Second Trip Sights: Paris
Ahhh, Paris. The city I so badly didn't want to fall in love with, but stole my heart anyways. I truly did not expect to have my eyes be replaced by tiny hearts upon walking through the rainy streets in November of 2011, but despite the weather, I couldn't be anything but impressed by the city. Since then, I have been back a total of four times, and I'm definitely not opposed to go back a million more times. There's just something about it. Paris is a pretty popular tourist destination and many people only get to see it once in their lifetime. But for those like me who had a strong push inside them to go back, I didn't want to just it up the same places as before. Sometimes it's nice to find out what's "less touristy" and more unique of an experience the second time. Paris is quite expensive, so the best part about it that at least the sights are free to look at, and that's what I like best about the city. Here's my list of places and things you should try to see if you ever go back (or if you go for the first time and don't want to just see the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre).
Take A Tour of The Doors
Paris has the most beautiful, unique and quirky doors and there's nothing better than taking a walk through the streets and playing a game with yourself or your travel partner on who can find the prettiest doors. As far as I know, there's not really a secret to this other than just being adventurous and walking down side streets and just seeing what you can find.
Walk The Entire Length of The Champs-Élysées
Being one of the most famous boulevards in the world, and obviously most people at least cross paths with it when they come to Paris, but many people don't actually walk the entire 1.2 miles of it when they visit. They'll go to the Arc de Triomphe end for a view or the other end, which has the Place de la Concorde. You'll never see some of the charming shops in-between if you don't walk the length. Yes, it's unlikely you can afford anything in the stores, but it's still nice to window shop.
Pretend You're Amelie at Cafe des 2 Moulins
For those who've seen the film "Amelie" you'll probably recognize this cafe as her workplace. It's a cute little place about a block up from the Moulin Rouge and very worth the visit. They have food themed to the movie and just a lot of lovely French classics.
Be A Bohemian in Montmartre
Montmartre has always been the artistic, bohemian district of Paris, and is a delight to walk around and gather the feeling of the old days when artists would hang out here and converse about their work over drinks. It feels like a nice little safe haven away from the rest of Paris and there's lots of streets that lead to places that famous people used to live like Pablo Picasso and Erik Satie.
See an Alternative View of The Basilique du Sacré Cœur
The tourists crowd the front of the epic church, trying to get their shots of the skyline of Paris. However, you can bypass the annoying street toy sellers and people by walking around behind the church to get a view of it not often seen by those who forget that it's an entire building. On the other side, you can see a bit better the gargoyle statues and the architecture, uninhibited by the crowds, and it's certainly more peaceful. Here's a tip: Never take the funicular up the hill to the basilica. Walking is free, but also, there's many back ways up to the church that make the haul up the hill less intense than the main stairs.
Explore a Hidden Shopping Passage
Again, another hidden part of Paris that most people don't see on the first visit is that there are some gorgeous covered and non-covered shopping passages (or arcades as some countries call them), that are tucked away and a little difficult to find sometimes, but they're nice to walk through and peruse. They're especially nice to come across when it's not the best weather and you want to get out of the rain.
Find A Good Read at Shakespeare and Company
It seems almost a bit wrong to go to Paris to buy a book in English, but Shakespeare and Company is a very famous bookstore that is worth a run through, just for the fact that it's a historical place. It's just one of those places you should check out while you're in the city, even if you don't buy anything. It's right across the river from the Notre Dame cathedral and is a nice way to kill some time. They also added a cafe to the store since I've last been there, so that's a nice addition.
Get Away From It All At The Buttes-Chaumont Park
If you need some nature in the midst of the city, then the Buttes-Chaumont Park is a lovely place to go with an iconic arbor at the top of a hill. It's quite a large park, so it's easy to find a nice place to relax and take a load off. It's not the easiest place to get to from the center of Paris, which actually means that the park will be mostly locals and not as busy, so it's great for a picnic on a nice day.
Don't Forget That Notre Dame Isn't The Only Epic Church
The line for Notre Dame can be so long that you waste most of your day trying to get in. If you're hurt on time, but still want to see some beautiful places of worship, make sure you go find some of the others around the city. One right close to Notre Dame is the Church of Saint-Séverin and it's quite lovely and free to go in. The moment you walk in, you're surrounded by darkness and it feels quite gothic.
Find Some Celebrity Graves at The Père Lachaise Cemetery
I have to admit, I've definitely gotten lost in this place before because it is HUGE. If you want to spend a whole day doing something pretty intense, then Père Lachaise Cemetery is a great place. Housing too many graves to count, there's also some big names buried there, including Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf and Moliere. It's best to do your research before you go so you know whose grave you want to find and map out your journey, otherwise you'll be running around like I did for 3 hours just to find anything.
I hope this helps you when planning your next adventure to Paris. If there are any places I missed, let me know below in the comments.