Explore Three neighbourhoods to fall in love with

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“Try and plan as little as possible”, was the late Anthony Bourdain’s advice to comedian Patton Oswalt, when questioned on places to eat at and things to do while in Paris. Responding over email to a comprehensively curated list of attractions and restaurants, Bourdain wrote, “this is no way to enjoy Paris. F--- them. All of them. They’re THERE, everywhere. You will see them from the car window as you go and do important s--- like live your life. In Paris!”

The point is, you can get bogged down with to-dos and must-sees when spending time in Paris, leaving you with a cookie cutter experience on a paint-by-numbers visit. Sure, you absolutely should go see the Louvre and wander down Champs-Élysées, but if you want to develop an authentic connection to the city, what matters is how you spend your in-between-time.

So clear out your calendar and set aside some slots for meandering and messing about. Here are three areas to go and explore, with no set checklists or agendas. Get on out, chat to some strangers, walk into random restaurants, and let the city inspire you in that unique way only Paris can.


Belleville

Take a 15 minute walk down the road from your bed and you’ll find yourself in beautiful Belleville. A historic working-class neighbourhood, it has an eclectic feel thanks to its diverse makeup, having welcomed immigrant communities consistently over the last hundred years – and in recent decades has become a haven for artists and creatives. Start at the Parc de Belleville and relax with some panoramic views of the Paris skyline, eventually meandering your way down to Père Lachaise Cemetery where Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison & Maria Callas are all buried. It’s a photogenic area that’ll set fire to your feed, so get snapping.




Montmartre

Look out from the Khayma rooftop bar on our top floor, and in the distance you’ll see the Sacré-Cœur basilica, sitting on top of the best-known butte in Paris. The area does tend to get a bit busy with tourists looking to snap pictures of the church and Moulin Rouge, but it’s worth going for the views (not least of the Eiffel Tower, without suffering the crazy queues), the bars and nightclubs, and for the story you’ll talk about for years, recounting how you went home with that cute artist you met while both trying to squeeze through the same bar entrance. It’s the meet cute for your life you didn’t even know you needed. Go live your best romantic life, you’re in Paris ffs.

  


Le Marais

Now we’re talking: gorgeous architecture, dozens of museums, world famous hotels, beautiful little boutiques, not to mention all the delis, bakeries and cafes, If the above two neighbourhoods are the deep cuts in your Paris album, this here is your hit single. Take a walk along the Seine, and let your eyes and heart guide you deeper into this historic aristocratic neighbourhood. Aim for the star attractions like the Musée Picasso, Victor Hugo’s house and the Musée Carnavalet, and get your Parisian couture on rue des Francs Bourgeois. Le Marais is also Paris’ LGBT centre, so be sure to give the area a visit if you’re looking for a big night out. If you haven't stumbled across it, we would highly recommend that you make sure to go for a drink in one of the many bars located in rue de Lappe (photo below from Mark Czerniec). When you arrive at this small pedestrian street you’ll know you’re with the locals, just make sure not to adopt the Parisian attitude!


Rue de Lappe Photo taken by Mark Czerniec