Paris is a mélange of chic fashion boutiques, pristine chapels, engineering marvels, fine restaurants and historical landmarks. The City of Lights is not just about Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and Notre-Dame Cathedral, it is a lot more. This selection of Paris-based activities, tours and sights explores ten of the top unusual things to do in the city of love. If you want to have the time of your life, drift off the beaten path and try these unique things in Paris.
Musée du Parfum
This museum also known as Fragonard Musée du Parfum is dedicated to the oldest popular perfumeries. It is entirely free of cost and is housed in a stunning Napoleon II townhouse with ornate décor. The museum has the richest collections of perfumery objects including pomanders, perfume fountains and vaporizers as old as 3000 years. It also sells perfumes dating back to 1926 at Grasse.
Promenade Plantée and Viaduc des Arts
New York’s High Line is an amazing transformation but Promenade Plantée is the real McCoy. It was inaugurated in 1993. Promenade Plantée commonly known as Coulée Verte is a multi-level linear park from Bastille to Bois de Vincennes, the largest public park in the city. The Promenade extends more than 3 miles eastward covering almost the entire 12th arrondissement length. At its west end, the promenade is 10 meters above street level ,below which are the vaulted arches of Viaduc des Arts, a strip of 64 arches consisting of cafés, ateliers, sculptors, tapestry makers, artisans and galleries etc.
It is the Europe’s largest business district with ultra modern architecture, 72 buildings and skyscrapers and 110 meters high La Grande Arche with colorful fountains.
Paarc Des Buttes Chaumont
The Buttes Chaumont is one of the largest green spaces (25 hectares) in Paris. The park’s distinct elevation offers panoramic views over Paris, especially Sacre Coeur. The 32 meter waterfall plunges into circular lake from a rocky cliff on top of which is Sybille temple, similar to Roman Temple of Sybil in Tivoli, a grotto, a 30 meter high suicide bridge and a 63 meter long suspension bridge.
Love locks on Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archevêché
If you think romance is outdated in Paris, visit the Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archevêché bridges on the River Seine. The couples write their names on a padlock lock it on any of the bridges and throw the key into the River Seine for their undying love. The Pont de l'Archevêché is meant for your lover while Pont des Arts is for your committed love.
Hunting for Roman ruins
Paris houses myriads of old traces of the Roman past: remnants of pillars, carved stones, walls, thermal baths and coliseum are scattered around the city. The Roman Baths at Cluny are remnants of thermals baths from the Gallo-Roman era in the 5th arrondissement. The Crypte Archéologique extends 80m under Notre Dame Cathedral’s shadow. It is a time capsule which explores artifacts and lives of the ancient tribes.
Free street art
The once overprotective Paris that did not allow a lost dog poster, as it was considered to vandalize public property is now, brimming with street art works and graffiti. Canal St. Martin located in the 10th arrondissement is the best spot for spectacular work of the artists. Wall Gaingsbourg, Rue Ordener, Rue Bouvier, Le M.U.R are few of the places illustrating the street art. Dénoyez is effervescent with artists transforming walls, doors, windows panels into something beautiful every day. M-City’s 18 meters high Urban Jungle is yet another spectacular piece of art.
Belleville has myriads of produce stands and flea market swarming with shoppers, heckling merchants and colorful products. Strolling in tree lined rues of Caulaincourt makes you feel as if you have always been a part of this beautiful city. Rue des Martyrs in the 9th arrondissement is perfect for foodies housing many cheese sellers, bakeries, gourmet shops and restaurants.
Thirty of these covered passages from the 19th century still exist. These are remnants of the rise of the middle-class in France post French revolution. These passages start from Passage Vivienne, behind the Palais Royal, to Rue Cadet which is a little charming street. Exploring these passages on a rainy day is a great thing to do.
Bring a piece of Paris back home with you by learning a skill you can recreate for friends and family. Sometimes the most memorable experiences arise when you dial back the pace of your visit and take time to view Paris through the lens of a class, whether it’s cooking, photography, calligraphy, writing, or language.