There are plenty of things to do in Paris besides the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre. If you’ve already seen these major tourist sites, you may crave something to do that doesn’t involve being surrounded by hundreds of other sweaty tourists. Here is a list of five things to do that often unfrequented by tourists, so you can feel like a local.

“ Paris is always a good idea. ”
– Audrey Hepburn

Statue of Liberty, Pont de Grenelle

France famously gave America the Statue of Liberty in 1886; America returned the favour by gifting France a quarter-scale sized Statue of Liberty in 1889.

Given to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, she’s symbolic of the friendship between America and France, which started with France aiding America’s war for independence. Due to her small size, she can often be overlooked in the hubbub of Paris but makes an interesting addition to anyone’s holiday photos. Instead of being perched on Ellis Island, here she overlooks the Seine, near the Eiffel Tower.

Chapelle Expiatoire

Under the neat lawns of the chapel’s serene gardens, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were buried after their appointment with the guillotine during the French Revolution, along with hundreds of other headless French citizens. The Chapelle Expiatoire was built in 1826 as a monument to the late King and Queen and their bodies were moved to the royal tomb. The chapel remains somewhat of a pilgrimage to those interested in French history.

Despite the lack of gory human remains, the crypt contains a marble alter that marks where the royal bodies were found. The closest Métro station is Saint-Augustin. Entry is 6€ or free for European citizens between the ages of 18-25. Enjoyable to history buffs and those who enjoy beautiful architecture and peaceful greenery.

Shakespeare and Company

George Whitman opened this bookshop in 1951 and it very quickly became a haven for writers. They could sleep on many of the beds tucked away in between the bookshelves for free if they helped to run the shop. Their motto “Be Not Inhospitable to Strangers Lest They Be Angels in Disguise” is painted above the door and welcomes any traveller that passes through it.

Many famous writers have visited this hidden gem, including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Anaïs Nin. Any aspiring writer could add their name to that list if they make it big! Cross the Pont au Double right next to Notre Dame and walk through the Square René Viviani park and you’re there.

Memorial des Martyrs de la Deportation (Memorial of the Deportation)

This memorial to the 200,000 people deported from Paris to Nazi concentration camps in World War Two is carefully hidden away behind Notre Dame. Hundreds of tourists walk past it every day because there is no sign. Instead of a towering monument, the memorial is accessed by stairs going nearly underground.

Here you come face to face with a former morgue, lit up to show the harsh reality of the Holocaust. It’s understandable why it is not a major skyline landmark. This is a place for quiet observation and peaceful reflection, something difficult amongst a busy crowd. The entry for the Memorial of Deportation is free and is located just behind the park behind Notre Dame.

Cafe des Deux Moulins

If you’re familiar with Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie, you’re likely to recognize this quaint café, which was used in the popular 2001 French rom-com. The food is traditionally French and can be quite calorific, so maybe just stick to the wine or tea if you’re on a diet.

For starters, why not eat native with snails and parsley butter from 7€ or onion soul served with a layer of melted cheese for 7€. For the main course, grilled rib steak with parsley butter and homemade French fries is a popular choice for 15.90€.If you’re a vegetarian, you can order the organic tofu burger for 15.70€, or ask for it without cheese to make it vegan. For those with a sweet tooth, the crème brûlée is frequently ordered and with good reason, being delicious and only 7€. Located just around the corner from the Moulin Rouge, it is well worth visiting, just for the relaxing atmosphere alone.

“ An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris. ”
– Friedrich Nietzsche.

Paris is a city that’s rich in culture and most of it’s missed when you’re just rushing to the major tourist sites. There are many amazing places that are almost hidden to most tourists, so why not explore and make the most of your time in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

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Written by Thomas Williams, 10 months ago
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