A trip to Paris necessarily requires visits to the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre Museum, but what else is there to see? The answer is lots, including these fascinating sites for tastes ranging from the academic to the macabre.
Musée des Arts et Métiers:
Founded in 1794 to celebrate the glory of science, the Technical and Professional Museum holds 2400 inventions in 7 categories: scientific instruments, materials, energy, mechanics, construction, communications, and transport. Exhibits include Foucault’s original pendulum used to prove the earth’s rotation, the first steam-powered automobile, and a female piano-playing automaton that belonged to Marie-Antoinette. The museum offers additional temporary exhibits, guided tours, demonstrations, and a resource guide, as well as unrestricted exploration for visitors who wish to take it all in at their own pace.
This ancient royal garden contains the Jardin des Plantes (Plant Garden), featuring the alpine garden and its 2000 mountain plants from around the world, as well as the rose garden, the iris garden, the botany school’s garden, greenhouses, and centuries-old trees such as the Lebanon Cedar planted in 1734. Take a close look at the lion fountain located at the gate on Rue Geoffrey St. Hilaire. Yes, one of the sculpted bronze lions is dining on a detached human foot, severed at the ankle! Access to the garden is adapted for disabled persons and admission is free.
Musée de la Poupée:
The Doll Museum, opened in 1994, displays thousands of toys, automatons, miniature mannequins, and over 800 antique and collectible dolls. The museum offers visitors a variety of activities, such as the “Discovery Game,” in which children can learn about dolls which could have belonged to their ancestors. Other activities include workshops for children and adults, guided tours, seminars, and doll appraisals. The museum’s boutique offers a wide choice of antique and modern dolls, doll accessories, and books on dolls, teddy bears, and toys.
Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures:
This private museum is dedicated to vampires and the study of their place in folklore and modern culture. Entrance is made through a small garden that mimicks a gothic cemetery. Inside, you will find an amazing collection of books, paintings, movie posters, spooky fine art objects, vampire paraphernalia, a genuine coffin, a vampire killing kit, and even a mummified cat! The very knowledgeable owner, Jacques Sirgent, has written several books about vampires and can answer your every question (in English if your French is not up to speed). The museum is open every day by appointment only and, while not actually in Paris but nearby Lilas, is accessible by the Paris metro (subway).
This ossuary, in an abandoned quarry beneath the city, is home to the neatly stacked skeletal
remains of 6 – 7 million Parisians, although only a small portion is open to the public. The site offers various temporary exhibits. You will want to wear comfortable shoes for this visit, as you will descend 130 steps and walk over a mile through the quarry tunnels. There are no restrooms and the site is not suitable for people with heart or respiratory problems, or anyone who is faint of heart. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult, and the site is not accessible to the disabled. Bag checks are mandatory upon exiting as overzealous visitors frequently try to smuggle souvenirs. In spite of all this, the Catacombs are one of the top tourist attractions in Paris.
Once you have your perfect Paris vacation planned, take a moment to consider your luggage. ecbc’s practical Pegasus Convertible Wheeled Backpack is two bags in one, converting from wheeled luggage for long-distance travel to a handy back pack for daily excursions. Additionally, it features the FastPass® System, which allows you to go through TSA without unpacking your electronic devices. ecbc wishes you a Bon Voyage!