I am the kind of person who also likes to see off the beat and track maybe even weird tourist attractions.
Because of this affinity to the darker side of things, including zombies, vampires and werewolves, my husband thinks I am a bit morbid. I swear though, I like pink frilly things too. I digress.
For your next trip to Paris, after you have seen the Eiffel tower, the Louvre and L’Eglise Notre Dame, while your researching your hotel booking in Paris, look into these 5 weird things to do in Paris.
They may be a bit morbid but it’s part of Paris’ history. Paris isn’t just about baguettes, cheese and romance after all.
Here are Five Off The Beat And Track Weird Things To Do and See In Paris
1-The Catacombs of Paris
Bones bones everywhere. For less than 10 euros, you can visit “The Catacombs of Paris”.
An utterly morbid yet strangely fascinating tourist attraction where six million Parisian’s bones are piled high in what seems to be endlessly winding tunnels.
Be prepared for confined spaces, lot’s of steps, low hanging ceilings dripping with water and no bathrooms. Don’t let that description detour you. It’s definitely worth a visit if you want to get a different point of view on the history of Paris. Something you will never forget.
You might want to leave the kids at home. All the scary skeletons, skulls and dark passageways might be too much for them.
Call or check to see their hours and arrive early before the line get’s too long. If they open at 10 a.m., get there at 9 or 9:30 a.m. because the line can get pretty long. I’m talking like an hour or two long. The tour lasts for about 45 minutes.
2- Mysteries of Paris Ghost Tour
More of a light-hearted ghost tour sprinkled with ghost stories meant to be more funny and entertaining than scary and horrifying.
For two and a half to three hours, you’ll follow a tour guide around Paris. Along the way your guide will make stops and tell you interesting stories, talk about different characters and explain the history.
It’s should be ok to bring older kids but probably not appropriate for little ones.
About midway through you’ll get a bathroom break and you’ll make a few pit stops to buy some drinks which you can put in plastic cups. Yes, alcohol.
Paris’ largest and most famous graveyard and for good reason.
According to official website of the city of Paris; to date, one million people have been buried .
What makes it famous is who is buried there. Jim Morrison’s (most famous inhabitant), Oscar Wilde, singer Édith Piaf, Frédéric Chopin the Polish composer and hundreds more famous people that you may or may not have heard of.
It’s free to enter just make sure you get a map which you can ONLY get from the front entrance off of metro stops Phillip-Auguste or Pere-Lachaise.
Trust me, you will need the map to find all the famous plots. Be prepared to spend hours just walking around and don’t forget to play with all the cemetery cats. MEOW.
4- Paris Sewer Tour (MUSÉE DES ÉGOUTS DE PARIS)
Ever heard of the Paris sewer system?
Located fairly close to the Eiffel Tower, this is an actual working sewer system. Yes, it smells and it sounds disgusting but the self guided tour through a number of galleries within the sewage system is fascinating. Information posters are provided throughout.
If you have ever wondered how sewers work than don’t miss this attraction.
Want to eat at an unforgettable restaurant? Visit “Dans Le Noir” meaning “In The Dark”.
When you arrive, you will be greeted by someone who will seat you and then explain what you are about to experience.
Basically, you will eat an amazing meal in complete darkness and you will be served a surprise menu by blind wait staff.
Don’t worry, the staff is extremely helpful, kind and speak English. They’ll also ask you in advance if you have any food aversions or allergies. The meals are all gourmet quality. No eyeballs or chicken beaks served here.
If you’ve never experienced an attraction in the dark, I highly recommend it. It’s both scary, entertaining and it will open your mind to how it feels to be blind for a day. Go with friends, it’s so much fun.
What about you
Do you know of any scary or weird attractions anywhere? Leave your comments below. And please share this on facebook. It helps me build traffic which helps me provide free content to YOU.
I guess I watched one too many movies with Audrey Hepburn because when I visited Nice France (pronounced Niece)with my husband and 3 kids, I had visions of lavender fields, romance, well dressed older couples, French berets and….. well you get the picture right?
Instead, I discovered another side of France totally unexpected but totally needed. Think New York vs. Beverly Hills. Or Texas vs. California.
Don’t get me wrong, the people of Nice still love their wine, cheese and baguettes but Nice definitely has it’s own flair. It is after all the French Riviera.
Nice has so much to offer it’s tourists and it’s residents.
For a whole month we swam in the Mediterranean, walked, ate too much Italian ice cream, tried new foods, learned the history behind Nice and more.
Not Your Typical Guide
Rather than give you the typical destination guide full of museums and sites, I decided to give you 15 reasons we loved visiting Nice. You will find this list especially good whether you have kids or not. Whether you are a solo traveler or a couple looking for romance. Most are Free or very low cost.
Before I get into the 15 reasons to visit Nice with or without kids, I want to give you one very strong word of advice which will make your trip much much more pleasant.
Learn some French phrases and words before you go!
Language: How To Be Linguistically Prepared For Your Trip:
Do NOT be one of those tourists who travel expecting other people to speak English.
First: Brush up on your French and learn a few phrases like “where is the restroom” or “check please”.
Here is a video of my daughter demonstrating 20 phrases you might like to learn.
Second: Buy a pocket sized French English dictionary and or a French English Visual Dictionary.
Visual dictionaries are great because they are divided by subject like food and then all the definitions are right below each image. Perfect for when you are sitting at a restaurant and don’t understand the menu. ( my husband once ate frog by accident). haha.
15 Reasons To Travel To And Visit Nice France: Things To Do And Try
1-Go There For The Sun All Year Round
I read somewhere that Nice has on average over 300 days of sunshine per year which makes it the perfect place to go for mild weather all year round.
What is a bad time to travel to or visit Nice France?
Although there really is no BAD time to go to NICE, there are optimal times depending on what you want to do.
I think the spring time is the best time to go if you don’t care about the jumping in the water. Avoid crowds and enjoy the cheaper air fares and hotel rates. Plus, as early as February, you can start to wear t-shirts and shorts
The summer season which lasts for 5 whole months from May to October are great if you want the hustle and bustle of the tourist season and or you want to enjoy the water.
Temperatures rise to the 80’s F and 90’s F during the summer seasons but the heat is intensified by the city. It felt like 110 some days even though the thermostat said it was not that hot. We are beach people so we did plenty of swimming in the Mediterranean sea to cool down and ate plenty of gelato.
2-Try At least 5 local dishes ( you probably have never heard of)
Remember how I said Nice was different. Well even it’s food is different? Think Mediterranean diet and lots of foods made with resources from the local countryside: Olive oil, garlic, anchovies, fruit and vegetables etc. Here are five dishes that are very typical and can be found throughout Nice.
Socca: A type of pancake made from chickpea flour. ( Very very good street food. Make sure you ask for pepper and salt.)
Farcis nicois: The word Farci means stuffed. This is a dish made from vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchinis and mushrooms all stuffed with breadcrumbs and ground meats. If you see this on the menu, do yourself a favour and try it.
Pissaladière: This sounded weird but when I tried it, I loved it. It’s a local pie made with onions and anchovy sauce. (Miam Miam but brush you teeth afterwards)
Pan-bagnat: There are lots of sandwich shops selling sandwiches all through out France and Nice is no different. In addition to your typical Brie sandwich keep your eye out for the “Pan-bagnat”. It is unique to Nice and a very popular sandwich. It is made with ingredients from the salad Nicoise: vegetables, hard boiled eggs, anchovies and or tuna, olive oil and sometimes balsamic vinegar, ground pepper, and salt will also be added. All thrown on bread. I guess it’s a salad sandwich but it’s damn good. And cheap. Only 4 to 6 euros.
Salade Niçoise: (French pronunciation: [ni’swaz]. I believe Julia Childs made this salad famous in the U. S. but it has it’s origins in Nice France. If you haven’t tried this salad you should. It usually comes on a bed of greens topped with various fresh veggies such as fresh tomatoes, green beans, olives and sometimes eggs and tuna. There are many variants on how this salad is made. some even have cubed potatoes in it. This is the perfect meal after a hot hot day of swimming.
3-Be A Stalker And Gawk at one of the McMansions of The Rich And Famous
Nice France and it’s surrounding area are the playground for the rich and famous. For instance, Bill Gates, Keith Richards, Elton John, Tina Turner, Sean Connery and even Brad Pit and Angelina Jolie all have homes in the area. Not your typical home. Hotel sized homes.
Just for kicks and giggles, here is a photo of Bill Gates Villa which he purchased for a sum in excess of $76 Million. Microsoft Co-founder Paul’s Allen’s Maryland Villa is minutes away.
We never got to actually see any of these famous homes but you can try can’t you?
4-Watch The Tour De France
The tour de France, primarily held in the month of July, begins in Monaco and passes through Nice and we were there to witness it. I will never forget the sound of hundreds of cyclist pedaling past us in a frenzy. What a rush. And then it was over within minutes and we all jumped in the sea to cool off.
5-Swim In The Mediterranean Sea Every Day
One of the best parts of being in Nice was being able to enjoy miles and miles of coast line beaches. You could literally spend the whole day at the beach.
What’s not so great are the rocks. Nice has ROCKY or maybe I should say pebbly beaches’. sometimes those little pebbles are sharp and painful to walk on so make sure you bring some flip flops to walk along the beach. Your feet will thank me later when your feet are NOT bleeding.
I really expected there to be sandy beaches like I’m used to in California where you can jog along the water and build sand castles and catch hermit crabs.
You could visit one of the many private beach instead which bring in sand but it will cost you around 15 to 20 euros for the day. The upside is you get a lounge chair and you can order drinks. Needless to say it’s also less crowded.
6-Donate to the needy
Yes there are even homeless street beggars in France too. This poor guy and his dog were sitting right out where we were eating in the hot burning sun. Lots of homeless people have dogs as companions.
6- Take public transportation too see the city or Visit Monaco
Getting around Nice is fairly easy and inexpensive. There are more than a hundred bus routes in the 27 towns making up Nice Côte d’Azur, as well as an 8.7 km tramway line which crosses the city.
A single ticket costs 1€ (except busses 98 and 99). What is amazing it you can take endless day trips to surrounding areas on the train and buses for this price. We took the bus to Monaco a few towns up from Nice and it cost us 1 Euro per ticket. Can’t beat that.
For slightly more you can take weekend trips to surrounding cities taking a charming train through the mountains.
Visit this site to learn the train schedule and prices.
7-Rent A Bike And Explore The City
All throughout France you see these little self-service bicycle rental systems. Nice is no different. It’s called Vélo Bleu ( Blue bicycle).
These self service bicycle rental is a very practical and economical service that is available 24 hours 7 days a week with over 1200 self-service bicycles and 120 stations located around the city. It’s a great way to discover the city unhindered by public transportation schedules. Don’t forget to make use of the 34 km of cycle-paths.
Rental rates are about 1€ a day or more. Find out more : www.velobleu.org
8. Get An Eyeful and Take A Walk Along the infamous “Promenade Des Anglais”
Taking a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais is the epitome of the French Riviera. Always bustling with parades passing, people walking, tourists relaxing, people roller blading, biking, jogging. Lot’s of restaurants and things to look at as you walk or skate or cycle.
9-See Some Art At the “Musée Matisse”
Much of the lovely art of World Renowned French Artist Henri Matisse is housed at the Musee Matisse. Located not far from where Matisse used to live. This vast museum shows Matisse’s works from earlier more traditional periods to the end of his career. They even have some of his personal effects on display. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to pick up some prints of his work and souvenirs for folks back home.
10-Go back in time:
Old Town or “Vieux Ville” is oozing with atmosphere. Take a stroll down it’s many narrow streets and you cannot help but get a true sense of what Niçoise culture was like.
Stop and peruse the many shops to buy typical fruits, yummy cheeses fresh bread, Provençal wares, wine, clothing and more. There is also a labyrinth of restaurants to eat at with fun bars and nightclubs to visit. We spend a lot of time discovering new sections of this part of the city that made me feel like a rat in a maze.
11-Take The Mini Train up to the Chateau for breathtaking views
The miniature train will take you from the Promenade des Anglais all the way up to the château gardens high above Nice. Remember to take your camera with you! The train passes Place Masséna, then runs along the maze of lanes in the old town, continues past the famous flower market then climbs up château hill where you can admire the splendid view of the wonderful Baie des Anges.
It returns via the seafront esplanade along the Baie des Anges and Promenade des Anglais.
12- Eat Gelato
During the summer season it can get quite hot. What better excuse do you have than to try the many types of gelato. Just remember 1 scoop is “un boule” and flavours are called “parfum”. Unexpected but good flavours are watermelon and lavender.
13-Ride The Carrousels
14-Drink Good Inexpensive Wine
My husband loves wine. We were surprised to learn that bottles of wine which were 10, 20 even 30 dollars in the US and Canada were but a few euros in France. Yahooooo.
15- Expand Your Horizons
These are so many more reasons to visit Nice but one of my favourite reasons to travel and visit places like Nice is to not only see and explore new places but to expose and expand the horizons of my children. To often people think that once you have kids, you cannot enjoy travel or that it is too expensive.
If planned careully, a trip to Nice can be done affordable and on a budget.
If you are planning a trip to Nice,you could rent a house like we did for a month.
If you plan to stay less than take a look at venere.com which lets you search for B& B’s (bread and Breakfast). Often times B&B’s will be cheaper and more personalized than hotels. They also have a list of hotels you can book too.
You probably already know you are supposed to re-use your hotel towels, turn off the lights before leaving the room or request that your hotel linens not be changed everyday.
But did you know that you can do more to reduce your impact as you travel?
Become A Responsible Traveller
Today I want to introduce you to the concept of responsible travel. Honestly, I never considered this type of travel until recently but it makes perfect sense on so many levels.
Travelling responsibly means enjoying the best a region has to offer while at the same time minimizing your impact on the environment.
There are many ways you can travel responsibly, for example through conserving natural resources, supporting local cultures, buying locally-farmed produce, and making a positive impact on the places you visit.
Have You Heard Of Gozo? Sustainable Travel In Gozo
There’s a tiny island located just off the cost of Sicily that would be a great place for you to try out some responsible travelling.
It’s called Gozo.
Gozo is a the second largest island of the Maltese archipelago; a Southern European country smack dab in the centre of the Mediterranean and just 80 km (50 mi) south of Sicily.
What’s To Do And See In Gozo
For anyone considering sustainable Travel in Gozo and a Malta holiday, with operators such as Thomson or First Choice, it offers a lot of possibilities.
When you visit Gozo you will get a sense of being taken back in time.
WAAAAY BACK IN TIME.
It has a high concentration of churches, historic fortifications and megalithic temples to visit.
In fact one of the oldest free-standing structures on this earth are in Gozo.
To put this into perspective, these free standing structures in Gozo are thousands of years older than the oldest Pyramid. One of these ancient temples in Gozo is called Ġgantija.
It kind of blows my mind that these megalithic temples were built before metal tools were invented and even before the modern wheel.
This little island has been spared from over development and the traditional way of life has been largely preserved. Buildings and houses in Gozo are mainly constructed with natural materials, as opposed to many of the concrete and modern materials used to construct homes on the mainland.
There are also many beautiful ports, scenic cliffs, and a fascinating local history, all of which almost compel you to contribute to the sustainability of the region.
Be sure to check out the fascinating port of Mgarr, which almost eclipses Fort Chambray, and the beautiful national shrine of Ta’ Pinu, both of which can be reached by foot or cycling. Both are perfect for seeing the best of this Maltese island.
How To See Gozo
You can choose to hire a guided tour around the island or get a good map and explore the area yourself at your own pace.
Walk & Cycle: Two Low Impact Activities On The Environment
One of the best ways to see the island is by walking or renting a bike from one of the local operators. This is an extremely low impact activity. Plus when you walk or ride a bike vs. drive, you get a chance to interact with the local community and enjoy a more authentic taste of the land and its people.
You also have the option of taking the local bus service to see some of the sites, particularly if you wish to visit Ramla Bay or the vibrant capital of Victoria.
Sustainable tourism means having as little impact on the environment as possible.
Here are a few pieces of advice can to making your visit as low profile as possible.
Consider not over-packing,
Manage your water intake
Recycle any packaging you bring with you
Buy local produce wherever possible, (supports the regions economy and ensures it can continue to provide goods and services for future generations.)
If you really want to be a good green responsible tourist and practice sustainable travel, take the time to plan your stay and you’ll find Gozo a charming destination whose inhabitants will do everything possible to make your stay as pleasurable and environmentally sound as possible.
What do you think of sustainable travel? Is it a new concept to you? Have you practised responsible travel in the past and will you try to include it in your future travel plans?