Best things to do in Paris: 10 ways to see the city like a Parisian

LEARN THE LINGO

Bed down and learn some of the local lingo at the same time at the Pavillon des Lettres​ hotel.

Set deep in Paris' eighth arrondissement a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees, this boutique, 26-room (with some suites offering views of the Eiffel Tower) literary-themed property is a great base in itself, but now visitors can get an even deeper immersion into French life with language lessons during their stay.

Learn your ''tu'' from your ''vous'' and brush up on essential phrases via a private two-hour lesson that's inclusive with each superior room booking, subject to availability.

See pavillondeslettres.com

DINE WITH A PARISIAN

Thanks to website Eat With, which connects tourists with local cooks, you can pull up a seat at an authentic Parisian dining table.

Taste local dishes, get insider titbits and rub shoulders with both the host and fellow like-minded travellers. For something even more special, opt for a meal at the home of 2012 French MasterChef winner, Jean-Yves Vuong.

See eatwith.com

STROLL ALONG THE CITY'S TRENDIEST CANAL

Though absent from the radars of most tourists, the Canal Saint-Martin has become the city's hipster capital.

Located in the northeast of Paris, its 19th-century waterway and iron footbridges have bohemian charm in spades. Here Parisians play chess or picnic by the water and hop from bar to restaurant to bar. A particular standout is Le Comptoir General.

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Hidden down a blink-and-you-miss-it laneway, the venue is truly unique – bar, museum, cinema, bookstore, restaurant and hair salon. Soak up the cool vibes from your fellow patrons, all of whom will be lounging on mismatched vintage furniture, cocktail in one hand and cigarette in the other.

See lecomptoirgeneral.com

TRAWL THE MARKETS

A true neighbourhood market, the Aligre Market – situated between the place de la Bastille and the place de la Nation – is worth the crosstown trek. Held six days weekly, it's one of the cheapest in the city, which makes it very popular.

Divided into an outdoors and covered market – the latter also includes flea market-style antique and vintage booths – the focus here is produce and lots of it. Pack a picnic rug and arrive in the morning to stock up on lunchtime fare, including cheeses, patisseries, wine, craft beer and saucisson.

PARK LIFE

Miles of greenery with not a tourist in sight. When locals need a break from city life, they come to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.

Sprawling over 25-hectares in the city's 19th arrondissement, this pretty park opened in 1867 during Napoleon III's reign and features cliffs, a waterfall and a lake. Thanks to its generous size, you can easily find a private spot.

There are three cafes to choose from, the most famous of which is Rosa Bonheur – a ''guinguette'' (outdoor drinking spot) – that truly comes alive in the summer. If that wasn't enough, the hilly area also offers gorgeous panoramic views over the French capital. Tres belle.

STAY LOCAL

You've eaten with a local, so how about staying with one?

Home Stay connects travellers to local hosts – think Air BNB but with a higher level of interaction – allowing travellers to both share a roof with an authentic Parisian and pick their brans for tips at the same time. While much of the accommodation errs on the no frills side, it's ideal for independent leisure travellers of all ages.

See homestay.com

EXPLORE MULTICULTURAL PARIS

Leave the Seine and the bright lights of the Eiffel Tower behind you and explore a lesser-known neighbourhood: the working class district of Belleville.

Passionate local resident Emmanuel takes guests on walking tours through the area that songstress Edith Piaf once called home. Cosmopolitan and multicultural, it boasts one of the most vibrant independent cafe and art gallery scenes in the city.

See trip4real.com 

SPA LIKE A LADY WHO LUNCHES

The Four Seasons Hotel George V is one of the most luxurious properties in the city and while a night or two here might cost the earth, you can definitely splurge on a meal at its newest restaurant Le George and a spa experience afterwards at its in-house spa.

A go-to for resident ladies who lunch, the slick 11-room spa is quintessentially French with an indoor pool complete with hand-painted fresco of the gardens of Versailles. Opt for the suitably regal Stroll to Versailles treatment. Inspired by Marie Antoinette, this 2½-hour ritual incorporates a massage, body scrub and facial.

See fourseasons.com/paris

TAKE IN A MOVIE

On that inevitable rainy day – this is Europe, after all – make like a local and take shelter in the Art Deco wonder that is the Le Grand Rex cinema.

Built in the early 1930s, the Rex is one of the most spectacular cinemas you'll ever see and with about 3000 seats, it's the largest auditorium in the whole of Europe.

Still showing both new, old and art house movies, the venue is also home to various festivals peppered throughout the year. Kids will love the annual Feerie des Eaux show, during which 1200 jets of water are shot from fountains on stage to celebrate the latest family-friendly flick.

See legrandrex.com

EAT UP

Discover and taste French specialties from cheeses and meats, to handmade chocolates and macarons with an avid resident gourmet during a three-hour guided tour.

As well as taking guests on a walking degustation, the Succulent Paris experience also includes a tete-a-tete over a glass of French wine and nibbles in an authentic Parisian apartment.

See succulent-paris.com

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