Welcome to the City of Lights!
A city of importance, not only for the country but across the world, Paris, France, is everything a bustling and historic European city represents. It has been home to intellectuals, artists, writers, and some of the most important people in the world. It belonged to kings, emperors, and revolutionaries. If the narrow winding streets of Paris could talk, they would tell tales of wonder, enchantment, and romance. Paris is a city with a story at every turn.
People worldwide know of the attractions most associated with Paris. The Louvre--home of the Mona Lisa--the Eiffel Tower watching over the city, and the Arc de Triomphe are all icons of the city known to people the world over. Approaching Paris can be a daunting task, especially if you’re looking for the best it has to offer. This guide will help you be a worldwide local in no time.
Paris Basics: Geography and Famous Sites
Paris is divided into districts known as arrondissements. Each has its own unique flavor and style. The first arrondissement, the center of the city, is known as the Louvre because that is where the iconic museum is located; the arrondissements spiral out from there. Locals know that the museum is large and full of tourists, which makes for a long wait to get in. Unless you’re absolutely determined to visit the museum, don’t waste your precious time. Instead, visit one of Paris’s other historic places. The city is filled to the brim with history and things to see that don’t require waiting in line or paying huge entrance fees.
Worldwide Local Tip: In Paris, it pays to plan ahead. Traffic in the city in constant and most tourist locations have long lines. Always pay for tickets to things in advance, know which neighborhood you’re going to, and figure out how you plan to get there beforehand to avoid traffic. The metro is a convenient way to get around from most of the Paris hotels.
Paris is known for several things, one of which is its food scene. From buttery and flaky croissants to freshly baked baguette bread, Paris has some of the best food around. In fact, Parisiens gossip that Londoners ride in on the London to Paris train just to buy groceries. Areas heavy in tourists will generally charge more for food. If you’re looking to sit down at a restaurant, research and make a reservation in advance. If you just need a quick snack during the day, locals know that stopping by a bakery is the best way to go.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re looking to channel your inner existentialist, don’t get buried in the Paris catacombs--head to the Cafe Les Deux Magots in the 6th. This cafe has a more Parisian history in it than most places. The bar opened in 1912 and has served drinks to notable people such as Verlaine, Hemingway, Picasso, Sartre, and de Beauvoir.
Shopping in Paris, Ooh La La
Paris is also known for its amazing shopping. The Champs-Elyssé is home to fashion brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Taking a stroll down the street is a nice way to spend some time window shopping. The Arc-de-Triomphe is at the head of the avenue. There are restaurants around as well, but everything here is expensive. There are lots of shops and flea markets in Paris. Locals know that the best place to pick up some one-of-a-kind finds is the Marché Au Puces in the 18th arrondissement. Show off your skills as a worldwide local and pick up something unique as a gift.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re looking to experience a place where the locals go, check out the Marché d’Aligre in the 12th. Fresh produce and goods are found here, making it a great place to pick up something small to eat. Then, you can just sit back and watch the world go by, enjoying a peaceful time in Paris.
The Eiffel Tower: Tips for the Best Experience
There’s nothing more quintessential about a trip to Paris without some shots of the Eiffel Tower. An everlasting symbol of the city, it is also one of it’s most frequently visited areas. It is busy with tourists at all times, and the price varies. Let’s not forget to mention the hundreds of stairs in the Eiffel Tower. Locals know that the best way to admire this iconic architecture is from below. Head to a cheesemonger and pick up a bottle of wine and some fruit. Then enjoy the lovely Paris weather with a picnic on the Champs de Mars, right in front of the tower.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re looking for that bird’s eye view of the city, check out the Tour Montparnasse. The skyscraper has elevators that will take you to the observation deck. Here you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city while sipping on Champagne and get a picture of the Eiffel Tower at distance.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Everyone knows of Paris’s important landmarks. While they are a marvel to see, don’t get sucked into standing in lines and fighting off other tourists for the best view. Exploring Paris like a worldwide local will grant you beautiful sights, tastes, and unparalleled access.