You’ve seen the Eiffel Tower, climbed the steps of Monmatre and shopped in Gallerie Lafayette, all the tourist destinations that are a must see in Paris. Now it’s time to kick back a little, take a breath and see Paris like a Parisian. Here are ten top tips to enjoy your time in Paris like a local. Once you’ve checked out these wonderful destinations why not plan your trip with Expedia. Click on the link for fantastic hotels in every arrondisement of Paris.
Wander Across The Garden bridge
La Promenade Plante, is an extraordinary four and a half kilometres of nineteenth century disused railway line that is now a linear park filled with Lime, hazlenut and cherry trees, rose trellises, fragrant lavender bushes and an avenue of bamboo swaying gracefully, high above your head. Taking you from Place de la Bastille to Varenne-Saint-Maur, the most spectacular part is the beautiful brick built Viaduc Des Arts that gives a unique arial view of the 12th arrondisement (district) that can be glimpsed through the foliage. The steps at regular intervals give easy access to a wonderful way to see the city free from the city traffic. Open 8am every day (9am weekends) until 5.30pm in the winter and 9pm in the summer. Head for Metro Bastille
Sunday brunch In The Marais
Although the law is about to change, there aren’t many parts of Paris where the shops are allowed to open on Sunday. One of them is the Marais. But this only partly accounts for its popularity as the place to be on a Sunday. Cobbled streets, beautiful squares, a village atmosphere steeped in history, whilst being one of the hippest areas of Paris. It is home to the Jewish, Chinese and Gay communities giving an eclectic and lively feel to this corner of Paris. This is where Parisians to come to stroll, stop and have a café or a a piché (carafe of wine) and people watch. Brunch is a very important part of the weekend routine and lasts well into the afternoon. Choose from traditional French cuisine, American pancakes and sausage or an early All You Can Eat served by gorgeous guys in their jammies. Head for metro St Paul.
Vintage In Paris
The Marcheé Puces at St Ouen is infamous for being both extensive and very expensive. But they aren’t the only place to pick up a vintage souvenir. Marches Aux Puces (a Puces is a flea) de la Porte de Vanves is a weekend market opening at 7am until 2pm. The earlier you get there the better and haggling is essential. it’s more manageable in size than the St Ouen flea market and there’s less modern and fake handbags to have to rifle through. This is where you ‘re more likely to pick up the smaller pieces, 1920s magazines, vintage teacups, enamel badges, old photo frames and cutlery rather than larger pieces of furniture. Head for Metro Porte De Vanves.
Have a drink at Cercle Suedois
Have you ever fancied yourself one of the Nobel cognoscenti? Well here’s where you can rub shoulders with the real deal and have a cocktail or glass of champagne while you do it. The Swedish Club, 242 Rue de Rivoli, is where Alfred Nobel founded the Nobel Prize and twice a month on the second and last Wednesday evenings you can have a drink, looking out onto the Beautiful Tuilleries Gardens, in one of the fabulous salons. It’s a very traditional setting but who wouldn’t like a peek inside the home of the Nobel prize? Open from 6.00pm – 9.00pm. Head for metro Concorde.
Picnic In Paris
Picnicking is a very Parisian past time. With most people living in apartments and not many of them having any garden space the Parisians take to the river and parks to relax and enjoy time with friends. This can be as simple as picking up a bottle of red wine and a couple of glasses to making a complicated meal in a wicker basket, you choose. With so many epicerie ( food shops) in Paris selling wonderful artisan salads, cold meats and roasted chicken, you really don’t need to do it yourself. Choose from the Heart of the Marais in The Place Des Vosges. Surrounded by beautiful seventeenth century colonnade architecture this really is a fantastic green space in the heart of the city. If water is more your thing, then head down to Quai De La Tournelle on the banks of the Seine and enjoy your evening with a magical view of Notre Dame serene on it’s island. You’ll find picnickers in most of the parks in Paris. Don’t ignore the whistle at the end of the evening. It means the park’s about to close.
Is That A Pagoda?
At the junction of a Haussmann Boulevard in Rue Courcelles is a real surprise. A full sized red pagoda complete with upturned roof with dragons on the corners. Three tiers and six floors of typical Chinese architecture are home to a collection of Chinese and Asian art and antiques. The themed rooms include the Salle Cavaliers, Salle Porcelaine and Salle Indienne. Lacquered painted walls and ornamental glass give this place a zen like feel but don’t forget this is both a museum and a gallery, whilst it’s regular exhibitions inspire the serious collector, it also has something for the more modest budget. Head to metro Courcelles
If simply people watching is your idea of relaxation then check out Rue Saint Honore home of the chicest hip shop in Paris Collette. This is the cult store for everything from fashion, to magazines, toys to furniture. Pick up a baguette and a take away coffee and enjoy an inexpensive hour sitting on the steps of the Eglise Saint Roche and watch the fashionistas go by. Head to metro Tuileries or Pyramides and walk
Covered Food Markets
On a dull day go in search of a covered food market to while away the time until the weather clears. There are several across paris. The oldest, Marche Des Enfants Rouges is housed in the old sixteenth century orphanage on the Rue de Bretagne in the Marais. The Enfants Rouge were the orphans in their red uniforms. This market has street food cafes as well as fresh produce making it perfect to while away the time trying cuisine from Lebanon, Japan and Africa. The Marche de Saint Martin in Rue Du Chateau D’Eau, is a small covered market in a nineteenth century concert hall. The prices reflect the fact that you’ll find only the best quality products here but there is always something to discover. The MarcheD’Aligre is only partially covered but worth a trip for both it’s historical value, this is the site of The Revolution barricades and the fact that it has a plethora of everything from fruit and veg to fine food and bric a brac. For Marche Des Enfants Rouges head for metro Filles du Calvaire or Saint-Sébastien Froissart. For Marche Saint Martin head for metro Jacques Bonsergent or Château d’Eau. For Marche D’Aligre head for metro Ledru-Rollin. All are closed on Mondays.
If you’ve over dosed on grand architecture and wide boulevards take a stroll down Rue Cremieux. A pedestrianised street lined with pastel painted houses with mansard roofs and simple fronts straight onto the street. Stroll down here for a rest after the hustle and bustle of the Marche D’Aligre. Head for metro Quai De La Rapee or Gare De Lyon