Paris, the city of romance. The city of well-dressed people. The city of grand monuments. The city that you cannot get enough from!
Paris definitely is a special place and it took 24 years until I visited it for only a very short time. It’s a city that sucks you in and transforms you. It’s the magic in the air when the days are long and the nights are short. A vibe that makes you want to stay and rent an apartment to truly experience this sidewalk coffee culture by the Seine or blend in among locals and enjoy a good bottle of French wine with friends during sunset at Montmartre while enjoying the beautiful view over the city with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
So many quarters: Where to stay in Paris
There are so many great quarters in Paris that it is pretty difficult to decide where to stay. During my stay in Paris I walked a lot through different quarters and these are my favorite:
In my opinion it’s a very funky and artsy neighborhood and has a very relaxed vibe. I loved seeing so many locals, expats and tourists having a great time while enjoying the sunset from the hill overlooking the city while having a few snacks together, laughing a lot and drinking good wine. Simply living the good life!
Around the Eiffel Tower
It’s a typical tourist area like in any other big city. During the day it’s full and vibrant and at night it’s quiet and empty… nothing to do, no places to go out to and only expensive restaurants. If you want to go and buy some nice baguette you’ll walk forever to find a good bakery. It’s nice to check out but no good place to live in!
I haven’t really spent much time here but I’ve heard some good things. It’s the old student quarter but unfortunately also a victim of gentrification. Many students used to live here, making it a vibrant area of the city. Many of them stayed and opened bars, cafes etc… most big monuments are in walking distance. It’s a great place to stay!
A great area even though the gritty feel of the original streets and busy bars has long since given space to tourist shops selling all kinds of souvenirs. The area has a beautiful center with the Saint-Germain-des-Pres church and at the rue Bonaparte you will find many great cafés and restaurants that are worth taking a stroll along.
Rent an apartment in Paris
To get a real feel for the city, make sure to rent an apartment instead of staying at a hotel. You can do some grocery shopping at the markets and market halls and cook at home while enjoying a good and cheap bottle of French red wine and make new friends at one of the bars in your neighborhood. Paris Attitude has thousands of apartments in the city and seems to have the best offers in the city!
Things to See in Paris
There is so much that this post couldn’t be long enough. What comes to your mind when thinking of Paris? Eiffel Tower? Louvre Museum? Notre Dame Cathedral? Cool, so we think the same way and I don’t have to mention the obvious places in the city. These are a few “off the path” places to check out in Paris:
The Inner City Vineyard
You might notice that I really enjoy the area around Montmartre. Here is another highlight why you should stay in the quarter. The inner city vineyards. The area was planted with vines almost 100 years ago. The Clos Montmartre only produces 1000 bottles a year. It’s not the best wine you will try in France but it’s good enough. Take a bottle with you and tell your friends that it’s a vineyard in the middle of Paris!
Picnic in a park
Locals love to do this and you should too… in the evening hours when the sun sets while most tourists are busy seeing the city through their camera lens. Buy yourself some bread, cheese, ham and a good bottle of wine and relax in one of the parks of the city. Weather you are alone or with somebody. Relax, put on a good tune (on spotify) and be happy that you are in Paris and enjoy the scenery. You could do this at Buttes Chaumont or at Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower.
Parisian Supper Clubs
While I haven’t attended one myself yet, I recently heard of Jim Hayne’s Sunday Dinners. He’s been running them for many many years in his apartment in the 14th quarter. You can book a spot online and turn up. In the summer up to 60 people are present and you will definitely meet new friends to test your French skills.
The inner city Island
Know Ile St. Louis? Probably not. Know Notre Dame? So, Ile St. Louis is the island where the famous cathedral is located. Most people only cross the bridges to snap a picture of Notre Dame and then keep going. But there is so much more. Ile St. Louis strangely feels like a village far, far away from Paris and has its own little charm. Walk down the cobbled streets and enjoy the traditional cafes. It seems as if time is a bit slower on this island in the middle of the capital.
Plenty of things to do in the city. Stay a bit longer and really get to know the place by renting an apartment for a week or even longer. I love moving from one place to another and to submerge into the local culture.