The Other Side of Paris

28.May 2013

Our Journey

Even just the word will conjure images for just about everyone no matter where they are from. The Eiffel tower, the Arc de Triomphe or Notre Dame cathedral are all iconic locations and are where you are sure to find a crush of foreign tourists. As much as these types of attractions are must sees for good reason, there is usually more to international cities than just the tourist attractions. Where do the people of Paris go for a break? I’m sure no one is likely to give up their little neighbourhood spot to the internet for invasion by hordes from away. People don’t always want a little place to get away, sometimes it is excitement and crowds for the locals too.

Photo Credit: rcolonna

What about a theme park? Who doesn’t like roller coasters and indulging in bad midway food? And if it is going to be a theme park then get me to the front of the tickets for Disneyland Paris line. In my mind, Disney is everything a theme park should be, in all of the cheesy glory of bright colours, flashing lights and beloved characters come to life. If you are travelling with children, then expecting them to absorb “culture” every second is possibly asking too much. I can’t do it and I like learning.

That is the shiny bright other side of Paris. But there is also a darker under side to the city of lights as well. The Catacombs of Paris is probably as opposite of Disneyland as you can find. The final resting place for human remains from centuries past. Under the streets of Paris, a collection of human bones from various cemeteries and tombs from around the city were consolidated to one site. This can be macabre for some people. The workers assigned to relocate the bones created alters, arrangements and arguably artwork from skeletons. Perhaps not the best of attractions for younger travellers or anyone prone to nightmares. If you have a fascination with cemeteries, then this may just be a perfect other side visit when another beautiful church or historic piece of architecture will make your eyes roll back in your head.

It is okay to take you head out of the guidebook and look for something off the classic track sometimes. Both the cheesy and the dark may refresh you for another day at the museum or art gallery.

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