Monday, January 13, 2014

Paris like a Local: Unique things to do in Paris, Part 1

Paris like a Local: Unique things to do in Paris

Happy 2014!  Hope you all had a fab Christmas and New Years.  Mine was packed with family, friends, and my trip to Paris!  I was lucky enough to visit a friend that lives there so I felt like I really got to experience Paris like a local.  Here are a few unique ideas that will help you have a Parisian experience that is anything but average!

best falafel in Paris
One of the favorite things I did on my trip was roaming around the Marais neighborhood!  There is a lot to do there, but here are a few of my favorites.  Head to the rue des Rosiers and visit the old Jewish section.  There was only one deli actually survived the Nazi occupation, Jo Goldenberg’s.  Sadly it closed a few years ago but you can still see the old awning which I love.  Eat lunch at Chez Marianne (2, rue des Hospitalières-St.-Gervais, corner of rue des Rosiers, in the 4th) to get the falafel and meze in Paris. Another options is the takeout falafel from the famed L’As du Fallafel (34, rue des Rosiers)... but be prepared to wait... the lines at most of these places go outside and down the street!

Place des Vosges Paris France
The Place des Vosges was absolutely one of my favorite places, and is also in the Marais!  The Place des Vosges was once home to Victor Hugo and is one the oldest and most beautiful square in Paris!  It was built by Henry IV over 400 years ago.  Stop and have a drink in one of the cafés on the square or grab a sandwich and have a picnic.

Île St. Louis, Paris, France
The Île St. Louis is one of the few areas in Paris wasn't effected when Napoleon remodeled the city after Rome, so you'll find narrow streets that are a great example of the oldest parts of Paris.  Located near Notre Dame, this is a great area to wander around and find fun shops or stop in a cafe for a crepe!

Notre Dame
This is actually pretty touristy, but I really enjoyed it.  Take a river boat ride on the Seine with Bateaux Mouches.  It goes by a lot of the big sites, and a lot of the time I got better views from the water than from when I was standing right on top of the buildings (case in point, the picture of the back of Notre Dame above)!

Geneva, Switzerland
If you are looking for a fun day trip from Paris, consider Geneva!  I had never been to Switzerland, so I took the 3 hour train ride to Geneva for the day.  The train ride itself was very relaxing, and it was a great way to see the French countryside as well as the Alps!  The great the about Geneva is that everything is in walking distance of the train station.  

A must-see is the Cathedral of St Pierre!  This 12th century cathedral, as a couple interesting factors.  First of all, you can see the chair from which John Calvin preached. You should also climb up the stairs to the tower for a great view of Geneva and the famous Jet d'Eau foundation (pictured above) on side side and the Alps on the other. There is also a little chapel tucked away on the side that you don't want to miss. It was literally so beautiful it took my breath away... especially the ceiling!

View from Arc de Triomphe at night
This is pretty touristy also but is a must-see in my opinion. I had been to the Arc de Triomphe but never to the top so that was on my list.  The line was soooo long but moved pretty quickly so don't let that stop you!  Also, we happened to go at night and see the Effiel Tower (which was already lit up) start sparkling!  This happens every hour on the hour so try to be up there when it happens.  To get to the Arc de Triomphe, DO NOT TRY CROSSING THE TRAFFIC CIRCLE!  Use the underground tunnel on the Avenue de la Grande Armee side of the circle. You can access this tunnel from the Wagram exit of the Metro. The Arc de Triomphe is located in the 16th arrondissement on Paris’s Right Bank. The 16th is located in the northwest sector of the city.  

Here are directions on how to get there:

RER: line A, station Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile
Metro: lines 1, 2 and 6, station Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile
From outside Paris: exit Porte Maillot and avenue de la Grande Armée or exit Porte Dauphine and avenue Foch
From the centre of Paris: drive up the Champs Elysées

Stay tuned for my next post, Paris like a Local: Unique things to do in Paris, Part 2! Until then, au revoir!


  1. Beautiful pictures!! So jealous you were in Paris. Hoping to go there next year.

    Best, Mree

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