Bonjour! Comment vas-tu?
If you’re going to be spending some time wandering the charming streets of Paris, you might want to brush up on your French! Paris, also referred to as the City of Lights or the City of Love, is best known for the iconic Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Arc de Triomphe. Although these are just a few attractions tourists should have on their to-do list, the beautiful city is also home to some of the most magical secret spots.
If you’re one that thrives on adventures and discovering new things, you’re in for a treat with some hidden gems we’ve found. Be prepared to capture the essence and authenticity of the city of lights. So, power through the jetlag with exercise (it’s known to improve sleep), and get ready for your own personal exploring mission throughout the city.
Oui? Très Bien.
1. Parc des Butte Chaumont
The Parc is one of the largest in the city. It features dramatic slopes, waterfalls, exquisite scenery, and bridges. With a peaceful ambiance, the park itself isn’t one of our hidden gems, it’s what is inside it! Once you’ve finished taking the beauty in, you should aim to reach the mountain that the Parc surrounds. Very few visitors reach it, but it’s safe to say the reward is a great one at that.
At the top of it’s peak, you will find the Temple of Sibylle. This is a 19th-century replica of a Roman one that boasts a sense of mythology. The panoramic views from in the mountain are ones to be captivated by, and we highly suggest you pack your hiking shoes for this secret spot.
2. Palais Garnier’s Secret Underground Lake
The Palais Garnier is an opera house that was finished being built in 1875. It’s known to be one of the most famous opera houses in existence, so we’re not surprised by its popularity and attention it receives. The opera house itself, however, is not one of the secret spots in our list – it’s what’s down under.
A subterranean lake exists below the opera scenario! In the process of development works in 1852, architects were digging into an area with a lot of groundwater. Charles Garnier overcome this issue with his idea of incorporating a cistern into the design. This allowed for the redistribution of water and relieved the water pressure on the basement walls.
The lake, unfortunately, isn’t included as part of the standard tours offered at the Palais Garnier. We do recommend the visit to the building nonetheless to see the history and story of the building.
3. Vineyards in Montmartre
The vineyard beyond the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre is the one to visit. It’s a hidden gem that is often overlooked. Experience the history of wine production in a peaceful neighborhood! If you’re planning to visit in September, the annual vine harvest festival is one not to miss – with plenty of street food and lots of wind!
Although there’s a lot of life in the bustling streets of Paris, there is a lot that happens beneath the surface too! The Catacombs of Paris holds the remains of an estimated 6 million people. The skulls and bones are of people from the 19th century. You will also find graffiti and inscriptions in the walls dating back to the French Revolution. If you’re interested in the history of the city and aren’t put off by the unsettling amount of bones in the underground tunnels, it’s one for the books.
5. The Secret Garden
You heard right, there’s a secret garden! The garden itself is called Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur (we know that’s a mouthful, it might sound quicker if you say it with a French accent). Nestled away in the Marais, it’s not too far from Place des Vosges, which tourists at least know of. The garden provides a calming and relaxing atmosphere, perfect for those looking for a bit of peace. We definitely think you should go on the hunt for the secret garden!
6. Little Sri Lanka
La Chapelle is also known as little Sri Lanka. The beauty of this is that you will feel like you’ve just stumbled into a different country. Crazy, right? Little Sri Lanka boasts nothing but culture, chai tea, aromatic samosas, and magical incenses. If you want to experience a different country as you’re exploring in a foreign city, what could be better?
Here’s a tip – visit the small neighborhood during the Ganesh Festival on August 28th. It’s a wonderful and vibrant event you need to experience at least once!
Although we’re confident there’s many, many more secret gems throughout the city of Paris, these 6 are ones that we’re sure you’ll love. Get your to do list ready and start planning your trip now! If you find some gems yourself, be sure to let us know…
Image courtesy : Pixabay, Unsplash