Try the fortified medieval town of Provins 1h25 by train (from Gare de l'Est) to the south-east of Paris. Away from the usual foreign tourist route. You tend only to find French visitors. Great with kids as there's a donjon, ramparts, underground passages. In summer there are lots of events such as jousting knights, etc. Plenty of restaurants from the good and cheap crepe (Le Fleur du Sel in the old town) to the fancier place with lovely outdoor dining areas.
With its clean air and tranquil pace, a day in the medieval town of Provins is the perfect antidote to hectic city life. Take in the view from La Tour César, enjoy a reasonable menu 'prix fixe' in the square of this old fair town, and check the website for medieval shows taking place. Lounge on the deck chairs in the intoxicating rose garden before enjoying their café speciality of thé gourmand (rose tea, delicate macarons and rose ice cream) before you feel ready to face the city again.
Three ideas for my tip,
My first being a lovely boat trip
On the river Seine around Notre Dame,
It's okay you won't come to any harm.
The boat stops near the Eiffel Tower,
Go up and use your camera's power.
Then to round off the day and have some wine
Outside at Montmartre you can freely dine.
Great little treasure trove hidden away in the Bastille area. Top designer names and fab colourful gear at low prices. Make sure to visit all three floors!
Come on Eileen
16/18 rue des Taillandiers 75011
Mon-Thur 11.30am-8.30pm, Fri 11.30am-7.30pm, Sun 4-8pm
Aux Comptoirs du Chineur is a small shop where you can find absolutely everything, from toys to jewels, shoes to old records, comic books to items of decorationb - what the French call "un joyeux bazar" (a real mess)
So if you once threw away your favourite childhood doll and regret it, if you decide to start a fancy shoe collection, or simply feel nostalgic of the good old days, that's the place to go, with everything dating back from the 50s-80s.
49 rue St Paul,75004 Paris: right in the centre of Paris, in the lovely area of the Marais (4th arrondissement)
Nearest metro station: St Paul or Bastille
This tiny vintage shop in the Marais is always packed with girls who know that it sells the cheapest, most on trend clothes in central Paris. The man who owns it sells his clothes for absurdly low prices (50 euros for a fur coat) and therefore gets new stock once or twice a week. The problem of stale items clogging up the racks for months is certainly not an issue here and you rarely see the same thing twice. This is probably the most famous vintage shop that i know of in Paris and the title is well deserved. You know when you see french girls gliding around in those perfect low heeled black leather boots nonchalently playing with the sleeve of their timeless breton striped shirt; they shop at Coiffeur. If all that shopping has made you hungry grab a falafel from next door, they are the best in Paris.
32 Rue de Rosiers, 75004
The second hand clothes section of the flea market at Porte de Montreuil is how vintage shopping on a budget should always be. Go on a Monday morning when it's just the locals and most things are 2 euros or under. You won't find high fashion here, although i got a great chunky knit lacoste jumper last time, it's more other people's cast aways, which i think is just as interesting. If you are into grungy california cool t-shirts, interesting prints, or just some really amazing bargains, this is the one for you.
Avenue de la Porte de Montreuil, 75020
Metro Porte de Montreuil
This vintage shop, as well as being hidden away in a back street of Bastille, was completely unknown to all of my Parisian friends. During the many hours i have spent in the surprisingly large and satisfyingly musty basement it has come to be one of my favourite fail-safe places in Paris. Some of my most exciting finds include patent Chanel 'bovva boots', a grungy men's Missoni jumper and a plethora of Doc Marten shoes and brogues in girls sizes. Prices are not dirt cheap so if you're looking for a 5 Euro breton stripe t-shirt then try Coiffeur instead, these are serious labels so cost a bit more. As memory serves me, the Missoni was around 60 euros and shoes are all about 40. If you have an interest in fashion and the time and patience to look, this shop will unearth you some absolute treasures. Not open on Saturdays.
16 Rue Taillandiers, 75011 Paris.
My wife and I went on a 2CV (you know that old typical French car you see in the movies) car ride and I strongly recommend it to everyone. The driver was an authentic Parisian (except he was actually really friendly ahah) who told us random stories about the city and France in general.
They stopped in front of every main monument to let us take pictures or sometimes even took the pictures for us and the view was just breathtaking. We could stand up (even though the car is so cosy you don't feel like standing up) to take advantage of the view on the Champs Elysees etc... I mean it was such a great typical experience we actually decided to do it again.
So the next time they picked us up from the restaurant and drove us around (Moulin Rouge, the foot of the Eiffel tower, Notre Dame). There was literally no traffic, and we definitely appreciated that bottle of champagne they let us take in the car.
Finally they drove us around Montmartre in some tiny streets and places only locals know so I won't hop on any of those touristy buses ever again.
PS: The name of their website is parisauthentic.com but don't trust the website's bad quality, it doesn't reflect the quality of the service.
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org