A Local's Guide to Paris

July 2, 2017
Jordan Rachel

Paris is the most visited city in the world year after year, so there’s no doubt you’ve heard about the incredible sights, sounds and tastes waiting for you in the City of Light. Of course, there are the absolute must-sees like the stunning Eiffel Tower, the picturesque Arc de Triomphe, the history-soaked Louvre Museum, the gothic beauty of Notre Dame Cathedral, and so many more. All of these are definitely worth seeing and checking off your bucket list, but if you’ve been to Paris before, or have more than a weekend to spend here, you’ll be able to really discover the heart and soul of this city à la Parisienne.


We’ve put together a list of hangouts, restaurants and activities that are off the beaten track, and perfect for someone who wants to discover the Parisian way of life from a local’s perspective. Here are some Parisian favorites, from picturesque streets, incredible cafés, and even the perfect picnic spots, that you’re sure to love just as much as we do.


Things to do:


1.Stunning views and unbeatable shopping at Printemps

The Printemps shopping centre in Paris is captured in this picture

This Parisian department store is right in the center of the city, and is a great place to do some shopping, whether for souvenirs, lunch, or the latest fashion. The rooftop here is a hidden gem, offering stunning, sweeping views of Paris and is free to access. Take the escalator to the top floor and enjoy a drink from their rooftop bar, or just take in the scenery.


2. Montmartre by night


The night life on display at Montmartre is pictured here

Nightlife at Montmartre

An image of the Montmartre Artists showcasing their work

Montmartre Artists

This hilly, picturesque neighborhood is located in Paris’ 18th arrondissement and is known for being the artsy/bohemian area, previously home to greats like Van Gogh. Spend the late afternoon wandering the small streets and sure to catch some local artists at work in the charming Place du Têtre. As night falls, head over to the Sacre Coeur cathedral and work your way down some of the many staircases to the bustling square just in front. The streetlights and cathedral area are illuminated at night, offering a panoramic view of the city below and making this an unforgettable experience.


3. A Stroll along the Seine

An image of a few people relaxing by on the banks of the Seine

The banks of the river Seine in France is displayed here

The banks of the Seine


The Seine river snakes its way through Paris, dividing the city into the Rive Gauche (left bank) and the Rive Droite (right bank), each with their own distinct characters. You can walk all along the river from one side of Paris to the other by following its quays or river banks, which is a great way to really see the city. If it’s a sunny day, consider ending your walk with a Parisian picnic, or just relaxing in one of the local cafés. It’s hard to beat the stunning view of Notre Dame from the Quai de la Tournelle, or head down the stairs next to the beautiful Alexandre III bridge and enjoy the laidback vibe on Quai D’Orsay.


4. Visit a local Farmer’s Market


The farmers market in Paris during the day is shown here

Marche Bastille

An image of different types of cheese on display at the Marche Bastille in Paris

Fresh food is a huge part of the culture in Paris, and the best local products can be found at open-air markets across the city. Each day of the week, different district markets are open all over Paris, so doing your shopping can also be a great way to discover a new neighborhood. Spend the morning wandering through the bustling crowds and sample some amazing food from all corners of the globe. For the most variety, check out the Marché Bastille or Marché d’Aligre, and be sure to come hungry!


5. Les Puces de Saint Ouen

A market at Les-Puces-de-Saint-Ouen is shown here

This centuries-old flea market in northern Paris holds much more than meets the eye; making it a favorite for locals and visitors alike. From antique dealers to art merchants to street food and music, you’ll see that cultures and languages all blend together in this lively market. It’s easy to spend the afternoon browsing for hidden treasures and you’ll feel like you’ve taken a step back in time.


6. Escape to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont

The beautiful Parc des Buttes Chaumont is pictured here

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

A picture of the ever tranquil Parc des buttes Chaumont

Perched on a hill in the trendy 19th arrondissement of Paris, this 61-acre park offers a tranquil escape from city life and is somewhat of a local secret. Featuring a lake, suspension bridge, walking trails, a bar and plenty of green space, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Pack a picnic or enjoy a hike or jog through the many trails, or head out to the pagoda for a spectacular view of the city.


7. Le Marais

A shop in Marais Paris is shown here

This neighborhood stretching across the historic 3rd and 4th arrondissements is the eccentric soul of the city and home to much of the city’s LGBT and Jewish populations. Dotted with cafés, museums and great shopping, it’s the perfect area to let yourself get lost in, who knows, you’ll probably find your new favorite place.


8. Belleville

Parc de Beleville on a sunny day is seen here

Parc de Belleville

Art work on show at the rue Denoyez in Paris

Rue Denoyez

Once home to Edith Piaf, Belleville is a very unique part of Paris, with a rich mixture of cultures blending together to create the artsy, bohemian reputation the neighborhood holds today. Often overlooked, this area is home to incredible street art, amazing international street food, and breathtaking architecture. Grab the best coffee in Paris at CREAM and start your adventure. To make the most of your trip, we recommend following the Boulevard de Ménilmontant North from metro Philippe-Auguste, where you’ll see the famous Père Lachaise cemetery, up towards the lush Parc de Belleville and the amazing street art tucked away on Rue Denoyez.


9. Passages de Paris

 A passage in Paris is shown here

These covered walkways date back from the early 1800’s and were some of the first shopping streets in Paris. Now home to delicious eateries, craftsmen, boutiques and of course, endless history, these passages are the perfect place to enjoy a rainy day. There are around 20 passages in central Paris, with the local favorites being the luxurious Galerie Vivienne, the original Passage des Panoramas, and the trendy Galerie Choiseul.


10. Versailles

An image of the architecture on display at the palace of versailles

An Aerial view of the grounds of Versailles captured by a drone

Drone Photography of Versailles by Victor Grigas CC by 3.0


This stunning castle and grounds is about an hour away from the city center by metro or about 25 minutes by car, and is definitely worth seeing. The ornate architecture, perfectly-manicured gardens and the hall of mirrors are simply breathtaking. We recommend setting aside the whole day in order be able to visit the castle, grounds and gardens. Been there before? Pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful gardens or take your book and relax amongst the endless grounds and scenery.


11. Sainte-Chapelle

An image of Saint Chapelle in Paris

The architecture of the Sainte Chapelle is on display here

If you only visit the inside of one cathedral during your stay in Paris, the Sainte-Chapelle is it. Ornate Gothic architecture and stunning stained-glass windows complete this incredible building located in Paris’ stately 1st arrondissement. If you like classical composers, there are often classical concerts held here, which we can assure you, are just magical.



An image of the Louvre Museum in Paris

The Louvre


The majority of public museums and monuments in Paris are free for residents of the E.U. as well as for many students under 26, and Parisians take full advantage of this. If you’ve already been to the Louvre, try checking out the Musée D’Orsay which was once a train station but has been converted into a gorgeous museum housing an impressive Impressionist collection. Other great spots are the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, the Palais de Tokyo, Pompidou Center, Fondation Louis Vuitton, and Musée Picasso.

If you’re looking for something really off the beaten path, try Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (hunting and nature museum), Musée Montmarte, or the charming Musée de la vie Romantique (this one even has an adorable café outside, where you can enjoy a drink in the gardens). If you’re visiting during nice weather, the Musée Rodin is a wonderful addition to your itinerary; be sure to spend some extra time wandering the statue garden.


Image Sources: Passage des Panoramas – jmdigne  cc by sa 2.0, Les Puces de Saint Ouen – ParisSharing cc by 2.0, Bords de Seine – Nicolas Winspeare, cc by 2.0, Wikimedia Commons: Saint Chapelle Interior by Michael D. Hill Jr – cc by Sa 3.0, Paris Belleville rue Denoyez by Myrabella / CC BY-SA 4.0, Marais Rue des rosiers by Andrea Schaffer – cc by 2.0, Buttes Chaumont by PpPachy – cc by sa 3.0, Parc des Buttes Chaumont by Jean-Louis Vandevivère  – cc by sa 2.0, Marche Bastille by ayustety – cc by sa 2.0, Montmartre artists by InSapphoWeTrust  – cc by sa 2.0, Douglas O’Brien – cc by sa 2.0.

, , ,
A picture of the Rialto bridge in Venezia italy

A Complete Guide to Visiting Venice

Paris is the most visited city in the world year a...

Read more
An image of the Canal in Suzhou

A guide to Suzhou, China

Paris is the most visited city in the world year a...

Read more
A shot of the coastline in Santa Marta

Weekend Getaways from Santa Marta, Colombia

Paris is the most visited city in the world year a...

Read more

There are 0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enter your email for a chance to win!
*Your email is kept safe and you will receive no spam from us
the gear
we test
Every month we receive a lot of gear from major travel brands for testing. Instead of letting these go to waste or selling it, we would like to give it away to our subscribers
Share This