The ‘City of Love’ is well known for many things, in particular places like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe, but what else does this spectacular city hold? Here are just 8 alternative things to see in Paris that you might not normally think of!

  1. There are many literary cafes in Paris; one such place is the Closerie des Lilas, located on the Boulevard du Montparnasse. This is the place where Hemingway wrote his book Fiesta (The Sun Also Rises) and also where F. Scott Fitzgerald read his famous work The Great Gatsby to Hemingway himself. To experience a Parisian cafe with literary history, you need look no further.
  2. It is surprising how many visitors to France’s capital brush over the idea of visiting the Paris catacombs. This network of underground tunnels stretches all over the city, with 2km available to those who wish to take a tour. With over 2000 years’ worth of history, albeit a little morbid, these are definitely worth experiencing.
  3. Montmartre is a must-see place for those who are keen on history, architecture and the arts. It is Paris’ 18th district and home to the Sacre Coeur basilica, as well as being full of street artists and picturesque cafes.
  4. French food is known the world over, but how about instead of just simply eating some… you have a go at cooking it? Throughout the city there are many cooking classes that will teach you to make a dish the French way. ‘La Cuisine Paris’ and ‘Cook’n with Class‘ are just two places you can have a go at doing this.

    Notre Dame de Paris Southern Facade
    Notre Dame de Paris Southern Facade. Taken by Bob Leathers.
  5. The Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t exactly an unusual sight to go and see in Paris, but what many people don’t know is that there are often free music concerts that take place inside its walls. If you can, take a visit here when there is a concert going on – the music resounding inside the cathedral will leave you breathless.
  6. Fans of markets will want to check out Les Puces De Paris, a flea market that has been around since the 19th century and boasts over 2000 stalls that offer a whole array of different things from crafts, antiques, clothing and artwork. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, it’s worth a visit just to look around and observe the locals haggling for their wares.
  7. Many people know that New York City’s ‘Statue of Liberty’ was crafted and sent over to America by the French, but what many people don’t know is that on the Iles Aux Cygnes stands a smaller, yet perfect, version of Lady Liberty! At only a tenth of the height of the American version, many visitors don’t even realise that it’s a stones throw away from the iconic Eiffel Tower.
  8. Museums! The Louvre most likely claims the title as the most well known museum in Paris, but the city boasts a plethora of museums – pretty much all of which won’t have you spending a fraction of the time in queues as the Louvre will. Some of the museums on offer include Le Musee Des Arts Forains (The Museum of Carnival Arts) and Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature (Museum of Hunting And Nature). Just simply take your pick of museums to experience one of many expressions of Parisian culture.

So there you have it; eight alternatives to the typical sights found in Paris. That is not to say the main sights aren’t worth a visit (because they are), but keep your eyes open to all the possibilities this magical city has on offer.

Bethan Newman is an English girl trundling through life and jaunting to places the world over.

Comment! Complain! Come On! Please?