Paris is one of those destinations that everyone dreams of.
An iconic place that has been portrayed in movies, again and again, providing a romantic backdrop for some of our favourite stories, but there is so much more to Paris than the movies tell us.
It is the locals that make this city the beautiful place it is. Proud of their city, it’s heritage and traditions Parisians live their whole lives in this city and to get the best experience we need to take inspiration from them and how they live when we take our trips to Paris!
One thing is certain, it is a charming city. Full of interesting places to go, great food and has a glamourous feel that leaves an impression on any visitor but Paris as a tourist can be a very different experience to those who live in the city and love it for its elegant charm.
So when you next take a trip to this fantastic city take a look at it through the eyes of the locals and experience a whole new world that is just as wonderful, if not better than a typical tourist holiday.
So how do you get that local experience when you are in Paris? Here are a few tips to enhance your travel experience.
Get To Grips With The Metro
The metro is one of the easiest ways to travel around Paris but plan ahead. Don’t be the tourist that buys and uses individual tickets. Invest in a travel pass, and you will save yourself time, and you will look and feel like one of the locals instead of the typical tourist fumbling their way through the ticket booth.
Make sure you have had a look at the metro map before you visit so that you have an idea of where everything is and how it works. This will make your life much more comfortable, and you will soon get to grips with this vast city and its travel systems.
If you aren’t travelling too far then consider taking a walk instead. Paris is a beautiful city to walk around, and you can get a glimpse of French culture and drink in the atmosphere as you walk.
Learn some French
You don’t have to go on a full French course before you take your trip, but the locals will appreciate the effort if you can say a few words and phrases.
So learn some of the key things you will need and don’t be afraid of getting it wrong. Most people will be happy to help you and speaking some French will help you get that local experience.
Research The Restaurants
This city is famous for its food and wine, so make sure you get the best experience you can and find those perfect little bistros to experience and avoid the big chain restaurants. Travel blogs and articles can be the ideal place to get the lowdown on the best places to eat.
Go one better and ask some locals for their advice – they will love to impart their knowledge on the best places to try the best food. Often this can be a cheaper way of eating out too. The locals tend to know the best places that are the best value for money.
Visit the Markets
Paris has some wonderful street markets where you by authentic, fresh, French food. This is a true Paris experience as you mix and mingle with Parisians doing their regular shopping.
Parisians tend to buy their food daily so they can ensure the freshest ingredients, so take note and do the same. You can grab some bargains and treat yourself to some traditional meals and produce – an authentic Parisian experience.
Take Your Time With A Coffee And A Pastry
It can be easy to fall into the trap of rushing around trying to see as much as you can in an as short amount of time as possible, but this isn’t the best way to get an authentic experience.
Try not to rush around from tourist attraction to tourist attraction when you visit. Make some time for the simple pleasures in life and grab a famous French Pastry and a coffee and sit and enjoy them as you watch people go by.
This is a great experience that can leave you feeling calm and relaxed and truly like you are one of the locals.
Get Google Maps
Nothing shows up a tourist more than a large tourist map! So fold those traditional maps away and make sure you have Google Maps downloaded onto your phone. You can also make sure you have copies of the metro map and other important information downloaded so that you can traverse the city without too much hassle.
A quick glance at your phone is much friendlier to those around you, and you won’t stick out like a typical tourist.
Time Your Tourist Visits
Visiting those iconic places is part of visiting Paris, but you aren’t the only one with dreams of photo’s in front of the Louvre or taking a trip to the Champs-Élysées. Everyone else wants to see these things too so they can get busy.
Many Parisians will avoid these places when they are busy so ask the locals the best way to see these sights or do some research online. Some sites allow evening visits or will have advice on their websites for the quieter times to visit, so do your research first and take full advantage of any quieter times.
Paris is a bustling and busy city, and these tend to come with a certain amount of noise, and you will find Paris the same. There is one small difference, though. In this bustling world, Parisians enjoy those moments of peace and quiet that can be hard to come by with a busy lifestyle.
When on the metro or walking the streets, you may notice that the locals tend to keep their voice volume on the lower side and try and match this etiquette. Discrete is the word. Avoid making phone calls on public transport and don’t shout across the street. The locals will love you for it, and it will give you a new appreciation for being able to find a moment of blissful peace in a busy place.
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