Eight things to find in Paris if you’re a history nerd

This week’s guest is Beckett Graham of The History Chicks podcast. It’s her first time in Paris and I was curious to know what a history buff like her seeks out in a city like Paris.

She shared eight things that she has already tracked down or that she plans to find in the coming days. We also talk about a lot more, and you can listen to it all in the episode below (or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts). For addresses and more info on the places mentioned, simply scroll down.

Lay a potato at the grave of Parmentier

Antoine Parmentier brought the humble potato to Paris and as a thanks, Parisians leave potatoes at his grave. You can find it in section 39 of Pere Lachaise cemetery. Bring your spuds. Address: 16 Rue du Repos, 75020

Visit the Princess Diana memorial 

Did you know there’s an unofficial memorial for Princess Diana above the tunnel where she died? It’s right by the scaled replica of the flame of the Statue of Liberty. Address: 7 Place de l’Alma, 75008

Find the Statue(s) of Liberty

Did you know there are at least eight statues of Liberty in Paris? Besides the flame mentioned above, you can find the biggest replica of them all on the man-made island called Île aux Cygnes, not far from the Eiffel Tower.

Find all eight of the statues here.

Visit Marie Antoinette’s hamlet

Most people head to Versailles for the palace. Maybe even the gardens. But did you know you can go and find the hamlet made by Marie Antoinette? It’s basically a village that the queen made so she could play at being a peasant. You can read more about “The Queen’s Hamlet” on the official Versailles website here.

Find Joan of Arc’s statue

Many people used to head into the Notre Dame Cathedral without even noticing the statue of Joan of Arc just inside. Of course, after the fire no tourists are allowed inside. But one day, despite the hoards of tourists, you might just find her standing by herself without anyone around (once the cathedral allows visitors again).

Find the grave of the saxophone inventor

Belgian born Adolphe Sax, who created the saxophone, is buried in the Montmartre cemetery. Pay your respects by heading to section five of the cemetery where you’ll find his memorial. Look for the bronze saxophone. (And consider bringing some cat food for the local cat population).

Adolphe Sax

Find Mary Cassatt’s house 

Find the home of painter Mary Cassatt, an American who defied her parents and came to Paris to pursue her art. You can’t go in, but find it at 13 Avenue Trudaine in the ninth arrondissement.

Find the remnants of a guillotine 

If you want a real chill, head to the 11th arrondissement and find the traces of the guillotine where 200 people had their heads chopped off. The remnants are hard to find and you’ll need to use your imagination, but there’s a vide below to help you out. Find it at: 13-15 Rue de la Croix Faubin, 75011

Well, that’s it for now. Remember the best way to enjoy this list is to listen to the full explanations via the podcast episode.

Then the next best thing is to watch Beckett and I go live on video tomorrow in the Montmartre Cemetery – but only for Earful Tower members. Sign up now to watch it!

Lastly, if you enjoyed this blog post, I bet you’d love scrolling through the entire “Paris secrets” section on this website 🙂

That’s it! If you like these tips, be sure to check out The Earful Tower’s Guide to Paris.

4 thoughts on “Eight things to find in Paris if you’re a history nerd

  1. Only knew two of the eight! Now I have a new list “must” sights. Will have to watch the replay of Montmartre Cemetary Walk as my husband needs his uninterupted sleep and three am disturbs him (sigh) even though I promise to try and be quiet with headphones…

    1. Two out of eight isn’t so bad! The next walk will be at a reasonable time for the States – don’t worry. Hope your husband enjoyed a good night’s sleep 🙂

  2. There are several Joan of Arc statues in Paris. The most famous one is the golden equestrian on Place des Pyramides in the 1st arr. You can find her on the street in the 8th, 13th, 16th arr and inside the Chateau of Versailles and of course in many churches, but I admit never having seen the one in Notre Dame. Then there is Paris’s patron Saint Genevieve…

  3. When my wife and I were last in Paris 5 years ago we saw the Princess Di memorial but there was no signage so we don’t know what it was.

    After listening to this podcast and seeing the accompanying show notes. We now know what we saw.

    Thanks for filling the gap.

    Great episode too.

    I have added some spots for my ever growing list for our next visit.

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