10 Tips To Enjoy Paris Like A Local

Are you planning on visiting France soon and you want to experience Paris like a local? You’re in the right place! As a Parisian, let me guide you with 10 tips to enjoy this city as if you lived there!

paris like a local walk street

Take the subway or walk

What I love about Paris is that you can walk everywhere! Everything is easily accessible and it’s so nice to walk the streets of Paris. If you are too lazy to walk, there is always the subway! So practical: 14 subway lines that go everywhere. It’s fast and cheap with the Navigo card. I think that in 23 years of living in Paris, I took the bus twice. Paris locals rarely take the bus, preferring walking or the subway.

paris like a local subway

Parisians don’t go to the Champs Elysées

That’s right, Parisians hate the Champs Elysées. Yes, it is beautiful, and yes it is an iconic avenue but it is also super busy, full of tourists and only shops. If you want to visit Paris like a local, locals don’t hang out there! The only two times I go to the Champs Elysées is for the July 14th parade or the Christmas market!

Hang out at less “touristy” museums and galleries

If you want to visit Paris like a local does, why not visit museums or galleries less frequented by tourists and that Parisians love. I’m not saying that Parisians don’t like the Louvre, I probably went there more than 10 times in my life. But honestly, there are so many less known museums and galleries that you will love! For example, I love the “Galerie de l’instant” and the “Maison Européenne de la photographie“. As for museums, my favourites are the Fashion museum (Palais Galliera) and the “Musée de l’Homme“.

paris like a local museum

Shop at second-hand shops

Instead of spending your money in tourist traps, do local shopping in Paris! There are so many hidden second-hands shops in Paris that only locals know about. You will find branded, vintage and cheaper clothes! There are also shops offering you to buy by the kilo! Some of my favourites: KiloShop, Mad Vintage and Kiliwatch.

Learn basic French sentences

Honestly, it’s better to be able to speak a minimum of French if you want to visit Paris like a local. Parisians like it when foreigners make an effort, even if it’s just saying “Bonjour” or asking where is something in French. It shows that you are adapting to the culture and trying to connect with the locals. To start, learn the basics:

  • “Hello” is Bonjour
  • “Where is” is Ou est
  • “How can I go to” is Comment puis-je aller à
  • “Thank you” is Merci
  • “Nice to meet you” is Enchanté
  • “Goodbye” is Au revoir

Check out my Learn French from Home post to help you in a progressive and fun way!

paris like a local language

Spend time at terrasses for “l’apéro”

The “apéro” on the Parisian terrace is an integral part of the Parisian lifestyle. I love going to a terrace to drink two (or three) glasses of wine and order a platter of charcuterie / fromage with my friends! Parisians often go there after work for happy hour (hours vary according to the terraces) and the weekend before going out! Avoid the terraces in the super touristy areas (Chatelet, Bastille, Les Halles …) and prefer to stroll through the streets a little away to find a terrace less crowded!
For a typical Cheese platter you can do at home, check out my blog post.

paris like a local terrasse

Go to the movies

Parisians love going to the movies! It must be said that up to 26 years old, we are entitled to discounts to see films, in Mk2 and UGC cinemas in particular. It wouldn’t be uncommon to go two or three times a week to the movies with friends. At Mk2 cinemas, they show films in their original language so for people speaking English for example, it will be easy to find an American or English film to watch. Otherwise, why not practise your French by going to see a French movie! It’s a great way to adapt to the language! If you have time, visit The Grand Rex, sumptuous and emblematic Parisian cinema and performance hall.

Chill at the Seine quays

The “Quais de Seine” are particularly appreciated by Parisians on sunny days. It is the perfect place to sit and have an “apéro” or picnic with friends. Some people also run or spend the afternoon reading a book! Take the time to stroll along the Seine, buy a bottle of wine and a few aperitifs and do as the locals do! No doubt you’ll meet groups of Parisians on the quays!

paris like a local seine

Check out attic clearances and markets

Paris has a lot of attic clearances and markets where you can find everything. It is also the perfect place to meet locals, whether vendors or people shopping.
Some locals favourites:

  • Marché d’Aligre (12th district) every day except Mondays, 7 am-2 pm
  • Marché de Belleville (11th district) Tuesdays and Fridays, 7 am- 2.30 pm
  • Marché aux fleurs (4th district) Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 7.30 pm for the flower market, Sunday for the bird market.
  • For attic clearances, dates change all the time but you can find updated ones here.

Try French food, bread and wine

paris like a local food bread

This tip should be the first. But it’s so obvious for me to eat French food if you’re in Paris! I don’t know where to start when talking about French food … There is so much to say! I would recommend that you absolutely must taste the typical ham and butter sandwich and the “saucisson beurre”. My favourite is at a bakery called “Paul“. Something not to be missed are the “crepes”, sweet or savoury in St Michel area, the aligot at “La Lozere“, the cheese boards on a terrace and the foie gras at “Comptoir de la Gastronomie“. Without forgetting the famous baguettes and delicious croissant and pains au chocolat in bakeries. As for drinks, I hope it’s obvious to you that you have to test French wine, champagne and the delicious classic French hot chocolate! When it comes to Paris and food, you are spoiled for choice and there is something for everyone!
French Food-related articles on my blog:

If you follow these tips, you’ll have the best time in Paris and you’ll enjoy this gorgeous city like a true local!
Have you been to Paris? Which of these tips did you apply?

Comments

  1. Amazing tips! I always find taking public transport is so much more fulfilling that getting a taxi whenever I go away somewhere…feel more like a local! Thanks for sharing x

    1. Stephanie says:

      I agree! You’re welcome, glad you like the tips 🙂

  2. Aimsy says:

    Paris has been on my list of places to visit for years, and this just makes me want to visit all the more! I would definitely be looking at the second-hand shops and backstreet shops, I bet you can find some real French chic items!
    My parents had their honeymoon in Paris, and they loved sitting by the Seine with some bread and cheese.

    Thanks for sharing, I have pinned this post as well for when I am able to visit this lovely city!

    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

    1. Stephanie says:

      You can definitely find some amazing deals if you know where to look 😉
      Oh, that’s so romantic!
      Thanks so much for the love 🙂 I hope you can visit Paris soon! You’ll love it!

  3. I’ve never been to Paris (apart from changing trains there!) but I have been really wanting to go for a while, and this post has inspired me even more! I’ve been learning French during the current lockdown so that will come in useful when I am able to go.

    1. Stephanie says:

      Oh, I’m so glad it inspired you!!
      That’s so good that you’ve been learning French, hopefully you can practise in Paris soon! 🙂

      1. Samuli says:

        Starts to seem like I’ll need to come by and eat so much that I’ll turn into a cheese myself!

        1. Stephanie says:

          Hahaha well, it’s typical of the French diet 😉

  4. Antony says:

    Planning to visit Paris after this pandemic. This is making me look forward to it even more than I already am! Thank you!

    1. Stephanie says:

      So good! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it 🙂

  5. Amazing tips thanks for sharing! You’ve made me want to travel even more, I can’t wait until we can again!

    1. Stephanie says:

      You’re welcome 🙂 I know, me too!! I miss it so much

  6. This was so insightful, hopefully I’ll be able to go there at some point 🙂

    1. Stephanie says:

      Thanks 🙂 I’m sure you will!

  7. Chinyere says:

    I would definitely love to visit Paris, but I would have to brush up my french first.

    1. Stephanie says:

      Ahah yeah, it always help to enjoy the country more 🙂

  8. Erin says:

    Love all of these local tips! We had a trip to Paris planned a couple of weeks ago and it got cancelled. We’ll definitely use some of your tips when we finally get to go on our trip!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Thank you! Yes, it’s not a great time to travel…
      But yes, you can use these tips anytime on your next trip 😉

  9. Kimberlie says:

    I’m a firm believer in experiencing a country like a local, especially being born and raised in a huge mess for tourists, Jamaica. I love your tip on walking and patronizing smaller museums and places.

    1. Stephanie says:

      I agree! It’s so much better. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  10. Alexis says:

    This is so interesting! I love it!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Thanks so much 🙂

  11. I will need to try these tips out after lockdown!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Definitely!! 🙂

  12. I love these tips!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Thank you 🙂

  13. Sue says:

    Great tips! I’m now dreaming of a having a crepe in Paris! 😀

    1. Stephanie says:

      Thank you! Ahah, it’s a nice dream 🙂

  14. Jen says:

    I needed this last summer. We rented an apartment near the Louvre. I really needed info navigating buying the train to Orly because we were fined.

    1. Stephanie says:

      Oh well, you have it now for next time you go 🙂

  15. Shelby says:

    Thank you for the tips! Hoping to go to Paris as soon as lockdown is over!

    1. Stephanie says:

      You’re welcome! Hopefully, you can go soon 🙂

  16. Paris has always been on my list and these pictures just make it more tempting! Great post

    1. Stephanie says:

      So happy to hear that! Thank you for reading 🙂

  17. Paris is the top priority in my bucket list. Hopefully we’ll be able to plan a trip after this whole pandemic situation ends. Thank you for sharing the English to French translations. Love this post!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Yes, hopefully people can travel to Paris soon!
      You’re welcome, it will help you with the basics when you go 🙂

  18. Amazing tips! I really want to visit France someday because I’ve learnt french and I love the look of it!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Thank you! It’s perfect, you’ll be able to enjoy Paris even more with a bit of French language 🙂

  19. Corinne says:

    I’m ashamed to say that although I’ve been to Paris a few times and can speak a little French, I’ve never been off the beaten track. We’re not even in the same niche but I love your blog. Your tips are gold, thank you so much!

    1. Stephanie says:

      No need to be ashamed at all! Next time you’re there try these local tips and you’ll love Paris even more!
      Thanks so much for your comment, means a lot! Will check out your blog now 🙂

  20. Pam says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Paris ! This is beautiful and definitely gives me the travel bug! Luckily, I took french all throughout post and secondary school so I can understand the basics pretty well! I would love to be fluent and go – that would be so amazing!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Hopefully, you can go soon! So good that you learned French, it will definitely help you enjoy Paris more when you’re there!

  21. Tina says:

    I love Paris! This is a great guide to really exploring the city. Can’t wait to go back. A bientot!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Merci! I hope it will be helpful for next time when you’re back! Bonne journée x

  22. Kristyn says:

    I’ve been watching so many movies that take place in Paris and after reading this article, I’m even more inspired to visit like a local. I want some charcuterie on a terrace mmmmm!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Oh I love movies taking place in Paris!! So glad you’re even more inspired now, and yes I want a charcuterie board too ahah

  23. Alexis says:

    I love posts like these!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Thanks 🙂

  24. CJ says:

    I love this tips, I love that they are so simple! I hope to make it to paris one day soon and will keep some of these in mind!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Thank you! Yes, I wanted simple but proven tips! Hope you’ll enjoy Paris soon 🙂

  25. Alexis says:

    I can’t wait to check out the local spots. I went years ago and only went to the touristy spots — I didn’t even get to speak French because everyone was a tourist! I’ll be sure to follow these tips — thanks for a great post!

    1. Stephanie says:

      You’re welcome! I believe you’ll enjoy it even more next time with these tips 🙂

  26. Laia says:

    I can’t wait to see Paris, it’s been in my bucket list for years now!! Hopefully, when this is over I’ll go and for sure will bear in mind this!

    1. Stephanie says:

      You’ll love Paris! Especially if you apply these tips 😉

  27. Alanna says:

    Amazing tips! I love Paris, it’s one of the first places I plan to travel to when it is safe again!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Thank you! Hopefully you can travel there soon 🙂

  28. Sarah says:

    Love this list! And I learned I need find a terrace next time I’m in Paris.

    1. Stephanie says:

      Thanks 🙂 Yes, definitely: staying at a terrace is typical of Parisians!

  29. Bri says:

    Paris is first on my list of places to travel when I’m able to go abroad. I can’t wait! The food, the culture, the atmosphere; que c’est beau! (I’ve been practicing the language a little as well hehe)
    This is a great post, definitely adding some of these to my itinerary.
    Thanks for the recommendations,
    xxo Bri

    1. Stephanie says:

      So exciting! You won’t be disappointed 😉 And bravo for your French! I hope you’ll be able to use these tips soon xx

  30. This are great tips! I was planning on traveling to Paris as a graduation gift! I can’t wait to be able to go when it’s safe again!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Thank you! I can’t wait either 🙂

  31. I miss traveling to Paris. The last time I visit there was in 2006. Thank you for bringing back all the beautiful memories.

    1. Stephanie says:

      You can always go back (when we can) 😉
      You’re welcome 🙂

  32. Thanks for inspiration and tips. I love that Paris is
    so walkable and I love speaking French. Lovely
    photos of the Seine. Paris has so many museums and
    attic markets so why focus on Champs-Elysees..

    1. Stephanie says:

      You’re welcome 🙂
      Exactly, Paris has so much more to offer! 😉

  33. Besides your great tips, I would also recommend visiting the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, my favorite one!
    Best,
    Moni

    1. Stephanie says:

      Definitely! Not as busy as other parks in Paris 🙂

  34. Maria says:

    What a better way to know better a place than acting like a local! will take into account this tips on my trip to Paris <3

    1. Stephanie says:

      So true!
      Hope they’ll be useful to you x

  35. I can’t wait to get out to Paris once all this craziness is over! Thanks for the tips! 💛

    1. Stephanie says:

      Yes, hopefully soon!! Thanks for reading x

  36. Cedar says:

    I love the idea of sitting on a terrace, drinking wine, and eating a cheese platter. These are all such great ideas to enjoy simply being in Paris and enjoying what it has to offer. One of the top places on my travel list!

    1. Stephanie says:

      It’s the best!! And so Parisian 🙂
      Thanks for reading, hope you get to visit Paris one day! x

  37. Robert says:

    Excellent post & photos for visiting Paris. I can’t believe after all these years, we are still yet to visit this incredible city from BC Canada. Definitely have to add to our “Must Travel To Next” list. Have Pinned for future reference, thanks. 🙂

    1. Stephanie says:

      Thank you! Hope you get to visit Paris soon! 🙂

  38. Allison says:

    Paris is at the TOP of my vacay bucketlist, but I’ve always worried about being tourist-y or a target for scammers (which I’ve heard is HUGE in Paris). Whenever that time comes, I’ll definitely be keeping this in mind. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Stephanie says:

      Scammers are only in touristy areas so if you follow my tips you’ll be fine 😉 Thanks for reading!

  39. LaRena says:

    Love that you included second-hand shops. Great deals to be had for sure.

    1. Stephanie says:

      Yes, definitely! 🙂

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