A Weekend in Paris Like a Local
Discover where to go in Paris to experience the weekend like a local.
Paris is a city of wonders. There are plenty of well-known monuments, museums and hotspots to visit. However, if you are looking for a true Parisian experience, you may need to wander off of the beaten path and look for spots that are tucked away or less-frequented by tourists.
A local weekend favorite is a lunch on the rooftop terrace of the Printemps department store on Boulevard Haussmann. After browsing through floor after floor of fine goods, climb one flight of stairs to the rooftop and enjoy a light lunch looking over the city. This vantage point offers one of the most spectacular views of Paris.
If you are strolling along the Seine, stop for a quick bite at one of the several eateries under Pont Alexandre III. Here you can enjoy lunch or dinner outdoors under a canopy or on the water and watch the activity along the river banks. The bridge, with tall stone columns and gilded tops, creates a beautiful backdrop for a memorable meal.
Tucked away in the 4th arrondissement, you will find the tiny street, Rue des Barres. This narrow, stone street winds through Old World buildings and will be a perfect stroll after lunch at the foot of the Saint-Gervais church.
Located in the 5th arrondissement, Rue Mouffetard remains a favorite for the weekend. With a permanent open-air market and primarily pedestrian adjoining streets, this area is a great spot to pick up some fresh market goods, browse artisan shops or take a break in one of the many cafés.
Not far from the Seine in the 12th arrondissement, you can discover one of the most colorful spots in Paris. Rue Crémieux is a charming, cobbled backstreet that is perfect for a memorable stroll. All of the buildings are painted in lively hues. A walk down this street almost makes you feel as if you’ve stumbled upon some Parisian secret.
While often visited by tourists, the Canal St. Martin area has become increasingly more popular among Parisians. This picturesque part of town offers long walks along the canal with plenty of shopping and dining options along the way.
Find your way to the south end of Paris for a relaxing afternoon in Buttes aux Cailles. This neighborhood is full of quiet, small streets to navigate. You will find few tourists here and many charming shops and bistros. Be on the lookout for wonderful works of street art in the most unexpected places. Grab a few picnic type items and take the short walk to Parc Montsouris to extend your stay in this quaint area.
The Jardin du Luxembourg is no stranger to tourists, but it is still among the favorite places to visit on the weekend for locals. The space is quite large and has many quiet places to stroll, enjoy a run or sit and appreciate the surrounding environment. It is beautifully landscaped with an abundance of sculptures, fountains and paths.
The peaceful setting of the Palais-Royal Garden is an ideal spot for relaxing or quiet conversation. Right in the heart of the city and just across from the Louvre, this garden offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city streets.
There are several cemeteries to visit in Paris, but the Montparnasse Cemetery, located in the 14th arrondissement, is a quiet place to explore with few tourists. Nestled in the center of a thriving area, this tranquil spot is just steps away from the Tour Montparnasse and the entrance to the catacombs.
On the western side of Paris, in the 8th arrondissement, look for Parc Monceau. This is a favorite local spot for a morning jog or afternoon picnic. The paths within the park wind through trees and stunning sculptures and monuments.
With the Kids
Enjoy a show or circus performance at the historic Cirque d’Hiver in the 11th arrondissement. This theater, which was built in 1852, is home to a year-round circus and other notable musical performances. Arrive early and check out the circus museum, celebrating not just the oldest circus in Paris, but in all the world.
La Villette is a Parisian favorite. This park and commercial center is located in the 19th arrondissement and offers something for everyone. There are shops and restaurants to peruse and a lovely park on the water with swimming, water activities and even a zip line. Stop at the micro-brewery for lunch and a frosty glass of freshly brewed beer.
Just south of Butte aux Cailles, you will find Parc Montsouris. This expansive park is an ideal spot for a picnic. The landscape offers plenty of spots to relax in the sun or shade. There is a lovely path for running or a leisurely stroll. For the kids, there are play spaces and rides. Check the calendar online to discover one of the many weekend performances on the park’s center stage.