I simply can’t stay away from Paris for too long. This most artistic of cities keeps me coming back, because no matter how many times I go, there is always something I haven’t seen before. And even when I think I have seen a certain place, it somehow always presents itself in a new light. Or in this case, against the backdrop of dramatic grey skies. Nowhere else does grey quite like Paris. It’s just the city that keeps on giving.
When you’ve been to a city enough times (six to be exact), you find that you start to resist the urge to head straight for the popular tourist sites. This is the magic of exploring like a local, you are no longer as fascinated with the main attractions, and you can even opt to skip them for a chance to stroll down a little cobbled street, discover the alternative routes through the city, or soak up the buzzing atmosphere in a charming little café.
If you’re ever around the area of the Grand Boulevards, there is a little known network of shopping galleries with high glass roofs, known as les passages couverts, tucked away from the eyes of the average tourist. There’s a plethora of book shops, confectionery stores, collector’s parlours, cafés, and even a museum that are all waiting to be discovered!
Parisian architecture is like no other, with its elegant façades boasting beautiful symmetry and stunning wrought-iron balconies. One of my favourite things to do in Paris is to walk aimlessly around the streets around Opera Garnier, and take pictures of each an every building on both sides. Here’s just a small selection:
Rue des Martyrs
By far, my most favourite street in Paris. The fantastic architecture, paired with the small independent shops and cafés, and the number of market stalls selling everything from flowers to artisan cheese. It also has the most amazing bakeries and specialist pastry shops that will satisfy every sweet tooth. Head there from Pigalle and stroll all the way up Rue des Martyrs until you reach the Sacré Coeur basilica atop Montmartre.
A spot of shopping
Ah, the grandeur of Parisian department stores. If for some inexplicable reason you get tired of the little charming cobbled streets, you can always visit Printemps or Galleries Lafayette. A stroll along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées at dusk is of course a timeless classic. The golden opulence of the windows of the luxury goods stores lined up along the avenue is striking in the light of the setting sun. Nothing goes better with this magical atmosphere than a few decadent macaroons from La Durée… When in Paris, go all out!
Just being in Paris can make you feel all refined and sophisticated. Everywhere you go, you are surrounded by fine art and high-brow culture. We thought it would be great to submerge ourselves entirely in this atmosphere, so we booked tickets to see a jazz quartet at the Duc des Lombards. It’s one of the best jazz clubs in Paris, as it brings some world-renowned performers to the French capital, and to top it all off, they also serve some really delicious food!
Here it is, your slightly alternative guide to experiencing Paris. The way I see it, you have nothing to be mulling over, just book your tickets, and take your special someone, your family, or your friends on an unforgettable journey around the passageways of the City of Light. Paris is an absolute stunner in Autumn, if I were you I wouldn’t miss it for the world!