This month the articles on our blog will be entirely dedicated to live Paris “like a local”! We asked Elisa to tell us in detail the behind the scenes of this wonderful city that she loves, seen through her eyes.
Why is Paris your favorite city?
There is no specific reason. The first time I came here I immediately felt at home. Paris is a free city that expresses joie de vivre where no one looks at you, no one judges you on the basis of appearance and where you breathe a lot of culture, in fact it is one of the countries where people read the most.
Paris like a local! Your “Parisian” day!
It starts with breakfast for example at Bo&mie in Boulevard Saint-Michel, V arrondissement and then I wander around narrow streets such as Rue de Seine, Rue Mazarin, Rue de Buci where there are lots of nice little shops, until I get to Saint-Sulpice and then I make a stop at Le Bon Marché where I can also have lunch. Instead I can also choose L’Empire in Rue du Bac, if I want to eat the herring. Finally I cross one of the bridges over the Seine and spend the whole afternoon in the Marais district!
Not just croissants! Lesser-known desserts and where to eat them!
One above all the Madeleine which is a symbol in Paris! Known for Proust’s book where the writer, savoring it, recalls childhood. The best can be tasted at Place de la Madeleine at Fochon, one of the most famous Parisian delicatessens. Here you can buy Madeleines of different flavors: classic, caramel, pistachio, hazelnut , strawberry m, vanilla…
You can also find delicious Madeleines at Monoprix, a chain of supermarkets located in the city, the recommended brand is definitely “Bon maman”.
Then there is the tarte tatin, a dessert served in traditional bistros and brasseries. Polidore, a brasserie in the Latin quarter, prepares the best. Many scenes from the movie Midnight in Paris were also filmed here. At Gerard Moulot, in Rue de Seine, you can buy the single-portion version, to eat while you are walking. Then there are the great classics: the pain au chocolat, the escargot, the chausson aux pommes…
Art outside museums: where and why it is worth a visit.
In Paris there is always a large number of temporary exhibitions. An exhibition that is worth mentioning is the permanent exhibition 59 Rivoli, a cultural center of contemporary art located inside the old Lyon credit bank’s building that collapsed in the 90s. Spread over six floors where 30 artists exhibit in rotation. It is a free exhibition that is always open, where it is possible to interact with the artists and it is also suitable for children. It is the third museum pole of contemporary art most visited in Paris.
The unmissable shops out fo the beaten paths.
- La Boutique du Petit Prince, The Little Prince’s official boutique (rue Gregorie du tour, 6th arrondissement).
- L’Ecume des pages, bookshop and fabulous papeterie (Boulevard st.Germain, VI arrondissement)
- Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, the oldest department store in Paris (rue des Sevres, 7th Arrondissement)
- Mélodies Graphiques, a dream for those who love paper (Marais, IV Arrondissement)
- Maison Pourchet, all French leather goods brand, there are 3 shops but my favorite is in Place des Voges (Marais, IV Arrondissement)
- Gerard Darel, French clothing brand, his coats are amazing! There are many stores in the city
- BHV Marais, the Bazar de l’Hotel de Ville, another historic warehouse just in front of the Paris City Hall, in Rue de Rivoli.
Paris by night: an evening in the capital, where to go?
I definitely prefer to go around the city during the day but one thing I can recommend is to go under the Eiffel Tower to watch the light show and then go back to the Marais which is full of delightful cafes!
In which arrondissement do you recommend sleeping and why?
Definitely in the Saint Germain/Rive Gauche district since are the least monumental but also very authentic districts where there are brasseries, bistros and above all the Jardins du Luxembourg. These are the gardens where you can find the famous lake where children play with boats or ride a pony around the park. It is also the area where the protagonist lives in the famous series Emily in Paris!
Let’s debunk the cliché of the obnoxious and rude Parisian: describe the Parisians to us!
The Parisians represent one of the most educated population that exists. Suffice it to say that every time you enter a shop, the sales assistants greet you in a very polite way. Their attitude cannot be considered rude but reserved and they surely come to your aid if you need.
Don’t miss the second part of Elisa’s alternative guide!