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The clear greenish River Seine in Paris

The Secret to Discovering the Real Paris

To explore the real Paris, you need to experience it like a local, staying in a Parisian home rather than a hotel. It’s not a dream. I have been staying in authentic Parisian homes since my first visit to Paris with the help of Airbnb.com, a website that connects travelers with local residents, with a robust reputation system.

A Parisian Home
A Parisian Home

Stay in Parisian Homes

I have met wonderful Parisian hosts and stayed in beautiful Parisian homes. Contrary to popular belief, Parisian homes are clean and safe, and Parisians are friendly.

The apartments I have stayed in were in different arrondissements (districts) with diverse characters—multicultural, modern or spacious, but all are memorable and provide me with fond memories.

Paris apartments in the 15th arrondissement
Paris apartments in the 15th arrondissement

Finding the Perfect Location

If I had to pick my favorite one, location-wise, I prefer the one in the 15th arrondissement (also called the “Arrondissement de Vaugirard”), near the chic, stunning yet eco-friendly Beaugrenelle Shopping Mall in the Beaugrenelle district (or Front de Seine).

The Colorful exterior design of Beaugrenelle Shopping Mall in Paris by night
The Colorful exterior design of Beaugrenelle Shopping Mall in Paris by night

Paris is characterized by its distinctive historic quarters (quartiers) that have developed or retained unique characters of their own. The Beaugrenelle district is a high-rise (apartment building) neighbourhood area that includes towers built around an elevated esplanade.

High rise towers in the Beaugrenelle district of Paris at sunset
High rise towers in the Beaugrenelle district of Paris at sunset

Beaugrenelle

Stereographic projection of the panorama of high rise towers in the Beaugrenelle district of Paris showing the Hôtel Novotel Paris-Tour Eiffel (formerly known as Hôtel Nikkō) with its red-encircled windows

Tour Totem

The Tour Totem consists of a stack of glass-faced blocks.

The 15th arrondissement is alongside the River Seine but not in the city center, so it’s not too expensive, crowded or noisy. When you casually turn your head, the Eiffel Tower will leap out at you and it’s only a 20-minute walk away!

Paris street by night in the 15th arrondissement with the Eiffel Tower lit up in the background
Paris street by night in the 15th arrondissement with the Eiffel Tower lit up in the background

Stay with a Parisian Family

There’s nothing better than staying with a Parisian family to learn about the city’s culture. Therefore, personally I favor a private room in an apartment shared with a Parisian host over an entire apartment to my own. But staying in a Parisian studio or a relatively spacious apartment is a valuable experience too.

A Paris Studio
A Paris Studio

Get to Know Paris Arrondissements

Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements in the form of a clockwise spiral, with the first arrondissement in the middle of the city, on the Right Bank (north bank) of the Seine.

Population density map of Paris in 2012.svg
Population density map of Paris in 2012” by Paris 16Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons.

The clear greenish River Seine in Paris
The clear greenish River Seine in Paris

Explore Paris on Foot

The best way to explore Paris is on foot rather than locking yourself underground in the métro, because Paris is not only about the famous attractions. Yes, there are many of them but the beauty of city is also about its rich culture and sights at every corner. It’s not only a place to be toured but also one to be discovered, one that makes you pause, linger and appreciate at a slow pace.

Stroll along the Seine

We will stroll from Beaugrenelle along the Seine towards the Eiffel Tower, and continue along the Seine towards the East. Follow our footprints to discover the subtleties of Paris once again.

See Also: Paris Travel

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Min Min

There are different kinds of artists. Some are more focused and others are more all-encompassing. I would count myself as the art-everywhere type of artist. To me, art is a way of looking at things, of applying creativity in my life. I am a frequent traveler who truly appreciates every tiny beauty of life and have traveled extensively around the world. Different cities inspire me in different ways. My passion is Paris which I have visited more than once, living as a Parisian. I have walked big streets and small alleys in Paris, and every inch of the city has given me inspiration. When I first arrived in Paris it was as though all my senses were heightened, then as I became familiar with the city I learned to see subtleties that I missed at first.

4 thoughts on “The Secret to Discovering the Real Paris”

  1. Airbnb is your friend.
    And as I say to all my friends visiting Paris for the first time : Try to leave your backpack or your handbag in your place if you go out.
    Be like a Parisian : light and free. Just take your subway tickets, your phone, some cash and experience it the real way. Go buy your baguette with a coin of 2€ and get a coffee right at the counter. It is cheaper and generally less than 1€. So you will have enough change to pay for it.

  2. Definitely agree on this one! My experience with Parisiens is absolutely positive – I was very very lucky, or most of them are really kind, open minded and so full of life 🙂 Staying in apartments via airbnb and going with the flow through the city rather than with a map in your hands – which you’ll need to clap out of joy and happiness every five minutes 😀 – is certainty the best way to catch the parisian spirit <3

  3. Airbn is excellent! There we can find so many places to stay in that make us experience what to be a Parisian is like. I love this post because for me, the purpose of travelling is to get to know the fashion people around the world live. And the best way to do it is by living just like they do. So, I totally agree with you when you say that there is nothing better than staying with a Parisian family and exploring Paris on foot!

    Thank you so much for the information provided here, it will be so useful for those who actually want to live Paris!

  4. I would love to stay with a Parisian family some day and experience and discover the richness of Paris for a longer period of time. It’s the best way to connect with other people and also reevaluate our own beliefs and stereotypes we may have about Parisians.
    I love how you always provide photos with your story. Thank you for your detailed recommendations. 🙂

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