History of Paris

Paris' Montparnasse Cemetery is a lovely place to stroll and contemplate. Image: Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

A Stroll Through Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris

Opened in 1824, Montparnasse Cemetery sits on a site that was once occupied by three farms, in what was then a rural, sleepy corner of southern Paris. Home to the graves of denizens […]

Les ARcades de Paris, Galerie Vivienne/David Pendery/Creative Commons

Seeking Belle-Epoque Paris in the Grands Boulevards District: My Full Guide

Technically, the tangled arrangement of wide, grandiose streets known as the Grands Boulevards in Paris stretch all the way from the Eglise Madeleine church in the 8th arrondissement (district) to the Place de […]

After the Fire: A Short History of Notre-Dame Cathedral’s Disasters & Rebirths

Like most people, I felt a lump rising in my throat when I saw images of Notre-Dame Cathedral lapped with flames and choked by smoke on April 15th. The fire, ostensibly an accidental […]

Palais Royal in springtime, Paris. Julien Maury/Creative Commons

In Focus: Paris’ Palais Royal, a Haven From the Crowds

It may be just a few hundred feet away from the Louvre, the buzzing epicenter of tourism in the French capital. It may house a Michelin-starred restaurant, opulent boutiques, centuries-old theatres, covered passageways […]

Academie de la Grande Chaumière: The Paris Art Studio Favored by Modigliani, Miró and Lempicka

On a quiet side street in Montparnasse that seems worlds apart from the frenetic Boulevards and terraced cafes just feet away, there’s a typically Belle-Epoque building you’d be forgiven for not noticing. But […]

Inside La Coupole, a Montparnasse Brasserie Haunted With Artistic History

  Referring to the legendary Parisian brasserie on Boulevard de Montparnasse, French historian Georges Viaud once remarked: “If the tables [here] could talk, they would tell the story of La Coupole’s role in […]

The history of French macarons is a disputed, and fascinating, one.

A Short History of French Macarons, From Saint-Emilion to Paris

On a recent trip to the fortified medieval town of Saint-Emilion, my partner and I stayed in a lovely B&B plunged in the middle of the vineyards, outside the city walls. Our amiable […]

In Review: Lapérouse, a Romantic Paris Restaurant With History Galore

First opened in 1766 as “La Maison Lapérouse”, this distinguished restaurant and bar situated smack on the banks of the Seine is a favorite spot for well-heeled literary and artistic types. It’s a place […]

It would take centuries to complete the stunning Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

The 10 Best Things to Do in Paris on Your First Visit

At Paris Unlocked, we tend to focus coverage on lesser-known corners of the French capital, and encourage readers to look well beyond the obvious and the wildly popular. But when you’re visiting Paris […]

Medieval Paris: A Self-Guided Tour of 5 Intriguing Places

During the 19th century, the Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann gutted much of what had been medieval Paris-– forging the iconic skyline and enormous, grandiose boulevards we now (wrongly) tend to think of as timeless. […]

Edith Piaf was born in Paris; for fans of "la mome", there are several key sites to see in the French capital. Image credit: Piano Piano/Creative Commons 2.0

Seeking Edith Piaf in Paris? Visit These 4 Places

Affectionately dubbed “the little sparrow” and “la môme” (the kid) in France, Edith Piaf is a musical legend who has (rather surprisingly?) resonated with successive generations of listeners. Thanks in part to Olivier Dahan’s […]

Paris' Belleville neighborhood is rich with street art, working-class and revolutionary history.

Exploring Paris’ Belleville District: A Haven for Artists, Immigrants & Revolutionaries

I’m a former resident of Belleville, that fascinating, messy, somewhat chaotic neighborhood in Paris’ northeastern corner. One that many tourists find odd and even unnerving when they stumble on it– mostly after visiting […]

These 5 Places in Paris Aren’t Usually Associated With African-American History. They Should Be.

“It’s a great city, Paris, a beautiful city––and––it was very good for me.”– James Baldwin, Another Country (1962) One of the most singular and important American authors of the 20th century, James Baldwin […]

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