101 Ways to Do Paris Right

Published On 05/18/2016 Published On 05/18/2016
Luciano Mortula/Shutterstock

Sure, you already know about the 50 things you absolutely need to eat in Paris before you die, which surely goes a long way towards making your time in Paris the most incredible it can be. But are you really living your best life in Paris? Here are the 101 ways to know that you’re doing Paris right.
1. You say "Bonjour" when you walk into a shop, even when no one is looking at you
2. You buy your chocolate from Patrick Roger
3. You always pack an umbrella, because three things are certain in Paris: wine, protests, and rain
4. You wear layers, because a Parisian summer morning and winter afternoon have a lot in common
5. Wednesday or Friday nights are spent at the Louvre,  because locals all know that it’s open later and the crowds are thinner
6. You don’t pay for water at dinner or lunch -- unless it’s sparkling
7. You take a Vélib along the river because it’s healthier, and less stinky than the metro
8. Baguette à la tradition is part of your daily routine
9. You buy a "carnet" of tickets for the Metro and revel in euros saved
10. You know to ignore the shopping options on the Champs Elysées in favor of the boutiques in the Marais or Saint-Germain

Flickr/Brian Lin

11. You’ve lit a candle in Notre Dame for someone you love
12. You skip the mainstream macarons of Ladurée for the more elaborate and imaginative ones at Pierre Hermé
13. You can take the perfect identity photo -- sans smile -- at a Photomaton
14. Whether it’s an "allongé" or a "crème," you order your coffee correctly at the café
15. ... without looking at a menu.
16. You can go to Versailles without suffering any lines, just save the chateau for last...
17. You make it a habit to visit the Delacroix paintings at Saint-Sulpice
18. You stroll the Promenade Plantée, aka the original High Line

Flickr/Damien Roué

19. Scarves are a staple of your wardrobe
20. You get pastries from Du Pain et des Idées -- those chocolate pistachio escargot!
21. You cross the street on a red light and expect traffic to stop
22. You remember to shop during the twice-annual "soldes"
23. You buy baba au rhum only where it was invented: at Stohrer
24. You lunch at Chartier and don’t whine about the quality of the food
25. You buy caramels from Henri Le Roux, because, well, salted butter, come on
26. You manage to get the last metro home
27. ... or you’ve mastered staying up to take the first metro home
28. You have tea on top of the Institut du Monde Arabe with incredible views of Notre Dame

Flickr/Joe deSousa

29. You take boat cruises at night with the tourists... shamelessly
30. You have Bloody Marys at Harry’s, and find your university’s pennant on the wall
31. You give tourists wrong directions only by accident -- you were convinced they were correct at the time
32. You attend an opera at the Bastille (because the shows are good)
33. You attend a ballet at the Garnier (because the theatre is pretty)
34. You see Sondheim at the Chatelet, because it’s in English, and it’s OK to like English-speaking shows
35. You get some sun on top of the Galeries Lafayette
36. You hum along with buskers on the steps in front of Sacré-Cœur, secretly reveling in the bad songs from the '90s that they dig up
37. You will happily spend too much money on an éclair from Éclair de Génie
38. You use the public toilets and don’t gag
39. You get falafel from L’As in the Marais and immediately dig in

Flickr/Mary Clark

40. You take the underground passage to the Arc de Triomphe while tourists attempt crossing the traffic chaos of l’Étoile
41. You go jogging through the Tuileries Gardens
42. You have date night on Thursdays at the Musée d’Orsay
43. You wait in line too long for the Catacombs and still love them
44. You know how to find Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf in the Père Lachaise Cemetery
45. You have a favorite coffee shop where the barista knows (or pretends to know) your order
46. You understand the night bus system
47. The Arago plaques you find on the ground mean something to you
48. Mint tea at the mosque is always a good option for you
49. You know to avoid the line 3bis and 7bis
50. You say "pardon" like a champ
51. No one cuts in front of you in line. Ever.

Flickr/Susan Smith

52. You roll your eyes when you see love locks
53. You can differentiate between a good croissant and a mediocre one
54. You prefer the Carnavalet and Cluny to the bigger museums
55. You know to get sushi delivered to your apartment
56. You can name all of the train stations and where they’ll take you
57. You have your outdoor market
58. … and your favorite produce sellers, who always give you freebies

Flickr/Lynn D. Rosentrater

59. You have picnic supplies on hand at all times
60. You drink water from any public fountain that says "potable"
61. ... and you know where the sparkly water fountains are, because that’s a thing here
62. You don’t tip
63. ... nor do you feel guilty not tipping
64. You shop for Sunday’s meals on Saturday
65. You get Berthillon ice cream any time of the year
66. You scoff at people walking around with a cup of coffee
67. You know that it is simply never a bad idea to have a ham & cheese crepe
68. You can order a cut of meat from the butcher correctly
69. You understand the glory that is Monoprix
70. Outdoor cinema at Parc de la Villette makes you giddy
71. You spend at least one weekend a month outside of Paris
72. You drink wine with lunch, without reservation

Flickr/Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble

73. You always seek out the winner of this year’s best baguette
74. You wonder why anyone works more than 35 hours a week
75. The smell of urine no longer makes you wince
76. ... nor does the sight of dog feces
77. You still smile when the Eiffel Tower sparkles at night every hour
78. You start to appreciate truly rare steak and duck
79. You can locate a chateau -- and an Ikea -- in every cardinal direction from Paris

Flickr/Joshua Veitch-Michaelis

80. You know where to watch the Bastille Day fireworks without dealing with huge crowds
81. You compose your own bouquet from a flower shop for a dinner party
82. ... and you’ve been invited to said dinner party by real Parisians
83. You know where the shortest transfers are at major Metro stations
84. You know what the Bastille is and that it is no longer there   
85. You have hot chocolate at Angelina, and feel horrible after, but no regrets
86. You understand the symbiotic relationship between a novel and a café terrace
87. You check out the free exhibits at the Hotel de Ville because, well, it’s free
88. You drink beer along the river on the Berges de Seine

Flickr/Jay Cross

89. You buy your English-language reading material at Shakespeare and Company
90. Photographing the perfect pink sunset over the river is pretty much a habit
91. You make a habit of booking tables at local bistros that don’t appear on any lists... because there are still secrets to find
92. You can score a green metal chair at the Luxembourg Garden for sitting and watching
93. You skip bottled wine for pitchers of house wine
94. You identify with Left Bank or Right Bank, and defend your choice to the death
95. You survived a pastry crawl on both rue des Martyrs or rue du Bac
96. You experience art during Nuit Blanche and live music during Fête de la Musique
97. You tango (or watch other people tango) along the Seine in the summer
98. Coffee. Book. Gardens of the Palais Royal. You.
99. You dine on oysters at big brasseries, partially for the comically large plate of ice they’re served on
100. You pay your respects to Napoleon at the Invalides
101. You wonder why anyone lives anywhere else in the world

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Bryan Pirolli is a Paris-based writer, photographer, tour guide, and PhD candidate at the Sorbonne who is more than likely currently drinking wine. Follow him on Twitter right here.



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