The “Second” Paris for Tourists: Top 5 Non-Trivial Places to Visit

People on Steps in front of Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre in Paris
Photo Credit: Pexels

Ah, Paris, to hear your name, it makes one think of famous buildings and walking by the river Seine in the wee hours. You are a city wrapped in love, a delight for the eyes and heart. Your big museums and well-known monuments always make people remember your lasting charm.

Under the surface of these picture-perfect postcards and lively streets, there’s an enchanting secret core. You can hear it in the sound of leaves moving in a hidden garden, the noise of glass touching in a busy little cafe hiding behind a stone pathway, and when painters make art showing how the late day sunlight falls. This, my friend who travels, is where Paris really shows her magic – in the small places you might not notice at first and the moments that are easy to miss but show a closer view of this city that never gets old.

Uncover the Charm of Montmartre

Perched atop Paris’ highest hill, Montmartre defies all expectations of a quintessential Parisian neighbourhood.  While the Sacré-Coeur basilica draws crowds, Montmartre’s real treasures lie within its steep, winding streets.

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Getting to Montmartre is convenient and offers a few scenic options:

  • Metro: Take Line 2 to Anvers or Pigalle stations, or Line 12 to Abbesses station.  Each offers a slightly different walking route through the neighbourhood.
  • Funicular: For a picturesque ascent, the Montmartre funicular departs from the base of the hill and offers sweeping views as you climb.
  • Bus: Several bus lines serve Montmartre, including routes 30, 31, 80, and 85.
  • Transfer: Pre-booking a transfer to Montmartre is also a great option, especially if you’re with a larger group.

Choose the method that appeals to you most, and enjoy the journey as much as the destination!

Artistic Legacies and Vineyards

The old village used to be a place where artists such as Renoir, Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec found inspiration. You can still feel their artistic energy in Place du Tertre, where painters meet to depict the area’s essence on their canvases. Hidden away from the busy streets, you can find Paris’ final secret vineyard – Clos Montmartre. It shows how special and enduring this neighbourhood is.

Seek Serenity in Parisian Parks

Though Jardin du Luxembourg is beautiful, it is often crowded with many people. You might prefer to find a quiet place in Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. This large and impressive park, which includes waterfalls, caves, and extensive views of the city, was previously a quarry and also used for dumping waste. Now it serves as an example of how people in Paris are clever at using spaces efficiently and have affection for areas with lots of plants.

Passages of a Bygone Era

Scattered around the city, there are sheltered walkways that show you how Paris looked in the 1800s. These arcades with glass on top have many small stores and unusual shops, giving off a feeling of calm beauty. Passage Jouffroy, with its shining tiled floors and decorated front sides, takes you to a different world away from the contemporary city. Look for Passage Verdeau and Passage des Panoramas; both have their unique character.

Medieval Echoes on the Île de la Cité

The island that looks like a heart on the Seine River is where you find the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral, but if you observe more carefully, there are remains of old Paris from mediaeval times. Sainte-Chapelle, very close to Notre-Dame, is a beautiful small treasure famous for its impressive stained glass windows. The Conciergerie used to be a royal palace before it became a prison during the revolution and walking there, where Marie Antoinette and other unfortunate people from her time walked can really make you feel chills.

Unconventional Art Beyond the Museums

The Louvre and Musée d’Orsay contain many famous artworks, but Paris itself is like an open art gallery. The unusual place called 59 Rivoli was once a squat that has now been changed into a lively group of artists; they have studios there and spaces for showing their work full of creative energy. Explore the vibrant street murals in Belleville, an area full of creative vibes and diverse cultural elements. If you want peace, visit the sculpture garden at Musée Zadkine; it’s a charming retreat.

A Word on Convenience

Exploring new places is exciting, but do not allow problems with transportation to lessen your excitement. A trustworthy Paris airport transfer service can make sure you have a calm arrival and leave, so you can concentrate on discovering the secret pleasures of Paris.

In Closing

Paris, my love, you are a city filled with contrasts and never-ending astonishments. Your magnificent avenues and globally known landmarks speak of your glorious history, but hidden in your small alleys and peaceful gardens is another kind of tempo. This hidden heart, this hard to find soul of Paris, it makes a lasting impression on people who look past the postcards and travel guides.

Artists in Montmartre, they paint among spirits of famous ones before. A vineyard on the slope holds strong to its place. The light comes through coloured glass at Sainte-Chapelle – such times go beyond just looking at sights. They are short moments when you give away parts of your hidden self.

Maybe it is how the sunlight creates extended shadows on the stone pavement, or the smell of bread just out of the oven coming from a bakery entrance, that lights up this feeling that cannot be easily described. This emotion stays with you even after your transfer taxi takes you back to the airport and your normal daily routine.

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