Paris is one of the most captivating cities in the world. From seeing the majesty of the Eiffel Tower to strolling along the Seine River, it only takes a minute to understand the magic that has drawn people to Paris for centuries. But what if you’re not a big fan of touristy fare? What if you’re looking for something a little exciting and unconventional — much like the city itself? That’s where we come in; there are plenty of obscure, unusual, and downright weird and wild spots that you definitely must see in Paris. Here are some things that you have to experience in Paris to uncover a whole new world you never imagined!
The Museum of Counterfeiting
Tired of the same old stuff that most museums have to offer? Then get ready for a singular experience at the delightfully offbeat Museum of Counterfeiting in Paris. This quirky and unconventional museum is all about counterfeit objects, the people who make and sell them, and their rich history throughout France. You’ll get a firsthand look at hundreds of counterfeit items throughout the ages, from luxury goods to toiletries and everything in between. It’s a fun twist on exploring Paris museums, and a nice break from admiring all that stunning artwork at the Louvre.
Shakespeare & Company
Going to an English-language bookstore in France? It might sound like a strange choice after you’ve gone through the trouble of taking any flights to Paris, but get ready to be blown away by the fascinating literary history of this humble bookshop. Besides being a free reading library that’s open to the public (and there are plenty of nooks and crannies in the store where you can curl up in comfort with the tale of your choice), this store sells antiquarian volumes, new releases, and secondhand books to keep your reading list lengthy. But true bibliophiles show up to explore the store itself. Over the decades it’s been a haven for some of the luminaries of the literary world. Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs, James Baldwin, and countless others have read, researched, and even caught some winks in one of the many beds tucked away throughout the store.
House of Nicolas Flamel
Fans of Harry Potter may remember the name Nicolas Flamel, but he’s not a literary device — in fact, Flamel was a true historical figure. An alchemist who spent his life attempting to find the Philosophers’ Stone, a substance that would turn base materials into gold (and, some believe, grant you immortality). Whether or not you believe Flamel discovered the secret to eternal life and wealth, it’s worth swinging by his old house. Besides being home to one of the most intriguing minds of the time, it’s also the oldest stone house in all of Paris. It was erected by Flamel back in 1407, although no one lives there now. Instead, it’s been converted into a popular restaurant. Take a few minutes to admire the exterior architecture, which remains true to its original design, before heading in for some superior French food in a wonderfully weird location.
Ateliers des Lumières
Digital art is cooler than ever at Ateliers des Lumieres. Located in the city’s 11th district, this former smelting plant has been transformed into the city’s very first digital art installation. The installation allows you to immerse yourself in pivotal pieces of artwork from some of the premiere masters, including Van Gogh, Monet, and many more. Thanks to 140 projectors and 50 speakers, you’ll feel like you’re surrounded by some of the most breathtaking pieces of artwork of our time. The artwork rotates regularly, so be sure to check out the schedule to see what’s coming up soon. It’s an artistic experience in the City of Lights you won’t forget for a very long time!
Know of any other wild and weird spots that everyone should check out when they’re in Paris? Tell us about them in the comments section!