So you’ve made it to Paris, congratulations! You lugged over all of your favourite travel accoutrements, and maybe an empty suitcase with which to haul back some souvenirs of your holiday in Europe. Well done!
Assuming you will have time to tick off some major bucket list items like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, as a French citizen and proud ambassador for Paris, I strongly recommend one special type of day that needs to find its way into your stay – The Parisian Day.
The goal of this post is to give you insight into how a Parisian really spends their day off. How do we enjoy ourselves here? First, we get rid of our kids. That’s another post for another day. No, this post is for those who are enjoying the city with friends or lovers.
First, and most importantly, is to appreciate the morning at a snail’s pace. Also known locally as la grasse matinée (the fat morning). Laze-about in your AirBnB. Enjoy the plush bedding at your hotel. Don’t get up too early! The Parisian weekly rhythm of metro-boulout-dodo (commute-work-sleep) may have changed slightly since the pandemic, but we still love a good lie-in on our days off.
When ready, head on over to your nearest boulangerie. Order some pastries, ideally a few croissants, or pain au chocolat, maybe even splurge on a chausson pomme, and un café crème or un allongé, à emporter (to go). Just one pastry (or two) is enough for breakfast. Parisians go light on the first meal of the day.
Because, now comes time to work up an appetite for lunch. So you must embark on une promenade (a stroll). My wife and I prefer the strategy of picking a semi thought-out direction, and just wandering that way. A good hour of walking is plenty to get you to whichever neighbourhood you were aiming for.
And that’s lunch! A simple bistro is all you want, no frills or frou-frou needed here, That’s what dinner is for. A good old fashioned croque-monsieur avec frites et salade (toasted ham and cheese with fries and salad) washed down with une carafe d’eau (jug of tap-water, no need for bottled) and un café or un allongé (long coffee). No milk or cream in afternoon coffee here!
Paris is always teeming with excellent exhibitions at its myriad museums and expo halls. Visit a smaller expo in order to casually begin working off your lunch and get geared up for l’apéro (before dinner drinks)! Any of these listed below are excellent mid-afternoon activities.
- Musée du Jeu de Paume
- Musée Carnavalet
- Cité de l’Architecture
- Fondation Cartier
- l’Atelier des Lumières
- Musée de la Vie Romantique
After filling your head and heart with some high grade culture, it’s time to settle down, and let the day’s experiences settle in your mind. Find yourself a cozy looking café or brasserie, grab a chair, and order a drink. It’s Apéro Time! This phase of your day is meant to be spent sharing stories, thoughts and impressions over a drink with a friend, or spent introspectively digesting the last several hours of life. It also serves to warm up your insides and get ready for dinner!
Here there is no right answer. Cooking your own meal, dining out (again!) or attending a dinner party, any and all are regular options for the average Parisian. No matter how you choose to end your day, remember, Paris is an adventure, a moveable feast, and most of all, your playground! Go enjoy!