Living Like a Local in Paris

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Why do people glamorize “living like a local” in Paris, but never in Africa, Australia or even Hawaii?

Well, I don’t know about you but I blame the last scenes of “Sex in the City” and my fellow Americans for painting vivid images in my head of secret passageways, elegant buildings, trend setting fashion, and couples holding hands while strolling down charming cobblestone streets that got my mind dreaming of a home away from home in the city of lights.

Stay

I rented a fully furnished one-bedroom apartment from an US-based rental company, vactionsinparis.com. This 430 sq ft.fully furnished apartment featured wooden beams, hardwood floors, a well equipped kitchen, separate dining and living room, a washer,courtyard views, and free telephone and internet. I paid $150.00/night, about the same amount I would have paid for a typical tiny hotel room. I could not have chosen a better location to avoid tourist traps, explore and get comfortable.

I entered through large 10 ft. arched french double doors and proceeded to walk through a dimly lit corridor and up a narrow winding staircase; 3 flights of stairs later I reached apartment #3, my temporary home located in the beautiful historic district of Le Marais.

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The Parisian Stroll

Next up, forget my New York City speed walking ability and learn the Parisian stroll. Surprisingly, this didn’t take me too long. Anyone racing through this city, with cel phone in hand simply looks ridiculous–you’ll have no choice to adapt. If you grow tired of walking, the bike culture is another affordable great way to explore.

Indulge

Each morning, I’d greet my neighbors with a sweet “Bonjour” (by the way it’s common French courtesy to always say Bonjour even between strangers living in a big building), and venture down to La Charlotte de l’Isle or Eric Kayser for a coffee, croissant or some other tasty french pastry. Of course, while walking back to my apartment, I couldn’t resist the urge to tear off a hunk of my perfectly golden and crunchy but soft baguette and stuff my face while appreciating the unique history and culture of the city.

Considering I was within walking distance of the Notre Dame, Louvre and many other historical sites, strolling along the right bank of the enchanting river seine, was a daily must during the day and night.

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What hold does Paris have over us that makes us want to cook, grocery shop and even clean during vacation?

One night. That’s all the time I needed to buy-into the laid back Paris lifestyle. As much as I love (in my sarcastic voice) the standard US 1-hour lunch break and a good ol’ happy-hour event, I adjusted very quickly to enjoying hours of long conversation, nursing drinks at the neighborhood bar and watching stylish locals pass by. Where else in the world could you catch me sitting outdoors at a cafe in fifty degree rainy weather? Don’t get me wrong I love the energy of the concrete jungle but  from fashion to entertainment the Parisians have that keep it simple but significant way of life that a girl could get used to! Plus I loved learning about the not so touristy museums, temporary exhibits, parks and flea markets!

Rotisserie Chicken

Happy to avoid touristy overpriced restaurants, my property manager recommended reasonably priced local restaurants. While out and about I caught the scent of rotisserie chicken and potatoes being sold in a glass enclosed small stand on the street—my nightly hunt for dinner was over! A stop at the grocery store for sides and wine could satisfy me for the remainder of my stay!

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Shop 

To heck with shopping large stores,Paris neighborhoods are filled with low to high end chic boutiques.This is when the french term “Je Ne Sai Quo” comes to life!  The Le Marais area is hands down my favorite but you can check out the Fashion Bomb’s guide to shopping in Paris.

Whether you’ve traveled to Paris or not, chances are you’ve day dreamed about shopping, dining or living in one of the most visited cities in the world! On my last day in Paris, as my apartment door slammed behind me, I was overwhelmed with sadness because I knew I would be leaving a piece of my heart behind.

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