Paris is the ultimate tourist destination in Europe, and perhaps even in the world. Cast your mind back to the time when painters, artists and other famous figures were creating the delights of literature, cinema and music in the era of “La vie boheme” (Bohemian life). Even though it is clear that we have come a long way since then, Paris seems to have conserved its charm which makes it unique and special, drawing attention from Hollywood and tourist companies.
Apart from that, it’s simple: Paris is glamorous and will rarely let you down. However, the sheer number of people out on the streets and in the typical tourist attractions can leave you feeling indifferent, like you have wasted your time. To stop yourself from getting overwhelmed by the number of sites to see and things to do in the City of Light, here are some suggestions with the sights that you should NOT bother visiting in Paris:
Going up to the third floor of the Eiffel Tower
If you want to save yourself from long, unnecessary queues and angry tourists, settle for the second floor when you visit the famous Eiffel Tower. There are many reasons for this: the third floor is very high up and small; when there is a long queue, you simply cannot enjoy the views which can be very irritating. Also, it will cost you twice as much. However, the second floor is much more accessible. Whilst for the third floor can only be reached by a lift, which you pay extra for, the second floor can be reached by stairs. It is a hard climb on the way up, but much more rewarding. You get a great view of Paris whilst you climb, and what’s more it’s cheaper. In addition, the tourists that go for this option tend to be younger, which will help to keep you from getting frustrated as you climb.
Like everything that I am telling you in this article, this is very biased. The visit to the Saint Chapelle is usually impressive at midday as the sun shines through the stained glass windows. However, apart from this, there is nothing else to see, and you often leave feeling a bit disappointed (especially if you have had to queue for more than an hour to get in, which is usually the case). It is one of the most boring tourist attractions, and really, worth missing.
Do you have little time in Paris? Are you travelling without family and children? Is this your first time in Paris? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, don’t waste time going to Disneyland – another one of the places in Paris that isn’t really worth the time if you don’t have a lot of it. The park is fantastic, and of course it is a great place to visit even if you’re not a child yourself. But taking into account how expensive it is, the time you would need to go there, the number of tourists packed in and the fact that it is only a theme park… Go there on another trip! It is better to see Paris properly and skip Disneyland, than visit the city half-heartedly. Also, the best way to enjoy Disneyland Paris is to go for several days, given that the size of the parks (there are two, as well as a village), mean that you need more than 12 hours to really enjoy the park. And the people in it!
The “Love Lock” bridge
Yes, we know that if you’re a fan of teen romantic fiction this will be a compulsory stop, but you will be disappointed to know that the famous bridge full of padlocks has been boarded up with wood more than once, and many of its padlocks have been removed by the council, as the weight of the padlocks was too much for the bridge to hold. It will take you a while to find it, and it’s likely that half of the padlocks you were hoping to see won’t even be there. One of the most overrated places in Paris!
The Pompidou Centre
If you can only pick two of the art museums and galleries that there are in Paris, the most attractive ones are the Louvre and the Orsay. The Pompidou centre is home to a series of contemporary collections that usually don’t interest tourists as much as the work in the other two galleries. Therefore, if you want to spend your time seeing really impressive things, forget Pompidou.
The square with the Bastille is to Paris what Cibeles is to Madrid, if the famous fountain wasn’t there. That is to say: it is the epicentre of where the city’s night buses depart from. This square, apart from being the meeting point for young people before they go on their nights out, has nothing for tourists. Despite being the monument that commemorates the capture of the square during the French Revolution, there is nothing else worth seeing here. If you don’t have the time or desire to see it, it is one of the places in Paris that you can skip!
The wall of love
You have probably never heard of it, but if you have, don’t waste time going to see it. It’s simply a section of wall in a square that has the word “Love” printed over it, in many different languages such as “Amor”, “Amour” etc.
Jardin des plantes
The botanical garden in Paris, “Jardin des plantes”, is one of the most unnecessary tourist attractions in the city. You won’t see anything that catches your eye, you have to pay extra for the zoo, which is aimed at children, and the “labyrinths” that seem interesting on the map are closed for refurbishment, and have been for years. It is one of the places in Paris that you can miss.
Climbing to the dome of the Sacré-Coeur
The most famous Basilica in France boasts incredible views at dusk, so that you can see the beautiful town of painters, artists, and obviously, tourists. Everything to do in Montmarte will be based around this lively Parisian site, but avoid climbing to the dome of the Basilica. The views won’t rival those you will get from the Eiffel Tower and therefore it is places in Paris that you can skip.
Visit every part of the Louvre
Unless you are a brainy emeritus, a culture-lover or going to carry out work on the Louvre visiting the whole museum is a crazy idea. There are hundreds of corridors, wings and zones; including items from cultures from all over, and to see it properly you would need more than 5 hours! Have I persuaded you?
Doing the “Da Vinci Code” tour
If you are a lover or a fan of this book/film, you might enjoy it; but the truth is that even the most knowledgeable historians are usually disappointed with the tourist-orientated tour of “Dan Brown’s Paris”. You end up finishing the tour with the impression that even the author himself didn’t know the area he was writing about, given that the streets in real life are not how they are described in his book.
These are our recommendations. Even if you leave out the sites we mentioned, you will still have soooo much to discover in Paris! Sign up for our Gothic Art tour and enjoy this incredible city.
Let yourself fall in love with Paris and miss the places in Paris that aren’t really worth !
Translated by Emily Howell