5 Ways to Explore Paris like an Islander
Paris dances to its own beat. It's a city of romance, culture, history, art and music. It's its own society... and sometimes, it can feel like a unique approach is needed to explore it to its fullest. Here's our Islander's guide for just that.
Live like a Parisian.
Paris is infamous for its expensive accommodation. If you’re on a tight budget, it can be difficult to find an affordable hotel that's still clean and comfortable. As Islanders, we recommend looking for holiday rentals on sites like Airbnb, which are a great alternative to hotels and can be found in Paris for as little as £9 per night.
By renting out an apartment for a few days, you experience the city in the unique way a local does. Get chatting to neighbours for tips on where to go for fresh croissants and coffee, or find out about the little secret spots - where you can avoid the tourist crowds, and soak up the Parisian art and culture.
Choose your time wisely.
Time is of the essence in Paris… the city hosts so many free festivals and events throughout the year, it's amazing they're able to fit them all in. Get your dancing shoes on in February for one of the craziest street parties in the world at Carnaval de Paris, or indulge in the winter festivities at the Christmas markets in December.
It’s helpful to remember that most museums and other popular attractions cut their entry prices during ‘low season’, which is between October and March. We’ve found that it’s always a good idea to check out different museums’ websites for special discounts and offers first, as many offer free entry on the first Monday of each month as well as free entry for 18-25 year olds living in the EU.
When you get up high in Paris you can really appreciate how stunning the city is. There are many places in Paris where you can see all the landmarks in one panorama, and you’ll no doubt be blown away by the beauty of it. An obvious place to view the city of love is from the heights of the world famous Eiffel tower. You can take a lift to the top for €17 or €14.50 if you’re aged between 12-24 and if you are feeling really brave you can save your pennies by taking the 1700(!) stairs for €7.
Our favourite place for a breath-taking view of the city is from the steps of the Sacre Coeur. Without spending a penny, you can sit here with a glass of wine and see the city for miles and miles. For an even better experience we recommend going just before the sun sets and overlooking the city as the streetlights flicker on. C'est fantastique!
Picnic in Paris.
Fine dining in Paris can take a huge chunk out of your budget, so pencil in a trip to the Parisian street markets. Here, you'll find a variety of delicious and affordable fresh food. This is exactly what Paris is famous for! We saved our pennies by making a packed lunch each day to enjoy our lunch in the same way the locals do - sat on the cobbles along the bank of the river Seine with a baguette filled with more French cheese than our bodies could handle. Bon appetit!
Remember that feeling of learning to ride a bike? The freedom? The rush of wind in your face? Seeing your neighbourhood from a completely new perspective?
You can recapture that same heady, two-wheeled experience in any of the more than 200 cities around the world with bike-sharing schemes, but Vélib (vélo = bike and libre = free) in Paris is one of the world's biggest. Whether you’re in Paris for just a few days, or around for a longer period, don't miss the chance to take part in this wonderful Parisian experience.
Don’t be nervous about riding. Paris is an amazing city for cycling, with many bike paths, and other areas with big lanes for bikes, buses and taxis.