Paris is a favorite destination of many travelers, and for good reason: it is, after all, the most romantic city on Earth. But impressive as the Eiffel Tower is, it’s also something that everyone’s done before. So, here are ideas for five rather more unusual things to do in the French capital.
1. The Canal de l’Ourcq
Rather than following the crowds to the Seine, have a look at this waterway instead. It has a 200-year history, having been built on the orders of none other than Napoleon Bonaparte himself. He paid for it by taxing wine, which can’t have been too popular with Parisians of the day! These days, the canal is no longer used for industrial purposes, but is a wonderful place to relax on one of the many pleasure cruises along its tree-lined length. The canal is lined with many quiet, intimate restaurants and bars, so you can easily stop off along the way to have a spot of lunch.
2. Fragonard Museum of Perfume
Where better to go in the world capital of romance than the home of some of the finest perfumes ever created? It’s easy enough to get to, being situated right at the heart of the city’s old quarter, and in a very attractive old building as well. This place gets many thumbs up and you can read about Fragonard Museum of Perfume reviews.
You don’t have to pay to get in, although you may well find yourself splashing out on some of the wonderful fragrances available in the gift shop. Make sure you take advantage of the English-language tour, which can tell you a good deal about the history of the perfume industry, as well as what goes into making the scents.
3. Ballet at the Palais Garnier
Although ballet tends to be more associated with Russia these days, France is still its spiritual home in many ways. Their shows can rival any city even Las Vegas. This wonderful establishment dates back more than 150 years and is one of the most extraordinary buildings to be found anywhere in Paris. Looked at from one angle, it seems like a trademark Napoleonic-era structure; come at it from another direction and classical Greek influences are more obvious. Naturally, you’ll only get the full effect if you come for an actual performance; this won’t be cheap, but it will be memorable!
4. Musée Carnavalet
Never mind the Louvre, with its enormous crowds and wearily long lines. If you’re looking for treasures that you can actually see without a crush of people in the way, then this is where you want to be. Tucked away in the Marais, this museum can be so blissfully quiet that you’d almost think it had been opened just for you! It’s no second-rate establishment, though: there are well over half a million items in its collection, including some bizarre examples such as the bedroom used by author Marcel Proust. It’s lined in cork, believe it or not.
5. A real Parisian picnic
The French reputation for good food is well deserved, but it’s undeniable that some of the prices are hiked up for the dubious benefit of tourists. To feel like a true local, a great alternative is to pick up some freshly baguettes at one of the small bakeries that dot the city and head out to the Buttes Chaumont park for a picnic. It may not have the views of the Eiffel Tower enjoyed by the more popular Champ de Mars park, but for just that reason it’s also much less touristy in feel. Super-fresh food you’ve prepared yourself, in Paris? You can’t go wrong! For more information on these and other special trips around Paris, visit the French Tourist Board Website.
Our next trip is to visit world famous Berlin in Germany.