Paris, la ville de l’amour. A city that breathes “joie de vivre”. One of the best destinations within Europe and with these Top 10 unusual things to do in Paris you’re set for your next visit. There’s so much more to see besides the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc the Triomphe and the Louvre. It’s about time you know these hidden gems of Paris.
Number 10 – Parc de Belleville
This hidden park in the east of Paris is usually deserted. Although it looks a little bit neglected, it does offer amazing views on Paris. It’s the perfect place to escape the business of the city and to relax. Above the Parc de Belleville you’ll find Belvédère de Belleville. An open-air lookout spot filled with street art and graffity. Thé place to make those picture-perfect shots of Paris.
Number 9 – Montparnasse
The Montparnasse Observation Deck is one of the tallest skyscrapers of Paris. It used to be a rather unknown place to admire the beautiful city from above. However, nowadays the place is packed with tourists. Still, it beats any other view in Paris! Don’t make the expensive mistake of going up the Eiffel Tower, it’s better to have a view on rather than of. The best time to go up the Montparnasse is close to sunset. Oh, and if you’re exploring Paris with a Paris Visite you’ll get a 50% discount!
Number 8 – La Defénse
La Defance is the high-end business area of Paris. Packed with amazing looking offices and residential buildings. Sadly the area looks filthy, especially when coming from the metro station. Luckily The Grande Arch, with spot-on views of the Arc the Triomphe makes it well worth the trip. Going on a shopping spree? Les Quatre Temps, next to La Defance, is one of the most popular malls of Paris.
Number 7 – Galeries Lafayette
The Galeries Lafayette, located in the 9th arroundisement is thé upscale department store of Paris. Don’t expect to buy anything there, as it is ridiculously expensive. There is only one affordable aspect of the Galeries Lafayette and that’s the roof terrace. For now, the entrance to the roof is still for free. An amazing place to have a drink while admiring the views of Paris.
Number 6 – Promenade Plantée
One of the most beautiful walking routes through Paris and only known by locals; Promenade Plantée. A 5 kilometre elevated park build on top of abandoned railway infrastructure. It goes all the way from Porte Dorée (next to the abandoned Petit Ceinture) to Ledru-Rollin. The trail goes straight through buildings, tunnels and public parks. Best of all, you can completely escape the crowdness of the city.
Number 5 – The Petit Ceinture
The Petit Ceinture, an abandoned railway circling around Paris is mostly inaccessible for visitors. Over the past years parts of the trail have been converted to public parks, with the original railway tracks still present. What many people do not know, is that the best parts of the Petit Ceinture have to be accessed illegally. Locals have made some entrances here and there, but not always very long lasting. Your biggest chance is to try to access the Petit Ceinture at at the intersection of Rue des Pyrénées and Rue Vitruve. Just before the bridge climb up the ballustrade and walk towards the bridge. You’ll find a hole in the fence. Follow the path until you’ll find an open door on your left hand side near Porte de Vincennes.
Number 4 – Public Transportation
When navigating through Paris, use public transportation. With the RATP app you can plan jour journey throughout Paris in seconds. There is an incredibly dense Metro network underneath Paris and many of the tickets are also valid on the Busses, Trams and local trains. For example the Paris Visite ticket, with all transportation methods unlimited included for 3 days is only 25 euro’s! Have a look at the RATP website for more information.
Number 3 – Hotels
Hotels within the city centre of Paris are extremely expensive. However, if you decide upon a hotel within the suburbs of Paris (e.g. Saint-Denis, Genevilliers, Ivry-sur-Seine you save a lot of money! And with public transportation it takes you only about half an hour to get to the centre of Paris. Have a look at the affordable hotels in Paris.
Number 2 – The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is not a hidden gem within Paris, obviously. But the way to properly admire the Eiffel Tower is. Take Metro 6 in the direction of Trocadéro via Bir Hakeim. Do not exit at Bir Heikeim (Tour Eiffel) as you will miss the stunning views while you cross the river Seine. From Trocadéro you can walk towards the Eiffel Tower through the Trocadéro gardens. Continue all the way straight to the Champs des Mars. Lay down on the grass and simply admire. Also visit the Eiffel Tower after sunset, because on the whole hour the Eiffel Tower will sparkle. Romance guaranteed.
Number 1 – Roundabout Horror
One of the most fun things to do in Paris is to walk down the Champs-Élysées towards the Arc the Triomphe. What many tourists don’t know, is that there is an underground passage to the Arc the Triomphe. The result is that many tourists risk their lifes by running across the the roundabout. Now this magnificent piece of infrastructure is a true hidden gem in Paris. With no rules whatsoever, the cars that drive the fastest get right of way. This leads to some amazing near-accidents between cars as well as with running tourists. Enjoy!