Looking for hidden Paris gems to explore to make you feel like you belong here? When you’re in Paris, it’s easy to get swept away in the romance of the city. There you are, enjoying your black coffee and people watching at Aux Folies. You belong here.
Just then, your cute waiter comes by, and you fumble for the few French words you actually know. Reality comes screeching in, and you’re quickly reminded of your tourist status.
But don’t let a silly thing like language stop you. You do belong here, and these secret spots in Paris will help you feel that way.
You’re more than just the average tourist. You’re about to explore all the joie de vivre this city has to offer – as the locals do. Or, at least, like you imagine they do.
WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS:
If you’re basing yourself Paris, we couldn’t recommend the Hilton Paris Opera enough. The hotel is gorgeous, the service is exceptional, and you’re steps away from the metro.
Let’s get this show on the road. It’s time to toss your guidebook into the “poubelle” and head to these hidden Parisian gems.
Best hotel deals in Paris:
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Get your metro and Paris Museum Pass before heading out to explore. Not only will you skip the lines and save a ton of time, but the Paris Museum Pass gives you discounts at 60 of the top museums and monuments in and around Paris. Explore the Louvre and Versailles, and visit the Arc de Triomphe, the Centre Pompidou, and many others.
The pass is valid from 2-6 days (depending on how much exploring you want to do).
HIDDEN PARIS GEMS FOR SIGHTSEERS (OUR FAVORITE SECRET SPOTS)
- Paris Statue of Liberty
Did you know that Paris has its own Statue of Liberty? It sits on the southern end of the Île aux Cygnes. If this is news to you, you may also be surprised to learn that it’s an exact replica of the Statue of Liberty in New York. But as you hear the history, it makes perfect sense.
The state that hovers above Île aux Cygnes is a quarter-sized replica of the NY statue, and it exists because it was a model for the larger lady of liberty. It’s actually not the only one around, but this one was symbolically given to the city of Paris by the Parisian-American community in 1889. In true American fashion, the ceremony was held on American Independence Day (July 4) instead of Bastille Day, which is just 10 days later. And for those Nicholas Cage fans, this statue was featured in National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
You can walk, cycle or cruise up to the statue. And if you’re feeling a bit on the lazy side, you can even get a great view from the back seat of a comfortable sedan along with the shore.
2. Bercy Village
You’ll find Bercy Village about 30 minutes from central Paris. This little village has a quaint atmosphere with loads of charm. The Bercy district used to be a massive wine market, but today you’ll have to settle for the cute cafes, restaurants, and shops that line the charming cobbled streets.
While not a secret spot in Paris anymore because Bercy Village center does get crowded, but the village itself is a great place to stay if you’re for a quieter spot to rest your head than a Paris hotel.
If you’re into the arts scene and want to experience and learn the basic techniques of graffiti art at a 2.5-hour graffiti mural workshop in Paris. We recommend this workshop as it let’s you work with Parisian graffiti artists on a large-scale, collaborative mural, and become a street artist of the future! Create shapes and more with spray paint.
3. Parc de la Villette
At the edge of the 19th arrondissement, you’ll find the largest urban cultural park in the capital. It’s a full 55 hectares, which equates to nearly 136 acres. Here, you’ll find a mix of modern architecture, playgrounds, cultural spaces and theaters, including one open-air cinema where they hold the open-air film festival (mid-July through mid-August). Get to Parc de la Villette by metro, bus, bicycle or even boat (we recommend this boat cruise to get a different sense of Paris that most people don’t see).
More than just a fab pop band, Bastille may be your go-to spot for social life in Paris. Forget Saint-Michel (for the moment) where all the tourists go. At Bastille, you can enjoy your patisserie on cobbles with a view of the city’s most iconic roundabout. Bastille is a great place to meet friends for dinner or drinks. You may never want to leave.
5. Piscine Josephine Baker
Who is this Josephine Baker and why does she get piscine? If you don’t know, head to iTunes stat and do a search. Short story: She’s an American-born singer who made it big in the Paris cabaret scene in the late 20’s.
You may want to download a few of her songs as you float above the River Seine. This glass-walled pool was built on a barge that’s permanently moored just below the Bastille. The pool even has a retractable glass roof so that you can enjoy it in any season.
6. Buttes Chaumont
If you’re looking for romantical appeal, it doesn’t get much better than Buttes Chaumont. This stunning oasis sits in the center of Paris – on a hill in the middle of a lake. With views like this, you’ll feel like you’ve just stepped into a fairytale.
Buttes Chaumont is perfect for when you want a short break from the city to recharge. Go for a picnic and enjoy the summer sun.
7. Gardens of Albert Kahn
Located in the western suburbs of Paris, the Gardens of Albert Kahn are a wonderfully whimsical treat for the eyes. Spread out over 4 hectares of gardens you’ll easily find the Japanese, French and English influences in the garden designs.
8. Rue Crémieux
Tucked away a few minutes from Gare de Lyon, Rue Crémieux is full of pastel coloured houses filled with fluffy cats sitting on window sills. While rue Crémieux has become somewhat famous on Instagram, that doesn’t take away from the charm. Show up early to avoid the crowds.
HIDDEN PARIS GEMS FOR THE FOODIES (SECRET PLACES IN PARIS)
9. Les Halles
Travel north of Seine to a trendy hotspot for Parisian socialites. Anthony Bourdain once opened a restaurant by this name, but what we’re talking about has nothing to do with the late Food Network star. Les Halles is a unique little shopping center with a long history. For 800 years, Les Halles was the hub of food distribution for the entire city. But as the city grew, the location couldn’t handle the volume of people coming in and out. The site was destroyed in the 60s, and it was eventually converted into the multi-story underground shopping mall and metro station we can see today.
10. Petit bain
Grab a beer, and catch up with friends overlooking views of the National Library and the quays, and enjoying live music. While the venue is on the smaller side, the uniqueness and the atmosphere make up for it. Sitting right on the Seine, it’s hard to compare it to anything else in the city. Be sure to get there rather early as it does fill up quickly.
11. Pont des Arts
Extremely popular with couples, Pont des Arts is the first iron bridge in Paris. Built between 1801 and 1804 and reserved for pedestrians, the bridge is a great location of photos.
12. Chinatown in the 13th arrondissement
The “Chinatown” in Paris is more of an Asia town because not only can you find delicious Chinese food, but you can find Vietnamese, and Laotienne cuisine as well. There is only so much French food you can have so when the craving for pho strikes, this is where we head to!
13. Galette in Rue du Montparnasse
No visit to Paris is complete without a proper crepe, and Galette is one of our favorites.
14. Hexagone Café
One of our favourite places to grab a coffee in the city. We tend to use our time at Hexagone Cafe as a time to catch up on work, and with friends. Great internet connection, excellent coffee, and a lovely atmosphere. Basically, where the locals hang out because this is one of our favorite secret places in Paris. Really, they took us there.
15. Pershing Hall
Located really close to the Champs Elysees, Pershing Hall is a true gem and the perfect place to grab a drink or dinner with friends. Originally built by the Count of Paris at the end of the 18th century, it’s now a luxury hotel, with a wonderful garden restaurant with the most romantic ambiance.
16. Pierre Hermé
While Ladurée is the most known Macaron place in Paris, we think Pierre Herme gives them a run for their money, and are definitely worth a trip. Be warned, your wallet is not going to be happy with you!
17. Montmartre Vineyards
One of our favorite hidden gems in Paris, the Montmartre Vineyard has been around for over 800 years. Perfect place to spend an afternoon- especially if you love wine (and who doesn’t?).
HIDDEN PARIS GEMS FOR THE SHOPPERS
18. Arc Georges Brassens
Located right next to the Parc Georges Brassens, this little-covered market is the perfect place to find that literary treasure, or just relax in the sun.
19. The Passages
Filled with shops and interesting, the passages is definitely one of the hidden gems of Paris. You’ll find these covered malls dating back from the 18th and 19th century all over the Paris. Great to escape from the blazing summer heat or blistering winter cold, and find a few Parisian treats to take back home.
20. Vanves flea market at Porte de Vanves
If flea markets are your jam then this lesser know flea market is the perfect hidden gem in Paris to explore. Located in the lesser known south of Paris – the Vanves flea market is the perfect place to pick up a few things that will always remind you of Paris.
21.l’Ile de la Cité
Sitting right in the middle of the Seine in the city of Paris is where you’ll findÎle de la Cité. Filled with a group of green metal pavilions houses is where you’ll also find one of Paris’s most well-known flower markets. These flower markets have everything from seeds to grow your own garden at home to lavender from dreamy Provence. The perfect way to spend an afternoon.
As you can see, Paris is more than the touristy spots that you see on every must-visit list. And while you may still want to visit all the popular spots, but you should make some time to see these somewhat hidden gems in Paris. If you’re short on time, you can always opt for an exclusive private tour in Paris, and mix that with a few of these Paris hidden gems.
PIN TO REMEMBER THESE TIPS LATER!