An alternative tour guide to Paris

by Laurene Mondet
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If you have already visited all famous Parisian landmarks and would like to discover another facet of Paris, here are 10 unusual things to do for a leading city break in the the city of lights.

You can also find our alternative tour guide to Istanbul.

The Vampire Museum

If you are a fan of Twilight, this small private museum dedicated to vampires and the study of their place in folklore and modern culture will make your day! It can be a bit complicated to understand for non-French speakers but it is absolutely worth the effort. This enigmatic museum displays an eclectic collection of books, photographs, weapons, masks, models and other objects referencing the vampire legend. There is also a creepy Gothic garden out the back.

You need to make an appointment to visit, but don’t worry - the museum’s curator speaks impeccable English. No time to lose! take some time off and book your special week end break in the city of lights.

Pet Cemetery

Just outside Paris, in the suburb of Asnières-sur-Seine, you can find what is said to be the oldest pet cemetery in the world, officially called “Le Cimetière des Chiens”. In this quiet and beautiful place, you will discover majestic pet statues and monumental graves. Some of the occupants have been heroes during wars or were known as “actors”! Most of the tombs are traditional but others show vivid imagination and, of course, love.

Strangely, you will also find lots of living cats which seem very happy and healthy! For an animal-lover, that cemetery is the perfect place to enjoy a leading outdoors getaway in Paris.

Paris Sewers Museum

This museum is located in the sewers beneath the Quai d'Orsay on the Left Bank, a must see destination for any visitor who's interested in engineering, public works, or unusual tourist attractions. It is dark and quiet, and a great place to visit for those who just want to enjoy the bizarre atmosphere of the Parisian sewers. The sewer tunnels are a lot wider and more spacious than you would probably imagine so you are not at risk of getting claustrophobia.

If you happen to be in Paris in summer, it is also a great place to cool off where you can enjoy a luxury weekend in the capital.

Carnival Arts Museum

Step back in time and enter the world of Paris Carnival Museum normally opens to private individuals or groups on reservation or during the last week of the year. This museum, located in the Pavilllons de Bercy features a stunning collection of beautiful old amusement park rides and other carnival-related attractions. It is truly like a trip to a fair and from the moment you enter, you know it is a magical and mysterious place.

If you want to experience a special romantic break in Paris, the Carnival Arts Museum is the perfect spot for you and your loved one.

Le Marais

Le Marais is one of Paris’ oldest and most dazzling quarters. Le Marais, which means “swamp” and once was one, is the centre of Parisian artistic and cultural life. The small crooked medieval lanes are alive with elegant restaurants, trendy shops, high fashion boutiques, old fashioned bread shops, fashionable art galleries and wine shops all crammed into one small area. Stroll down those streets and enjoy the best art and design break in Paris.

Who wants to be in a photograph?

For those who would like to take the best pictures of Paris, why not sign up for a photograph workshop during your stay with “Je veux être photographe” which offers 4 or 8 hours private lessons in English. The workshop is taught outdoors, giving you the opportunity to discover Paris. You must have a digital camera with you because at the end of the session, you will go to a café, download your best photos – or worst! – to discuss with the instructor what you did right and what could be improved.

Flight experience

Test your skills as a pilot in an authentic replica of a Boeing 737 cockpit, with an unforgettable flight simulator experience assisted by a certified professional pilot. Whether you are completely novice or a seasoned pilot you will find a “flight” that matches your profile and expectations for a special holiday break in Paris.

Cheese tasting

Enjoy a cheese tasting organised by a cheese maker in the middle of Montmartre. Heads to the back of her store and sit around a magnificent oak table to taste some of the best cheeses, wines and artisanal breads. Whether you are a cheese connoisseur or just curious about cheese, this is a well worth discovering experience for a friendly and authentic moment in the city.

Pain de Sucre

For sweet lovers, Pain de Sucre (literally “sugarloaf”) offers amazing pastries boasting subtle flavours and perfect execution. Whatever you taste you won’t be disappointed. From multicoloured hand made marshmallows to traditional baba au rhum which comes with an extra pipette of rum, you will experience the best gastronomy break in France. If you are a macaroon addict, a varied selection from traditional pistachio to unusual saffron and chilli will please your taste buds.

Where to stay?

Over your break in the city, we recommend you Les Jardins du Marais, a four star boutique hotel, nestled in the trendy Marais area of Paris. The hotel is perfect for those looking to experience a luxury weekend escape in Paris.

If you are planning a trip to Germany, here is our alternative tour guide to Berlin.

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A destination for every age… - by Laurene Mondet