Paris is a breathtakingly wonderful city that has besotted agog tourists and visitors for centuries. And with good reason. It’s a quintessential European city with the bustling metropolitan atmosphere of London, the romantic whimsy of Rome, the artistic vibrancy of Berlin and the cultural diversity of Riga.
Unfortunately far too many tourists waste too much of their time on the well-trodden paths of familiar tourist traps. The Eiffel tower and the Moulin Rouge are all well and good but they contribute little to immersing yourself in the rich atmosphere of France’s Capital.
Cheap flights to Paris have never been more affordable or easier to come by so there’s really no excuse not to explore some of these under explored Parisian pleasures…
La Butte aux Cailles
Those drawn to the city by the colour saturated whimsical lens of Jean Pierre Jeunet’s films such as Amelie may be starkly disappointed when confronted by the reality of most of Paris, but La Butte aux Cailles offers a combination of art nouveau architecture, narrow cobblestone streets and quirky cafes and restaurants that come eerily close to matching the film’s quaint anachronism.
While you’re in this idiosyncratic neighbourhood we recommend checking out the Alsacian Villa, Place Paul Verlaine and Rue des Cinq Diamants as well as the 19th century well where you can fill your bottle with natural spring water.
Eglise St. Etienne du Mont
This gothic church on Montagne Sainte-Genevieve is not only a staggeringly beautiful work of ecclesiastical architecture but a vitally important part of the city’s history and culture.
The church was once part of an abbey dedicated to the patroness of the city, Sainte Genevieve. Within the church’s marvellous interior you’ll find its closely-guarded main attraction; the shrine and golden reliquary wherein are housed the remains of Sainte Genevieve herself.
Paris Sewer System
No, seriously. Few tourists would imagine a tour of a sewer a quintessential part of visiting a city but this historic network of cavernous tunnels houses one of the most unorthodox museums in Europe.
The system of pipes and tunnels is fascinatingly ancient, built in the 1200s with shockingly long and tragic history.
No visitor to France’s capital should leave without having their own Belleville Rendezvous. This charming area was once a village that supplied central Paris with its wine but now it’s a vibrantly multicultural hub that shames the famously bustling and artistic provinces like Pigale and Paris’ Chinatown.
Food lovers will find a huge variety of affordable and authentic Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines with a quintessentially French twist.
The Parc de Belleville is a beautiful place to walk off your meal and a little further along you’ll even find the resting places of such august personages as Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde at Pere Lachaise cemetery.
Marche St. Quentin
Markets are such a great way to immerse yourself in local culture alongside locally grown produce, baked goods and objects d’art. Curiously, though, this famous Parisian market is often overlooked. This indoor market offers a huge range of multicultural foods and products along with stunning architecture and a vibrant atmosphere.