Paris certainly has a lot of sights — the Eiffel Tower always comes to mind, as do the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, even the Seine River itself. But in a city with over 2,000 years of history, there are also a lot of interesting Paris sights that may not immediately spring to mind; things that may be a bit hidden, unusual, or overlooked by visitors.
It's these out-of-the-ordinary Paris sights that we want to turn our attention to right now. In some cases you'll have to go off the beaten track — or even underground, — to visit the tombstones of the famous, or to spend time with Parisians who are buried underground. Look up to see the best views of the Paris skyline, or follow us out to the 13th Arrondissement to visit an historic tapestry factory dating back to the 17th century. But let's start in the center of things Parisian, in the Marais.
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One of the most unique neighborhoods in Paris, and also the one containing the largest jumble of pre-modern buildings, the Marais started out as swampland, became the 17th-century playground of the rich and famous, sunk into obscurity, and then was reborn in the later 20th century as one of the hippest quartiers in the city. With all those changes it's amazing that there are still magnificent examples of the royal mansions built 400 years ago. We look at five of the best.
Speaking of hidden landmarks, this one is underground — you can't get more hidden than that. The Paris Catacombs may be a bit creepy to some folks, but most people find it another fascinating part of the 2,000-year history of the city.
The story of the catacombs is very interesting. When the Paris cemeteries overflowed with centuries of the dead, where were they going to put the overflow of remains? Just outside the then city limits were underground, abandoned limestone quarries, dating back as far as the Roman era; a perfect place to store bones.
Can a cemetery be a tourist attraction? You'll answer with a resounding "yes" if you pay a visit to Visit Père Lachaise in the 20th Arrondissement. Walking here is like exploring a park of the history of Paris. Since the beginning of the 19th century thousands of famous Parisians, along with celebrity francophiles, have been laid to rest here. Even the body of French playwright Molière was transferred here, though he died in 1673.
We've found that the best way to visit the graves of Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Gertrude Stein, Chopin and hundred of others is on a guided walking tour. We'll tell you about our experience.
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Famed Japanese printmaker Hokusai (1760-1849) was already in his seventies when he produce his most iconic work, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. The series depicts the Japanese mountain from three dozen different vantage points, and in all types of weather. Hokusai not only inspired the French Impressionist painters (Monet collected his work), but caused us at Paris Insiders Guide to create our own photo series, 36 Views Of The Eiffel Tower. (Be sure to look at Part 2 and Part 3 of the series to see all thirty-six photos.)
Another arrondissement, another cemetery with famous Parisians buried there. The Montmartre Cemetery is tucked under a bridge in the 18th Arrondissement. Built on the site of a former limestone quarry, this below-ground-level burial ground hosts painter Edgar Degas, filmmaker François Truffaut, writer Alexandre Dumas, and even the executioner who chopped off the head of Louis XVI.
The Gobelins Paris tapestry workshop was established by Louis XIV and, amazingly, still produces tapestries today. It's part of a complex of workshops and restoration facilities that supply the French government with furniture and works of art.
We'll tell you about the Gobelins and its history, the facilities, the tapestries, the furniture, and how you can visit on a guided tour.
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Everyone can reel off names of the famous landmarks of Paris, but what about the little-known, the out-of-the-way, the hidden sites & sights?
That's what we reveal in this article — ancient city walls, waterfalls, an archaeological crypt, underground burial sites, and, yes, even the Statue(s) of Liberty.
Unlike virtually every other major city, there is almost nothing in Paris over five stories high to block the view of the city skyline. We'll share our favorite places to view the Paris skyline, and tell you what you'll see when you're looking at it.
Unusual Paris Sights
• 5 Mansions in the Marais…
• 9 Hidden Landmarks…
• Pere Lachaise Cemetery…
• The Catacombs…
• 36 Views of the Eiffel Tower…
• Gobelins Tapestry Works…
• Montmartre Cemetery…
• The Paris Skyline…
Discover What's On When You're Here
• September in Paris…
• October in Paris…
• November 2022 in Paris…
• December in Paris…
• Christmas in Paris…
• New Years Eve in Paris…
• Month-by-Month Calendar…
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