As one of the world’s most visited cities, Paris is clearly popular with tourists, but the French capital makes a great place to live too. Here are 10 reasons why Paris is the perfect place to live
It’s home to a magical bookshop
Once the meet-up place for literary greats such as Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce, the famous Left Bank bookstore, Shakespeare and Company is a true Parisian gem. With a sideways view of Notre Dame, the upstairs library makes a lovely reading spot where you’ll find visitors and regulars alike with their head in a book or slumbering to a tune on the piano. If you’re missing your cup of English tea, a nice brew at the Sunday Mad Hatter’s Tea Party should curb cravings or pick up a picnic basket from the new bookshop café, complete with wine, cheese and a short story.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Napoleon dedicated the Jardin du Luxembourg to the children of Paris and to this day, with its wooden sailboats, Punch and Judy puppet shows and pony-back rides, it’s a park that appeals to the young at heart. A guaranteed fun family day out, the park also provides a perfect slice of the quiet life, too. Starting the day with a lap around the park lawns or ending it whilst enjoying glass of something chilled by the still pond is one of the many luxuries of Paris living.
It’s packed with art
Although many of the most famous works are in the world-renowned Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, Paris has lots more artwork to offer outside gallery walls. The company, Street Art Paris uncover the city graffiti with Saturday morning guided tours through Paris’s most artistic neighbourhoods including Oberkampf, Belleville and Ménilmontant. Tickets cost €20 or €15 if you book online, although you could always stroll through the streets yourself using one of the apps dedicated to Paris’s street art, such as My Paris Street Art.
It’s the capital of café culture
If you want to kick back and relax, there’s no better place than a Paris café, and whether you’re after a spot of people watching or something a bit more unusual, there’s something to suit your every mood. Rainy afternoons are well spent picking from the mountain of board games perched on the walls of OYO café in the 13th where you can play your first game for €5 and €3 thereafter. Alternatively, enjoy a coffee and a cuddle with a cat at the kooky Le Café des Chats.
In the summer months, you don’t even have to leave the city to hit the beach as Paris Plages sets up along the banks of the Seine where stretches of sand are lined with palm trees, parasols and beach bars. It has become something of a summer tradition to make use of the annual urban beach by partaking in the shoreside activity including rowing and pedal boating or just lounging on a deckchair and enjoy soaking up the sun by the Seine.
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
Set up high in bohemian Belleville, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is an enchanting garden of meandering paths, caves and waterfalls and is a popular place to spend the day with friends. Its sloping hills are the ideal place to sprawl out in the sun before dancing the night away at the park’s bar/café/nightspot, Rosa Bonheur.
Flowers are everywhere
If you like to buy a bunch of flowers on your way home from work, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Paris where beautiful flower boutiques spill out from just about every street corner. But if you really want something special, the Marché aux Fleurs on the Île de la Cité will surely have it. Open every day, the market has been running since 1808 and sells bunches of primaveras, violets, roses and quite bizarrely, birds… but only on a Sunday.
You’ll always find something at the flea market
Paris has a dazzling selection of flea markets that are perfect for a Sunday afternoon spent rooting and rummaging for a treasured find. The city has the world’s largest flea market, Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen plus smaller ones like the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen where you can find designer vintage items like racks of Hermès scarves, if you’re lucky (and up early enough!).
Cheaper than its London equivalent, the métro is the fastest and cheapest way to travel around Paris. Ticket options including a weekly Navigo Découverte pass at €21.25 and a Passlib’ that covers travel between zones one to three plus entry into all the major monuments and museums will save you a few euro. Plus, the sight of the classic Art Deco métro signs would perk up any commute.
Getting around is fun
Whether you scoot, stroll or peddle, having Paris as your backdrop will litter your travel route with the loveliest of sites. The French capital is relatively compact, meaning you can walk almost anywhere spotting famous sites along the way while the new scooters, available to rent from July allows you to speed through Paris in city-chic style at the cost of €3 per 15 minutes. And, if you find yourself without plans on a Friday night, join in with Pari Roller and whizz through the Paris streets on your skates!
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