Enjoy a Weekend in Paris like a Parisian
When traveling the world, I love taking advantage of a true local experience to better understand the country’s spirit. I was born in Paris, and I love my city and its soul. With these tips, prepare to explore the City of Lights beyond the tourist destinations to experience a weekend in Paris like a local!
Parisians love relaxing on Saturdays and enjoying nice walks through parks in the city. The Luxembourg Gardens and the Jardin des Plantes are favorites among locals, often bringing back fond memories of childhood in Paris.
The Jardin des Plantes is the main botanical garden in France. Inside, stop by the Alpine Garden, which has a collection of more than 2000 species of mountain plants. Make sure to also visit its zoo, which is open daily and accessible for children one year and older. You will be amazed by the numerous wild animals, birds, flamingos, monkeys, and much more.
After strolling through the garden and stopping by the zoo, visit the Gallery of Evolution. Tickets are 10€ or free if you are under 26. The gallery is not only a museum with over 7000 specimens, such as terrestrial species and marine mammals, but it is also a beautiful architectural monument. “They don’t speak, but they tell you everything about life,” is the motto of this incredible museum that documents the history of evolution.
For lunch, stop at the restaurant Les Belles Plantes, a favorite spot for Parisians living in this area. Meals are affordable, and the service is quick. My favorite table, for two to three people, is in the middle of the restaurant in front of the large windows with a wonderful view of the Jardin des Plantes. This is perfect for families with small children, as there is a lot of space for strollers!
On the same side of the Seine, visit the Luxembourg Gardens, which are colorful and perfect to relax with your friends or your family. Have a seat near the basin or discover the numerous statues throughout the gardens. The historical carousel will be your children’s favorite spot!
A morning trip to the market followed by brunch makes for an ideal Parisian Sunday! Locals also enjoy walks in Le Marais district, as most of the shops there are open on Sundays.
If you’d like to experience genuine Parisian life, you must explore a Parisian market! My go-to market is Marché Auguste Blanqui, which is open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, but you can find markets on every corner in Paris. I love going from one stand to another, always looking for organic and fresh products. You will find everything at Le Marché, including fruits and vegetables, spices, clothes, and you must taste the French cheeses. Try the Tomme de Savoie, my favorite!
To enjoy a delightful brunch, go to La Mouette Rieuse in Le Marais, on 17B rue Pavée, in the 4th district of Paris. The café is hidden at the back of a book store, and you can choose a seat inside the café or outside on the terrace. The staff is nice, and the food is both homemade and healthy, including fresh juices, homemade cakes, and pies.
After brunch, have a walk at Le Marais. It is a historic district of Paris, on both 3rd and 4th arrondissements, on the right bank of the Seine. You will discover trendy shops in all categories, from jewelry to clothes and art galleries. Last but not least, visit Le BHV Marais, the famous department store known for being a Parisian favorite as it combines hip and upcoming small Parisian fashion houses, and well-established French brands. You can find everything here from DIY workshops and kits to take home to accessories and food, not just apparel and clothing.
Add these activities to your itinerary for your next trip to Paris — you are sure to feel like a Parisian for a weekend and take a little bit of the city back with you!
Know Before You Go
- The Jardin des Plantes is the most popular garden in France, housing over 200 species of plants. The garden also has a zoo that is open daily.
- There is another Statue of Liberty on the Ile aux Cygnes (also known as Swan Lake).
- The Pere Lachaise Cemetery holds the graves of the famous Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and Frederic Chopin. A stroll through this cemetery is a nice free escape from the chaos of the city.