Paris is a quick and easy 2 hour train ride from Kaiserslautern, Germany. It had been almost a month since our last out of the country adventure (see London post here), so we were so excited for this trip. Of course we had to do the typical Paris sites (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, etc.) but before writing a full blog post, I wanted to share five of our favorite more unique things to do in Paris.
Yves Saint Laurent Museum
I love a good fashion museum — I love seeing the designs and sketches, the clothing and the accessories, but mostly, I love learning about the designer. One of my friends recommended the Yves Saint Laurent museum in Paris, and I’m so glad we went. The museum dedicated to his work is located in his old design studio in Paris, so it was really cool to see where his collections came to life. Tickets are 10 Euro and you can buy them at the door. Make sure to watch the film in the mezzanine which highlights his early life and career, his lover, and their working relationship. Yves Saint Laurent ‘s most iconic looks include the Mondrian dress (seen below), the safari jacket, and the women’s tuxedo.
Paris is filled with covered passages, which were built mostly in the 19th century and still retain the old fashioned charm and architecture of their time. They are basically beautiful walkways with glass roofs, lined with shops and restaurants. I knew I wanted to find at least one of these passages, but we just started happening upon more of them as we kept walking. Passage des Panoramas is one of the oldest ones, and we just stumbled upon it — quite a *trouvaille* — and we ended up eating dinner at one of the French restaurants inside.
Paris has an amazing wine bar scene – whether you want to do an organized tasting, have a few glasses, or split a bottle – there is something for everyone. We really enjoyed finding bar à vins in the afternoons/evenings before dinner because they are all cozy and quaint, while still elegant. Make sure to try a cheese or charcuterie board, too! French cheeses are super underrated in my opinion. My favorite wine bar was Legrand Filles et Fils, which is just inside the Passage Vivienne. Amazing wine, delicious cheese, excellent people watching.
How to make a bone doctor happy: take him to the catacombs in Paris. This was definitely a unique experience – walking through tunnels and tunnels of bones. In a nutshell, in the 18th century Paris found itself with a shortage of cemeteries, so they started dumping the bones of existing cemeteries in the tunnels once used for Limestone quarrying. In the early 1800s before the catacombs were opened to the public, the bones were reorganized into walls with alternating skulls and femurs, with the remaining bones behind these walls. During this time, they started doing research on the remains of the bones to help pathologists understand the health and causes of death in Parisians in the 1500-1700s. Also concerts and events used to be held in these tunnels.
It sounds a little bizarre and intriguing, but I definitely recommend it! It was both sobering and mesmerizing. Pro tip: make sure to buy your tickets online to avoid having to wait in a super long line! Only 200 people are allowed in at a time. We did the audio tour for 24 Euros each. Also just as an FYI there are 131 steps to climb down to get into the catacombs and 112 to climb back up, so maybe skip leg day that morning.
In Paris you definitely have to check out the Montmartre district – the artsy/boho area of town. It was in this area that the cabaret show was born in the 1880s. Since then, the Moulin Rogue has become one of the most iconic cabarets in the world. We decided to do something random on our last night in the city, so I found us tickets for cabaret and champagne at a cabaret house down the street. It was a blast! The dancing was what you would expect, but the side shows in between dances were hilarious! There were two Italian brothers juggling and telling jokes, a hilarious old acrobatic man, an interesting ventriloquist, and a hilarious skit involving four men from the audience doing a dance competition. It was definitely a unique way to end our trip to Paris.
Any other unique things to do in Paris for our next trip?! Let me know what I missed below. Full Paris blog coming soon! Au revoir!