This article may contain compensated links. Please read disclosure for more info.

Are you looking for hidden gems and non-touristy things to do in Paris? Then I wrote this article for you. I have been living in Paris for more than 16 years and today I am sharing with you my favorite local secrets in Paris. Come along and discover the hidden gems in Paris that you won’t find in the guidebooks.

⪼ see this fun wishlist with plenty of unusual tours and activities that I created for GetYourGuide

Paris is a city of monumental architecture, important sights, and imposing buildings. But Paris is also a city with many hidden gems and secret attractions, that are hidden from the eye of most visitors. But also many locals aren’t aware of the treasures that are concealed off the beaten path in Paris.

a lovely Secret of Paris: the hidden passages of Paris are unknown to most visitors.
The covered passages in Paris are a perfect secret of Paris to discover on a rainy day

If you are traveling to Paris for the first time, it’s easy to go for a “straightforward been-there-done-that city escape”. Please do take time to do so: visit the Eiffel Tower (don’t miss our guide!) and climb up the stairs to Sacré Coeur in Montmartre. Even have a stroll on the Champs Elysées! It’s lovely and despite all the hype, you haven’t been to Paris if you didn’t see this part of the city.

You also might like these articles:

When you’ve seen all the obvious attractions, go and look for the secret Paris attractions. Search for the hidden gems of Paris. To make it a bit easier, I assembled a wide list of unusual things to do in Paris for you. Don’t miss the best unique places in Paris.

CHECKLIST for your Paris Trip

✔ Tickets booked?

Paris Survival Tips

Fun Activities

Paris Hidden Gems – Discover the Secrets of Paris

Here we go, without further ado, I will introduce you to a real plethora of secrets in Paris off the beaten path. Enjoy.

#1 Parc de Bercy

Looking for a little oasis in the hustle and bustle of Paris? The Parc de Bercy may just be what you’re looking for. The Parc de Bercy is in the 12th arrondissement. It’s located on the grounds of a former wine depot and compared to other parks in Paris, it’s rather a young one.

It opened to the public only in 1997. However, the park has different areas and combines a variety of concepts. If you want to see a tourist-free part of Paris, Parc de Bercy is a good place to start your quest to discover the hidden Paris.

Parc de Bercy is one of the hidden gems in Paris only locals know about
The Parc de Bercy in the 12. Arrondissement

#2 Rue de Lévis

This little pedestrian street is just a few steps off the beautiful Parc Monceau. It’s one of the non-touristy secret things to do in Paris. The villagelike neighborhood comes with plenty of bakeries, butchers, little cafés, and of course a cheese shop!

#3 visit the Human Zoo of Paris

Yes, you’ve read this correctly, a human zoo. This secret of Paris is tucked away in the Bois de Vincennes and is one of the most unusual things you can do in Paris. Most Parisians have no idea that this place even exists.

The backstory of this zoo is linked to the area when France was a colonial empire. They frequently held colonial exhibitions, to show off their empire. On display were plants, spices, treasures, and unfortunately as well people.

The Human Zoo is certainly one of the most non-touristy things to do in Paris. If you want to know more, also read my article about it: The Human Zoo of Paris – a dark secret uncovered!

The entrance gate to the Human Zoo. This park is a hidden gem of Paris that many don't know about
The entrance to the Jardin Tropical, where you can find the human zoo of Paris.

#4 Cour Saint-Émilion

Just a stone’s throw away from the Parc the Bercy, the Cour Saint-Émilion is a popular spot to have dinner and drinks, or for shopping. Like the Parc de Bercy, the cour is also part of the former wine and spirits depot and due to its industrial flair, it has a special charm. Especially by night. It’s a lovely spot if you are keen on discovering Paris for locals.

#5 Discover Street Art in Belleville

Read also my article about the best things to do in Belleville

Belleville is the Street Art hotspot of Paris and a very fascinating neighborhood that has almost nothing in common with the rest of Paris. I was lucky enough to join the Street Art Tour of Kasia in September 2021 and had a wonderful time. I can only recommend it. Read my review here or check it out directly here.

hidden gem in Paris - Street art in Belleville
Paris’ most known graffiti street – Belleville is an amazing district and absolutely worth a visit.

#6 See the Rodin Sculptures in the Tuileries

The Tuileries garden originally belonged to the Tuileries Palace but became a public park with the French Revolution. The former royal garden is conveniently located right between the Champs Elysées and the Louvre. Besides the truly pretty landscape, it’s also a good place to see some free art. Amongst the numerous sculptures, there are 4 statues made by the famous Auguste Rodin. You can find them close to the Musée de l’Orangerie.

→ 4 Statues are not enough? Visit the Rodin Museum! You can reserve your spot here.

#7 Rent a Vélib Bike to find Paris secret spots

That’s one of the nicest things you can do on a sunny day. Either rent a Vélib shared bike and cycle on your own or take a guided bike tour as a sightseeing trip. The latter is certainly the better option if you are a bit weary of the Parisian traffic. It can get messy at times.

This is Paris’ most popular Bike Tour and here’s the best value-for-money bike tour in Paris!

Eiffeltower by bike: There are bikelanes along the the Seine and riding a bike is one of the unique things to do in Paris.
Discover Paris by bike: un of the unique things to do in Paris

#8 See a movie at the Grand Rex Cinema

Book a Grand Rex Studio Tour here!

The Grand Rex Paris is a real movie-lovers paradise! Originally built in 1932, it still stands today as the biggest movie theatre in Europe and its Art-Deco architecture just adds to the romance of a night out at the movies. Frankly, the interior is mind-blowing.

You can catch all the newest releases on their big screen and if ever you wanted to feel tiny – then this is your place! With an incredible 2,800 seats, the Grand Rex will certainly let you feel like one of many today.

For a peak behind the scenes, → Book your Grand Rex Studio Tour here!

#9 The Statue of Liberty in the Jardins du Luxembourg

The garden in the very center of Paris is one of the biggest gardens in Paris. It’s a classical french park with water basins, statues, and plenty of free-to-use chairs to relax, have lunch or watch people. And of course, find the Statue of Liberty!

secrets of paris: there are 5 statues of Liberty in Paris. One is in the Jardin du Luxembourg
The Jardin Luxembourg in on of the places in Paris where you can see the Statue of Liberty.

#10 Champ de Mars

Ok, the Champ de Mars is not one of the most secret places in Paris, but one that comes with a priceless view: the Champ de Mars is just in front of the Eiffel Tower. Hence, a perfect location for picnics, morning runs or just to marvel at the beautiful tower.

Non-touristy things to do in Paris: discover the real Paris

#11 Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Buttes Chaumont, located in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, is a public park full of exciting activities that the savvy traveler can pay a visit to. One of the highlights is its extension bridge that spans over a little lake and gives a great feel of the area. Even though the lake is artificial, the rocky island in its center is made from a gypsum quarry that is so distinctive for this part of Paris.

But the absolute centerpiece of the Buttes-Chaumon is the Temple de la Sybille, which is throning on top of the island. It was inspired by the famed Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy. To top it off, it’s the 5th largest public park in Paris and where you can get a spellbinding view of Sacre Cœur.

Visiting this park is one of the non-touristy things to do in Paris, not only if you are looking for an amazing viewpoint!

The Butte Chaumont is one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Paris
One of the loveliest hidden gems in Paris during spring time: the Butte-Chaumont

#12 Look for wild green parakeets in Parc Montsouris

The Parc Montsouris is just next to the Cité Universitaire, the big student residence in the south of Paris. The relaxed atmosphere, the many sportives and families make this park one of the non-touristy things to do in Paris.

As a special highlight: there’s a colony of green parakeets living in the Parc Montsouris and it’s fun to look out for them.

#13 See a screening at Cinema Arlequin

Address: 76 Rue de Rennes, 75006 Paris

This independent cinema on Rue de Rennes is the perfect location for a night at the movies if you are not up for big blockbusters. The Cinema Arlequin shows mainly classic movies but also foreign pieces in the original version, sometimes even with the film director present. Check here to see their recent schedule.

#14 Cours de Commerce Saint André

This little half-covered alley between Odéon and Rue de Buci is a wonderful place to stroll through and to have drinks – it’s not on the cheap though. A pint of beer costs easily 10€ and more. However, if you are looking for Paris secrets, you should at least take a peek.

hidden gems of paris: the cour saint andré
You easily walk past this little Paris Gem even though it’s in the center of town

#15 Enjoy Live Music at Fête de la Musique

Every year on the 21 of June, Paris becomes one big stage. You basically have concerts everywhere: in Parks, bars, venues, or simply on the streets. Most of them are free and it’s one of the very Parisian and local things to do in Paris.

#16 Secret Paris: Rue Nansouty

While Rue Nansouty is admittedly not very interesting, however, it’s a good starting point to discover some of the cutest streets in Paris. Every alley that branches off Rue Nansouty is worth a walk-through and is perfect for pretty Instagram pictures!

Also interesting: These are the 41 most Gorgeous & Famous Streets in Paris

Square Montsouris - one of the many nice streets around Parc Montsouris a hidden gems paris and one of the secret spots in Paris that you shouldn't miss
Square de Montsouris – one of the many hidden gems in Paris

#17 See the Rocky Horror Picture Show

Address: 42 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris

Just next to St.Michel, you can see Brad and Janet. Know that there is no advance sale at the Studio Galande Be there 45 minutes early and queue to get admission tickets. Don’t forget the rice.

Be in the know of unique things to do in Paris

#18 The Gardens of Albert Kahn (Secret of Paris)

Address: 2 Rue du Port, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt (Metro Line 10)

The Jardin d’Albert Kahn is one of my favorite hidden spots in Paris. The 4 hectares garden is especially nice if you are visiting Paris in the Spring – it’s a patchwork of different gardens and architectural styles. Hence,  you find Japanese, French, and English gardens, but also rosaries, orchards, and forests.

The Albert Kahn Garden is truly a hidden spot in Paris and also a great alternative if you can’t make it to the Gardens of Monet in Giverny.

hidden spots in paris: the jardin Albert kahn with the iconic japanese bridge
Hidden Places in Paris: The Jardin Albert Kahn is not broadly known (here with my son photo bombing my shot)

#19 Paris for Locals: Open-Air Cinema at Parc la Villette (free)

Grab a picnic cover and a bottle of wine and enjoy a warm summer night at Parc la Villette. The cinema sessions are usually taking place in July and August.

#20 La REcyclerie

La REcyclerie in the north of Paris is a bar, restaurant, shop, and sustainability workshop that uses parts of the old railway ring around Paris for its projects. It’s a pretty cool and inspiring place. It is one of the cool places in Paris, that rarely is visited by tourists.

During winter, you find here as well themed Christmas markets such as a Japanese Christmas Market, which is perfect to pick up some presents.

Add some hidden spots in Paris to your itinerary for the best experience

#21 Vineyards & Beehives at Parc Georges Brassens

When looking for non-touristy things to do in Paris, the Parc Georges Brassens can’t be missing from your bucket list. It’s a gorgeous park in the south of Paris, in the 15. Arrondissement and perfect to mingle with the locals.

On the weekends, it’s a hotspot for families thanks to the many playgrounds. But it’s also great for a stroll because in Georges Brassens you find one of the secrets of Paris: a hidden vineyard. But also a couple of beehives and lots of shady spots for an early evening Apéro. And an apéro, my friend, is one of the most non touristy thing to do in Paris.

Secret Spot in Paris - the Parc Georges Brassens with it's duck pond, beehives and of course the little vineyard
A truly hidden gem in Paris- the Parc Georges Brassens with its duck pond, beehives, and of course the little vineyard

#22 Open-Air Concerts in Parc Floral

Throughout summer plenty of concerts are happening in Parc Floral, mainly Jazz and Classic. Many of them are free, however, the park charges a small admission fee during high season. It’s one of the coolest unique things to do in Paris for music fans.

Tip: See our guide with more than 70 ideas on what to do in Paris for free

#23 Chinese New Year Parade at Place d’Italie

The Asian community in Paris is the biggest in Europe and with more than 50.000 members, the Parisian Chinatown in the 13th Arrondissement is absolutely worth the trip. But as not many tourists are coming by, you can consider it an activity in Paris off the beaten path.

Of course, the Chinese New Year celebrations are outstanding. The most significant is the parade that leads through China Town and starts around Place d’Italie. Get there a bit early to get to a good place.

Unusual things to do in Paris - visit Chinatown and see the new years parades! great idea if you're up for some offbeat things to do in Paris. If you are searching for hidden gems in Paris, you shouldn't miss this Parade -hidden gems paris
The Parisian Chinatown lies in the 13th arrondissement and if you’re there around the new year, don’t miss the parades for the Chinese new year – meeting point: place d’Italie!

#24 Fnac Summer Festival (free)

The Festival “Fnac Live” happens every year in June on the esplanade of the Paris town hall. The 3-day Festival is free of charge.

⪼ see this fun wishlist with plenty of unusual tours and activities that I created for GetYourGuide

#25 Wander the prettiest street in Paris

There are of course many pretty streets in Paris, but the rue de l’Abreuvoir in Montmartre is supposed to be the prettiest one. It is not so much of a hidden Paris gem anymore since it was a filming location of Emily in Paris, but it still deserves a place on this list, I think.

But as you know, there are quite a few beautiful spots in Montmartre and you’ll be happy to know that walking tours in Montmartre are great for budget travel – they start at 15€!  Click here to see their schedules!

Maison Rose in Montmartre on top of Rue Abreuvoir
The Maison Rose in Montmartre stands at top of Rue Abreuvoir, the loveliest street in Paris

#26 Eat at L’as du Falafel

Address: 34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris

This restaurant in the heart of the Marais is supposedly the favorite Falafel place of Lenny Kravitz. You can either try to get a seat inside or you simply get a Falafel Sandwich as a takeaway. Don’t get put off by the queue though, they are pretty fast.

Interested in the best food in Paris? Check our food guide and know which treat not to miss in Paris!

#27 Visit the Emily in Paris filming locations

With the confinement, the travel ban, and all this pandemic madness, the Netflix Series “Emily in Paris” hit the scene like a bomb. And it’s adding a nice itinerary to your next Paris trip! Check out all the original filming locations of Emily in Paris here.

Aki Boulanger - a French Japanese Bakery near Opèra, one of the secret spots in Paris if you are keen on japanese cuisine
Aki Boulanger – a yummy hidden gems in Paris

#28 Melon Bread or Matcha Brioche from Aki

Address: 16 Rue Sainte-Anne, 75001 Paris

Aki is a Japanese bakery at Rue St.Anne and it’s here where you find some of the yummiest baked goods of Paris. On Rue St. Anne, you find the Japanese Quarter of Paris, and Aki Boulanger is a Japanese-French Bakery.

But this corner of Paris, close to Opèra Garnier, it’s also the place in Paris to have the best Ramen.

#29 Enjoy an Apéro on the Seine River Banks

A very popular – and low-budget – activity for basically everyone. As soon as the sun comes out and the weather gets milder, the banks are filling up. It’s a Paris activity, that everyone enjoys, locals and tourists alike.

It is maybe not a secret, but certainly one of the most authentic and unique things to do in Paris. Just grab a few nibbles from a nearby grocery store, some beers or wine, and enjoy that you are in Paris.

The Seine at Île de la Cité with the Tour de Saint Jacques in the backdrop
The Île-de-la-Cité is a wonderful spot to spend some relaxed hours in Paris

#30 Eat chocolates at Patrick Roger

If you are having sweet tooth, don’t miss this chocolatier. It is one of the best in Paris. You don’t need to buy a ton though, you can just buy two or three chocolates, it’s not weird.

#31 Treat yourself at Lafayette Gourmet

Address: 35 Bd Haussmann, 75009 Paris

If you want to try some of the best foods in Paris, plan to have lunch at the food court of the Galeries Lafayette. It is just across the street from the department store and I assure you, you’ll have a hard time choosing. It is all so yummy. My favorite store at the Lafayette Gourmet is Babka Zana, their sandwiches are just wonderful.

Secret Spots Paris for Lunch: Babka Zana
A delicious Le Sabich sandwich from Babka Zana pickles with egg on an amazing bread

#32 Le Pont des Arts

Le Pont des Arts is one of the many bridges in Paris and it is really one of the nicest. It’s a pedestrian bridge that is a popular spot to have an apéro and some wine in the evening.

#33 Find a Speakeasy Bar

There are a few secret bars in Paris, hidden behind stores, launderettes, or restaurants. A cool thing to do in Paris that you shouldn’t miss when on a mission to discover secret places in Paris. read more about secret bars and speakeasies here

If you are generally. interested in Cocktails, also read our post about the best Cocktail Bars in Paris.

Secret Places in Paris: Speak Easy Bars are hidden bars that you won't recognize as a bar from the outside. The Rehab is in the basement of a hotel.
one of the nicest speakeasy bar in Paris – Rehab, you find it near the Louvre

#34 Go Vintage Fashion Shopping in a Kilo Shop

The kilo shop is probably the most known vintage store, but there are plenty! Check out the Marais, where you find most of the thrift stores in Paris.  Or head over to the famous Galeries Lafayette: they have a decent vintage section as well!

#35 Find the graves of Jim Morrison & Oscar Wilde

.. who are – amongst many others – buried in the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery. This graveyard is a wonderful maze of old tombs, mausolea, trees, and cobblestones. To enjoy it to the fullest, and to make sure not to miss anything of its interesting history, save your spot on a walking tour! It’s pretty budget-friendly! Click here to know more

the cemetery pere lachaise with it's cobblestone lanes and old graves
The Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris

#36 Eat Currywurst at Café Titon

Address: 34 Rue Titon, 75011 Paris

This is probably one of the least Parisian things to do (and eat) in Paris but if you are fond of Germany (or soccer matches or Jägermeister or said Currywurst), you should check out this charming little Bar. I as a german girl, approve.

Paris off the beaten path: Make sure to add a few hidden gems to your itinerary

#37 Visit the Flower Market at Île-de-la-Cité

This every day and all-day market is famous for flowers and it’s a wonderful place for a stroll. The real name of this hidden Paris gem is Marché aux Fleurs Reine Elizabeth II. Hence, named after the former Queen of England to honor the Queen herself, but also the 70th anniversary of the Allied Forces.

#38 Buy Cheese at Fromagerie Quatrehommes

You can’t travel to Paris without tasting some cheese. If visiting a market is not fitting your itinerary, check out the Fromagerie Quatrehommes. They have 5 shops all over Paris and they are a good address.

our secret Paris tip: get some cheese in Paris from Fromagerie Quatrehomme Eatin cheese in Paris is not one of the hidden things to do in Paris - but finding a good fromagerie is like finding the secret of Paris - get to know the hidden Paris for cheese lovers
There can’t be too much cheese, right? Paris is a cheese paradise!

#39 Le Petit Bain (non touristy Paris for nightlife)

Address: 7 Port de la Gare, 75013 Paris

A rather unique place in Paris; the Petit Bain is a barge on the Seine that got converted to a bar and little concert venue. All over the week and the weekend, you have concerts of local and international artists. But the Petit Bain is also a club, where you can dance until 6 am.

#40 Chinatown in the 13th Arrondissement

I mentioned above already the Parades for the Chinese New year, but Paris Chinatown is of course as well an excellent place to eat Asian food in Paris. Well, the term Chinatown is a bit misleading. It’s rather Indochinatown, as it has a very high Vietnamese and Laotian population.

And also excellent Phò and other treats from the region. My recommendation here is: try the Vietnamese sandwiches from Tang Frère, they are the best you can get in Paris! If you are more up for a seated lunch or dinner,  try the Thai restaurant Lao Lane Xang – it’s my favorite I am not alone, it is even mentioned in the Guide Michelin.

Shakespeare and Company - one of the few english american bookstores in Paris- not as much of a hidden places paris but a good adress
Shakespeare & Company – known for the regular author readings they host in their beautiful bookstore

#41 Attend a reading at Shakespeare & Company

Shakespeare and Company are one of the most iconic and famous anglophone bookstores in Paris and they are hosting free reading sessions on most Mondays. Be there early to get a seat inside and stay a bit late to share a glass of wine with the author. (2023 update: on hold for the time being)

#42 Find the House of Serge Gainsbourg

Serge Gainsbourg is the most iconic musician, singer, actor, author, painter, and filmmaker of the 20th century. Polarising and controversial, he provoked the French like no other. He was born in Paris and died there as well. Even though the house where he lived can’t be visited from the inside, the outside is already cult. You find it at Rue de Verneuil.

Add some of the unique things to do in Paris to your itinerary

#43 Eat an authentic Crêpes Bretonne

Montparnasse is the train station that serves trains arriving from the west of France. Hence, folks from Bretagne arrived here back in the day and settled down within the area. That’s why the Montparnasse area it’s the best place in Paris to eat authentic Breton Crêpe and Galette.

Just stroll down rue Odessa or Rue Montparnasse and find a spot in a Crêperie. There are plenty.

You find many bars and restaurants near the Tour Montparnasse

#44 Have a coffee at Hexagone Café

Address: 121 Rue du Château, 75014 Paris

This coffee house is a truly hidden Paris gem if you like coffee. I would even go so far as to say that you get there some of the best coffee in Paris.

#45 Eat Ramen at Rue Sainte-Anne

The Rue Sainte Anne is famous for being the Japanese Quarter of Paris and therefore as well the location, where you get by far the best Japanese food. You can easily find the best restaurant by just checking the lengths of the queue!

You find non-touristy things to do in Paris all over town, you just need to know where to look

#46 Explore the Covered Book Market

Address: 104 Rue Brancion, 75015 Paris

This is one of the best hidden gems of Paris – the covered book market. If you are searching for old books, this Paris gem is your place! The little covered book market is next to Parc Georges Brassens, a nice place to have a walk or relax in the sun.

It’s located in old market halls that belonged to a slaughterhouse that was here back in the day. But not just any slaughterhouse, the only one in Paris that specialized in horse meat. It’s long gone, but if you watch out, you still see a few horse heads engraved on the nearby buildings. Visiting the nearby park is one of the non touristy things to do in Paris, as it’s a rather residential area.

hidden gems Paris - visit the covered book market at Parc Georges Brasses.
Hidden things to do in Paris: Visit the covered book market at Parc Georges Brassens

Also, if you want to discover the 15th and 14th arrondissement more in-depth, check our post about the Vanves Flea Market and the Petite Ceinture.

#47 Eat Macarons at Pierre Hermé

Besides Ladurée you find the best Macarons in Paris at the shop of Pierre Hermé. They are insanely popular and you most likely have to queue a bit to get some … however, they are as delicious as expensive. But it’s completely acceptable just to buy a couple.

#48 Have drinks at Rue Mouffetard

A cobbled stone street with about a trillion bars and restaurants. It is a bit off the tourist center of Paris and is mainly frequented by locals and students and a good Paris gem to tick off your “Secret places to visit in Paris” list.

Rue Mouffetard is a hidden gem of Paris that not many people know. It's in the Latin quarter and a pedestrian street
There are trillions of places to have an Apéro in Paris – Rue Mouffetard is one of them

#49 Sample Rum at La Rhumerie

Address: 166 Bd Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

Did you know that rum is a bit part of French culture? Thanks to the many oversea departments, the French love a good rum, and Paris is a good place to taste some of the finest sugar cane spirits. A perfect place for a rum tasting is at La Rhumerie, an institution in Paris amongst rum lovers. If you are there, also try Accras. They go perfectly with white rum and ti’punch.

Do you think it’s a coincidence that many non tourist things to do in Paris are about food?

#50 The Museum of Modern Art

With more than 11000 œuvres the MAM is one of the biggest museums in Paris and: it’s free! However, you are kindly asked to donate 5€. See my post about free museums in Paris to know where to see art on a budget.

#51 Attend the Salon des Vignerons Indépendants

Each year in November independent winegrowers from all over France are gathering at the Paris Exposition Centre at Porte de Versailles to present and sell their grape juice. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, you can taste A. LOT.

There are hundreds of wineries present though, and it can be difficult to get an overview and find the good spots. My favorite is the wine from Saint Amant. So if you want to explore one of the most non-touristy things to do in Paris related to wine, the Salon des Vignerons is a good idea.

wine bottles at the salon des vignerons in Paris, a non tourt thing to do in Paris for sure.
Wine from Saint Amant is one of my favorites.

#52 Get the creeps at the Vampire Museum of Paris

Address: 14 Rue Jules David, 93260 Les Lilas (Metro 11)

The Parisian Vampire Museum is a privately run museum, owned by a vampire enthusiast. Or a vampire, who knows? You need to book ahead to get access.

#53 Visit the flea market at Porte de Vanves

This flea market is an excellent location to explore unknown places and secret spots in Paris. The flea market is in the south of Paris, near Porte de Vanves. The market lies in the 14th arrondissement, in a very non-touristy and off-the-beaten-track neighborhood.

It’s a great spot to stroll through Paris that has very little to do with the impressive center. The flea market is known for all sorts of collectibles, little furniture pieces, and knick-knacks. Not too much for vintage clothing though.

Check our recommendations and get more info about the Puces de Vanves here

Are you looking for non touristy places in Paris? Visit Porte de Vanves.

#54 See photography at Galerie de l’Instant

Address: 46 Rue de Poitou, 75003 Paris

If you like photography, then the Galerie de l’Instant is a good tip for you. It is a tiny gallery, in fact just a little store, but the exhibition is wonderful. Admission is free and you are probably in and out in 5 minutes, but if you are in the Marais, step in.

#55 Visit the Salon d’Agriculture

The Salon d’Agriculture is a big trade fair and exhibition, where producers from all over France are presenting their products. It’s mainly a big feast of cold cuts, wines, and sweets (to buy and sample for free), but also a massive exhibition of animals, machines, and merchandise.

It’s a yearly event that takes place by the end of February / early March

Hidden Paris: Be in the know of the secret places in Paris

#56 The Grand Mosque

Address: 2bis Pl. du Puits de l’Ermite, 75005 Paris

Visit La Grande Mosquée and be amazed! A stunning sight to behold, this mosque is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. And it comes quite unexpectedly in the center of the Latin Quarter.

Stroll through an oasis of lush foliage, admire the beautiful wisterias blooming during spring, or take a break at the café. It’s a place of tranquility. You also could make it a spa day by visiting the hammam – it’s truly paradise found!

Lush Gardens at the Grande Mosque, one of the nicest secret spots paris
Lush Gardens at the Grande Mosque

#57 Visit a farmer’s market in Paris

With food playing such a central role in French culture, you can be sure to find the freshest and most delicious treats at the daily farmer’s markets in Paris. There are plenty of markets all over town, some in covered halls, like the Marché des Enfants Rouges, but many are just street markets that get set up in the morning.

You see a complete list of markets in Paris and their opening times here. Visiting one of the markets is a lovely non-touristy thing to do in Paris. It’s also a great opportunity to stock up on yummy treats for your evening apéro.

#58 Explore the covered passages

Check my post about the most beautiful arcades in Paris to know where to find them

Probably one of the nicest walks you can have in  Paris. Especially if you want to see Paris through the eyes of a flâneur of the 19th century. Once, more than 180 glass-covered arcades were existing in Paris. Today, only 20 of them remained, and are more popular than ever!

They are wonderful to explore and are indeed some of the best hidden gems in Paris. Thanks to their glass ceiling, they are also perfect if you are finding yourself in Paris under the rain, or on a cold winter day.

My tip: If you are up for a really good drink, stop by Danico, a cocktail bar in the Galerie Vivienne and one of my favorite bars.

Galerie Vivienne - a must if you are looking to discover the secrets of paris
a gem in a gem – the cocktail bar Danico in the Galerie Vivienne

#59 visit the free museums

Budget tip and well-kept Paris secret

One of the best kept secrets in Paris is that on certain days, most museums are free. Ok, maybe labeling that as best kept secret is a bit brave, but in fact, not many visitors are aware. So if you are in Paris on the first Sunday of the month during winter you will have free entrance for example to the Arc de Triomphe or the Panthéon.

But then there are as well wonderful museums, that are always free. Wanna see art for free? Check out our post about free museums in Paris!

#60 See Street Art at la Butte-aux-Cailles

The Butte-aux-Cailles is an elevated area just next to Place d’Italie. The area is covered with street art, little alleys, and many affordable bars and restaurants. It’s one of the secret places to visit in Paris, if you are up for drinks with locals, far off the tourist areas.

Butte aux Cailles, hidden gem of Paris
the best place to spot some street art – and to go out!

#61 View from the Rooftop at Galerie LaFayette

If you are keen on fantastic views over the Palais Garnier with the Eiffel Tower in the backdrop, then the Rooftop at the Galeries LaFayette is your place to be. Just take the stairs or the lift up to the rooftop on the 7th floor and enjoy one of the best views over Paris – for free!

#62 See the oldest house in Paris

Did you ever hear of Nicolas Flamel? Maybe. Especially if you are familiar with the Harry Potter universe. Because it was Nicolas Flamel who supposedly created the philosophers stone in the first part of the series. However, Nicolas Flamel was once a real living person, who lived during the 14th century in Paris.

While it is not known if he really discovered the philosopher’s stone that granted him immortality, we know for sure where he lived, at 51 rue de Montmorency in the Marais. The house exists still today and is even the oldest house in Paris. And a Michelin Star restaurant.

The House of Nicolas Flamel is a hidden gem in the Marais. it dates back to the 15th century
The house of Nicolas Flamel in the Marais

#63 Visit the market & Stores at Rue Montorgueil

Yet another cobblestone street with a lot of delis, bars, and restaurants. A good place to either have lunch or to buy lunch to take away and have a picnic somewhere. For example at the Seine or in one of the many parks in Paris.

Hidden Gems in Paris – Many are a bit outside of the busy center

#64 Find as many Space Invaders as you can

If you are wondering what the heck I am talking about, I can explain. Since the mid ’90s, Paris is full of Space Invaders. No, I am not losing my mind. I am talking about a street artist, who calls himself Invader, and who attached more than 1400 little mosaics to walls, houses, and bridges. All over Paris.

Some are huge, some are tiny and you can collect them. It’s a fun activity for you to discover Paris, especially if you are visiting Paris with kids or teenagers. Download the App FlashInvaders and you’re ready to go!

hunting Space Invaders is a fun thing to do in Paris, this space invader hides on a pillar.
One of the many space invaders of Paris

#65 Village Flair at Rue de Commerce

If you want to do some shopping in Paris, but are keen on discovering a low-key area, head to Rue de Commerce. Many popular stores are having boutiques here but you find also some upscale stores.

#66 visit the Sewers of Paris

That might sound odd, but you can actually visit the Sewers of Paris. The museum is open to the public and shows you the underground and the hidden secrets of Paris.

Good news for holders of the Paris Museums Pass: Admission is free for Paris Museums Pass owners! Click here for more info on the Paris Museums Pass and learn which are the more than 60 Museums around Paris that are included. (Spoiler: Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Sainte Chapelle and Versailles are in)

#67 Join La Nuit Blanche

La Nuit Blanche is a cultural event in Paris with installations and events all over town. Most of it is free – as is public transportation that evening!

view from the Coulé Verte - a spot you shouldn't be missing if you are looking for hidden places in Paris
The Parisian Highline – the Coulée Verte

#68 Walk on the Coulée Verte

If you want a see the 12th arrondissement from an unusual perspective, get up the Coulée Verte and walk from Bastille 4.7km east until you reach the Parisian city limits.

The walkways are wonderful and very diverse. You start at the elevated promenade on top of the Viaduct des Arts. Along your way you pass lush gardens, and interesting areas and you can even prolong your walk until the Bois de Vincennes.

Secret Places: Paris is full of them

#69 Visit the Circus Museum: Musée des Arts Forain

Are you in for a ride to the good old times of fun fairs and circuses? Then add this hidden Paris gem to your itinerary. The museum is only open a few days a week and you need a reservation to get in. Best to check here if there is a free spot available during your time in Paris.

If this museum seems familiar, it’s possibly because you’ve seen it in Emily in Paris.

#70 Visit the Museums Atélier of Ossip Zadkine

Address: 100bis Rue d’Assas, 75006 Paris

Make your way to the Musée Zadkine, located in Paris near Jardin Luxembourg. This museum is a tribute to Russian sculptor Ossip Zadkine and his stunning works of art! Here you’ll find over 300 sculptures along with drawings, photographs, and tapestries – it’s worth more than just a casual glance!

Woman in the jardin du luxembourg, it is indeed one of the very local things to do in PAris to spend an afternoon in a park
The Jardin du Luxembourg close to the Museum of Ossip Zadkine

#71 Île Saint Louis

Ile-Saint-Louis offers the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle. This Island on the Seine lies just next to the famous Ile-de-la-Cite, where you can find sights like Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle. It’s mostly residential, so expect it to be quieter and less touristy.

#72 The Berges de Seine

The Berges de Seine is a riverside promenade that runs along both sides of the Seine, offering stunning views of the Eiffel Tower and much more. What used to be a typical city freeway is now a leisure paradise.

During the warmer months, bars and beer gardens pop up all over the place. Plus, if that’s not enough to keep you occupied there’s always Paris Plage, an urban beachside complete with sand (not every year), and deck chairs.

Watching the sunset while sipping a cold beer, or having a picnic on the embankment overlooking the Notre-Dame cathedral – sounds like the perfect evening escape from city crowds!

Berges de Seine Paris
Berges de Seine during summer: where the locals go

#73 Street Art at Belleville

If you’re looking for something a bit more low-key and non-touristy to do in Paris, then head over to Belleville’s neighborhood. Located in the east of Paris, this working-class area is the birthplace of Edith Piaf and also a true street art paradise.

You’ll come across graffiti, tags, and stencils all over the walls, with many bars and restaurants as well for when it comes time to refuel. Whether you’re looking for inspiration on your next piece of art or just want to explore local culture beyond tourist spots, Belleville has got something special that you can’t find anywhere else in the city!

#74 Read a Manga in Fnac

Fnac is a chain that is specialized in cultural products: books, DVD, games, TVs etc. Their book department has a great Manga section and even though it’s probably not intended,  you always have plenty of people just sitting around on the floor and reading their favorite books for free. Join them 🙂

The Statue of Liberty a secret hidden off the beaten path Paris
The Statue of Liberty near the Eiffel Tower

#75 See the Statue of Liberty at Allée des Cygnes

Did you know about Allée des Cygne, the artificial island on the Seine? You may not have heard of it, but at 850 meters long and 11 meters large, it is an interesting hidden spot in the city of Paris! One major attraction of this tiny island is the Statue of Liberty which stands 16 meters tall- a gift from a french community in the United States. If you’re looking to do something other than typical touristy things while in Paris, Allée des Cygne is a great option.

#76 .. and the Flame of Liberty at Pont d’Alma

You probably know by now that the Statue of Liberty was built in France by no one less than Gustave Eiffel (the name rings a bell, right? :)) and then shipped over to New York City where the lady got assembled.. however, a replica of the Flame of Liberty can be visited in Paris until today – close the Métro Station Alma Marceau!

It’s just below the tunnel in which sadly Lady Di died and the flame became a memorial for the Princess of Wales.

unique things to do paris: walk on the Petit Ceinture
The petite ceinture in the 15th and 14th Arrondissement

#77 The Petite Ceinture

Being the city that never sleeps, Paris abounds in curiosity, offering hidden historical gems like Petit Ceinture; an old railway belt around the Grande Dame. Constructed back in 1851, it operated until 1934 before falling into disuse only to be recently revitalized with parts of it now open for people to explore. This makes Petit Ceinture one of those off-the-beaten-track activities that particularly thrill visitors who prefer exploring non touristy things to do while they’re in Paris!

#75 Walk up Belleville for a fabulous view

Read our complete review and guide to the wonderful Belleville area here and make sure not to miss the amazing street art that is covering the quartier. Are you rather have a local show you around and get valuable insider views? Click here to see all available Street Art Tours in Paris! 

Belleville lays in off the beaten path paris
The view from Belleville

#76 Take Metro Line 6 from Trocadero to Bir Hakeim

For a very special Paris-Metro-moment, take the Metro from Trocadero to Bir Hakeim, or the other way around. Because while crossing the Seine you are getting the most fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower.

It’s probably the nicest Metro track section of Paris, with a stunning view, especially at night. It’s the best way to approach the Eiffel Tower – read more about it here

#76 Stroll along the Canal St.Martin

Looking for a place in Paris that’s totally unique? Look no further than Canal St. Martin! This underrated channel is full of locks and bridges that connect it to the northern channels of the Seine. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot for a relaxing picnic or an opportunity to explore some of the best bars in the city, Canal St. Martin has something for everyone!

As a bonus, it’s nestled away in one of the most alternative parts of this vibrant city—so you won’t find yourself surrounded by too many tourists. Make sure to check out Canal St. Martin on your next visit to Paris!

Paris hidden treasure: The Canal St. Martin in the North east of Paris belongs to the rather hidden things to do in Paris
Canal St. Martin in the North East of Paris – definitive a hidden gem in Paris – especially in summer

#78 See Street Performers at Sacre Cœur

If you’re looking for an unique Paris experience, head to Sacre Coeur for stunning views and lively street entertainment. Perched on top of Montmartre, the hilltop cathedral provides breathtaking views and the artist-lined streets will keep you entertained.

Grab a beer to enjoy the early evening and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a whole new world! There’s something almost magical when visiting Sacre Coeur.

#79 Visit the vineyard in Montmartre

It’s hard to believe such a hidden gem of Paris exists, but just behind Sacre Coeur in Montmartre lies a particularly special vineyard truly worth exploring. You see it best from the Musée de Montmartre, but also from the street.

The wine that the vineyard produces is up for auction each year and all proceeds from the auction benefit local social projects, giving back to the community and making sure everyone can enjoy their share of this hidden little piece of Parisian history.

View over the vineyards of Montmartre
View over the vineyards of Montmartre from the Musée de Montmartre

#80 Buy chocolates and other treats at the Bon Marché

Address: 24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris

What better way to experience the quintessential Parisian life than by indulging in the delicious treats this beautiful city has to offer? Be sure to visit the Bon Marché for all your gastronomic must-haves.

From freshly-baked pastries such as croissants and tarts, to artisanal cheeses or fine charcuterie, you can treat yourself (or someone special) to something they wouldn’t expect while exploring the City of Light. Whether you’re looking to give a taste of Paris to your friends and family back home or want something new for yourself – look no further than the Bon Marché! Bring a well-filled wallet though.

secret spot in Paris: Bon Marché - the insider place to find amazing food

#81 Paris’ famous university La Sorbonne

well.. you can’t just walk in unless you are a student, but you can try to get into one of their tours that are held almost daily. However, even if you just walk around its walls, it’s a nice promenade through the Latin Quarter, a quirky area with typical student vibes. Fun Fact: La Sorbonne is one of the oldest universities in the world, founded in 1253!

#82 Find one of the Banksy Graffitis

Paris secret spot near la Sorbonne: find the Banksy Graffiti in Rue Victor Cousin! The artist left his mark on Paris in 2018 when suddenly 10 Banksy stencils popped up all over town.

#83 See the colorful Houses at Rue Crémieux

Rue Crémieux is a hidden gem tucked away between Bastille and Gare de Lyon in Paris that’s Instagram-worthy! The street is lined with sweet pastel-colored homes, which makes it one of the most unique places in Paris.

If you’re lucky enough to wander down Rue Crémieux, be sure to keep your admiration respectful – these homes are actually real people’s residences! So take as many pictures as your heart desires but just remember – being considerate to the local community should always be a top priority.

Rue Crémieux - a colourful street near the Gare de Lyon
Rue Crémieux – a colorful street near the Gare de Lyon, and a popular photo location!

#84 Find Point Zero

Supposedly in the epicenter of Paris. The plate in the ground is close to Notre Dame and can be easily overseen as it’s .. well just a round plate in the ground. However, it’s traditionally the point that functions as a reference to anywhere else around France. It’s also one of those spots that are known to be granting wishes-

#85 Play board games at “Le Dernier Bar Avant la Fin du Monde”

One of the geekiest places in Paris. Apart from playing board games and enjoy yummy dishes and interesting cocktails, you can take a seat on the Iron Throne or take a selfie with R2D2. If you’re into E-Sports and gaming in general, pass by the Meltdown Bar. Both are great spots if you are visiting Paris with kids or teens.

looking for street art in Paris is a great way to engage in non-touristy things to do in Paris.

#86 Watch out for Miss.Tic

Miss.Tic was a Parisian street artist and poet, who died in 2022. She left her beautiful stencils all over Paris and with a bit of luck, you can find a few of them. Look out for stencils of dark-haired women, it could be an artwork of Miss.Tic.

#87 Relax at Paris Plage

Summer in Paris means Paris Plage! During July and August, the Seine river transforms into a laid-back urban beach scene … with changing cultural and sportive offers, pop-up bars, music, and all sorts of animation. Click here to know more about it! 

#88 Find Simone de Beauvoir’s grave

The famous French philosopher and feminist Simone de Beauvoir died in 1986 and got buried in the Montparnasse cemetery. She shares a grave with her partner Jean-Paul Satre, who died in 1980.

The grave of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre
The grave of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvois

#89 Take a picture of the Arc de Triomphe from La Défense

La Defense is the bustling business center of Paris and certainly an impressive sight in the cityscape. It’s a great photo opportunity with its unique architecture providing an excellent view of the famous Arc de Triomphe.

Shopping enthusiasts needn’t worry either, as La Defense houses a large shopping mall featuring all of your favorite stores! In short, it’s a great place to spend a few hours in Paris – don’t forget your camera!

#90 Sneak in Hotel Dieu – a truly secret place in Paris

Just next to the famous cathedral Notre Dame lays one of the truly hidden places in Paris. Most people just walk by, not knowing what they’re missing! Curious? Check here to know more!

Hotel Dieu - insider tip Paris
The Hotel Dieu – a hidden place just next to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral

#91 Bibliothèque François Mitterand and Avenue de France

The new 13th arrondissement is nothing like Paris as you know it. It’s rather a business and student district with modern glass facades, hip coffee, and Bagel stores. If you visit Paris and would like to get it as a total; you shouldn’t miss this area.

#92 Go for a swim on the Seine in the Piscine Josephine Baker

If you’re a swimming enthusiast looking, don’t forget your swim trunks! Taking a dip in Piscine Josephine Baker is a great way to get some exercise and experience the city like a local. It’s one of the less touristy places in Paris.

This pool is located on a boat at the banks of the River Seine, which makes it even more special to visit. Not only can you enjoy splashing around the outdoor pool, but you can also admire views of the Seine and the Parisian cityscape. Visiting Piscine Josephine Baker offers visitors something unique in Paris that they won’t find elsewhere!

The old palaces in the Marais are real hidden places in Paris

#93 Visit the Hôtel de Sens

Address: 7 Rue des Nonnains d’Hyères, 75004 Paris

If you’ve ever wanted to find out some of the secrets of Paris, the Hôtel de Sens is a great place to start. Located in the Marais – one of the oldest parts of the city – this old palace has quite a few stories to tell!

It was abandoned after the French Revolution, and if you keep your eyes peeled, you can even spot a cannonball that got stuck in one of its walls. A souvenir from the revolution. Pay a visit to Hôtel de Sens if you’re looking for a real peek into Parisian history!

Hotel de Sens Paris
The Hôtel de Sens in Paris

#94 Find the Arène de Lutèce

Who knew that one of Paris’ best-kept secrets was hiding out in plain sight? It’s none other than the Arène, an ancient amphitheater constructed by the Romans when they called the city Lutèce.

Today, it resides in the city’s bustling Latin Quarter and serves as a popular past-time spot – of late, it has been seen filled with locals engaged in a game of boules. Check this guide to get more offbeat tips for the Quartier Latin

#95 Explore the underground vault below the Bastille

Did you know about the hidden Parisian gems that lie beneath the Bastille? It’s true, there’s an underground vault that connects the Seine and the Canal Saint Martin. And it’s still extremely accessible for those looking to explore – all you need to do is take a boat tour.

there are non touristy things to do in Paris for everyone and every taste

#96 Find the Rue des Thermopyles

If you’re looking for a hidden gem in Paris, then I’d highly recommend heading to the 14th arrondissement and checking out the fabulous Rue des Thermopyles. While not a typical tourist spot, there is an undeniable charm to this street that gives it real character and an old-school feel. Not only that but during spring in Paris you can also watch stunning wisterias blooming along its cobblestone pavements, adding splashes of color to its already enchanting ambiance.

All in all, if you’re looking for some of the more romantic places to check out in Paris then make sure you explore Rue des Thermophyles – you won’t be disappointed!

Rue Thermopyles in the 14th arrondissement
Rue Thermopyles in the 14th arrondissement

#97 Check on the oldest tree in Paris

It’s no secret that Paris is an incredible city with a long, rich history — but one of its few secrets is the 400-year-old tree that stands in Viviandi Square! Believe it or not, this majestic locust came all the way from North America centuries ago.

The garden itself is situated right by the Seine in the Latin Quarter— right next door to the iconic Shakespear and Company bookshop.

#98 Discover the beautiful Bookstores of Paris

If you’re looking for the best unique places to go while in Paris, sparkling and grand bookstores should be at the top of your list. The French city is home to a plethora of old-world stores, none more breathtaking than its bookstores.

Within them, you can find rare editions and hidden gems tucked between delicate pages and age-old covers – perfect for any book lover! Not to mention there are a handful of stunning anglophone bookstores in Paris too, making it easier to wander around without needing to brush up on your French translation skills.

One of the english bookstore in Paris: a hidden gem
one of the most beautiful bookstores in Paris

Voilà, my favorite non touristy things in Paris and a bucket list of Secrets of Paris. I guess you have a few things to add to your itinerary now.

It’s well worth your time to leave the beaten path in Paris, and if it’s just for a couple of interesting points. The good thing here is that Paris is very small and you can add most of the hidden gems above buy just taking a little detour. If at all!

If you have any questions about Paris or need some advice and how to plan your trip, don’t hesitate to reach out!  I created a Facebook group for this matter and I am available to help you out! Click here to join the Salut from Paris Facebook group!

à bientôt,

Lena Paristipps

I have lived in Paris since 2005, and I am happy to show you around. Join me on Facebook for updates and news about Paris.

Pin this awesome list with non-tourist things to do in Paris NOW – and find it back later!

hidden gems in Paris - Paris secrets

Similar Posts