Where to go in France? Hear a local’s faves in Paris & Bordeaux

Where to go in France? Hear a local’s faves in Paris & Bordeaux
There is so much of Paris to love all year round! Some tips from a local can only be a good addition to your plans! (such as visiting the 9th arr. including this rooftop bar at the Galleries Lafayette)

Loulabelle's FrancoFiles episode 157

Guest: Alex Ganipeau from The French Hack

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Alex Ganipeau is a native of Bordeaux who is now a skilled French teacher residing in Australia with her business The French Hack. I check in with Alex weekly to improve my French chatting skills and I also love her tips on lots of things to do, places to go and cultural matters we might stumble across when visiting France. She is always a wealth of info for me when I’m planning my next French escape! So much so that we thought a chat about her faves from a local perspective would assist the many of us tourists heading to France this year during the Olympics or across the French summer.


I was fascinated to hear of Alex’s main fave in Paris: a visit to the Jardins des Plantes in the 5th! It has something for everybody with the garden itself, a zoo, a gallery of evolution and also of palaeontology. This is now definitely on my list for my next Paris visit!

Jardin des Plantes


Once you are in the Jardin des Plantes, lunch in the Grande Mosque is a must according to Alex! I have heard from many locals in Paris that this the place they love to visit for something special. The Grand Mosque of Paris is located in the 5th arrondissement and is one of the largest mosques in France. There are prayer rooms, an outdoor garden, a small library, a gift shop, as well as a cafe and restaurant. Alex reckons her family order almost everything on the menu and everything is fabulous! Another place definitely on my list!

Grande Mosque


When staying in Paris, Alex has noticed the up and coming vibe in the 9th arrondissement. It is funky and uber cool. New yet traditional, elegant yet hip. It is an area known for its theatres, including the 1875 Palais Garnier opera house. I always love a visit to the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores, as well as the divine covered passages found off the boulevards. Known colloquially as South Pigalle, travellers will love the gourmet restaurants right near intimate museums. Mercy Alex! Another spot for the list!

9th arr of Paris


As Alex is a local to Bordeaux, she has some amazing recommendations for day trips out of the city. Tune in to hear all in the podcast episode for Alex’s recommendations to visit some areas not far from Bordeaux.



If you’re getting a car in Bordeaux, a day visit just a short drive away to Saint-Émilion is worth the travel. Saint-Émilion is a world heritage site in a region of wine hills and is a medieval city located at the crossroads of Bordeaux, Saintonge and Périgord.



This is a cute seaside village a short journey from Bordeaux. A visit to Arcachon can easily take the whole day but many tend to combine it with a visit to the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe. If you’re planning to visit only the town of Arcachon and the dune, getting there by train would be the easiest option. However, if you also want to visit some of the other magical spots on the bay, a car is a more practical way to get around.


Alex’s links

The French Hack

Alex’s Instagram


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