Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. During the high season, it is nearly impossible to walk near the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe without bumping into travelers from all over the world. However, there is so much more to Paris besides the famous monuments and delicious pastries. For a more authentic Parisian experience, get off the beaten path and check out these unique destinations.
Admire the colors at the Marché aux Fleurs
Almost everyone who visits Paris makes a stop at the Île de la Cité. Between the Notre-Dame and Sainte Chapelle, this little island on the Seine is a major draw. However, there is another site on the Île de la Cité that many travelers do not know about.
Since 1830, the Marché aux Fleurs (which translates to the flower market) has attracted locals with its brilliant colors and picturesque displays. There are both covered and open-air portions to this market, which is open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 7:30pm and Sunday from 8am to 7pm.
Shop for unexpected treasures at Rickshaw
Tourists often overlook the second arrondissement in Paris. Just above the Musée du Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries, few travelers have a reason to trek up north and explore this lesser-known neighborhood.
Those who do walk around this neighborhood are well rewarded. There are many picturesque alleys and exciting shopping areas. Make sure you find time for the Passage du Grand Cerf, a covered arcade with glass ceilings and unique shopping opportunities. Inside the Passage du Grand Cerf, you will find Rickshaw, an eclectic shop full of vintage furniture, antique finds, and hand painted doorknobs that you can bring home as a unique Parisian souvenir.
Enjoy a relaxing picnic at Place des Vosges
While the Jardin des Tuileries and Jardin du Luxembourg are both gorgeous gardens, they are often crowded with tourists. For a quieter park where you can enjoy your French cheese and baguettes surrounded by locals, check out the Place des Vosges.
The cascading fountain and classic French architecture is breathtaking. This square it surrounded by popular local restaurants and in one corner you can even visit the house where Victor Hugo spent years of his life.
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Experience Paris through the years at the Musée Carnavalet
On Rue des Francs Bourgeois in the 3rd arrondissement, there is a small museum known as the Musée Carnavalet. It is completely free to visit this museum and it is a very cool place to add to your agenda.
The architecture of the Musée Carnavalet is a sight in itself, as are the luscious gardens in the courtyard. Inside the building, the museum takes you through the changing faces of Paris over the years. See models of what Paris looked like in the 1600s, recreations of the rooms of famous Parisian writers, and memorabilia from the pre-revolution era.
Spend a few nights at Shakespeare and Company
Shakespeare and Company has become a popular destination in Paris. With it’s rich history and claims to fame such as being at the heart of the Beat movement, this charming bookstore is a must for any literary inclined travelers. While everyone knows to visit Shakespeare & Co., few are aware that they can sleep there.
Known as the Tumbleweeds, a group of young travelers spend the night on one of the beds tucked throughout this bookstore. There is no reserving a spot or calling ahead. Just show up with your backpack and if there is space, they will give you a bed. While it is free to stay, you are expected to help out at the bookstore for a few hours each day to earn your keep.
Go to the Montparnasse Tower for the best views in Paris
Thousands of people wait for hours to climb the Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower. However, across town in the 15th arrondissement, there is the Montparnasse Tower, a 210-meter skyscraper with the best view in town. For only 15 EUR (17 USD), you can board the elevator and head straight to the top.
Once you reach the rooftop, you can buy a glass of champagne and enjoy an uninterrupted view of the Eiffel Tower. With less tourists, a cheaper ticket, and a better view, it’s a wonder more people aren’t doing this
Fall in love with the city of light
There are millions of reasons you will fall in love with Paris. These destinations are only six of them. Check out the different places on this list to have a Parisian vacation that will leave you wanting more. Your trip will be unforgettable and full of magic with these local tips. However, the best way to have the Paris vacation of your dreams is to start exploring and find a few off the beaten path destinations of your own.
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