How to Visit Paris Like a French Girl
A Parisian is very particular. Not only does she have specific rules about her style and beauty routines, but she most likely has her own little corner of the French capital. La Parisienne goes to the same baker’s every day for her baguette; she knows which charming little streets have a surprise view of the Eiffel Tower, and she will always meet you for a coffee at the most perfect cafe. And while Parisians may be adventurous and open to trying new restaurants, they will always have an expertly curated little black book of their favorite addresses in town. If you’re lucky, they might reveal their secrets. But for those only just learning the art of becoming Parisian, here are our basic rules for visiting the capital like a French girl. Profites-bien!
Pick a Personal Cafe
44, Rue du Louvre, Paris 75001
It doesn’t have to be the best place in town, but every Parisian should lay claim to one cafe. This means that you should have a table you prefer and favorite menu item. (Bonus points if the waiters recognize you when you walk in.) Decide on your personal cafe, and be sure to stop in regularly — even if just for a quick espresso before moving on with the rest of your day. We’re preferential to the terrasse at Loup Paris.
Have a Favorite Chef
31, Avenue George V, Paris 75008
Paris is one of the world’s culinary capitals. Every self-respecting Parisian has a favorite chef in the city. They’ll turn to this chef’s restaurant when celebrating a special affair or when in the mood for a delectable meal. We’re fans of David Bizet at L’Orangerie du Georges V for his meals that not only taste incredible but are beautifully plated. Each colorful concoction is sure to elicit jealousy on Instagram (especially Bizet’s famous dessert, the fleur de vacherin).
Know the Best Place for a Luxurious Getaway
31, Avenue George V, Paris 75008
When life calls for a glamorous celebration, call the Hotel George V. Whether you book one of the hotel’s luxurious rooms for a night or step into the spa for a low-key Parisian makeover, every single second spent within the walls of this institution is guaranteed to be steeped in glamour. For proof, look no further than the hotel’s famous guests: The Beatles stayed there during their last tour, as did the Rolling Stones.
Get on First-Name Terms With a Bartender
15, Place Vendôme, Paris 75001
A bartender (or barman in French) is a close confidante. Every Parisian should have one bartender who welcomes them every time they walk in. It may take a while to build up this relationship, but the multilingual barmen at the Hemingway Bar in the Ritz Hotel are accommodating, friendly, and ready for conversation. You can even sign up for a class and learn how to make a cocktail straight from the people who do it best.
Get Your Baguette from One Boulanger
34, Rue Yves Toudic, Paris 75010
It’s a Parisian sin to shop around for your baguette. Once you find a baker that you like (and is close to home), you can never stray. For those along the canal, a longtime favorite is Du Pain et Des Idées.
Travel There in Style
Of course, a Parisian has a favorite airline to get to and from her town. La Compagnie is a French boutique airline that shuttles passengers across the Atlantic in their all-business-class planes. Flights are surprisingly affordable, considering you’ll get Champagne and caviar as you cross the ocean.
Know Your Favorite Museum
158, Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 75008
Any tourist can name-drop the Louvre. Go deeper and discover your own personal favorite museum. Only the most in-the-know tourists end up at the Musée Jacquemart-André to view the private painting collection. But every Parisian knows that the museum has one of the best high teas in the whole city.
Claim a Picnic Spot
35, Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, Paris 75018
Nothing is more quintessentially Parisian than a picnic with wine, a baguette, and cheese. It’s stereotypical to go picnic beneath the Eiffel Tower, so make the resolution to picnic like a Parisian. For a view that’s no less fantastic — but slightly less touristy — head to Montmartre at night. Climb up the steps and sit in front of the Sacre Coeur church for one of the city’s best outdoor parties after the sun sets. (Just be sure to watch your wallet, as pickpockets are known to take advantage of the spot’s popularity.)
Go to Church
2 Rue Palatine, Paris 75006
While a Parisian may or may not be religious, she undoubtedly has a favorite church in the city. They’re open to visitors and are among the best places in the city to take a break for a few minutes. We recommend Saint-Sulpice as a less-crowded church with architecture that rivals some of the city’s most famous spots. Plus: Fans of The DaVinci Code may recognize the sanctuary’s rose stone.
Spend a Day Wandering
There’s no activity more Parisian than flaner. It translates to English, more or less, as wandering the city streets. Pick a neighborhood, and spend an afternoon walking around without any aims or motives. Pop into whichever restaurants and shops pique your interest, and turn down whichever roads look inviting. We love the neighborhoods of St. Germain for a leisurely tour through Paris’s history or Belleville for an edgier walk through Chinatown. Be sure to stroll down the Seine at least once.
Love the Pharmacy
6, Rue Bonaparte, Paris 75006
The Parisian beauty routine is one that has been written about over and over and over again (we’re obsessed!). Pick up products that will make you glow at any larger pharmacy in the city. And don’t go it alone! In France, pharmacists can help you get over a cold AND they know which products will work best for your skin. Although any corner pharmacie will have the products you want, head to Buly 1803 for the prettiest packaging on beauty products you’ve ever seen.
Explore the Market Stalls
Marché des Enfants Rouges, 39 Rue de Bretagne, Paris 75003
In our opinion, the best lunch in the city is a stall in the Marché des Enfants Rouges called Chez Alain Miam Miam. Not only does the owner Alain make the most savory galette in the city, but he’s also a jolly force that cracks jokes with everybody who passes through his line. Although, be warned: Around lunchtime, his line can get very, very long.
What are your best tips for living like a local? Tweet us suggestions @BritandCo.
(Featured photo via Getty)