The top 10 lesser-known sights and experiences in Paris

This is a wholly subjective list of some of my favorite, lesser-known sights, museums, monuments, and experiences in Paris. I have a pretty broad definition of "lesser-known" that includes anything not on the main Top 10 list.

That means some of these sights may be truly famous (just a shade less so than, say, the Louvre or Notre-Dame), while some of them will be pretty obscure, places I've come to love in a lifetime of returning to Paris.

Musée Rodin, Paris★★ Rodin Museum - The sculptor's studio and home, the house and its surrounding gardens filled with his greatest masterpieces. [NOTE: partly closed for refurbishment until fall 2015]...  » more

The George Pompidou Museum★★ Centre Georges Pompidou (Pompidou Museum) - A stellar collection of modern art in a giant building that must have looked cutting edge in the 1970s and bears a striking resemblance to a hamster's Habitrail set...  » more

Musée Picasso, Paris★★ Picasso Museum- A charming mix of the great artist's works and personal effects—even the master's paint-spattered chair... » more

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris★★ Sainte-Chapelle - A stained-glass jewel box of a church that glows in architectures of light, hidden away in a courtyard surrounded by government buildings on Île de la Cité, just blocks from Notre-Dame... » more

Monet's Waterlillies in the Orangerie Museum, Paris Musée de l'Orangerie - One of my favorite hidden sights in Paris, packed with Impressionist paintings and preserving in its basement two rooms fitted with 360 degrees of Monet waterlillies... » more

Pere Lachaise Cemetery Père-Lachaise Cemetery - It's not just the scores of famous graves—Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Edith Piaf, Gertrude Stein, Jim Morrison—it's a stunning beautiful cemetery, crammed with stone monuments laid out over rolling, forested hillsides... » more

Unicorn tapestry at the Musée de Cluny, Paris Musée National du Moyen Ages - Thermes de Cluny - This museum to the Middle Ages in Paris—including the famous medieval "Lady and the Uncorn" tapestries—is partially installed in the city's ancient Roman baths... » more

Jardin des Plantes, ParisJardin des Plantes - This 1640 park is my favorite in Paris: a small, tidy series of fenced-in gardens divided by wide gravel paths and hiding a secret garden in its core.... » more

Musée des Égouts de ParisThe Sewers of Paris - A new way to view the city—and learn some quite disturbing facts about waste management as you tour the sewers made famous in Les Miserables... » more

L'Intitute du Monde Arabe, ParisThe Institut du Monde Arabe - Close-up views of the Seine and the buttressed backside of Notre Dame from a funky, post-modern building (bonus: shows of Middle Eastern culture and a tented Arab bazaar out front)... » more