This post is about all the great places in Paris that people don’t know about, or features of well-known places that people wouldn’t think to look for. For instance, in the post about Amélie’s Paris, I wrote about the locks in the Canal St. Martin, which are decidedly not touristy. And the blue arrows in front of Sacre Coeur, courtesy of an Amélie fan. Sometimes the most interesting things in Paris are things no one has heard about.

Most people have heard of the Opera Garnier, made more famous by the opera Phantom of the Opera. However, did you know that the rotunda is painted by none other than the modernist artist Marc Chagall. It’s all about Paris and music and if you look closely you can see the ballet dancers he painted (bottom right).

Next, we have the Palais-Royal. The Palais-Royal was originally the Palais-Cardinal, named for its first resident, Cardinal Richelieu, a very important figure in French religious and political history. Anyway, it has been either a royal residence or a political building since that time, meaning very few people can go inside. However, the gardens out back are fantanstic! At that time, the courtyard was under renovation, so I couldn’t take a good picture of the Les Deux Plateaux art installation, but I highly recommend it. Here’s one picture I took in the gardens:

Next, we have my favorite place ever to go in the afternoons when you need some really good hot chocolate. Angelina on the Rue de Rivoli directly across from the Tuilleries Gardens is the place to go. It’s always busy, especially at about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, right before they close, so be in for a bit of a wait. Believe me, it’s worth it. Get the Chocolat a l’Africain, like I did in the picture below:

Now most of these things someone or other will have heard of. Right now those people are probably going, she doesn’t know any secret place in Paris! These might not be the most touristy places, but certainly non-Parisians know about them. This last place and explanation might give you a run for your money. So, as part of my Museums and Monuments class (where every other class was a field trip through Paris, best class I’ve ever taken), our teacher Prof. Catherine Clot took us through some of the galleries in Paris. These are not art galleries, but old time shopping malls I think is the best way to describe them. They kind of reminded me of the arcade in Brussels, which apparently is also called a Gallery (Galeries Royales St. Hubert). There’s a handful in Paris and if you know French you can read the wikipedia article about it: Passages couverts de Paris. Here’s my picture of Galerie Vero-Dodat:

That’s a few of the secrets of Paris I’ve discovered over the years. This isn’t even to say anything about the Petit Palais, the Musée Marmottan, or a dozen other places in Paris. But that’s it for now. Until next time…