PARIS OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Paris: Off the Beaten Path
Cool Spots in Paris Recommended by an Insider: Paris off the beaten path
Bonjour mes amis! As a former student living abroad in Paris during 2015, I made it a point to explore the city without checking TripAdvisor or Yelp for advice. I recently re-visited Paris after two years and found myself returning to some of the places that stuck out in my memory. Here is an insider’s guide to some fun spots in Paris that you may not read about in guidebooks.
1.) Odette Paris- Maison des Petits Choux
Odette Paris is one of my favorite pastry shops in Paris. It sits in the 5th arrondissement, right across the bridge from the famous Nôtre-Dame Cathedral. Odette is known for its petits choux, which are pastries filled with different flavors of fluffy cream! There are three floors inside the shop, and each is adorably decorated with comfortable chairs, tables, and flower pots. When you think of eating a pastry in Paris, Odette delivers what you imagine. The choux are on the pricier side, at nearly 2 euros each, and a box of six at almost 10 euros. I promise it is worth a try!
2.) Le Bouillon Belge- Beer and Fries All Night
Le Bouillon Belge is impressive for its menu of over 100 different types of beers and ciders, but is also memorable for its convivial energy. It’s located in the eastern side of Paris, near to Place de la Nation. Arriving early, the bar is nearly-empty and it seems like nothing special. Come back after midnight and the bar will be so crowded that the sidewalk becomes part of the fun too! Le Bouillon Belge has a bottom floor as well, which is dimly lit, full of funky couches, and has music playing all night long. The beers come in goblets and the belgian frites are smoking hot from the oven. This place is guaranteed to give you some awesome memories (or lack thereof!)
3.) Le Comptoir Général
In the 10th arrondissement of Paris, by Canal Saint Martin, sits a building that looks perfectly ordinary on the outside. Walking by at night, you will notice a long line of people waiting next to a black door. Once you wait through the line and get inside, you discover why Le Comptoir Général is such a unique place. In a large space with high ceilings, divided into different sections, are dance rooms, bars, shops, a restaurant, and art displays. In one room Brazilian music is blasting and people are sitting on beach chairs drinking caipirinhas. In another room disco music is blaring under a disco ball. Another section has art for sale. There are tropical decorations all over the walls, old tv’s and telephones, couches, magazines, photo books spread out on tables. It is a must-see spot to check out on the weekend, although unfortunately, it closes early at 2am.
4.) Jardin des Plantes et la La Ménagerie
Le Jardin des Plantes is a beautiful, off-the-beaten-path garden in the 5th arrondissement. This is a serene place to meander, have a baguette, do some writing, or just watch the local people who often visit there. There is a lovely gazebo, a glasshouse, a botanical garden, and many different museums, including the Grande Galerie de l'Évolution, which has over 7,000 preserved animal specimens! La Ménagerie is the garden’s zoo, and it really is worth going to see. They have over 1,200 animals from 180 different species. I spent three hours in the zoo by myself looking at owls, wallabees, red pandas, tigers, snakes, vultures, flamingos, and so on!
5.) Bercy Village
If I had to choose one place in Paris to recommend, it would be Bercy Village. Situated right next to Parc de Bercy, in the 12th arrondissement, is this charming little village (no tourists!). There are bars, restaurants, shops, and an inexpensive movie theatre called UGC Ciné Bercy. Every time I go to Paris I spend half a day in Bercy Village, watching a movie, getting a scrumptious tuna sandwich from Eric Kayser, and then walking around the Parc. In the summer the Parc is lively and many people are having picnics. In the winter it is cold, rainy, and peaceful. I recommend you make time in your Paris itinerary to see this special place.
Check Out These Off-The-Beaten-Path Spots in Paris!
If you have the opportunity to live in Paris for a while, or even to visit, I suggest you explore the city by walking around without a map. That is how I found most of my favorite places! Paris is bursting with activities but the key is knowing not to follow where everyone else leads. Take my recommendations, but also dare to do some digging on your own. You never know what trésors you will find!
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