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9 Unusual Things to Do, Off the Beaten Path in Paris

When you think about Paris,

which followsummer does ALOT, you probably think about the Eiffel Tower, Bateaux Mouches rides on the Seine or un café or demi-litre of white wine in cozy, cobbled pavement cafés –the usual, touristy things to do in Paris. Why not wander away from the ‘usual suspects’ and explore some of the more unusual things to do in Paris and get a taste of some of what local Parisians enjoy everyday? Here are 9 followsummer recommendations:

Never been to Paris? If this can possibly be true, then a first stop at the Musée Carnavalet is a must. The Musée documents the history of Paris from its beginnings through modern times and will give the Paris neophyte an incredibly interesting and insightful overview of the entire history of le Capital. While there, scoot over to the newly re-opened Musée National Picasso-Paris and get your Picasso on.

Tea at the Four Seasons George V: What more is there to say! But truly, you must indulge your luxe at least once in this classic Parisian experience that only the Four Seasons George V can offer. Start by cheering your luxe with a glass of champagne and finish with a glorious, in-house made macaroon. All perfectly timed and serenaded by some afternoon piano accompaniment, surrounded by magnificent Flemish tapestries, and ornate clocks (that still keep time) that were originally made for Versailles. Spoil your luxe in Four Seasons serenity with their renowned service and opulent surroundings.

A visit to the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent , currently showing ‘Yves Saint Laurent 1971: The Scandal Collection (until July 2015) A must for fashion lovers, this tour of the Yves Saint Laurent studio in Paris gives you a behind-the-scenes look at one of the greatest names in fashion history.

Lunch (or dinner) with a View: The 56st floor of the Tour Monparnasse offers designer and interior architect Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance’s recently re-imagined Ciel de Paris’ jaw-dropping views (whatever the weather) of the Eiffel Tower and street plan of the Paris of today after Haussmann re-imagined it. Take in the view with a coupe of Deutz Blanc de Blancs Champagne and savour a fabulous lunch by Chef Christophe Marchais, the decadent desserts (ohh those Parisians LOVE their dessert!) of Pastry Chef Baptiste Methivier and the incredible view.

A stroll and amble through the Art Nouveau pavillons (C 1900) plant stalls on the Île de la Cité’s Marché aux Fleurs Reine Elizabeth II to view exotic orchids, flowers, plants and shrubs. On Sundays, the market converts into the Marché aux Oiseaux. Where Paris shops for their summer gardens and winter tables.

Window Shopping (anytime) along Rue des Francs-Bourgeois in the Marais. Great ‘au courant’ Parisian designs to pick and play then make the comparison (and much cheaper) purchase at Printemps, Galeries Lafayette or perhaps Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche. Finish your window shop/stroll at the somewhat touristy Place des Vosges, Paris’s first ‘urban planning’ project, and one of the last remaining vistas of what the Paris of old used to look like. So worth a visit and a people watch from the park.

Get away from the Grand Museums of Paris with visits to several ‘musées insolites’ (unusual) including Musée du Quai Branly for indigenous art (we totally enjoyed the current exhibit ‘Tatouers, Tatoués‘ running till October, 2015), Musée Jacquemart-André for ‘Frick/Family-Style, private collection viewing, le Musée de la Magie, le Musée du Vin, le Musée du Perfume (also known as the Fragonard Musée du Parfum), and followsummer’s favorite, the Musée Arts-Forains with a focus on the Belle Epoque. Once inside, watch for le Théatre du Merveilleux and le Salon Vénitien.

Spend some time with the joggers and lunch time office workers enjoying their take-away brown bags on Paris’ original older sister version of New Yorks High Line, the Promenade of Le Viaduc des Arts. Starting in the Faubourg St-Antoine, stroll the elevated entire length and enjoy some classic Paris views and then circle back at street level and stop and shop the many ateliers and shops nestled in the rose coloured archways.

Enjoy the open markets at the top and bottom ends of le Canal St Martin where you will find fresh fish, produce, wonderful cheeses, beautiful flowers, (expertly arranged in gorgeous bouquets ‘while you wait’ by a handsome Frenchman) to brick-a-brac and consignment clothing. Linger over coffee, lunch or ‘une coupe de champagne’ in one of the charming little cafés that ring the covered canal.

It’s all about getting off that well worn, tourist path and exploring some of the hidden, unusual delights of one of followsummer’s favorite cities

Paris-well, my friends!



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World Traveler, Writer and Blogger, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the travel blog and contributer to @thesceneinTO and @WeRAddicted. Am a former Actor, current shower-singer and non-hipster foodie. Love my week-end house in St Marys, Ontario, Canada.

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