My Paris bucket list : a local Parisian's recommendations

We’ve decided to go a bit off piste and look beyond the guidebook for some things to do in Paris and have asked our local Parisians for their own recommendations and bucket lists of things to do in Paris. Because we had so many to choose from, we've split it into two: this one around things to do in Paris, and places to see, and the other around food (coming soon). So, from secluded retreats, to fairy-tale chalet discos, there’s something for everyone in list. Have you ticked any off your list already? Visit the enchanting Parc des Buttes-Chaumont If you’re a fan of nature and horticulture, this one is a place for you. This Anglo-Chinese garden has been around since 1864 when Napoleon III decided to convert old quarries into something beautiful, ultimately for the people of Paris. Three years later, after a lot of effort, this beautiful garden was created - complete with streams and waterfalls, a grotto and even and island. It's now, as much as ever, one of the most exotic retreats in Paris. We recommend you climb right to the top of the island where you’ll find the Temple de la Sybille – definitely worth a photo opportunity. It’s a great place to go in the summer especially when you can take a picnic and recline on the grassy slopes and admire the Oriental trees and ginkgo biloba trees surrounding you. How to get there: Métro 7bis « buttes-chaumont » Experience a real ‘guinguette’ A fairy-tale chalet in Paris, really? Yes! Right in the heart of the Parc de Buttes-Chaumont, the guinguette Rosa Bonheur is exactly that; a fairytale chalet with a big outdoor terrace where people go to drink, dance and sometimes forget they’re in Paris! It’s as if the Alps have moved to the city where you can enjoy outdoor dining in the good weather and feast on mega-menu tables d’hôtes, colourful tapas and sup on sumptuous cocktails. Their very own ‘fiesta maison’ is a great place to go if you fancy staying out a bit late (and somewhere very random) where you can while the hours away to an upbeat electronic soundtrack. Perhaps the Rosa Bonheur is best kept for the summer, but this guinguette definitely deserves a place on our bucket list! How to get there: Métro 7bis « buttes-chaumont » Walk the streets of Le Marais quarter If there’s one district you need to have ventured into, it’s Le Marais. Known as the arty, cool, bohemian district now, it’s actually a historic quarter, spanning over 3eme and 4eme, and is home to some real architectural gems. Just walk around Le Marais (and keep your eyes open) because you’ll notice the classic architecture of the old buildings and facades that make up this beautiful quarter. Why not visit the Museum Carnavelet, or the Picasso Museum, which are housed in old converted mansions; you’ll be sure to be amazed by their interior. You’ll also find the oldest house in Paris in Le Marais, on rue 51 de Montmorency, so make sure you go and see that. If you’re a night owl, Le Marais is also home to many trendy and quirky bars and clubs which will entertain you into the wee hours... How to get there: M étro Hôtel de ville Have a drink in one of the (many) bars in Bastille Bastille has been one of Paris’ hottest neighbourhoods for a long time and thanks to its historic symbolism (storming of the Bastille...) it’s been a district of strength and passion which has resulted in a cultural yet vibrant area over the years. Bastille is a great place to go for a nightcap or an aperitif so if you have high expectations, you won’t leave disappointed. Start at rue de Lappe where you’ll find around 20 bars alone – a great way to kick off an evening of bar-hopping into the night. How to get there: Métro Bastille Have a dip in the Joséphine Baker swimming pool Bet you never thought you could go swimming in the River Seine. Well, you can’t, but it’ll feel like you are in this elevated pool over the river. At Joséphine Baker’s sports complex, you can enjoy a relaxing dip in the pool overlooking the river, and in the summer you can enjoy an open top experience as it has one of the only working glass roofs, too – a blessing in the hotter months. Open late all year round – and up to midnight in the summer – you can even go for a dip when the sun goes down for a truly unique experience. We recommend you go in the week though as the weekends can get pretty busy. How to get there: Métro Quai de la Gare Picnic on Canal St-Martin We love a good picnic and Paris has some great picnic spots as we already know. But Canal Saint-Martin is a must for a quiet retreat – weather permitting. Visit some of the local boulangeries and patisseries, situated handily nearby, and come armed with a feast and a bottle, where you’ll find likeminded picnickers. If you run out of sustenance and want to continue your canal-side fun, Cork and Cavan and Jemmapes give you a discounted rate if you’re a (proven) picnicker, too. A lot calmer than the hustle and bustle of the Seine, this canal provides the perfect laid back waterside atmosphere. If you’re after a spot in sun, we recommend you head to where the canal bends, rue de Récollets, close to Antoine and Lilli. How to get there: Métro Jacques Bonsergent

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