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When you go to Paris, it is basically assumed that you will see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame (sadly, after the April 2019 fire in the Cathedral, it is not longer one of the top attractions in the area). And while these are all incredible experiences that I would absolutely recommend to anyone who visits Paris, there is more to this beautiful and cultured city than the few things that we commonly hear about.
So, if you’re looking to head to Paris and want to see some things that aren’t on the normal itinerary, or walking tour of Paris at night, check out this list of some of the best hidden treasures in Paris!
La Promenade Plantée
This enchanting garden walk is actually set a level above the city on what was once a railway line. When the station at Bastille was replaced with the opera, the railway that was left was transformed into a lovely park, a hidden gem of the city that gives a beautiful respite from the more well-known attractions. Enjoy the views and also the shops and cafes nestled into arches that once belonged to the railway but have now been reclaimed for a more enjoyable purpose. See if you can find some legendary Parisian pastries and delicious French wine.
Musée de la Vie Romantique
There are many beautiful, outlandish, and charming museums in Paris, and although we can’t expound on all of them, we’ll recommend one that we really loved. This museum was once the studio of painter Ary Scheffer, and is mostly centered around his work. But in general, the museum is dedicated to romantic art and literature, feature pieces from Delacroix and writer George Sand.
Outside the museum is a beautiful secret garden, featuring lovely cascading flowers and an outdoor café. It’s the perfect place to enjoy with your significant other.
Place Du Tertre
A small square that is nestled into the art neighborhood of Montmartre, this idyllic area is a wonderful place to take in the true culture of Paris. Small restaurants offer you good food and a place to sit back and watch as the artists get busy. It is almost as if they are putting on a performance, displaying their artistic talents right in front of the many passersby. If you want your portrait done, you can pay a relatively small amount and take home a lovely souvenir!
Just as a caution, this area does get very busy during the summer. To avoid the crowds don’t go during July and August. If your trip is already planned for the summer, however, this is also a great little night outing that gives you charming nocturnal views and is a short walk from the Sacre Coeur, another lovely Paris gem. Take in these sites in the late hours and enjoy live music and night skyline views of Paris on top of the hill.
Shakespeare and Company Bookstore
This unique bookstore has a fascinating history that has developed into a tradition which is honored to this day. The store was opened in the year 1951 by a man named George Whitman, who initiated a tradition of taking in wandering writers and offering them a place to stay for the night in return for an hour or two of help around the bookstore.
Really, the bookstore itself is just a front for what has been dubbed the “Tumbleweeds Hotel”, a social environment that fosters traveling writers. After 50 years the store (and Tumbleweed tradition) is still living in the hands of the original owner’s daughter. It is rumored that over 40,000 people have at one time or another slept in the 13 beds that are hidden in the bookshelves.
Paris, the City of Love, is a place that will leave an indelible impression on your heart and mind. It is a place that fills the dreams of many who have been stricken with this incurable disease known as wanderlust, and when the dream is finally realized in person it does not disappoint. To make your trip to Paris a truly amazing one, don’t forget to visit the places that are popularly unknown, and you will have a story to take back with you wherever you’ve come from.
Of course, Paris can be a bit intimidating for a traveler on a budget, but you can easily spend a day in the capital city of France for less than $25 a day!
What would be your favourite hidden spot in Paris?