Paris is the 3rd most visited city in the world: 18 million people flock to the city every year – whereas there are “only” about 2 million inhabitants. Now, if you like to queue at touristy hotspots, you can just stop reading here. 😉
…or you can read on and find out my three personal favourite things to do in Paris that allow you to see and enjoy the real Paris, away from tourist traps.
Rent an electric scooter
They are the newest global fad and have also conquered Paris: electric scooters that you can rent out via smartphone. You will always find dozens of them near you and they are the fastest way to get around Paris (but not the cheapest: taking the Metro will still cost you less).
The best part abotut that experience is that you can see a lot of the city in a short time and really get a feeling for the different quarters of the city. There are half a dozen different companies offering e-scooters and you will need to download the app(s) on your smartphone and top-up before you go. This article over at Inside our Suitcase has a great overview about operators and how to activate the scooters.
Lunch at Passage des Panoramas
There are many passages in Paris – essentially they are the 19th century forerunners of today’s shopping malls. They are located on the right bank of the Seine, around the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Arrondissements. Most of them have been renovated and host elegant shops and cafés. But the oldest of them (opened in 1800), Passage des Panoramas is a real gem that still manages to keep its quiet, old charme and is filled with cute shops and good eateries (we had exquisite Flammkuchen there). Just across the street, you will also find Passage Jouffroy, which has original parisien tea houses and art galleries.
Sunset at Tour Montparnasse
Everyone wants to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower. But what if I told you there is a better alternative that costs only half? 😉 The Tour Montparnasse might be the most hated building of Paris (it’s basically just a huge slab of black glass that looks like someone forgot the monolith from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 in the middle of Paris). But its 200m high rooftop terrace also offers the most amazing views over Paris, particularly during sunsets. There is also a café, a bar and a DJ set on the rooftop so you can sip a glass of champagne to lounge music while you watch the sun set over Paris. What could possibly be better?
Entrance is about 15€ for adults and you can buy tickets in advance if you really hate waiting even just a few minutes.
On that note: the Tour Montparnasse is planned to undergo renovation between 2019 and 2024 that will supposedly make it nicer to look at, but also close the rooftop for some time.