No, you’re not seeing things. This is one of the many faces this building wears every few months. This place is literally off the wall. The 59 Rivoli opened its doors to squatting artists on November 1, 1999 after the building sat abandoned for fifteen years. Its new purpose was to create a place for artists to live and work as they pleased. With that came conflict with the French government. They made complaints and threatened to evict the artists that lived there, but the media and political allies helped keep this artists’ safe-haven afloat. Today it has 30 studios open to the public six days a week. They have as many as 4,000 visitors stop by per week for expos and other gatherings, and what’s stopping you from being among them? It’s within walking distance from the Louvre, making it the perfect counterculture answer to the gold standard.
In such an uneventful part of Paris, this unusual place definitely livens up the mood. What to expect: a bunch of antique, 19th century fairground paraphernalia organized in a very Parisian layout. Word of warning: It’s open to the public only between Christmas and New Years. Any other time you have to go with a tour guide. But don’t worry, the reason lies in having the full experience: actor-guides really add to the immersive escapade with scripted pantomimes and even operating some of these vintage rides for the visitors. It will really bring out the child in you.
ADDRESS: 53 Av. des Terroirs de France (12th arr.)
It’s not a spa, it’s not a beauty salon. There are spaces for relaxing and meditating but the real experience lies in their flotation cabins dedicated to disconnection and introspection (yeah…no idea what that means either). It is all Japanese-inspired, and the flotation device is there for you to tap into a completely different sensory adventure. For one hour, you can experience what it would be like to float around and feel weightless (no dieting required…woohoo!)
If you’re coming to Paris to try something a little different, learning how to make macarons from an atelier could be the way to go. Learn from a former pastry chef in his at-home bakery. Let’s not beat around the bush, though: macarons are known to be extremely difficult to perfect so if you do decide to undergo this adventure, you better bring your A‑game (he is known for not cutting slack to an-y-bo-dy.) Oh, and you leave with a bag full of macarons so, ‘A’ for effort either way, right?
Just embrace it, you know you want to. Whilst many people think that shaping a baked good into an intimate body part is crude, we think «Paris…you’ve done it again». They don’t call it the city of love for nothing. Paris can somehow turn taboo subjects into classy discussions and/or baked goods. La Quequetterie shows just that.
Google describes this place as a «tiny bakery with artisan baguettes, Breton pastry, croissants & sandwiches to go.» We can assure you that it’s a little bit more than that. Just like La Quequetterie, they also manage to turn phallic shaped goods into, well…baked goods. Here is your chance to experiment 😉 You know what? Since it’s right next to that other type bakery, why not just go all out and go to bed with two separate people…if you catch our jizz…(oh, we did it again.)
The obvious thing to do when you visit the Eiffel Tower is to go up it, not under it. However, this is one thing which doesn’t get mentioned enough in Paris Experience lists. Just feet away from the South pillar, there is a secret military bunker. It’s known as «secret» because it’s only open a few times during the week to small groups. However, if you ever have the chance to visit, do so: The bunker is full of Eiffel Tower history, myths and legends.
The Generali Paris Balloon is a tethered hot air balloon, meaning that you won’t drift away because it is attached to a cable, which is attached to the ground. Feeling safe, yet? Good. Now you can get some amazing 360 views of Paris in what is apparently the biggest ball in the world (La Quequetterie and LeGay Choc have some competition). If you’re not satisfied with your landscape photos from the Eiffel Tower, this giant ball may hold the answers.
Bet you’ve never realized that some of those oh-so-beautiful Parisian facades are fake. Deeply. Before you get mad because you feel «like you’ve been wronged», there is a good reason behind it: Would you rather see a fake facade with painted-on windows and railings, or an ugly ventilation system from the underground or electrical power stations? Now, it is true that some workers made the facades look more realistic and ‘blended’ with the classic Parisian architecture whilst others…did not. But, all in all, it’s a fun game to do if you’re bored and in Paris: Go see if you can spot some of these fake facades around the city.
One of the more famous ones is the « Specialists » fake storefront that popped up overnight in 2006 and leads to nobody whatsoever, specialist or not. It’s in the Marais, and the architecture conforms to Paris city spécifications, so it was left alone.
At a whopping 1.1 meter in width and 5 meters in height, this house is known as the smallest building in Paris. It is so small that most people don’t even notice it when walking by (it actually just looks like a wall which is covering an otherwise useful passageway between two bigger buildings). History tells us that this house was actually birthed by a feud between neighbors. To settle the dispute on who owned that sliver of road, they decided to have no winners or losers and built a completely separate «building» covering the area which they were fighting over. Eventually, it was finally recognized as a building and given an official address.
Ah, that erotic-chic vibe Paris has gotten so good at portraying. This place won’t disappoint. With a restaurant, bar and club sharing real estate in tandem, it’s a show all in one. If we could only pick a few words to describe it, they are: dim, sensual, boudoir, velvet, feathers and panache. Eat your food. Get a blow out (by this we mean there’s a hairdresser ready to style your hair for the night…so get your head out of the gutter), buy some naughty accessories and party to disco music. The experience is sensual, but never vulgar. That’s Paris for you.
Rocky Horror Picture Show, as per usual. But in Paris? This rock and roll musical classic has taken over the world’s theaters. This particular studio has been broadcasting the show every week since 1978…That’s a lot of cult film. It is actually the first cinema in the world to have showcased the film with no interruption. On Friday and Saturday every week, you can watch the classic movie with a shadow cast and animated sessions (you can even throw rice and water to the volunteers who recreate the movie right before your eyes).
Founded in 1831, this outlandish taxidermy shop is a Paris institution. Why go see reenactments in natural history museums when you can go see the same thing, in a smaller, comfortable setting, without the screaming children and pricey entry tickets? Go see this gem of a shop for yourself and prepare to be in awe.
The most stunning Art Nouveau building in Paris also boasts a hidden dick. The Dick Door of Paris, just in the shadows of La Tour Eiffel is definitely worth the detour. Is that intricate carving a bird? Is it a plane? Is it an insect? If children are present, no problem: We simply are trying to keep them architecturally educated. This is a million times better than our world of Brazilian butt lifts and McDonald’s dollar menu meals, right?