Paris week – the secret guide to the best activities as recommended by locals

France Hotels

My friends were very generous with their Paris travel tips: not only did they share their recommendations for best restaurants, bars and bakers, they also suggested a variety of activities. You’re sure to fell like a true Parisian if you do any of those things.

I challenge you to leave behind the touristy places, the classic visit to the Louvres or to the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame, and instead to spend time exploring these various places. You won’t be disappointed!

Activities that only locals know about

Petanque in Paris. Black and white image from the 70's

  • Go to see a movie at La Pagode, a cinema that only plays independent films in their original version. That is the way true cine fans watch movies in Paris. Make sure to get there early to go and sit in the garden.
  • Go to the market either Boulevard Richard Lenoir, in the Bastille area, or Avenue de Saxe, near the square of Breteuil.  This is the most parisian of the markets in town.  Avoid the organic market on Boulevard Raspail which has extortionate prices.
  • Go for a swim at the Joséphine Baker pool, a  glass-walled swimming pool built on a barge that is permanently moored just in front of the National Library in the 13th arrondissement.
  • In good weather, go to the Palais de Tokyo. There are always interesting exhibition and you can then eat on terrace from May to September (tips on which restaurant to choose are here).
  •  Have an “apéro” (apéritif) at the Apéros de la Pétanque, at the Boulodrome, Porte Dorée.  They happen every Thursday evening in summer.  You can also enjoy DJ, bar and barbeque to continue the party late into the night.
  • A more modern park than the classic ones, the Parc André Citroën in the 15th arrondissement has many areas to discover: a vast grass area for your picnics, a green house, landscaped garden areas and hot hair balloon to go high up in the air and view Paris from above.
  • The “hipster” place in Paris which will remind you of Brooklyn (!) is La Recyclerie. Located in a former train station, there are art installations, cafés, repair workshop, farm gardens etc.. A lot of fun to discover.

Shops not to miss


3, rue Paul Dubois, 75003 Paris

© Ofr
© Ofr

The new “it” shop in Paris is this second outpost from a couple famous for their very edgy and arty bookshop.  This new shop is dedicated to fashion and design.


11 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75 003 Paris


It’s been featured in the press many times but it is worth visiting. The Merci shop wants to act as a developer or launch-pad to the young designers. There are several corners with clothes, tech gadgets, home decor items, books, CDs etc.. and always something happening. When we last went, they were preparing for a concert that evening and there were hudreds of Converse shoes hanging from the ceiling!


5, boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, 75003 Paris


Next to Merci is the second Bonton shop in Paris. If you’re a mum, you’ll be delighted by this place which is a mecca for children: toys, clothes, home decor, sweets. Everything is very well presented. Difficult to resist.


213 rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris


The inventor of the concept store and still worth visiting. Lots of other expensive clothes shops in this street. Be careful!

Here you go! That should keep you busy for a while.

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  1. I loved this post Stephanie! I am flying solo to Paris tomorrow with my baby and staying near Boul Richard Lenoir. I can’t wait to check out the market when we land on Thursday! Any other posts on Paris with babies/kids?

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