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Things to Do in Paris - page 4

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Palais de Chaillot
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9 Tours and Activities

The Palais de Chaillot is located on the Place du Trocadéro in Paris’ 16th neighborhood (arrondissement). Because it is just across the river Seine from the Eiffel Tower, the terrace of the Palais de Chaillot provides one of the city’s best views of the tower — it is a great place to snap photos of the famous landmark. Visitors can easily spend an entire day visiting the Palais de Chaillot, the Eiffel Tower, and walking or taking a cruise along the Seine. The Palais’ surrounding gardens (Jardins du Trocadéro) are ten hectares surrounding Paris’ largest fountain, which is well worth viewing at night while lit up.

The Palais de Chaillot was originally built for the 1937 World’s Fair/Universal Expo, and today houses the national theater (Théâtre National de Chaillot) and a number of different museums: the Musée de la Marine (Naval Museum), the Musée de l'Homme (The Museum of Man), and a museum of architecture (Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine). As if this weren’t enough to keep an inquisitive visitor occupied, the Palais de Chaillot also has an aquarium (called Cinéaqua), accessible from the Trocadero gardens. The aquarium is home to 10,000 fish and invertebrates, a shark tunnel, and its own movie theater.

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La Madeleine
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La Madeleine church in Paris is one of the most striking building in the entire Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Rumour has it that it was built in order to mirror the Palais Bourbon – which houses the French National Assembly - on the opposite bank of the Seine river in order to create harmony between the clergy and the republic.

But in reality, La Madeleine was designed as a temple to Napoleon’s army and its glorious victories back in the early 1800s – which would certainly help explain why the church doesn’t actually look like a church (it doesn’t have a spire or bell-tower) but rather a lavish Greek temple. It was completed in 1828 and built in the Neo-Classical style and was inspired by an exceptionally well preserved Roman temple named Maison carrée in Nîmes; it now dominates the entire Faubourg Saint-Honoré, with its 52 20-meters high Corinthian columns.

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Crazy Horse Cabaret
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Held in an intimate underground venue, the Crazy Horse cabaret’s provocative yet sophisticated burlesque-style show celebrates femininity and specializes in the art of seduction, with a series of elaborately choreographed routines performed by highly trained dancers wearing custom-made red-soled Louboutins, bob wigs, bright red lipstick—and often little else. Avant-garde artist Alain Bernardin established the venerated Crazy Horse de Paris in 1951.

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Saint-Ouen Flea Market (Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen)
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Among the world’s largest flea markets, the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen is located just north of central Paris. Established in 1870, the popular shopping destination now comprises 15 different sub-markets, each of which specializes in different items. Prepare to spend hours browsing, bantering, and bargaining.

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Montmartre Museum (Musée de Montmartre)
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Housed inside the Bel Air House, the oldest building in Paris's charming Montmartre area, the Montmartre Museum offers a stunning permanent collection of art from some of the neighborhood's most celebrated and prolific artists. The Renoir Gardens here are equally worth visiting, with a beautiful pond and meandering pathways.

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Musée du Luxembourg
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When it was founded in 1750, the Musée du Luxembourg was the first museum to be open to the French public. Back then, it was housed in a wing of the Palais du Luxembourg. Today, it occupies an adjacent, standalone building in the Jardin du Luxembourg. It has no permanent collection, but showcases several temporary exhibitions each year.

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Belleville
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With its diverse mix of ethnicities and burgeoning art scene, Belleville has made a name for itself as one of Paris’ most fashionably eclectic districts, drawing a hip crowd of young locals, students and creative types. Integrated into Paris in 1860, Belleville started life as a hilltop village, famed for its lively guingettes and surrounding vineyards, and the vibrant neighborhood still retains much of its original character.

Today, Belleville is renowned for its sprawling Chinatown and abundance of international restaurants, quirky bars, independent art galleries and small music venues, while the hillside Belleville Park offers spectacular views over Paris. Additional landmarks include the churches of Saint Jean Baptiste de Belleville and Notre Dame de la Croix, the old aqueduct, the site of the old Belleville funicular and the birthplace of iconic French singer Edith Piaf.

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Obelisk of Luxor
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Over 3,000 years old, the Luxor Obelisk (Obélisque de Louxor)—which stands 75 feet (23 meters) high and is decorated with hieroglyphic carvings—was gifted to France by Egypt in 1833. Situated in Place de la Concorde, where guillotine executions were carried out during the French Revolution, the obelisk has since become a symbol of peace.

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Architecture and Heritage City (Cite de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine)
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Across the River Seine from the Eiffel Tower, Architecture and Heritage City (Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine) is a museum dedicated to monumental sculpture and architecture. The permanent collection here features a mix of scaled-down models of important structures, along with casts of sculptures and architectural features from famous monuments.

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Bois de Vincennes
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Paris’ largest public park, the sprawling Bois de Vincennes was first used as royal hunting grounds and was later renovated by Baron Haussmann during Napoleon’s reign. Today, the park hosts a zoo, several lakes, botanical gardens, a working farm, and a Buddhist temple; the medieval fortress Château de Vincennes stands at its northern edge.

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More Things to Do in Paris

Promenade Plantée

Promenade Plantée

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Promenade Plantée’s well-manicured gardens, flowering shrubs and romantic views make it one of the most popular destinations for budget conscious travelers visiting the City of Lights. Athletic visitors jog along the 2.9-mile scenic pathway as the sun rises, and dozens of couples in love gather to watch in the evening as the sunsets over Paris streets.

The greenway winds through Viaduc des Arts, where interested travelers can explore high-end shops and exquisite galleries, or comb through handmade arts and crafts booths before relaxing into the urban oasis of Promenade Plantée’s incredible gardens.

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Palais du Luxembourg

Palais du Luxembourg

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A highlight of the sixth arrondissement, the Palais du Luxembourg was built as a residence for former Queen of France Marie de’ Medici in 1625. Though the palace has lost none of its luster in the ensuing centuries, its purpose has changed: the once-regal address now houses the Senate, the upper house of the French parliament.

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La Cinémathèque Française

La Cinémathèque Française

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Housed within a building designed by renowned Canadian-born American architect Frank Gehry, La Cinematheque Francaise museum trace the history and technology of film from its infancy through its Hollywood glory days and into the modern age, including magic lanterns, cameras, iconic costumes, props, movie posters and cult objects. Classic film clips accompany many of the displays, and an on-site theater screens several films daily from its huge archive.

Highlights of the museum collection, particularly for the die-hard movie buff, include Mrs. Bates’s head from the Alfred Hitchcock thriller Psycho, the robot from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and a camera that belonged to the Lumiéres brothers. Temporary exhibits often feature a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a particular film.

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Jardin des Plantes

Jardin des Plantes

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Originally known as the Jardin du Roi, the Jardin des Plantes was founded in 1626, and was used as King Louis XIII’s personal herb garden. Today, the expansive botanical garden is the largest and most important in France. It encompasses several gallery spaces, a zoo, numerous garden areas and hothouses, and a working botany school.

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Château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau

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A UNESCO World Heritage site and one of France’s largest châteaux, the magnificent Château de Fontainebleau boasts a rich resume of royal inhabitants, including Henry IV, Louis XV, and Napoleon. Built in the 12th century, the palace displays a remarkable variety of architectural styles, all set within 130 hectares (321 acres) of parks and gardens.

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La Cité des Sciences et de L'lndustrie

La Cité des Sciences et de L'lndustrie

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One of Europe’s largest science museums, the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, located in the Parc de la Villette, comprises an enormous range of family-friendly exhibitions, workshops, and other attractions. Designed by architect Adrien Fainsilber and opened in 1986, the museum attracts millions of visitors each year.

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Rue Mouffetard Market

Rue Mouffetard Market

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In the heart of the Latin Quarter, Rue Mouffetard is one of Paris’ busiest and most beloved market streets. The thoroughfare hosts cheese sellers, vegetable vendors, bakeries, and other artisanal food outlets, as well as numerous bars and cafes. Its proximity to the Sorbonne makes it popular among local students.

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Picasso Museum (Musée National Picasso Paris)

Picasso Museum (Musée National Picasso Paris)

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One of Paris’ highlight cultural attractions, the Picasso Museum boasts a collection of over 5,000 works by the world-renowned artist, including paintings, sculptures, prints, and sketches. Following a recent renovation, the museum’s expanded gallery spaces house both a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.

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Rue Montorgueil

Rue Montorgueil

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One of central Paris’ storied thoroughfares, Rue Montorgueil—located in the 1st and 2nd arrondissements—has a reputation for culinary excellence. Once home to Les Halles (Paris’ major food market, demolished in 1971), Rue Montorgueil is still lined with bistros, pastry shops, and other delectable addresses today.

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Grevin Museum (Musée Grevin)

Grevin Museum (Musée Grevin)

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Fashioned from the blueprint of London’s world-renowned Madame Tussauds, the Grevin Museum (Musée Grevin), Paris’s own waxwork museum, has been sculpting famous faces since it was founded back in 1882. Today over 500 waxwork figures—including politicians, movie stars, and historic icons—are on display.

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Musée National Eugène Delacroix (Musee Delacroix)

Musée National Eugène Delacroix (Musee Delacroix)

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Celebrated French Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix spent the final years of his life in this house in Paris’ 6th arrondissement. The Musée National Eugène Delacroix also known as Musée Delacroix features works from every stage of the artist’s life, including over a thousand paintings, drawings, and writings. The museum also features works by artists inspired by his legacy.

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Fragonard Perfume Museum (Musée du Parfum Fragonard)

Fragonard Perfume Museum (Musée du Parfum Fragonard)

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The Fragonard Perfume Museum (Musée du Parfum), located just steps from Opéra Garnier, provides an immersive and multi-sensory introduction to the world of fragrance. Sponsored by Maison Fragonard—a legendary French perfume house founded in 1926—the museum provides a behind-the-scenes look at the perfume-making process.

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Left Bank (Rive Gauche)

Left Bank (Rive Gauche)

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The Seine separates Paris into two halves: to the north is the Right Bank, and to the south is the Left Bank. Also known as the Rive Gauche, the Left Bank is home to some of the city’s top landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower. Thanks to its universities and famous former residents, the Rive Gauche retains a romantic, literary reputation.

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Gourmet Chocolate Museum

Gourmet Chocolate Museum

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Open since 2010, Choco-Story Paris is a delectable museum dedicated to the history and production of chocolate. Learn about chocolate’s Maya and Aztec origins, watch chocolatiers at work, admire chocolate sculptures, and enjoy plenty of tastes along the way. Workshops are also hosted on-site for those who wish to make their own treats.

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