Why you’re wrong if you think you know Paris

Seen the Louvre, Catacombs and Moulin Rouge? Sipped hot chocolate at Les Deux Magots and sampled frogs’ legs at Le Paul Bert? When you’re through congratulating yourself that you’ve been-there-done-that in the City of Light, go explore the French capital’s hidden attractions and freshest openings.

Get a new view

Photo credit: Amélie Dupont, Paris Tourist Office

Gasped at the views from the top of Eiffel Tower?

Admire the city from a whole new angle from the Parc de Belleville in the east of the city. Once a country village, this hilltop spot well off the tourist radar has a panoramic viewpoint over Paris (including the Eiffel Tower itself) along with waterfalls, streams, a tiny urban vineyard and the Maison de l’Air, a one-off interactive museum exploring the science of air.

Remember another music legend

Paid homage at the grave of Jim Morrison in Père Lachaise Cemetery?

Then bring a bouquet to place on the tomb of legendary French crooner Serge Gainsbourg in Montparnasse. Said by former president François Mitterrand to have “… elevated the song to the level of art,” the provocative chanteur Gainsbourg has a second shrine nearby. His former home at 5 bis Rue de Verneuil has been covered in street art by fans.

Find joie in a new venue

Spent an evening at the Opéra National de Paris?

Head to La Seine Musicale, a silver egg-shaped venue on an island in the river. Designed by Japanese and French duo Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, it opened in early 2017 to host classical and contemporary music. Performances over the rest of 2017 and 2018 include an equestrian ballet of Mozart’s Requiem (dancing horses!) and shows by superstar singer-songwriter Michel Sardou.

Explore quirkier exhibits

Photo credit: Mark B. Schlemmer, CC 2.0

Been to the Natural History Museum?

Then have a mosey around the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, a unique private museum of hunting and nature occupying two 17th-century mansions. Among its quirky exhibits are a stuffed fox ensconced on an elegant Louis XVI chair, a mirrored box housing a stuffed hen, and themed drawers full of casts of animal footprints to examine.

Discover newly minted magic

Toured the Monnaie de Paris, the history-soaked mint where France’s Euro coins are produced?

Starting in September 2017, head back for its new 11 Conti Museum, where you can take part in coining workshops and watch metalworking in action. The expansion also lets you in on the Monnaie’s fabulous art collections and gardens, while the MétaLcafé is a more approachable alternative to the site’s Michelin-starred Restaurant Guy Savoy.

Marvel at another take on modern art

Photo credit: Fred RomeroCC 2.0

Ogled the modern art at the iconic Centre Georges Pompidou?

Check out Art Ludique – The Museum at the City of Fashion and Design in the old Docks area of the Quai d’Austerlitz in Paris. Dedicated to playful art, it brings together permanent and temporary displays on classic artists, along with contemporary comic book, manga, cinema, live animation and video game producers. Think Pixar, Marvel superheroes and more.

Find a new favorite French restaurant

Photo credit: Amélie Dupont, Paris Tourist Office

Dined your way around classic Parisian bistrots including Le Comptoir du Relais and Aux Lyonnais?

Discover top-notch French cuisine courtesy of a Japanese chef, Daï Shinozuka, at Les Enfants Rouges opposite the market of the same name. Inventive modern dishes rub shoulders with traditional favourites, meaning everyone will be happy.

Sip spiced-up spirits

Sampled classic cocktails at Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Hôtel?

Venture to the Experimental Cocktail Club for reimaginings of spirit, juice and spice concoctions by the French capital’s most inventive mixologists. Don’t miss the Bee’s Kiss: Jamaican rum, cream, floral honey and crushed Indonesian pepper.

Meander through a multicultural market

Photo credit: Arnaud Terrier, Paris Tourist Office

Filled your basket at the Marché Mouffetard, immortalized by Hemingway in A Moveable Feast?

Then stock up at the Marché Président-Wilson further west, with super-fresh seafood and meat, vegetable varieties you won’t even have heard of and a glimpse of Paris in all its multicultural glory. Munch as you browse: Stalls proffer everything from Breton crêpes and Alsatian choucroute to Lebanese and Thai dishes.

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Story by Rhonda Carrier.

One of the UK’s leading family travel experts, Rhonda regularly writes on travel for publications and brands around the world. 

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