A visit to Paris doesn’t mean spending half your precious vacation time in a queue. There are many interesting and beautiful places that never get too busy. You can save time and also impress your friends back home with your knowledge of Paris’ lesser-known tourist sites.
I’ve lived here for years, and it was only a few weeks ago that I heard of the Albert Kahn Museum in Paris. If you like film and photography, you are probably familiar with the famous French philanthropist’s collection. His house in Boulogne Billancourt, just on the outskirts of the city but really not that far, is now a museum. Most visitors come to browse the collection and then spend hours sitting in the stunning gardens at the back. Peaceful and beautifully-kept, the gardens alone are worth the visit, especially in Spring.
I first stumbled into the Musée de Carnavalet while I was looking for the Musée Nationale Picasso, which always seems to be a bit like platform 9 ¾ in Harry Potter (you have to know exactly where it is otherwise you’ll walk straight past.) It is a wonderful museum, documenting the history of Paris with a particularly great section on the French Revolution. It’s also free entry, which means you don’t have to see everything on the same day.
Do not feel that your first visit to Paris has to include a trip up the Eiffel tower for a view of the city. You may have heard of the Montparnasse Tower or if you haven’t then you’ll probably see it upon arrival in Paris, looming up from the Southern skyline. There is hardly ever a queue, and the elevator takes you straight up the 689 feet (floor 59) to an incredible view over the city. Try and make it up for nightfall, where you’ll be able to appreciate the Eiffel Tower’s light display from a perfect position.
If you really are allergic to tourists and in desperate need of peace and relaxation, I highly recommend a visit to the Mosquée de Paris (Paris Mosque). You can visit the mosque itself, treat yourself to a hammam, or simply take in the calming atmosphere of the tea garden with birds hopping around in the trees. A sweet mint tea is 2 euros. The location is ideal, as you only need to cross the road to get to the National History Museum and the Jardin des Plantes (Plant Garden) which also has a small zoo. The river Seine and the metro are a stone’s throw away.
If you’re uninterested in crowds but still wanting to see the more popular tourists spots, have a look at the different Skip-the-Line Tours available in Paris. They’re a great way to see the most famous sights in Paris such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and the Catacombs without standing in line!