The Eiffel Tower. This is the first place most of us think of when visualizing Paris, but the city has so much more to offer. Here are some must-dos when planning your next trip to Paris that are not so obvious.
Ride the Metro Lines With No Destination Point
Riding the lines will give you an underground tour of the city centre, and give you a cheap, above-ground-tour of the surrounding areas. Don’t be afraid to get off and venture around, it is the best way to discover new things.
Make sure you bring enough change to purchase Metro tickets. The price of the Metro increases as the distance traveled increases. Also pay attention to the loud speaker, I’ve been stuck on a Metro on the way to Versailles, not realizing the train was going out of service. Luckily, there were two other dumb Americans stuck on there with me, so we kept each other company until help arrived.
Visit a Parisian Suburb
Paris is expensive, so real Parisians actually live outside of the city centre. The suburb of Ruille Mansion is just a few miles away from the city centre but offers an authentic view of Parisian life. French towns such as Ruille Mansion are built around a central Cathedral and town square. In the square you’ll find fromageries, pasterries, boulangeries, boucheries, boutiques and cafes galore. These squares offer a more authentic glimpse into the day-to-day lives of French people, unlike the Paris city centre which centers around tourism.
Follow the tradition of thousands and place a love-lock on one of Paris’s bridges. Love locks require that you write the name of you and your love on a padlock, then place the lock on one of the city’s bridges. You then throw away the key, locking your bond forever. There are an estimated 700,000 of these padlocks attached to various bridges throughout the city, and there is an ever-growing campaign to stop the trend; the weight of the padlocks might be causing structural damage to the bridges. So make sure you do this before it’s too late. Also avoid throwing the key away in the Seine below (or other river), we don’t want to contribute to polluting the waters.
Visit a French Flea Market
The Marche Aux Puces De Saint-Ouen is an 150-year-old flea market, and probably the largest flea market in the world. The market offers a maze of alleys and stalls offering anything you can imagine. It is truly the antiquer’s paradise. For those that don’t fancy the old, the ambiance is enough to make you adore this market.
Explore the Promenade Plantee and Promenades Des Berges
Imagine walking three-miles of verdant gardens situated atop the Viaduc des Arts. The gardens are comprised of climbing rose arbors, sculptures, fountains, and even has great shopping nearby.
Go Ice Skating at the Eiffel Tower
See, I did include the Eiffel Tower on this list. Ice skating at the tower grounds is offered in winter, and a great way to enjoy being in the presence of such a magnificent structure.
Walk the Ile Saint-Louis
Saint Louis island is situated just behind the Notre Dame gardens, and is a lively shopping district and architecture-haven. The quiet courtyards and majestic facades make this island an oasis in a busy city.
Sip Champagne on the Seine
The Seine is Paris’ most famous river, and there is no better view of the city. There are plenty of boat tours to choose from, many offering a 2-4 hour tour of Paris. It’s a great way to discover the city highlights, neighborhoods, learn the Parisian history while sipping French champagne.
Go Shopping on Rue Saint-Honore
This is the heart of trendy, designer shopping in Paris. Everyone from Royalty to tastemakers haunt the Rue in search of the latest status labels and designer trends.
Have Desert in Saint Germain-Des-Pres
The Left Bank neighborhoods of Paris have become the chocolate epicenter of Paris. Less than a single square mile holds 15 world-class chocolatiers. Make sure to visit La Maison du Chocolat and Henri Leroux.