We’ve spoken a lot about cruises and resorts on this site, but we haven’t mentioned the wonderful journeys you can take by train. And if you are visiting Europe, the train is the perfect way to travel. But France, in particular, is popular for train transportation, as Rail Europe visits Marseille, Bordeaux, Caen, Lourdes, Lyon, Aix-en-Provence, Nice, Strasbourg and Avignon. The central point or the starting point of all these day trips is Paris, so that is the city we will focus on here.
When you hear the word Paris, your mind conjures up many ideas such as high fashion, gourmet food, lovely pastries, aged wine, romance, old movies, quaint sidewalk cafés, famous painters, museums and lots of historical landmarks. Within the city, you can still get around by train or bus, as most Parisians do daily. The RER (Réseau Express Régional) or in English (Regional Express Network) is very convenient for getting to all the points of interest. Purchase a Paris Visite from Rail Europe and it will save you time and money.
As you’ve already guessed, this article is about a trip to Paris where you’ll visit the beautiful city and engross yourself in everything its culture, past and present, has to offer. But, we’re taking a bit of a different approach here. These four tours may seem macabre or even creepy, but they are super for learning the history of this rich city and have great significance.
#1 Catacombs of Paris
In case you weren’t sure, an ossuary is a respectful place where the bones of dead people are kept. It is their final resting place, much like burying bodies in the ground. Thus, the catacombs is a place where millions of bones have been laid. The tour itself lasts about forty-five minutes, is accessed by hundreds of steep stairs, and is approximately two kilometers long. Of course, the catacombs are much larger than what you see in the tour. Plus, they are blessed and considered sacred. Because the cemeteries were being closed in the 1700s through to the middle of the 1800s, people started to place their family members’ remains underneath the city where the stone quarry used to be.
#2 Sewers of Paris
I’ve only ever seen these tours on television programs, but thought I would love to visit. The sewers are very old and show how modern Paris was early as 1180 when the project of building the original underground tunnels began. The tours have evolved from sitting in wooden boats, carriages and even a small train, today, you can walk and see how things were. And if you would like to visit the engineering part of the sewers, then the Paris Sewers Museum will provide you with lots of information and actual viewing of how things work.
#3 Marie Antoinette’s Prison Cell
Before the Queen was beheaded by guillotine at the Place de la Concorde, she spent time in La Conciergerie, which is now a tourist attraction. The medieval prison depicts the cell in which she was kept and even has an outline of a figure representing Marie. If you must know what a guillotine blade looks like, they have one displayed on the wall from the 1800s with a plaque explaining its historical importance. But nowadays, the prison is worth the visit for its architectural prowess, too.
#4 Le Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques
This is a very unique cemetery, as it is specifically for dogs and other pets. It is not for humans. It was established in 1899 and has the most amazing monuments. For those of you that have heard of Rin Tin Tin, the famous dog in the movies, he is buried in this cemetery. From the photos that I have seen, you can clearly see how much individuals love their pets. Truly, everything about this cemetery is absolutely beautiful.
We don’t need to stop at four garish places to visit. Here’s twelve odd things to see in Paris.