How To Have a Unique Experience in Paris (an insider’s guide)

If you want to experience Paris less like a tourist and more like a true Parisian, you've come to the right place. Don't feel bad if you can't hit up all these places in your first visit. Paris is chock-full of things to do and see, so you may want to find an excuse to visit twice.

Get up before the sun rises and go to the Louvre

How To Have a Unique Experience in Paris (an insider's guide) - Breathe Travel

It's an absolutely magical experience to be in the first arrondissement when no one else is around! You'll have the chance to watch the sun rise above IM Pei's inverted glass pyramid, which is an underrated experience that everyone should have!

Have a picnic in the gardens of the Jardin des Tuileries

This is perfect for those traveling solo, as a couple or with a family. If you’re feeling the need for a break, purchase a sandwich and go to the first arrondissement for a relaxing picnic in the grassy area between the Louvre and the garden fountains. Hang out for an hour like a local. Bring a blanket and a book and stay even longer!

Rent Velib bikes in the early morning

Touring the side streets around St. Germain, St. Michel, and the Latin Quarter will show you a different view of everyday Paris. For a special treat, ride around 7am when the city is just beginning to wake up. Velib stations do use credit cards and they are positioned ALL over the city.

Warning: you can use the bus lanes, but you'll have to share the space! Keep a keen eye out!

Wander the Rue St. Andre des Arts in the evening

Get off at the St. Michel metro stop in the fifth arrondissement, and take a small side street to the right of the sculpture fountain. You won't be disappointed!

Get centered

The Ile St. Louis in the fourth arrondissement is right in the center of Paris, and there's lots to do there. Get ice cream at Berthillon-- the lines may be long, but they go quickly. Get a treat and then stroll along the Ile Louis or the Seine and if you're lucky, there will be some musical entertainers.

How To Have a Unique Experience in Paris (an insider’s guide)

Have lunch at the A Priori The cafe

Walkable from the Louvre in the third arrondissement, there's a gorgeous covered walkway called the Passage Vivienne-- walk through it to have lunch or tea at this charming cafe. You could also go for Sunday brunch, but you'd need a reservation. And there’s a wonderful little toy store just around the corner from the café!

Get comfortable - you can speak your native tongue

If you're not ready to order your dinner in French, that's okay, most restaurants near major attractions are used to speaking English to customers and will often have English menus. If you want to go somewhere a little more 'off the beaten path', try Moustache in the 6th arrondissement or use Trip Advisor for recommendations. But remember, many French restaurants don't open for dinner until 7 - 8pm!

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Spend some time at the parks

Most parks open by 9am, giving you the perfect opportunity to take in the lush landscaping and beautiful views ahead of the crowds. Schedule your time in the park early, whether you're going for a run or a photo op--you won't be disappointed. Early in the morning, you'll feel like the only person in the park as you explore angelic statues and garden coves.

You can even find a playground and miniature boat races for kids in the Jardin du Luxembourg in the sixth arrondissement. There's a public toilet option in some of the parks, but be prepared to pay a €.50 fee.

How To Have a Unique Experience in Paris (an insider’s guide)

Get lost

No, I don't mean leave Paris. Many notables have said that the city is best experienced by simply wandering around it, so feel free to get a little lost-- there will always be someone nearby to help you get back on track.

Some of the best wandering turf options are near the Pantheon (fifth arrondissement), the Latin Quarter (also the fifth arrondissement), the Louvre (the first arrondissement), or Montmartre (18th arrondissement).Remember that Paris weather is likely to change from windy to rainy to sunny to cool at the drop of a hat, so it's best to wear something versatile. Bring items that layer well or reverse so you can pack less and leave room for the unique treasures you find while wandering.

Visit the Bouillon Chartier Restaurant in the ninth arrondissement

This is one of the most historic restaurants in Paris. Don't worry too much about the long lines, it's a huge place so they move quickly. But if you don't want to wait in a queue that extends around the block, arrive before 7pm.

The menu is simple, diner-like, even, but the atmosphere will never disappoint. You'll be seated close to other tables and their patrons, and it's loud, but it's oh so fun!

If you truly prefer well-cooked meat, you MUST order it bien cuit. The French tend to eat their red meat the equivalent of USA's medium-rare. And you can't go without trying the desserts too, they're well-recognized as great treats. I recommend the puff pastries with cream!

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How To Have a Unique Experience in Paris (an insider's guide) - Breathe Travel

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Are you planning a trip to Paris? Were any of these activities already on your list? Let us know in the comments! 🙂