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5 Offbeat Attractions to Discover in Paris

Everyone has heard of the Eiffel Tower or Notre-Dame Cathedral, and Paris has its fair share of famous attractions, but like all big cities, the City of Love hides a number of unusual places that are often overlooked by tour guides. If you’re willing to discover the offbeat side of Paris travel, these five attractions are not to be missed.

The Narrowest House in Paris

Photo by hermenpaca

Located in Paris’ Latin Quarter, on rue St. Severin, the narrowest building in the city, and one of the narrowest in the world, is just over 1 meter wide and about 10 meters high. Most likely constructed to fill in the gap between the neighboring buildings, this strange house is also known as the residence of Abbe Prevost, the famous French novelist. But don’t be alarmed, hotels in Paris are usually a bit more roomy than this.

La Pagode

Chinese pagoda
One of the strangest things you could imagine existing in the center of Paris is a Japanese style pagoda. Nestled on a quiet street, in an area dominated by Haussmanian façades, La Pagode is considered an architectural oddity. Built, at the end of the 19th century, by the owner of Bon March department store, as a gift for his wife, La Pagode was initially used as a stylish ballroom. But after the divorce of its owners, it turned into a 400 seat movie house. If you’re a fan of independent films, you mustn’t pass up the opportunity to view one, in the most original theater in Paris.

Dermatology Museum

Photo by daquellamanera

One of the creepiest displays in Paris, can be found inside the Dermatology Museum of Saint-Louis Hospital. This unusual attraction consists of a massive collection of plaster casts, depicting various skin diseases. There are literally thousands of casts, each with its very own history, and some dating back to the middle of the 19th century. The Dermatology Museum might sound like the kind of place only doctors would be interested in, but it’s actually very educational for the average tourist.

La Madeleine Toilets
Paris Public toilet - wow... so grand! better than some of the hotel toilet!!!.
I know it seems a bit weird placing toilets in the list of Paris attractions, especially when there are so many other interesting things to see here, but the public toilets of La Madeleine have often been called the cheapest tourist attractions, in Paris. Established in 1905, the stylish toilets of La Madeleine are considered minor works of art, in Art Nouveau style. Wooden doors, fine porcelain and separate washing basins make these toilets better than the restrooms you can find in most Paris hotels.

Chapel of the Daughters of Charity

Photo by Andre Leroux

Definitely not as impressive looking as other sacred destinations in Paris, like Notre Dame Cathedral, or Sacre Coeur, the Chapel of the Daughters of Charity is known as the final resting place of Catherine Labouré.  Instructed, by the apparition of a young child, to join the monastery, Catherine reported three apparitions of the Virgin Mary, in the year 1830. During one of these apparitions she was shown a design that would later be known as the “Miraculous Medal”. She was instructed to create the model, and whoever wore it, and prayed confidently, would receive holy grace. During the cholera epidemic that broke out in the following years, many miraculous recoveries were attributed to the power of the 2,000 replicas of the “Miraculous Medals”. Believers come to the Chapel of the Daughters of Grace, from all over the world, and it’s estimated billions of medals have been created, so far.

When Catherine’s body was exhumed, in 1933, it was perfectly preserved, and is now on display, inside the chapel.

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