How to visit Paris like a Parisian + a free museums guide
Go to a “Brocante”
We like old stuff. Of course you can go to the Puces in Saint-Ouen, it is very pretty to see, you can find nice things but so crowded! And the best deals are not made there. Every week you can check out a Brocante (Yard sale) in many different neighborhoods of the city. The whole street is filled with tables of cutlery, plates, clothes, furniture, souvenirs and so on. Of course you can always bargain a little bit the price… Even if you don’t find anything you will enjoy looking at all of these objects.
Leave super-heroes comics at home, read “Bande dessinées”
We are huge fans of these kind of books, there are a few specialized shops in Paris which will present you the latest trending ones. Yes they are very popular, we all grew up with them at home, later on we read and collect them as adults. We have a very famous festival in Angoulême where you can meet the authors, just like the comic-con but way more human-size and less about the movies. Also they are big part in our heritage, indeed more and more museums are organizing exhibitions about them. If you get the chance check out Valerian and Laureline, you may have seen the movie made recently, forget about it and go read this amazing BD!
Tip: Since they are quite popular a lot of them are available in English in stores! If not it might be a good way to practice your French 😉
Check out a “must-see” exhibition
Parisians like temporary shows, the ones everyone is talking about. Last week I checked one at the Musée du Luxembourg and it was an hour-long wait line! So worth it though. Buy your tickets a few days in advance and you can even get “coupe-file” which means you don’t have to wait, or at least a little bit less! Read til the end of the post to get all the tips on where to get discount tickets and the best times to go to museums !
Walk, walk, walk
Of course just like in any big city we have a great public transport system in Paris, with the RATP you can get pretty much everywhere. The metro system is easy to understand and you can find stops allover the city. Even better they are connected to suburban trains, which will take you to big tourist attractions: Château de Versailles and even Disneyland! (I must admit I have never been to that one). But mainly if you can go there by walking, Parisians will just walk. That way you can fully enjoy the architecture. The city center is not that extended, from North to South Paris is about 6miles (9km), you can do it in 2 hours!
Tip: Afraid to get lost? You can book a smartphone for your trip so you have a GPS on hand! 4G, full access to internet and you can use it as a hotspot. Because you can book it in advance you can forget about the hastle of buying a SIM card when you get to Paris. More info on this service here.
Because Food is very important: Start the day with a “petit-déjeuner”
Of course we have brunch places and nice coffee shops. But if you want a true French breakfast it has to be croissants or chocolatines, orange juice, toasted pieces of baguette with butter and preserve NOT jam. That’s it. If that is too much sweet stuff for you or you might not be hungry in the morning have a café at the comptoir at a local place. It is called a “café-comptoir” meaning you drink your black espresso standing at the bar. If you want to sit, the price is higher. And no despite what Instagram can make you believe we do not eat Macarons for breakfast.
Because food is very important #2: End the day by having a “planche”
Since we live in a very expensive city during the week we will often trade an evening at a restaurant for a “planche” at our local pub. It is cheaper and can be shared with the group. It means “board” in English it comes from the woodboard on which you cut the saucisson. You can get cheese board, meat boards or mix both of them. They go nicely with a red wine and they are quite cheap! Dont expect anything fancy you will probably only get some salad on it but no fruits, nuts or anything like that. If you want fancy go to a fancy place but expect to pay a higher price for just a few pieces of cheese.
Free Paris museums guide
You won’t have time to waste in Paris, you need to be organized so you can enjoy the city to the fullest. Because I want you to have the best trip, I am partnering with Insidr (awesome travel website) to give you guys a free museums guide of Paris! In there you will find a map of museums to check out, restaurants nearby, and useful tips. Make sure you check out their website for more info on Paris and allover Europe!
Now you are all set to come to Paris 😉
which one of my advice will you follow? I want to know!