This week I’ve won a fantastic competition run by Conferize – the prize is 1 ticket to attend LeWeb! As a very curious person and a lover of conferences, I’m overly excited about the opportunity to attend one of the most fresh and forward thinking events in the world.
So I thought that I’d take this opportunity to write a blog post on what to do in Paris during LeWeb. Now, I’m not French, but I feel like an “adopted” Parisian: I’ve spent a lot of time in this city and for almost 2 years I’ve been working for a Paris-based start-up company, so I come here every month and I hang out with locals. Paris is absolutely one of my favourite cities in the world. It’s so huge that obviously there are a million things to do here, but I’ll share with you my favourite off the beaten path spots and tips for business travellers like you.
Getting around the city and to LeWeb:
First of all, the closest airport to the venue is Charles de Gaulle, in case you don’t have your flight ticket yet! From CDG airport you may take a taxi (check out the discount LeWeb offers here) or the train, which stops in most central train stations. Beware that Uber taxis may be more expensive, because of the conference. If you arrive via Orly, there are trains but also buses from AirFrance.
One of my favourite things about Parisian airports is that the wifi is fantastic: Barclays offers unlimited wifi for free (there is a paid premium version, but unless you have to do a video conference call, I think you’ll be just fine). Also, here’s a great tip: if you want to bring a nice souvenir, some macarons from Ladurée will always be appreciated! And you can find Ladurée outlets in both Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports.
If you’re into running, this is probably not the best time to be in Paris because it’s quite chilly and it rains often. Also, the city has an stunning number of beautiful parks that are perfect for doing sports, however in the winter time they close early, by 5 or 6pm. Therefore, I usually just run in the street or around parks.
Another practical tip: if you run out of toothpaste, need to buy some basic clothes or whatever you left at home, Monoprix is a great place to go: you’ll find many of them around the city.
Places to visit:
As I said, there are many things to see in Paris but here I offer you an alternative plan, popular between locals. A very nice way to spend half a day is to do this tour: first off you start your stroll at the Canal St. Martin, and walk from Gare de l’Est to the Bastille. Then you can spend some time in the 4th, 6th and 7th arrondissements. I especially like Le Marais (the 4th): it’s gorgeous (it’s the oldest quartier in Paris) and it’s full of relaxing cafes and fashionable shops. I also love St. Germain des Pres (the 6th) and the Jardin de Luxembourg, probably one of the most beautiful parks in the city. Also not so far away is the library Shakespeare & Company, where Ernest Hemingway and many other writers have lived. If you’re a book lover, this is your paradise!
Afterwards you can continue onto the Musée d’Orsay and the Voie sur Berge, which boasts many shops and cafes on top the river. At the Voie sur Berge you may have a drink or two in the famous Rosa Bonheur. And if you still have energy, you can end the trip at the Palais de Tokyo, which hosts amazing contemporary art collections.
If you’re into art, you may also want to visit the recently launched Louis Vuitton Foundation, whose building is from architect Frank Gehry. And if you’re feeling Christmassy, head to the Champs Elysées or the Galeries Lafayette to contemplate their Christmas decorations.
Finally, if you want great views of the city without going to the super touristic Eiffel Tower, you can go for a ride with a hot air balloon!
Places to eat:
Not too far from the area where the convention centre is, in the district of Batignolles, there is a charming street called Rue Legendre (closest metro station is La Fourche). This street offers a wide range of nice restaurants famous between locals. One of my favourite ones is an Italian restaurant called Fuxia.
But if you want to try authentic French cuisine, I recommend you go to this typical French Bistro called Le Restaurant du Marché. Their food is top quality (my personal favourite is their Parmentier du canard) and the customer service is great. It’s a bit far from the centre of Paris, but you’ll probably not find any tourists there!
Other restaurants that stand out in Paris are Le Cornichon, Le Cantine du Troquet, Afaria or Sanukiya (best for Japanese ramen). If you’re looking for upscale restaurants, then I recommend Le Chateaubriand or Le Dauphin.
And for a quick bite, la Briochée Doree is a nice alternative to McDonald’s! It’s a large French chain, you’ll find shops in most streets.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and please do let me know if you have any questions!
Enjoy Paris and see you at LeWeb!