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Top 10 Hidden Gems in Paris

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
You’ve all seen the Seine and the Eiffel Tower, let’s look for something new. Welcome to MojoTravels and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Hidden Gems in Paris. For this list, we’re looking at the spots that savvy travellers and locals know adore in the City of Love.

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Top 10 Hidden Gems in Paris

You’ve all seen the Seine and the Eiffel Tower, let’s look for something new. Welcome to MojoTravels and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Hidden Gems in Paris.

For this list, we’re looking at the spots that savvy travellers and locals know adore in the City of Love.

#10: Nose

If you’re into personal or home fragrance, there’s one boutique you have to visit, and to find it you’ll have to follow your nose. The aptly named Nose is a perfumery where you can have a bespoke scent mixed for you, or choose from one of the many they offer in the store. The fun part is the “diagnosis” that they do which helps to lead you to your perfect aroma. And good news for those of you who don’t actually have a trip to Paris planned in the near future, Nose tries to replicate their experience online by giving you a personalized “diagnosis” of five perfumes.

#9: Cinéma en Plein Air

There may not be any drive-in movie theatres in Paris, but they do have the next best thing. Located in Parc de la Villette, which is in the northeastern area of the city, is Cinéma en Plein Air, which translates to “open air cinema” in English. Pack a picnic supper and bring some folding chairs and get ready for a night of fun under the stars. You might very well be the only tourist there, and of course the films shown are primarily in French, so be sure to get caught up on your Duolingo lessons before you go!

#8: Covered Passages

While wandering around the streets of Paris on foot can be a magical experience, if it’s cold or rainy you might want a little protection from the elements. Even on a sunny day however, it’s worth popping into one of the many covered passages that exist in the Grands Boulevards district, to admire the architecture and take in a piece of Parisian history. Galerie Vivienne is probably the most well known covered arcades, while the Passage des Panoramas dates back to 1799. Grab a café au lait and act like you’re in old world Paris.

#7: L'Oiseau Blanc

There are countless incredible places to grab a drink or a bite to eat in Paris, but if you want a table with a view, there is perhaps no better choice than L'Oiseau Blanc at the Peninsula Paris hotel. It’s located on the hotel’s rooftop, and you’ll get a glorious bird’s eye view of the city, including the iconic Eiffel Tower. This is a much better (and more luxurious) option than standing in line waiting to take the elevator up to the top the famous landmark! And you’ll get to enjoy delicious French cuisine with your view.

#6: Shakespeare and Company

La Rive Gauche of Paris (or the Left Bank), is famed for being a cultural hub. It is the perfect home for a legendary English language bookshop called Shakespeare and Company, which has existed there in several iterations since 1919, and was a hub for greats like Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin and James Joyce. And while you have to apply, and it is by no means guaranteed, at the newer post-World War 2 location at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, if you’re a writer willing to work at the shop for a few hours a day, you can even sleep here, as there are several beds set up throughout the store.

#5: The Eiffel Tower Apartment

Until just a few years ago, not many people knew that Gustave Eiffel, the man known for being the engineer behind the Tower, had actually built himself a tiny apartment at the top of the structure. It was closed to the public for many years, but as of 2016 it is now viewable and looks just like it did when it was created before the turn of the 20th century. While you can’t stay there, you can take a peek into the past, which is definitely worth the price of entrance, and the inevitably long wait!

#4: Rue Lepic

While most visitors to the 18th arrondissement neighborhood of Montmartre will undoubtedly visit Sacre Coeur Cathedral and the Moulin Rouge, this street is a little more off the beaten path. Rue Lepic is famous for two of its residents: one, a world renowned artist, the other a fictional film character. Vincent Van Gogh lived at 54 Rue Lepic with his brother Leo for a couple of years in the 1880s. And at 15 Rue Lepic you’ll find The Café des 2 Moulins which is where Amélie works in the movie of the same name.

#3: The Catacombs

If you’re looking to see the (literal) darker side of Paris, this one's for you. While the Parisian Catacombs are no secret, they probably won’t make it into most tourist handbooks. Created in the late 18th century when Paris’s cemeteries reached their full capacities, this series of underground ossuaries are now home to the skeletons of over six million people. They surely aren’t for the faint of heart, and those who suffer from claustrophobia should think hard before descending the 130 stairs into the depths of the city.

#2: Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen

For those who love to hunt for hidden treasures, you can’t miss this world-renowned flea market. The Marché Aux Puces De Saint-Ouen is known as the world’s largest market of its kind and though it’s a little outside the city center, it’s definitely worth the trek. You’ll find yourself wishing you had brought an extra suitcase as soon as you get here, because there are great finds at every price point. Even if you don’t have room for that gilded antique mirror in your carry-on, you’ll undoubtedly be able to find the perfect trinket to remind you of your trip.

#1: La Promenade Plantée

If you’ve visited New York City’s High Line, then you’re already familiar with the concept behind this Parisian attraction. Also known as the Coulée verte, La Promenade Plantée is an elevated park in Paris’ 12th arrondissement that has been around since the early ‘90s. It was created on the old Vincennes railway line and was actually the world’s first elevated park, and for several years was the world’s only elevated park. It’s the perfect place for an urban stroll surrounded by quintessentially French gardens.

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