I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida but had been traveling to Paris since 2007. At first it was just for a few days and then my trips got longer – a week, two weeks and a month! After the pandemic, I decided it was time to realize my dream of living in Paris. My husband and I have been living there since December, 2021 and we love discovering its neighborhoods.
In many ways, Paris inspired my photography. I started my Instagram account @inseinelyparis for myself, in order to live vicariously through my photos. We weren’t able to travel to Paris due to the lockdown in France, plus they had Americans locked out. So I started digging through my archives of photos from previous trips and began posting on a daily basis.
I’m not sure why the account grew but maybe my love for the city showed through in my comments. Don’t get me wrong: I have always loved travel photos and had even taken a few photography webinars, but I never took it seriously until I was able to return to Paris in the summer of 2021. I felt obliged to keep up with my daily postings and so I kept taking photos.
Then I purchased a new camera and learnt how to use it properly. Now, I love photography! My camera is ‘my baby’. I rarely leave home without it. I practice all the time. I take webinars and workshops, and watch YouTube videos. Of course, I’m inspired by other Instagram users and push myself to be as good as them. I also offer photo shoots and tours of Paris. I’m working on a website but for now people can reach me via email or Instagram DM.
My Favorite Part of Paris: The 11th Arrondissement
Paris is the world’s most beautiful and intriguing city. There is something unique about Paris, it’s difficult to put into words. I know this sounds like a cliché but there is a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’. What I love most about the French capital is how alive I feel when I walk down the streets. This city just awakens your senses through art, cuisine, fashion, history and literature.
Many neighborhoods in Paris have unique characteristics that make them special. Right now, I’m loving my neighborhood in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. It feels very local, so it makes me feel like a local. And I have all my favorite spots just a few minutes walk from my apartment.
This includes a beautiful produce market, a cheese shop, a boulangerie for my husband’s daily baguette runs, a boucherie where I get my Sunday roasted chicken, a florist because if you are living in Paris you must have fresh flowers, and a vinyl store because when I go back to our ‘pied a terre’ I put on a record, light some candles and pour a glass of wine. One more thing: this area is known for having some of the best restaurants in Paris.
Best Neighborhood in Paris for Food
In my opinion the best neighborhood in Paris for food, as you might have already guessed, is the 11th arrondissement. The food market I mentioned above – Marché d’Aligre – is technically in the 12th arrondissement but it borders the 11th. It’s a beautiful, colorful market with fresh produce lining the entire street. And of course, I mentioned the restaurants in the 11th.
Best Neighborhood in Paris for Authentic Charm
Île Saint-Louis has retained the most authentic charm of any neighborhood in Paris because it’s not on the tourist trail at all. I wrote in a post the other day that Île Saint-Louis seems to be frozen in 17th century old world charm. Although it’s located in the heart of the city, it’s an island on the Seine without any well-known monuments or sites. So I don’t think many people pass through there, unless they are looking for Berthillon ice cream.
Best Neighborhood in Paris for Culture
To me, Le Marais has the most interesting cultural aspects of the French capital. The neighborhood is very LGBTQ+ friendly and is also the most prominent Jewish neighborhood in Paris. You can have a street full of gay bars, and turn the corner and walk alongside Orthodox Jews. Maybe head to Rue des Rosiers where you can find amazing falafel and Kosher shops.
Best Neighborhood in Paris for Photography
Paris is so photogenic, hence why it inspired my photography. As for the best neighborhood, I guess it depends what vibe you want. If it’s monumental, then I suggest the 1st arrondissement which has the Louvre Museum, Tuileries Garden, Place Vendôme and the Palais-Royal. If you are going for charm, then definitely head to Montmartre for the small village feel of cobblestone streets, private gardens, windmills and even a vineyard.
Need to Know Before you Go
The most important thing people should know before they visit Paris is to understand some basic etiquette about the city. For example, always say ‘Bonjour’ when entering an establishment. It’s considered very rude to not greet someone when entering. Then say ‘Merci au revoir’ when you leave.
Parisians speak English beautifully but one should never assume they do. It’s polite to always ask: “Parlez-vous Anglais”? You don’t need to learn the French language fluently but you should have a few basics ready – a simple ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ will do the trick. These small gestures will get you more smiles and friendlier service wherever you go.