I have lived in Paris for almost three years (2010 to 2013) and as some dear friends and my in-laws are still living there i visit Paris frequently. I thought i could sum up my posts, thoughts and experiences a little to give you a small overview of my past adventures in this city... and maybe also give you some ideas for your next trip. (Click here, if you want to make sure you miss no Paris post >>>

So let's talk about Paris...


It is really easy to discover Paris by foot. I love just strolling along the river Seine and to get lost in the streets. (Get lost with me here>>> or here>>> for example!) My favorite starting point when I take friends through the city is the Trocadero. We would go there by metro and the first thing you see is the Eiffel tower… Every single bridge and park are worth seeing and the best thing in Paris is to get lost in a quarter anyway.

Paris offers a lot of its art and culture for free. Even the Louvre is open for everyone every first Sunday of a month (as are many other museums). As it takes some time to discover all its treasures I bought a ticket for a whole year and went there whenever I liked. The exhibitions in the Hôtel de Ville are also free and usually worth seeing. Just check the tourist information online and choose something you like seeing before your trip.

Here's some stuff i visited/saw in Paris:

museums, monuments, etc.

churches & cemetaries



& celebrations/fun
  • National Holiday >>> (14th of July)
  • Treasure Hunt 20112013 (usually beginning of July, in a lot of quarters you can participate in English!)
  • Fête de la Musique 20112013 (always worth seeing, always in June)
  • Le Bus Palladium >>> (a lot of interesting, cheap concerts)
  • should you be a fan of "alternative" music check concerts in Paris! a lot of famous bands play smaller audiences here...
  • Chinese New Year 2012,  2013 (usually beginning of February)


Of course! The food! Paris offers a wide range of delicious treats for everyone. The only thing they have to work on might be their vegan/vegetarian cuisine. You still get some weird looks when you ask for a dish without meat.
When going to a restaurant there are some rules you should follow. First thing after you entered is trying to spot a waiter and telling him (yes, it is more often a male than female waiter) how many people are in your party and maybe if you just came for a drink. He then will show you to your table.
Most restaurants have “formules” or “menus” that are going to be cheaper than ordering your food from the menu. The best bargains can be made during lunch time as most Parisian companies do not have a canteen and the employees have to find a restaurant for their lunch. You usually can choose between a three course meal or a meal consisting of starters (entrée) + main dish (plat) or main dish + desert. In touristy areas the menu is translated and a lot of waiters speak English well enough to help you. When in doubt the “plat du jour” (dish of the day) is usually a good choice.
Bread and water are always offered with your meal. If you want simple tab water just order “une carafe d’eau”. It is possible that you are asked if you want still (non-gazeuse) or sparkling (gazeuse) water when you order “water” – then you may find yourself with a really expensive bottle of mineral water. The “carafe d’eau” does not cost anything and will be refilled!
After you have eaten the waiter may ask you if you want a coffee. Should you decline it is a sign for him that you want the bill. If you are not sure he understood you ask for it “L’addition, s’il vous plait!”. After having received it you pay (cash or credit card). The tip is optional and will be left behind on the table after the payment is settled, just before you leave (don’t worry the waiter has an eye on it and nobody else is going to take it). Do not forget to say “bonne journée” or “bonne soirée” when you leave!

Here are some restaurants I tried:

Chez La Vieille (expensive but sooo good! 1st arr.)
Le Stube & here (German food! Nice service! three restaurants in Paris)

Okinawa (nice Japanese food, 2nd arr.)
Hyang-Ly (Corean with bbq tables, 2nd arr.)
Patata (when in need of potatoes)

Le Double Fond (Eat well and see a Magician afterwards... in French!)
Le Colimacon (tasty French, 4th arr.)
Les Fous d'en Face (go for the dish of the day! 4th arr.)

Oi Sushi (nice staff, good food, reasonable prices, 5th)
Vins et Terroirs (French, a bit touristy, 6th arr.)
Le 1900 (very nice interior, pricey, Montparnasse, 6th arr.)
Le Montaigne (French, expensive, spacious, alright, 6th arr.)
La Mosquée de Paris (not only a restaurant/tea salon but also a spa!)

Muniyadi Vilas (Indian food, noisy, crowded and interesting, 10th arr.)
Le Stone (quite alright, 11th arr.)
Le Petit Baiona (food from the south west of France, 11th)
Restaurant Boco (bio food in glasses, three restaurants in Paris)
Autour du Saumon (as the name suggests, all about salmon, nice! two restaurants in Paris)

Chez Lili et Marcel (traditional French cuisine, nice interior, 13th)
La Maison Courtine (expensive but good, 14th arr.)
Atélier 102 (French classics, 14th arr.)
L'Atelier Charonne (jazzy music and good food, 14th arr.)
Aux Îles Marquises (best go at lunch time, rather expensive, 14th arr.)
Le BistroT  (delicious but a little pricey, regularly changing menu, 14th arr.)

Le Pavillon Aux Canaux (super cute house, nice staff, directly at the canal, 19th arr.)


There are many clichés about Parisians and a lot of them are true. 
A lot of Parisians have a long way to work and the daily commute can be stressful. They always seem to be in a hurry and have no patience with people who do not know how to use the metro (which is quite easy actually!). If you are really lost there is always somebody willing to help, though.
As with every city there are some unwritten rules here. Parisians are petit(e) and space is a luxury. Do not waste it in restaurants, public transport or the pavements. You may find some angry Parisians staring you down.
Unfortunately (for the mainly English speaking tourists) Parisians still prefer to speak French. Should you address them directly in English without even trying to say “bonjour” or “excusez-moi” they may just ignore you, pretending they do not speak any English at all (which in fact a lot of them do). 
Having lived in Paris for a while I have to admit that I understand this behavior by now. Even though my French is still rather poor and I have no trouble at all speaking English with someone, I came across so many ignorant tourists who did not even say “hello” before they spat out their questions expecting me to take their hands and show them the best way to where they wanted to go. (My favorite episode is still the one of an US-American couple who just came up rudely asking “Where’s Notre Dame?!”. After my initial shock I pointed it out, as it was just around the corner and you could actually already see its top. They kept on asking “Where? Where?” and I tried to stay calm explaining it again slowly. Then they just rushed off without even saying “Thankyou”. Serieux, les touristes!?)
Using polite phrases like the mentioned ones, “merci” or “bonne journée” is very important in France and it is possible that you will not get served in a shop if you have not said “bonjour” first. Using those phrases you may find very good service and a salesperson whose sole focus is you. (Should you be waiting for service it is likely that the salesperson does not even look at you. It would be considered rude to not give the other customer their full attention, although you can be sure they noticed you. You’ll get the same attention when it’s your turn!)
For more insight on Parisians and their life you could consult numerous books (Stephen Clarke!), blogs (http://www.theparisblog.com) and tourist guides… try to keep an open mind, though.


To discover Paris by metro or bus is really easy (try to avoid RER, though, it's not the nicest way to travel and one of them always has problems) and compared to other cities it is not that expensive. The metro and bus network is dense and it is true that you will find a metro within 500m (or less) no matter where you are in Paris. A fun way to literally get around the city is the tram that circles Paris. 
Depending on how long you stay and how much you want to walk you can figure out what tickets fits your purposes. I always tried to get around with a carnet (10 tickets) for my guests. I have  navigo pass and used monthly tickets while living there. 
Before entering the metro you may want to check a metro map (www.ratp.fr) and how it’s done, observe somebody who know's how… orientation within the system is easy. You just have to find the right number of your line and for directions you follow the name of the last station. Number one is a main tourist line as it runs straight from the famous Marais quarter to the Champs-Elysées and further to La Défense (connection between east and west). Should you arrive at a train station you’ll quickly get to know line four that connects north and south. There are some metros that also run partly over ground. I really enjoy the style of some stations… art! Should you want to spare the money for a guided bus tour use the public buses! Line 68 goes "through" the Louvre for example!

some metro stations:


I am happy to answer your questions to make this little section more informative!

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