After the realisation that my sister and I ventured to Paris a month ago today, I knew I had to write more about my favourite city in the world on here. Paris is a truly beautiful city; there's so many hidden treasures that no city tour guide will offer you. Yes, what is a trip to Paris without seeing the infamous Eiffel Tower? But of course, discovering secret gems that only locals and dedicated tourists know about is what makes a city just that little more special. After weeks of research before our break to Paris, I finally unearthed a few places that I knew, without question, we had to visit. Today, I'm sharing with you all the top unexpected things to do in Paris, if you fancy escaping the tourists, mingling with the locals and seeing another side to everybody's favourite city.
1. Skip the Eiffel Tower, go up Tour Montparnasse - The Eiffel Tower, in my opinion, is better appreciated from down below. Sure, the view from the top is great, but being inside the landmark that essentially gives Paris its name, means you can't truly appreciate it, as you're not looking at it! In addition, the endless queues of noisy tourists are no match to some of Paris' other skyline views which are much more peaceful. Instead, I recommend to go up Tour Montparnasse. This is Paris' only skyscraper, and because it is an office building, many people are unaware that you can actually go up it, therefore less tourists. Going up by lift in just a few minutes, you are taken to the top where the view is just insane. You can see all of Paris' landmarks so clearly, and especially the Eiffel Tower. I'd advise you go up at either sunrise, sunset or nightime for the best views and photographs. Check out my experience up the tower here.
2. Visit Merci - Merci is a concept store in the heart of of the historic district, Haut-Marais. Here, you can shop fashion, design, household goods, stationary and just about everything - all with three amazingly cool cafés on the side. This place felt like something you would stumble upon in Stockholm or New York, yet it felt quintessentially Parisian. We checked out the Used Book Café while we were there and I highly recommend this place, and be sure to try out there Ginger and Lemon Detox drink. Instagram-aholics and Tumblr addicts, this place was built for you! Check it out in this blog post.
3. Skip breakfast at your hotel, but eat in a local café - You can't beat a tastebud-tingling Parisian breakfast filled with fresh croissants, delicious pain au chocolats and sweet brioche. All of these buttery pastries are all best had at a local café or bakery. For a start, the atmosphere will be much better, the food will be more fresh and you'll be mixing with the locals.
4. Angelina's - Perhaps this isn't too unexpected as it is one of Paris' most famous and historic cafés (and a place once favoured by the likes of Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn). When we stepped inside, we were surprisingly greeted with bustling, snap-happy tourists, when we thought it would be mainly locals. Although, everyone was very relaxed, peaceful and elegant - not your typical tourist attraction. That's the effect Angelina's had on people - the ability to transform those who could not put away their map, camera and rucksack. A must-see, for the refreshments, the atmosphere and the interior.
5. Hotel Raphael Rooftop Gardens - This luxury hotel in the heart of central Paris has my favourite view of the city's skyline, probably for the fact that you can almost touch the Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triomphe within an arm's reach. The beautiful blooms, the view, the red and white chairs and, of course, the champagne is so exquisite.
6. Le Bon Marché - The most amazingly beautiful department store. Lose and immerse yourself in their luxury beauty department, or snoop around their stationary section or best of all, gasp and shudder in awe at the clothes and accessories. It really doesn't get any better than this store.
What's your favourite thing to do in Paris?