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By Laura Kalmus, MSN contributor

Top tips from a local in Paris

Join TV producer Laura Kalmus as she takes us on a tour of her favourite ways to spend a classic day in Paris


Whenever I tell fellow travellers that I'm from Paris, I always get the same reaction: "Oh I love Paris!" Many of them will then give me multiple reasons why they had a great time in the city.

Without a doubt Paris is the romantic hotspot, where many a marriage proposal has been delivered, in fact many couples put aside a busy scheduled packed with sightseeing in favour of soaking up the atmosphere of the eternal city.

For the rest of us, Paris is simply one of the best places to kick back, eat and drink well and take in the sights. And while doing all that why not appreciate the architecture of Baron Haussmann who famously rebuilt the city in the 19th century creating wide avenues and sweeping boulevards.

With all its glamour, no wonder Paris is one of the most travelled to cities in the world, with 30 million visitors gracing its streets every year.

Eating and drinking

If you liked Canal St Martin as featured in my video catch one of its cruising barges and discover its allure from a different perspective. Stop by at the nearby restaurant Chez Casimir.

Sur Un Arbre Perche (© Sur Un Arbre Perche)

Indulge in four courses for around 32 euro or pick up a takeaway treat with Breton themed picnic baskets to go. The atmosphere there is uniquely Parisian, the wine is excellent and they serve some of the finest fresh whelks for brunch.

Moving on, if you liked the vibe of our featured restaurant, Sur Un Arbre Perché (Tree Top Perch) and are looking for a similarly great eatery, then pop into Le Petit Restaurant dans la Prairie (The Little Restaurant on the Prairie).

You won't meet Laura Ingalls playing in the fields or any other stars of The Little House on the Prairie, but you will definitely feel a farm atmosphere; cosy, trendy and very authentic, with the wooden furniture and a grassy knoll (quite rare for Paris). The food is traditional, always very fresh and seasonal; a real taste of France.



Shopping

Market lovers who want to visit the Market of Montorgueuil in the video should really stop by at No. 51 Maison Stohrer, one of the the oldest cake and confectionery stores in France.

Maison Stohrer

Indulge at La Maison Stohrer

The bakery's history started in 1725 with the marriage of the then King of France, Louis XV to Marie Leszczynska, the daughter of the King of Poland Stanislas.

The newly coronated queen imported her a personal cake-maker, Mr Nicolas Stohrer, to the Royal Palace at Versailles - five years later, in 1730, he opened his famous cake shop at Montorgeuil.

Today you can visit the store and taste their delicious fruit tarts, dainty chocolate ganaches, creamy profiteroles or their fabulously famous rum baba.

The menu is constantly renewed and updated with current foody trends, which gives me a great excuse to 'pop by' and check out the latest additions.

I'm still likely to grab my favorite 'Stohrer' patisserie, the 'Puits d'Amour' (wells of love). If the sound of the food doesn't draw you in, the décor certainly will; the store's facade is beautifully maintained to its original design and is protected as part of France's National Heritage. The air of royalty definitely still reigns in the place!

Sightseeing

Believe it or not it is possible to visit some of Paris' best known sights without feeling suffocated by the crowds. For example once you have scaled the steps of Montmartre, join the hoard taking a quick look round to admire the view but then take in the sights of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica which sparkles with mosaics.

Outside avoid the tacky street artists and instead head for the quaint cobbled alleyways which house small bars and boutiques worth a visit.

Monmartre (© Press Association Images)

Explore Monmartre's cobbled streets

The Louvre is undoubtedly Paris' most famous museum, but if you feel you give the Mona Lisa a miss take a trip to the Musée d'Orsay.

The once a former train station houses France's state collection of art from 1848 to 1914 has recently had a facelift and is a great way to get a dose of culture with fewer crowds.

If you fancy feeling like a proper Parisian, visit the locals' traditional market of Marche d'Aligre.

Located in the 12th district, tourists are rare here, so make sure you blend in by walking around with a half eaten baguette in your hand.

With its plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables looking more like an artist's exotic paint pallet and its extended variety of high quality fish and meat, you will get the widest authentic choice and the best bargains. Try visiting early on a Sunday to soak up the best atmosphere...be patient though as the locals will be there to, making their weekly shop.


When to visit

Visiting Paris is fabulous in any given season. The beautiful architecture of Haussmann and the huge selection of famous art galleries and museums is wonderful come rain or shine, but from May to September, you will probably have a good chance of seeing the sun and of course the romance of the young; I hope you fall in love there too.

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