Four Non-Touristy Things for Tourists to do in Paris
Armed with guidebooks and cameras, travelers from all over the world flock to Paris to indulge in macarons, snap selfies at the Eiffel Tower, and experience the beauty of the City of Lights. But, let’s face it, at some point during a vacation even tourists get annoyed by other tourists.
With nearly 32 million travelers visiting the French capital every year, avoiding tourists can seem impossible — but it’s not!
A little spontaneity and adventure can go a long way in Paris. So, instead of becoming “one of those people” the French notoriously hate, ditch the itinerary and explore some of the lesser known attractions in one of the prettiest cities in the world.
Visit the lesser known attractions in Versailles for epic photos
Walking through the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles is practically a rite of passage for tourists, but the pink marble of Grand Trianon and the peasant’s village on the grounds are just as worthwhile to see — and must less visited. Enthralled by a simplier lifestyle and bored with the extravagancy at the palace, Marie-Antoinette created a rustic escape called Peasantville (ironically similar to Pleasantville). Complete with a mill, farmhouses and a “modest” home for the Queen, Marie-Antoinette’s peasant village was easily one of the most elaborate of its time and offers some of the best fall and spring photography backdrops. As for Grand Trianon, you can capture the elegance of Versailles without fear of a fellow tourist ruining the shot, meaning you have all the time in the world to focus your lense on the geometric floor patterns and perfectly capture the light reflecting off the extravagent pink marble.
Spend an afternoon in Jardin du Luxembourg
A day spent in Jardin du Luxembourg is simply a day well spent. With whimsical statues, immaculate gardens and space to explore, the area is a perfect retreat from the city. While you will find other tourists milling about, the park chairs and benches under the trees and along the paths are so inviting it’s hard not to take a few minutes to relax and enjoy the view. To feel like a local, grab a baguette, a bottle of wine and a good book for a Sunday afternoon picnic. It is, as the French would say, “Ce est manifique!”
Explore Le Royal Monceau
If Paris is the city of indulgence, then Le Royal Monceau, a Raffles Hotel, invented it. Between the in-house restaurants, exclusive Sunday movie screenings and amazing luxury spa, visitors and guests can find plenty to do behind the doors of Le Royal Monceau. If spending the night in one of their extravagant suites isn’t in your budget, an afternoon indulging on a winter chocolate bar by Pierre Herme — the makers of those macarons you couldn’t get enough of earlier — should be. Made especially for Le Royal Monceau, Pierre Herme has created four different types of hot chocolate and plenty of rich chocolate mousses and pastries for dessert. It’s a chocolate lover’s paradise.
Wine and dine with the locals
With nearly every neighborhood and arrondissement boasting a weekly (or daily) market, snacking and shopping on the street is just part of Parisian life. Your best bet is on Sunday morning, when they seemingly pop up out of nowhere around the city. One not to miss? Marche Richard Lenoir. A half mile of gourmet vendors like French wine, it’s a foodie’s dream full of lively stall owners and colorful produce awaiting your picking. To find it, simply head to the Place de la Bastille monument, and let the aromas and crowds guide you.
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Solo Travel, Thrill-Seeker, Travel Journalist