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You’ve come to know us for insider tips and event guides for Düsseldorf, and now we’re thrilled to introduce our new series of travel guides with insider tips for new cities around the world!
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From world-class art in unexpected places to an old railroad viaduct that’s been converted into artists’ studios, we’re sure you’ll find something new to enjoy in Paris.
Let’s get started. Bon voyage!
We’re happy to have partnered with Thalys for this trip to Paris. They offer five departures daily from Düsseldorf, making the trip easy and enjoyable. Tip: Get premium perks like bigger seats, faster wi-fi and meal service, all at discounted prices, with the new Premium Mini fare.
Though this is an insider guide to Paris, we’d be remiss not to mention the iconic sights in the city – they’re well worth seeing! Here are a few tips to help you save time and/or money at popular landmarks and attractions:
Many museums offer free entry on the first Sunday of the month, including the Musée d’Orsay, Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou (all year, Map: 1 & 2) and even the Louvre (Oct-Mar, Map: 3). For a full list, check out the Paris Convention & Visitors Bureau’s list of museums with free admission.
Treat yourself to a “chic picnic” at 58 Tour Eiffel (Map: 4) restaurant. Make a reservation for lunch which includes a 3 course menu, a drink and a lift ticket with priority queue access for just 39 euros (15 euros for kids).
Prefer to eat elsewhere, but still want to avoid the longest lines? Skip the lift and take the stairs to the second level. You’ll save six euros, enjoy great views on the way up and have a fun story to tell. Tickets are available only at the box office.
For a view of Paris that includes the Eiffel Tower itself, head to the 8th floor rooftop of the Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. (Map: 5) Entry is free!
If you plan to visit Sacre Coeur, head to Place Dalida (Map: 6) and walk up Rue de l’Abreuvoir. Not only will you have a great view, but you’ll avoid the big crowds at the front entrance.
VIADUC DES ARTS
The Viaduc des Arts (Map: 7) are the stone arches of a former railroad viaduct which have been transformed into beautiful studios for 60 artists and craftspeople. The range of things being made here is incredible. During our visit we watched a glass blowing demonstration at Le Four and saw a massive brass chandelier being created at MYDRIAZ PARIS. Other unique places nearby include coppersmith La Boutique du Cuivre, the artisan chocolate shop Atelier C, modern wood furniture by Estampille 52 and umbrella maker Parasolerie Heurtault.
After exploring the shops of the Viaduc des Arts, simply look up. That’s where you’ll find our next destination – the Promenade Planteé (Map: 8). The old railway tracks atop the viaduct have also been transformed – this time into a beautiful elevated park, complete with lush gardens, reflecting ponds, and plenty of comfortable benches. It’s a perfect way to relax for a while above the hustle and bustle of the city.
Paris is home to a variety of covered arcades dating back as far as the 19th century. Though they’re spread out across the city, you can visit three of them quite easily from the Grands Boulevards metro stop (Map: 9). Start at the Passage des Panoramas. Built in 1799, it’s the first covered arcade in the city. Just across the street you’ll find Passage Jouffroy, with its interesting vintage architecture and unique collection of shops and restaurants.
PICNIC IN PARIS
One of the best things to do on a nice day is a Parisian style picnic. You can’t go wrong with a baguette, cheese & a bottle of wine, or some pastries from a classic French bakery like Le Moulin de la Vierge. If you’re up for something a little different check out BOCO (Map: 10), a unique “gourmet to go” concept. The menu items are created by award winning chefs and offered at reasonable prices in glass jars that are perfect for a picnic.
This off-the-tourist-path neighbourhood (Map: 11) is popular with locals thanks to its upbeat yet casual atmosphere. With more than its fair share of hip sidewalk cafés, great architecture, and independent shops you’ll have no problem spending an afternoon here. While you’re in the area, don’t forget to stop and take a look at L’Oasis d’Aboukir, an impressive vertical garden clinging to a residential building.
STREET ART QUARTIER: 13TH ARRONDISSEMENT
Not only is the street art in Paris some of the best in the world, but much of it is centered in the 13th arrondissement (Map: 12) thanks to a unique partnership between the Galerie Itinerrance and the city of Paris. The district is now home to 50 works by 22 influential French and international artists.
To get there, take the metro to Nationale station, step outside and have a look around. Many of the massive murals are directly outside the station, including ‘Turncoat’ by D*Face, ’Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité’ and ‘Rise Above Rebel’ by Shepard Fairey. Others are within a quick walk. To find your favorites, check out Street Art 13 for their interactive map of the area.
EXPOSITION SUR LES GRILLES
It seems like everywhere you look in Paris there’s great art, so why not a fence? The Exposition Sur Les Grilles (Map: 13) is an open air photography exhibition featuring 83 large panels, each measuring 1.8 meters across. The exhibition during our visit was Origines, which featured stunning shots showcasing the wonders of the natural world. Visit the park website for information about current exhibitions and events.
SUNSET ON THE SEINE
Head to Pont Alexandre III, a historic arch bridge with a picture-perfect view of the Eiffel Tower just across the Seine. The gilded statues & decorations along the bridge, which are coated in 1,8 Kilos of gold leaf, shine bright as the sun begins to set. Once the sun dips below the horizon, head to Rosa Bonheur sur Seine (Map: 14), a barge that’s been turned into a stylish floating bar & restaurant.
Continue reading for more attractions, bars, restaurants, shopping and nightlife tips.