Ep. 20: The ten best secrets of Paris (according to tour guides)

For our 20th show, we forced tour guides to share their top secrets from Paris. And it wasn’t easy. Listen to the episode by clicking “play” below.

And here’s a link with info about how you can subscribe for future episodes.

Here’s an overview of what we talked about.

1. The restaurant from Inglourious Basterds

It’s called Le Bistro de Renaissance and you can find it at 112 rue Championet in the 18th arrondissement.

Here’s the cafe as it looks in the film:

Here’s what it looks like today:

bistro

And here’s how you can find Set in Paris tours, who recommended this bistro.

2. The “skin disease museum”

Yes, the Musee de Moulage is “a collection of hundreds of wax molds of skin diseases and much more”, say the team at Gay Locals.

It certainly sounds like the most unique museum in Paris, and entirely unappetizing.

Perhaps ironically, the “trailer” for the museum has the same music as the opening credits for the Netflix cooking hit Chef’s Table, so listen for the music if not the skin diseases (below).

And as the tour guides said, this museum is in need of repair so consider your entry fee like a donation to keep it alive.

And here’s how you can find the Gay Locals tours.

3. The most hidden courtyard in Paris

Use the code word (well, ask nicely) and they’ll let you into the inner walls of the Hotel Beauvais in the fourth arrondissement.

Here’s a visual guide to how it works, courtesy of Corey from A French Frye in Paris (see video below).

Book one of his tours here.

 

4. A hidden Statue of Liberty

Head to the Jardin de Luxembourg in the sixth arrondissement for a statue that’s “pretty unknown and obscure”, says Luke from Run Paris.

You can find it on the western edge of the park. Here’s what it looks like today.

unnamed

Find out more about Run Paris here.

5. A golden hotel hidden behind an unassuming door

The Hotel de Lauzun is “hotel particulier” where you need a certified tour guide to get in. Find it on the Ile St Louis in the fourth arrondissement.

Xavier from Paris to Versailles tours says it’s one of the only hotels of its kind that hasn’t changed since the 17th century.

Book one of his tours here. Here’s what the exterior of the hotel looks like today. Never judge a building by its door! Inside is golden treasures and extraordinary architecture, but you’ll have to go in to see it!

800px-Hotel_de_Lauzun

6. The best place to get your midnight chocolate fix

When the stores are all closed and you have a chocolate craving, walk into a cinema and hit up the candy bar, or at least that’s what Heather from Secrets of Paris says.

This trick even works after all the tickets are sold… just stroll in and ask for some chocolate.

If you’re into secrets of Paris, which is a safe bet considering you’re reading this page, then find out more from the Secrets of Paris site here.

7. The pastry shop that only the French know about… 

Mamie Gateaux is a little cafe that makes delicious quiches and cakes, and the expat crew doesn’t know about it… yet. That’s what Claudette from Mama Loves Paris says.

Find the place here, at 66 Rue du Cherche-Midi in the sixth arrondissement of Paris.

And find out more about Mama Loves Paris here.

bistro

8. A hidden passage that was closed for centuries

This passage, that runs along the south side of the Saint-Gervais church, was opened by the mayor of the 4th arrondissement, who was a guest on the show not long ago. He claims it’s the best secret in the whole district.

While the passage itself might not blow you away, the fact that it had been closed for centuries might inspire your imagination to run wild.

bistro

9. The ‘mini Montmartre’ in southern Paris

Head to the Butte aux Cailles in the 13th arrondissement for loads of hidden passageways.

The lads at Bike About Tours, who were on the show before, say it’s “like a mini Montmartre… and most people don’t ever make it down there”.

In fact, Mama Loves Paris did a nice picture gallery of this area recently… check it out here.

Find out more about Bike About Tours here – or click here to hear the ten streets in Paris you should cycle down before you die.

800px-Paris_13e_-_Rue_de_la_Butte-aux-Cailles_-_vue_est_3

10. The most well-hidden bar in Paris (yes, a speakeasy)

Head to the Lavomatic just off Republique for a laundromat that doubles as a bar entrance. Address: 30 Rue René Boulanger, in the tenth arrondissement. The pic up the very top is the entrance.

Yes, the front door is a dryer door. Press start and a whole world opens for you.

Pictured below at the entrance is Fabien, the guy mentioned in the anecdote in the show.

speakeasy

If you enjoyed this list, be sure to listen to the whole episode by clicking play below. It’s even better that way.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook here, and hang around for the next episode – our 21st – which we will celebrate in style.

And let us know how many of these secrets you have seen (or if you have better pics of any of the above that we can use!).

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