Some American friends are traveling to Paris and asked me what else there is to do than the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and spotting President Sarkozy's mistresses.
I started writing down things off the top of my head, and since that stopped me from writing a blog entry, I'm just copying and pasting it here for your informative information informating.
High things to get on other than the Eiffel Tower
► Ferris wheel in the jardin des tuileries
► Tour Montparnasse (a very tall very ugly building - nice thing about this view is that you cannot see the Tour Montparnasse when you're on it)
Slightly creepy but still marvelous things
Père Lachaise cemetery - some of these tombs are hundreds of years old in this veritable necropolis. Plus, you can visit the graves of Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison and French kings and poets and philosophers. Look for the fabulous black and white marble tomb of a 1920s flapper girl socialite with a hand-written note on a framed autographed picture on the marble coffin reading "Death does not become me, does it?"
In the late 1700s, these old Roman tunnels were turned into a mass burial sites to clean up unsanitary churchyard cemeteries. The result is spooky and filled with more history than you can shake a thigh bone at. Decorative arrangements of skulls and bones on the walls, an underground chapel and tales of the French resistance using the tunnels during WW II.
The old "Muséum national d'histoire naturelle"
(natural history museum) is situated in the gorgeous botanical garden (Jardins des Plantes) and is a breath-taking old building filled with dinosaur bones and two-headed mutant lizards in pickle jars. It's like a journey through time to when museums were still cool.
La Rue Mouffetard
Very lively, long and winding street with an open market, traditional Parisian bistros and cafés and small shops. Buy some jujubes from the open market to nibble on. Try on some shoes. Have a chocolat chaud.
The Bouquinistes on the banks of the Seine
At several stretches along the river Seine, you find these little used book stalls that have been around forever. Some of them sell ancient books, some sell used comic books from last year, some sell 60s magazines. How about getting a 1960s issue of Elle with Twiggy on the cover as a unique souvenir?
Flee market at Saint Ouen
Only on weekends, and not for you if you hate crowds! Everything from cheap knock-off clothes to antiques and arts and crafts. And thousands of people.
At the other end of the spectrum: Avenue Montaigne
Christian Dior, Chanel, Pierre Cardin, Christian Lacroix... For the material girls in you.
You should also check out the Galeries Lafayette on the Boulevard Lafayette, one of the fanciest department stores in the world.
Several gay stores and gay owned restaurants on and around the street Rue Ste. Croix de la Bretonnerie. You'll also find the Picasso museum and the beautiful Place des Vosges here, so bring some time and comfortable shoes.
Et bon voyage!