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These legendary places will make you feel 100% Parisian
Paris is full of fascinating places to explore, from theaters, gardens, and traditional restaurants, to hidden passages and old pastry shops. The team at ParisZigZag has selected some of their favorite haunts for you, ten places where you can feel like a real Parisian.
Escape with a book in the jardin de Luxembourg
The splendid Luxembourg Garden, at the crossroads of the 5th and 6th arrondissements, is undoubtedly one of the most pleasant green spaces in Paris for reading. Located in one of the most expensive and historic districts in the city, the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Garden is the ideal place to get lost in a good novel, bought in any one of the old bookshops in the neighborhood. We could stay there for hours.
Eat a good meal in a classic Paris bistro
The Parisian bistro is a major source of pride, especially when its reputation has preceded it for decades or even centuries. These institutions, like Poulette, Le Clown Bar, Le Bon Georges, or Au petit tonneau to name a few, are always a hit, serving the great French classics like sausage with mashed potatoes, blanquette de veau, terrines, île flottante, and crème brûlée.
Stroll in the Square du Vert Galant
The quays of the Seine are undoubtedly one of Paris’s most cherished treasures, adored by tourists and locals alike. Sometimes, however, they can become quite crowded. Head instead to the square du Vert Galant, where you can enjoy the magical atmosphere along the Seine in guaranteed tranquility. This small island is particularly pleasant on sunny days, with its weeping willows that sway and dip in the water.
Have a coffee on a terrace
Parisians love having their coffee on a terrace, whatever the season. There are, of course, the most famous cafés, such as the Café de Flore or les Deux Magots, or the most picturesque, like l’Ebouillanté, la Fontaine de Belleville, or the terrace of the restaurant Moncoeur. If you’re looking for more peace and quiet, however, museum cafés are a fabulous alternative: our favorite museum cafes can be found at the Musée de la vie romantique, the Musée de Montmartre, and the Petit Palais.
Drink a glass of wine at Les Deux Amis or the Compagnie des vins surnaturels
Ranked among some of Paris’s best restaurants, these two wine bars are neighborhood favorites. The perfect spot to wind down with a nice glass and some tasty hors d’oeuvres.
Aux deux Amis, 45 rue Oberkampf, Paris 11; Compagnie des vins surnaturels, 7 rue Lobineau, Paris 6
Explore Paris’s a covered passageways
Galerie Vivienne, Passage des Panoramas, Passage de l’Ancre… the capital is full of these small covered passages and galleries, connecting the maze of Paris’s busy city streets. They are undoubtedly one of the most charming architectural elements in the captial, reminiscent of the old city. Inside you’ll find classic restaurants, bookshops, and other small boutiques that seem as if they’re frozen in time.
Taste the delights of Stohrer, the oldest pastry shop in Paris
Montorgueil is one of the most emblematic districts of Paris: vibrant, teeming, and always lively. Rue Montorgueil is home to the oldest pastry shop in Paris, Stohrer, founded in 1730 and recently taken over by the talented pastry chef Jeffrey Cagnes. We highly recommend the divine Saint-Honoré, the ultimate Parisian dessert.
Pâtisserie Stohrer, 51 rue Montorgueil, Paris 2
Visit an artist’s studio
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Paris was a refuge for great artists. Some of them have left their mark in rather fascinating places, either left as-is to this day, or restored and recreated to reflect the times. From Gustave Moreau’s extraordinary private mansion and the calming Musée Bourdelle, to Suzanne Valadon’s Montmartre studio, the capital is full of sites that bear witness to creative genius.
See a show in an old theatre
Paris is a city of theater, boasting countless historic theaters (Les Folies bergère, Mogador, le Cirque d’Hiver, le Palais des Glaces, or le théâtre du Châtelet) often with some very impressive decor. Classical or more contemporary programs are very much present in the Parisian nightlife scene, from boulevard theatre to dramas and musicals. Experiencing one of these shows is a definite must in the City of Light.
Sunday morning market at the marché d’Aligre
There are lots of markets in Paris, but we have a slight preference for the marché d’Aligre in the 12th arrondissement. Divided into an indoor and an outdoor market, you can find excellent fresh produce, cheeses, fine pastries, meat, and fish… A feast for the eyes and for the taste buds.
Marché d’Aligre, Place d’Aligre, Paris 12