Right next to the 17th Arrondissement of Paris, Levallois-Perret is an upmarket residential suburb in the northwest of the city. You’re directlyon the Seine here, in a neighbourhood where the Eiffel Company manufactured the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty in the 19th century.
The Paris Métro Line 3 and the Transilien suburban rail network intersect Levallois-Perret on their way to the centre of Paris, and approaching the city from this angle you’ll come across some museums that you might not otherwise have visited. We’ll begin with all the interesting things you can do just moments away from Levallois-Perret.
Lets explore the best things to do in Levallois-Perret:
1. Parc de la Planchette
One of the endearing things about Levallois-Perret is its abundance of greenery; almost a fifth of the total area of this suburb is parkland.
At the Parc de la Planchette it will dawn on you that you’re in a quiet, residential part of Paris, where parents bring young children to the playgrounds, office workers come for morning runs and couples take leisurely strolls.
There’s a pond, undulating lawns and an lovely little rose garden.
Before you come to Levallois-Perret visit the website to see what’s going in the Parc de la Planchette, as there are regular outdoor events in summer.
2. Île de la Jatte
This island in the Seine is a cosy residential area that became fashionable in the late-19th century when the Impressionists set up their easels by the water.
Monet, van Gogh and Sisley all painted Île de la Jatte, but the enduring work painted here was Un Dimanche Après-Midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat in 1886. Also see the 18th-century Temple de l’Amour, an 18th century folly from a long-gone estate.
Before it was developed in the 19th century Levallois-Perret and the neighbouring suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine were once the 170-hectare grounds for the destroyed Château de Neuilly.
This Palladian folly is one of the few hints of what was here before.
3. Maison de la Pêche et de la Nature
At the upper end of the Île de la Jatte is a dinky museum revealing the aquatic life of the Seine.
The attraction has several tanks with freshwater fish like pikes, sculpins and catfish.
There’s also a touch pool where children can feel several species of fish, but of course not the pikes, which have 700 teeth and instead are on show in the 600-litre aquarium! And if you want to get microscopic there’s also a nursery with panels describing the micro-fauna of the river.
4. Parc Monceau
This graceful English garden was landscaped in the 1770s, and still has a few dignified features from its earliest days.
There’s a classical colonnade by the pond, and a whimsical icehouse designed like an Egyptian pyramid.
At the end of the 18th-century the park witnessed a few world-firsts by the inventor André-Jacques Garnerin, who achieved the first ever descent with a silk parachute here 1797. He also welcomed a young woman, Citoyenne Henri on a balloon trip in the park in 1798, making her the first woman ever to ride a hot air balloon.
More recently sculptures have been installed for cultural icons like Guy de Maupassant and Frédéric Chopin, while Monet painted the park five times between 1876 and 1878.
5. Musée Jacquemart-André
Nélie Jacquemart and Édouard André were wealthy art-lovers in 19th-century Paris who would go on annual jaunts to Italy to expand an awesome cache of Renaissance Italian painting.
The couple lived in a sublime Neo-Renaissance mansion, partly designed by Jacquemart, and when they passed away they bequeathed the property and its art as a museum.
It contains a superlative array of Flemish, Dutch, French and Italian art by masters like Botticelli, Canaletto, Donatello, Rembrandt and van Dyck.
The splendid building is also a reason to come, and has marvellous furniture and tapestries, while the apartments and ceremonial rooms have been kept as they were more than a century ago.
6. Grand Palais
Between the right bank of the Seine and the Champs-Élysées, the Grand Palais is a magnificent Beax-Arts edifice constructed for the Universal Exposition in 1900. It consists of a stone base beneath a vaulting glass canopy supported by an iron and steel framework.
Up to 2007 the building went through a long renovation and since then has a reopened as a venue for events and temporary exhibitions.
The Grand Palais is the venue for the Chanel shows during Paris Fashion Week twice a year, and in 2017 there are exhibitions for Pissarro, Rodin as well as jewellery once worn by India’s mughals and maharajas.
7. Petit Palais
Opposite the Grand Palais on the Avenue Winston Churchill is the smaller Petit Palais, also in the Beaux-Arts style and also put up for the Universal Exposition.
Inside is an art museum that competes with the best in Paris.
The collection spans the history of art from classical times up to the present day.
There are 1,300 works in all, including the finest tapestries, sculptures, paintings, icons and applied art.
The 1800s are very well-represented, with paintings by Delcroix, Cézanne, Courbet, Ingres and Pissarro, and sculpture by Rodin and Maillol.
Further back there are also Rococo, Baroque and Renaissance art by artists like Poussin, Fragonard, Rubens and Rembrandt.
8. Marché Poncelet
In the posh 17th Arrondissement neighbouring Levallois-Perret is a top-drawer market folded between palatial Haussmann apartment buildings.
This isn’t a disorganised bazaar, but a neat series of permanent stalls run by fishmongers, butchers, wine merchants and purveyors of artisan and gourmet food.
Thanks to its location the Marché Poncelet has affluent clientele and is somewhere for people who are serious about food to get their groceries.
So if you fancy fish and seafood straight from the Atlantic there’s the celebrated fishmonger Daguerre Marée, while butchers, fromageries, bakers and delicatessens sell treats as diverse as goose foie gras, port-soaked stilton, caramel cream puffs and mature jamón ibérico.
9. Folie Saint-James
In the 1770s Claude Baudard de Saint James, the treasurer to the French Navy ordered this house and garden to be built at huge expense.
Saint James even told his architect François-Joseph Bélanger “make what you want as long as it is expensive”. The outcome was a garden that was criticised at the time for its triumph of extravagance over taste, and has just been restored and reopened to the public.
You attention will be grabbed by a miniature mountain in the middle of the park embedded with a Doric temple.
None of the stone used to building mountain is local, and it all had to shipped in at great cost from the Fontainebleau forest.
10. Musée Cernuschi
The venerated Musée Cernuschi was founded in 1898 in the home of its namesake, Henri Cernuschi, facing Parc Monceau.
Cernuschi was a banker and avid collector of Asian Art, amassing some 5,000 pieces, among them the enormous bronze Buddha of Meguro cast in Japan in the 1700s.
Since the museum was opened its collection has more than doubled, and is a trove of priceless artefacts going back 3,500 years.
Seek out the bronze funerary masks from the Chinese Liao Dynasty, and the sensational Tang Dynasty statues, more than a millennium old.
11. Jardin d’Acclimatation
In 20 hectares at the northern edge of the Bois de Boulogne is a fabulous theme park for youngsters.
The Jardin d’Acclimatation was opened way back in 1860 and maintains its old-world atmosphere with pony rides, puppet shows, a miniature train and funfair-style carousels and rollercoasters.
The park sits in the shadow of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, a new, Gehry-designed contemporary art museum.
And below that are the almost boundless lawns and woodland of the Bois de Boulogne, the second-largest park in Paris, laid out during the reign of Napoleon III in the 1850s.
Head for the Lac Inferieur in summer to rent a boat, or amble in the gardens of the Château de Bagatelle once owned by the Comte d’Artois, brother of Louis XVI.
12. Arc de Triomphe
Along with the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame, the Arc de Triomphe is an unmistakeable Paris landmark.
And it’s close enough to Levallois-Perret that you could even walk there, although public transport will cut the journey time.
It marks the western end of the Champs-Élysées and is a monumental triumphal arch commemorating the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
Get in close to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and to study the reliefs with heroic depictions of battles.
Then head up to the roof to get those long views down the radiating avenues, including the Axe Historique towards the Grande Arche de la Défense in the west.
At Levallois-Perret it won’t take long to reach this fabled neighbourhood in the 18th Arrondissement.
Montmartre is on the Butte, the highest hill in Paris and has a village ambience for its low-rise architecture, cobblestone streets and local amenities.
The area became fashionable in the 19th century as a den for artists like Renoir, Monet, Pissarro and van Gogh.
And there are still galleries and studios sharing these streets with trendy media companies.
For something unashamedly touristy you can sit for a portrait at the Place de Tertre.
There’s also a museum on the square devoted to Salvador Dalí’s drawings.
Then stumble up though Square Louise-Michel to the Sacré-Cœur for a matchless view of the city.
At the base of Montmartre is the Pigalle district, which has long had a reputation for sleaze and debauchery.
This is where artists like Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec recorded fin de siècle brothels and cabarets like the Divan du Monde and Grand Guignol.
The Moulin Rouge is still here, and there are a few dodgy places along the Boulevard de Clichy, but since the 1990s the Pigalle has turned into a nightlife destination for Paris residents and tourists.
There are dozens of bars, nightclubs and live music venues.
And if you’re in a band you’ll love the Rue de Douai, which has store after store selling musical instruments, equipment and accessories.
15. Cimetière de Montmartre
The third largest burial ground in Paris, the Cemetery of Montmartre has the same blend of solemnity, peace, haunting sculpture and famous plots.
There are many titans of French culture here, like Truffaut, Zola, Degas, Stendahl, Offenbach, as well as the 20th-century singer, Dalida.
A map of the plots is posted at the gate, or you can try downloading one onto your phone.
Even with a plan it can be a bit of a quest to hunt down each grave, but you won’t mind as the cemetery is so serene and leafy, with paths weaving through maple, lime and chestnut groves.