Paris. The romantic city that makes you go weak at the knees. Or
some most say.
Before now, I’d only ever been twice (both times during the winter) and it was oh so special. But this time I wanted to visit in the summer to have a different experience.
Here are my top tips for doing Paris Outdoors:
Lunch Al’Fresco: Tuileries Garden / Parc Buttes-Chaumont
Trying to find a seat in a good restaurant outdoors? Almost impossible but coming from Manchester we understand the struggle.
We suggest popping down to a local grocers and go picnic outside in one of many Paris’ beautiful parks/gardens. After picking up some delicious fresh baguettes, cheeses, meats, anti-pasta (all for under €20) we went and sat in the Tuileries Garden. A fraction of price, no fuss food and take in the all the views you want.
Also, what’s better than walking off all that food in the gardens. We even had the Lourve next to us. I’ve had worse Friday’s.
Hire bikes are easily accessible around Paris. Pick one up for the afternoon and cycle through. We got ours from Tuileries Garden (pick-up close to the Lourve) and cycled down to the Champs-Élysées / Arc De Triomphe. It’s a straight route and you have the park/gardens to explore more if you want to. If you’re not heading down Champs avenue for a shopping spree, you may struggle to stay entertained so cycling right through is a great way see what’s around you whilst on the move.
Tip: Use Velib, http://en.velib.paris.fr/Subscriptions-and-fees Most popular, cheap and easily accessible in most Paris districts.
Take In Those Views: Le Perchoir
A great rooftop bar located in the Oberkampf district. A thrown together, yet there’s a relaxed and welcoming vibe about the place. Popular with locals and it’s easy to see why. Personally, we loved the decor and the 360 panoramic views of Paris. From one side, there’s even a view of Sacré-Cœur, (more about that later). We had a few drinks here and soaked up the sun. With free entry and good music playing, it was hard to ask for much more.
Tip: Get here before 6pm on weekdays if you want a seat with a view.
Explore: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
Better known as the ‘locals’ park but they aren’t afraid to share. Those lovely people. Here, Buttes-Chamont offers something a little different to other parks in the area. Set high up in Belleville district, the park is made up of vertical cliffs, temples, waterfalls, rock caves and wandering paths. We visited when it was slightly overcast but still magical. There is more than enough here to explore and keep yourselves busy. Or sit on the expansive green and have yourselves a picnic. Everyone does – and we don’t blame them.
Brunch: Soul Kitchen
Staying in Montmartre, we discovered this as a local spot just a 5 minute walk from the apartment. So good we ended up here on two occasions out of the four day stay. Local and unusual ingredients, attention to detail. A small but appealing menu with ever changing specials. Check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/soulkitchenparis/
Tip: Get here early to avoid large queues. Even though the interior is cool, sit outside for prime basking!
Day-to-Night: Le Grand Train
An old disused warehouse and railway that’s now opened it’s doors as a multi-complex of cool. Seriously. From being able to sit on the rail tracks eating and drinking to walking through and seeing life size restored 18th century locomotives. It sort of resembles the Food-Fight warehouse we have in Manchester but on a much larger scale, with more to do. It’s easy to see why it’s becoming the locals hotspot. With multiple bars dotted around the warehouse and serving up all types of culinary delights; stone-baked pizza’s, Korean street food, vegan hotdogs.It’s a step up from your bog-standard food offering. Also a casual cinema screen that continuously plays old french movies. It’s so easy to spend an afternoon / evening here. Definitely a more relaxed, social hangout.
Tip: Don’t try and wait for the stone-baked pizza an hour before closing, they run out super fast.
Everyday Hangout: Canal St. Martin
The not so secret locals place-to-be. Well, what do you expect with the picturesque district that centralised around the 19th-century canal and iron cross-bridges. Not only is it so easy to hang-out either side of the canal, but the transformation in recent years has bought in a much more hipster vibe with great restaurants, cafe and boutique shops. This place is made for, you guessed it – another picnic. We sat here for hours chatting, people watching and left but not before visiting our other favourite spot nearby; Le Comptoir General (check it out – trust me).
Sunset Views: Sacre Coeur Steps
Free. Amazing view of the Parisian skyline and on this occasion – a great atmosphere. Heading here on a whim after seeing the clouds clear-up late afternoon, we thought it would would make for a good photo opportunity. It did, but we pleasantly surprised by the evening crowds here. People were sat on the steps, some singing along to a local singer who had come up to Sacre Coeur with her friends playing acoustic guitar. General togetherness, a wonderful thing to see despite recent going’s on. It’s a wonderful thing.
Tip: There are a lot of drink sellers about on the steps, charging over the odds. Either haggle your way down, or bring your own. Enjoy the view.
Where are your Paris summer weekend hot-spots?