6 years, 8 months ago
So you’re off to Paris again. You love it there, and why not? Paris is a stunning city. It’s filled with bustling culture, wonderful food, beautiful sights and some of the best shopping in the world. But this time, maybe you’d like to discover something new and surprising, while learning a local tip or two. What better way to find the best croissants in town, or locate an island of calm in a busy neighbourhood than to ask the natives?
So that’s what we did.
Meet Deborah, one of HouseTrip’s hosts. She would like to teach some tips to those looking for…a more authentic take on Paris.
Go for a walk
My husband and I love to walk in Paris, because this is the best way to enjoy the city. We pick a random district like Pigalle or Saint Germain, then just keep going to see what we can see. Sometimes we’ll even go running early in the morning near our home in Montmartre, because there’s nobody there and the light is so beautiful!
Pigalle. By shiner.clay.
Take your kids to the park
There are some great parks near my property in Montmartre where the little ones can play: a small one at Avenue Junot, and there’s a bigger one on Rue Marcadet (a 10 minute walk from the house).
Kids can also go to Jardin d’acclimitations near Neuilly, where they can see animals at a zoo or take a pony ride.
If you have curious youngsters interested in the sciences, take them to Parc de la Villette; one of the biggest parks in Paris and home to Europe’s largest science museum.
Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. By *_*.
Act like a tourist in un-touristy ways
My husband and I have one rule to living in Paris: try to see it like a tourist does. Because that’s the best way to enjoy a city. But we are Parisians. That means we know which places to avoid, and what times to avoid them. For example if we take ‘bateaux-mouches’, little boats on the Seine, we get to enjoy the landscape, architecture and Paris’ beautiful bridges. But we will go early so that we aren’t disturbed by too many people.
When the days are sunny, we like to go to Saint Louis Island to eat an ice-cream at Bertillon’s Place. It’s the best in Paris!
Île Saint-Louis. By tom1024z.
Paris’s best kept secret
There is a surprisingly little-known ancient Gallo-Roman amphitheatre in the Latin Quarter called Arènes de Lutèce. This archeological treasure once hosted gladiatorial combat, and was saved from demolition in the 1800s by the famous author Victor Hugo. It used to seat 15,000 people. I like to stand in the centre and imagine the crowds cheering at me and jeering at my opponent!
Arènes de lutèce. By nattynattyboom.
The best baguettes and croissants in town
5 minutes’ walk from my house you find Rue des Abbess. Bakeries on this street won Best Baguette 2011 and 2012, and many other awards for croissants, baguettes and other baked treats. If you love that sweet, fresh baked smell and the softest breads in all of Paris, you need to visit ‘Au Levain d’Antan’ and ‘Le Grenier à Pain’.
Image by Akane86.
Finding quiet in the heart of Montmartre
Montmartre can be very busy and touristy, especially the closer you get to Sacré-Cœur. But one of my favourite places to find some quiet is right near my home in this district. Villa Léandre is a sweet, pretty little street with a few quaint houses; each prettier than the last with its own unique colours and flowers.
You can also find the sound of silence by strolling along Rue Simon Deruere, an from there walk to the Chateau des Brouillars where Renoir (the famous painter) lived!
Montmartre. By loic80l.
Do brunch on Sunday
Head to Le Marais or Place du Marché Saint-Honoré on a Sunday, because all day the streets are people only! No cars allowed!
We will also have brunch in Montmartre, but if you do you must avoid Place du Tertre! It’s very expensive, the food isn’t very good and there are too many people. Instead go to eat at Marcel, a really nice local restaurant on the corner of Avenue Junot and Villa Léandre, with only people from the neighbourhood!
Market day in Place du Marché Saint-Honoré. By astorg.
This is Paris. There are of course too many amazing restaurants to mention, but one of my favourites is Louis XIII on Rue des Grands Augustins. If you go, I highly recommend the lobster ravioli, the duck and the ‘tarte avocat mangue’. So delicious! It’s expensive but a truly unique experience you’ll never forget.
In Montmartre, I recommend Le Chamarré, or Le Cottage Marcadet. Both are quite different but in both the food is amazing.
Ravioles de homard. By ulterior epicure.
To truly live like a local, you must eat like a local. But of course we are in Paris not Borneo, so this is good. We don’t eat out every single night, and eating at home a few times during your stay with us can help your budget a lot! The best food shop in Paris is definitely Gdetou in Les Halles. It isn’t known by many outsiders, but lots of professional chefs shop here and you will typically delicious French foods for your holiday kitchen.
Featured image: Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle. By Stuck in Customs.