Paris ranked 6th in the list of most visited cities in the world according to UNTWO. Understandably so as it is a beautiful city that has so many amazing things to offer. Sadly the image that tourists have of Paris is hardly accurate. They all visit the same spots and some even leave the city without having tasted any great french cuisine at all! Some places get so crowded in the high season most locals avoid them at all costs and we believe you should too! To help you to avoid some of these tourist traps and spend more time exploring the local culture, we’ll list a few of the most touristy places in the city. They’re really easy to avoid!
The high season
Our first tip applies to almost every destination but especially to Paris. During the summer months, Paris gets extremely overcrowded and prices rise tremendously. Locals even leave the city just to escape from the crowds. If you want to visit famous museums (more on that later) or want to mingle more with Parisian locals we advise you to visit in the spring or fall.
Overpriced “French Cuisine”
We love food! Local cuisine can tell you so much about a culture and we will always advise you to try it. French cuisine is famous worldwide and having a good french meal is a must when visiting Paris! Sadly the city is now full of overpriced restaurants that serve low-quality food. You will especially want to avoid restaurants with big English menus, waiters that basically drag you inside, or any food located close to the main tourist attractions. Instead, try some of the local restaurants our locals recommend or follow Parisian blogs to know where the best spots to eat are!
Climbing the Eiffel Tower
Sure, the Eiffel Tower is iconic. But there is really no point in climbing it. It will cost you a whole lot of money and you’ll waste hours in line. If you are climbing it cause you want a great view of the city, think about this: What is the point of a city view if its greatest landmark is not in it? There are way better places to find a stunning view of the city! like The 9th Floor of the I.M.A. for example.
Cruises on the Seine
We highly suggest you avoid boat cruises when you are in Paris, especially the dinner cruises! Either you are crammed in a boat with a bunch of other tourists, you get a sunstroke cause it’s too hot or you almost freeze because it’s way too cold. Oh, and you pay a fortune for that! Doesn’t sound like too much fun right? If you really want to get on the water we advise you to rent your own boat or look into river cleanup initiatives.
The Mona Lisa
We don’t necessarily advise against visiting the Louvre. However, ask yourself why you want to visit. Is it just to see the Mona Lisa? If yes, you are in for a disappointment. If you like fighting a crowd of overexcited tourists all trying to get a picture of the minuscule painting, sure go! But if you don’t we advise you don’t visit the Louvre. It has amazing artworks and a great collection in general but the lines and price are simply not worth it to just look at one art piece, no matter how famous it is.
Musee d’Orsay and other famous museums
During high season most famous museums (Like Musee. d’Orsay and Centre Pompidou) in Paris get way more crowds than they can handle. This is one of the reasons we advise you to visit another time of year. However, even in less busy times, these museums might have splendid artworks, they don’t tell you all that much about local culture and are still quite expensive. Try visiting the Musée de la Prefecture de Police instead.
The Sacré-Cœur and Montmartre
No matter how beautiful it is, Sacré Cour is a no-go zone unless you like overcrowded spaces filled with vendors trying to sell you crap. The same goes for Montmartre, the area where the Sacré Cour is located. It used to be a beautiful area where many artists blossomed and found their creativity. If you want to learn more about the history Museé de Montmartre will definitely interest you. But don’t fall for the “artists” trying to sell you overprized drawings. Want to visit a beautiful historic church without crowds? We advise Eglise Saint-Eugène.
Macarons and Pastries
French pastries and macarons are a popular treat, but you have to know where to find the good ones. There is no need to go and spend a fortune on your macarons or croissant at one of the fancy boutiques that have steep prices and long lines. Almost any local bakery will serve you delicious pains au chocolate and croissants! Our local spotter Christina swears by Boris Lumé. For the total macaron experience, we advise you to pair them with some tea at a nice café, at Carette for example.
Shopping at Champs-Élysées
Shopping in Paris has quite a cult around it. We don’t want to stop you from shopping, but there are way better places to go than Champs-Élysées. Paris is filled with unique little local shops that are way more fun and authentic! If you are more interested in shopping for clothes try the Saint-Lazare or Montparnasse districts, where you’ll find all the same brands but fewer people. And if you want to dive deep into the Parisian fashion world, take a stroll past the luxury boutiques on avenue George V, Avenue Montaigne, or the rue Saint-Honoré.
Rue De La Huchette
It’s one of the oldest streets in Paris but that does not mean you should visit it. Unless you want a tacky T-shirt and crappy gyros, then this is the place to go! If you are after neighborhoods with tons of character check out Campagne à Paris or Les Villas de la Mouzaïa. You’ll find plenty of character and history while also getting a feel for local Parisian life.
This street used to be a local’s secret. Only a few travelers knew about it until it blew up on social media… Now the street get’s flooded with tourists trying to take a beautiful picture for their Instagram feed. The locals are fed up with it and have had enough of the crowds in their once quiet little street. We believe that alone should be enough reason to stay away.