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Paris off the beaten track: an amazing experience by Inge Pincket

Updated: May 20, 2022

Paris is one of the most romantic cities in Europe. Spending a weekend or a bit more is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Why is Paris such a must-see city in Europe for people coming from all over the world?

The Eiffel tower is world famous of course, but Paris has to offer so much more…

Arriving in Paris

Most people arrive in Paris by train or plane. I would try to avoid coming by car as you really don’t need a car in the city. Paris has the second oldest metro in Europe and it’s very well organized and quite cheap too.

By train (TGV) you probably will arrive in ‘Gare du Nord’, you can take a metro to your accommodation from this station.

By airplane it will probably be Charles de Gaulle, which is the main airport of Paris. There’s a direct train to the heart of Paris from there as well.

Going around in the city

As mentioned above, the best way to get around in Paris is using its very well-organized public transport. The metro was founded in 1900 and at present there are about 302 different stations and 16 lines taking approximately 5 million people around the city each day.

Tip! Buy a carnet of 10 tickets to start with, it’s much cheaper than buying a single ticket or a multi-day pass. You can find all ticket prices here.

I would recommend you download the RATP app, this app will show you current timings, distances and even how crowded the trains will be.

Finding Accommodation

Hotels are very expensive in Paris. When traveling on a low budget would recommend you stay in an Air B&B or a hostel. We stayed @KubeHotelparis in the neighborhood between Gare du Nord and Montmartre. A very nice hotel with an excellent breakfast for only 11€ per person.

What and where to eat?

There are many restaurants, bistros and brasseries in Paris where you can have lunch or dinner. A good one always will offer water and bread (baguette) for free.

Some recommendations:

- For Italian foodlovers: Pink Mamma a very popular spot in Paris (ask for a topfloor table)

- French fine dining: Restaurant Korus This is the place where the locals go, always a good idea!

- Café De la Paix Very famous venue in Paris, close to the Opera Garnier.

Pink Mamma
Pink Mamma

Café de la Paix

What to see?

Of course, you will have to make a choice on what to see when you are only a few days in the city. Most people have the Eiffel tower on their bucket list but make sure to make a reservation in advance if you want to go up. A nice alternative to see Paris from above is the Tour Montparnasse and costs you about 1/3 of the price of the Eiffel tower.

Other favorite places to see are Notre Dame Cathedral, Gare d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, Arc de Thriomphe, Musée du Louvre and the Champs Elysées.

This time we have chosen to go a bit off the beaten track and find some hidden gems:

This beautiful gallery is to be found in the 2nd arrondissement, behind the Bibliothèque Richelieu and near the Palais-Royal. It’s one of the most iconic covered arcades in Paris.

Doesn’t matter if you are looking up or down, both are stunning to see. The floor is made of colorful mosaics and the roof is a beautiful glass construction.

You can go shopping or have a coffee or lunch in one of the restaurants.

2) Galerie Véro-Dodat

Another gallery you should visit, this one you can find between The Palais Royal and Les Halles.

It’s one of the 18 passages that remain of the 150 there once were in Paris around mid-19th century. The most famous shop here is without any doubt Christian Louboutin shoes.

3) Colonnes de Buren

This art installation, created by the French artist Daniel Buren in 1985 is in the inner courtyard of the Palais Royal in Paris. They are all made of Italian marble. The candy-striped black-and-white columns of different heights poking up from the courtyard’s floor. It’s far more impressive compared to the parking lot that had been installed here before.

Now they were building up a stage here for the famous Fashion Week in Paris. It’s a very instagrammable place for sure. One of the columns extend below courtyard level and is surrounded by pools of water into which passersby toss coins, the trick is to get your coin on top of the column.

4) Exit of metro Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre: “Le Kiosque des Noctambules”

This artwork was created in 2000 by Jean-Michel Othoniel. The glass structures are made in Murano glass. The construction made of aluminium gives Paris a more baroque look, an unusual touch highlighted by the classic architecture of Place Colette.

5) Emily in Paris

If you are a fan of this series, season 1 appeared in 2020 you should visit this location. It’s the front door of her working place Savoir in Paris at Place de Valois. It’s quite close to the garden of the Palais Royal where a lot of scenes were filmed as well. A second season will be following soon! Interested in watching the trailer?

6) Palais Garnier

The outside is not really considered to be a hidden gem as many people have seen the Opera of Paris, but how many went inside? For only 14 € you can visit the treasures of the Palais Garnier’s public areas, a masterpiece of the 19th century theater art architecture. The winner of the architectural competition was won by Charles Garnier in 1861. The opera was finished by 1875. It was full of technical innovations like:

- world’s first electrified opera (a power plant was built in the basement)

- It could accommodate 2156 spectators

- No use of gaslighting anymore resulted in a completely new way of listening to works with the theatre plunged into complete darkness

7) Père Lachaise

Visiting a graveyard is maybe not common on a bucket list, but this one in Paris is worth a visit. Here you can find the graves of very famous people such as: Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Molière, de La Fontaine, Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Yves Montand,… if you want to see the graves, I advise you to take a guided tour as it’s very difficult to find these famous graves.

Hope you enjoyed reading about Paris. Need help to plan your trip or more information feel free to contact me.

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