Paris Off The Beaten Path Tips by MM212
Paris Off The Beaten Path: 1,963 reviews and 4,148 photos
Bois de Boulogne, Nov 2015
Adjacent to the 16th arrondissment, Bois de Boulogne is one of two vast Parisian urban parks (the second is Bois de Vincennes, at the other end of Paris). Bois de Boulogne was created by Napoleon III in the mid-1800s and it is two or three times larger than Hyde Park in London or Central Park in NYC. Needless to say, it is quite picturesque with a forest of trees, multiple lakes, and wild life. There are plenty of activities to do, such as rowing and cycling, and within the park are several attractions, including le Jardin d'Acclimatation (great for children) and the Fondation Louis Vuitton (art gallery/museum). One could always end the activities with a meal at le Pré Catelan, one of Paris' best known restaurants... Naturally, it gets crowded with walkers and their dogs on nice weekends, and it is best avoided at night. Although Bois de Boulogne typically does not feature on most visitors' itineraries, it is highly recommended for a break from the urban sprawl of the French capital.
l'Hôtel de Ville et Basilique St Denis - Nov 2010
Located just north of the City of Paris, Saint Denis contains one of the most important Gothic cathedrals in France: Basilique Saint-Denis. The Basilica-Cathedral is considered the first purely Gothic church ever built, one whose construction influenced religious architecture all over Europe. It is also the burial place for most of France's royals from the 7th to the 18th centuries, among them François 1er, Louis XIV and Marie-Antoinette. Although the town of Saint Denis was once completely separate from Paris, it has become one of many suburbs absorbed by the large agglomeration as urbanisation expanded. In recent decades, Saint Denis has been plagued with problems due to its high - and badly marginalised - immigrant population. As a result, the town offers little other than a few important historic sights, ones that are well-worth the detour. Saint Denis is a mere 15 minute metro ride from the centre of Paris on Metro (line 13) or RER D.
For more detailed information, take a look at the separate Saint Denis page.
Developed in the 1960's as a business district, la Défense came back to light after the construction of la Grande Arche in 1990. La Défense is officially located outside the city of Paris and completes the axis that runs from le Louvre and through l'Arc de Triomphe. Ambitious building projects continue to be built in what has become one of Europe's biggest business districts. Apart from la Grande Arche, the stunning Mitterand-era cube, there is little for tourists to see, as most of the district is dedicated to businesses.
Paris' main flee market, le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, the world's largest, is an incredible open air museum. It is also thought to be the world's first flee market, dating from the 17th century. The quantity and quality of its antiques are unmatched anywhere in the world. Although the largest number of shops is dedicated to French antiques, other dealers specialise in nearly every possible type of antiques. Bargains can still be found, but beware, these antique dealers are well aware of the value of their merchandise. Le Marché aux Puces is located in Saint-Ouen, just outside Paris by Porte Saint-Ouen, and is well worth a visit, particulary on Sunday morning (it is only open on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays).
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