So I realized I never really got around to posting about our two week vacay to France from May/June yikes! You get busy and ta-da! the time is gone. I did, however, post about Greece and the Bahamas
, hah! Anyway – throughout our travels I WISHED we were able to squeeze in some of these incredible and different things to do whilst in Paris.
*This post may contain affiliate links – all views and opinions are my own.*
Paris is full of popular landmarks, but those willing to venture off the beaten path can find all kinds of alternative attractions worth visiting. Such attractions could make your visit to Paris unique, rather than simply treading the same tourist trail as everyone else. I don’t know about you but I love seeing the hidden gems of a city – they’re usually less crowded and incredibly interesting! Here are just a few alternative attractions to consider.
Explore the catacombs
Hidden beneath the streets of Paris is a network of catacombs that has been the source of many legends, mysteries and secrets. The catacombs date back to Roman times when they were used for quarrying. During the middle ages, they became a place to put the city’s dead after the cemeteries became full. Since then the catacombs have been used for all kinds of mysterious purposes, serving as hideouts for criminals and underground cults. You can now take a Paris catacombs tour in which you can explore the tunnels and learn some of the fascinating stories. Only a small section is open to the public.
(my iPhone pic of the tower)
Climb to the top of Montparnasse tower
For views that rival the Eiffel Tower, it’s worth climbing to the top of Montparnasse tower. The tower stands 689ft and offers great vistas of the city from its observation deck. The tower also has a restaurant for grabbing cocktails and coffee. We had dinner in the Eiffel Tower restaurant and of course it was incredible! Unfortunately it’s extremely difficult to get reservations without calling months in advance.
See the abandoned railway lines
The Petite Ceinture was once a working railway line that circled Paris up until 1934 when it was abandoned. You can still explore the train stations and tunnels. Many are now overgrown with flora and have become renowned for their impressive graffiti (hello photo ops!). If you are exploring the tunnels, be wary that some can be very long and dark – it’s worth bringing a flashlight!
Visit the Museum of Vampires
Paris has a number of odd museums. One of the strangest is The Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures, set up by French scholar of the undead Jacques Sirgent. This museum is a celebration of the occult and it contains all kinds of macabre exhibits from vampire killing kits to rare texts on demonology. It’s décor alone makes it worth a visit, adorned with all kinds of creepy objects from plastic bats to human bones. The entrance isn’t easily recognisable, located in Les Lilas at the end of a gravel path – you’re unlikely to stumble across it and may have to do some searching. So upset we didn’t know about this ahead of time – seeing the weird and odd is something I love!
Dine in the dark
Paris may be known for it’s fine dining in which presentation is everything. However, the unusual restaurant Dans Le Noir? offers a more offbeat eating experience. The entire restaurant is in pitch blackness so you can’t see what you’re eating. A waiter guides you to your seat and gives you a few tips on how to avoid spillages such as putting your finger on the inside of the wine glass. The experience can be quite unsettling as you can’t see any of your fellow diners (there’s no way of even telling how large the room is). For those wanting something a little different (and aren’t afraid of the dark), it’s worth trying.
Napoleon’s Grave – Dome des Invalides
The Dome des Invalides is a museum full of historical wonders, including Napoleon’s tomb. His body was moved to Paris in 1840 despite his wish to be buried at the banks of the Seine River. If you’re into seeing the military history of France, the museum is definitely a great place to venture to – the architecture alone is exquisite.