Paris, France’s legendary capital, is famous for love, romance, passion and a certain je ne sais quoi. You’re guaranteed to feel engaged, energised and excited by the city of lights. Take a selfie at the Eiffel Tower, feed your soul at the Louvre Gallery and feast on oysters at restaurant Huîtrerie Régis. However well you think you know Paris, there’s always something fresh to experience in the city’s more hidden corners.
Word of Power: The Springtime Poetry Festival
It is said that the poets are the unofficial legislators of the world and nobody knows that better than the French, who have supplied the world of verse with geniuses like Charles Baudelaire and Guillaume Apollinaire. Every March, Paris hosts the poetry festival, Le Printemps des Poètes (The Springtime of Poetry) where locals and tourists can listen to live poetry readings and connect with one of the oldest of literary arts. Discover the secrets of writing a perfect poem, and learn a little about the publishing process too. Nothings says poetry like springtime in Paris!
Books on the River Bank: The Bouquinistes
The bouquinistes (booksellers) have been around since the middle-ages, selling second-hand and antique books. Legend tells how a boat carrying books sank near Notre Dame cathedral and the sailors swam ashore to regain their lost wages by selling what they’d salvaged. It’s a tranquil experience to relax on the banks of the Seine, hidden from crowds, pausing to hold a beautiful old (or modern) book in your hand while admiring this living piece of Parisian history. You can easily find the bouquinistes on both banks of the Seine between Notre Dame and the Louvre every day until sundown.
Paris Underworld: The Sewer Tour
Paris has more secrets than most cities, but you’ll have to go right under the streets to get to the bottom of this one! The French capital offers tours of its sewer system, with access near Pont l’Alma, where you’ll learn about the other side of Paris from below – from ancient times, right up until today. Discover where Paris’ water came from, the principles behind a drinking water supply and various sewerage techniques. The system is 2,400km long and for some really interesting stories, ask the guide about the strange creatures he’s witnessed in the dark tunnels.