How to enjoy Paris like a local

There’s a reason why Paris has a reputation for being so enchanting. As a tourist, Paris sucks. All you do is wait in long lines to get in anywhere and get accosted by street vendors and gypsies. So if you want to skip the Louvre and enjoy Paris like you live there, follow these easy steps and you’ll have a magical day.

Have breakfast at an outdoor café

There’s nothing like a chocolate croissant and a latte first thing in the morning, with a side of people-watching. Parisians love their sidewalk cafes. So sit a while, enjoy your coffee and let the city buzz all around you. The nice thing about sitting outside to have your breakfast is that aside from being surrounded by people, you’ll also be surrounded by their dogs. Bonus points if you bring your own.

Pick up some groceries

The boulangeries, cheese shops, and vegetable markets of Paris put the best grocery stores in the world to shame. I’m not fucking with fruit that wasn’t picked that morning before being put in an elaborate display out in the market. Grab a fresh-baked baguette or two at the boulangerie. Pick up a nice selection of cheeses and spreads at the fromagerie. Grab some fresh fruits down at the fruit market. Last, but certainly not least, go buy a bottle (or three) of wine. They’ll uncork it for you and even give you plastic cups if you ask.

Enjoy a beautiful park

With your tote full of fresh goods, take a walk down to the nearest park or garden. Paris is full of lush, green spaces. Some good options include Jardin du Luxembourg, the grass on the steps of the Sacre Coeur, or the Jardin des Tuileries. You’ll find chairs or benches scattered throughout the parks for people to sit and enjoy the warm breeze. There will be some tourist crowding, particularly in a place like the Sacre Coeur, but the gardens will be full of people sitting down and reading a book or taking a stroll. Uncork that wine and snack on morbier cheese while you get day drunk and listen to the sounds of fountains and birds.

The Jardin du Luxembourg on a breezy summer day.
The Jardin du Luxembourg on a breezy summer day.

Go buy an outfit for dinner

The people of Paris are stylish. Don’t embarrass yourself in public with your dirty sneakers and t-shirts. After you’re a little drunk and you’ve run out of raspberries and cheese, it’s time for another walk. So walk with a purpose over to a couple of boutique shops, where you can get a new top and some nice shoes for a night out. If you don’t love shopping or you’re in Paris on a budget, then you can replace this step with more drinking. Maybe you can catch an afternoon football game at a local bar.

Take up smoking

I think smoking is a filthy habit, but if you really want to experience Paris like a local, you’ll learn to love a cigarette between your fingers as you watch the outside world pass you by. Eight out of ten Parisians agree that smoking goes great with coffee or wine. Take a long drag while you stare seductively at every attractive passerby.

Look your best for dinner

Go back to the hotel and shower. You need to sober up before going out to a restaurant, you uncultured savage. Put on your new chic outfit. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Everyone in Paris looks casual but also like they’re being showcased in a catalog at all times. So strike a balance between the two. Then go find a good place to get a steak or duck confit. While you enjoy your dinner, stare wistfully into the distance behind your cigarette.

Go home with a local

After dinner, you can check out a local bar. If you brought your A game to outfit shopping, you might notice a dark-haired beauty staring seductively at you while smoking their cigarette. You know what they say, when in France… right? So after exchanging a few lust-filled glances, go Netflix and chill with your new beau so they can show you what else the French are famous for besides making wine.