1. Where you stay determines how you will experience the city. Either as a tourist or a worldly traveller. Try a classic traditional homestay B&B guesthouse from Petite B&Bs. Think old-world service with breakfast served to you daily, afternoon teas, daily room cleaning and family style care and hospitality from locals who share their home with visitors. Understandably staying with what is essentially a stranger in there hone can seem uncomfortable or daunting for some, or the first timer, but a classic Bed & Breakfast will give you the richest experience beyond that of a hotel or even an empty apartment rental. In a Petite Paris B&B or Petite B&B in Portugal you will connect with a local, get valuable insider city guidance and city tips too, and in insight into the everyday life.In Paris - Stay in Petite Paris B&B Brigitte - a historic 17th B&B guesthouse offering 2 private entry guest suites each with private ensuite bathrooms, right on the Seine river banks on the left bank. Brigitte is a historian and lover of meeting travellers and chatting to them about Paris in her home. She loves to share a drink with her guests and take them out to a local bar - from ONLY 99euro per night, click here to view full details on the Petite Bed and Breakfast website and to check availability - https://www.petitebnbs.com/paris/bb-brigitte
In Lisbon - From only 30euro per night B&B Anna is our Lisbon accommodation or choice for a real authentic family experience living and staying with a local host who will make you feel right at home, in an authentic residential neighbourhood 10 mins walk to the centre - full details and bookings - https://www.petitebnbs.com/lisbon/bb-anna
2. Dive fearlessly into local cuisine. Expand your palette, for example in Paris or France, try the slimy escargot, the dry duck pate, the sliver liver, the cold cured meats that look alive on le assiette. Why travel to Petite Paris just to eat what you know?
- Best authentic French fare that is not for the faint-hearten or weak-stomached is: Bistro Paul Bert. Address: 18 rue Paul Bert, 75011 - MAP
- Best authentic Portuguese food in an authentic Portuguese neighbourhood is Restaurant Tollan. Address: R. dos Remédios 134, 1100-081 Lisboa, Portugal - MAP
3. Real life sits at the ‘dingy’ tabac: Don’t only stick to hyped shiny cafes; they’re pretty but safe and limiting. Besides glamorous or trendy is not all what Paris or Portugal is about. With a little relaxed and courageous discomfort, try a local less-than pretty dark tabac (in France) or Tasca (in Portugal) or with ordinary locals. The most extraordinary people, food and experiences come from the most ordinary ‘real’ places. Here we recommend selecting the most ordinary looking restaurant with the most amount of locals hanging about.
4. Don’t be entertained; be informed: Parisians and the Portuguese love to learn, love knowledge and to discuss, debate and deliberate. Politics, culture, history, are hot topics. Learn something about Paris’ history while in Paris. Visit the Carnavalet Museum (Museum of history of Paris). Gain some knowledge about the city and arm yourself with the tools to engage with Parisians. 16 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003 Paris, France - MAP
In Lisbon visit the Museu de Lisboa - Campo Grande 245 - MAP
5. Watch how it’s done: Market life is an important part of Parisian life. Watch how Parisians do it, pay attention to the process of the transaction, then imitate. Interact and be part of the scene. If something is misunderstood have faith, smile and allow your self to be guided. Petite Paris’ new eGuide book ‘Markets of Paris’ has a list of local and real Paris markets with market TIPS HERE
6. Say yes to Invitations: If given the opportunity to attend a Parisian or Portuguese party, GO! Like all dining experiences, they offer a wonderful insight into the local culture, etiquette, values, customs and dynamics. Though a whole new set of rules open up for such an occasion. Having basic awareness of customs and ‘social rules’ are important here.
So how do you get invited you ask? Here are some tips on how to make friends while travelling.
Here are some things to do:
- Learn the Langauge – people will want to talk to you if they feel comfortable speaking to you in their own language. Look into classes with the Mairie or Alliance Francaise in Paris or find a chatting partner on craigslist.
- Do the stuff you love – Sign yourself up for a Meet-Up or Facebook group, activities with people with similar passions transcends language and cultural borders. For example Yoga folks love to hang out with other yogis and go to a events.
- Inititate an Event – It can be an afterwork picnic along the Seine in the summer-time or a drink at a bar near the office. Just do it, they may say no, you may only have one person showing up from the office, but it’s a start: Initiative can go a long way.
- Find the Expats – If all of this fails, do what most of us expats do. Just hang with a group of other expats! This is a sure way to meet many interesting people not just french or Portuguese and also the French and Portuguese folks you’ll meet here who hang with these people are often more open minded. See meet-up also there is a strong likelihood that there is some Facebook groups.
7. Be human: In travels there are always situations where patience and understanding must be exercised. It’s the natural order that if you show compassion, understanding and open mindedness, you will receive it. It does no one any good, or service, to throw a tantrum if a train is late, cancelled or tickets mixed up etc. So refrain from yelling at the ticket seller unless you just want to be yelled back at. Just enjoy the ride!
8. Make time for no time: Allow for serendipitous moments. Set aside a day or chunk of time to lose time ... and yourself. Be open to meeting people and places. A spirit of adventure, curiosity and flexibility of time will inevitably lead you to authentic travel experiences. The City is truly yours!