Experience Paris like a local by visiting these bakeries, restaurants, museums and shops.
Paris may be the world’s most beautiful city, but it is not simply the idyllic movie set many have come to expect. It is a big city with grit and grime and diverse cultures and cuisines. This is precisely what makes it special. In addition to enjoying crêpes on the street and steak frites in a picture-perfect French bistro, visitors can sample Israeli street food, Asian-French fusion and globally influenced small plates from up-and-coming chefs at the best restaurants in Paris.
The enviable Parisian lifestyle does have a slightly slower pace than say New York or London. Many shops still close on Sunday and don’t even think about trying to purchase meat at mid-day (butchers close for a two-hour lunch break). While everyone who visits Paris should see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, the city has many more spectacular historic sites and museums that don’t attract nearly as many tourists. There’s nothing quite like experiencing Paris like a local and hopefully, this Paris Travel Guide will help you do just that.
Travelproper tip: Parisians are not inherently rude, at least no more than people in other big cities. They are extremely proud of their culture and heritage and they don’t like it when Americans assume everyone in the city speaks English. A little effort goes a long way and if you can learn a few French phrases and ask “parlez-vous Anglais?” (do you speak English) before launching into English you will have more positive interactions.
Travelproper tip: If you don’t speak French, visiting a bakery in Paris can be intimidating. Here are my tips for ordering bread and pastries like a local.
This bakery in the 12th arrondissement makes the best croissant in the city and maybe anywhere. The golden crescents are crispy on the outside but soft on the inside and slightly sweet with a faint taste of vanilla. Don’t forget about the other pastries in the case like tangy apricot tarts (when in season) and a decadent kouign-amann, a croissant layered with sugar and baked in the oven until caramelized.
7 rue Antoine Vollon
+33 01 43 40 77 73
This pretty bakery near Canal Saint-Martin is renowned for its Pain des Amis, a signature loaf with a dark crust and nutty aroma, but everything from the escargot, a pastry that seems like a cross between a croissant and a palmier, to the pain au chocolate with banana is delicious. Almost everything is made with organic ingredients.
34 rue Yves Toudic
+33 01 42 40 44 52
Salted caramel, yuzu, and pistachio strawberry are just a few of the éclair flavors you’ll find at this creative patisserie in the Marais.
14 rue Pavée
+33 01 42 77 85 11
Baker Benoît Castel has brought a new breed of boulangerie to Paris with his Liberté bakeries in the 10th, Menilmontant and Galleries Lafayette. Streamlined and modern, the bakeries feature open kitchens and architectural pastries like a lemon tart topped with teardrops of lemon curd. The chocolate bread made with cocoa powder and flecked with white chocolate pieces is addictive.
39 rue des Vinaigriers
+33 01 42 05 51 76
Travelproper tip: When ordering bread at a bakery in Paris, specify what type of bread you’d like– bien cuit (well done) or pas trop cuit (not too done) to sound like a local. For more on bread in Paris check out my story for Bon Appetit here.