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Hidden Paris

21st December 2020

There’s a reason Paris is one of the most popular cities for travelers. Known as the ‘City of Light’ or the ‘City of Love’, the streets of Paris overflow with culture, art, beauty, and history. Originally a Roman City, Paris was called ‘Lutetia’. France’s capital is a major European metropolis and a global centre for fashion and gastronomy. Its 19th-century cityscape is criss-crossed by wide boulevards and the River Seine. Beyond such landmarks as the Eiffel Tower and the 12th-century Gothic Notre Dame cathedral, the city is known for its cafe culture and designer boutiques along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. It is an absolutely wonderful place to spend a couple of days.

But there is a lot more to Paris than the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre. There are loads of hidden gems to explore too.

Du Pain et des Idées

Let’s start with breakfast. Du Pain et des Idées at 34 Rue Toudic in the 10th arrondissement (quite close to the Seine) serves the most amazing baked goods – from flaky, buttery croissants (the staple of French life) to many more delicious pastries. The coffee is pretty good too – the perfect set up for the rest of the day!

Then perhaps a Metro ride to Philippe-Auguste station on Line 2 to visit the fabulous Cimetière du Père Lachaise in the 20th arrondissement, where many of the famous citizens of Paris (and a few who just happened to die there) are buried. Wander the paths through the trees on the hillside and come across the graves of Molière, Georges Bizet, Frédéric Chopin, Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Isadora Duncan, Gertrude Stein, Colette, Edith Piaf, Marcel Marceau and even Jim Morrison (of the Doors). The experience is quite surreal.

Le Passe-Muraille

On now to 59 Rivoli in the 1st arrondissement. Art in Paris is not just about the Louvre and the Mona Lisa. 59 Rivoli was an artists’ squat dating back to the 1800s – it has now been restored to its original colourful best. A really striking place to visit. And, while on the subject of unusual works of art, why not try the Le Passe-Muraille (the Passer-Through-Walls)? Le Passe-Muraille is the title of a story by Marcel Aymé about a man named Dutilleul who discovers that he can (you guessed it) walk through walls. The statue is situated in a square named after Marcel Aymé in beautiful Montmartre. It is really quite a bizarre site. And, while in Montmartre, go on to see the The Montmartre Vineyard. It has been in this area of Paris for over 800 years and is now the last active vineyard in the whole city!

Then a Metro across to the Left Bank (just by Notre Dame) to visit Shakespeare and Company at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie in the 5th arrondissement. Shakespeare and Company is the premier English language book shop in the city, and a real treasure. Opened (at a different site) by an American in 1919.


And, finally, you can’t be in Paris without thinking about dinner (and you deserve it!). An excellent place, which we really love, is Javette at 20 rue Dauphine (just by the Pont Neuf). Vegetarian friendly (but not exclusively – you can take your meat eating friends), not cheap, but absolutely worth it. Try the rare tuna marinated in soy sauce, with crunchy vegetables, or the lukewarm green puy lentils, poached egg, gravy and ham chips for starters, followed by sautéed squid with lemon and parsley or the grilled pork ribs with honey & mustard. All quite delicious!

Enjoy Paris!

Tony for the TripFiction team

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