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The Native | Rebecca Pisani shows us around Paris

Travelling is always risky business – get stuck in a touristy area and your meals are terrible as is the rest of your stay. Rebecca Pisani shows us how to travel around Paris like a native.

rachelzc
Rachel Zammit Cutajar
27 October 2017, 9:02am
Travelling is always risky business – get stuck in a touristy area and your meals are terrible. The same can be said of sightseeing, hotels and nightspots. Travelling to a place where you know people to recommend the right places makes your stay all the more enjoyable.

Rebecca Pisani
Rebecca Pisani
Rebecca Pisani, 23, born in Malta, lived in Paris studying International and Comparative Politics for three years.

Best place to eat

Les Cafe Deux Magots
Les Cafe Deux Magots
The choice of restaurants and cafes in Paris is endless, but if you are looking for an authentic and traditional cafe than head down to my favourite neighbourhood, St. Germain, situated in the 6th arrondissement where you can sit at one of the oldest cafes in Paris, Les Cafe Deux Magots.

The place itself encompasses the true essence of French tradition, from the impeccably dressed old school waiters, to the fresh baguettes and croissants served every morning, and the clouds of cigarette smoke circling in the air. Les Cafe deux Magots is most definitely a favourite amongst tourists and locals alike. It is also perfect for solo travellers as seats are tightly placed encouraging easy conversation whilst at the same time prompting you to get lost in the hustle and bustle of city life. Try visit in the morning as it is less busy and enjoy the added bonus of savouring a typical French breakfast in a quaint Parisian town.

Best place for a night out

La Rue Princesse
La Rue Princesse
If you want to avoid the judgment of bouncers and club promoters as well as snobby tourists, visit rue de Princesse for a night of relaxed fun. There are numerous bars to choose from, all situated next to each other making it easy to bar hop and mingle with the locals. Drinks are cheap and the people are friendly making it all the more enjoyable for visitors. There are also great food stalls open for when your late night hunger pangs kick in.

Best local thing

La Rue Cler
La Rue Cler
One of the best kept secrets in the ‘city of love’ is rue Cler in the seventh arrondissement hidden away in one of the cobbled streets not far from the worlds greatest monuments, La Tour Eiffel. In rue Cler you will find many outdoor cafes - Cafe Central being one of my favourites, serving typical French food. There is also a smaller place called L’Éclair, a great burger place which have the added bonus of serving some eccentric cocktails. Apart from just cafes and restaurants, rue Cler is vibrant and full of colour brought about by the many fruit and vegetable stores and flower shops that add a unique charm and undeniable beauty to the area.

Best spot for sightseeing

Sacré-Cœur
Sacré-Cœur
There is nothing more mesmerising than seeing all of Paris from one spot. All you have to do is head over to the Sacré-Cœur. Even though it is a top tourist destination, there is something extremely unique and tranquil about sitting on one of the many steps outside the Basilica to witness the changing moods of the day, as Parisians around switch on their lights in their quaint apartments. The best time to go is at sunset when all the magic is at hand, so grab a bottle of wine together with a buddy or simply alone and sit and watch Paris swiftly transfer into night. Once you’ve had enough of this you can make your way down to Montmartre, buzzing with a vast variety of cafes, restaurants, mouth-watering creperies and countless shops to chose from. It is a truly charismatic neighbourhood situated on top of a beautiful and picture perfect city.

Best spot for shopping

Le Marais
Le Marais
If you love boutique shopping then Le Marais is the place to go. The streets are filled with quirky, fashionable and original shops ranging from designer wear to high-street fashion, which add to its avant-garde reputation. It is a great change from the overcrowded avenues all over Paris. The streets can be tight and narrow, which is perfect to wonder and get lost in. It is also very hip with cycling studios popping up everywhere and healthy cafes taking over the more traditional French ones. If you do end up in Le Marais you must visit Place de Vosges, as it has many art galleries and cafes over looking such an aesthetically pleasing square.

Best areas to wind down and enjoy nature

Temple Romantique, in the gardens of Versailles
Temple Romantique, in the gardens of Versailles
It’s hard to immerse yourself in nature when you live in a city, but lucky for tourists and locals, Paris is filled with beautiful parks and gardens all around. One garden that stands out from the rest and is a little less formal than the others is the ‘Temple of Love’, also called the Temple Romantique, in the gardens of Versailles. Make sure to pack a picnic and sit on the grass across from the little island with the temple, which you can access by walking across the bridge or even better, renting a little rowing boat, which adds onto its romantic nature. So if you are a die-hard romantic this is definitely the place for you.

How to get there

There are many direct flights from Malta to Paris. Air Malta and Air France offer frequent flights to various airports in the capital. Ryan Air offer limited flights to Beauvais airport.

Currency

France is part of the EU and uses the euro.

Best time of year to visit

The best time to visit Paris would probably be in the summer, between June and August when the weather is warm and there are plenty of outdoor activities. The change of leaves in the autumn is particularly stunning in Paris and is well-worth visiting at this time. If you’re after a bargain, then try your luck during the winter months. Paris is a popular tourist destination, with upwards of 30 million tourists visiting every year, so whatever time of year you are travelling expect crowds.

rachelzc
Rachel Zammit Cutajar graduated in economics from the University of Malta...
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