Days out around Paris: dare venture to the other side of the Périphérique

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Days out around Paris: dare venture to the other side of the Périphérique

The metropolitan area of Greater Paris has much to offer. From a gigantic market to a temple of art and on to a monument to sport, you will discover another side to the City of Lights.

Art is everywhere. And especially at the Val-de-Marne Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC VAL) in Vitry-sur-Seine, outside the city limits of Paris. About ten kilometres from the city centre, this cultural institution houses works of art in its large, airy exhibition spaces. In the light of a building with bold open architecture and into the 10,000-m2 park beyond, contemporary artists display their creations, constantly questioning their visitors.

Next, head to Saint-Denis, on the other side of the Paris conurbation, to visit the Stade de France, the country's largest stadium with seating for 80,000. Built in 1998, the place has become a temple of sport. Visit the changing rooms with your tour guide from the Cultival agency, the Presidential Box and the stands – you can almost hear the cheers of the crowd which shook the walls of the stadium when France won the football World Cup in 1998.

In Rungis, a fascinating trip of a different kind awaits with another Cultival tour guide. At four in the morning, make your way to the largest fresh produce market in the world. Thousands of restaurant owners flock to this 234-hectare market, the life force of French gastronomy, to source their produce. From freshly caught fish to freshly cut flowers to huge warehouses of fruit and vegetables, you can see behind the scenes and explore the ‘Belly of Paris'. Be patient: after a fascinating two-hour tour, an early-morning brunch will round off your trip. There is nothing like cold meats and cheeses to waken your appetite at seven in the morning.

Fine food is also what makes Dock B in Pantin tick. Settle into a cosy armchair in this cultural spot, housed in former warehouses on industrial wasteland by the side of the Canal de l'Ourcq, which opened in 2018. You will love the local homemade cuisine on offer. Some evenings, electro gigs are held, much to the delight of visitors come to relax in the warm setting of this trendy hotspot. All around you, there are works of art, permanent fixtures, by contemporary artists which both surprise and provoke questions. This too is Paris.

MAC VAL
Place de la Libération
94400 Vitry-sur-Seine
+33 (0)1 43 91 64 20
www.macval.fr/english

Stade de France
93200 Saint-Denis
+33 (0)1 55 93 00 45
www.stadefrance.com/en/tours

Rungis market of national interest (MIN)
1 rue de la Tour
94550 Chevilly-Larue
+33 (0)1 41 80 80 75
www.visiterungis.com/index.php

Dock B
1 place de la Pointe
93500 Pantin
+33 (0)1 41 71 49 69
dockbpantin.com/