Getting to know the entire French capital at first glance is impossible. The good thing is this gives you reasons/excuses to return. Strolling in Paris, you always discover new things, even if you live in the city for years.
I decided to write a post for those who have already visited the Eiffel Tower and other Paris’ sights, as well as those looking to escape the clichés. I selected some places that I find interesting to explore.
Catacombs of Paris
Not the most beautiful ride, I know! However, it is an idea for those looking for different experiences. The Catacombs of Paris were open to the public in the early 19th century. It welcomes tourists since 1867.
Before becoming a tourist place, the catacombs had the function of storing the corpses and bones of different cemeteries of the city. The objective was to prevent the neighboring population from being contaminated by the excess of decomposing organic matter.
So it was decided that the old underground quarry tunnels in Paris would be used to store the bones. Initially, the bones were thrown anyway. It was only in the time of the French Empire that the catacombs were organized, forming actual walls of bones.
To visit the place you can go from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10h to 20h30, and the ticket with audioguide leaves 29 €. Ah, a tip is to go in the mornings, because even if it is not mega tourist, you can roll a queue depending on the time.
Tickets: from 13 € (catacombs + exhibitions)
Address: 1, Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris
In the same region of the Catacombs of Paris, you have a great place to see the main points of the French capital from above, including our Iron Lady. The tallest building in Paris is located in front of the Montparnasse train and metro station. It has been controversial since its inception. Many French people dislike the building because, they say, it escapes the context and “spoils” the city’s classic architecture.
Beautiful or not, the fact is that from the top of this 210-meter skyscraper, you have one of the best views in Paris. In addition to the panoramic view, there is a bar, a gift shop, and an exhibition area.
A tip: from the top floor (59 °), in the windowless part of the glass, you can see the sunset. It is wonderful!!
Tickets: from 17 €
Address: 33 Avenue du Maine, 75015 Paris
How about taking a tour of Paris differently? I’m not talking about the Seine River boat trip, which is also a good option.
The tip here is to take a walk on an old subway line that has been disabled and turned into a very green walkway.
In all, it gives about 4km, starting in Bastille and ending close to the Bois de Vincennes. A good part of the ride is high above the streets, and the other part is on land and great for finishing the journey by bike.
Open to the public, Coulée Verte also offers spaces that can be interesting to observe the city or even have a picnic in Paris if the weather collaborates.
Address: 1, Coulée verte René-Dumont, 75012 Paris
Situated on the outskirts of the Louvre Museum, Palais Royal is an ancient palace with many secrets. Starting with your peaceful garden with a pond, trees, flowers, and lots of chairs for you to get well, resting, reading a book, or even doing “several nothings.”
Palais Royal’s column-delimited courtyard is also featured. It became more popular with tourists, especially after the installation of artist Daniel Buren’s works of art – the famous irregular and striped columns scattered on the floor. The contemporary style stands in stark contrast to the classical architecture of the palace.
You can also take a walk through the side passages and discover several interesting little shops. It even has a thrift store with luxury-branded things that looks more like a museum, with objects that were concept decades ago. In this same part, you will also find good restaurants such as Restaurant du Palais Royal. If you want a coffee break, you have Cafe Kitsune as an option.
Address: 8 Rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris
Parc André Citroën
This is a place that runs well off most tourists’ routes, but it’s a bad thing. The park was created in the area of a car factory (hence the origin of the name.)It is a great place to go with kids as well as have a picnic in Paris.
However, the highlight of this park is a balloon that rises up to 150 meters high. The tour lasts about 10 minutes, and the amount charged is 11 € for adults and 5.50 € for children.
Address: 2 Rue Cauchy, 75015 Paris
Le Marché des Enfants Rouges
The oldest market in Paris is a great weekend program. It is also a popular place for cool people who live in Paris.
That’s why I suggest you set aside a day to get to know the Marché des Enfants Rouges and, of course, taste one of the different cuisines you will find there. As I said, there are a lot of options. Still, I really like an Italian rest that serves a truffle pasta to pray for, and another with very tasty (and a little spicy) Antilles dishes.
Ah, after lunch, take a stroll in the delightful market area. I assure you it will be a tour of Paris to feel like a “local.”
Address: 39 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris
For those who want to know another side of Paris, the Belleville neighborhood is perfect. Formerly the region was severely regarded because it had a large concentration of immigrants and working-class people.
However, everything has changed, and today it is a multicultural, hype, and active area. It’s the new darling of the cool guys and hipster.
If you are a fan of street art, in Belleville, you will find beautiful works. It even has the small Rue Dénoyez, known for having the walls on all sides graffiti. At the end of that same street is the Le Barbouquin café, with many books composing the decor and a MARA cheesecake!
The region still has memories of the time when the French singer Édith Piaf lived. You can see the façade where she lived as a child and not far away to visit a small private museum with the singer’s personal effects.
Two other places to explore are the Parc de Belleville, with a super cool city view, and Père Lachaise Cemetery, where several famous artists are buried.
⇒ Things to do in Belleville: Guide with tours, bars, and restaurants
Plant Garden and Natural History Museum
One place with many possibilities is the Paris Plant Garden. In the same area, there is the botanical garden with greenhouses that simulate different climates. There is also a zoo, a rosary with beautiful roses, the Great Gallery of Evolution. Furthermore, you can find the museum of man, the gallery of mineralogy and geology. And there is the paleontology gallery. It’s a great place to do in a half-day.
Note that some parts are free, such as the garden, and others are paid. To learn more, I suggest you visit the official website of the Natural History Museum and check the admission price of the galleries you wish to visit.
Address: 57 Rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris
Grand Mosque of Paris
Pasted with the Garden of Plants, the Grand Mosque of Paris has a part open to non-practitioners of the Muslim religion. The Hispanic-Moorish-style building has a restaurant, tea room, and a hammam – named after the Turkish baths, with steam saunas, massages, and exfoliations.
For me, the great highlight of the mosque is the tea room, which has a charming open area for you to have a delicious mint tea and taste various delicacies. My favorite is pistachio cake, excellent!
Address: 2 Place du Puits de l’Emit, 75005 Paris
Founded in 1669 by Louis XIV, Opera Garnier was the first opera company in Paris. With a luxurious interior and rich in detail, to this day still receives on the stage the leading dance, theater and music shows in the world. Close to the Galeries Lafayette, it also maintains a school and a dance company.
The place has been cited in Gaston Leroux’s “The Phantom of the Opera.” It is even open for visitors and is well worth a visit.
If you choose to attend a ballet or concert, I recommend dining at the restaurant within the opera house.
Address: 8 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris
Parisian planners have created a maze of hidden passages throughout the city. Over the years, many have fallen into disuse, and some demolished.
However, if you know where to look, you can still indulge in a belle époque arcade or a total art nouveau gallery.
A highlight is the Galerie Vivienne, one of the most famous, with its beautiful architecture, delicate floor mosaics, and its original shops.
Still in the Galerie Vivienne, you have a restaurant with all modern decoration. Set in the same spot as Jean Paul Gaultier’s legendary boutique, Daroco Restaurant serves excellent Italian-style pizzas. In time, enjoy walking around the passage. In addition to this covered passage, several others are scattered around Paris and take you back in time.
So, what did you think of the tip? Is there any other place you recommend? Tell me in the comments. ?