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Best way to immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life

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Best way to immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life

My wife and I will be traveling to Paris for the first time in February. We are staying in the Latin Quarter, 2 minutes from Notre Dame Our ideal way to spend our days in Paris would be to see some sights early in the day, have long lunches in authentic cafes, Walking and window shopping into the late afternoon, nice but economically friendly dinners and some night caps before bed.

here is a loose itinerary I have planned. Suggestions for cafes, bars, restaurants and nice streets to take a stroll would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday: Arrive in the afternoon. Walk around the Latin Quarter and probably have an early dinner and retire early. Any Latin Quarter eating suggestions?

Friday: tour the Louvre. walk along the Seine and explore the Le Marais area. At night we are going to see a concert at Maroquinerie in the 20th Arrondissement. the show should be over by 22:00, any good late night dinner options in that area?

Saturday & Sunday: We would like to explore some unique neighborhoods and are open to any suggestions.

Our main goal is the immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life by hitting the pavement and sitting in the cafes. Any and all suggestion are always greatly appreciated.

1. Re: Best way to immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life

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Paris, France
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2. Re: Best way to immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life

The best way to immerse yourselves in Parisian life is to get out of the center, where you will sitting surrounded by tourists. Go and have a meal or a drink at Place Gambetta, Place Jules Joffrin, Place de la République, rue Raymond Losserand or Cour Saint Emilion if you want to be among Parisians (just to name some of the very easiest yet cosmopolitan places).

liverpool ny
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3. Re: Best way to immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life

Many restaurants in Paris don't begin serving dinner until 7 at the earliest.

Paris 4th Arr
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4. Re: Best way to immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life

If you really want an "authentic" Parisian experience, you should heed kerouac's advice.

New Hampshire
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5. Re: Best way to immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life

Agree that the most touristy areas are not places to "immerse".

In the Latin Quarter, Marais, araound Notre Dame and the Louvre, you'll just be in Tourist Central with mobs of other tourists.

Whatever you mean by "authentic cafes", away from the center initimate restaurants/bistros are more ocnducive to long lunches.

Ohio, USA
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6. Re: Best way to immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life

The "Parisian way of life" has been summed up in three words: "Métro, boulot, dodo."

Not all that different from the NY way of life...

Denver, Colorado
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7. Re: Best way to immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life

Saturday: Maybe visit the Promenade Plantee and check out some of the shops and cafes on the Viaduc des Arts below the park on Saturday morning, then head off to Montmartre like JoshuaMcFly suggests (you could include kerouac2's suggestion of Place Jules Joffrin during your walk through Montmartre)

On Sunday, you could go to the Cour St. Emilion (aka Bercy Village) - really cute pedestrian only shopping street, visit the nearby Parc de Bercy...You may also enjoy a visit to Pere Lachaise Cemetary - it's a beautiful, enchanting place.

Make sure you spend some time on Paris bridges - Alexandre III is my favorite, but Pont Neuf and Pont des Arts are also very interesting. Ile St. Louis is a nice place for a walk through as well.

Edited: 03 November 2010, 14:21
Great Barrington...
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8. Re: Best way to immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life

One way to "immerse" yourself might be to attend religious services - not at a place like Notre Dame but at a smaller more "neighborhood" place. If your experience is like mine, you will feel welcome and you may meet people who are willing to share with you things that cannot be found in a guidebook.

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9. Re: Best way to immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life

if you want to immerse yourself in the Parisian way of life then you probably don't want a hotel in the middle of tourist hell

we like to live like Parisians when we are there so we get an apartment in one of the outer arrondisements where we can go pick up bread in the morning at the local bakeries, shop in the markets for dinner, sit or stroll in the local parks and watch local kids play etc etc

and then we get a Pariscope and pick out free music performances in untouristy neighborhoods and go to those then stroll around the neighborhood when we are done and see what we can find to see and do that is new to us

I discuss this strategy in my travel blog under the title 'using music to explore Paris' (or something similar -- it is in the Paris category on the site) www.janettravels.wordpress.com

there is nothing wrong on a first trip to Paris with just enjoying the touristy areas that have been attracting visitors for decades -- but it is not living like a Parisian

Edited: 03 November 2010, 15:23
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10. Re: Best way to immerse ourselves in the Parisian way of life

They are visiting in February, I can't imagine Paris will feel overrun by tourists at that time, as compared to say, June-August. We travel in April or September and it is already quite different than the once time we went in May (with regards to crowding).

I often see posts recommending restaurants that were 'hidden', 'discovered', 'no tourists', then I look them up and LOL they are right there in "tourist central". So please give the OPs some hope and remind of some of those restaurants. I'll try to relocate some posts later and come back to this thread.

Agreed that if one wants to eat an early dinner, he'll have to look to a brasserie more often than a restaurant. Restaurants serve dinner starting after 7pm, more likely 8pm if you don't want to feel odd sitting by yourself. A brasserie serves at all hours and can be as good and atmospheric as a restaurant.

If I were to travel in the winter, I would go see the French circus, and maybe an opera or ballet, since winter is the season for those activities.