Okay, they may not actually be HIDDEN, but far too many people miss them none the less. Everyone goes to the Louvre‘, the Eiffel Tower (though last week’s post told you how to skip the line and get more out of the visit), the Arc de Triomphe and you should too, but some of my favorite places are a bit less known.
There are catacombs in Paris. BIG catacombs and you can tour them. You’ll need to take the subway, there are no restrooms there and plan to stand in line but it’s well worth it. Believed to be the source of infections in the 1700′s, bodies were exhumed and moved to old quarries outside (at the time) the city of Paris. So many skeletons were moved an in an effort to honor the dead, patterned walls were constructed from the bones. A bit macabre perhaps, but we loved it!
Are you a fan of the Broadway musical Phantom of the Opera? Then a visit to the Paris Opera House is a must! Even if you are not, it’s one of the most spectacular buildings. The outside is impressive, but so many buildings in Paris are beautiful. But inside! WOW! We even got to sneak a peak inside the performance hall and saw the actual chandelier that is replicated in the Broadway musical in rather spectacular fashion.
In many neighborhoods, you will find flyers posted outside decommissioned churches advertising classical music concerts. I’ve been to these in Rome, Venice and Paris and they are always lovely evenings in beautiful settings. The posters are never in English but you should be able to make out the date and time as well as the composer’s music being performed. There are few (if any) tourists and it’s a great way to spend a Paris evening.
Get the museum pass either online before you go or at one of the less busy monuments to save yourself a lot of line time. The line at the Louvre’ and other tourist hotspots is to buy tickets. There is usually an express entrance for those with the museum pass.
Invest in a week long (or however many days you will be there) Paris Metro pass. The system is easy to use and you will feel like a Parisian in no time! The larger stations take credit cards for the purchase and that will give you maximum flexibility.
Do your research ahead of time and plot out your days to make sure you capture as much of this beautiful city as you can in the time you have. But also be sure to allow time to sit at a sidewalk cafe and sip a chilled Rose’ and watch the world go by.