A Variety of Things to Do in Serendipitous Paris

By Phil Chavanne Published 04/13/2007 | Travel
Everyone will memorize something personal about Paris. I thought it would be a rich idea to start writing a brand new series of articles in which I would offer each time a motley of ideas: obscure sites to see, off-the-wall museums to visit, quaint shops to shop at, and other things to do (for free or for money) in Paris. Starting now!

British and Celt Rock in Paris

In 30 years from now, people will talk about the Guinness Rock Tavern as this mythic British bar where to listen to live rock music while downing a Guinness Stout. A new band every night will entertain you from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am. I am still so thankful I didn't live right above the place! Take the subway to the "Chatelet" station, and walk northwards to 31 bis rue des Lombards. That's the place where it's loud.

Antique Asia in Paris

The Cernuschi Museum shelters over 12,000 ancient objects of Chinese, Korean and Japanese origins, of which 900 are on permanent display in the beautiful 19th century mansion: from neolithic potteries, to statues and weapons of the 13th century. There is only one other museum in France which can compete with such a wealth of antique Asian art. This museum is worth its weight in gold! To visit it, go to 7 avenue Velasquez, near the "Villiers" metro station. Don't go on Mondays, the mansion is closed.

Get Me a Couscous for Free

At the "Les Fontaines" bar, the owner opens his kitchen and serves free couscous to all on Fridays and Saturdays. You are only required to order one drink per person, which is anyway desirable when you stuff yourself with semolina. "Les Fontaines" sits at 153 rue Saint-Maur, in the 11th district. The closest metro stations are "Belleville" and "Rue Saint-Maur".

Bagdad Cafe in Paris

There is the arch-famous Bagdad Cafe on Route 66 (I ate there twice, yes!), and there is the much less famous but very lively Bagdad Cafe in Paris. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 9:00 pm the place is taken over by fans of gipsy jazz players (Django Reinhardt style) and French pop singers. Live music and drinks at reasonable prices, what better way to kill an evening? The address is 22 rue au Maire, in the 3rd district, near the "Arts et Metiers" metro station.

Organ Music Anyone?

Notre Dame Cathedral is not just an awesome medieval work of art. Every Sunday at 4:30 PM the official organ player of the Cathedral sits at his keyboard, and fills the enormous structure with sounds from outer space. Anyone who attended these concerts will tell you that religious music takes a whole new meaning in this sanctified place. Goosebumps guaranteed. Notre Dame Cathedral is located on the Cite Island, at the Cite metro station. There is more about it on my Paris guide paris-eiffel-tower-news.com.

Ah! The joys of visiting Paris in an unconventional way! You can imagine that a city which is 2,000 years old and has 1,000 years of recorded history offers a lot more than can ever be summarized in writing. Facing such an abundance of things to see, which way should one go? My take (and that of my old pal Vincent Ramelli, who was born in Paris and is a die-hard Parisian) is that Paris is better discovered outside the path traced by the millions of visitors. Not to say that the Louvre Museum must not be part of your itinerary, not at all! But I just happen to think that if you include a detour to a less-well-known place such as those recommended in our Paris travel guide Paris-Eiffel-Tower-News.com, your stay in the French capital will become all the more interesting. You will have more local-color anecdotes to tell your friends. And your trip will be even more memorable. SO yes, I recommend that you try out new spots and venues, and I will continue suggesting those in further articles. Cheers!

About the Author:
With thirty years of on-the-ground experience Phil Chavanne has helped many travelers to make the best of their stay in Paris. Find many of the answers you need to prepare your next trip at Paris-Eiffel-Tower-News, a free information guide about Paris hotels, restaurants, monuments, shops and sightseeing opportunities.