A Parisian's Paris

Lesser-known spots and eateries replete with local color but easy on the budget

The boss wants to stay in Paris for the weekend, and let's face it, she's no greenhorn. She has already done the big sights -- the Louvre, Notre Dame, Montmartre. This time, she wants to get off the tourist beat and go deeper into la vie Parisienne.

Start on Friday after the day's meetings are done. If your visitor is an adrenaline junkie, she'll get a blast from Pari Roller, the world's largest weekly street-skating event (pari-roller.com). Departing at 10 p.m. from near the Montparnasse train station, Pari Roller draws up to 15,000 participants -- teens to seniors -- for a vigorous, three-hour dash through blocked-off Paris boulevards. To rent blades, contact Ootini Roller Proshop (ootini.com).

If this sounds a bit too active, consider a quiet dinner at the terrific, moderately priced Grizzli Café at 7 rue St. Martin in the 4th arrondissement (tel.: 01 48 87 77 56). It's cozy and friendly, with creative interpretations of classic dishes. Don't miss the moelleux, warm chocolate cake with a molten center.

Saturday morning, it's off to the Right Bank's little-visited 10th arrondissement for a stroll along the tree-lined Canal St. Martin. The prettiest section runs north from Rue du Faubourg du Temple near the Place de la République. If it's raining, head for a small museum. Two obscure gems: the Musée Jacquemart-André (158 blvd. Haussmann, 75008), a private collection of Renaissance and 18th century French paintings with a great café; and the Musée des Arts et Métiers (60 rue Réaumur, 75003), which chronicles the history of technology.

For dinner, a Belle Epoque classic: Brasserie Bofinger, 5 rue de la Bastille in the 4th arrondissement (01 42 72 87 82). In a roomy nonsmoking section under a stained-glass dome, diners can feast on oysters, choucroute garni, and apple tart, washed down with a nice Alsatian wine, for less than $40 each.

On Sunday morning the locals sleep late. That's a good time for a peaceful walk along the Seine or in the Tuileries gardens. Then, the boss can get in line for Paris' newest rage, le brunch, at Le Pain Quotidien, 18 rue des Archives in the historic Marais district. If the crowds or the $22 per person tab are turn-offs, she could saunter to L'As du Falafel, 34 rue des Rosiers, and sample a tasty falafel sandwich for about $6. When she has had her fill, she has plenty of time to catch an afternoon flight. She could even skip a cab and take the $10 RER commuter rail train to the airport. That should make her feel like a real Parisian.

By Andy Reinhardt

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