress and enjoy French cuisine at its absolute finest at either one of these two outstanding restaurants.
Avoid the spots overcrowded with tourists and head to the local bar for a drink where all you can hear are those beautiful French accents. For a very classic Parisian spot for a drink with a view of the beautiful Louvres Museum, head to Le café Marly. Alternatively, head to Le Georges or Les Ombres.
Le Marche des Enfants Rouges is the oldest food market in Paris. Located in the chic northern part of the Marais, this authentic local market has many stands selling fresh, delicious food that you can eat on any of the tables that have been set up throughout the market. Marché Bio Raspail Market is an organic market where you can find magnificent fruits and vegetables from local gardens and beyond. It is not unusual to spot celebrities, wicker basket in hand, squeezing melons or tomatoes. Nearly forty vendors are on site with some of the finest products around Paris.
The Champs Elysees may be a popular shopping destination among the masses, but The Sandro Maje or Les Petites outlet are the places to go if you want a true Parisian shopping experience! Not only will you be surrounded by locals, you alsowon’t burn such a large hole in your wallet. You will find designer brands at half the cost, and avoid the hordes of tourists whilst you’re at it.
Best vantage point:
A favourite among locals and tourists alike, don’t leave Paris without soaking in the fantastic view over Paris from the Arc the triomphe terrace, where you can see everything from the Eiffel Tower to the magnificent Champs Elysees!
Places to avoid:
Certain parts of the Rue St. Denis, a few blocks from the Centre Pompidou can be a bit dicey. You should also avoid walking at nighttime on the Barbes Boulevard, the Forum des halles and the Seine banks (by the river; up the street is fine). Most Paris suburbs are safe enough, but don’t go to St Denis, La Courneuve, or Mantes-la-Jolie unless you want to see what a French ghetto is like.
If you’re in Paris for the romance, there is no lovelier free place than the Musée de la Vie Romantique, a museum dedicated to two artists active during the Romantic era: writer George Sand and painter Ary Scheffer. Squirreled away at the end of a film-worthy cobbled lane, the villa originally belonged to Scheffer and was the setting for popular salons of the day, attended by notable figures like Delacroix, Liszt and Chopin (Sand’s lover).
Have you got local knowledge to share? Drop me a line at email@example.com to become a local insider for Polkadot Passport!