The Paris Challenge: 100 places to discover in Paris

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I’ve been working hard in feeding this website over the past five years. There has been a lot of posts published on various parts of France. Having roamed across Paris‘ twenty arrondissements for two years, I sense that something has to be done to help people discover the French capital in a new way. This is the purpose for my first ever Paris Challenge!


Discovering Paris in two years

As you probably know my wife and I moved to the Paris region in 2014 from Sydney, Australia. Paris has become my new playground. Once a week I enjoy visiting Paris, often with my baby-girl Aimée. I’m having fun taking photos of various parts of Paris while pushing Aimée’s stroller.

Over the past two years I’ve been in the most amazing places, not just under the Eiffel Tower or in front of Notre-Dame cathedral. I’ve learned how to see Paris in a new way. From the rural-looking streets of the 13th arrondissement to the little-known corners of Montmartre. From the lavish interior of the Hotel de Soubise to the top of the Vincennes Castle.

The Paris Challenge: La Campagne à Paris © French Moments

A peaceful street in La Campagne à Paris © French Moments


Small details that have a story to tell

All my life I will remember the advice of a great photographer I met in Germany. I was a kid at the time and she taught me to look up (or down!) for the small details. Seeing the façade of Notre-Dame as a whole is a fantastic thing to do on your first visit to Paris. But as you get more familiar with the edifice, your eyes look up for small details like little treasures: a gargoyle, a chimera, a Saint statue. When these details have a story to tell, the magic takes place!

The Paris Challenge : Chimera of Notre-Dame © French Moments

The chimera of Notre-Dame © French Moments


Planning is essential

On the night before a visit to Paris, I carefully plan my walks with the help of books and websites. The next morning I jump on board the RER A to emerge 20 minutes later on street level in central Paris. I’ve discovered many places I didn’t know they ever existed. And this was all the excitement I was ever going to get from walking across Paris.


What to do with 50,000 photos of Paris?

statue of Napoleon Les Invalides

Statue of Napoleon at Les Invalides, Paris © French Moments

There are more than 50,000 pictures of Paris and surroundings in my photo-library (yep I took them all, I’m a crazy dude!). My big question was: how am I going to use them to help people on their stay in Paris? What kind of ressources could I create for this purpose?

The answer came unexpectedly as I was guiding an Australian couple across the streets in the 16th arrondissement. My friends enjoyed very much my ‘secret Paris’ facts and confided to me: “It’s awesome to see something else than the famous monuments of Paris. Everyone knows the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame. But we are very interested in finding out more about off-beat Paris.


Experience Paris in a new way

Then, more and more visitors told me the exact same thing. They wanted to experience Paris personally with facts that most tourists won’t get the chance to hear. Some people want to go ‘the extra mile’ and are not satisfied with a classic tour of Paris. I was convinced. There was something to be done. I could work on providing something helpful to them. I sat down at the table and started to write down a plan. I needed a challenge, a crazy one. A few moments later, I got it: The Paris Challenge!


The Paris Challenge

So here it is (drum roll please!). My one-year Paris Challenge is to publish 100 off-beat and secret facts about the French capital and its surroundings. My deadline is set for the end of December 2017. Hopefully I’ll have covered some very fun and interesting Paris facts and sites by then. My goal is to show you the places I’ve visited for the past two years. Not just a copy-pasted text and photo from another website or book. Real discoveries that indicate I’ve been there to check on them!

The Paris Challenge by French Moments

The Paris Challenge by French Moments

This Paris challenge will definitely make use of the numerous photos I took on my walks in Paris. They will provide great visual content to the posts. This journey will certainly be time-consuming. At the moment I have a permanent position requiring 30 hours of teaching per week. I’m also launching a new travel blog in French. But I’m up for it and you’ll find me very motivated!

If you’d like to encourage me on this Paris challenge journey, please do so by commenting below or send me a message. I’m very much looking forward to help you discover Paris in a new way. You’ll find the new posts referenced under Secret and Offbeat Paris. Stay tuned and merci beaucoup !

The Paris Challenge: Place des Vosges, Paris © French Moments

Saturday morning at the Place des Vosges, Paris © French Moments


Challenge progress

  1. Rue Berton (16th arrt)
  2. Rue des Cascades (20th arrt)
  3. Passage Boudin (20th arrt)
  4. Church of Notre-Dame de la Compassion (17th arrt)
  5. Statue of Liberty hidden in Paris (6th arrt)
  6. Guard stones in Paris
  7. Horse Meat Butcher Shops in Paris
  8. Public Clocks of Paris
  9. Statue of Montaigne (5th arrt)
  10. Place Saint-Georges (9th arrt)
  11. Rue des Rosiers (4th arrt)
  12. Art Nouveau cupola of the Galeries Lafayette (9th arrt)
  13. Canal Saint-Martin (10th and 11th arrts)
  14. Garden of the Petit-Palais (8th arrt)
  15. Place de Valois (1st arrt)
  16. Castel Béranger (16th arrt)
  17. Porte Saint-Denis (10th arrt)
  18. Porte Saint-Martin (10th arrt)
  19. Fontaine des Quatre-Saisons (7th arrt)
  20. Abbesses métro station (18th arrt)
  21. Last Fire Warning Device in Paris (4th arrt)
  22. Sections of the Berlin Wall in Paris (15th, 16th arrt & La Défense)
  23. Top 10 spots where to shoot the best views of the Eiffel Tower
  24. Rue Crémieux (12th arrt)
  25. The last boot scrapers in Paris
  26. The Refrigerator’s ancestor in Paris (rue de Poissy, 5th arrt)
  27. The Empêche-pipi: how to prevent wild peeing in Paris
  28. The last vespasienne in Paris (13th arrt)
  29. Impasse de la Santé: Paris’ last dirt track (13th arrt)
  30. The suspended iron bar in rue Rataud (5th arrt) 
  31. Breton Lighthouse in Paris (15th arrt)
  32. Paris Door Knockers and Handles
  33. Texas Embassy in Paris (1st arrt)
  34. Cour du Commerce Saint-André (6th arrt)
  35. Cité Florale (13th arrt)
  36. Rue des Thermopyles and Cité Bauer (14th arrt)
  37. Cité des Fleurs (17th arrt)
  38. Rue Fortuny (17th arrt)
  39. Swedish Church of Paris (17th arrt)
  40. Paris by night tour
  41. Square Jean-XXIII (4th arrt)
  42. Élysée Palace (8th arrt)
  43. Montparnasse Cemetery (14th arrt)
  44. Statue of Napoleon at Les Invalides (7th arrt)
  45. The Relief Map museum at Les Invalides (7th arrt)
  46. Palais Bourbon (7th arrt)
  47. Montmartre Cemetery (18th arrt)
  48. Sentier des Merisiers, Paris’ narrowest street (12th arrt)
  49. Ivry Windmill (Moulin de la Tour, Ivry-sur-Seine)

51 more to go!  🙂

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    About Author

    Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations and a degree of Economics and Management.

    3 Comments

    1. Pierre, great post and I look forward to your Paris challenge.

      I’m not sure but think you lived in Mosman (?) which I did as well … adored Sydney and love Paris too 🙂

      Cheers and good luck!

      • Thank you so much Carolyn for your kind words! Yes I lived in Mosman and had a French language centre there once. Small world! My wife and I LOVE Sydney and we miss all the good time over coffee there… Love reading your site too! A bientôt et bonne journée !

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