Paris in October: Romance, Culture and Great Deals
Paris is known by many names, but perhaps the most fitting is the City of Romance. Nearly everywhere you go, you are surrounded by beauty that stirs passion in even the tamest lovers. Some of the most romantic spots in the world are here, including these quiet, intimate destinations:
Pont des Arts – From this bridge stretching between the first and the sixth arrondissements, you have a panoramic view of the entire city. At night, the famous sights are well lit, for a stunning backdrop to your romantic interlude.
Pont-Marie – The secret to eternal love can be found under the Pont-Marie bridge, accessible only by riverboat. When you are just underneath, share a kiss and make a wish for your devotion to last forever. Legend has it that such wishes made under this Bridge of Lovers are always granted.
Jardins du Trocadéro – Choose a private bench in these lovely gardens, found just at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Gaze at the picture perfect marvel of engineering in between whispering sweet nothings to your beloved.
Finding Authentic Parisian Culture
Once you have seen the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, you will probably still hunger for a taste of Paris culture that is not so devoted to tourists. There are hundreds of less well-known spots to take in the city, where you get an honest glimpse of France’s history.
Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP) - For exhibitions that are primarily popular among Parisians, visit La Mèpe, 5/7 rue de Fourcy, 4th. The building dates back to 1706, offering insight into 18th century architecture before you even step inside. See exhibits of photography from around the world, from 1950 to today. If you have a particular interest, make an appointment to see the archives, which go back as far as Daguerre. Children appreciate the kid-friendly photography-themed lectures that are scheduled periodically, and adults have been known to spend hours examining the work of Salgado, Sieff, and many more.
Le Trianon - You are likely to find yourself near Montmartre for a variety of tourist attractions. Take a break from the crowds to visit le Trianon, a theatre that opened in 1894 (80 boulevard Rochechouart, 18th). First it was a music hall, and then after it nearly burned to the ground, it was transformed into a cinema. Today, it is a concert venue where you can enjoy performances by artists from around the world.
Hôtel de Ville de Paris - When you have had enough of admission fees, enjoy free cultural programs and exhibits organized by the city, alongside many of the city’s locals. Topics are usually related to the history, culture, and design of Paris, such as grande-dame designer Andrée Putman's Parisian interiors. The building is located at rue de Lobau, 4th, and the next scheduled show is titled Paris as seen by Impressionists.
Great Deals on Parisian Treasures
Paris has a reputation for being expensive, to match its reputation as a center for setting trends. While you could spend a fortune in shops devoted to haute couture, fine wine, and antiques, there is no need. The best bargains on the most interesting pieces are off the beaten path. Skip the labels you can find in any major city in the world, and visit some of these alternatives for great deals:
The Paris Flea Market - As the largest flea market in the world, you are likely to find anything you are looking for and many items you didn’t realize existed. Visit the area first thing in the morning, so you can have your choice of the most interesting merchandise. If selection is your primary concern, go just before the weekend rush starts. However, for the best bargains, shop on Mondays when the dealers want to dispose of anything that remains unsold after the weekend. Cash is typically the only payment method accepted, but there are a number of places to make withdrawals with a bank card if you run low.
Marché Richard-Lenoir - If you want to get great deals on food, visit Marché Richard-Lenoir mid-week for the lowest prices. Since merchants pack up around 1pm, you are likely to get great bargains right around noon so they don’t have to take unsold merchandise home. Enjoy takeout from stalls with global cuisine while you shop.
Rue Mouffetard and Rue Montorgueil - Pass by the expensive wine shops in fancy shopping districts, and instead choose from large selections in small specialty shops on local market streets. There are wonderful bargains to be had on some of the most marvelous wine in France from merchants on Rue Mouffetard and Rue Montorgueil. Don’t count out wine from the local supermarket – remember this is Paris. Excellent vintages are available at great prices where you buy your groceries.
There are more sights and experiences in Paris than one person can visit in a single lifetime. Enjoy some of the favorites of city locals for a real look at Parisian life.