When people see a photo of the Eiffel Tower or the glass pyramid at the Louvre, people immediately think of Paris. However, Paris is a big city with a lot of great landmarks, churches and parks that most visitors doesn’t know about or they overlooked. During my recent trip to Paris, I found landmarks and public parks with far less visitors than the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower I found them while taking my walks in Paris which is the best way to see the city. Here some landmarks I found in Paris that every visitor should check out:
Church of Saint Madeleine – I found this church on my first day in Paris located about a block or two away from Place de la Concorde. On the outside it looked like a building from the Roman Empire with its imposing front steps and colonnade. But once you enter, you will see a grand statue of Saint Madeleine looking on to its congregation. This is one of the most beautiful church interiors I’ve seen in Paris.
Jardin des Plantes – This park located on the east side of Paris, at the fifth arrondisement. This small but charming park has a small menagerie of animals kids can enjoy. It also have two large greenhouses for tropical plants and others too delicate to be out in the elements. This park serves as the botanical garden of the city. It also has a museum of natural history. This park has been around for about four hundred years founded by King Louis XII’s doctor Guy de la Brosse as his medical herb garden. Today it is open to the public. If you want to check out the animals came during the day as it closes at 5:00pm.
Jardin de Luxembourg – at the sixth arrondisement, you will find several places to visit. One day I found myself at the Jardin de Luxembourg at around lunch time where some Parisians are relaxing during their breaks soaking in the spring sun. Also in the garden is the Palais de Luxembourg which you can visit. But when the weather is warmer the park gets busier.
Pantheon – Just a couple of blocks from Luxembourg, you will find another Romanesque-style building. But the Pantheon was originally built as a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve known as the patron saint of France. Little do most people know that the Pantheon is also a necropolis where people such as Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Emile Zola and Marie Curie are buried. During my visit in April, there were plenty of people hanging out by the front colonnade but there were hardly any people inside. There is an admission fee to enter the church but don’t be discouraged. It’s worth seeing the interior of the Pantheon.
Jardin d’ Acclimatation – This was another surprise find. Located on the northwest side of Bois de Bologne, this park has a large conservatory made by the famous French label Louis Vuitton. This park is famous in Paris for its children’s amusement park and picnic tables for families and group. There is a small fee to enter the park but it’s a small price to pay to make any kid happy for a couple of hours.
Hotel des Invalides – This is a famous landmark in Paris just of the beautiful Pont Alexander III bridge. But during my visit, the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte and his successors only has a handful of visitors. In the same complex, you will find the Church of Saint Louis where Napoleon was first buried and the Musee de la Armee, the military museum that was visited by army cadets during my visit. But you don’t have to be a cadets to visit the Hotel des Invalides. The museum complex is open to the public.
It is great that people would visit the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. But sometimes it is best to get away from the crowds and head somewhere less known and congested. This is definitely one way to get off the beaten path whenever traveling in a city like Paris.