If you thought you knew Paris well, think again.
Corey Frye is an American tour guide who knows every nook and cranny of the city. We put him to the test to name the unmissable spot in each of the 20 arrondissements.
Listen below, and scroll for some pictures and highlights.
1st arrondissement: Head inside the Louvre
“You’d be hard pressed to find more beautiful building interiors – forget about the permanent collection.”
2nd arrondissement: Wander through the Galerie Vivienne
These are some of the best hidden gems of Paris. There used to be up to 150 covered passages in the golden age in the 19th century, now there are about a dozen.
3rd arrondissement: Eat at Le Marché des Enfants Rouges
It’s a beautiful market that’s very local, with all kinds of international dishes. You can’t go wrong for Lebanese or Middle Eastern food.
4th arrondissement: Go inside the Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis church
This church, right next to the Saint-Paul Metro stop, is a treasure trove of little historical details.
5th arrondissement: See the Roman ruins
The old bath houses next to the Cluny museum are fantastic and they’re about 1900 years old. You’ve gotta check them out.
6th arrondissement: Grab a drink at the Café Procope
It’s the very first café in Paris, founded in 1686, and offers unmissable French revolution memorabilia upstairs.
7th arrondissement: Take in La Fontaine de Mars
It’s a beautiful little fountain on Rue Saint-Dominique dedicated to Mars, the god of war. And it’s just down the road from the Eiffel Tower. Can’t find it? It’s right night to a cafe of the same name.
A picture of the fountain on a 1910 postcard. Photo: Siren-Com/WikiCommons
8th arrondissement: Find the hidden café at the Petit Palais
A lot of people don’t know that entry is free, and the trick here is to go into the interior courtyard where’s a great little café. It’s one of my best unknown coffee hotspots in Paris.
Photo: Patrick Giraud/WikiCommons
9th arrondissement: Visit the Opera house
It’s only €11 to get in and you’re free to roam about. You’ve got chandeliers, painted ceilings, marble staircases, and the origins of the Phantom of the Opera.
10th arrondissement: Stroll along the Canal Saint-Martin
It’s always described as up and coming, but it has arrived now. Have a coffee at Ten Belles cafe.
11th arrondissement: Have a coffee at the cat café (Cafe des chats)
A new one in Bastille. It’s a working café with house cats, you have your coffee and a crumpet with little cats playing around. It’s great for families bringing kids to Paris.
12th arrondissement: Walk the Promenade plantée
Former elevated railway track that’s now a walk stretching out into the 12th – and no tourists ever find it. It’s very nice for a date.
13th arrondissement: Eat Chinese food at Chinatown
Head to the south eastern part of the 13th for the best Chinese food in town, it’s fantastic.
14th arrondissement: Head into Catacombs
You’ve got to do the catacombs. When you pay as a tourist there’s a mile’s worth of tunnels – but there’s actually around 200 miles around Paris.
Photo: Jorge Láscar/WikiCommons
15th arrondissement: Check out the Unesco Building
The headquarters of Unesco has beautiful gardens and impressive architecture – and a lot of people don’t realize it. Ok, the building is technically on the border of the 15th and 7th, but that doesn’t mean you should miss it!
16th arrondissement: Enjoy Hector Guimard’s architecture
Guimard did all art nouveau, cast iron Metro stations. He was prolific for his buildings in the 16th, wander around and check out his art nouveau architecture.
17th arrondissement: Take a stroll at Parc Monceau
It’s such a local park, and it’s so clean and full of families. It’s extraordinary.
18th arrondissement: See Picasso’s old studio
You can stand in front of Le Bateau-Lavoir and know that Picasso’s artistic career started there. You can’t go inside, but you can stand in a cute little square out the front and contemplate being in the footsteps of one of the greats.
19th arrondissement: Experience the Bassin de la Villette
Check out the boats anchored on the canal there, the “péniches”, some of which are restaurants, cafes, some are bookshops, just walk up and down along the waterside.
20th arrondissement: Take in the Père Lachaise cemetery
It’s like an outdoor sculpture gallery over 100 acres. You’ll see all the famous tombs – Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrisson, Edith Piaf – but it’s like a park too. Some people call it the 21st arrondissement.
Here’s a guide to the world’s most famous graveyard!
And a map of the 20!
As it turns out, there are too many sites to see in just one day, but we certainly tried in the season finale with the help of the red scooter. Here’s how it went, plus more pics from the big day.
That’s it! If you like these tips, be sure to check out The Earful Tower’s Guide to Paris.
Kylie the Crocodile25.00€
Paris On Air paperback25.00€
The Earful Tower 2023 Guide to Paris [PDF]19.99€
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