Paris is always a good idea! Especially when your trip to the City of Lights takes you beyond its most iconic sights so you can experience a truly unique side to the French capital. We’re all aware of the city’s famed Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Louvre but did you know, that there’s a whole range of other fascinating sights waiting to be explored on the capital’s doorstep? Get under the skin of Paris, its past and its present, with these top tips for uncovering a different perspective of France; its catacombs, castles and coastline.
The Empire of the Dead at Paris Catacombs
Beneath the sun-soaked streets and idyllic architecture, there is another side to Paris. Buried 65 feet below street level is the hidden city of Paris with a population of 6 million … skeletons! Stretching across an area of 200 miles, the Paris catacombs are as magnificent as they are menacing. These somber tunnels and quarries for the dead have been around since the late eighteenth century. At the time a plague spread throughout the city of Paris, wiping out the population and filling the city’s cemeteries. To contain the disease, a decision was made to transfer these disease-ridden corpses underground. City officials chose the underground quarries of Montrouge to lay their dead and thus the Paris Catacombs came to be.
Whether you’re a history buff, a thrill-seeker or simply looking for an alternative viewpoint of one for the world’s most popular cities than this tour is for you. A truly captivating experience that will leave you curiously both terrified and hungry for more. Skip the line and uncovering the secrets of this harrowing sight with commentary for your expert guide on our bestselling tour of Paris catacombs.
Exclusive VIP Access at Versailles
Born to be royal? A day in the life of French royalty at the Palace of Versailles is a must on your vacation to Paris. Uncover the scandal, intrigue and splendor of France’s controversial monarchs through time as you marvel in the opulence of this palace on a day trip from Paris.
Events that took place inside these palace walls have shaped the course of history and created the nations and societies we live in today!
Over 5 million people visit the Palace of Versailles every year but many of them aren’t aware that the palace is divided into public and private areas. While the masses flock to explore the palace’s public sections, only the select few can walk in the footsteps of the palace’s inner court as they meander through secret passageways to uncover the King’s private quarters.
Traveling through the King’s private apartments offers a whole new perspective into the personal lives of Queen Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI of France. Among the most fascinating sights to behold, in the palace’s restricted section, is Marie Antoinette’s bathroom. Upon entering this most coveted space, guests are bewildered to see a bed in the bathroom. Physicians at the time believed bathing weakened the body and the Queen would be required to lie down after taking a bath. Rewarding yourself with a nap after you take a bath, now that’s something we can get on board with!
Accessing the King’s private quarters is restricted to select tour groups only. Treat yourself to a truly unique tour of this truly unique palace with VIP access on our Versailles Palace and King’s Private Apartments tour.
The Magical Mont-Saint Michel
You would be forgiven for mistaking this French island as the film set of Hogwarts. Although this isn’t the fictitious school of witchcraft and wizardry that Harry, Ron and Hermione call home, its own tale is equally as magical. Dubbed the Wonder of the Western World, Mont-Saint Michel rises dramatically from the sea in France’s Normandy region. It is a medieval town, religious site and island all in one! To be precise, Mont-Saint Michel is a tidal island, meaning that it becomes an island during high-tide, with only a bridge connecting it to land. On low tide, however, pilgrims and tourists can access this mesmerizing mount by foot, traveling across the region’s golden sands.
Today, Mont Saint-Michel is one of France’s most cherished tourist attractions, welcoming approximately 2.5 million visitors every year. And it’s easy to see why! With a population of just fifty people, this village is as charming and quaint as you would imagine. Ancient walls surround the base of the hilltop town, shielding it from the sea’s crashing waves and an ancient religious abbey crowns its top.
But don’t be fooled by the islets charming and quiet demeanor, a colorful past of miracles and secrets fill its walls. Originally named Mont-Tombe, Christians believe the Archangel Michel appeared to the Bishop of Avranches here, and a small church was built in his honor in 709. Despite the religious significance of the island, the abbey was used as a prison for rebels of the French Revolution in the eighteenth Century. Today, the mount offers visitors the opportunity to explore a traditional French medieval village, so idyllic it feels like you’re stepping into a real life fairy-tale.
If you’re planning on visiting France on your next vacation, we seriously recommend adding this UNESCO-listed site to your itinerary. With comfortable round-trip transportation and commentary from your expert guide, take the hassle out of your visit to Mont-Saint Michel with City Wonders.
Whether it’s unique experiences, alternative viewpoints or world-famous wonders you’re looking for on your next trip to Paris get off the beaten track and discover a completing different side to the French capital with our range of top-rated Paris tours.