Everyone already knows that the Mona Lisa is underwhelming, French bread is delicious, and Laduree macarons are a must. Here are four things that surprised me about Paris that made my trip even that much better. 1. The gardens are large and there are tree-lined streets
When I think of big cities I normally just think of tall buildings, bustling people, and lots of concrete. Especially when I was living in Florence the main city center had no trees, grass, or plants, so I wasn't expecting so much greenery when I went to Paris. Though there are plenty of gardens with flowers, grass, and running paths as well as streets lined with large trees.
2. There are many more places to see art than just The Louvre (though The Louvre is pretty amazing).
Yes, I went to The Louvre, and yes, it was amazing! However there are so many more places to see some of the world's finest artwork. For example, many of Van Gough's works are in an exhibit at Musee d'Orsay (which was worth the visit to d'Orsay for me).
3. The Eiffel Tower sparkles for five minutes every hour on the hour (after sunset)
Helpful to know if you don't already - I was glad I found out this tip before I walked an hour to the Eiffel so that I could make it there before the sparkles came and went. For some reason I thought it sparkled during the whole night. Instead it lights up as the sun sets (so cool) and then on the hour it sparkles for five minutes. This was one of my favorite things I did during my whole time in Paris!
4. It's must faster to get into The Louvre underground than by entering in the pyramid
Well, I first assumed that the famous clear pyramid was just for decoration outside The Louvre, but it is actually the main ticket entrance to the museum. What's better is the underground entrance instead - the line is much shorter because less people know about it. Next to the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is a staircase that goes underground to the shopping mall that is below The Louvre. You save time and you get to wait inside instead of outside in the heat/cold/rain/whatever.