When I travel, I try to do the things that aren’t super touristy. It’s way more relaxing to sit in a café with a view of the Opéra than to stand in crowds of obnoxious strangers all trying to take pictures of themselves touching the tip of the Eiffel Tower.
And besides, do you really want to take the exact same trip as every other person who visits Paris? Or do you want your trip to be unique? That way, you’ll have stories no one’s heard before and memories no one else has.
Here are three must-do off-the-beaten-path ways to spend your time in Paris:
1. Find a nice café, order a cappuccino, and read the newspaper. Seriously, there is nothing more Parisian that you could do. Or read a book, or write in your journal and record your adventures so far. This is how the typical Parisian citizen spends a Sunday afternoon. And honestly, some of those cafés have spectacular views. It’s worth the extra euro or two to have a view of a cathedral or the Opéra, trust me.
2. Meander through the streets and find an unusual shop. The best ones are never on the main streets. I found a thrift store that was almost literally a hole in the wall this way, with some fantastic deals on vintage clothes. There was also a gorgeous oddities and antiques shop in Abbesses called L’Objet qui Parle, which means The Object That Speaks. The boy working in the shop was younger than me but seemed to know everything there was to know about antiques and of course all the items in the shop. A vintage teacup makes a fantastic souvenir, much better than an aluminum purple Eiffel Tower keychain.
3. Wander the Marais and try some traditional Jewish or Swedish pastries. This was the Jewish Quarter, and is a lovely neighborhood to walk around. There is a well-known Jewish bakery there, and their bagels mean business. The sweets and pastries are gorgeous and delicious and worth a thousand words. There’s also Le Café Suédois, a cute little Swedish restaurant with traditional Swedish food. It’s attached to the Institut Suédois, but is open to the public. It’s not super super crowded, but you do obviously see plenty of Swedes, which to me positively shouts “authentic.”
These are just a few ideas to get you started with a different kind of trip to Paris. Walk around, let yourself get lost, explore several different neighborhoods, not just the ones with landmarks, and I guarantee you will find your own special discoveries to make your trip especially and uniquely yours.