There’s just something about Paris…and everybody knows! It’s  one of the most popular European destinations, and for good reason: there’s plenty of art, culture, and cuisine to enjoy in every arrondissement (district). It’s impossible to ignore so many tourists (even French visitors coming from other regions) snapping photographs of the Eiffel Tower at all times. You can be one of them, of course, and have a heck of a time. But, if you really want to explore the city of lights like a little Parisian, it’d be wise to  follow these simple tips, mon ami!

Enjoy French Cuisine for Less

Mention “French cuisine” and you’ll instantly feel your mouth salivating. French cuisine is seen everywhere in Paris, from a simple French baguette and brie to a fiery crème brulée. If you want to prepare these delicatessen on your own, be like a local and shop for groceries at supermarkets or fresh food markets. Most Parisians cook, since they love fresh food, and interacting with fellow gourmets at the market is a wonderful part of the experience!

Find your “Joie de Vivre”

There is a quintessential understanding to the simple translation of joie de vivre, the joy of living. This is crucial to understanding French culture since it’s all about enjoying the simple pleasures of life. Unwind and enjoy the city the way it’s meant to be: without a care in the world. It may be easy to get frustrated in a busy, touristy city, but don’t forget to enjoy simple pleasures like a savory macaroon from a French bakery or catching some sun at the Luxemburg Gardens.

Treat Yourself!

Wine and cheese just seem to go together the same way Paris does with joie de vivre! There seems to be as many pairings and selections in Paris as there are ingredients. Trust your nose and your appetite for the chic French living by checking out a wine and cheese tasting tour. Or, even better, prepare your own at the local markets and try some samplings for yourself. It’s not only typically Parisian to indulge in the gastronomical senses, but also the stuff for unforgettable memories!

Be Fashion Savvy

For centuries, Paris has been one of the biggest fashion capitals of the world. From the days of French royals and aristocrats dressed in large dresses and ceiling-high wigs to more modern styles seen right on the streets, there’s no stop to Paris being a fashion icon. Pay attention to fashion trends by simply window shopping on the main avenues and, if you dare, dress like a true Parisian!

Go Shopping at Galeries Lafayette

From its art nouveau metro entrances to the ornate street lights, Paris is a parade of old-world chic…and Galeries Lafayette is its grand marshal! The world-famous retailer first opened its doors over 200 years ago, and today the flagship store is a 750,000-square-foot behemoth on Boulevard Haussman in the 9th arrondissement. A mix of art nouveau and art deco architectural styles, Galeries Lafayette may feel more like an opera house out of a Merchant Ivory film than a department store. Intricate ironwork and gold-leaf accents decorate the capacious space. But the showstopper is its ornate 141-foot glass dome that’s accessible via the third-floor glass walk. Oh, and to all of you, clothes hounds: be sure to make time for the store’s weekly fashion show!

Speak a little French, S’il Vous Plait?

French is a beautiful language, and, although tourists may not be able to master the language before a trip to Paris, it doesn’t hurt to try. Parisians will appreciate your efforts in practicing a language they are very proud of. Always greet store owners with a pleasant “Bonjour!” and a friendly goodbye by saying “Au Revoir!” And of course, it doesn’t hurt to always say S’il vous plait…otherwise known as “please”.

Stroll Through Pére Lachaise

Although a stroll through a cemetery may not sound very appealing, a ramble through Pére Lachaise may change your mind. With its cobblestone walks, sculptures, artist-crafted memorials, and more than 5,000 trees, this garden cemetery is one of the most scenic places in Paris. With 110 acres, it’s the city’s largest resting place, and it’s been around since 1804. The graves also prove interesting, since several famous people are buried within its boundaries, including Oscar Wilde, Frédéric Chopin, Edith Piaf, and Jim Morrison. Fun fact: the oldest known bones laid to rest in Pére Lachaise belong to the historical lovers Abelard and Héloïse.

Shop the Pyrénées Market

After a morning stroll through Pére Lachaise on a Sunday or a Thursday, walk over to Rue des Pyrénées for its traditional market. An organic wonderland of about 30 stalls, it’s where you’ll find fresh-cut flowers, cheeses, and fruit. If you want to spend the afternoon in true romantic Parisian style, stock up here, grab a bottle of wine, and then head to a park for a picnic. A bench along the Seine also works!

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Sit in a Café and Watch the City Go By

Parisians may have invented the art of people-watching, and the city has no shortage of sidewalk cafes. So, while in town, set aside an afternoon to indulge in this delightful practice! If you want to avoid other tourists, pick a random place on a side street, order something scrumptious, and then sit back and watch Parisians do their thing. Notice how folks wear their scarves: like everything in Paris, it’s a true art form!

Explore the Marais

On the right bank of the Seine, along the River Droit, sits one of the city’s most historic districts. Primarily part of the 4th arrondissement, Le Marais — aka “the marsh” — is where medieval aristocrats once lived. Over centuries, it fell into disrepair, but revitalization efforts brought the borough back to life. With its trendy shops and restaurants, today’s Le Marais is to Paris as SoHo is to Manhattan, and therefore a destination worthy to check for some cheap flights in May. The en vogue neighborhood also boasts some of the best Chinese and Moroccan food in the city. Besides, it’s the heart of LGBTQ+ life in Paris. Must-see museums in the area include Musée Picasso, the Nicolas Flamel House, the Musée Carnavalet, and the Musée Cognacq-Jay.

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