Paris is known for its world-class museums like the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, as well as for its monuments like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. While these sites should certainly be included on a Paris itinerary, the city also hosts plenty of odd and unexpected sites worth seeking out. From the little-known to the bizarre, this list includes outings sure to please all tastes.
1. Head underground for the Visite des Égouts (Sewer Visit)
Take a trip underneath the city to learn about its complex sewer system. Visitors navigate the tunnels with gallons of sewer water running below their feet. During the visit, visitors discover about the history of the city’s sanitary methods through hands-on displays. They also learn about the people who work full-time keeping the sewers in operational state. This is a unique, if not slightly smelly, visit.
2. Stop and say "hello" to Le Passe-Muraille (The Wall Walker)
This “statue,” created in the 1980s by artist Jean Marais, depicts a man who seems to be walking through the wall. It was inspired by a 1943 short story by the same name. It is located in the touristy Montmartre neighborhood, but is located in a very small square away from the subway, so many visitors never find this unique piece of Parisian history.
3. Search for the miniature Statue of Libertys
Most people know that the Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from France, but they might be surprised to learn that Paris is littered with miniature versions of this famous figure. The original model can be found in the Musée des Arts et Metiers (Museum of Arts and Trade). Larger versions can be found outside of Musée d’Orsay (Orsay Museum) and on the Ile des Cygnes (Swan Island). Looking for this famous American image is a game to play as you wander around the city.
4. Have a drink at the Café des Chats (Cat Café)
If you’re feeling a bit homesick, or are in need of a cuddle during your travels, look no further than the Café des Chats in Paris. With two locations in central Paris (near Bastille and in the Marais), you’re sure to be close to one of them. Each café is home to a dozen cats. The cats were rescued from humane societies and now live in the café full time. Visitors are invited to pet and play with the cats as they sip their coffee or enjoy a light meal.
5. Take a Walk on the Petite Ceinture (Little Belt)
Before Paris’ metros were installed, trains arriving in Paris made their stops around the city’s periphery. This system of stations was called the Petite Ceinture (Little Belt) because it joined all of Paris together. Today, parts of the track have been opened up to the public as walking trails. Also, some stations have been refurbished into restaurants and concert halls. This is a part of Paris that few Parisians, and even fewer tourists know about, which makes for a very authentic experience.
Delve deeper into Paris’ culture
If you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary experience during your trip to Paris, visit one or more of the sites listed. You’ll avoid the tour groups that flock around the typical sites in Paris, and you’ll get closer to the city’s rich history. Please share any other unique sites in Paris that you know of via the social media sharing buttons below.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.