Despite it’s reputation as a city which people visit to inspire their creativity, whether that be in literature, art or fashion, Paris is still not a city recognised by UNESCO as a creative city. After a recent visit there I was really surprised at this, given the rich French culture and heritage at every corner – as well as the crepe stands, a personal highlight of the trip! The general atmosphere of Paris oozed creativity, with street performers showing off their magic skills, bakers making yummy macaroons, and the beautifully designed bridges (the famous lock bridge is worth a visit) taking you across the River Seine.
The Eiffel Tower was the overall highlight, especially seeing it lit up at midnight, which I would definitely recommend going to do, but if you’re looking for some of the more creative hotspots of Paris, here is what I would recommend:
Photo credit: Own photo
- The Old Artist’s Quarter, Monmartre
This little corner of Paris was really something quite special. You can tell that the whole of the village of Monmartre had become very touristy, and has arguably fallen into the gentrification trap, with the artists now unable to afford to live there. However, if you look beyond the keyrings and the ‘I Heart Paris’ t-shirts, there is a wealth of creativity and artistic talent within the square where the artists sit painting and selling their works of art – which are definitely worth the uphill trek to see. Each artist has a different take on all of the Parisian scenes, some more modern and abstract, others which could easily be mistaken as photographs, and everything in between.
The pretty streets which surround the Quarter as also worth a wander, as it gives you a chance to escape from the tourist trap for a while a gain beautiful views of the city, including the Eiffel Tower. Of course whilst visiting Monmartre, the beautiful Sacre Couer basilica and the Moulin Rouge are must see attractions, as with the Eiffel Tower it seems that none of the tourist spots are overrated, which I find to be a rare attribute.
- The Louvre
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Continuing on with the art theme, the Louvre had to be included. As the world’s largest museum and home of the infamous ‘Mona Lisa’ painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, it was top of the list of places to visit. We also discovered upon visiting that there is free admission for Europeans under 24, which was an obvious bonus. You could walk around the gallery for days looking at all of the paintings, sculptures and various exhibitions, with Monet’s paintings my personal favourite.
- Shopping Destinations
We took a wander down Avenue Champs Elysees, which offered brilliant shopping, both high street and high end, which was to be expected given that Paris is often known as the ‘Fashion capital of the world’ and is the birth place of luxury brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and YSL. The buildings were all beautifully designed (as with all the Parisian architecture) as well as the clothes inside. Although sadly my student loan didn’t quite stretch to a €7,000 Dior dress, there is also an array of bargains to be discovered in Paris’ many flea markets. We visited the Marché aux Puces St. Ouen de Clignancourt where shopping became an adventure, it was a lot of fun wading through the mountains of items and very satisfying when you found a gem!
These recommendations are just a drop in the ocean of all of the creativity which Paris has to offer. With an abundance of museums, galleries, theatres and stunning architecture, the city definitely has something for everyone in whatever form of creativity you are looking for!