parisAh, Paris.  The City of Light – considered by many to be the most beautiful city in the world.  There are two kinds of people in the world: those who have been to Paris, and those that dream about going there.

If you find yourself lucky enough to have a vacation in the French capital scheduled, you surely have a veritable laundry list of things you want to do and see.  Of course, you’ll want to make your way to the Eiffel Tower (start calling it Tour Eiffel to blend in with the locals), the Arc de Triomphe, the Cathedral at Notre Dame, and the Louvre.  Along the way, you’ll surely pay a visit to Champs Elysees to take in the sights and do some shopping.  Quick pro tip on the shopping: you can find a lot of those same famous designer brands at, with substantial discounts.  No one needs to know you didn’t actually get it in Paris.

If you have enough time in Paris, or you’re just the kind of person who likes to avoid crowds and find your own hidden gems, there are scores of places worth visiting that aren’t on the first page of travel guides.  While they aren’t as world-famous, you might just leave Paris considering one of these two spots to be your favorite part of your vacation.

Seine River

Jardin Luxembourg

South of the Seine River, on the Left Bank, sits one of the largest public parks in Paris, the Jardin Luxembourg.  The garden is a magical place to witness in person – as far as the eye can see, flowers, fountains and trees cover the horizon.  Like most things in Paris, there is no cost to enter; the only barrier to your visit is the fact that the park closes at dusk.

Hundreds of green metal chairs rest around the central portion of the park, inviting you to put down your bags and rest for a while.  A giant fountain in the heart of the park sees children play with their sailboats as they criss-cross the water.  You can spend hours in the garden and not want to leave.

Canal St. Martin

Originally constructed by Napoleon as a method to bring fresh water into Paris, the Canal St. Martin sits in the northeast corner of Paris, stretching the length from the edge of the city to the center.  While the portions of the canal near the center, emptying into the Seine, are underground, from the Republique area to the edge of Paris, the Canal is a quaint, hundred-foot wide waterway.

Beautiful iron pedestrian bridges cross the Canal at various points, and a host of trendy and cozy cafes and restaurants have cropped up on the banks of the Canal over the years.  One of the best ways to enjoy the Canal is to pick up some wine and snacks at a nearby market, pack yourself a little picnic, and go find a nice open spot along its length to set up camp and linger for a while.

Although it’s hard to go wrong when planning your Paris adventure, try to include one of these two beauties in your itinerary.  They might not be the most famous attractions in the city, but you just might find they will be your favorite!