Bonjour mes amies! It’s time to tackle that topic that I love so dearly, that sweet sweet city that holds my heart. That’s right, today we’re talking Paris!
As the summer draws near, so do summer travels. I’ve had several friends ask for my tips to conquering this enchanting city, so I thought it would only be proper to share with all of you as well!
As a self-proclaimed Paris expert, I’m here to give you the inside scoop on how to do Paris like a local. The touristy things are great. Climb to the top of the Arch de Triomphe, visit the Mona Lisa in all her glory, and march down the Champs-Élysées, but the best of Paris is found on the small streets that wind through small neighborhoods, quiet avenues and balconies that smell of fresh baked bread from the patisseries below.
Paris is unquestionably the most magical, remarkable city I’ve ever experienced. After six weeks walking its streets, Notre Dame illuminated at night never ceased to take my breath away. The magic of this city is real and it’s tangible. You feel it in the music of the street performers along the Seine, in the pop of a champagne cork, and in the taste of each pain au chocolate.
Here’s my comprehensive guide to experiencing Paris, beyond the tourist traps and lines:
- Shop the boutiques of Le Marais, here you’ll find one of a kind boutiques along with some classic Parisian favorites. Rue des Blancs Manteaux and Rue de Francs Bourgeois are some good go-to’s to get you started.
- Eat a macaron at Pierre Hermé
- Grab a baguette, some good cheese, fresh jam, and a bottle of wine and get your pic-nic on like a true Frenchy. Place des Vosges, Jardin du Luxembourg, or Jardin des Plantes are great options.
- This one is important, don’t forget it* Grab a bottle of champagne or a sweet pastry and head to Le Tour Eiffel after sundown to watch it sparkle. Don’t pay to climb to the top of the Iron Lady, in my opinion it’s not worth it. This is my FAVORITE way to take it in. It may be cheesy, but it is absolutely magical.
- GET LOST. Schedule an afternoon to wander and meander with no other purpose. The best of Paris is hidden in the small corners of the city. Find a sidewalk cafe, a hidden jardin, or a fabulous boutique; get lost in a residential neighborhood and see the city like a local.
- Eat macarons at Pierre Hermé
- Drink hot chocolate at Angelina (Rue de Rivoli)
- Everyone knows to go to the Louvre, I don’t need to tell you that, but have you heard of Georges Pompidou? This modern art museum sits in the heart of Le Marais. I’m no modern art expert but I love this museum, it’s French art in the unexpected.
- Walk along the Seine- always- anytime you get the chance. Walk along Pont Neuf from bank to bank stopping in the Ile de la Cité.
- Eat street food by Saint Michel
- Go upstairs at Saint Chapelle
- Try every almond croissant you find
- Stop in at Shakespeare and Company
- Shop the book stalls along the Seine. Be careful, some are tourist traps, but some offer some real treasures.
- Go to Montmartre and hit the side streets. Find the restaurants and cabarets where the most famous artists and thinkers communed. Avoid the overpriced restaurants and vendors around Sacre-Coeur.
- Eat a nutella banana crepe from a street vendor
- Learn some french phrases to use at restaurants and shops. French people are so proud of their language and appreciate it when tourists try to speak it!
- Sit outside at as many sidewalks cafés as you can. People watching is the number one pastime in France
- When you shop, buy authentic French brands. When it comes to French style, it’s about quality not quantity. Spend your money on a few special pieces and please, do not shop at American stores when you’re in Paris!
- Two words, repeat after me: Galeries Lafayette!
- Adopt the lifestyle, be French in thought, deed, and mind: air dry your hair, wear all black, have a two hour lunch, and look fabulous doing it. There is no one who does effortless chic like the French, live it!
What did I miss? What do you love the most about Paris? Let me know in the contact tab at the top! I’d love to hear from you! 🙂