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Unusual places in Paris
Whether you have already been in Paris or you are just going to it might be useful to have a list with unusual places in the city. You will find a map with all the places at the end of the post.
1. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
This park in the north-east of Paris has a unusual history: before this territory was a place of execution with a giant gallows. That is why the whole area was considered unfavorable and sinister. Then there was a dump of chemical waste and sewage. However, everything changed in the 19th century. Napoleon III decided to establish a park here with a temple and gazebos. The park was designed by the same person who designed the Bois de Boulogne.
Now it’s hard to believe that this beautiful park was once a sewage and an execution place. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont has many plants from different parts of the world, but it is most famous for its rocks and the temple.
The hills, slopes and the whole towering Belvedere island were created artificially, for which tons of soil material were brought into the park. Even a waterfall falling from the rocks is artificial.
Park is very popular in the summertime but it is still magical in every season.
2. Church of Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre
This is a red brick church in art-nouveau style. The interior is made with ferroconcrete arcs which look very unusual. The style and construction technologies were both innovatory for the beginning of the XX century and the church still looks special now and blends seamlessly in the Montmartre district at the same time.
3. Abandoned railroad Petite Ceinture
Petite Ceinture – is a small railroad system that was helping to connect railway stations in Paris. It was built in XIX but became unnecessary in 1930-s after the metro had appeared. Nowadays it is abandoned. There are several places where you can access this railroad, one of them is through gates in Florian street.
4. Church of Saint-Germain-des-Pres
Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres was founded in VI and was one of the most important Christian centers. The church that we see nowadays was built in X century, has been rebuilt and reconstructed several times but it is still the oldest building in Paris.
5. Montmartre cemetery
This is a cemetery where a lot of famous people are buried. You can read about its history, strange location and see a lot of photos in this post: Montmartre cemetery.
6. Nicolas Flamel house – the oldest house in Paris
The house on Montmorency street, 51 seems to be the oldest building in the city, it was built in 1407. The life of Nicolas Flammel – a former owner of the house – was very mysterious: he was an alchemist who was searching for a secret of a philosopher’s stone and suddenly became very rich with no obvious reason. Nicolas Flammel was mentioned in the first Harry Potter book as a person who had found the secret of the philosopher’s stone.
7. Arènes de Lutèce
Arènes de Lutèce are remains of the amphitheater of the I century. In that time amphitheater had 17000 seats and here theatre and battles were taking place. Arenes were under the ground until the XIX century. Nowadays locals play football here.
8. Square des Peupliers
One of the nicest places in Paris – it’s very authentic and green in the summer. Unfortunately, it became so popular among the tourists that local residents restricted free access to a small and most beautiful street. Nevertheless, it is still worth visiting this district, since it is not similar to other parts of the city.
9. Rivoli street, 59
This building that significantly differs from others is located on the most popular shopping street. Some time ago an empty house of a former bank was illegally occupied by squatters. They eventually created an art-center here that is legal now. The front of a building changes from time to time.
10. Place de la Bataille-de-Stalingrad and Gare du Nord
These places might not be very suitable for the list but they may seem unusual to someone. Gare du Nord district is very multicultural with a lot of ethnic cafes and shops and is considered not safe. In Place de la Bataille-de-Stalingrad there are a lot of tents and graffiti on the walls. If you have never seen Paris like that you can check it out but you better do it in the daytime.