Planning a getaway to Paris? If you’d like to do something a bit different, read on. Our in-the-know local Magali shares 10 unique things to do in her magnificent city.
1. Experience the quietness of the catacombs
The Catacombs of Paris have a truly unique atmosphere. You’ll notice that silence is the master as you head deeper and deeper underground. The peacefulness contrasts with the noise of the city above. Beautiful quotes about life and death will make you think deeply about your own life and its fragility.
2. Hunt for unique souvenirs at the Saint-Ouen Flea Market
The Saint-Ouen Flea Market is definitely worth a visit if you’re a fan of shopping. You can easily spend hours there hunting for treasures. You can find pretty much anything: furniture, tableware, books, posters… The list is endless!
3. Enjoy a drink in a Parisian palace
Paris is known for its many luxury hotels and palaces. Their refinement exceeds expectations. Having a drink in one is quite a unique experience. Famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway were regular patrons of these exceptional places, the Ritz Paris for example.
4. Explore Paris’ two iconic cemeteries
It might seem weird to visit cemeteries while on vacation, however Père Lachaise and Montmartre Cemetery aren’t typical cemeteries! They’re the final resting places of numerous artists, musicians, writers, actors, celebrities and even famous couples, both French and international.
5. Get your groceries at local markets
French people LOVE going to the market to buy fresh, high-quality products. There are plenty of markets in the city, for example the all-organic Marché biologique des Batignolles, Le Marché des Enfants Rouges and the Belleville Market. They are truly representative of French gastronomy, and places where people meet and socialise.
6. Visit the Palais Garnier
Very few visitors think of entering the Palias Garnier. They usually stand outside taking selfies on their way to nearby shops such as Galeries Lafayette.
However, the Palais Garnier totally deserves a stop. This place breathes majesty. The ceiling, painted by the artist Chagall, and the massive staircase are amazing. Palais Garnier is also the setting of the famous novel The Phantom of the Opera.
7. Visit the Paris Sewers Museum
It sounds very weird, but yes, it’s possible! The sewers of Paris have a long and rich history. This is your chance to see the underside of the city and learn more about water engineering. It’s a must for fans of Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables.
8. Be blown away at the Natural History Museum
This place more than pleases natural science buffs. Don’t miss the Gallery of Evolution; there are over 7000 incredibly lifelike specimens to see. The huge hall is itself impressive. It’s the perfect place to discover biodiversity.
9. Walk along an abandoned railway line
A different way to discover Paris is to walk the length of Promenade Plantée. It’s a linear park spanning 4.7 kilometres, built atop a disused railway line in the east of the city. Access the western part from Bastille by walking down rue de Lyon to Avenue Daumesnil. Once you reach the viaduct on the left, take the staircase.
10. Think about the French Revolution at La Conciergerie
Prisoners of the French Revolution were kept at La Conciergerie before being sent to their death (the frightening guillotine was used to kill hundred of nobles, intellectuals, politicians and commoners during the French Revolution).
There’s a reconstruction of the cell where Queen Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before being beheaded.
It’s a creepy place, however you’ll also enjoy the Gothic architecture and impressive weapons room.