The Pillow Alternative City Guide: Paris

YOU can do Paris one of two ways. The first you spend completely in crowds. Whether this is queueing for the Eiffel Tower, craning to see even an eyebrow of the Mona Lisa or running frantically after a tour guide brandishing an umbrella on their way to the Sacre Couer it is hard to escape the feeling of a fixed tourist itinerary.

However, the second way of doing Paris is the opposite. You can instead act the true Parisienne for a couple of days, swapping the Lonely Planet guide for walks around the city’s quirky, modern highlights that many tourists sadly miss in favour of its bigger contenders.

Here are a few of our favourite places to eat, see and fall ever so slightly in love with.


La Jacobine
59 Rue Saint-André des Arts

When in Saint Germain de Pres avoid the many cafes you will see there and venture a little further to La Jacobine. Tucked away in a small cobbled alleyway the cosy fairy lights and affordable menu will make the walk worth it .

La Closerie des Lilas
171, boulevard du Montparnasse

Join the ghosts of Hemingway, Picasso and Sartre at this cosy yet elegant restaurant. A little pricier than other places but with classic French food and an almost perfect wine list it is too Parisian to be missed.


Père Lachaise Cemeter
16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris, France

Perhaps an odd place to come on holiday but with Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde as company you can spend hours wondering through the leafy cemetery. Make sure to plant a kiss on the tombstone of Oscar Wilde where many others have also left theirs.

The Pont des Arts

With the an almost panoramic view of Paris and a popular picnic spot this a perfect spot to see both Paris and Parisians. The tradition is for lovers to initial a padlock before locking it to the bridge and throwing the key into the Seine below. If you’re really sad like me try finding Kim Kardashian and her mum, Kris Jenner’s padlock!


Musee Rodin
79 Rue de Varenne

Swap the Louvre’s queues for this intimate museum housing some of the world’s most famous statues. The gardens are beautifully green and are a fantastic place for lunch on a warm summer’s day.

Île Saint-Louis

One of the two islands in the city Île Saint-Louis should not be overlooked for it’s counterpart Ille de la Cite where many tourists flock to see Notre Dame. Gorgeously quaint, the place channels an air of a Paris long gone by and is perfect for an afternoon of relaxed shopping. Pop into Berthillion the famous ice cream shop while you’re there.


Jeanne Danjou et Rousselet
15, place du Pont-Neuf.

For vintage lovers this shop is as old as some of its items and is packed floor to ceiling with hidden gems. Fantastic for romantic costume jewelry of the 1920s.

213, rue Saint-Honore

Impossibly hip this Parisian conceptual department store is home to incredible up to the minute fashion, music and art. It is possible to spend hours in this place but make sure you venture downstairs to ‘Le Water Bar’ a bar that specializes wholly in varieties of mineral water…only in Paris!

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