Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and it's easy to see why. It's jam-packed with fantastic architecture, food, and cultural institutions. The City of Love, the City of Light… there are so many places not to miss in Paris when you visit. However, at certain times, the most popular parts of the city may feel a little overcrowded or touristy, and you may wish to experience Paris like a local while you're here while still enjoying yourself to the fullest.
One thing to remember, though (especially if you're trying not to stick out as a prominent tourist) is that if you're stuck with bags or luggage, you should use Nannybag luggage storage to explore the city or relax without being weighed down. With all that in mind, here are some of our tips.
Want to eat and drink like a Parisian while treating yourself a bit, as you are on holiday after all? Start your day with a café au lait and a croissant at a local café. This is a classic Parisian breakfast you'll find at almost every café in the city.
Then, why not visit a local market and buy fresh produce, cheese, and bread for your picnic? The Marché d'Aligre and the Marché des Enfants Rouges are two famous markets worth visiting.
Try some classic French dishes for dinner, such as steak frites, boeuf bourguignon, or ratatouille. These dishes are often found at traditional brasseries and restaurants throughout the city, but maybe avoid the ones in incredibly touristy areas as you could get overcharged. There's also a thriving street food scene, with everything from crepes to falafel to Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches available from food trucks and stalls.
Finish your meal with a café gourmand, a small coffee served with miniature desserts. For a little drink, why not have an apéritif before dinner? Parisians often enjoy a pre-dinner drink, such as a kir or a pastis, to whet their appetite.
Or, visit a wine bar and try some local wines. France is world-famous for its wine, and there are plenty of bars in Paris where you can sample different varieties for much lower prices than elsewhere in the world.
Getting the hang of public transport in Paris is easy, and it's how locals get around the city. Paris is relatively compact compared to other large cities, and the metro, bus, and tram services are excellent and reliable. There's nowhere in the city that's too far from a metro stop, and services are frequent.
To save money, here's a tip: buy a Navigo card, and you can select how many journeys you think you'll go on. If you're staying in Paris for a while longer, you can get weekly and monthly passes with your Navigo card for further savings. Another tip is to buy the Citymapper app, which tells you the quickest and cheapest way to get from A to B around the city.
Or, if you like cycling, Paris is a bike-friendly city with over 430 miles of cycle paths. Download the Velib app, which allows you to unlock bikes around the city. The city center is also very walkable, with beautiful streets to explore on foot. Still, if you have bags or luggage while exploring, Paris temporary luggage storage is a good thing to remember!
Because of how international and cosmopolitan Paris is, many local people speak good English. However, brushing up on your French is always a good idea. It's considered good manners to at least make a bit of an effort to speak the language, and it helps you have meaningful conversations and make connections.
If you're spending a while here, it might be worth taking a few lessons or using Duolingo to give you phrases and conversation topics past the simple “Bonjour” and “Merci.” Even being able to go to a shop and order things in French is a significant first step.
“Combien ça coûte ?” (how much does it cost) or “Je voudrais” (I would like) are good ones to learn. Considering how quickly Parisians speak, maybe your most important phrase is “pouvez-vous parler un peu plus lentement” (can you speak a little slower)!
While spots like the Louvre (and the fascinating Mona Lisa), Notre Dame Cathedral, Musée d'Orsay and the Centre Pompidou are some of the most visited and famous museums in the world for good reason, perhaps you might want to visit some lesser-known museums away from the crowds and the tourists.
One of our favorites (it's not a real hidden gem, but still underrated) is the Musée de Cluny - Musée national du Moyen Âge, featuring fantastic art, artifacts, clothing, and tapestries from the medieval period, set in the ruins of Paris’ Ancient Roman era baths.
Another fun one is the Musée de la Contrefaçon, dedicated to counterfeit goods and features a collection of fake luxury items and information on how to identify counterfeit products.
Again, the best-known Paris hot spots, like Le Marais and around Montmartre, are well known for a reason - they are incredibly vibrant, pretty, and fun. However, plenty of neighborhoods are equally enjoyable but much less touristy, and when you hang out there, you can live like a local in Paris.
Butte aux Cailles is a charming part of the 13th arrondissement. It's known for its village-like atmosphere, cobblestone streets, old buildings, and youthful vibes, with plenty of fun bars, restaurants, and street art. Canal Saint-Martin is located in the 10th arrondissement and is centered around the Canal Saint-Martin.
It's a great place to walk along the water, have a picnic, or grab a drink at one of the many bars and cafes in the area. Meanwhile, Belleville is an edgy, artsy neighborhood in the 20th, with a vibrant Chinatown and lots of good restaurants and street art.
What if you could enjoy every minute in the city without the burden of your bags?