PARIS’ HIDDEN GEMS, PART 1
Paris is the most-visited destination in the world, and is known for the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Champs Elysées. But there is more to the City of Lights, and with a little sweet-talking, we managed to pry these three hidden gems from local insiders.
1- Coulée verte René-Dumont, 12th arr.
In 1993, sixteen years before the first section of New York’s High Line opened, Paris inaugurated the first elevated park built from retired train tracks in the 12th arrondissement. Also known as the Promenade plantée (tree-lined walkway in French), it is a beautiful place for a walk on a sunny afternoon, or a stroll at night with the lights of Paris showing the way. It begins behind the Opéra Bastille and runs above Avenue Daumesnil to the Jardin de Reuilly. A section of the park runs on the Viaduc des Arts, above a number of art galleries and boutiques.
Hours: Varies by season… Mon-Fri 8 AM-5:30 PM in the winter or 9:30 PM in the summer, and Sat and Sun 9 AM-5:30 PM in the winter or 9:30 PM in the summer
Nearest Metro: Ledru-Rollin
2- Folies Bergère, 9th arr.
Visit the Folies Bergère to catch a glimpse of Paris’ past. While less well-known than the Moulin Rouge (and the related, eponymous film), this cabaret has been continually operating since it opened in 1872, and was both the hub of France’s Belle Époque (1880s-World War I), and inspiration for New York’s Ziegfeld Follies. Esteemed performers such as Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, and French national chanteuse Edith Piaf all played the venue. The acts vary greatly, from striptease and acrobatics to musical theatre-style song and dance numbers.
Hours: Varies by performance
Nearest Metro: Cadet; Bonne Nouvelle
3- Théâtre de la Huchette, 6th arr.
Only seating 85 patrons each night, this historic venue has hosted the same production since 1957, a double bill of Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist plays The Bald Soprano and The Lesson. An additional third play is also presented in rotation on some nights, at the theatre’s discretion. The performance lasts two hours starting at 7:00 PM, between Tuesday and Saturday each week. It is one of the longest-running non-American productions in the world. Please note that the performances are given in French, with English subtitles available on Wednesday nights. Tickets may be purchased online or in-person.
Hours: The box office is open Mon 1:30-7:00 PM, from Tues-Fri 4:00-10:30 PM, and Sat 2:30-10:30 PM (closed Sun)
Nearest Metro: Saint-Michel – Notre-Dame; Cluny – La Sorbonne