The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Arch of the Unknown Soldier, the Louvre, and baguettes – are all synonymous with Paris, France. You have read about them in travel magazines, hotel pamphlets and airport billboards. Chances are, most of you may have already seen them up close a gazillion times, on your trips to the French capital. Sure, these are all important aspects of the whole Parisian experience.
But doesn’t Paris have more to offer?
Keep reading to learn about the hidden treasures we mentioned. We’ll wager that the next time you find yourself in Paris, you may want to visit some of these lesser known wonders.
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This is probably the best street for food in whole of Paris. There's food from everywhere, especially if you're missing/craving some good Asian food. French, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese and American; the entire street is lined with food fare from almost every continent.
There is an eclectic assortment of colors and smells; not to mention the people. If you're Asian and have been traveling around Europe for a while, we highly recommend taking the time to check out the stretch.
The Louvre, is indubitably a beautiful place to visit, but you'll have to wait in line for an entire afternoon, if you want to get in. Leaving little time to explore other parts of the city. As an alternative, you may want to consider visiting the Espace Dali. It has the largest collection of Salvador Dali artwork, in the world.
In the heart of Montmartre, Espace Dali is the only permanent exhibition in France entirely devoted to Salvador Dali – the master of surrealism. The collection of rare sculptures and artwork in the museum is just plain jaw dropping. Dali’s creative genius transforms into three-dimensional sculptures. The artworks express major themes of universal literature, mythology, history and religion.
Featuring famous sculptures like the “Profile of Time” and the “Triumphant Elephant” the Espace Dali is a more intimate exhibit compared to the chaos at the Louvre. You will find yourself surrounded by surrealistic, otherworldly images and sculptures. As you look at them, they stare back at you daring you to leave behind rational thought and enter a world where straight lines are curved, up is down, and night is day.
Shakespeare and Company
If you're planning to go check out the Notre Dame, keep an eye open for something far less impressive in size and stature. Directly across from the Notre Dame, is a quaint bookshop called, Shakespeare and Company. It's a charming little place that looks like it belongs more at the Diagon Alley theme park in Orlando from the Harry Potter books, than the streets of Paris.
Started by George Whitman in 1951, Shakespeare and Company functions as both a regular bookstore and as a reading library. Since its establishment, it has become a Mecca for literary culture in Paris. Shakespeare and Company was frequently visited by Beat Generation writer, William S. Burroughs when he was doing research for his book, the Naked Lunch. The store is also featured in Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris.
From the wishing well in the floor to the room with a piano, the labyrinthine bookshop is more than a mere place to buy a novel. It is a home for writers to stay, a space frozen in time reflecting the days of yonder; and most importantly it is a fantastic place to visit if you are in Paris.
Remember, there is always something fresh to see in Paris, no matter how many times you have been there. All you have to do, to see something new, other than the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, etc, is to go off the beaten path on your very own adventure.