A Local’s Guide to Paris

paris

This Valentine’s Day weekend I headed to the city of romance to see if it lives up to the amorous hype. I’ve been to Paris twice before, but this time I decided to follow a local’s suggestions on where to go. Big surprise: I had a much better time! Here are a few places I recommend going based on that trip.

Sézane

Yes, this store has lovely Parisian clothes, but it also has free cookies! I picked up a pair of adorable suede, wrap-up heels while there and a tote covered in sunbathers- which is a lot cuter than it sounds. It’s a favorite of locals since there’s only one in all of Paris, and there was even a line to get in, but it’s worth the wait.

paris

paris

Centre Pompidou

Sure, you’ve gone to lots of contemporary art museums, but have you gone to one with a walk-in cave? The Centre Pompidou is full of fun surprises, plus its free for students studying in the EU. The gift shop is a perfect place to pick up artsy little souvenirs or postcards of sassy nuns.

paris

Le Marais

If you only have time for one neighborhood, head to Le Marais. It has cute boutiques, hearty meals, and a dozen museums within walking distance. Also, a perfect place to shoot your Instagram pics if you can find a side street not swarmed with people! paris

paris

Pain Pain

Slightly a biased recommendation since my friend works here, but I’m quite picky when it comes to pastries and this passed my test. Go for the chocolate-almond croissant because, well, why pick one flavor when you can have both? If there’s no seating in the small bakery (it’s usually packed), you can head to one of the secret gardens in the area.

paris

paris

Montmartre

Technically, Pain Pain is in Montmartre, but Montmartre has much more than Pain Pain and thus deserves its own category. This is the go-to neighborhood for vintage shopping. I picked up vintage Prada boots for 50 pounds and have no regrets. Also, for cheap macarons- AKA the souvenier everyone is hoping you get them (don’t worry, they won’t notice they’re cheap since they’re tasty)- head to Maison Georges Larnicol.

paris

A Parisian House Party

O.K. so you can’t really plan this unless you’re going to crash a stranger’s party- but if you get the chance to go to one, go. Nobody throws a good house party like a Parisian. We’re talking heart-shaped balloons, over one hundred dumplings, film photos- the whole shebang. Even if you don’t speak French and have no idea what’s going on (me), you’ll have fun. paris

Le Quartier Latin

This is a classic but there’s a reason it made it in every guidebook. Le Quartier Latin is adorable; the kind of place that’ll make you whip out your Snapchat and send your friends an obnoxious amount of stories. The side streets are a great place to pick up the hot Nutella crepe of your dreams.

paris

Deyrolle

Maybe this place is creepy and I just have weird taste, but I found Deyrolle pretty interesting. The self-described “Cabinet of Curiosities” is filled with exotic taxidermy of every animal, bird, and butterfly you can imagine. Sad, but interesting nonetheless.

paris

paris

Musee Rodin

Often overlooked by those headed to the Louvre (no hate, that place is iconic), the Musee Rodin offers a much smaller collection dedicated to the works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin. I personally much preferred this to the Louvre since it’s much more tranquil and romantic. Plus, it’s another freebie for students studying in the EU.

paris

République of Coffee

I usually try to only eat traditional food when I visit cities, but the charcoal latte here was too intriguing to resist. Their avocado toast topped with poached eggs, baked sweet potato, and pomegranate ended up being fantastic as well. Oh, and there are a bunch of hidden shopping passageways nearby, so don’t miss out on those! paris

For more gorgeous photos of Paris, visit my friend Anna Wade’s fashion blog, Always Anna Wade. À la prochaine!

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Also published on Medium.