At home in Paris
If you’ve ever been to Paris, there’s a fair chance you fell in love with the city. When you next visit – and you will – perhaps it’s time to stay a little longer and live like a local.
Now is the perfect time to book an extended visit to Paris. Not only does our high Australian dollar work to our advantage, but going to Paris between June and November means you’ll enjoy Paris in the warmer months.
Here are our top 10 tips on how to feel like a local when you next visit The City of Lights.
Tip 1: Fresh bread every morning
Take a morning stroll to the bakery to buy your daily bread. You can try classic Parisian fare such as croissants and escargots, or try the traditional baguette, adored by the locals.
Tip 2: Buy from the local fresh food market
Buying fresh seasonal produce will allow you to experiment or refine your cooking skills away from home. Be sure to ask the sellers the best ways to cook produce – it’s a fabulous way to pick up new ideas and recipes. You can find Paris’ top 10 markets here: http://www.paristopten.com/en/toptens/places-to-shop/top-ten-food-markets/
Tip 3: Rent an apartment not a hotel
Living like a real Parisian starts with renting an apartment rather than staying in a hotel. Not only will you rub shoulders with the locals, you’ll be able to cook in your very own kitchen and immerse yourself in a homely environment away from home. We love this one: http://www.homeaway.com.au/holiday-rental/p28356vb
Tip 4: Buy fresh flowers
On the first day of your stay, buy a bunch of gorgeous fresh flowers from your local florist. The fragrance will add to the romance and make sure the space feels truly like your own.
Tip 5: Picnic at dusk
It may be the Isle de St.Louis, the Luxembourg Gardens or Place de Vouge. Pack cheese and wine and enjoy. Just make sure when the Park Guard blows his whistle, you move off the lawn!
Tip 6: Join in the festivities
Paris has many local festivals that occur in the warmer months. If you hear something going on in the streets, always investigate and join in. It may be free dancing lessons or a local band – get amongst it! Here are some events to consider:
Paris Jazz Festival, June 8 to July 28, 2013
Parc Floral de Paris / Jardin botanique de la Ville de Paris, June 5, 2013 to September 25, 2013. Great for families.
Bastille Day celebrations on 14 July are a must. http://en.parisinfo.com/shows-exhibitions-paris/bastille-day-in-paris/
Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen (thought to be the biggest flea-market in the world). http://www.marcheauxpuces-saintouen.com
Tip 7: Public displays of affection
If you’re lucky enough to visit Paris with someone you love, then feel free to show it! You might be in the middle of a bridge, in a park or just waiting at the traffic lights – indulge, Paris is the city of love!
Tip 8: Dress up
Take the opportunity to wear that special dress, or if you’re a guy, that smart shirt and scarf. Paris is the city where you will be admired for your style, so feel free to flaunt it. You’ll never look or feel overdressed in Paris.
Tip 9: Get around on a bike
Paris has a bike rental system called Vélib’. It is a self-service bike system where you buy a one-day or a seven-day ticket online or at any Vélib’ station. Riding your bike around Paris gives you a unique local perspective. Bike helmets are not mandatory in Paris and difficult to hire, so if you feel safer with a helmet, you might need to pack your own.
Tip 10: Use the Metro
The Paris Metro train station is the locals’ transport of choice (apart from walking and bikes). If the ticket machines confuse you, just ask the attendant for a “carnet” and they will sell you 10 single-use tickets.
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