Paris is a place full of wonder, but it is also hugely popular with tourists and therefore you can quite easily find yourself getting drawn in to the major tourisitc hotspots of the city that are not just busy, but sometimes extremely expensive. While everyone knows the major sights to visit in Paris, there’s much more to this beautiful city than meets the eye. See a side of Paris that is a little more hidden with Welcome’s guide to the Best Things to Do in Paris!
Check out Paris’ unique Berthillon ice cream
Berthillon ice cream is a must-try! Berthillon ice cream is a favourite among locals, but many tourists don’t get a chance to try this unique and delicious ice cream as it is not the biggest tourist trap – perfect for those who want to experience the true Parisian treat without the queues. So skip the crepes at Saint Michel (near Notre Dame) and head to 29-31 Rue Saint Louis for an ice cream you’ll not forget.
Although there are many retailers that sell Berthillon ice cream, the family brand began here with this store in 1954. The ice cream is made with the highest quality ingredients – whole milk, eggs, fresh cream and pure fruit and sugars as well as natural flavours. This is what makes this ice cream stand out of the crowd! Try tantalizing sorbet flavours such as cassis, pear and caramel, roasted pineapple and fresh basil and more. Even better are the ice cream flavours: beer chocolate, caramel nougatine, whiskey coffee, lemon praline and coriander – again, with many many more!
If you have a particular combination in mind you can order some of each and create your own flavours! Which ice creams are available at which time depends entirely on the season, so you’ll have to make multiple visits to try all the flavours (what a shame!). This store is unique to Paris, as are some of it’s flavours. The wonderful family business is worth visiting for their beautiful little store alone, but with the bonus of the most delicious cold treat you’ll find in Paris!
Check out their specialties too for a delicious dessert fit for a group or family occasion such as chocolate bombs or extravagant ice cream cakes!
The Berthillon House is open between Wednesday and Sunday from 10:00am – 08:00pm.
01 43 54 31 61
29-31 rue Saint-Louis en l’île
2. Wander through the friperies or markets
Paris is famous for its shopping, after all, it is one of the fashion capitals of the world. So it would make sense that you can find some amazing items in these renowned streets. It’s worth taking a look at our Guide to Shopping in Paris to learn all the best places to go to grab everything that you may want or need here!
However, aside from the glitz and glamour of Paris fashion, you can find some rather incredible antiques nestled away from the high-end boutique-lined streets. Paris boasts some of the best antiques you’ll have ever seen. Not only does browsing these delights ensure you’ll get some great gifts and bargain treats for yourself, but the antique markets, vintage stores or ‘friperies’ are a great activity for those who wish to see Paris in a different light.
Paris specialises in an array of beautiful second-hand clothing stores, but many people don’t know where to look! One favourite among locals is the Kilo Shop. The store only charges by weight, hence the name, and specialises in gorgeous vintage goods. You could pay as little as €5 for a kilo of goodies! You’ll find this in a few locations around the city, see below for them as well as their hours. For a more thrift-shop style, check out Emmaus. Emmaus has a number of small stores around the city, however there’s a nice big warehouse on the 19th Arondissment that is packed to the brim with goods; enough to keep you entertained for hours. Clothing, books, décor, furniture and more! Finally, if you’re in search of something of the luxury end (but still vintage, mind you!) head to Chine Machine in Montmartre. The store is perfect for those who want a bit of a treat and something truly Parisian, specialising in luxury, high fashion goods.
The markets are also a great place to head if you’re finding yourself sucked into some of the more expensive food options in Paris – there are a fair few of them! Markets are where the locals go to find the most incredible locally made goods – fresh butter, cheese, milk, vegetables, meats, and even some sweet treats that will rival the ones you’ve paid a fortune for in Ladurée. Markets crop up all around the city and you’re bound to stumble across one eventually, but try some of the covered ones in Marché Aligre in the 12th Arondissment or the Marché Saint Quentin in the 10th Arondissment as some of the best!
The Kilo Shop:
- Kilo Shop Kawaii: 65 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris
- Kilo Shop Le Marais: 69 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris
- Kilo Shop Saint Germain: 125 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris.
Stores have individual hours, but most are open from 11:00am – 7:30pm Tuesday-Saturday and 2:00pm – 7:30pm Sunday & Monday.
100 Rue des Martyrs
+33 (0) 1 80 50 27 66
10 Rue des Petites Écuries
+33 (0) 1 77 17 03 62
Monday-Saturday – 12:00 – 20:00
Sunday – 13:00 – 20:00
40 rue Riquet 75019 Paris
Take the Metro Line 7 to Station Riquet
Tel.: 09 70 81 89 60
Wednesday: 13:30 – 18:00
Saturday: 10:00 – 18:00
3. Try one of the amazing French cooking classes
As just mentioned, you can easily find yourself sucked into expensive French cuisine. Who could blame you – it’s some of the best in the world. But usually when you leave your holiday destination, you can only take so much with you and the rest you’ll have to leave behind. So why not leave some suitcase room and take the knowledge and expertise of French cooking and flavour along with you by taking a French cooking class on your holiday!
There are many places to try your hand at French cooking. Experiment with some delicious sweet treats or desserts such as macarons and crepes, or for the more adventurous, learn how to make the perfect escargot meal. Once you have the knowledge, you’ll never have to leave that delicious French food behind!
La Cusine Paris is one of our favourites in Paris for cooking classes. There are a lot of different styles of classes, catered especially for different kinds of foods, levels and tastes. As an example, some courses include choux pastry making (for chocolate and pistachio eclairs!), sweet and savoury crepe lunches, tartes masterclasses and even French bread making. Alternatively, for a more intense and dedicated class, you could try the poultry class or the sauce mastery class. Through many cooking schools, you can get some great hands-on experience and enjoy the package deals that include setting and dining with other students in a French bistro lunch or elegant entertaining styled dinner.
If you’re interested in more, most cooking schools will also have on offer some specialised tours so you can experience some of the greats of French foods. Try some wine and cheese tours, where you can taste your way around the regions best cheese and wine. Alternatively, why not try a Paris food tour? Choose again from a great array of choices and a variety of food hubs in the city. The cooking school runs English tours and provides some of the best gastronomic experiences for wine, cheese, pastries, sweets and more!
L’Atelier des Sens is another great option for delicious cooking journeys. With multiple destinations around Paris you will be sure to find one near you. Located in trendy lofts that served as former artists’ studios and located in exciting neighbourhoods, there’s even a Pop-Up Kitchen that will come to meet you, wherever in Paris you happen to be! L’Atelier is trendy and innovative, offering some interesting courses such as cooking vegan cuisine with the team of Abattoir Vegetal (the vegetable abattoir)! Get the chance to couple with some great restaurants and learn from the best!
La Cuisine Paris:
80 Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville, 75004, Paris
+33 (0)1 40 51 78 18
10:00 – 18:00 Monday through Saturday: mid-March through mid-October
10:00 – 18:00 Tuesday through Saturday: mid-October through mid-March
4. Have tea at the Paris Mosque
There are so many amazing places to stop for tea or coffee in Paris, you’ll find that you’re definitively hard pushed to make a choice! You will find however that more often than not, in central Paris you can end up paying an arm and a leg for a decent cuppa. Often too the main spots are busy, and you’ll find they’re loud and crowded. So why not head to the Paris Mosque Tea Salon? Not the usual place to consider for a tea, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t try it.
The Grand Mosquée de Paris not only boasts a beautiful garden and extravagant building, but the tea and treats offerings are incomparable also. The building covers nearly one hectare of ground and its minaret stands at around 33m high. It is designed in the Hispano-Moorish style was built after the First World War. The mosque is an active site of worship but opens its doors to visitors who wish to see its beauty and experience its grandeur. Visits are available every day* and it only costs €3 to get yourself a guide (however the guide will speak French).
The Tea Salon is within the mosque. An impressive white building leads onto a courtyard that features a pastry station and a luxurious seating area where you can sit and enjoy your mint and honey tea (there is only one flavour). Tea and pastries are at €2 each and you can enjoy them in this incredible relaxed environment. If you’re looking for something a little more, there is also a restaurant within these walls as well as a beautiful day spa for women.
Head along to the website for reservations, information and more!
Grande Mosquée de Paris:
Visits are available every day between 09:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 18:00 apart from on Muslim holidays and Fridays.
Restaurant is open 7 days from midday until midnight.
2 bis Place du Puits de l’Ermite
Tel: (33) 1 45 35 97 33