Living like a local in Paris has its challenges but they are well worth the reward.

I stayed in a Parisian apartment located in the Marais during July. It was busy throughout the city but having my own retreat away from the tourist crowds allowed me to discover a different side of Paris.

I am a firm believer that to get to know the culture you should explore the city’s markets and Paris has plenty of those. But don’t forget to treat yourself because you are, after all, on vacation.

Living like a local means you get to live along side them. You get to immerse yourself in the customs and culture in a way that makes you feel as though you’ve really experienced a glimpse of Parisian life, more so than your typical tourist experience.

It’s all in the details. The best way to enjoy Paris is one neighbourhood at a time. Don’t try and rush all over the city to see everything you’ve ever wanted to each day during your stay. You’ll be exhausted. Instead roam around your neighbourhood and enjoy the aspects of life from the details of a uniquely old building to the markets offered exclusively in your arrondissement.

One particular market in the Marais offered boutique wines that I would be unable to find at my local wine shop here in Canada. He was very knowledgeable about the areas each wine hailed from and helped us choose the best wine to go with dinner or just to pair with a view of the Seine.

Paris, and especially the Marais is known of its quirky graffiti artists. Always keep on the look out for fresh ink and classic video game figures placed just above eye level on buildings around town.

Our Parisian apartment, although located in the Marais, was an easy stroll to the Latin Quarter, the Centre Pompidou or to the Louvre. As a creative writing major I had to seek out some of Hemingway’s old haunts including the Brasserie Lipp.

I know that staying at a Parisian apartment has its perks with its own kitchen but don’t forget to treat yourself at a local restaurant.

No matter your budget you’ll be able to find some amazing restaurant options and they don’t always have to be French. I had some of the best Greek food I’ve ever had hidden down a side street not far from the Pompidou. But do beware of all the tourist traps where food just isn’t the good and overpriced. A good tip, if there are locals there they may be drinking but if they aren’t eating it is a good sign to do as the locals do.

Curious to find out what a certain building might be? It never hurts to ask nor to go inside. Previous to my visit I was unaware of what the Cluny Medieval Museum held but with my Paris Museum Pass I was able to skip the lines. The Cluny turned out to be one of my favourite underrated museums during my stay.

If you’re like me you will want to avoid line ups. I was able to visit the Louvre after hours with my Paris Museum Pass and catch a few gorgeous shots of the sunset before I left.

Is there any better time to roam around Paris than at night?

A day trip from Paris can offer a different perspective. They often say Paris is not France. I happen to agree. I was able to catch my breath in the Champagne region of France in Reims where I learned that the history of Champagne runs deep, both underground and around the world…

Another day trip option is Versailles. Busy but as an art history major, and huge fan of Marie Antoinette in general, it was a day well spent.

Don’t expect to get everything in on one trip. I did not climb the Eiffel Tower but I was just as happy to see it from the river and especially the top of the Arc de Triomphe where there is not wait if you’ve got your Paris Museum Pass handy!

According to me there’s no better way to both end and begin a trip to Paris than a Seine river tour on a bateau mouche. You’ll get a good grasp of how the city is laid out and where most things are. You’ll also get some great shots of famed monuments from the river.

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At GowithOh, we are an enthusiastic team of self-confessed Europhiles who are passionate about travel. We especially love the variety of city breaks possible in Europe, from the historic UNESCO heritage cities like Prague, to the more cosmopolitan beachside destinations like Barcelona. We love discovering the hidden gems in different cities and sharing them with our fans so everyone can benefit and enjoy the perfect city break in Europe.