Meet Boris, a tour guide from Paris in Person. This man knows Paris inside out. And today, he is on the podcast to share what he considers to be the most interesting thing to find in every one of Paris’s 20 arrondissements
Listen to the full episode below (and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts) and scroll down for pictures and addresses of the places he chose.
1st. A flamboyant gothic church
Enjoy gazing at the the medieval and classical architecture at the Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois church – famed for its flamboyant gothic features and stunning stained glass windows. 2 Place du Louvre, 75001 Paris
2nd. See Haussmann’s inspiration
Baron Haussmann didn’t just invent the style of buildings that Paris is now known for. No! He basically copy-pasted his favourite bits, which include the buildings surrounding the Place des Victoires. Transport yourself to the 17th and 18th century by taking a stroll here. That’s it pictured at the top (and again below).
3rd. Step inside the Library of City Archives
It’s a beautiful collection of books and a marvellous building too at the Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris. Find it at 24 Rue Pavée. Note: This is technically in the 4th arrondissement, but it’s only just across the border 🙂
4th. Marvel at the oldest house in Paris
It’s a 14th century building that’ll make you feel like you’re walking in the Paris of yesteryear. Once home to a swingers’ club, this has calmed down a bit in recent years and stands out among the other buildings of the Marais. 11 rue François Miron.
5th. Find the gladiator arena
The Arene de Lutèce is a Roman arena from 2,000 years ago right in the centre of Paris. Did you know gladiators from the time were more likely to be heavy set and fatty rather than six-packed and muscly? I went for a little live stroll here recently, take a look below (and subscribe to the YouTube channel!)
6th. See the first museum in the world
If you head into the French Academy of Fine Arts (Ecole des Beaux-Arts) and walk into the courtyard, the first building on your right was in fact the first museum in the world. What may just look like a typical old 17th century church actually marked the spot where the French revolutionaries decided to share their arts and culture with the world during the French revolution 1792.
7th. Get your art nouveau fix at Square Rapp
Head here for the art nouveau architecture and find the beautiful collection of buildings all stacked together. And at 29 Avenue Rapp you’ll find one of the most stunning facades in the city.
8th. The Louis XVI chapel
Find the Chapelle Expiatoire tomb of Louis XVI at the site of the former mass graveyard of the French revolution. You can bet your last centime that it won’t be crowded with tourists, which makes it all the more special. 29 Rue Pasquier, 75008 Paris
9th. The Quartier Drouot
It’s is a great collection of stores for buying second hand goods. Feel free to haggle for better prices, but the shop owners are very experienced at the game – so good luck. The Instagram account is from a (randomly chosen) curiosity shop in the area.
10th. The hottest street in Paris right now
Once a slightly dodgy area, Rue Faubourg Saint Denis is now the hottest street in the city, says Boris. It’s authentic, you’ll find Parisians there, and it’s quickly turning into the new Marais.
11th. Find rural France on the side streets
Take a stroll between Square Trousseau and the Bastille and pop into the smaller side streets, it’s like stepping into the rural 19th century.
12th. The spooky museum of circus art
The Musée des Arts Forains is collections of circus paraphernalia from the late 19th century. It’s a bit spooky – if you’re scared of clowns don’t go! 53 Avenue des Terroirs de France, 75012 Paris
13th. Little Alsace
Check out what the locals call Petite Alsace on Rue Daviel, little villas, overgrown gardens, it’s the cutest countryside setting you’ll find in Paris.
14th. The Parc Montsouris
This park was designed by Mr Haussmann himself, is right on the edge of the 14th district and is a fantastic place for a run.
15th. The best view of Paris
Go to the top of the Tour Montparnasse, it’s easily the most hated building in Paris, but it’s not so bad when you’re inside. Check out the restaurant and the viewing deck on the top.
16th. The Louis Vuitton foundation
The forest known as the Bois de Bologne houses the Louis Vuitton foundation, which is brilliant to even look at from the outside. The exhibitions inside are always worth the price of entry too!
17th. Be a flaneur on the Rue des Lévis
Walk along the charming Rue des Lévis then find the museum of Banque de France cité de l’economie et de la monnaie (museum of coins and economy). The building has recently been renovated, looks medieval, but it’s from the second half of the 19th century.
18th. The best chocolate in Paris
Walk around the residential section of Montmartre and find the Kosak chocolate shop at 106 rue Caulaincourt. They’re highly specialized and good quality – perfect for the foodie who wants world class chocolate.
19th. The Parc des Buttes Chaumont
which is very hilly but a good getaway from the tourist sites. Find the artificial lake in the middle and climb to the canopy at the top, and enjoy the amazing view from the top.
20th. Excellent street art
Find the ever-changing street art on rue Denoyez and flaneur through the surrounding streets to find even more of the city’s newest art craze.
Well that’s it. Book a tour with Boris at Paris in Person and if you have questions about any of those places mentioned above, they’re probably answered in the podcast version of this list, which I’ve attached again below for good measure.
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That’s it! If you like these tips, be sure to check out The Earful Tower’s Guide to Paris.
The Earful Tower’s Guide to Paris
It’s here! After six seasons of making The Earful Tower podcast and 100+ expert guests, I’ve finally put together the ultimate guide to Paris.