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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

10 Ways to Explore Paris like a Local

Paris is a HOT destination in the tourist circles. This city of light and one of the most romantic cities attracts more visitors than any other location in the world. While most tourists go for the usual hotspots of Eiffel Tower, Louvre museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacre Coeur church and bargain shopping for luxury designer labels, I prefer to step out of the tourist track and enjoy Paris like a local. This allows me to stay away from the maddening crowds (especially during the peak summer months), while experiencing the real Paris vibe….It is this vibe that will make you fall in love with this city and make you want to return real soon.

Enjoy Good Long Brunches

A Parisian Brunch with cheese, jams and delicious bread - a vegetarians delight

The umpteen French courses hold cult status in the food circles. The French really enjoy their food and why should they not. With rich cheeses, lip smacking croissants and bread, mouth watering desserts, amazing wines and a spectacular array of main courses, I can just visit Paris for its food. While Paris is home to the most number of Michelin restaurants after Tokyo, I make do with the many non-Michelin cafes, restaurants and brunch joints spread all over the city. Michelin or no Michelin, Paris dishes out some fantastic food that is bound to appease people of all palates and tastes.

Walk Walk Walk

The locks of lovers and Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Do you know how the French maintain their toned bodies in spite of loving their cheese and wine? Well, the reason is that they maintain a very active lifestyle and that mainly includes a lot of walking. If you want to experience Paris like a local, you have to walk. You can do a museum trail, a church trail, a walk by the river Seine or simply walk in the old city area. And this way, you not only get to see the sights of the city, but you also get to feel the lively energy of the city while burning off the desserts, cheese and wine that you have been indulging in.

Morning Coffee and Street Watching

Chairs of coffee shops in Paris face the street

Paris is one of those cities where cafes have their chairs facing the street. I absolutely love this concept as it allows to me watch the people of the city whiz past me while I am enjoying my cup of hot coffee in the morning. This is also one of those quick ways to get a sense of the latest fashion.

The Sweet Tooth - Macarons, Biscuits and Chocolates

Iconic Macarons from Pierre Herme, Paris

People with a sweet tooth, chocolate lovers and candy lovers will love Paris. Right from the iconic macaroon of Pierre Hermes to the biscuits and chocolates of La Cure Gourmande, deliciousness is never too far away in Paris. When in Paris, these are my trail mixers, energy bars and mood lifters. Do make sure you have some in your bag while you go on your walk across the sights of the city.

Relax in the Lush Green Parks

Chilling out in one of the many parks in Paris, France

If you are lucky to find a bright sunny day in Paris, do make sure that you take a book and head to the one of the many beautiful parks of the city. You could simply bathe in the sun while reading your book or do some people photography as the parks of Paris do see a lot of action on bright sunny days.

Become a part of the Rich Street Action

Colorful Street Action from Paris

The streets of Paris are always full of vibrant action. From musicians to dancers and from artists to acrobats, one can almost see everything on the streets of the French capital. While most of these happens in certain pre-defined areas of the city like popular tourist areas or near to the top attractions of the city, specialty events or performances can be held almost anywhere. Do keep your eyes and ears open for the happening events in town.

Pick up Graphic Novels at a Bookstore

Graphic novels galore at bookstores in Paris

Parisians love their books and you can see why when you step into any of the bookstores of the city. Most of the bookstores of Paris pack a fantastic collection and an ambiance that begs you to pick up a book and read it. Personally, I love the graphic novel collections available here and hope such collections will be soon found in the bookstores of India.

Departmental Shopping at Galeries Lafayette

Paris city view from on top of Galeries Lafayette, a department store in Paris

Nothing beats some departmental shopping, climbing to the roof and sipping a cup of coffee while watching the Paris skyline including the iconic Eiffel tower. The Galeries Lafayette located on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement of Paris offers just this and more. Right from the time you enter this upmarket French departmental store, you cannot stop being mesmerized by its interior decoration. It houses all the top brands and designer labels for you to do all your shopping under one roof. A view of the Eiffel tower along with the a city view is just an icing on the cake.

Get your portrait made by a Street Artist

Street artists weave their magic in front of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Whether you are exploring Paris alone or with your partner, you should definitely get a portrait or sketch of yourself done by a local street artist. Such artists can be found at all key locations of the city such as the banks of the river Seine, in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre, Eiffel tower, the Sacre Coeur or other important monuments of the city. This might not exactly be a local thing, but it is a lot of fun and such portraits make for great souvenirs from your trip to Paris.

Be Bedazzled during a Paris Opera Show

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Paris ballet opera, classical operas, touching performances and melodious music can be enjoyed at either the Opera Bastille or at the grand Palais Garnier. Tickets can be a bit pricey, but if it is a theme you are interested in, it will be totally worth every pence. The performances here are so strong that they give goosebumps and that is coming from a guy who thought operas were not his thing.



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