While you could easily spend all of your time in Paris around the city center (the heart of the Right Bank, the Marais, and the heart of the Left Bank), going beyond the inner circle of arrondissements will help you to get under the city’s skin. You’ll find that Paris is still Paris, even when you can’t see the Eiffel Tower.
Beautiful Canal Saint-Martin is probably what will bring you to this neighborhood, and it’s a wonderful spot to stroll and shop. It’s also a perfect place to picnic – either with bread and cheese for dinner, or with a pastry from Du Pain et des Idées. Walk until you find a space along the canal, then settle in and enjoy the people watching and that famous Parisian light on the surface of the water.
If you want to pick up some groceries, a snack, or a bouquet of flowers, look no further than the Marché Bastille in the 11th or Marché d’Aligre in the 12th. Nearby, explore colourful Rue Crémieux (it’s something like the Notting Hill of Paris) and the railway-viaduct-turned-garden Promenade Plantée, which inspired the High Line in New York City.
Foreign travelers don’t often make it out to the 14th, so you might just have the charming Rue des Thermopyles to yourself. Lined with greenery and brightly painted doors, you can find the entrance to this pedestrian street at 32 Rue Didot. Travel a bit further out to shop the treasures for sale at the famed Puces des Vanves flea market.
Just across the river from the Eiffel Tower, the 16th is home to the busy Place du Trocadéro and its famous view of the Iron Lady. For a less crowded (and prettier) view of the tower, walk to the end of Avenue de Camoëns. To avoid it altogether, walk through the contemporary art exhibits at Palais de Tokyo.
This beautiful residential neighborhood lies just outside the glamorous 8th arrondissement, on the other side of Parc Monceau. As in the 14th, you won’t see many tourists here unless maybe you’re in a cooking class. The lively market on Rue de Lévis is full of local shoppers picking up their bread and cheese for the day. For a peaceful walk, head to the Cité des Fleurs – a quiet lane lined with pretty homes and flowering vines.
Montmartre is a colorful and artistic district, and one of the most popular outer arrondissements among travelers, even though it can be a bit rough around the edges. Spend an afternoon walking along Rue Lamarck and up charming Rue de l’Abreuvoir, stopping for a bite to eat (or just a photo) at La Maison Rose. Sunset is a lovely time to see the famous view from the steps of Sacré-Coeur, but brace yourself for a crowd and keep an eye out for the same kinds of souvenir peddlers and tourist tricks you’ll see around the Eiffel Tower.
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