Attractions of Paris
The city is the attraction of course but inside the
many wonders of Paris are a few hidden gems which
somehow are overlooked, perhaps because of the global
awareness of The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Sacré
and the Seine. Find here then some of those other
attractions which make our city special.
The Venice of Paris
Canal Saint-Martin and Canal de l'Ourcq
- Sometimes called the Venice of Paris, though in fact
it is more similar to Amsterdam, or the canals of London
around Camden lock, this quiet tree lined canal just
near the Gare du Nord. Whether you take a tour
boat trip or more like a local just walk and picnic on
the quiet banks this is a welcome break from the traffic
and cars of other parts of the city.
From the Place d'Italie take the Metro M5 orange line
northwards to Bastille.
Child's Play is International
Let the kids play with the local kids at one of the
many city parks, try particularly Le Jardin d'Acclimatation,
located in the giant city wood called the Bois de
Boulogne. Originally established in 1860 it has kept up
with the times and today has a wide range of activities
including archery, fun house mirrors, miniature golf,
trains, pony rides, puppets and both science and art
museums targeted at kids. Very few tourists go here so
it's a great place to immerse in real Parisian life. The
entry fee is only 3 Euros, though extra charges for some
New York on the Seine
Visit the 1/3 scale reproduction of New York's
Statues of Liberty on Île aux Cygnes in the Seine.
The Original Flea Market
It is well worth visiting le Marché aux Puces de
Saint-Ouen to see what a 19th century flea market
looked like, and it seems some days that even the stock
in the shops has not changed in a hundred years! There
are of course many flea markets in Paris but it is this
market in the northern part of the city beyond the
Périphérique ring road which is the grand dame of them
all. Best reached by taxi but also accessible via
Metro though it will take almost an hour from rue
Mouffetard. Walk to the northern end of the road and
then to the river edge to board at Saint-Michel the M4
northwards until it takes you to Porte de Clignancourt.
Islands in the stream
Île de la Cité, and it's neighbor Île Saint-Louis,
the artificial Île aux Cygnes, and to the west Île
Saint-Germain together with Île Seguin, are reminders of
how the River Signe has always been at the heart of the
city. From green parks on Île de la Grande Jatte
through to the Cathedral and Royal Palaces on Cité to
the post-industrial wasteland on Île Seguin it seems
every aspect of Paris is presented, and emboldened in
miniature on these islands.
These little islands, each with its own
character, are both at the heart of the city and at the
same time distinct from the cite and from each other.
It is a simple walk north from rue Mouffetard and
when you hit the river you will be right beside Ile de
la Cite where you can start your island exploration, but
be sure to see more than the Cathedral!