The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre and baguettes are all synonymous with the City of Light. Chances are, most of you may have seen them up-close a gazillion times during your trips to the French capital. Sure, these are all important aspects of the whole Parisian experience. But doesn’t the city have more to offer?
During your honeymoon in Paris, stray away from the main boulevards and visit some of these lesser-known gems.
1) Boulevard Garibaldi
This is probably the best street for food in the whole of Paris. There’s food from everywhere, especially if you miss or crave good Asian food. Offering Chinese, Thai, Japanese (above), French, Italian and American cuisine, the entire street is lined with fare from almost every region.
There is an eclectic assortment of colours and smells. If you’re Asian and have been travelling around Europe for a while, we highly recommend taking the time to check out the stretch.
2) Espace Dali
The Louvre is undoubtedly a beautiful place to visit, but you’ll have to wait in line for an entire afternoon, leaving little time to explore other parts of the city. If you are looking to avoid the queues and for a more intimate venue, consider heading to Espace Dali (above).
In the heart of Montmartre, the museum features the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s artworks and sculptures in the world. This is also the only permanent exhibition in France that’s entirely devoted to the artist – a master of surrealism. His pieces express major themes of universal literature, mythology, history and religion; and some famous sculptures include the Profile of Time and Triumphant Elephant.
You will also find yourself surrounded by otherworldly images. As you look at them, they stare back at you, daring you to leave rational thought behind and enter a world where straight lines are curved, up is down, and night is day.
3) Shakespeare and Company
If you plan to check out the Notre Dame, keep an eye out for something less impressive in size and stature. Directly across the Notre Dame is a quaint bookshop called Shakespeare and Company, a charming little place (above) that looks like it belongs more at the Diagon Alley theme park in Orlando than on the streets of Paris.
Started by George Whitman in 1951, Shakespeare and Company functions as both a regular bookstore and reading library. Since its establishment, it has become a paradise for literary culture in Paris. The venue was frequently visited by Beat Generation writer William S. Burroughs when he was doing research for his book, the Naked Lunch. It was also featured in Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris.
From the wishing well in the floor to the room with a piano, the labyrinthine store is more than a place to buy a novel. It is also a home for writers to stay and a space reflecting the days of yore.
This story was first published on Silverkris.