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You’ve been to Paris and have seen the usual tourist sights like the Eiffel Tour, Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. But this fascinating city has so many personalities that with each visit, another completely different side to it can be explored. Why not try seeing this exciting city from another angle? We suggest 5 unusual things to do in the City of Lights:

1. See Paris from above Everyone knows that some of the best views of Paris can be enjoyed from the top of some of the city’s most popular tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Basilica of Sacré Coeur, the Arc de Triomphe and the Tour Montparnasse. But how about taking sight-seeing to a new level by feasting your eyes on the breathtaking views of Paris from 150 metres up in the sky in a hot air balloon? Ballon de Paris offers a unique bird’s-eye view of Paris on board the world’s biggest hot air balloon. What better way to see Paris from a completely different angle

2. Go underground Under the hustle and bustle of Parisian streets lies a surprising underground world. 20 metres underneath the pavements of the City of Lights, there’s a vast labyrinth of dark and sinister subterranean tunnels stretching for kilometres. A 2-kilometre section of these tunnels is the site of the catacombs of Paris, a collection of millions of skeletons which were exhumed from overcrowded Parisian cemeteries at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. Another popular underground tourist sight is the Paris Sewer Museum where visitors can learn about the history and construction of the capital’s sewer system while roaming through a part of this vast 2000-kilometre sewer network.

3. Go to the beach Every summer the beach comes to Paris. Since 2007, Parisians and tourists alike have been able to enjoy four weeks of sun and sand when the banks of the Seine are covered with 5000 tons of sand. Decked out with palm trees, beach umbrellas and deck chairs, this one-kilometre stretch of urban beach draws millions of sun-worshippers and fun-lovers. Office goers work on their tans during their lunch breaks or join a game of pétanque or beach volleyball. Evening concerts give this annual summer event a festive ambiance. In 2014, Paris Plages is happening from July 19th to August 17th, every day from 8am to midnight at three city locations: Louvre/Pont de Sully, Port de la Gare and Bassin de la Villette.

4. Take a tour in a 2CV Who doesn’t love the 2CV? This quintessential French car is known and loved for its timeless and elegant retro style. What better way to experience the streets and lights of Paris than in a vintage Citroen 2CV with the top down, driven by your own Parisian guide? There are several companies offering this unique tour experience which take in the city’s best-known landmarks, as well as a few unusual ones, like a tour of ‘secret Paris’ which takes visitors to the city’s many charming but less known squares, canals and cobble stoned streets. There’s also a ‘Paris gardens’ tour for nature lovers and ‘Paris by night’ for those who want to experience the magic and charm of nocturnal Paris.

5. Take a walk in an elevated park The world’s first elevated park, the Promenade Plantée is a scenic 5-km nature walkway which runs along a disused railway line. This is a paradise for walkers and joggers, who pass through flower gardens, bamboo groves and rose trellises along the way, while taking in the views of the Parisian skyline and scenes of city life happening below. The tree-lined cycle path and many picnic spots and benches offer the perfect place to take some time out in this urban oasis.

Blog post by Isabel Putinja.