Here come some Paris secrets from the whole Earful Tower team. We’ve got a podcaster, a photographer, tour guides, an artist, and a boat captain – all Parisians – and all sharing tips and tricks for this city. We’re here to help you into hidden passageways, get into the Louvre without queuing, find the tucked away staircases that lead you to the best views and much more. Are you ready?
The podcast episode
For this season’s finale, the whole team shared their favourite Paris secrets during a cruise on a private boat on the Seine. Listen below (or wherever you get podcasts) and scroll down for the secrets.
The interactive map
First, here’s an interactive map of all the locations we mentioned on the podcast.
1. The secret church door
Earful Tower tour guide, Charlotte Pleasants, lets us in on her best kept Paris secret: “This secret has to do with a delightful pathway in the Marais that I found during a tour with some guests. I always encourage people to look out for hidden gems on the tour and this time we stumbled across a small pathway with this beautiful red door at the end. I used to live in the neighbourhood for 4 years and I’ve never known about it. We go through this magnificent red door and it brings us through a side entrance into the eglise Saint Paul. An absolutely beautiful church with a big delacroix painting inside. Moral of that story is go down every alleyway (or go on an Earful Tower tour)!”
You can keep up with Charlotte on her Instagram @charlottepleasants_
2. The hidden Louvre entrance
Louvre expert and tour guide extraordinaire Amber Minogue gave us her latest Paris secret: “It was Easter and the Louvre was so packed with people queuing to get inside. I was waiting for a group to arrive for a tour and spoke to another guide when she told me that there’s another entrance. I said, “I know the three entrances; the main entrance, the Richelieu entrance and the carousel entrance.” But it turns out … there’s another entrance. It’s called La porte des Lion (the lion door). If you walk down towards the Tuileries gardens on the Seine side, there’s another door that takes you straight in the gallery where all the renaissance pieces are. You need a ticket (since you can’t buy it at this particular entrance) and won’t be able to check anything in to the cloak room but it gets you right in. I’ve been going to the Louvre for such a long time and I never knew. It blew my mind.”
If you’re interested in booking a Louvre tour with Amber, click the ‘Contact’ button at the top of the page. You can see more from Amber and the Louvre here on The Earful.
3. The art shop wonderland
Lovely Lina shares her favourite Paris hidden gem: “While some might say it’s not a secret I disagree. My secret is an art shop but it’s not just any art shop. It’s along the seine, really close to Beaux-Arts and it’s called Sennelier. It’s been around since 1887 and it’s the shop that kept Picasso, Gaugin and Cézanne with paints – they even made special paints for Picasso. It’s like a wonderland of inspiration and creativity. If you’ve seen Harry Potter, when Harry first goes to Diagon Alley and chooses a wand – it looks similar to that. There’s stuff everywhere, things you didn’t even know you needed. It’s defintiely worth a look even if you’re not on the hunt for paints. It’s a part of the city’s culture.”
You can see Lina’s art works on her Instagram @parisianpostcards.
4. Getting the perfect Paris photos
Earful Tower’s beloved photographer Augusta shares her best secrets in capturing your perfect Paris photo: “The thing that ruins photos is when you have a bunch of tourists and people creating a distracting background. My secret is to go early in the morning, especially on Sundays since there won’t be many Parisians about. There’s also great light in the morning. Make sure to use a zoom lens, not a wide lens. If you use a zoom lens then go further away from the subject you won’t capture the people surrounding you and it helps to isolate you or your subject with the background that you’re after. Here’s the recap: Sunday morning. Step back. Zoom in. Extra tip: Head to the gardens. Jardin des Plantes is not as busy compared to the Luxembourg or the Tuileries gardens but it is absolutely gorgeous.”
To see more of Augusta’s work, follow her Instagram @augustasagnelli
5. Exploring the edge of Ile Saint-Louis
Here’s my favourite secret all about exploring Ile Saint-Louis: Take any staircase or ramp that leads you down to the waterfront and explore the water level. The views are stunning and there’s often not a lot of people around. If you go to the far east end, past the houses, you’ll find some little gates that lead into a park (Square Barye) which in itself is not so special but if you keep walking on the right hand side you’ll find a small green gate that leads to a big stone staircase. Head down those stairs, turn left and you can walk all the way to the front of the island and all the way to the other side. It’s a very private walk, you will mostly stumble across lovers seated on the benches. Go walk past those lovers, have some fun and enjoy the beautiful water level.
6. The beautiful face on Pont Neuf
Captain of our river cruise, Clément, from “Le Bateau Francais“: “Here’s a secret about the Pont Neuf that not many people know about. Everyone’s fascinated by the faces surrounding the edges of the bridge, the gargoyles defending the bridge from the bad spirits of the river. Well, these gargoyles are all ugly except one. There’s 381 faces and only one is beautiful. It’s facing west, it looks like a childish face or maybe a woman’s face, no one knows. I’ve heard that it might be the mistress of Henry the 4th. Pont Neuf was built in 1602, under orders of King Henry the 4th and despite its name it’s actually the oldest bridge in Paris. Hint: To find the face, head to the banks for a better view and look around the corners of the bridge. “
That’s all for now!
For more hidden finds and Paris recommendations check out my PDF guide to Paris, newly updated, and exclusively on sale here. Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of The Earful Tower podcast and want to support the show, you can become a Patreon supporter here and gain access to exclusive content including your own copy of my guide on sign up.