Attracting millions of tourists a year, Paris is one of the most popular destinations in the world. But there are still plenty of off the beaten path sights in Paris where a visitor can roam freely.
Explore the hidden gardens of the Eiffel Tower
The lines to ride the elevators to the top of the Eiffel Tower often serpentine around the base as visitors wait for hours. Less known are the lovely gardens and hidden ponds tucked away at the base of the structure. Take some time to explore these undiscovered areas. They offer a unique view of the symbol of Paris, offering a sense of solitude mere steps away from the tourist throngs visiting the Eiffel Tower.
Excite your tastebuds on “Falafel Alley”
Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made up of a mixture of chick peas, fava beans and spices. It’s served in a pita with tahini sauce and shredded vegetables. Rue des Rosiers in the 4th arrondissement is home to two of the best falafel places in Paris: Mi Va Mi at #23 and L’As du Fallafel at #34. The latter often has long lines winding down the block while you can often stroll right into Mi Va Mi. That’s what we suggested doing. Both places are so good there’s no need waiting to fill your falafel craving if you don’t have to. (But to be fair, the line does move quickly.) If you’re more in a meat mood, try the shawarma too.
It’s always tea time at the Museum of Tea at Mariage Frères
Mariage Frères at 30 rue du Bourg-Tibourg is a must-see destination for tea lovers. Part shop and part tea room, real aficionados will head down the stone stairway to the basement to see the underappreciated Museum of Tea. Two rooms are chock full of exhibits about the history of tea and the Mariage Frères brand. After you peruse the examples of tea and antique tea canisters displayed, head upstairs for a hot cup of tea or buy some leaves to brew your own later.
Roam a quiet village in the city
If the hustle and bustle of Paris have you longing for a quiet country feel, head over to Butte Aux Cailles at the southern end of town. This pocket neighborhood in the 13th arrondissement seems like it was carved out of a provincial town. The quiet, hilly streets are dotted with charming cafes and shops—but nothing particularly hip or trendy. An afternoon stroll through Butte Aux Cailles provides a breath of fresh air and a chance to recharge your batteries before heading back into the center of the City of Light.
Turn the page on the Left Bank
Head over to the 6th arrondissement where two Americans from California operate used bookstores within a coin’s toss of each other. The San Francisco Book Company opened in 1997 while Berkeley Books was formed in 2006 by three employees of the former store. They each offer a stellar selection of quality used books with a few new popular titles thrown into the mix. There is a story behind this perhaps not so friendly competition but neither bookshop owner has revealed it. Either way, readers benefit from the thousands of reasonably priced titles on display.
A people’s tribute to Princess Diana
When Princess Diana died in a car accident in Paris in 1997 near the Place de l’Alma, the site of her death became an instant area for makeshift memorials devoted to her memory. It’s right by the Flame of Liberty, a sculpture that is a replica of the flame atop the Statue of Liberty in New York City, which was placed here in 1987 to commemorate American-French relations. Plans to dedicate a permanent memorial to Diana in Paris have never materialized, so her fans and followers still gather by the Flame of Liberty and inscribe notes to her on the stone walkway nearby.