The intrepid traveller doesn’t like to be thrown in with the tourist crowd and will always seek out the non-tourist areas, preferring to blend in with place’s culture and people. In doing this, they’ll experience the true feel of a place and how the people go about their daily lives, away from the cameras and the ubiquitous globalised outlets the tourists seem to flock.
Paris is teeming with culture, so much so, there’s plenty to experience without referring to the travel guide you read on the plane. Listed below are a few examples of what you can expect in Paris, perfect ways to understand just what makes the city of love tick.
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Dans Le Noir
Dans Le Noir is a restaurant where the only two of your five senses are needed: taste and smell. This is because you eat in the dark, a unique way in really tasting and being aware of what you are eating. Situated in the heart of Paris, in front of the museum of modern art, Dans Le Noir is the first of its kind.
Once inside you are guided and served by blind waiters. Order their famous surprise menu, created by Olivier Romain, and taste the finest wines selected by Christophe Garnier, their blind tasting wine expert. This is a great way of intimately experiencing French cuisine, where your taste buds are the only judge of the night.
This neighbourhood is renowned for its poor artists, its unappreciated poets and inebriated writers. If you are a creative type, you’ll love it here, and you’ll find cheap but fantastically executed art.
Fans of musicals can also see the actual Moulin Rouge here, whilst those who appreciate the works of Dumas and Degas can visit the Montmartre cemetery situated at avenue Rachel.
Saddle up and take a bike from one of the 18,000 bike stations throughout the city. The bike-share system known as Velib will cost you 2 Euros for the day but are free for the first 30 minutes. Tourist can rent the bikes easily with a chipped credit card (not a magnetic strip).
For Americans a chipped debit card can be obtained at the exchange office. This is helpful for using other automated ticketing and vending machines throughout Paris. Biking allows you to continue you off the beaten path discovery of Paris.
Steer clear from the touristy museums and take a tour of the Catacombs. Situated by the Paris Metro station’s entrance, the catacombs store the remains of 6 million Parisians. If you like being spooked, the narrow walkways create a labyrinth under the city, where you’ll come across stacks of skulls.
The experience takes around 45 minutes, and just to get an idea at how creepy it is, it’s highly recommended children or those suffering from a nervous disorder should avoid it. Its atmosphere is genuinely eerie – maybe that’s because it’s supposed to be haunted.
If you want to experience true Parisian shopping, Rue Montorgueil will provide you with every kind of fresh French produce you could dream of. It’s packed with restaurants and cafes, bakeries and cheese shops, fish stores and wineries. Although this is a great way of tasting what true Parisians eat and drink, you also get to see how they socialize whilst they are shopping.
This buzzing street also has some amazing flower shops with beautiful displays. If you want to capture the true essence of Paris, Rue Montorgueil is a must.