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Hidden gems in city of lights

February 26, 2015

Paris, the city of love, can fulfill all of your romantic dreams. You can hold your significant other’s hand and walk along the Champ de Mars, looking at the glittering Eiffel Tower. Or you can walk along the Champs-Elysées and stand starry-eyed at all of the luxury stores and idiosyncratic cafés. If you ever find yourself in Paris, be sure to visit all of the main attractions, including visits to the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay. If you’re looking to make your trip more special, check out these lesser known attractions.

L’éspace de Dali: After visiting the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, visit Espace Dali to find an exhibition solely dedicated to Salvador Dali. Here you will be plunged into a room of surrealist art, learning about the creative process that Dali went through to produce some of his most famous sculptures and engravings. Around the Espace Dali, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants with live piano music, giving the area a distinctly pleasant personality. The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets, with an NYUCard, are 6.50 euro.

Hôtels Particulieres: If you have a taste for French history and the origins of the ancien regime, take a train to the Marais, a neighborhood in the third and fourth arrondissements of Paris. These “Hôtels Particulieres” are sprinkled all around the neighborhood, and used to be the mansions where the members of the high clergy and nobility would isolate themselves from the turmoil plaguing Paris in the 18th century. Now many of them serve as historical sites where museums and gardens are located. Hôtel de Sully, located at 62 Rue Saint-Antoine, is particularly pretty and quiet. Once you enter, you will find intricate, Grecian-inspired statues and then, as you keep walking, you will come upon an expansive garden with places to sit and bask in the Parisian sun — that is, if you are lucky enough to be in Paris on a sunny day.

La Cave des Abbesses: The wine in Paris is just as good as you think, so why not head over to a wine cellar and talk about the most recent art exhibition you just saw and what underground bar you plan on going out to that night all while enjoying a cheese platter and red wine — just like all real Parisians do. The wallpaper may be yellow and peeling off but it is a great place to travel back a century. Located at 43 Rue des Abbesses, La Cave des Abbesses is the place to get your Parisian wine fix.

Comptoir Général: If you are one for chill, tropical parties with African decorations and fake palm trees, head over to Comptoir Général, located on 80 Quai de Jemmapes. Drink prices are average, ranging from seven euro beers to 11 euro cocktails. In keeping with the vibe, Comptoir Général only offers mixed drinks with rum and only plays tropical house music. Get there early, otherwise the line will be long.

Espit Chupitos: Located on the popular Rue de Oberkampf, the go-to night scene for Parisian youth, Espit Chupitos offers over 300 different types of three-euro shots. The small bar is always pumping with loud house and dance music as French youth take a wide variety of shots, some containing fire, slime green liquid, straws and dildos. It can get old, so go there for a quick and cheap pregame.

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