Okay well, let’s be honest: no matter how hard anyone tries, we will always look like a tourist in France. I don’t know what it is about the locals but they constantly put me to shame by their blatant unattainability. While I’ll never look like a Parisian, I will still constantly fake it and act like I know what I’m doing. So yea, the Eiffel Tower is great, but why not try something a little less touristy.
Sure, I’m not a local, I don’t even live there. You don’t have to read anything I say, but if you’d like, here are some spots I suggest:
This brasserie is a local favorite (apparently, again I am no local), one I first read about in the book Paris to the Moon. When a large restaurant group bought this family-owned-for-generations hot spot, a large group of local regulars had their own revolution (a revolution? In France? Shocking!) and convinced the owner of the big bad corporation to keep everyting the same. You’ll see the same waiters who have been there for forty years and you’ll eat some classic French dishes. Maybe you’ll even run into the author of that little book up there.
See Paul Taylor Stand Up Comedy
Paul Taylor has quickly become one of my favorite comedians. I first found him on Youtube, and now I’m obsessed. I’ll warn you, he is vulgar, but he will make you laugh with each video. I suggest starting with his Franglais videos where he is doing stand up at a comedy club in Paris. If you’re in Europe, you can also buy tickets to see him live.
While this does appear on tourist lists, when I first went it was not crowded at all and I was surrounded by locals. This breakfast spot is simultaneously trendy and cozy, and has once been voted the best croissant in Paris. Now imagine, the best croissant in Paris??? That’s like being the best pick-up truck in the South, or the best pizza in Italy, or the best book from Harper Collins. I order the fromage blanche, which is just yogurt, however it will be the best yogurt parfait you have ever eaten. My friend and I loved this place so much we went each morning that we were in Paris.
Les Puces de Clignancourt
Les Puces is french for flea market. In America, a flea market is a large dusty warehouse where you buy beanie babies and old sweaters. In Paris, it’s a shopper’s heaven. You love vintage? You love clothes? You love bags? You love picture frames? You love antiques? This is your stop. While it’s the most popular in Paris, what do you expect from me? I’m not a local. This is the one I’ve heard about the most and have experienced myself. Sure, it’s not our American flea market prices, but if you go in trying to be the least aloof possible, you’re sure to haggle down a few prices and save some euros.
So while I’m no local, I can promise to be a better source for you than trip advisor. Never try not to be a tourist, it’s not worth the trouble. Just try to make being a tourist a little more fun.