Paris has always been and always will be one of the most enchanting cities in the world. The City of Light is a maze of pleasures – from ornate facades and vintage shop displays to hidden gardens, and small cafes, its streets are filled with amazing artistic heritage and overwhelmingly multicultural vibe. In a city of 2.2 million residents, it is easy to get lost as a newcomer or simply follow the paved trails to some of the most iconic landmarks on the planet. However, if you want to see a less known side of the bustling city that is just as equally enjoyable, here is an insider’s guide to Paris.
A perfect time for Christmas markets
If you are planning your trip over the next couple of weeks, you will arrive in Paris just in time for Christmas markets. A lot of major European cities adhere to this tradition around the holidays, and Paris is no exception. Champs-Elysées will not be a backdrop of one such market this year, but this doesn’t mean the city has none to offer. If you are walking around the city and have a sudden craving for mulled wine and a few hot pretzels straight out of the oven, the Alsace Market, which stands in front of the Gare de l’Est, is your corner this year. Additionally, Place St-Germain des Près hosts craft and artwork stands you might find interesting.
A wild nightlife
Of course, if you have embarked on an impromptu Parisian adventure, you’d miss out on a lot if you didn’t stop for mulled wine and pretzels. Paris has a rich nightlife to savor. Visit Le Baron, a former bordello turned club, which was founded by André, one-name impresario who created an intriguing and decadent surrounding. Its address is 6 Avenue Marceau. If you want masterful cocktail mixes coupled with a panoramic view of Paris, La Vue at Concorde is a place for you. The address is Place Du General Koenig Hyatt Hotel 34th Floor. Harry’s Bar on 5 Rue Daunou is the “it” place for Hemingway fans. He was a regular here.
Prepackaged deals can be surprisingly intriguing
If you want to experience Paris off the beaten path, but you are not a type of person that likes to be bothered with custom self-organization, you can always choose one of the amazing Paris holiday packages that will have everything sorted out for you. You can stay at the highly elegant 5-star D’Aubusson Hotel and revel in baroque furniture like a member of royalty. If you decide to stay for five days, you get a 4-day museum pass, access to several intriguing shows, including the one at the (in)famous Moulin Rouge and take a tour of the Versailles Palace and its gardens.
Wine and dine
Paris is a city of bistros and small restaurants, so a visit to the city is not complete without a culinary adventure. If you are a vegetarian, L’Arpège is a perfect restaurant for you, as the appointed chef, Alain Passard does miracles with vegetables. If you want a more versatile menu, head towards Avenue Winston Churchill to dine in Mini Palais, a modern brasserie with a rich menu. For an idiosyncratic Franco-Chinese cuisine, go to Yam’tcha on 4 Rue Sauval.
A slice of cheese
If you want to fall in love with the iconic French cheese, visit Fromagerie Laurent Dubois. Even though the independent fromageries are disappearing in Paris, this locale still has lines stretching to infinity, so you will probably have to arm yourself with patience. Thankfully, it will pay off, as you will be faced with the unbelievable assortment of French cheeses that will turn your palate even more sophisticated.
Every newcomer should visit Louvre, climb the Eiffel Tower and touch the walls of Notre Dame. It is a rite of passage that will turn into a cherished memory. However, there is a whole other side of Paris that is not as glorified, but it still offers a treasure trove of lovely surprises that should not go unnoticed. It is impossible to experience all the beauties of such an enormous metropolis, but with this insider’s guide, you will feel as if you have become better acquainted with the City of Light than most tourists.