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Five tucked away spots in PARIS – Amy Tector

15th January 2022

Five tucked away spots in PARIS

Five tucked away spots in Paris. Let author Amy Tector be your guide

My upcoming novel, THE HONEYBEE EMERALDS (Keylight, March 29 2022) draws upon my experiences living as an expat in Europe. In my many trips to Paris I got to know the city beyond the usual highlights of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe and found some hidden gems that are worth a visit.

The Great Mosque of Paris and its Hammam

A beautiful place to visit, for a small fee you can wander around the gorgeous Mosque. Built in 1926, arched doorways, a series of courtyards and stunning mosaic tilework celebrate its North African architectural inspiration. If you’re feeling peckish, fresh mint tea and honey soaked baklava are served in a delightful garden courtyard.

Grande Mosque, Paris – Blue Hour By Jebulon

Feeling more adventurous? The Mosque also has a hammam, or series of steam rooms, that you can visit for a sweat and even a massage.

On our first trip my sister and I were a bit bewildered, as the hammam doesn’t cater to tourists and the process took some figuring out. Most ticket prices include a “gommage”, which is an extremely vigorous exfoliating rubdown by one of the hammam staff. These people are not messing around, and it will feel like a new layer of skin has been exposed.

Place des Vosges

You are probably going to spend a day wandering around the Marais, a charming neighborhood in a historic jumble of small streets, cute boutiques and trendy art galleries spread across the 3rd and 4th arrondissements.

Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris, and like a true Parisian, it wears its years with style. Built in the 17th Century, it is a quiet, pleasingly symmetrical oasis of red bricked homes, and shops with a beautiful arcade to stroll under in the inevitable Parisian drizzle.

The stores are filled with interesting and unusual treasures and are worth a window shop, if not an outright purchase. I splurged and bought a gorgeous silk scarf and have NO REGRETS.

The prettiest way to approach the square is from the south, via Rue de Birague

Five tucked away spots in PARIS

Place des Vosges Paris. Attribution: Jubilo

The Panthéon

Conceived as a church, it was built in the 18th Century and repurposed by revolutionaries as a monument to great Frenchmen (and much later, great French women). Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola and Pierre and Marie Curie are all buried here. Most recently, Josephine Baker, American-born granddaughter of slaves, Second World War spy and civil rights activist (and an important figure in my forthcoming novel, THE HONEYBEE EMERALDS), has been re-interred there. Josephine is the first Black woman to receive this honour.

Photo by Kreshen on Unsplash

Sunday Morning Organic Market at Marché Raspail

Nothing makes you feel more Parisian than eating like one, and nothing is more local than the many markets that dot the streets. One of my favorites is the organic market at Marché Raspail. Pricey and upscale, I think I once spotted actress Julie Delpy of Before Sunrise fame perusing the farm fresh eggs and asparagus.

There are all sorts of ready to eat treats on offer at the market. Fresh squeezed orange juice, delicious potato and cheese galettes or lemon tarts are great snacks while you peruse the colorful flowers, review the radishes and absorb the atmosphere.

Musée Nissim de Camondo
Five tucked away spots in PARIS

Daderot – Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris, France. – Grand Salon

The showstopper museums of Paris are world famous, but the city also boasts some tucked away gems like this museum. Wander through this gorgeous mansion filled with exquisite objets d’art including Ming vases, Aubusson tapestries, Sèvres porcelain and Louis XIV chairs.

The museum represents more than a simple display of exquisite decorative arts, however. It is also a sad testament to the annihilating force of the Holocaust. The house was originally owned by Moise de Camondo, a Sephardic Jew from a wealthy banking family, who loved to collect beautiful objects. Upon his death, he left the mansion to France, the country he loved.

Only eight years after the museum’s founding, his surviving child, Béatrice, and her entire family were murdered in the Holocaust. Their deaths ended the Camondo family line, although the museum and it’s collection remains de Camondo’s legacy.

Amy Tector

Bio: AmyTector is a novelist and author living in Ottawa, Canada. Her debut novel, The Honeybee Emeralds, follows the adventures of four expat women in Paris as they trace the provenance of a gorgeous diamond and emerald necklace

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