Five Underrated Attractions in Paris

There’s no way you will miss seeing the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées and the Louvre when visiting Paris. However, there are lesser-known attractions around the City of Lights which shouldn’t be missed either. Here are our top five!

Sainte-Chapelle

A royal chapel built in Gothic style, Sainte-Chapelle is located within with the Palais de Justice complex right in the centre of Paris. Founded by King XI of France and built in seven years, it was a chapel for the royal palace and a place to house Passion relics including Christ’s crown of thorns. A chapel of major religious and political importance, you will be wowed by the 15m high stained glass feature arranged across 15 windows, depicting 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments recounting the history of the world until the arrival of the relics in Paris.

Montmartre

A large hill in the 18th arrondissement, Montmartre, aka Mountain of Martyrs, is where you can walk in the footsteps of famous artists including Vincent Van Gogh and Picasso. Surrounded by beautiful vistas and bohemian architecture, this is also home to the Basilica Sacré-Cœur. You will also be pleasantly surprised by the many gardens vineyards dotted around the neighbourhood. And if you’re a film buff, you’ll know that the internationally-acclaimed movie, Amelie, was set in Montmartre. In fact this film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet perfectly encapsulates the charm and romance of the district.

La Promenade Plantée

Paris is home to many beautiful parks and gardens and as if that wasn’t enough, enter Promenade Plantée, a stunning promenade which you can enjoy 10m above street level. An abandoned mid-19th century viaduct turned world’s first elevated park walkway in 1993, you can start at the Bastille and make your way through the 12th arrondissement and exit at Bois de Vincennes. Most people on street level don’t even realise this walkway exists… but now, you’re in the know!

Le Marais

One of the fashionable districts of Paris, also known as SoMa (South Marais), Le Marais was for a long time the aristocratic district of Paris, where you’ll see many outstanding buildings of architectural importance. Today, you’ll find it’s teeming with art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and fashion houses. When you visit, be sure to check out Place des Vosges, the earliest planned square in the city, which Victor Hugo once called home.

Jardin du Palais Royal

When you first see the entrance to the Garden of the Royal Palace or Jardin du Palais Royal, you’ll find that it’s not an obvious garden. It’s a quiet place to sit, picnic, ponder and rest. The double row of trees running down both sides of the garden provide much needed shade during the warmer months, while the circular pond and fountain between the two lawns provide a point of interest and place of meeting. Visitors of the park also appreciate that the garden often holds temporary outdoor sculpture exhibits and that it is one of the few places in Paris where dogs are not allowed.

For more travel inspiration and information on France Rail Passes and tickets (External link) , head to www.raileurope.com.au (External link) , where you can use the destination guide (External link) and interactive map to help with the trip planning.

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