7 Amazing Treasures You Should Discover In Paris
Paris is a city known around the world for its rich history, diverse architectural style, and above all, its famous monuments such as the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe. But, Paris is a lot more than that. This article will show you 7 hidden treasures of the city that you should discover. In summer and other very touristy holidays such as Christmas, the capital tends to become rather crowded; it is sometimes good to take a deep breath far from the seas of tourists drowning the Trocadéro and the Champs-Elysées.
La Campagne à Paris
La Campagne à Paris (literally “the countryside in Paris”) is a small neighborhood located in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. It was created in the early 20th century as a cooperative allowing people with low income to have access to housing. The houses there seem to have been preserved from the passing of time. The area has really maintained its 1920’s look, offering a stark contrast with the rest of the 20th arrondissement and the rest of Paris in general. Getting out of the Porte de Bagnolet metro station, up the stairs of the rue Jules Siegfried, and through the rue Irénée-Blanc; your Parisian touristic excursion will definitely feel like time travel.
Le Passage De L’ancre
The Passage de l’Ancre (literally « the anchor passage ») is a small path situated in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris between the rue de Turbigo and the rue Saint-Martin. This very little street is only 70 meters long and extremely narrow. It is still the shelter of luxurious urban vegetation and ancient shops with picturesque signs. Quick anecdote, during the French Revolution, between 1792 and 1805, this emblematic passage formerly known as “Passage de l’Ancre Royale” (“Passage of the Royal Anchor”) was renamed “Passage de l’Ancre Nationale” (“Passage of the National Anchor”). As you visit the Halles, the Centre Pompidou or the Arts et Métiers Museum, take a break to wander through and admire this relic of 18th century Paris.
Place Des Vosges
The Place des Vosges is a square and park of the Marais neighborhood in the 3rd and 4th arrondissement. It was designed by Louis Métezeau and was named “Place Royale” until the 1800. It is the most ancient square of Paris. It was renamed Place des Vosges in honor of the Vosges département that was the first one to pay the taxes of the French Revolution and to send national volunteers to defend the French nation, attacked by many European countries. This historic square is known around the world for the classical style of its gardens as well as the unique architecture of the numerous houses surrounding it. In the galleries of the square, you will encounter art galleries as well as ancient traditional restaurants. Visiting this iconic square, it is easy to understand why the Place des Vosges was chosen by the numerous politicians, artists and journalists living there.
The Saint-Séverin church is located in the Quartier Latin, in the 5th arrondissement, very close to the Seine. This church at the center of Paris is a masterpiece of gothic architecture with a very peculiar history. In the 6th century, a basilica was built on the location where the hermit Séverin prayed until his death. It was destroyed by the Vikings in the 11th century and rebuilt in the 13th century. As you visit this church and its surroundings, pay a special attention to its gargoyles and its detailed façade. One of the main particularities of this building is that its cemetery and galleries were transformed into a garden that remained nearly untouched as the city around it dived into modernity. But do not stay outside for too long, the gothic nave and the many stained glass windows of this church will not disappoint you. A great way to get some shelter from the sun as you visit the historic center of the city!
Maison de Victor Hugo
The former house of the world famous French author Victor Hugo was transformed into a museum dedicated to his life and works. It is located at the 6th number of the Place des Vosges, a very famous Parisian square described in this article. In 1832, Victor Hugo left his family house to live in a 280 square meters large apartment in the hôtel Rohan-Guémené. He lived there during 16 years of Parisian elite life, regularly meeting with friends including Lamartine, Alexandre Dumas, Honoré de Balzac, Prosper Mérimée or even Sainte-Beuve. In his office there, he wrote many of his most famous books such as Les Misérables, Lucrèce Borgia, Les Voix Intérieures and Les Chants du Crépuscule. The museum also includes objects and artifacts of his exile in Jersey between 1852 and 1870. After you visit this incredible museum, take a walk in the galleries and the park of the Place des Vosges.
The Sainte Chappelle is a chapel that was built between 1241 and 1248, to protect relics of the crown of thorns and of the wooden cross on which Jesus was crucified; acquired by Saint-Louis in 1239 (these are very important relics in the catholic religion). It was built in the Palais de la Cité (former residence of the French kings), on the Ile de la Cité, near what is now known as the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie. This chapel is known for the elegance of its architecture, conveying a unique sense of elevation. In fact, the primacy of large stained glass windows over walls makes this building stand out of classical gothic architecture. After the loss of its relics during the French Revolution, the public lost interest in the Sainte Chapelle that was closed in 1790, and quickly turned into an archive repository. It was only saved in 1836 under the pressure of the Parisian public opinion. Its restauration lasted no less than 26 years before the building was reopened to the public. It is now an extremely visited monument, and rightly so!
Les Buttes Chaumont
The Buttes Chaumont is a public garden located in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. With nearly 25 hectares of vegetation, it is one of the largest parks of the city. The park was inaugurated in 1867 by the end of Napoleon the 3rd’s rule. Before it became a park, the Buttes Chaumont was used as a grinding stone extraction site for Parisian apartments and as a landfill. This English-style garden mimics a mountain landscape with rocks, cliffs, rivers, waterfalls, caves and belvedere. It is very rare to see a non-classical French-style garden in the capital. This park is also known for its luxurious vegetation and for the diversity of bird species living there. A must-see as you visit the Ménilmontant street-art works or the Père Lachaise cemetery.
With these addresses in mind, the hidden wonders of Paris will have no more secrets for you!