During my month and a half long of time spent in Europe around Italy and Germany, I decided to make Paris my last destination to visit before I headed back to Hong Kong. The first time I visited Paris was five years ago, and I remember doing all the rounds as a tourist with my mum to squeeze in as many famous sights and museums as we could within the week we visit. However, this time I wanted something different. I wanted to truly experience and soak in the vibe of the beautiful city. Keep scrolling to read on How to Experience Paris with me!
As I start to travel more often, I find that it’s important to take the time and understand the culture of a country or city and to experience the place through a local’s point of view. I soon discovered that Paris wasn’t just the city of lights or love, there was so much more this city offers beyond the main stream tourist go to Paris to see. I went to Paris not just to admire the beauty of the city, but also because I wished to explore and find unexpected gems (such as they boutiques, cafés, galleries, or markets) along the way. From this trip, I gave myself an open itinerary that allow me to take time to enjoy the city at a slower pace. There were I couple of places I researched beforehand to make sure I visited, but apart from that everyday was an open schedule.
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As you read on, these are some suggestions I’d give anyone wanting to discover Paris at a slower pace and just enjoy the Parisian lifestyle that the locals experience. So here it goes!
Stroll around the city | The best way to experience Paris and marvel at the magnificent architectural heritage is to stroll around the streets of the city! You’d be surprised to see different cafes, stores or galleries in every corner you make. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for a day of this and getting lost in the city!
Bike around the city | If you want to see the city at a slightly faster pace, rental bikes are readily available everywhere in Paris. I would highly recommend this activity! Vélib’ is the official rental bike provide in Paris that is easily accessible to public with rental bike stations located all around the city.
Stop any outdoor cafes | Stroll along the street and you will pass by endless cafes to enjoy a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate if you don’t drink coffee like me). From my personal experience, I would suggest avoiding cafes near major monuments (such as the Eiffel Tower or Sacre Caur) unless you’re willing to pay sky high prices for a drink and lack of service. These café can get crowded and don’t usually have very attentive staff as they need to cater to many customers. Instead, opt for cafes that are 5 minutes away and you’ll easily find a place more worthwhile.
Walk along the river Seine | Very relaxing path along the river side is the perfect way to spend an afternoon or evening stroll after a meal or to clear your head. The Seine river runs through France and ends at the English Channel and its hardly very crowded if you want to escape traffic in Paris.
Roof top balcony of Layfette | One of the best views of Paris is accessible for free! Climb up to the very top of the Lafayette department store to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the city. They even have a rooftop restaurant if you want to sit and enjoy the view with a sip of coffee or cocktails.
Buy a baguette | It’s not a Parisian experience without purchasing a baguette fresh from the bakery! Take one along with you to eat at the park or river side for a snack or picnic under the Eiffel tower. This is definitely a thing all the local do when you walk around the streets, every Parisian has a baguette in hand!
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These experiences allowed me to discover places I never knew existed in Paris and now I can’t wait to go back and discover more! Also, stay tuned for a more detail blogpost guide on Paris and a vlog coming very soon!
Is there a place you’s like to go back to experience it differently? Let me know in the comments below!
Photography by Ross Vickers.