We all know about Paris being the City of Love.
And the chances are that if you ever head over to this incredible part of France, you will find yourself visiting all those famous locations like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre.
But actually, there is a lot more to Paris than you hear about in the average travel guide.
Look a little further afield and off the well-beaten track, and you will find a plethora of exciting, interesting and wonderful experiences.
With this in mind, we’re going to take a look at some of the alternatives that Paris has to offer. This cliche-free guide will reveal some awesome places that few tourists know about, meaning access should be simple and straightforward.
Ready to explore the back streets of Paris?
Most people head to the Eiffel Tower to get their panoramic view of Paris. But what about going for something different – a panoramic view that actually has the Eiffel Tower in it?
You might recognize the view from the Montparnasse Tower, as many people use it as a place to shoot brilliant snaps of the Eiffel Tower, but it’s not the only thing on offer.
Montparnasse is one of Europe’s tallest buildings, costs less than its competitor, and there are much shorter queues! Head over there at night and enjoy the bright city lights of Paris and the Eiffel Tower to see this particular view at its best.
La Promenade Plantee
The best Paris walking tours will show you the famous sites, of course, but they will also bring you to places such as La Promenade Plantee. Its rough translation is The Green Walkway, and it’s a stunning, three-mile-long green space elevated on an old railway line.
The walk will take you through a pathway covered by beautiful trees and shrubs, which is best experienced in the spring and summer months.
You’ll see everyone from families walking their dogs to people taking romantic picnics together – and it’s also a favorite spot for the locals.
Le Dome des Invalides
This is a fantastic little museum that is home to a huge array of historical treasures.
But the building itself is a place of wonder, with exceptionally beautiful architecture that is probably worth the small entrance fee by itself.
However, the pride of place in the museum is, without doubt, the tomb of Napoleon, and the vast array of military artifacts on display – some of the best in Europe.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Graveyards aren’t everyone’s favorite place, of course. But whether cemeteries are on your travel bucket list or not, this one is something special.
For those that are fans of The Doors, it’s something of a pilgrimage, as the lead singer Jim Morrison is buried there. But the whole place is a thing of beauty, with cobbled paths, a peaceful atmosphere and trees lining the whole area.
If you are in Paris in the fall, make sure you visit this hauntingly beautiful place – many people come away feeling rather touched.
If you want to see one of the best places for shopping and cafe culture in Paris, head to Le Marais.
It’s one of the most fashionable areas of the city, and there’s a vast array of different eateries, boutiques, and plenty of surprises.
The small little-cobbled lanes are inviting, and draw you into an environment that is loved by locals and savvy tourists alike. Just bring lots of spending money, as you won’t be able to resist a lot of the shopping on offer!
Le Marais might be the most fashionable part of Paris. But make no mistake about it, Belleville is the coolest.
It’s a truly cosmopolitan place, with a heady mix of working-class people, hipsters and bohemians from all races and backgrounds.
This hodgepodge and mesh of cultures result in a brilliant atmosphere, and it’s fair to say that the locals like to keep Belleville as something of a secret. It can look a little rundown and messy – but that’s part of the charm.
If you like your city travel with a little more grit, you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere cooler in Europe.
The Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures
Like all slightly off-center major cities, there are plenty of bizarre places in Paris. One of them is the Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures.
It’s an old, wonderfully quirky museum that focuses on the occult, and houses a huge array of weird and wonderful things.
Expect to find ancient books on demons, vampire killing kits, and all manner of macabre objects and exhibits.
Canal St Martin
Paris has always enjoyed a reputation for being a great place for underground scenes to develop – and graffiti is a good example.
If you love your graf culture, make sure you head to Canal St Martin in the 10th arrondissement – it’s fantastic for street art.
Tie this brilliant graffiti with some incredible shops, amazing street food, and you have an experience you will remember for many years. There are plenty of tour operators that work in this part of town, but the best way to see Canal St Martin is just to get a map and explore it all yourself.
Every big city has its underground secrets, but none are quite like those you will find in Paris. The Catacombs are simply incredible, and a must-visit for anyone with a love of history.
Dating way back in time to the Roman era, the catacombs used to be used for quarrying but were turned into something similar to a mass graveyard in the Middle Ages.
It’s a little creepy down there, to be honest, and it certainly isn’t for everyone. But the historical facts that the catacombs were used for all kinds of things like smuggling and underground cults make it a must-see.