Eiffel Tower? Check. The Louvre? Check. Now experience Paris like you live there.
- Step 1: After you've checked out the Mona Lisa, head to the Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, a stunning recreation of billions of years of animal life. It's located in the Jardin des Plantes, or botantical gardens, which also features an alpine garden, hothouses, a maze, and a small zoo.
- Step 2: Visit the district known as la Goutte d'Or, or Drop of Gold. Here, you'll find vendors selling African jewelry, cloth, and delicacies, and Moroccan and Tunisian restaurants. Also check out Belleville, another multiethnic neighborhood. Get your souvenirs here and you'll come home with really special mementos – at bargain prices.
- FACT: The grave site of The Doors' front man Jim Morrison, located in Paris' Pere-Lachaise cemetery, is one of the city's top tourist attractions.
- Step 3: Take a walk along the Canal Saint-Martin, which is lined with boutiques and bars. Or ride the canal in a boat; you can get on and off at either end.
- TIP: Many consignment shops are located north of the Seine River, on the Right Bank.
- Step 4: Sample local delicacies at Marche Bastille, an outdoor food market. If you're in town on a Sunday, browse the food stalls at the Boulevard Raspail's Marche Biologique, which offers organic fare. Pick up some posies at Marche aux Fleurs, a flower market not far from Notre Dame.
- TIP: Department store food halls, like those in the Galeries Lafayette or Le Bon Marche, are great places to grab lunch or a snack.
- Step 5: Find clothing bargains at La Vallee Village, a boutique outlet mall about a half-hour outside the city; an RER train will get you there. In the city, look for treasures at the many resale designer and consignment shops, called depots-ventes.
- Step 6: Skip the taxis; get a pass for unlimited trips on the metro, bus, tram, and RER, another underground railway. And take advantage of the inexpensive Velib bicycle system -- there are hundreds of service points throughout the city.