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Old 04-02-2012, 10:02 PM
 
Location: Maryland
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In April 2013, we're doing two back to back river trips in France. Of the total 24 days in France, we'll be in Paris for 7 nights. I wanted to solicit any "hidden gems" any Paris literate folks might care to recommend.

Its our first major France experience and we're already booked/scheduled for all the big attraction stuff (Louvre, Versailles, Musée d'Orsay, Sacre Coeur and Montmartre, the Sorbonne and the Latin Quarter, a bunch of additional museums & galleries, etc.).

I just wanted to ask if anyone has suggestions for areas/attractions not in the typical tourist literature. Many thanks for any input.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:57 AM
 
Location: New Hampshire
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What other museums are on your list? There are a ton of great ones.

The Marais has the charm of the Latin Quarter without all the tourists. It's the favorite neighborhood of many people I know who have lived in Paris. The Place des Vosges is one of the city's best architectural treasures (you can take a secret path to get there from the Rue Saint-Antoine via the courtyard of the Hotel de Sully).

The Parc des Buttes Chaumont is usually off the tourist radar but is easily the most beautiful park in the city. It was designed by Baron Haussmann and features a stunning cave with a waterfall and plenty of grassy hillsides to relax on (if the weather in April cooperates).

Another "secret" green space is the Promenade Plantée, which starts near the Opéra Bastille and then runs across eastern Paris along an elevated train viaduct that was converted into one big garden. The tourists definitely don't know about it, and it's a fun and different perspective from which to see the city.

Most of the "unknown" areas do tend to be in the more working class eastern half of the city. I'm a big fan of the 13th arrondissement, which is known for its large Chinese population. The 20th and 19th arrondissements also have some really vibrant, lively areas with open air markets and immigrants selling their national specialties... the Rue des Pyrénées comes to mind as one of the more interesting thoroughfares.

The Canal Saint-Martin is also a nice place to take a walk, even if it bisects some of the slightly less attractive neighborhoods of the city.

While it usually is in the tourist literature, I would strongly recommend the Catacombs for one of the most unique and atmospheric experiences in the city.

The Opéra Garnier is not only one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris from the exterior, but the interior is also WELL worth the admission price IMO. Also, the Chateau de Vincennes just east of the city is often overlooked by visitors but is quite impressive.

Paris is the kind of city where you can spend years and still discover new hidden treasures. There are so many fascinating nooks and crannies. I lived there for six months and barely scratched the surface, so, happy exploring!

Oh, and be sure to indulge and get hot chocolate at Angelina or ice cream at Berthillon (depending on the weather ).
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Maryland
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Verseau, many thanks. Thats precisely the kind of info I'm looking for.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Colorado
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If you like books you HAVE to visit Shakespeare & Company, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:05 PM
 
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Giverny to see where Monet lived and painted.
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Old 04-04-2012, 05:06 AM
 
Location: on an island
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Originally Posted by therewego View Post
Giverny to see where Monet lived and painted.
But get there EARLY. Take the first train to Vernon, then bus or cab. It's not exactly a hidden gem, let alone in Paris, but it is certainly worth a visit.

I really liked the Cluny Museum with the unicorn tapestries. It was empty the day we visited, but might be busier now since the Chevalier novel. There were also ancient Roman baths there.

The last time we visited Paris (2009), our son took us to this place:

Au Rocher de Cancale
Rue Montorgueil was the old oyster market, this place is like a step back in history, but had a very lively Parisian crowd.
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Maryland
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Originally Posted by therewego View Post
Giverny to see where Monet lived and painted.
Yep, its a scheduled 1/2 day tour.
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:48 AM
 
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I second Canal Saint-Martin. Go on a Sunday and bring a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine. Walk a little further to Parc de la Villette and people watch.
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Bay View, Milwaukee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWillowPlate View Post
But get there EARLY. Take the first train to Vernon, then bus or cab. It's not exactly a hidden gem, let alone in Paris, but it is certainly worth a visit.

I really liked the Cluny Museum with the unicorn tapestries. It was empty the day we visited, but might be busier now since the Chevalier novel. There were also ancient Roman baths there.

The last time we visited Paris (2009), our son took us to this place:

Au Rocher de Cancale
Rue Montorgueil was the old oyster market, this place is like a step back in history, but had a very lively Parisian crowd.
Ditto the Cluny Museum--very "under the radar," but quite a remarkable collection.

Also ditto the rec in another post for the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. It's a lovely park with nice views, and the adjacent La Villette neighborhood has a pleasant "local" vibe that you don't see in the more frenzied parts of the city. Ditto the rec for the Canal Saint-Martin.

There are a lot of wonderful outdoor markets in Paris, and one of my favorites is the one in the Latin Quarter on Rue Mouffetard. But another great and interesting market is the Barbès Market, which takes place in the vicinity of the Barbès-Rochechouart Metro stop. This market has a significant Muslim clientele, so it isn't all about the standard French classics:

Shopping in Paris at Barbès market | Venere Travel Blog

The city is packed with great neighborhoods, museums, and such, so you really can't go wrong with most things. The Rodin Museum was a favorite stop for me, and I loved walking around the Latin Quarter and the Marais. The catacombs are amazing to see, but even if you arrive early, you'll still be in a long line.

And if you like ice cream, Berthillon has some of the best I've ever had. Go to the original location--even if there's a bit of a line, it's worth the wait, IMO:

Maison Berthillon : la qualité est notre passion
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:04 PM
Status: "Send HIM back- to Queens!" (set 6 days ago)
 
Location: Eureka CA
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The Marais is my favorite walking-around area. And, even if you're not looking to buy, the flea market at the Bastille is a lot of fun. I'm still using an extra suitcase I bought there. Have a wonderful trip!
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