Last month I posted about what to do in Paris if you’ve never been and only have 3-4 days there. This post will have a few more options of things if you don’t want to be as touristy or you’d rather do things other than sight-see.
If you missed that post, you should go check it out HERE because there will likely be some things that will still be helpful like Travel Tips, What to Pack and a few cultural tips.
If you’re more into the food and shopping side of things, Paris is DEFINITELY going to be your kind of place.
- Le Bouillon Chartier – located at 7 rue du Fauboug Montmartre, Paris 75009
Closest Metro: Grands Boulevards on Lines 8 & 9
This in quotes is from my friend Katherine who recommended Le Bouillon Chartier to me this summer. I went for the first time this past July and it was wonderful! I think I got the chicken (which was a little dry) and I didn’t get dessert, but everything else was fabulous. “The restaurant opened in 1896, and is to this day a Parisian favorite. Its mission has always been to offer a delicious French meal, at affordable prices, with lovely service, and it works like a charm. They’re open from 11:30am to midnight daily, and it’s best to expect a queue outside. It moves pretty quickly though, and as soon as they have a table available for you, you’ll be seated! I promise, it’s absolutely worth the wait!”
- Chez Francois – located in the bottom of the Air France building, l’Aérogare des Invalides
Closest Metro: Invalides on Lines 8 & 13
The first time we tried to dine here, we’d made a reservation online but when we arrived, the entire restaurant had been booked for a private party. Between my non-fluent French and the hostess, we never really figured out what the other was talking about. But the next thing Ben and I knew, we were being escorted to a car and driven to one of their sister restaurants! We did have a moment of “if this is our last night, I love you!” but everything was fine! We weren’t super impressed with the sister restaurant and decided to go back to Chez Francois last November to finally give it a try.
It’s very French, has white linen table clothes and a very attentive staff. We would probably give it 4 out of 5 stars, but the fact that it’s in the basement of a building that used to be for passengers on layovers, it’s fun to go to.
- Chez Georges is still one of my favorites so it’s worth mentioning again! It’s located at 1 rue du Mail, 75002 Paris, France and I talked about it in the other post HERE so be sure to check that out!
- Bonus (small/inexpensive lunches): Two of my favorite go-to’s are a baguette with ham and cheese and a Croque Monsieur. A Croque Monsieur is basically a grilled ham and cheese, but also has more cheese on top! (Be aware that a Croque Madame is the same but also has a fried egg on top.) You can find both of these sandwiches at most cafés. Another each and inexpensive option are the Tunisian kebab shops in the Latin Quarter. For 7 euros you can get a pita with shaved meat, lettuce, tomato and a drink. It’s delicious. Rue de la Huchette is super touristy but worth that 7 euro meal! I had it twice during my last visit and one of the times I took it with me to eat on the RER on my way back to where we were staying.
- Galeries Lafayette is your GO TO for some serious shopping. Plus, the building itself is beautiful.
- Place des Vosges & Le Marais*
*Le Marais also has one of the best Falafel places, L’as du Falafel. I’ve eaten there a couple times (always by getting it to go from the window) and the line you’ll see outside is always worth the wait. There’s another one directly across from it without a line and while I’ve not eaten there, I’m guessing there’s a reason one has a line and the other doesn’t :-)
- Rue de Rivoli
You can read more about Place des Vosges and Rue de Rivoli on this website HERE.
- Markets… oh how I love European outdoor markets! HERE is a guide to all the markets. I went to Marché Bastille this summer for the first time (I found out about it on Instagram) and it did not disappoint! It’s only open 3 days a week, but on Saturdays it’s apparently more of an arts and crafts market).
- TIP: Do not go “shopping” on the Champs Elysses. Everything is astronomically priced and more for tourists than anything else.
- Take a Cooking Class! For our 5th anniversary, Ben and I took a Baguette baking class at La Cuisine Paris and it was so much fun. You can see more about that HERE. I kind of want to go back and take ALL the classes they offer!
- Check out some of the lesser known museums. For our honeymoon, we purchased a museum pass and went to all kinds of museums that I’d never even heard of. You can purchase the pass for 2, 4 or 6 days and go as much as you’d like for the duration of your pass. It also allows you to skip any lines there might be!
- Just wander! Seriously… some of my favorite discoveries in Paris have been found when I didn’t have a plan other than to soak in the city. So, pick an arrondissement (there are 20 of them!), plant yourself in the middle of it during the day and choose a direction and go. This is how I fell in love with Île St-Louis… it’s less touristy than Île de la Cité (where Notre Dame is) and it’s so beautiful!
- Create (or buy/download) a scavenger hunt. A photo scavenger hunt is always fun and what better way to see a city and document your time there?
I would love to hear other ideas or non-touristy spots to venture to on my next trip if you know of some!
For other posts about Paris, click HERE.