Or how to separate the touristy stuff from the authentic places. Look for these stickers on the door. Not that they are a guarantee of good food, or that the touristy places are bad. But if you want to eat where most of the french people do, here is what to look out for.
You are safest renting in one of the central arrondissements (1st-7th, or 75001, 75002, 75003, etc.). If you want to walk, eat and shop, the 6th arrondissement which is fun for tourists and easy to get around from. Montmartre is lovely but far from the center. It’s hard to go wrong anywhere in Paris really. The places that are for rent for a week are usually in nice areas.
Every year they have a huge military parade in Paris to celebrate the storming of the Bastille Prison, for Bastille day. The parade stretches along the entire Champs-Elysees, and includes tanks, cavalry, troops, and best of all lots of aircraft.
They block of lots of streets all around Paris, but it is great if you are on a bike, since you can see still ride around.
To get up close to the action you have to get into the chained off areas, and frisked by the police first, but this is not a problem. Then they bar you in and don’t want you to leave, but they are pretty accommodating.
The flights are the best bit, and they have about a dozen fly overs, featuring lots of different types of aircraft. And you really get to see a lot, they are quite low down.
It goes from around 9 to 12, if you can handle sticking around that long. It might be better to find park and picnic it up, or walk along the champs-elysees to check out the different troops.
The key to seeing Paris is just to wander around. The idea is to pick a key spot to start off at, something interesting you know you want to see, then just wander from there. Walk until your legs hurt then pop into a cafe and order a drink and smoke some cigarettes. Watch the people go by until you get bored, then get up and start walking again. If you want you can pick a string of a few key places so if you start to feel like you’re really a bit aimless then you can head towards the next place on the list.
It is a good idea to avoid any restaurant that ostentatiously advertises the fact that it has a menu in English (or any other language) or that boasts “typical French food” (especially if that’s written in English). Also avoid places which are near touristy places. Look for sticker signs showing that the restaurant is in a guide like the Pudlo, the Petit Fûté, the Guide du Routard, or, for more fancy places, the Michelin (you can’t go wrong with the Michelin, but it might be a tad expensive); make sure the signs are recent (if the only sign says 2008 it could be that they were too lazy to change it, but more probably it means that they’re no longer in the guide).
Among the not-too-touristy places where you could look for a nice restaurant: le Sentier (e.g., Le Loup Blanc on the rue Tiquetonne, but there are many other good restaurants on that street), le Marais (e.g., on the place du Marché Sainte-Catherine), Bercy-Village (the nearby parc de Bercy is worth a visit, and that’s the sort of place tourists rarely go to), la Butte aux Cailles (and I don’t mean just Chez Gladines, which for some reason has become the restaurant around there that everyone recommends: it’s not bad, but there are plenty of other ones around that are just as good) or around rue Mouffetard (this one has a number of tourist traps, unfortunately, but also some authentically good restaurants: sadly, they’re not that easy to tell apart).
- Most food in Paris is great. I have rarely had a bad meal. When people talk about the food of Paris being good though, it’s that the quality is generally excellent and it’s hard to go wrong. There certainly are better and fancier restaurants, but I wouldn’t be too rigid about planning meals out.
- That said, my favorite meals from my last trip were the picnics we did. We would go to a bakery each morning and pick up a baguette and then hit the Supermarket for some cheese, meat and wine (good wine in Paris starts at 3-5 euros, although I have a favourite bottle of Grangrange AUDE for less than 2 euros). Whenever we got hungry, we would find a nice park or walk to the Seine and find a nice spot to eat and watch the flow of the city.
- Depending upon when you plan to go to the museums, you can probably save some time and money with a paris museum pass.
- When you go to the louvre, don’t go in through the main entrance. There’s a side entrance that never has a line. You can exit through the main entrance which has the pyramids so you see them too. Note that it appears you’ll need the Paris Museum Pass or other tickets to use it.
Interesting places in Paris:
top of the belleville parc, one of the most beautiful view of paris (and very unknown)
maison des métallos (rue jean-pierre thimbaud)
bars in rue saint maur, rue oberkampf
marché des enfants rouge
rue de bretagne, where you can eat nice things shops
rue vieiile du temple
place des vosges house of victor hugo place sainte catherine
Firstly as we grow up we construct phonetic and gramatical filters and auto correctors . These get in the way . The older we get the harder it is .
French is a very vowel based sounding language . It does not have the clear consonant endings that English has .
The French pronounce the whole word except often the end . The English skip over the middle – just say er – and pronounce the end .
The English pronounce strongly or softly . The French pronounce in the middle of the mouth – towards the back – it’s a more moderate and nasal sound .
A lot of the French vowel sounds do not have direct English equivalents but they do have similar English equivalents. oi – wa . au – o . oui – we , u – oo . j is soft . g can be hard or soft . th is pronounced with the t & the h separately , the h is often silent . In England there is a town called Witham pronounced wit ham – this is more the French pronunciation . Plural is indicated by the prefixing word – preposition – le \ la ( the ) becomes les ( lay ) , de ( of , from ) becomes des ( day ) ( of plural , some ) . Plural nouns end in s or x but the s or x are not pronounced . If x is in a word – eg Bruxelles – it’s pronounced as a s . Consonants preceding vowels may be transferred to the vowel – c’est un – becomes – c’es tun in sound , if the un wasn’t there it would be just c’e in sound . ~tion is pronounced ~seeon .
Instead of ‘it is’ the French usually say ‘this is’ – c’est . are and have become interchanged – eg. in English – ‘what age are you ?’ – in French ‘I have 51 years’ – J’ai 51 ans . The French language can often be formal – please is s’il vous plait – if it pleases you . They also often use contractions both on the English and on the French – ‘I am an engineer’ becomes ‘I am engineer’ – Je suis ingenieur , toute de suite becomes toute suite . They can also say things that sound odd to the English ear – ‘merci a vous’ – ‘thanks to you’ instead of thank you . Often the basic noun verb noun sentence is said noun noun verb – ‘I send you’ becomes ‘I you send’ – ‘Je vous envoie’ . The French do not have a word for ‘do’ , they use the word for ‘make’ – ‘faire’ – and they don’t use it as a question indicator . A question is stated Australian style but without the do . They also don’t have a word for ‘will’ in the sense of ‘I will send you to Paris’ they say ‘Je vais vous envoyer à Paris’ – literally – ‘I go you sending to Paris’ . Past is the word ‘have’ – ‘J’ai …’ . Where the French end the word in ‘~ment’ there is almost always an English equivalent word ending in ‘~ly’ with almost always the same meaning . Where the English end a word in ‘~ing’ the French just use the verb base – er or re ending – ie. the ‘to ~verb’ . Possessives are said using the word ‘de’ – ‘boy’s dog’ is ‘dog of boy’ – ‘chien de garcon’ . Adjectives often follow the nouns – ‘blue car’ is ‘car blue’ – ‘voiture bleue’ . The French often use ‘on’ – one – instead of ‘nous’ – we .
Now , learning French . I suggest 3 hours basic French course per week over at least 3 weeks . Then just use it when you are in Paris – eg. in restaurants , buying tickets etc. – just pleasantries – la politesse . Be warned Paris has a strong tourist sector that is not the best place to learn and practice French . It’s like any such tourist sector – a lot of non French working in it , along the central drag there is a quite a bit of bad service and a fair bit of bad food etc. . IE. you have to know where to go to find the good food and good service – getting off the beaten track is , as always , the good way to go.