What To Find in Paris and Nowhere Else
We travel for the unfamiliarity. To see, smell, taste, touch something new; and hope our souls too absorb something along the way.
Visiting Paris is like a treasure trove of things to do or see that are simply not found anywhere else — and I’m not just referring to monuments like the Eiffel Tower or the impressive glass pyramids of the Louvre.
We could also get into the very unique layout of Paris as a city — something also not found elsewhere. Paris is broken up into arrondissements, twenty to be exact, that start in the centre and spiral out in a clockwise motion.
Each of these arrondissements, or districts, holds its own identifiable characteristics and personalities. From the edgy, youthful neighborhood of the 11th to the unfathomably expensive 8th; the city of Paris truly exists on a spectrum that in turn makes the attractions of each place so exclusive.
Within these 20 arrondissements are opportunities for some of the tastiest, most fun, most visually pleasing experiences in the world. Perhaps it doesn’t take much more than a box of authentic Parisian Ladurée macarons to connect you to the city… or a baguette au fromage on the Champ du Mars.
Whatever your poison, there will always be those few things in Paris that keep you coming back for more. Or at the very lest, keep you clutching onto the memories of your last visit to the city of lights.
Here are some of the most important things that you can find in Pairs and nowhere else in the world!
Some of the Greatest Artworks of our Time in Paris
From a cultural stand point Paris is an incredibly rich place. Multiple museum facilities can be found across each of the arrondissements; compared to the rest of the world, Paris has an undeniable abundance of museums.
The escapist charm of the city is what drew many successful artists here throughout the centuries. It is likely also what bred some of the local Parisian artists who were lucky enough to be born onto these streets.
Whatever the case, the remnants are copious amounts of historically great, original artworks that now line the walls of these museum spaces across the land.
Need I mention da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, who patiently lingers behind protective glass as the iconic Louvre Museum. Or Monet’s incredible Water Lilies that span across the walls of the Musée de l’Orangerie.
The one-of-a-kind nature of these early century artworks guarantee that Paris is your only opportunity to experience them. And of them, there are thousands.
Amongst the artists who fled to Paris in search of a creative escape are other big names like old Salvador Dali and Vincent van Gogh. Their works are still scattered around Paris and there is even an entire museum dedicated to Dali over in the Montmartre district.
If you’ve even remotely interested in Picasso, then you’re also in the right place. Aside from the dedicated Picasso Museum (also in Montmartre) his collection of works are also found in most other art museums around the city; The Centre Pompidou is a great spot to head to if you’d like to see any of his original Harlequin pieces.
Yes, there is art all over the world. But the art you’ll find in Paris wont be found anywhere else, that’s for sure.
Since the city is so saturated with museums it can become overwhelming as to which one to head to first. A free guided walking tour of Paris will take you past some of the better known ones first!
Haussmanian Architecture in Paris
Something that I too only learned recently is that most of the architecture in Paris falls under the Haussmanian name.
During the reign of Napoleon III, between 1853 and 1870, an architect named Baron Haussmanian was commissioned to remodel the entire city. The leader at the time believed that Paris was outdated and in need of a more modern feel.
Buildings were upgraded, streets were made wider and beautiful parks were installed throughout the city. Gone are the Medieval style houses and buildings that ruled prior to the changes.
The work on the city took over 20 years to successfully complete. During this time, both Napoleon III and Haussmanian came under harsh public fire because a lot of the renovations forced many everyday Parisian people to evacuate their homes.
Was it worth it? If you ask those it inconvenienced probably not. However I’m sure we are all nevertheless grateful to have the aesthetically pleasing architecture that we do today. The light concrete, shallow balconies and glorious plazas are indicative of Paris as we know it.
Arguably, this was an improvement project that would have had to have taken place across Paris one way or another.
The grimy, poor quality infrastructure that the Medieval times existed upon wouldn’t have stood the test of time very long before someone would need to save the day. Napoleon III and Haussmanian just beat everyone to it.
Try keep this perspective in mind when next you are walking the streets of Le Marais or Bastille. Imagine the thought and work that went into establishing this solid foundation of visually immaculate infrastructure. You really are in the heart of cutting edge history as we know it!
Angelina Tearoom in Paris
226 Rue de Rivoli
The famous Angelina Tearoom was founded way back in 1903 by Antoine Rumpelmayer who sought to name his iconic cafe after his beloved daughter-in-law, Angelina.
For over a century now, Angelina’s has become one of the best known tearooms in the world. Back in its heyday, it was frequented by the likes of Coco Chanel and other industry A-listers who enjoyed both seeing and being seen.
Today, people travel from far and wide just to be able to say that they had a pudding-like hot chocolate at Angelina!
The original salon is situated in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, Angelina is the ideal stopping point if you’ve spent the day exploring attractions such as the Tuileries Gardens or Sainte-Chapelle. Rue de Rivoli is a famous shopping street, so if you need somewhere to waste a few hours this is perfect.
There are a handful more Angelina venues around Paris due to the popularity that the place has built in recent years. You’ll find another over by the Arc de Triomphe and one in the Jardin du Luxembourg.
The tearoom’s founder, Antoine Rumpelmayer, was a very successful confectioner in his prime. True to his name, Angelina’s still makes and sells some of the finest chocolate in all of Paris — and you can only buy it directly from them at the tearoom itself!
People from all over the world like to stop here when in town and stock up on their supply of Angelina’s chocolate. All are welcome at Angelina, no need to believe the hype that the space is strictly reserved for the Parisian elite.
I love coming here on a rainy day when I’m in need of some real comfort foods. The one over on Rue de Rivoli is open until 7:30pm — best to visit really early or really late, as lines can get chaotic in the peak of the day.
Cabaret in Paris
I know what you’re thinking; but there’s cabaret all over the world, isn’t there? In short, yes there is. However we need to acknowledge Paris as the matriarch that birthed this iconic dance form so many years ago.
While we may be able to find cabaret widely across the globe, there will never be any that compare to those found in the French capital.
Cabaret was born in 1881 in Paris’ Montmartre district. It began as a small creative get-together where dancers, artists, poets and writers were encouraged to join the space to socialize over drinks and creative ideas.
Week after week these creatives gathered and eventually the first ever cabaret was born; Le Cabaret Artistique.
The infamous Moulin Rouge, still alive and kicking in the Pigalle district, serves as a product of this time. For years, cabaret has given people the chance to come together in dance and creativity; to let loose and celebrate life for a few hours before returning to the melancholy of the real, outside world.
There are hundreds of cabaret venues around Paris. The legendary Crazy Horse Cabaret is amongst local favorites. It’s a fabulous night out and incredibly immersive into the authentic cabaret culture from years gone by.
The Streets in Paris
Ah yes, lest we forget the real star of the show that is Paris; the streets!
Say what you like, but there is just something so much more enchanting and whimsical about a stroll down a Parisian street than anywhere else in the world.
I think a lot of it has to do with that fact that even when you have no idea where you are going, you’re guaranteed to end up somewhere fascinating eventually. The circular nature of the city means that everything ultimately links up in the end, it is very hard to actually get lost or stray too far from the pack.
Perhaps its actually more about the effect that Paris has on the walker in question. The charm of the street life kind of forces you not to care even when you are in fact a bit lost.
One thing is for sure. Paris is a city for walking! I’ve always maintained that it is best explore by foot and not too big to fully observe over just a few days (Read more about Discover walking tours).
If you’re unsure where to start, the streets of Le Marais are always a good place to get your bearings from. For me, Le Marais encompasses everything there is to love about the Parisian districts in one: art, style, zest for life and endless entertainment.
If you’re up for something a little less touristic then might I suggest to begin your street exploration over in Menilmontant in the 20th arrondissement. It’s an up and coming little district that is a ton of fun and kind of quirky — it is also the hometown of the lovely Edith Piaf, another Parisian born and raised artist.
The Seine in Paris
A cliche? Perhaps. But the Seine really is a Parisian wonder; a content presence throughout the city and absolutely not found anywhere else.
If you aren’t already familiar, the Seine is the river that runs directly through the circle of land that makes up Paris, and connects many of the districts together.
Most of the iconic Parisian landmarks are located somewhere on, or at least near, the banks of the Seine. Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and even the Louvre are all just a short walk from the river banks.
If you’d prefer to be on the actual water, the city of Paris provides multiple Seine boat cruises and tours that are open to the public almost every day of the year. If you’re willing to splurge, then private boat rental is also an option.
The banks of the Seine are another entity in themselves. When the sun comes out in the spring and summer months, the river banks are filled with locals and tourists all trying to get their share of Vitamin D.
You’ll find families enjoying picnics, singles enjoying a book and a baguette, couples snogging on the river benches; there are also pop up restaurants and markets on the weekend — Paris is alive!
If you’re not one for chaos but would still like to enjoy the wonder of the water, then an evening walk along the bank is probably your best bet. You’ll also get to bask in the magnificent lights that make up the city’s main districts — beautiful.
Some wonders of the world are reserved for Paris and Paris alone. You’ll find them here and nowhere else — and that’s okay. In fact it’s just right.