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10 Ways To Experience Paris Like A Local

Posted by Emily Cummings on 4/2/17 9:44 AM

ILP Adventure

Aw, Paris. The crepes, the Eiffel Tower, the museums, the Arc de Triomphe….We love all the touristy things to do here, but what it you want see the real, non-touristy Paris? You know, like a local?


Well, living in Europe means you pretty much have to explore Paris. I mean, how could you skip over all there is to see and do there right? And I’m pretty sure seeing the Eiffel Tower has been on your bucket list for years. Good thing you’ll have vacation time when you can do just that while living in Europe with ILP.

Seriously - take trips to Paris while living in Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Romania and Russia as a volunteer with ILP! 

So now that you’ll be vactioning in France when you aren't teaching English to cute kiddos, how do you see the real Paris? You know, the Paris the locals know? Here's how: 

  • Stay Where the Locals Live
  • Pack A Picnic (And Skip The Seine) 
  • Shop At This Flea Market 
  • Dress The Part
  • Go To This Park 
  • See Paris From Above 
  • Visit This Bird & Flower Market 
  • Wander the Butte-aux-Cailles
  • Cycle The Streets
  • Have A Regular Day

Stay Where the Locals Live 

Skip out on hotels and hostels and nestle into your own little Parisian apartment by booking an AirBnB for your trip. You’ll get the most authentic experience because…you will actually be staying like a local! Get tips and the dreamiest Air BnBs in Europe (including Paris) right here. 

Pack A Picnic (And Skip The Seine) 

Skip out on crowded bistros mentioned in the guidebooks and head to local supermaché and pack up a picnic to munch on in the park.

Grab some ah-mazing french cheese, a little bread and butter, some fruit and then visit a patisserie for a few…okay, a lot of those beautiful macarons. 

ILP Europe - Lithuania in France

Shop At This Flea Market 

Skip out on touristy gift shops and shopping streets for your French souvenirs. There’s this enormous and beautiful flea market where you can buy anything — antiques, knick knacks, clothing, books, etc. Plan on spending a lot of time if you want to see it all — it’s huge!

Open Monday (10:00-17:00), Saturday (9:00-18:00) and Sunday (10:00-18:00). Here’s the address:
Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen
140 Rue des Rosiers 93400 Saint-Ouen, Paris 

Dress The Part 

Fashion is huge in Paris. If you want to fit in, dress up (and wear black) and do some shopping at some of the very chic and hip boutiques on La Rue de Charonne. Or after seeing the Eiffel Tower, stop by local haunts on La Rue du Commerce; it’s just around the corner!

Go To This Park 

Fit in with all the other sun basking locals in Buttes Chaumont, rather than the touristy streets of St. Germain de Près and Île St. Louis.

See Paris From Above

Enjoy a simple meal or drinks by taking the elevator (then escalator) up to the top of the Printemps. You’ll be able to see the Eiffel Tower and hill of Montmartre from a totally different view (and away from the crowds).

Printemps Rooftop Terrace
64 Boulevard Haussmann 75009, Paris
Open Monday - Saturday, 9:30 - 20:00

Visit This Bird & Flower Market 

Paris (and Europe in general) is the place for markets, so don’t miss out on seeing a few while in France. Even the Parisians who haven’t been themselves know about this bird & flower market or Marché aux Fleurs. Maybe pick up a bouquet for your afternoon picnic, or just enjoy the sites and smells.

Oh, and it’s just around the corner from the Notre Dame Cathedral so don’t miss out on that site either.

Monday through Saturday 8:00 - 19:30 
Sunday: 8:00 - 19:00

ILP Europe

Wander the Buttes-aux-Cailles

This hidden gem is a quiet street, home to several chic and cozy cafes, restaurants little shops — like a secret little neighborhood. Step outside of the tourist hustle and bustle and stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Find it on the Rue de la Beutte aux Cailles. 

Cycle The Streets 

Really get to know Paris by riding a bike through it. Paris is a pretty cycle friendly city and has this really rad bike sharing system called Velib, but you need to get a pass to use the bikes. Here’s what we suggest:

Buy a one day (or week long) pass online — you’ll get your own access code that you just type in every time you want to “check out” a bike.  The one day pass is 1.80 Euro and the 7 day pass is 8 Euro. 

Buy a Navigo pass (just the card, not the actual full metro pass). Then you can put on your Velib pass onto it (even if you just bought the 1 day pass). Now you can just swipe your card instead of typing in a code.

Have A Regular Day 

Ever wondered what it would be like to live in Paris? Give it a try for a day. Wake up and run to the park, before grabbing a couple things from the local fruit and veg market. Meet friends for lunch and dash off to your exercise class. Catch a movie and take an evening stroll before turning in for the night. 

ILP Adventure in Paris

But don’t get to caught up being a local and skip out on the tourist sites — there’s a reason everyone just goes to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre and the Seine while in Paris; it makes Paris, Paris! And not anywhere else in the world.

We're pretty sure you need to add Paris to one of your 15 cities you can see in 10 days…but first, start thinking about volunteering with ILP. We send volunteers (no experience necessary) to several countries in Europe to teach English to cute kids. Talk to a representative to get your questions answered:

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Topics: Romania, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Travel Destinations

Exploring The World For Over 25 Years

Hi! We are ILP, a non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. Check out our tips for making the most of your time traveling and living abroad.

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