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What to See and Do in Paris

  1. By Kevin
  2. On Aug 17, 2017
  3. Europe
  4. Travel Tips

Paris, the City of Light draws millions of visitors every year with its unforgettable ambiance. Of course, the divine cuisine and vast art collections deserve some of the credit as well. What to see and do in Paris?

Paris

Don’t miss

The “other side” of the Butte Montmartre—the eighteenth arrondissement beyond Sacré Coeur. The neighborhoods on the far side of the hill of Montmartre are mostly residential areas, home to African and Caribbean immigrants, newly arrived hipsters, and more traditional French families who’ve been there forever, such that the combination makes for a great mix of influences. Exotic and foreign, trendy and utterly, gallically old-fashioned—all for the most part curiously devoid of tourists and well provided with decent restaurants, cafés, and markets (whereas around Sacré Coeur and even in Abbesses there is hardly a good spot to eat). It’s a great area to explore.

Take in a sporting event. It’s not for everyone, of course, but it’s easy to pick up tickets to see Stade Français play rugby at the new Stade Jean Bouin, or Paris St Germain play soccer at the Parc des Princes; or to head to the hippodrome in the Bois de Boulogne, or the far more picturesque setting of Chantilly. Particularly at the rugby matches, the locals will be surprised to see you there, and will enthusiastically adopt anyone showing the slightest glimmer of enthusiasm. For the especially keen, we can have a local sports journalist host you for the day, and take you for lunch with the superfans beforehand.

Don’t bother

Having dinner or lunch on a bateau mouche. Although the boats that ply the Seine are worth doing, you should never eat on one. In a city that’s heaving with good restaurants, it makes no sense to eat bad food prepared from frozen in a boat kitchen.
Visiting Monet’s gardens at Giverny. Unless you have a furiously active interest in this particular style of gardening or in the life and work of Monet himself, there are better gardens to visit for the layperson, and there are better places to see Monet paintings or to connect with the history of the artist and his contemporaries. Earlier this year I got stuck in a human traffic jam in the gardens of Giverny.