Paris has a reputation of being one of the top metropolitan cities in the world. However, there are several lesser-known places in the city, which preserve the essence of its elusive past. You can visit these places to travel back in time, to feel the winds of the past, and navigate to a bygone era. Below are some of the best locations in Paris that carry the remains from the past.
Among the places that carry ruins from the past, Paris’ catacombs certainly rank the highest. This is a 200 mile-long network of quarries spread around the city. Towards the end of the 18th Century, the cemeteries in Paris were filled to capacity. Hence, the officials decided to move the human remains to the quarries underground. This led to the construction of the catacombs.
In 1874, a small portion of the catacombs was opened to the public. Today, you can visit these structures on your Paris city tours and see the millions of human skeletons that still lie in the Catacombs. Just remember that the place is usually crowded, so better arrive early if you want to avoid a painful wait.
The Petite Ceinture
The Petite Ceinture is an abandoned railway line that once encircled the whole perimeter of Paris city. The line is 32 kilometers long and was a part of several purposes throughout its lifetime.
Initially, the railway lines were constructed to serve the needs of the military forces. However, due to the financial restrains, the government was forced to convert it to a commercial railway line. It was only in 1869 that the network became a full circle around the French capital. The railway line has been out of use since 1924. Since then, several of them have been converted to restaurants and bars.
You can visit these places while exploring the outskirts of Paris. It will remind you of the old French days when you come across big ironwork bridges of the abandoned railway line. You can also catch several beautiful graffiti on the adjoining walls. So make sure to walk around these uncommon parts of the city to understand the true essence of Paris.
Arenes De Lutece
This place is yet another standing reminiscent of the Roman era. It was built in the first century AD and was one of the longest constructions by the Romans. It served as an amphitheater that could seat around 15,000 people. It was used for circus productions, theater, and gladiatorial combats.
After the invasions of 280 AD, the place was converted to a cemetery that was filled up by 1210. Later, after being unclear about the location of the place, it was rediscovered in the 1860’s. You can explore the place and see the spots where the elite class would be seated. It is certainly a delightful place for those who love history.
Thermes De Cluny
The Thermes De Cluny is the remaining structures from the Gallo-Roman era. It was originally used as thermal baths. The prehistoric remains are believed to have been constructed in the third century. However, only a third of the initial construction remains today.
There are many elements, which can excite the history enthusiasts. You can visit the Frigidarium room where the mosaics and paintings are still preserved. Visit the places to get a glimpse of some of the few remaining sites from the Roman era.
Crypt of Notre Dame
The Notre Dame Cathedral has a hidden crypt underneath its floor. This crypt was converted to a museum in 1980. It displays architectural remains of Paris, tracing all the way to the Gallo-Roman roots.
It is different from the rest of the Parisian archaeological sites, in a way that it showcases the changing phases of the city’s elaborate history. There are remains from the Gallo Roman period, then to the early centuries, through to the Middle Ages.
Finally, you can also get an insight into the rapid growth that Paris witnessed in the 18th and 19th centuries. Visitors can easily understand the history with the aid of the detailed visuals displayed here.
Goussainville Vieux Pays
Goussainville Vieux Pays is a town that has been relocated to the current day town of Goussainville. The city encountered a terrible accident back in 1973, which forced its inhabitants to move away. The town lied in the path of the Charles de Gaulle airport. An airplane crashed into the town, killing eight locals, crashing and destroying 15 houses and a school, and fatally injuring six crewmembers.
Today, the city lies in decay, with emptiness filling up the entire households. If you take a walk through the town, you can still spot the remains of the previous lives of its ex-inhabitants. A handful of people still live amongst the deserted streets. You can visit the place if you are fond of ruined places that remind you of some terrible loss and suffering.