As Audrey Hepburn so aptly said ‘Paris is always a good idea’.
For those of you who have visited Paris before and worked your way through the usual ‘must see’ sights then this list if hidden treasures is compiled just for you.
After all, who would visit Paris just once.
Buttes Chaumont Park – for one of the best views of Paris
Located in the 10th Arrondissement it’s one of the largest and original green parks in Paris. From its highest point it has views across Paris to Sacre Coeur and the Montmartre district. With its waterfalls, caves, suspended bridge, exotic and indigenous trees and numerous birds congregating around the artificial lake it makes a wonderful spot for a picnic and a great location to take an iconic photo of Paris.
Picpus Cemetery – The largest private cemetery in Paris
If you blink your miss the cemetery located as it is between a nondescript entrance along a small out of the way street in the 12th Arrondissement. In 1794 this quiet local neighbourhood garden was used for a series of mass graves for the hundreds of victims of Mme Guillotine set up a few blocks away in what is now the Place de la Nation.
The Picpus cemetery also houses the burial site of General Marquis de Lafayette, one of the true heroes of the American Revolution. The American flag is allowed to be flown over the grave in recognition of his importance.
Musee Nissim de Camondo – A magnificent private home
A private home located at 63 rue de Monceau in the 8th Arrondissement commissioned in 1911 by the fabulously wealthy Parisian, Moise de Camondo. The house has been preserved in its original condition and contains French furniture and objets d’art secured by this passionate collector. The home was originally to be inherited by his son. However on his death in an air battle during WWI the home was bequeathed as a permanent memorial. Tragedy continued to afflict the family with the deportation to Auschwitz and subsequent death of his daughter and her family.
Cour du Bel Air – a Belle Epoque Hidden Passage
Hidden away off the trendy Fauborg Saint-Antoine in the 12th Arrondissement dozens of passages and courtyards with ancient ateliers create a rural village in the heart of Paris.In the 18the Century town planners created a labyrinth of hidden passages across Paris and some like Cour du Bel Air remain to be enjoyed.
Edith Piaf Museum – a small evocative and intimate homage to the little sparrow.
Located in the 11th Arrondissement, this small privately run museum is located in 2 rooms of the private apartment still occupied by, Bernard Marchois, a lifelong fan. Open by appointment only you’ll discover a small and unassuming collection of personal items and mementos of the singer’s life and work. There’s an intimacy about the experience rare in a museum.
Bois de Boulogne – home to the Frank Gehry designed Louis Vuitton Foundation Gallery and Cultural Centre
There was always a good reason to visit the Bois de Boulogne but since the completion of this building there’s another compelling reason to include it in your itinerary.
Opened in 2014 the building features a number of glass sails made up of over 3,500 laminated glass panels. Each panel is unique and specifically curved to the shapes drawn by the architect, Frank Gehry.
The building is home to a range of exhibitions and live cultural events.
Chateau and Bois de Vincennes – the largest public park in Paris
Located on the eastern edge of Paris is the largest public park created by Napoleon III. The Chateau de Vincennes was the original residence of French Kings until Versailles was built. For the following 300 years it was used as a prison housing amongst many others, the Marquis de Sade before becoming a fortress and latterly a place of national remembrance of the historical service of the three French armed forces.
In 2010 the Chateau was re-opened after major renovations.
Cercle International de L’Arc – a welcome awaits those who want to practice their linguistic skills
A ‘drop-in’ style conversation room which has been running since 1957.
The meeting room is located in a basement behind St Germain de Pres in the 6th Arrondissement and is open every weekday afternoon.
An annual fee of 10 Euros will entitle you to join any of 5 or 6 conversation tables where volunteer French native speakers act as moderators. All ages, levels and nationalities are welcome and you can stay as long as you like. A great way to practice your French conversation and meet some fellow travellers and ex-pats.
What have I missed? Feel free to add your favourite spots to the list in the Comments section below.