Some of the hidden gems of Paris

Besides the Eiffel Tower, the Loire Valley and the odd Chateaux, France has many other exciting attractions to offer the tourist. For the camping holidaymaker in France there are many day trips available, amongst them four unusual places that are well worthy of a visit.

Paris is home to some of the most famous sights and places of interest in the world, and nearly all are located on the surface of the city, but the most strange and gruesome sight is situated under the surface and well below the streets.

The Catacombs of Paris are a large cemetery of bones. This was started in the 18th century in an attempt to overcome the acute overcrowding in the main cemeteries of the city. They contain the bones of many thousands of people and a walk through the Catacombs is a chilling and eerie experience.

The Oradour-sur-Glane  is a really moving place to visit and was the site of one of the most terrifying war crimes  of the Second World War. In June 1940  an SS detachment entered the town and gathered the entire population into the main square.

In retaliation for fierce opposition from the French Resistance the entire population of 640 men, women and children were put to death with only a few escaping the mass execution.  Oradour-sur-Glane, after being burnt to the ground, was later rebuilt near the scene but the old town remains as a bitter reminder of the atrocities that took place there so many years ago.

The Standing Stones of Carnac is another great site for the tourist. These standing stones are thought to have been erected more than 5000 years ago. The collection of stones, carved from local rock, have been positioned in straight lines around the town of Carnac.

There are many hundreds of stones and, like Stonehenge, their true purpose is not known. They may have had something to do with early Druidic ceremonies but local legend claims that they were a legion of Roman soldiers which Saint Cornelius had turned to stone.

The Machines of the Isle of Nantes are amongst one of the unusual sights in France. A collection of gigantic mechanical animals are kept in deserted shipyard warehouses and include a giant lantern fish, a manta ray, a pirate fish and the main attraction, a 4 meter high elephant. Visitors are invited to go on a 50 minute ride on the elephant around the town of Nantes.