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Paris is one of the most visited places on the planet with millions of people visiting each year. With a fact like that you’d assume that every part of this bustling metropolis had already been seen, that all its secrets had been found, that there were no places that hadn’t already been photographed to death, and that there were no new experiences to be had.
For most people when they think about places to visit in Paris they think about the places they see splashed on travel guides or on social media profiles, like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and the Champs Élysées, all places of astounding beauty and interest. But your time in France doesn’t have to be filled with macaroons, pretty desserts or the Mona Lisa. For the more discerning traveler looking for things to do off the beaten track, then the Parisian streets still offer a vast selection of lesser known activities, mysteries, tours, and sights that haven’t been photographed or cataloged to death. After all, Paris has a rich and messy history that is often reflected in the complex and sometimes dark corners of its geography.
So, the next time you find yourself in the French capital carve out a unique experience by seeking out some of the unusual, weird, and offbeat things to see from our list of unusual things to do in Paris.
Visit One of the Quirkier Museums in Paris
Sure, Paris has many amazing museums like the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay which are undoubtedly beautiful museums with a rich history, but they are also full of long queues and heaving crowds.If waiting around for hours is not your bag then why not head to some of the less well-known museums like the Museum of Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology which provides a look inside the world of 19th-century science and medicine. Nearby you will also find a botanical garden, zoo and array of other natural history museums.
For other more unusual museums head to the Paris Sewer Museum, the Museum of Romantics, the Fairground Museum or the Counterfeit Museum, all of which can be accessed for under 10 euros, with many being even less or completely free. These bargain attractions allow you to peruse uncannily realistic wax figures, eerie looking medical instruments, early model airplanes and dark, dank sewer tunnels. What more could you ask for?
Head Down into the Eerie Catacombs
Paris may seem like an idyllic place to visit from ground level, but underneath there is a dark and sinister history lurking. The catacombs are a seemingly never ending, twisting labyrinth that snakes below the Parisian streets and is home to over 6,000,000 skeletons buried over different periods of Paris history. If you want to get a sense of the darker side of the city and see something truly unique then the catacombs are the place for you.
Pick up a Souvenir at the Port St Ouen Flea Market
The Port St Ouen flea market is the largest flea market in the World and is held each and every weekend on the outskirts of Paris. With a wide selection of local produce and crafts on display, there is something for everyone here and whether you are looking for a Parisian antique, want to marvel at some of the more eccentric vintage clothing on display, or even just pick up a souvenir postcard, then the flea market at Port St Ouen is for you.
Explore the Woodland at Bois de Boulogne or Bois de Vincennes
Many visitors moan about the lack of green spaces in Paris, which unlike other popular capitals like New York and London has no large open green spaces to mention. But what many people forget is that Paris is surrounded on both sides by the dense woodland of Bois de Vincennes to the East of the city and Bois de Boulogne to the West. With Bois de Boulogne situated at the end of the Metro Line 1, it is easily accessible for all visitors and the former royal hunting ground is now home to landscaped gardens, a mini golf course, eateries, and even a château.
Go on a Balloon Ride in Parc André-Citroen
The balloon in André-Citroën Park, is officially the largest hot air balloon in the world. If that hasn’t sold it to you then a ride is just 12 Euros and will take you over 400 feet above Paris. What better way to see the bustling city and all its amazing sights from a bird’s eye view.
Visit the Secret Apartment in the Eifel Tower
Few people know that when Gustave Eiffel built his tower in 1889 he included a secret apartment for himself perched nearly 1,000 feet in the air. The apartment is different to the rest of the tower's more industrial architecture and is decorated with warm wallpaper and dark wood. Next time you are in Paris give it a visit. We think you will be pleasantly surprised.
And Finally…As you can see, Paris is full of many, many wonderful places to visit and things to see that aren’t necessarily staring you in the face. If you want something truly unique then look a little harder and dig a little deeper into this amazing city’s façade and you will find a multitude of interesting and unusual things to do in Paris.
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