Find your bearings away from the tourist crowds
Museums, world-renowned landmarks, churches, palaces, fountains, libraries, and gardens make up more than 2,100 monuments and attractions in Paris. Knowing where to start can be tricky—even if you’ve visited before—so local knowledge is key to making the most of the French capital. Luckily, we’ve uncovered the must-see sights, lesser-known experiences, and often-overlooked areas to help you unveil Paris’s true personality.
Shop your way through the fashion capital of the world
Paris is famously the home of countless luxury boutiques, and a trip to the 8th arrondissement—known as the Golden Triangle—is a glamorous way to experience French fashion. But Paris is also buzzing with independent and artsy boutiques, historical department stores, and second-hand shops, making it a shopping destination for all tastes. Meander through Le Marais, a hip and fashionable district in the 4th arrondissement, filled with concept stores, art galleries, kosher restaurants, and buzzy bars. On the Left Bank (‘la Rive Gauche’), Le Bon Marché is the most Parisian of department stores, founded in 1852.
Vintage lovers will find treasures in Montmartre, home of the 19th-century Bohemian movement, today packed with quirky vintage-clothing shops.
Time-travel along the Seine
Start your walk at the glass canopy of the 19th-century Grand Palais, which is closed for renovations until 2024. On the other side of the road, the equally beautiful Petit Palais is home to inspiring art exhibitions, some accessible for free. From there, head along the Seine, with the stunning Pont Alexandre III on your right, to the statues and fountains of the Place de la Concorde. On this magnificent 18th-century square, you’ll find the entrance to the formal gardens of Jardin des Tuileries.
Insider tip: Enjoy a scenic Parisian stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries to the world’s largest art museum, the Louvre.
Admire the Eiffel Tower as Parisians do: from afar
Parisians usually avoid going anywhere near the Eiffel Tower and its crowds of tourists, but they're still extremely proud of their 'Iron Lady' and can't help but admire it from afar.Play it like a Parisian and snap a perfect picture of the city’s iconic landmark from these viewpoints: the stunning street setting of the Rue de l’Université; the peace and calm of the Avenue de Camoens—familiar from many movies—and the artsy industrial vibes of the Pont de Bir-Hakeim bridge.
Insider tip: There’s a spectacular view of Gustave Eiffel’s 19th-century creation from the rooftop of famed department store Galeries Lafayette Haussman, which you can access for free.
Wander the streets of the 11th arrondissement
Stretching from the Bastille neighborhood to Père Lachaise Cemetery, the lively 11th arrondissement is popular with locals. Sample its exciting and on-the-rise dining scene, enjoy drinks on the terraces, shop at small independent designer boutiques, and head up to Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th arrondissement for sunset drinks by the water.
Insider tip: The 11th is bordered by Place de la Nation to the south, Boulevard Beaumarchais to the west, and stretches northwards beyond Rue Oberkampf.
Take an early stroll around Le Marché des Enfants Rouges
Among Paris’s many food markets, we recommend this 17th-century location, 2km north of Notre-Dame cathedral in Le Marais. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, the sprawling cornucopia of world cuisine is loaded with food stalls and delicious quick-bite options: cold cuts, French cheeses, sandwiches voted the best in France, fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, Lebanese mezze, Moroccan delights...the list goes on.
Insider tip: Boulevard Richard-Lenoir in the nearby 11th arrondissement hosts two of Paris’s biggest biweekly open-air food markets, the Marché Bastille (Thursdays and Sundays) and Marché Popincourt (Tuesdays and Fridays).
Banish the Sunday blues in Paris
The French are serious about Sunday being a day of rest, and many shops close, but those in neighborhoods classified as International Tourist Zones are authorized to open. One zone is the Boulevard Haussmann area in the 9th arrondissement, home to the Galeries Lafayette department store. Additionally, Paris’s major museums, including the Louvre, Musée Rodin, and Musée d'Orsay, are accessible free of charge on the first Sunday of the month.
Insider tip: International Tourist Zones with Sunday openings also include Champs-Elysées (8th), Le Marais (4th), Saint-Germain (6th), and Rue Saint-Honoré (1st).
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