Paris is always full of surprises with its breathtaking views, well-hidden green spaces and cool bars and restaurants. Our top 10 unusual places to visit in Paris will help you to see the city differently!
The abandoned circular railway tracks of La Petite Ceinture, which surrounded Paris until 1934, have become wildlife corridors. They’re home to nearly 200 plant species and more than 70 animal species. 4 sections (in the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th arrondissements) have been converted into paths and are open to anyone who wants to escape the tarmac of Paris for a walk in the great outdoors.
The parcels and letters which used to be sorted in the amazing industrial building of the Halle Pajol have given way to travellers and curious visitors. You’ll now find a municipal library, a youth hostel, a designer store, a coffee shop, a concept bar and restaurant and even an American grocery store under its roof (which is entirely covered with solar panels)!
Halle Pajol - 20 esplanade Nathalie Sarraute - Paris 18th
The Guimet Museum, famous for its Asian art collection, is home to a 450m² Japanese garden. In the middle of the 16th arrondissement, giant bamboo, ponds and the traditional tea pavilion (a gift from Japan in 2001) will instantly transport you to the land of the Rising Sun.
Garden of the Hôtel d’Heidelbach - 19 avenue d’Iéna - Paris 16th. The garden is now open to visitors during tea ceremonies and guided tours.
Austrian collector Thaddaeus Ropac thinks big. Not content to own a gallery in the Marais, he’s also bought the former premises of a boiler-making company in Pantin. Spanning some 2000m², it’s home to plenty of enormous installations and large-scale works. Why not take a break and enjoy some refreshments in the Café Bleu?
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac - 69 avenue du général Leclerc - Pantin (93)
Le Syndicat doesn’t just offer fantastic cocktails: it also aims to promote French spirits! There are no margaritas or mojitos here: instead, you can enjoy drinks made with myrtle liqueur from Corsica, gentian from Pontarlier and apple brandy from Normandy. Cheers!
Le Syndicat - 51 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis - Paris 10th
A truly breathtaking experience! The Ballon de Paris measures the particle of Paris’ air but it also offers tethered balloon flights. As long as you don’t suffer from vertigo, it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy fascinating panoramic views as you fly 150m above the City of Lights.
Ballon de Paris - parc André Citroën - Paris 15th
Spider Tech, a terrible criminal organisation, is determined to spread a virus in capital cities all over the world. Its aim? To take control of human beings’ brains! Using your smartphone and a GPS, head off on a mission which will see you pounding the streets of Paris in a bid to find the antidote and save the world!
Lock Academy - 25 rue Coquillière - Paris 1st. Available in French and in English. www.lockacademy.com
When it comes to rooftop restaurants, Kong is definitely at the top of the list! On the 5th floor of a beautiful Haussmanian building in the heart of Paris, it offers a 360° view with its beautiful curved glass roof. With an interior design created by Philippe Starck himself, sip a cocktail while enjoying an incredible view of the Seine, Pont Neuf and the Samaritaine. It’s undoubtedly the most stylish option when it comes to our top 10 unusual places to visit in Paris!
Kong - 1 rue du Pont Neuf - Paris 1st
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the fascinating world of the fairground! This amazing museum will transport you to the fairgrounds of yesteryear with its mysterious array of items: wooden merry-go-round horses, a theatre of marvels, an elephant with its hot air balloon, a magic mirror dance floor, a Venetian reception room and more.
Musée des Arts Forains - 53 Avenue des Terroirs de France - Paris 12th. Visits to the museum must be booked. www.arts-forains.com
Don’t bother with the Bateaux Mouches: take the tiller and explore Paris’ waterways for yourself! Make your way to La Villette, where you’ll see the former flour mills known as the Grands Moulins de Pantin, along with plenty of unexpectedly rural landscapes surrounding the Ourcq canal. Set off on an unusual route along the Canal Saint-Martin towards the Bassin de l’Arsenal. For just a few euros more, the company includes a picnic so that you can enjoy your tour of Paris on a full stomach!
Marins d’eau douce - Bassin de la Villette, 37 quai de la Seine, Paris 19th. www.marindeaudouce.fr
It's hard to ignore the capital’s well-known monuments when visiting Paris. But do you know everything there is to know about this one?
You’ve driven and walked past it, you’ve seen it from Place de la Concorde, sitting centre stage at the start of the most beautiful avenue in the world. But do you really know the Arc de Triomphe? Treat yourself to a guided tour to find out more about this iconic monument’s history and admire its sculpted reliefs. Then climb up to the roof and enjoy an incredible view of Paris and the Champs Elysées which stretch all the way to the Louvre.
Arc de Triomphe - Place de l’Étoile - Paris 8th