I love Paris – it has to be one of my favourite cities. I love everything about it; the Eiffel Tower (don’t snub it and not go right to the top), the Seine, the Artists throughout Montmartre, the architecture, the Museums, the beautiful churches, the atmosphere, the food….don’t get me started on French food. I won’t stop.
There are so many amazing things to see in Paris, and these places often see millions of visitors a year.
The Eiffel Tower, The Arc d’Triumph, the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, the Sacre Coeur, Euro Disney, the Notre Dame, Versailles, the Catacombs, the Père Lachaise Cemetery, and on and on I could go.
I’ve been to all these places and they’re very cool, but some places seem to be constantly bypassed by most people. I bypassed them on my first week-long trip to Paris. On my second trip however I spent 6 weeks staying with a local family in river boat on the Seine.
I was supposed to be studying – it was a language exchange – but I spent every spare second and a few that shouldn’t technically have been spare exploring Paris.
And I really don’t regret it. Paris is so much more interesting than a classroom. 🙂
If you go to Paris you should definitely go to all of the above. They are popular for a reason. If you have more than a couple of days, or it is your second visit, then try to spare some time for these awesome places. I wouldn’t say they were off the beaten track. that is almost impossible in a city so high on most people’s priority lists. But I found that they are definitely overlooked.
Musee de l’Orangerie
This is a really great museum that lots of people miss because of Louvre induced tunnel vision. This is not to say that you should skip the Louvre – it is fantastic – but spare some time for this little Museum in front of the Louvre. I thought it was brilliant.
Its main attraction is Monet’s Water lilies. As you walk in the room they will make you gasp in appreciation. The use of colours is beautiful.
The sculptures in here are particularly brilliant. I think I discovered one of my all time favourite artists. Also be sure to check out the Camille Claudel section. There are not many of her art works, so they are included with Rodin’s art works because they had a then infamous affair and she is always associated with him. She had a horrible life at the hands of her mother and brother, but I think the talent her works are more than equal to the talent in Rodin’s works.
St Denis Cathedral
I’m at a loss that this place is so far off everyone’s radar. Most people go to the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral (totally worth it), but entirely miss older 12th century Cathedral of St Denis.
It is an amazing Cathedral, and has the remains of 42 French kings, 32 queens, 63 princes and princesses. Including Maire Antoinette and Louis XVI as they were re-buried there. It was also often the coronation site of Queens. It has huge historical importance and is really easy to get to (Subway stop, Basilique de St. Denis, Line 13) – I have no idea why more people don’t go.
Another church that is often over-looked is the St Chapelle. It is actually on the same island as the Notre Dame – so go and see it! It is only five minutes walk away. It is particularly beautiful. It is the one of the few churches I’ve seen that still has paint on the walls and on the sculptures. This was apparently quite common in churches – but came off easily and was not maintained in most of them.
This is more for history buffs, but again it is on the same island as the Notre Dame and is right beside the St Chapelle. It use to be the main Royal residence before they moved to the Louvre, and it was eventually used as a prison for many people including Marie Antoinette.
If you saw photos of this area of Paris without being told that it was Paris – you likely wouldn’t recognise the city. There are no charming old style buildings here, the Latin Quarter and Montmartre seem like they never existed.
It is all towering skyscrapers of glass instead. It is probably what Paris would look like if the developers had not been halted. It is a great trip out of the centre of Paris, but I am exceedingly grateful that the whole city has not been developed the same way.
The La Grande Arche Monument at La Defense sits on the same line as the Louvre and the Arche de Tirumph with the Champs-Élysées running through the middle.
There are lots of really amazing places to discover in Paris if you explore a bit. Stop, take a look around, and discover more. 🙂