While Paris may be famous for the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Élysées and the Louvre, to name a few of its iconic landmarks, there really is so much more than meets the eye.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with visiting all of these monumental sites, and I doubt you’d leave disappointed, but you do have to be prepared for them being tourist traps. This is why, on my most recent trip, I decided to do something a bit different and head off the beaten tourist track to discover the following four hidden gems.
1. Wall of Love
Hidden in the Jehan Rictus garden, in the heart of Montmartre, is the Wall of Love. Covering 40 square metres this work of art features the words ‘I love you’ 311 times in 250 languages. A testament to the romance of the Montmartre neighbourhood, and dedicated to love itself, this is a very fitting item to add to any itinerary in the city of love.
2. Musée de la Vie Romantique
Further south, at the foot of Montmartre, also known as St Georges, the Musée de la Vie Romantique is tucked away down a long cobblestone pathway. With a blink of an eye you’d miss its entrance. The museum features a collection of paintings by Ary Scheffer, George Sand and their contemporaries.
Perhaps more impressive than the museum though is the picture perfect house itself, including its hidden courtyard, which is the perfect suntrap in which to enjoy cake and coffee from the little café onsite. Surprisingly peaceful for its somewhat central location, and surrounded by chirping birds and greenery you’d be forgiven for never wanting to head back out into the real world.
3. Rooftop Terraces
Should you ever be able to escape the endless floors of tempting shopping at Galeries Lafayette or Printemps, you will discover they both have rooftop terraces with amazing views of the city. While this isn’t necessarily the best-kept secret, the views are still stunning and it’s a great way to catch your breath after the mayhem of stores!
4. Promenade Plantée
As the name suggest, the Promenade Plantée is a park with a difference. Built on top of an obsolete railway infrastructure in the Twelfth arrondissement, the linear park stretches for 4.7kms. An indisputably scenic walk through the city, you get the added bonus of being at eye level with some of Paris’s most beautiful apartments to enable you to get a glimpse of how the locals really live.
There is something very special about getting off the typical tourist track in Paris, particularly when you recall your day’s activities to locals who weren’t aware these sites existed!
Still blinded by the Eiffel Tower? Don’t worry, I don’t blame you, after all it is an iconic landmark. I’ll give you another tip: one of the most interesting places to capture the tower in all its iron glory is from the carousel at the foot of Trocadéro Gardens.
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