For many, Paris conjures iconic images of Tour D’Eiffel and the Champs Elysee. The ‘City of Love’ has dozens of attractions which feature in every guidebook and tour.
But can there really be more to Paris? If you are a more adventurous and inquisitive traveller, the usual tourist traps may not be so appealing. Luckily, there are some brilliant secret spots hidden in the French capital, all it takes is a bit of investigation.
How do you find a ‘secret’ spot?
So, how do you find these ‘secret’ spots? Firstly you need to avoid the usual Paris guides, as wonderful as they are, they do focus heavily on the usual tourist hotspots.
You can find some great little guidebooks out there, which focus more on hidden-gems and alternative tourist attractions. Doing some research online is another way to discover your own secret Paris. Depending on your interests, there are countless websites offering a glimpse of underground Paris. The key is to refine your search according to where your interests lie, whether it be cozy music venues or off the beaten track restaurants and bars.
If you haven’t got the time, or inclination, to find Paris’ secret spots yourself, then try a few we have found for you.
The Oldest House in Paris
For the keen architect, make your way over to 51 rue de Montmorency in the 3rd arrondissement. There you will find what is claimed to be the oldest house in the city, built in 1407.
The Site of the Guillotine
For the history buffs, the story goes that from 1792 to 1851 Madame Guillotine stood at the corner where rue de la Roquette and rue de la Croix-Faubin meet. The guillotine itself no longer remains (for obvious reasons!) but look closely enough and you will find the four granite flagstones that mark the site.
The Oldest Tree in Paris
If nature interests you more than history, near Nôtre-Dame, in square René-Viviani, is the oldest tree in Paris. A Robinia (false acacia) tree, that was apparently planted in 1636 and still standing today.
For the arty types, on the wall of 27 rue Saint-Jacques in the 5th arrondissement is Salvador Dali’s sundial. The world-renowned Spanish artist made it as a gift to a former resident of the house.
Arranging a trip
You hardly need us to tell you that weekend breaks in Paris are world-beating trips for anyone with an interest in history, food, art, or a bit of romance.
There are many ways of getting to Paris, but without doubt the best way is by train. Paris and it’s four main stations, are accessible from any main terminal in France and beyond, and UK travellers have the added pleasure of taking the Channel Tunnel, one of the most sophisticated, relaxed modes of international travel you can find.
Once you arrive, there’s a plethora of hotels to suit all budgets, with each neighbourhood offering a unique atmosphere. And once you have unpacked, you can look forward to making a myriad of culinary discoveries.
In fact, there are so many reasons why your trip to Paris will be memorable, you should probably book your return visit now!