Paris Insolite


Hidden gems in the City of Light



Head down to the Champs de Mars or the Quai Saint Bernard, bouteille in one hand, baguette in the other on a balmy summer evening and you may well struggle to find space for your picnic rug. Avoid the crowds by opting for one of these lesser-known spots:
1. Jardin Anne Frank
In the heart of the Marais, this inconspicuous little garden is perfect for a few moments of respite between shopping trips. 
14 impasse Berthaud, 75003 PARIS
Métro Rambuteau
2. Jardin Frédéric Dard
Tucked amidst the winding streets of Montmartre, this pocket of green offers an idyllic place of refuge from the tourist hoards. 
22 rue Norvins, 75018 PARIS 
Métro Abbesses 
3. Parc Clichy-Batignolles Martin Luther King
A haven of nature on the edge of the city, this park is ideal for a relaxed picnic with friends or a lazy afternoon with a good book!
147 rue Cardinet, 75017 PARIS
Métro Brochant
Tourists from around the world flock to the French capital with romantic illusions of sipping espresso and nibbling freshly baked croissants at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, the reality is often rather different. During the long summer season, if, in a stroke of pure luck, you do manage to get a table outside, you will undoubtedly be rubbing shoulders (literally) with the schmoozing couple on the table next to you. For those of you in search of something a little more quaint, here are three of our favourites:
1. Café suédois
Hidden in the heart of the Marais, this charming little café offers a true taste of Sweden. Unsurprisingly the food is very un-French, with a mouth-watering, if limited, selection of traditional specialities on offer including “kanelbullar”, carrot cakes, open sandwiches, soups and meatballs.
11 rue Payenne, 75003 PARIS 
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 12-6pm.
2. Chez Louisette
Nestled within Paris' most renown flea market, the Marché aux Puces, this wonderfully wacky lunch-spot is well worth a visit if you can spare yourself a break from antique hunting. Yes, you are likely to be sharing your table with strangers, and no, it is not uncommon for the cook to run out of the kitchen waving her arms and yelling at the waitresses, but its all part of the fun!
136 Avenue Michelet, 93400 SAINT-OUEN 
Open on Saturday, Sunday and Monday only.
3. Café A
Arguably one of Paris' best kept secrets, Café A is an al fresco haven tucked away behind a 17th-century former convent near the Gare de l'Est. The menu is simple, fresh, and organic, and the icturesque courtyard is scattered with tables and deck chairs, perfect for those long summer evenings. 
148 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, 75010 PARIS 
Open Monday to Friday from 10am-midnight, Saturday from 12.30am-midnight and Sunday from 12.30am-10pm.
Paris is home some of the world's most famous museums:  musée du Louvre, musée d'Orsay, the centre Pompidou. The list goes on... Maybe you prefer to avoid the well-trodden tourist path? Or maybe art is quite simply not your thing. Why not try something a little different this month? Who knows, you may well be pleasantly surprised!
1. The Edith Piaf Museum
Set in a small apartment in Belleville, this museum offers a poignant glimpse into the life of the late star, including vinyls, private letters, photographs, her iconic black dresses and much more. The museum is free but tip-supported.
Open Monday to Wednesday from 1pm-6pm, by appointment only. 
Telephone: +33 1 4355 5272
2. Musée des Arts Forains (The Fairground Art Museum)
This delightful little museum is the result of one man's fascination with the fairground. Situated in Paris' 12th arrondissement, it houses a veritable treasure trove of games, toys, theatrical props and other quirky funfair objects dating back to the 1800s. 
You must reserve in advance, either on the website or by phone.
Telephone: +33 1 4340 1622 
3. La Pagode
This breathtaking 19th-century Chinese Pagoda, newly re-opened after 50 years, is situated right in the heart of Paris, mere steps away from the Champs-Élysées. 
You can find the current exhibitions and dates for La Pagode on the website:  
Telephone: +33 1 4561 0693
Author: Camilla Freeman


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