Who doesn’t like getting lost on the Parisian streets while admiring the beautiful architecture, strolling along the Champs-Élysées or sitting in a cozy overpriced café ? Just about everyone who gets there, I would say!
But this guide isn’t about the big things we all know about Paris. It’s about the small things, to help you enjoy the perfect weekend more like a local would.Paris is the ultimate destination for a city break It’s the perfect place to disconnect, get inspired and enjoy good food.
Wondering where to start when you’re visiting Paris for the first time and you only have a weekend to enjoy it like a local? Our insider travel Paris city guide, with suggestions and insider travel tips and the places to be in the city, will get you in the mood for planning your own perfect weekend!
Skip all the touristy things all together and after dropping off your luggage, hop in the metro and head towards Strasbourg Saint-Denis, in the 10th arrondissement (metro Strasbourg Saint-Denis/ République). It is the perfect place to experience the real Paris and grab a few delicious things for a picnic near the Canal Saint-Martin.
If you want to discover the life of a neighbourhood in Paris, a walk along Faubourg Saint Denis Street is just what you need. It’s a vibrant and multicultural area (like Paris itself) with cosy cafes, restaurants, and all kind of shops selling fresh fruit and vegetables. Of course, among these you will also find great boulangeries and gourmet shops that sell countless types of French cheese, wine and other french delicatesse products. Although the area is very close to the famous Canal Saint-Martin, you will barely see any tourists around. Don’t be surprised if they don’t speak English in the shops, show off your best skills at French and enjoy the moment!
Once you are armed with more kinds of cheese than you can pronounce from Julhes (54 rue du Faubourg Saint Denis), a baguette rustique or two, fresh fruit and some sweets you can pick up from the same boulangerie (no address for this one, but you can’t go wrong! We tried a bunch of different ones each time, and they were all equally delicious) headed towards Canal Saint-Martin.
You can have a picnic along the canal banks, among the Parisian bobo hipster crowds that usually gather there, or like we did, set up yout picnic in the Jardin Villemin, a cute parc just across the canal, where on a sunny days everyone is enjoying the good weather. If you are lucky there will even be a cute french lady in her swimsuit practicing the ukulele! When you start having a hard time not falling asleep, it’s time to pick up your things and go grab a coffee.
The best place to do that is Ten Belles (10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010 Paris), a small café that is just a few steps away. Ask for a flat white or a V60. Be warned, though, simple asking for a filter coffee (café filtre) will not get you what you would expect. It is simply a coffee from a coffeemaker. It can be very crowded at times (in which case stick to the flat white), but it is a nice place to have a decent cup of coffee and a nice cake if you’re in the neighbourhood.
Then you can continue walking along the canal, and enjoy the laid back ambience with some cold drinks while the Parisian hipsters (les BoBo’s) play pétanque, an extremely popular French game. After dinner, go for a movie at MK2, one of the nicest cinemas in the area, with a big variety of movies. Go for a french one for the full experience! (they have two locations around this area: 7 quai de la Loire / 14 quai de la Seine 75019 Paris)