3 Lesser Known Sites in Paris

Author: KDanck

I finally arrived in Paris.

I had booked my ticket last minute, was limping due to a recently torn ligament, and I was tired, but I was so excited to finally be here.

I rushed (as quickly as I could with my leg) to my friend Ashley who greeted me with a hug. She was studying abroad in Paris. Luckily for me, Heidelberg was a quick bus ride away. We stepped outside of the station and Paris was in bloom. We began our tour of the city. Below is a list of my favorite things I saw while in Paris:

paris_lightshow.jpg

The view from Montparnasse at night

1. Montparnasse – “Let’s go to the Eiffel Tower!” I begged my friend.

“I have a better idea,” she smiled.

Around sunset, we headed to Montparnasse, the tallest building in Paris.

“Take a look,” Ashley instructed when we got to the top. The view was incredible and we had made it just in time for the Eiffel Tower light show.The Eiffel Tower glimmers for 5 minutes every hour after it gets dark. As the Parisians would say, C’est tres belle!

Dates: Everyday. No exceptions.

Times: April 1- September 30: 9:30am – 11:30pm

September 30 – April 1 (Sunday-Thursday): 10:00am – 9:30pm

September 30  April 1 (Friday, Saturday, holidays): 9:30am – 11:00pm

Rates: 15 €

Discounts: Be sure to bring your ISIC card if you are a student. If you are 16-20, you get an even bigger discount.

saintchapelle.jpg

The stained glass windows in Saint Chapelle – definitely don’t miss this!

2. Saint Chapelle – “You can skip Notre Dame if you ever go to Paris,” my art history teacher Mrs. Petty said.

My class looked confused.

“You shouldn’t, but if you only have the chance to do Saint Chapelle or Notre Dame, you should pick Saint Chapelle.”

That was the first time I had heard of this church. It is not as well known, but it is one of the prettiest sites in all of Europe. The outside looks unimpressive, but the inside is spectacular. Glass windows stretch from the ceiling to the floor, covering every wall. Out of all the sites, I have been to, this makes my top 3.

Dates: Every day, but January 1, May 1 and December 25

Times:March 1- October 31 : 9:30am to 6:00pm

November 1- February 28 : 9:00am to 5:00pm

Open in the evening on Wednesdays – 15 May to 15 September

Rates:8,50 €

Discounts: If you a European citizen (under 26 years old) or a resident of France, be sure to bring proper ID so you can get in for free.

catacombs

My friend Ashley and I in the catacombs

3. Catacombs (l’Ossuaire Municipal) – If you have never seen skeletons before, prepare yourself. 2 kilometers (1) of skeletons cover the walls as you walk in the underground tomb. My friend, Ashley and I knew that it would be a long walk, but even we felt a little overwhelmed by the amount of remains. Since Halloween is my favorite holiday, I really enjoyed the catacombs. It was almost like walking through a real haunted house

The Cemetery of the Innocents, where these bodies had previously been buried, was beginning to smell so bad that perfume stores refused to do business nearby (2). In 1780, rain destroyed the wall around the cemetery which resulted in rotting corpses spilling into a neighboring property (ew) (2). Over the span of 12 years (2), Paris moved the bones of the deceased to the tunnels underground, which is what the Catacombs have become today.

Times: 10:00am – 8:00pm

Rates: 15 €

Discount: If you are between 18-26, you get a discount. If you are under 17, you get in for free.

Have any other places you really like to visit? List them in the comments below.

Sources:

(1) http://www.catacombes.paris.fr/en/catacombs/more-2000-years-history 

(2) http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/paris-catacombs-180950160/

 

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