It used to be perfectly normal to stick to the group and explore your destinations with the pack – it’s safe, well-organized, and you had no way of knowing if there are other, better, cooler, less crowded spots you can visit to experience the local way of life. Today, it’s a completely different story, making travel all the more desirable for young adventurists who crave the real taste of the world.
With access to ample online reviews, locals posting their favorite spots in town, and suggestions from residents on where to stay, eat and stroll, it’s no wonder we’re now less inclined to be diligent with the travel agency plans, and much more likely to wander off into the unknown. And if there’s a single city in Europe whose secret nooks deserve a visit, that’s Paris. So, pack your bags and print out the following itinerary – you’re about to become a Parisian!
LE BOIS DE BOULOGNE’S TRANQUIL WATERS
Western Paris is home to a true oasis, one that serves as the perfect opposite to the city’s otherwise sleepless spirit and the hustle and bustle of its urban character. This oasis is known as the Boulogne forest, a serene patch of greenery that serves as an ideal escape from the noise. And what better way to do so than boating on the forest’s lake? While a perfect romantic choice for a couple, it can also be a splendid way for a solo traveler to enjoy a different, tame side of Paris.
HUNGRY AT BELLEVILLE
Instead of the pricey restaurants in the city center, why not treat yourself to a delicious Chinese dish or a French cuisine specialty “in the safe embrace of Belleville“? It’s not just the prices that attract the locals to this neighborhood, but the more authentic tastes that are preserved in the many bistros you’ll find in the area, and the chance to travel the world without leaving your seat.
MUSEUMS FROM A DIFFERENT VANTAGE POINT
Although the Louvre definitely deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful museums of the world, Paris hides numerous other worthy galleries and museums that you should add to your bucket list, and not just for their art collections. There’s the world’s only Vampire Museum, while the famous Musée d’Orsay and Musée des Égouts de Paris can both be accessed with the Paris museum pass, and those who reach the top of the Orsay will get a special treat: a panoramic view of the city from its incredible rooftop!
HOP ON THE DODO MANÈGE
The Disneyland just outside of Paris is one of the main attractions that brings families from all over Europe to this area. But, for lovers of quirky, less-trodden paths, you can head to the Natural History Museum compound where a special kind of carousel is hidden – the one that lets you “ride extinct species” such as the dodo. Talk about a way to awake your inner child and learn about nature at the same time!
WINES OF MONTMARTRE
If there’s one thing France is famous for, it’s their wine. And what kind of a diligent traveler would you be if you failed to try some of their finest vintages hidden in the most charming neighborhood of Paris? The last operating vineyard in the city, cradled on the Montmartre and is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. If you’re lucky enough to travel in October, head to “their Fête des Vendanges”, the annual festivity of grape harvesting.
EXPLORE 59 RIVOLI
Art is the very essence of Paris, whether it hides in the majestic hallways of the Panthéon or in the least known corners of the city. However, Paris also loves its contradictions and culture clashes, so it makes perfect sense that right across the street from the local H&M, in the street that’s known as the shopping mecca of the City of Light, you can enter a completely different world. 59 rue Rivoli is the safe haven of contemporary art – you might fall in love with a local painter’s portrait or an eclectic installation that takes up an entire room.
PARC DES BUTTE CHAUMONT
If this is not your first trip to Paris, and you’re not in a hurry to visit as many attractions as humanly possible, then you can indulge in a day of lounging in the sun, Parisian-style with the locals. In the northeastern part of the city, Parc des Butte Chaumont is a favorite picnic spot for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Bring your snacks and immerse yourself in the musical flow of French being spoken all around you!
Have you ever been to Paris? We’d love to hear your stories, tips or questions in the comment section below!
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