Everyone and their grandmothers know about the popular tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Notre Dame Cathedral. But how about visiting some attractions that many wouldn’t even think of, despite being just as incredible?
Avoiding the swarms of people that crowd attractions like the Eiffel Tower is a plus, but being able to partake in some of the world’s most impressive monuments and sites is something you cannot miss if you’re visiting Paris.
So, if you too are looking for what to do in Paris? Below are 5 attractions that most have never heard of, but they’re all places you cannot pass up.
1. Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Some may not like the idea of spending their vacation at a cemetery, but it is one of the world’s most visited cemeteries. Why? Because of the famous people that are buried there, of course. But in addition to the famous writers, actors and musicians like Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Jim Morrison and Chopin buried here, the monuments and sculptures are spectacular works of art.
After becoming a “hip” place to be buried due to the abundance of famous people, wealthy families began populating the grounds with their deceased as well. As one way to flaunt their wealth and show their dominance over other families, they’d build extravagant mausoleums and sculptures to try and best their “opponents.” Nothing says “I love you” much like trying to beat another family at building tombs for your dead loved ones! Thankfully, this practice has subsided over time, but you can still view beautiful modern and classic mausoleums and sculptures here.
2. Bastille Square
This was the location of the famous Bastille stronghold, which was stormed by rebellious crowds in 1789 at the start of the French Revolution. To show the displeasure with French authority, the fortress was overtaken and then later demolished as a stand for freedom.
Bastille Square is the spot where the fortress once stood, and visitors can see the foundation of the building as well. While history buffs will love seeing where history took place, literally everyone can find something to enjoy here.
You can visit the Colonne de Juillet, a column commemorating another revolution in 1830 during which King Charles X was replaced by King Louis-Philippe; the Bastille Opera house, which opened in 1989 and puts on fun and interesting shows; or even walk the area and visit the various shops.
3. Petit Palais
Often referred to as “the mini Louvre,” this museum offers a wide selection of fine arts and eccentric décor that many find fascinating. The exterior features an exquisite combination of Greek and Roman styling, but also uses ornamentation to make it even more unique.
People who visit Petit Palais love it for its thousands of artistic pieces, but they also love it for the much less hectic atmosphere that you’d get from visiting the more famous Louvre, but you still get a similar experience because of the styling cues and impressive art here.
4. Parc Montsouris
Thirty-seven acres of park developed by landscape architect Jean Charles Adolphe Alphand, public art, lush gardens and patches of trees and plenty of relaxing open areas are what you can expect if you visit Parc Montsouris.
Located at the edge of Paris to the south, visitors will love the English style park, but even children can find enjoyment here with the many playgrounds scattered about, and even a puppet theater, too.
In addition to the relaxing environment, there are many species of migratory birds that frequent the park, making it a quality spot for bird watchers and people interested in foreign birds.
5. Rodin Museum
Originally a mansion built for a wigmaker in the 18th century, the museum is home to the works of art created by famous artist, Auguste Rodin. His work was incredibly realistic and steered away from the norm, as other artists of his time focused on allegorical and mythological works, making his art original and desirable.
Inside, you can expect to see about 6,600 sculptures, all crafted by Rodin. Some of his more famous sculptures include “The Kiss” and “The Thinker,” but much of his work should be very familiar to those who visit the museum.
And Rodin’s art is not the only thing that draws in visitors. It’s the outstanding grounds and mansion as well. Expertly maintained, you can walk around and truly immerse yourself in a culture that you’d probably never experience in your lifetime. The rich and most elegant once frequented the complex, so being able to draw on that for inspiration as you stroll about makes the entire experience worthwhile.
Traveling to Paris is the experience of a lifetime. Visiting the shops, popular tourist attractions and feasting on the “strange” French food, is something that most will never forget. But while you’re there, don’t forget to check out these less popular (but just as amazing) attractions as well. You won’t be disappointed!