Going to Paris in a month.

I’m going to hit the major attractions of course, like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Versailles. But does anyone here have recommendations for stuff off the beaten path?
Also what are some good open air markets to visit?

If you care for a happy hour Bloody Mary or Caipirinha I can recommend Stolly’s at 16 Rue Cloche-Percé.

Not exactly “off the beaten path,” but if you go to one museum, it should be *Le Musée d’Orsay. *It’s got all the impressionists and post-impressionists, and is a lot more fun than the Louvre.

And my favorite walk in Paris is the straight line from the Louvre, through the Tuileries gardens, then up the Champs Élysées, to the Arc de Triomphe.

Go to the mother of all flea markets. My grandparents had an antique importing business for 40 years, and much of their merchandise came from Les Puces (and similar places). For the real experience, go at the crack of dawn for people-watching while the vendors are setting up, even if you don’t intend to bring anything home. (Although I wish I hadn’t been so broke when I was there…I did bring home a cool suede hat.)

I did it like this.

Go to the Cluny, the Louvre, The Orsay then the Pompidou. That way you see Art in historical order from medieval to modern. Trust me, by the time you get to the Pompidou, everything in there makes sense.

The Picasso Museum is great as is the Rodin. If you like military stuff see the Museum of the Army near Napoleon’s tomb. (Invalids)

The opera house. The Catacombs. There is a department store called Primtemps that you can go on to the roof (free) and get a good view of the opera house and the surrounding area. Going up to the top of Notre Dame is great. Sainte Chappelle and the Palais du Justice are on the same island as Notre Dame as is a neat little area of a Roman settlement. It looks like an entrance to a subway (Metro) station in front of the Cathedral. La Defense is supposed to be cool, but I didn’t get to go there.

Ugh, too many art museum recommendations. I don’t bother going to art museums when traveling, you don’t get to really spend enough time to appreciate it – just running around glancing at works from one room to the next. Might as well just look at the pictures online. I went to the Lourvre and Orsay and was dissapointed. Now I don’t bother with art museums unless they are local (but seeing as i live in Philadelphia there are tons in NYC and DC, so that’s still a good amount).

Unless you are insanely passionate about art, skip it.

I’ve also wasted a lot of time and money visiting cathedrals in major cities. I do admit though that Notre Dame is pretty cool, and free.

Les Invalides is an interesting war museum.

Catacombs were ok, but not a must see.

Moulin Rouge is a waste of money unless you are into choreographed dancing.

Versailles is neat, but the first floor is a bore (paintings of people you’ve probably never heard of) focus more on the second floor.

I took a 3 or 4 hour french pastry cooking class at http://www.cooknwithclass.com/

a bicycle tour with http://www.bikeabouttours.com/

and a few walking tours with http://classicwalksparis.com/

All memorable.

If you like books, visit the used book stalls along the Seine (they’re on both sides, near Ile de La Cite, but there are more on the Rive Doight).

Don’t dress like an American – no sports logos especially. If you wear a hat, get an Ascot Cap – they’re in many tourist trap shops for about $20. That way, people may think you’re French, which means they’ll strike up conversations and be even more friendly toward you.

Montmatre is a must – the best view of the city outside of the Eiffel Tower. Also check out the artists nearby; they’ll hustle you for a painting or a silhouette, but it’s a great experience.

It’s a great view, but my (minority) opinion is that the best view of Paris is from the Panthéon.