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Hidden in the city of lights: non-touristy things to do in Paris

Hidden in the city of lights: non-touristy things to do in Paris

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If you’ve ever been to Paris, you’ll know that there are better things to do than stare at La Tour Eiffel. Sure, it’s fun to pose in front of the iconic structure for photos — that is, if you can get one that doesn’t feature hundreds of other tourists vying for a similar picture. When you’ve exhausted every angle and gone to all the touristy spots, it’s time to get off the beaten path and try some of the lesser-known activities below:

Visit the lesser-known Petit Palais

While braving the long lines to visit the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay is worth it the first time, you’re better off checking out smaller museums on your second visit. For instance, Petit Palais houses French paintings in its gorgeous Art Nouveau-style building, with classics like Monet, Cézanne, and Delacroix on display. There’s also Victor Hugo’s house, where you can explore his Victorian-style bedroom and see the desk on which he wrote Les Misérables. Of course, when you walk around Paris, chances are you will stumble upon random exhibitions and showrooms. Enjoying these chance encounters can be a unique experience, especially if you meet the artists themselves.

Image credit: Paris Adele

Enjoy a bingo night at La Bellevilloise

Paris has a historical love for bingo. The game used to be reserved for the elite, but it has now made its way to the mainstream. Many locals have their own customs while playing the game. For instance, in Paris, you shout ‘King!’ instead of the usual ‘Bingo!’ that almost every other country uses. Bongo’s Bingo, hosted at La Bellevilloise, is a great example of how the game has changed for Parisians — and travelers! — who enjoy a livelier and neon-lit version of the game. And it certainly adds even more excitement to the traditional rules. Progressive jackpots also contribute to this excitement, as a newfangled feature in contemporary games. Foxy Bingo detail that prizes grow bigger the more people join. This makes it a particularly enjoyable variation of the game. It’s even better in Paris, where places like La Bellevilloise are set against the picturesque backdrop of winding alleys and romantic cobblestone streets.

Image credit: Gamer Limit

Take a stroll along Parc de Buttes-Chaumont

To avoid the bustling crowd in the Luxembourg gardens, opt for the quieter parks scattered around the city. Parks like La Villette, Parc Montsouris, and the Parc de Buttes-Chaumont are frequented by locals who want to relax or jog. The last example is perfect for a relaxing stroll, as it has a lovely gazebo that overlooks a lake in the center of the park. If you want to be cheesy about it, you go there for a picnic. Make an afternoon out of it by sipping wine with a special someone, while watching the sunset behind the trees in these peaceful parks.

Image credit: Paris-ci

Shop for bargains in Belleville

Being a tourist in Paris can be expensive, especially when you shop in its chic boutiques and designer stores. However, The Huffington Post guide to shopping for bargains in Paris emphasizes how you don’t need to spend a ton to get high-quality bargains in the city — you just have to know where to look! For instance, you can explore Belleville, where there are tons of dirt-cheap dresses, espadrilles, and boots. You can also visit the flea market on Porte de Vanves on the weekends to buy second-hand items.

Image credit: Obon Paris