As Audrey Hepburn once said; “Paris is always a good idea”, and she was right, Paris is always a good idea. It is not a coincidence that Paris is nicknamed the city of love and the city of lights. The French capital, as well as the Ile de France region, has many hidden corners that are just waiting to be found.
But where does one start their hunt for the romantic hideaway corners and glistening cobblestone streets? We asked bloggers for their secret insider tips to Paris and have uncovered locations around the region of Ile de France that are a must see!
Tips for travelling solo in Paris
Read more from Melinda here – I Love Walking in France
My favourite place to while away an hour in Paris is at Sainte-Chapelle, the thirteenth-century church hidden away on Île de la Cité. Standing on the upper floor, with the sun streaming through the walls of stained glass, is like standing inside a kaleidoscope—a truly magical experience!
If I am traveling solo and have only one night in Paris, dinner will always be at l’Ecritoire in Place de la Sorbonne. With its relaxed atmosphere, good food and friendly service, it’s the place I feel most comfortable eating alone and watching the world go by.
Tips for family activities
Read more from Sharon here – Where’s Sharon
The Eifel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur and its world famous museums. We also loved visiting the low-key attractions like Promenade Plantee and Jardin d’Acclimatation where we were surrounded by locals instead of tourists.
We loved visiting Paris’ creperies. These are great value, delicious and there is usually great cider to drink as well. We particularly loved Creperie La Bigoudenne on Rue de Montparnasse which is a street filled with creperies.
Tips for the urban explorer
Read more from Duncan here – Urban Travel Blog
Being Urban Travel Bloggers, Paris is the focus of our collective explorations in Ile de France. You could spend a week or more exploring just the famous sites (Eiffel Tower, Le Louvre, Moulin Rouge etc.), but there are some lesser known attractions that you need to see to feel Paris, such as Pere Lachaise cemetery, the burial place of such luminaries as Chopin, Edith Piaf, La Fontaine and Oscar Wilde. A great place to evoke the city’s historic cultural legacy. For a slice of contemporary Paris head over to Le Marais district, one of the few that wasn’t demolished by Baron Haussman in the middle of the 19th Century. Traditionally a Jewish district, is now full of vintage shops, art galleries and gay bars.
For something stylish, laidback and original you can order brunch, lunch or dinner by an abandoned railway at the restaurant of Le Mama Shelter, a hip hotel designed by innovative architect Philippe Starck. For superb seafood, including razor clams, oysters, sea snails and chowder head over to the much-acclaimed Clamato in the 11th arrondissement. Or for something authentic and affordable, the rustic style L’Ecurie serves up a mean steak and fries in what was once a humble stable.
A trip down into the Paris catacombs makes for a macabre (yet oddly fascinating) couple of hours. Bones and skulls are stacked in a terrifying array , to form a house of the dead that would make a chilling addition to the world of Game of Thrones, even. For something more cheerful hire a bike and head out onto the Bois de Boulogne, a vast green space that is twice the size of New York’s Central Park. Here you’ll find lakes, woodland, gardens, and chateaux. Finally, shopaholics will enjoy browsing in the trendy boutiques along the Rue de Charonne.
Tips for the sports lovers
Read more from Ales here – Photo and Traveling
One of the most important places for me is definitely The Museum of Louvre. I mean the place outside. Doesn’t matter what weather is during your visit. You can spend a lovely time in the gardens anytime. Just walking around the majestic building of the museum and thinking about what everything is inside, behind the walls. Or maybe thinking about who was in the building 100 or 200 years ago. Of course, you can go to check if everything is ok with the Mona Lisa but I don’t like “million people on one square meter”.
Anytime when I can imagine Paris or France in my mind, it is directly connected with baguette and croissant. I know, this is available almost everywhere. But in Paris there is for me one special place, where I bought something unique. The place is very close to Sacre Coeur. On the bottom of the stairs very close to the old carousel is a kind of bistro and here is the magic. Super delicious, tasty and fresh pancakes. I don’t remember in whole my life better pancakes like here. Sweet, salty, with fruit, chocolate, cheese … and many more kinds. Everybody should go there and try it out 🙂
Paris is a big city, meaning a lot of activities. Some might prefer the “classic tour” and others might like something different. I belong to the second group. I like walking in the old town. Feeling of getting ‘lost’ in this beautiful part of the city was amazing for me. But if I should choose another activity, my favorite is football. I like sport and the atmosphere during matches. Energy from thousands of people which have similar thoughts is like from another planet. This feeling you need to try, because speaking about something that you didn’t try is like food in showroom. You can think about it but the taste is much stronger when you personally know how it feels. Go watch a Paris Saint-Germain game in Parc des Princes.
Tips on the region, Ile de France
Read more from Yanique here – My Parisian Life
For the most part, Paris is a place you come to stay, indulge and get your monies worth of exquisite cheese, wine, and baguette! But many people often find that after a long journey, you also want to get a few cultural places in while over this side of the water.
My top three must see places in the Ile de France region are: Château de Versailles – Not only is it a testament to French culture, but also to architecture, art, and pure human endeavour. Monet’s Gardens Giverny -Famed for his experimental use of colour and atmospheric paintings, this iconoclast of 19th century art owned a beautiful garden in Giverny, about 75kms from Paris. This garden is certainly worth the trip and is not the reserve for art lovers, the gardens are well tended to and its relatively close proximity to Paris means it is the perfect summer day trip. Château de Fontainebleau – Once the residence of Francis I and the site of Napoleon’s abdication, Fontainebleau is also brimming with history. The surrounding gardens and forest are a welcome break from the density of Paris.
For some cultural exploring visit Centquatre / 104 Paris – Stop off the metro at Riquet (line 7) and walk over to this wonder that used to be an old house stable turned multiusage art space. There is an ongoing Photo exhibition – some of it is free. There is also 2 restaurants there, a thrift shop with clothing and furniture, a bookstore, and a pizza truck outside. Try not to miss Seydou Keita at the Grand Palais. It is much-anticipated here in Paris and is running until July 11 2016, entry is 10 Euros.