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So you’re a young (or young-at-heart), hip traveller keen to explore the sights of Paris and have a little fun, but can’t find anything in the guidebooks that features unconventional attractions and youthful things to do? Everyone knows to go and see the the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, but if you’re too lazy to queue up for the Louvre and not fussed about Notre Dame, here are some cool suggestions for more unusual sights in Paris.
There is so much more to see in Paris than the clichéd landmarks that everyone associates with the city. Of course these are great to visit as well, but once you’ve had your fill of the typical tourist attractions, here are a few suggestions of less conventional things to see.
If you’re into spine-chilling sights and a spooky atmosphere, visit the Catacombes de Paris that run deep under the city streets. After a winding staircase of over 100 steps, you enter a small passage that winds around, with only the intermittent sound of dripping water to keep you company. This subterranean ossuary is home to the remains of over 6 million people, whose skulls and bones line the sides of the latter part of the underground passage. The atmosphere and mood of the catacombs is truly something else; it’s incredible to experience this well-preserved cemetery that exists right beneath your feet!
Pure Lachaise Cemetery
Another famous Parisian cemetery is the Pиre Lachaise, where you can kiss Oscar Wilde’s tomb or play a song for Jim Morrisson and Frederic Chopin. This massive graveyard is the final resting place to a vast array of French and international personalities, from influential writers like de Balzac and Proust, to artists, architects, and aristocrats from Russia, the U.S., Poland, and elsewhere. Here you can visit the largest number of celebrities and historical figures in one place.
Space Invaders Urban Art
Remember the Space Invaders arcade game that was made popular in the 80s? The game features recognisable pixellated aliens, which have been ‘invading’ Paris since 1998. These cute and colourful creatures can be spotted on buildings around the city and are a lot of fun to find. The artist, Invader, has made it his life’s work to arrange mosaics of the Space Invaders all over Paris (and many other cities) with maps and clues on where to find them. If you don’t have time to hunt for them, you can always download or purchase an Invader map, showing you exactly where each 8-bit alien is hiding.
Where To Hang Out
Paris is divided into 20 districts or arrondissement that wind like the patterns on a snail’s shell around the city. Instead of ending up in the posh and overpriced 16th or touristy 7th, head to the Latin Quarter in the 5th and 6th and Le Marais stretching across the 3rd and 4th. Here you can find affordable accommodation and restaurants, great cafes and bars, artists, writers, and even some Space Invaders. Both areas are known for their hip vibe and easy-going atmosphere, and boast a vibrant nightlife once the sun goes down.
This article was written by Paulina Stankiewicz for Essential Travel, providers of quality travel extras and travel information. For more tips on where to go and what to see while you’re in Paris, check out Essential Travel’s 24-Hour Guide.