Alternative Things to do in Paris | What I’m totally going back for!
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.
March 2, 2018 @ 7:32 am
SO happy I found your blog, it’s everything girly and relatable I’ve been looking for 🙂
March 2, 2018 @ 6:07 pm
WOW! Your pictures are amazing, and loved the information! Loved the Dine in the Dark!!
March 2, 2018 @ 6:39 pm
How lovely! It sounds like you had an amazing time! I just told my fiancé that I would just love to go to Paris (who wouldn’t)! That picture you took of the Eiffel Tower is just incredible & lucky you that you got to have dinner there as well! Thanks for sharing your experience!
March 2, 2018 @ 6:41 pm
OOH la la! The catacombs are on my list too! So mysterious!
March 2, 2018 @ 7:15 pm
You look amazing in that red dress! I didn’t get a chance to do any of these when I visited Paris, but I did not know about the railway lines, it definitely piqued my interest. Thank you for giving me another reason to go back to Paris 😀
March 3, 2018 @ 7:15 am
All of these sounds like great things to do. However I may have to pass on the pitch black restaurant!
March 3, 2018 @ 9:55 am
What a great list! ???? Haven’t been to Paris in a while. Will have this in mind for when next I’m there.
the sophia diaries
March 3, 2018 @ 11:31 am
never heard of the museum of vampires… but now i definitely gotta go back to paris xD
March 3, 2018 @ 12:07 pm
OMG ever since I saw ‘When In Rome’ I wanted to dine in the dark haha.
March 4, 2018 @ 1:18 am
Totally makes me want to visit Paris even more!
Hannah @ AndThenWeTried
March 4, 2018 @ 12:02 pm
I ended up chickening out on the catacombs last time I was in Paris, I wish I had done it! My favorite spot in Paris is the Pere Lachaise cemetery, which sounds weird but is actually really beautiful!
March 4, 2018 @ 3:31 pm
Ugh! This makes me want to go back to Paris! When I was there last, there was so much that we didn’t get to explore!
March 4, 2018 @ 7:52 pm
Excellent suggestions. I have always wanted to visit the catacombs. These kinds of adventures make a trip very personal and unique and give one so much more to share.
March 4, 2018 @ 9:09 pm
Paris is on our someday list!! and these are great suggestions to add on for that someday..thank you
March 5, 2018 @ 12:48 am
Oh except one I haven’t done any other 🙁 I need to go back too.
Excellent pic of ET, a different perspective.
March 5, 2018 @ 12:08 pm
Paris is a dream! It’s such a great city! These are all such great activities to do beyond the normal touristy things like the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower!
March 5, 2018 @ 1:00 pm
Paris is such a gorgeous place to visit with so much to do~!
March 5, 2018 @ 8:15 pm
I love that shot you got of the Eiffel Tower! I’ve never been to Paris, but definitely adding some of your ideas to my bucket list!
Jiawun | Beauty Nerd By Night
March 6, 2018 @ 4:03 am
Paris is great for the usual attractions, but THIS is amazing! I would love to visit the Catacombs and the Museum of Vampires! Bookmarking this!
March 6, 2018 @ 10:23 am
I did a catacombs tour in Rome and it was AMAZING! I would totally do it in Paris, too! Also – I have wanted to do dining in the dark for THE longest time!
Kait Around The Kingdom
March 6, 2018 @ 2:21 pm
I’m dying to go to Paris someday! You’re making me want to visit more now!
March 6, 2018 @ 7:30 pm
Sounds like you had a great time! I can’t wait to go back to Paris today
March 7, 2018 @ 12:43 pm
My husband and I went to Paris for our honeymoon. It’s such a gorgeous, romantic city! Loved your ideas.
Xo Mindy <amixofmin.com
March 13, 2018 @ 6:52 pm
I need this because I’m about to go on my honeymoon there!
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March 16, 2018 @ 12:29 pm
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March 16, 2018 @ 1:24 pm
Thanks for the mention!