Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. In addition to attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre begging for you to snap touristy Instagram shots, there are plenty of other things Paris has to offer visitors. Just think about all the cheese and baguettes, after all!
In all seriousness, though, it can be easy to get swept up in doing all the touristy things while visiting Paris. If it’s your first time in the city, you’ll want to indulge in some of the shameless Eiffel Tower selfies. However, engaging in only the usual sights can take away from you having a true Parisian experience. If you are one of those people who loves to get down with the locals and experience what’s it’s truly like to live in a different culture than your own, then you will have to take my advice.
When it comes to dining, dressing, and even sleeping, there are some certain changes to make to your itinerary to ensure you’re experiencing Paris like a local
Where to Eat
First, in terms of dining, I suggest you stay away from the main eateries near known tourist areas. There are plenty of fine eating establishments near the monuments, but, like Thrillist points out, if you want to dine like a true local you will find your way to an off-the-beaten-path bistro.
Luckily, if you’re not entirely sure where to roam in a foreign country, Time Out has compiled a list of “secret” restaurants in Paris that will give you the true feel of eating like a local. Be sure to make reservations as this is generally customary in Paris, and don’t forget to finish off your plate! Parisians take offense if there is a large amount of food left on your plate—they’ll assume you didn’t like the meal.
Where to Stay
Look away from the giant hotels that boast grandiose facades. Instead, scope out a darling boutique hotel in a lesser-known neighborhood. The Scene suggests Hotel De Nell, which resides in an up-and-coming neighborhood (the 9th arrondissement) bustling with locals and new eateries.
When you choose a boutique hotel, you can expect quirky decor and plenty of character—something you will love if you are looking to fully experience Parisian culture. There are also many cool features in boutique hotels that set them apart from commercialized accommodations. For example, Hotel De Nell employees will draw a hot bath for guests right before they arrive to provide a unique luxury that is not found everywhere. It’s special details like these that truly emulate the Parisian lifestyle.
How to Dress
Lastly, your wardrobe. It has been said that the French are known for their sartorial savvy, so fitting in might sound hard. However, it’s all about taking into consideration some of the main elements of Parisian style. The main takeaways, according to Harper’s Bazaar, are to “stick to neutrals, embrace flats, and when all else fails, channel your inner Caroline De Maigret.”
About The Author
Fran Tinley is a travel junkie and always finds herself falling in love with each new destination she visits. She believes in experiences over belongings and hopes to one day meet Gordon Ramsay.