101 Ways to unearth the real Paris

Follow the idea up that cobblestone rue for true enchantment

  1. Real Paris is a real feast. And Petrelle is where you’ll find it. Make sure you go. A full-on true sensory celebration of food and life. It’s a lesson in how to live. As you eat.
  2. Picnic is a lifestyle choice. Keep it simple. A green square surrounded by the Seine. Bread and jambon and wine. A white peach.  Square du Vert-Galant. Hopefully someone is playing music across the way on the day.
  3. A basket full of Yogurt. From Monoprix. One tub won’t be enough. Be warned. Even chain store yogurt is seriously good here. Incidentally so is the cashmere.
  4. Paris has a colour palette. See though Degas eyes. La Maison du Pastel. The colours of Paris hand mould and presented in a beautiful wooden box.
  5. Sweet Pea Paris for a true Paris foodie friend and leads perfectly yummy tours into the food heaven that is Paris.
  6. Take time out for tea in the beautiful garden of Musee de la Vie Romantique. A perfect pink and green treat at the end of a cobbled lane.
  7. In a pensive mood. One stop shop for everyone who loves writing. A special pen and papers place. And for leaving some sweet notes behind. Melodies Graphiques
  8. Remembering kissing. Just for the pleasure of it. How about on that point with a weeping willow and a single lamp-post. Quai de Bourbon. Picture perfect posing too if that’s your thing.
  9. Because in real Paris only the real thing will do. Buy a genuine cotton boatneck sailors top from Breiz-Norway in 5eme. Or the alternative equally authentic striped Breton tee from Saint James.
  10. Taking your time is sweet. Like honey. Find the ancient Beehives hidden from plain sight as you walk in the Luxembourg Jardin. Visit La Maison du Miel to bring some home. And for tastings. Think the flavours of lavender and chestnuts and roses.
  11. Theres nothing like coming home. Rent an apartment though Perfectly Paris and live as a local. Making it more real.
  12. Eat a hearty local lunch. Bouillon Chartier. Save the order scribbled by your waiter on the paper table clothe for prosperity. Because a restaurant is not a legend by accident. The only one of its kind.
  13. Be a bit Amelie. Wear the vintage skirt you made especially and watch a movie at Cinema Studio 28. And yes those lights are genuine Coteau. A real Paris treat.
  14. A scrunched paper bag of old-fashioned (and patented) Bon Bons from Le Bonbons Au Palais to indulge your sweet thing. The real thing.
  15. Play Pentanque. With a purchase of wine of course. From Ma Salle a Manger. Place Dauphine. The sweetest square in Paris. Friday afternoons. Doesn’t get much better.
  16. Evening prayer or otherwise known as l’apero. Five or onwards. Your local cafe. Everyday. A ritual of relaxation and connection. Get into the rhythm.
  17. You know you really want to. In the real Paris. Dance on the street or in a public parc just once. If you are shy come for Fete de la Musique. Or dance in your room.
  18. Market Aligre and Marche Couvert Beauvau-saint-Antoine for the genuine market real Paris experience. Covered markets and open air vendors. Suits all weather.
  19. In a Gypsy-Jazz sort of mood. Squeeze in amongst locals at La Chope de Chateau Rouge. Or over at Le Piano Vache in the latin corner.
  20. Street performers on the bridge between Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint Louis on a weekend. No any day of the week. Theres something good about it.
  21. Crepes from the curbside vendor. With Nutella. Seriously good. Anywhere. Anytime. For a more serious Breton galette eat in at Breizh Cafe
  22. Impressionism and meeting Monet without the big queues. Walk though a sweet park to Musee Marmottan. The relaxed and elegant vibe of the area will be worth the outing.
  23. Walk the highroad. A secret garden planted along the city skyline. The Promenade Plantee or Coulee Verte was the worlds first elevated park and a good place to lift your spirits if you are ground down by the bustle.
  24. Minty tea and tasty sweets under green foliage are a match made in the heavens. Sit at Cafe Grande Mosquee de Paris in the blue and white mosaic courtyard garden to cool down after a steam and a scrub at the hammam. All scented with the sweet shesha smoke. Exotic.
  25. Heres your new favourite Paris Parc. Botanicals and biodiversity abound in des Jardin des Plantes. Idyllic and also a centre for conservation and research. This may be the best kept ‘secret’ of Paris. Look out for the La Menagerie a small zoo tucked into this lush haven.
  26. Get lost and found along the cobbled rues of Butte-Aux-Cailles. Discover a floral city street art and real everyday life going on all around. Find L’Oisive for organic tea with your knitting and meet some like-minded souls.
  27. Boot Cafe. Coffee made for walking. Good things come in small packages and this might be Paris smallest cafe. An old shoebox. Truly. With that beautiful blue patina only aging could achieve.
  28. Tango on the Seine Sunday afternoons till twilight. Square Tino Rossi, Quai St. Bernard. Bring your dancing shoes or maybe the Leica. If you’re lucky perhaps a stranger will ask you to dance. Oh la la!
  29. Worship from a garden bench in the gardens behind the great churches. Hint. It always pays to look around the back. Or underneath. And avoid those fervent crowds. Parc de la Turlure is especially quiet and charming and picnic friendly.
  30. Hotel Particulier de Montmartre. Behind the big gate. Get buzzed in. It will be worth the effort. Enough said.
  31. Something special is whiskey with him at the Bar Hemingway. Drink in Serendipity in a tall glass. Or make it dry n dirty. Whatever let the waiter read your mind and follow his lead.
  32. Here’s something worth knowing. Cafe le Jardin du Petit Palais is quiet and shady and gorgeous. Mosaics and grand columns make for a true haven. Good for journaling and dreaming and even imagining living in Paris.
  33. Escape the city to sleep and dream of rambling rose gardens and la petit dejeuner outside under the open sky. Stay Hotel des Grandes Ecoles for the best value and prettiest bed in Paris
  34. Ride an old-fashioned creature on a carousel. All over the city. Best at night with the lights on. Or to watch with the Paris parents at the end of a school day.
  35. Skip the mains and go straight to the source. That generous bowl of chocolate moose is satisfaction guaranteed at Le Square Trousseau
  36. Les Bouquinistes along Quai Malaquais for naughty postcards and other fancy follies.
  37. Whatever is the flavour and texture of the season be the first to know. These are not just pastries. They are collections. He sets the fashion for the season. Pierre Herme Patissiere.
  38. To be the real tourist ride the Vedettes du Pont Neuf at dusk. Get on early enough to sit up top. Gasp at the beauty of the city as the lights come on.
  39. A room with a view means breakfast with a view. There is a perfect BnB in Montmartre. See on my blog here. Otherwise it stays my secret.
  40. Musee Jacquemart-Andre because you like your art to be good with a grande mansion attached.
  41. Feel the magic. La Tour Eiffel. Watch her glow and sparkle. Without the irony. Every hour after dusk. Every night from somewhere where you are. So that a bit of that sparkle gets inside you to bring it home.
  42. Doing nothing is the latest craze. The well-heeled started it. Here. Parc Monceau. Go for watching real Paris people play. And watch each other. And to seek a sleep in a sun shiney patch.
  43. I’ll take mine in the floral flavours. Eat an ice cream shaped like a rose from Amorino. Delicious and beautiful. A petit treat.
  44. It’s starry all over Paris. There’s endless ways to lift your gaze and spirits. But no better place for some real star-gazing than at the Sorbonne Observatory.
  45. Thinking is good. Best done all alone if possible. Rodins garden. Sit somewhere with the roses in full view. For the scent.
  46. It’s that black and white thing. Black clay with a white glaze. Maybe add a rose or an insect for whimsy. Love made into a cup beautiful enough to drink from every day. Astier de Villattte
  47. Become more Parisian. Embrace street photography. In black and white. Then visit Fondation Henri Cartier Bresson for inspiration from the original master.
  48. Merci. For everything. Not to be missed. A perfect concept.
  49. It’s often the small things that deliver the biggest return. Like those jewel like fruit  jellies that Jacques Genin makes. Perfection of the unexpected.
  50. Free art with a view at the Musee D’Art Modern. Vibrant and not over crowded so you can take in art at your leisure. Later wander up to nearby Trocadero to take in the view and tea at Carette a beautiful old fashioned pastry and tea salon. Perfect day out.
  51. Dave or Isami. Because sometimes you like food that isn’t French. Call first. Maybe try to be a bit famous.
  52. The poetry on the street. Hidden in street-art. The word play of the fabulous Miss.Tic. Round every corner. Worth a peek.
  53. Citypharma the ultimate in French pharmacy bliss. Where everyone in the know gets their creams. A cult legend of lotions and potions you didn’t know your needed till you got there.
  54. BHV. The de l’Hotel de Ville. Where the locals shop. Head down the stairs to the hardware to find your own blue and white house number. Then up again. Because there are clean toilettes on the top floor. Merci for that.
  55. A Paris Circus. A tried and true destination for enchantment and magic. This is the home of the worlds oldest circus but also the meeting place for all concerned with  contemporary circus arts. The New Circus  can be found if you search for it. It will be worth it.
  56. Ride the metro. Get out at a pretty station. Like Cluny-la-Sorbonne. Or Artes et Metiers. Not for instragram. It’s for making real moments that might matter. Real pictures with soul and heart.
  57. Climb the stairwell up from Abbesses metro. For the art. Not the exercise. Rest in the sweet square above and breathe in Bohemia.
  58. Write a lovely love letter. Your inspiration. The I Love You Wall. Then walk the long route around the hill to Scare Couer. Sit on the stairs thinking love thoughts.
  59. Cocktails are the thing. Very cool. Alcohol is better with fruit. Both are better with a view. Think like a local. Terrasse Hotel rooftop Bar.
  60. Sleepless in Paris. Stay up late and talk though the night away in a booth at Lulus White.
  61. There will be no real harm done to the budget. Not really. Pick up a little something vintage shopping in the Maria. All over the place really. So you can be a bit more boho in a Paris way.
  62. When it rains pour over old postcards and ponder life wandering the passages. Like Passage du Grand Cerf. Maybe you need some vintage french eyewear. That why they opened Pour Vos Beaux Yeux. Then check out the gorgeous illustrations across the way.
  63. Le long lunch in fairytale Paris with actual red and white checked napkins Le petit Celestin. It really does exist.
  64. Because the selfie thing is getting a bit tired. Or it’s not your thing. Wouldn’t it be nice to make a fine grainy portrait of yourself in Paris. Find the vintage Photo Booth at Boton and also No 53 rue des Trois Frères Montmartre. And other cool places.
  65. Listen and you will hear the city sing. Just for you. Then walk rue d’ martyres and find L’Objet qui Parle for that other special souvenir.
  66. Visit a cemetery. To remind yourself you are the living. Don’t mind the cats. Unearth a famous person or two or look for the unmarked tomb of the unknown ballerina. Hint decaying ballet shoes mark the spot. Montmartre cemetery.
  67. Velvet. And a smoky minty candle. Old school glamour. Wallpaper and floral bar stools. Hotel Providence
  68. Because you take your style cues from art. Keep it simple. Black and white work well here. See the Bruen columns then proceed to La Petit Robe Noir Palais Royale. Only black frocks for sale. All you need do is work out which one is so you.
  69. Le Pure Cafe is for when hanging about is what you’re about. Let time wait and  the real Paris will reveal herself. Pretty in red with a corner position and a wonderful original zinc bar. This is what you came for.
  70. Remember to eat cheese. L’fromage. Everyday. Because this is cheese heaven. On every block stinky runny living cheese in specialist shops. Comte or Mimolette. You better have both. Because it’s a complete meal with bread and wine. And it’s good for you.By the way Astier has the reputation for the most generous cheeseboard in town.
  71. Bread with chocolate or the lemon tart or both from Liberte Boulangerie. Also  for your health. Because pleasure is a medicine.
  72. Because you drink in stars. And bubbles. Champagne. Anywhere. Anytime. But especially the biodynamic from Ma Cave Fleury. Another great night out.
  73. Research the concept of a concept store. They are the latest thing. A bit like a department store. Only curated with flair. No time-wasting. Start with Centre Commercial. Later default to Du Pain et Des Idees for nourishment.
  74. Please the inner child. Laughter is a common language. Be part of the crowd. Watch a puppet show in a Paris Parc. It’s a treasured French tradition. Almost every day of the year in various locations.
  75. Do the boutique beat along Rue de Charonne. A little bit of everything is here. Independent and quirky. Next seasons haute-coutures inspiration. Real Paris shopping with real Parisians. Real Paris style.
  76. You don’t need to be too intellectual to get this. Letters and words and numbers. All sorts and sizes. Some stars and other found industrial bits. Re-made to be great smart decor. Perfect Paris keepsake. From Kidimo
  77. Chez Janou or (insert name of bistro) because you stumbled upon it and you were tired and it was wine time.
  78. Sit on story-book benches in Square Gabriel Perne. Adore the pink cherry tree blossoms if it’s spring.
  79. Wandering along and in and out and about Rue Bonaparte and back to the river again. People and place watching all wrapped up in a street.
  80. Hospitality and friendly wine tastings at La Derniere Goutte. Terroir driven organic and biodynamic wines from small growers star here.
  81. Take a sweet row-boat to the most exquisite temple of love le Temple Romantique. In the middle of a lake. In the middle of a park. On an island. Even if you are all alone its tres romantique!
  82. Channel your inner songstress. Musee Edith Piaf. Then sing French chanson  into the night Le Vieux Belleville
  83. If magic eludes you perhaps an encounter in the worlds oldest magic shop will bewitch you. Deep in the heart of Paris is this historical place of charm and whimsy. Mayette Magie Moderne.
  84. Oh give us this day our daily bread. And because it would be so wrong to eat bad bread in real Paris do your homework. Every morning head to your ‘Artisan Boulanger’  and ask for ‘Un pain traditionelle bien coute.’ Recommended  Eric Kayser.
  85. You like to make. So why not learn how to make real Paris melt in the mouth bread and pastry. Cook’n With Class Paris
  86. La Fountaine Belleville for a croquet monsieur and great coffee. Then discover the other real Paris.
  87. Southern charm meets French flair. And Paris is her kitchen. A private food tour with Wendy Lyn is worth the investment. To hang out with a real Paris insider.
  88. Le Grande Musee du Parfume. An immersive experience that makes the unseen knowable. Another life lesson that is quintessentially Parisian.
  89. Blog your blog or post to instagram from Ob-La-Di cafe. Everyone has a favourite image from here. Happily there is substance as well as good looks. Life goes on!
  90. Celebrate yourself. The artist in you. Let your noir fantasies out. Low light. A real Paris thing. A photo shoot in Paris done the old way. With true heart by Carla Coulson. 
  91. Step it all up a notch. You conquered the Metro now ride the buses for a real Paris experience. Take it both ways. If you’re not sure just get on and off at the same place. The no. 69 bus passes lots of the top sights and avoids the tourist crush.
  92. Paris is in Bloom. Heaven on earth. Those gorgeous floral bouquets. Buy a big bunch of flowers. Carry them around. Give them away.
  93. Be part of ancient but everyday Paris poem as you walk along Rue Delambre. Slowly. Maybe write a Paris Storie.
  94. Remember that pool scene in Trois Couleurs Bleu. Well you can be in your own movie here. Bring your bathers. And an old style cap. So you can swim at Piscine Pontoise. That beautiful Art Deco pool that you saw. In the Latin Quartier. Atmosphere pure 1930s. Open to midnight under soft lighting.
  95. Because you are unearthing real Paris now. Fantasies can come true. Play and frolic in a belle époque playground. Musee des Arts Forains
  96. The whimsy of the wooden boats in Jardin du Luxembourg and the pleasure of the adults watching the children push them with the wooden pole.
  97. Foundation Louis Vitton. No not for the bags. For the daring and the dreaming and to soar like a bird over Paris. See your other self reflected back in a water mirror. A amazing building that honours the spirit of the city in a very modern way.
  98. Is this the best real Paris big view. Because sometimes you need a bigger view. Check it out for yourself. Serious brunch. Live music on the terrace. When you need to put the little things in the right perspective. Moncoeur Belleville.
  99. Sometimes you need to float high above your everyday life. You will when you see the luminous lush composition of the painted ceiling of Opera Garnier. You will dance with Chagall in that moment. It was a gift to the world and to you.
  100. Stay up like the adult you used to be. Burlesque and a boat. Say no more. La Nouvelle Seine.
  101. There are definitely places that have it. Places to sit and be. Pure Paris presence. La Belle Hortense. Petit fer a cheval. You deserve these at least once in a life-time. The classic and stylishly shabby vibe. The real thing. The real Paris.

Be the Rose  ♥   Bernadette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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