Planning a trip to Paris, but want to see more than the typical tourist traps? Here's a brief guide to some of my favorite spots, mostly around in the 10th arrondissement. In the 10th arrondissement you'll find cafes, design shops, delicious ethnic food, local designer fashion, and people - immigrants, young expats, and hip Parisians.
I start every morning with breakfast at 10 Belles - a tiny coffee shop with superb coffee and delectable breakfast treats. I usually order granola (best I've ever had) and a cappuccino. They have a rotating variety of breakfast buns, as well as sweet cakes. There is always a hip crowd hanging around here, a mix of international folks and locals. If you're a fan of coffee culture, 10 Belles is definitely worth a visit.
After breakfast I suggest a wander around the streets just on the other side of Canal St. Martin. Here you'll find design shops, bookstores, clothing designed and made in Europe, and more cafes. Artazart is my favorite design art bookstore. Even though I am not an artist, not even remotely, I love perusing the books in this beautiful little shop.
On Saturdays and Sundays check out some of the local farmer's markets. I've found my best meals at some of these farmer's markets - sausage, crepes, cheeses, fruits, baked goods, etc. You can also find artisan crafts. If you happen to be staying in an Airbnb (of which there are many in the 10th arrondissement), this is a great spot to stock up on some fresh ingredients for cooking.
After all that eating, you might find yourself with a few excess calories to burn. Paris now has an incredible bike sharing program that allows you to borrow or return a bicycle at nearly every other city block. On Saturday afternoons and all day Sunday, the streets around Canal St. Martin are closed to vehicle traffic. I highly recommend borrowing a bicycle and going for a ride. Everything is automated, just follow the instructions on the screen to set up your initial account (a credit card is required). Keep your ticket as this will be used every time you borrow a bicycle. It is free for the first 30 minutes and then just a few euros per hour after that.
There are a few days a year when all of central Paris is closed to vehicle traffic. If you are visiting during one of these days you should definitely consider hiring a bicycle and exploring the city on two wheels.
If you're a runner, or just enjoying exploring city parks, I recommend visiting Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. It is a hilly park with a lake, pagoda, and even a natural stone bridge. This is my favorite place in Europe to run. In the mornings you can find runners, walkers, and people doing tai chi. Later in the afternoon you'll see more families - kids on scooters, musicians, and couples at one of the cafes or sunning in the grass. This is a really beautiful place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Paris, get some exercise or just chill for a bit.
There are new restuarants popping up in the 10th arrondissement all the time. During my last visit, about a month ago, I discovered SAaM Kitchen, an affordable Korean restaurant that serves balanced healthy meals. This was my favorite meal in Paris. I had a set menu for dinner with 2 bao buns and a side of vegetables. I was bummed I was leaving the next morning and wouldn't get to eat there again until next time. Check it out!
OK so you'll obviously also want to check out the Louvre, Museé de Orsay, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and maybe cruise the Siene. Just don't forget to take a little time to see what is happening in the contemporary art and culture scene in places like the 10th arrondissement. Bon voyage!