There are very few people who are interested in knowing more about Paris than the usual landmarks such as the Tour Eiffel and the Champs Elysees and it is understandable. Given the fact that most people only have a few days to visit this fascinating city, there is little time to even get to see all the spectacular landmarks, not to mention that time-wise, it is literally impossible for some to discover the unknown side of Paris. And when I say “the other side” I don’t mean the dark side, the gangs and the drug dealers, although, that exists too. I am referring to secret, narrow streets, less popular landmarks, undiscovered parks, valleys and hills that travelers simply don’t have the time to explore.
La Butte aux Cailles is a hidden Parisian district that takes you to another time in history. The little houses and the narrow streets give you the feeling that you are far away from the bourgeois side of Paris and that you are somehow discovering the Paris of the past one or two centuries. This fabled neighbourhood can be found somewhere between Chinatown and Montparnasse.
Also known under the name of “Little Sri Lanka”, La Chapelle is a fascinating quarter that gives you the feeling of being outside Paris. Being totally different from the rest of Paris, La Chapelle is a unique, colourful district, filled with numerous restaurants, houses and shops, inspired by Sri Lanka and the South Indian culture. If it’s you first time in Paris, you might be interested in visiting the most important landmarks first and leave the quirky stuff for later. However, La Chapelle is ideal for those who have already seen enough of Paris and are eager to explore the city’s peculiar side. Whichever district you explore, affordable accommodation can be found if you’re prepared to stay off the beaten track.
With a diverse range of residents living here, Belleville is an arty neighbourhood, due to the numerous artists living and working in the area. Quite different from anything that you could imagine, this district’s charm stands in the fact that it is extremely unique. With a blend of Africans and Chinese immigrants, among others, Belleville is a breath of fresh air compared to the hustle and bustle of central Paris.
Although a famous street, depicted by Claude Monet in an 1878 painting, Rue Montorgueil is not that popular among tourists. This lovely street is part of a lively, joyful neighborhood situated at a walking distance from the city centre. Rue Montorgueil is one of Paris’ oldest street and it is now popular for its mouth watering food markets, pastry shops and little restaurants, serving diverse dishes.
Another artistic quarter, the Grands Boulevards Neighborhood is one of Paris’ most enchanting areas. An ideal place for shopping, this quaint district is home to some unique boutiques, framed by 19th century breath taking arcades. After a delightful shopping session, you can enjoy the cheery terraces and the classy cafes. Or, you can just have a walk and admire the charming surroundings, finally, so typical of Paris!
If all of this wasn’t enough to keep you occupied or if you are travelling with little ones too young to appreciate the hidden side of Paris, then don’t forget that you can always tag on a trip to see Mickey Mouse, especially for your children, with Disneyland Paris tickets. That’s the beauty of this classic city break, Paris really does have it all – the food, the architecture, the history and the fun!