A Potpourri of Ideas to Try out in Paris

By Phil Chavanne Published 04/13/2007 | Travel
Your experience of Paris will necessarily be different from that of any other traveler. Because your expectations are unique, your perception of the French capital will be yours, and yours only. Diversity being the name of the game, I thought you would enjoy being told about a larger variety of unusual places to visit, and singular things to do while in Paris.

In this new series of articles, I will bring to your attention an assortment of such things which you are free to try out then and there. You can also find more data on my Paris guide Paris-Eiffel-Tower-News.com

Like Church Music?

Every Sunday and on non-worked days, the imposing Saint Roch Church hosts organ concerts from 5:30 to 6:00 PM. There is no entry fee, and the thrill is guaranteed for a good 30 minutes. This venue is known for this event, so show up well before 5:30 PM. The Church is located at 2 impasse Saint Eustache, between the "Châtelet-Les Halles" metro station and the Louvre Museum.

Where Queen Marie-Antoinette Spent her Last Night

Queen Marie-Antoinette was beheaded during the French revolution in 1793. It is said her hair turned entirely white during the night before her execution. She was held captive at the Conciergerie Museum, a royal palace built on the Cite Island in the early 13th century. The medieval atmosphere penetrates your very soul along a visit which will lead you through the castle and its infamous cells. Free admission, and you keep your head on your shoulders. The address is 2 boulevard du Palais, on the Cite Island. The nearest metro station is "Cite".

A Park Way Too Often Overlooked

Standing in the middle of the forgotten, off-centered 19th district, the Buttes-Chaumont park rolls out its majestic hills and narrow alleys over thousands of acres. Way too often overlooked by tourists and Parisians alike, the park is a haven of silence and peace. Joggers, strollers, families and lovebirds meet at this unique venue which is dominated by a rocky mound on top of which stands a small gazebo which resembles a Greek temple. An awesome place to spend a Sunday morning. The nearest metro stations are "Laumiere" and "Buttes-Chaumont".

Free Couscous for All

The "La Cordonnerie" restaurant offers a nice, free couscous to its patrons every Saturday night at 9:00 pm. A simple principle: order a drink (less than 5 euros), and you get the couscous. At that price, it's a steal. People know it, they flock to the place, and there is very little room available. The restaurant is located at 142 rue Saint Denis, near the "Etienne Marcel" subway station.

The Green Miles

That's something so peculiar you won't want to miss it. On top of the remnants of what used to be an inner railroad line, the City authorities have developed a 3-mile walkway which links the Bastille square to the Vincennes Woods, along the Daumesnil Avenue. Halfway between Bastille and Vincennes, the Reuilly Gardens offer a nice halt. There is no such walkway in any city I have ever visited. Access it from the "Bastille" subway station. You can see a few views of it at paris-eiffel-tower-news.com

Each of these Parisian spots will spice up your trip to Paris. I often recommend the subscribers of Paris-Eiffel-Tower-News.com to get out of their comfort zone to soak in uncommon sights and bring them back home. Paris is best visited in a free-spirited way, outside the 'channels' built by travel guides. Not that the circuits they offer are uninteresting. But having lived some 25 years in the French capital, I personally believe (and my friend photographer Angel Sanguinetti is of the same opinion) that there is a lot more to Paris than just the regular course served by reference guides. I urge you to try and dare new things. It will be more rewarding, and you will be in a position to recommend your own friends new best ways to discover Paris!

About the Author:
After many years spent in Paris, Phil Chavanne knows the city in and out and gives English-speaking travelers scores of advices and information bits on Paris, and how best to visit the French capital at Paris-Eiffel-Tower-News.