Want to see the city of lights from a Parisian’s perspective? Experience the best of the French capital with our local’s guide on things to do in Paris.
Some cities need no introduction. With its world-class museums, breathtaking architecture and old-world charm, Paris is the crème de la crème of European destinations. If you’re considering a sojourn in Paris, we can help you discover the city’s authentic side.
Whether you’re looking forward to the food, art, romance or culture, the real Paris can be found at these sights and attractions.
A village within a metropolis, Montmartre is home to some of Paris’s oldest surviving architecture (including the Elysees Montmartre Theatre, one of the city’s original can-can dance venues). Built into the side of a steep hill, this part of Paris is known for its hipster residents and creative culture.
Montmartre’s ivory-clad buildings and meandering alleyways give the neighbourhood a classically French feel. Filled with haute cuisine restaurants, fashion boutiques and ancient churches, getting lost in Montmartre’s intricate backstreets is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in true Parisian culture (avoid getting too lost by keeping a Paris map handy).
While in Montmartre, grab a bite to eat at Table d'Eugène, one of the suburb’s hidden culinary gems.
Jardins du Luxembourg
Jardins du Luxembourg is a lush palace garden situated in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Taking up 25 acres of prime Paris real estate, it was originally created by Marie de' Medici, the widow of King Henry IV. Now owned by the French government, the garden’s calm atmosphere is treasured by locals and tourists.
Its lavish features include the Medici Fountain, a large pond, sculptures, a vintage carousel, an orchard and Luxembourg Castle. Bursting with magnificent trees and walking paths, Jardins du Luxembourg is the perfect place for a Parisian picnic.
Go underground in the Paris Metro
Riding the Metro is one of the best ways to see Paris through the eyes of a local. Buried deep beneath the city’s cobbled streets lies a labyrinth of tunnels linked by beautifully curated train stations. Known as the ‘Métropolitain de Paris’ it’s one of the oldest subway systems in the world.
To appreciate the Metro’s perfectly French details, make you way to the following stations:
The Louvre-Rivoli is covered in copies of ancient artworks found throughout the Louvre Museum. Built in 1900, it once provided access to the Louvre (to get there via train these days you would need to visit the Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre station).
Gare de Lyon
Regarded as one of the prettiest train stations in Paris, Gare de Lyon is a classic example of early 20th century architecture. Renowned for its huge clock tower and famous restaurant, le Train Bleu, the building features glittering chandeliers and painted ceilings.
Concorde is the station you need to visit if you’re planning to explore the Champs Elysées, Paris’s most famous street. In a symbol of classic French patriotism, the station’s tunnel is lined with letters spelling out the Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen (Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen), a celebrated document from the French Revolution.
Pont Neuf is situated in the heart of the city. The station’s platform is adorned with huge replicas of French coins, in honour of the nearby Monnaie de Paris (Paris mint).
Shop the local markets
What better way to soak up the oh-so-French atmosphere of metropolitan Paris than by visiting a local market? If you don’t have time to go gallivanting through the city in search of the best marketplaces, we’ve compiled some of our favourites for you:
Marché biologique des Batignolles
Has dining out on delicious Parisian food inspired you to do some cooking yourself? Pick up all the ingredients you’ll need for a French feast at Marché biologique des Batignolles. Held every Saturday morning in the fashionable suburb of Les Batignolles, this well-known organic market is stocked with fresh produce, baked goods and flowers.
Marché aux Puces de Montreuil
As one of Paris’s most famous flea markets, Marché aux Puces is a treasure trove of second-hand clothing, trinkets and furniture. Open from Saturday to Monday, it can be found on Avenue du Professeur André Lemierre.
Marché des Enfants Rouges
Dating back to the 1600’s, Marché des Enfants Rouges (Market of the Red Children) is the oldest food market in Paris. Busting with a blend of fresh produce and ready-to-eat meals, this sprawling market is located behind an iron gate in the 3rd arrondissement. It operates from Tuesday through to Sunday.
If you’re looking for a slightly more exclusive shopping destination, save some of your Euros for Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, the most fashionable flea market in Paris.
Bon Appétit – Parisian Food
Escargot, crêpes, croissants, macarons… there’s nothing quite like French cuisine. Whether you’re a sweet tooth or in search of something savoury, Paris has food to suit every palette.
Eat like a local by sampling the following fare:
- Get your day off to a delicious start by tucking into a tasty croissant for breakfast. Don’t forget to complement your morning meal with a tasty café crème, a shot of espresso with milk or cream.
- Baguettes make the perfect midday snack. Pack it with a popular filling like ham, or dip it into some quintessentially French onion soup.
- If you’re feeling peckish before dinner, treat yourself to some wine and cheese in the evening.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try some traditional dishes like grenouille (frogs’ legs) or escargot (snails) at one of Paris’s gastronomic restaurants?