Monday, January 26, 2009

Top Ten Hidden Travel Wonders of Paris - Part 2

This is part two of a three part series featuring some of Paris's treasures which are not necessarily as well known. Part One reveals the first three hidden travel wonders.

Jean-sans-Peur Tower (2nd arr)

Built in 1409, this fortified tower provided protection for John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy after ordering the assassination of the king’s brother. The climb of 140 medieval winding stone stairs wanders past an old kitchen, the Duke’s living quarters, some interesting sculptures and the oldest toilets in Paris. While on Paris’s oldest buildings, it is only a short distance to the oldest house (only the façade remains), owned by alchemist, Nicolas Flamel (lead photo). Now a restaurant, this place has had a resurgence of interest as Flamel is featured in the first Harry Potter book as an alchemist’s assistant.

Dog Cemetery

In the north-west Parisian suburb of Clichy is what is believed to be the first pet cemetery in the world, built over 100 years ago. The Paris population’s renowned love for their canine friends is highlighted with ornate and detailed epitaphs of various pets including the famous Rin Tin Tin. Despite its name, the cemetery also includes other beloved pets including cats, goldfish and even a lion. It makes for an unusual couple of hours with the inscriptions revealing that some of these passed pampered pooches truly were man’s best friend.

Musée Marmottan

If not yet suffering from over-exposure to impressionist art, this museum in the west of Paris near the forested parklands of Bois de Boulogne has the world’s largest collection of Monet along with a handful of Renoirs, Degas and others. Primarily resulting from the donation of numerous paintings by Monet’s son in 1966, the most significant painting is that of Impression, Sunrise which gave the whole movement its name. Also included are several examples of Monet’s famous series including waterlilies, Rouen Cathedrals, Japanese Bridges and London scenes - many painted in his famous garden at Giverny.

See the final installment of Paris' top ten hidden travel wonders.


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