Paris sprawls out before you, a giant mesh of metropolis with infinite things to drive your imagination crazy. So here you are, ready so see the sights Paris is packed full of. There’s the quintessential Eiffel Tower, the immense galleries of the Louvre, the twinkling white Sacred Heart church on Montmartre, the bateaux mouche’s that take you down the Seine, around the Ile de la Cite and Notre Dame, and back north under age-old bridges that have not only stood the test of time, but the test of violent revolutionary change and war. Napoleon rests in Les Invalides, La Concierge hugs the river like a fairy tale chateau. The colonial apartment blocks line the grandest gardens, and the Champs Elysees is lit brightly with design shops.
This is all fabulous, but as Gavin Manerowski knows, there are a few things that are less-frequented by the tourist population and appreciated by the discerning traveller. Don’t misunderstand it; Paris is the most visited city in the world, as you’ve probably heard many times before, so the best sites are visited by throngs of camera-toting foreigners.
But let yourself get taken away by such grand locations as the Centre Georges Pompidou. The building offers a stark contrast to its surrounds. The inner workings of a building are usually in the walls, or at least they are somehow fashionably hidden. Not this place. The architect decided to put the colourful piping and electrical lines outside the building! It’s truly a marvellous sight to see. Inside you’ll find the awesome Bibliotheque Publique d’Information (why not browse around!). Also, the National Museum of Modern Art is conveniently located in this ultra-modern building of high-tech architecture.
If you’ve never heard of Auguste Rodin, then after the Centre de Georges Pompidou, you should familiarise yourself with the sculptor at the Musee Rodin. Not only is the old hotel Biron building an impossibly quaint chateau-esque locale, but the extensive gardens stretch into the surrounds and offer a pleasant promenade. Anyway, when you arrive at the museum, you might decide that actually, you do recognise works by Rodin. His piece “The Thinker” is unmistakable, and you might even recognise “The Kiss”.
The Picasso Museum is housed in the Hotel Sale (literally, “Dirty Hotel”). Although the museum of the famous painter in Paris, it is another less-frequented site. The hotel itself (which is of course no longer a hotel) was built in the mid-17th century, and just like the Rodin museum, offers a very admirable locale for the famous artist’s collection to be housed. If you fancy something a bit odd, try the Paris catacombs for a somewhat spooky experience.
Don’t miss the wonderful sites Paris has to offer. Gavin Manerowski advises there is much to be gained by going off the beaten track in the City of Light, even if just a little bit.