Paris 2024 Olympic Games: 10 unusual things to do in Paris (2024)

Well, well, we all know the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre wherein lives Mona Lisa, Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg Gardens… But there is a Paris that not many know of - catacombs, cemetery, bunkers and a secret apartment of Gustave Eiffel in the Eiffel Tower. (Also read: Paris 2024 Olympics: Where to buy tickets, stay, how to get around and other essential details)

Paris 2024 Olympic Games: 10 unusual things to do in Paris (1)

This July/August, if you are in Paris for the Olympic Games, walk past Mona Lisa, Rodin, Picasso, Montparnasse and explore an unusual Paris.

Gustave Eiffel’s Secret Apartment

Did you know there is a room on the top of the Eiffel Tower? Yes, this was Gustave Eiffel’s apartment - a 1,076 square feet room that included a living room with a table, a couch, a piano, three small desks, a kitchen, a bathroom with a sink, and a separate toilet cubicle. No bed, though. That explains why Gustave Eiffel never slept in this apartment. Do not miss the wax recreation of Thomas Edison gifting Eiffel the first sound recording device here in 1889.

Les Catacombes de Paris

In the late 18th century, Paris was reeling under a health crisis stemming from the city’s cemeteries. That’s when it was decided to move the human remains to an underground site - the former Tombe-Issoire quarries under the plain of Montrouge. The site was consecrated as the Paris Municipal Ossuary in 1786, and then came to be known as the Catacombs. Opened to public in 1809, there are 131steps to go down and 112steps to climb up the Paris Catacombs that is 20 metres deep (think of a 5-storey building).

hom*oerotic Private Tour of the Louvre

This is not about Mona Lisa in the Louvre Museum. This semi-private tour (maximum number of guests: 6, Minimum age: 18 years) with reserved entrance hours walks one through the depiction of not only hom*osexuality but also masculinity and nudity over 9,000 years from Mesopotamia to 19th-century French paintings. (Also read: Paris 2024 Olympics: 10 best places to eat in Paris)

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Housed in a stunning building designed by Frank Gehry, Fondation Louis Vuitton supports contemporary French and international artistic creation through a permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, commissions of artworks, as well as a multi-disciplinary events, with an emphasis on music. It organises two temporary exhibitions each year that present modern and contemporary art. Do not miss Matisse: The Red Studio, the 1911 masterpiece that is on display until September 9, 2024.

The Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou houses the Musée National d'Art Moderne, which is primarily a museum and centre for the visual arts of the 20th and 21st centuries.There are also frequent temporary exhibitions devoted to modern themes. In addition, there is a large public library, a centre for Industrial Design, a film museum, and the Centre for Musical and Acoustical Research.

Musee de la Vie Romantique

Located in the 19th century house of painter Ary Scheffer, this Museum of Romantic Life is one of the three literary museums in Paris. The ground floor is devoted to writer George Sand and includes portraits, furniture, and jewellery from the 18th and 19th centuries. On the first floor, contemporary works are exhibited around the paintings of Ary Scheffer. The snacks in tearoom of Rose Bakery are delightful.

Musee Carnavalet

Housed in the Carnavalet mansion (Hôtel Carnavalet) and opened in 1880, the Carnavalet-History of Paris Museum is the oldest City of Paris museum that tells the story of Paris, from prehistory to the present through its collection of over 618,000 items including precious ones like the campaign kit belonging to Napoleon I, mementos of the French royal family and the revolutionaries, Zola’s watch and the bedroom and personal affairs of Marcel Proust. The museum’s architecture offers a history spanning more than 450 years.

The Père Lachaise cemetery

Spread over 44 hectares with 70,000 burial plots, the Père Lachaise cemetery takes its name from King Louis XIV's confessor, Father François d'Aix de La Chaise. The most prestigious and most visited necropolis in Paris, herein lie the graves of famous men and women; Honoré de Balzac, Frédéric Chopin, Jean de La Fontaine, Molière, Yves Montand, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Camille Pissarro and Oscar Wilde, among others. Admission is free; guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Retro Tour of Paris

Discover Paris in a motorbike with a sidecar: Join Gentlemen Siders (Parisian drivers dressed in retro style) aboard authentic sidecars for a magical journey through time: the vines of Montmartre, the secret streets of Saint-Germain, the Ile de la Cite. You can also do a 90-minute Romantic sidecar night tour that includes a Champagne stop.

World War II Bunker

Right under Gare de l’Est. a key terminal in the French railway system, lies a carefully maintained World War II bunker that stretches across 1,290 square feetbelow platforms 2 and 3. Purported to be an air raid shelter, it was left unfinished by the French but was completedby the Germans during the occupation of Paris. The bunker still contains metal chairs, tables, and oxygen cylinders and the chambers include a telephone exchange and a machinery room connected by lit narrow passageways.

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Paris 2024 Olympic Games: 10 unusual things to do in Paris (2024)
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