So, you’ve managed to see the Eiffel Tower, the Catacombs, the Louvre, the Pantheon, the Palace of Versailles….. the list could go on and on. But do you really want to return home sounding like all you did was follow a Paris guidebook? We both know you’re more interesting than that.
One of the greatest parts about living in a foreign country (even if only for a small bit of time) is that you get the inside scoop on the best hidden gems of the city you’re dwelling in. In the case of Paris, there is much more to see than lovers kissing under the Eiffel Tower. If you stick with me, I’ll guide you through ten of the best hidden spots of my secret Paris. You’ll come home sounding like a local, and will have much more interesting stories to tell!
1. Beehives: Located at the southwest corner of the Jardin du Luxembourg, a handful of large beehives contain tons of bees busy making local honey. Feeling adventurous? You can even sign up for beekeeping classes that are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Though many are afraid of bees, these working insects are so busy producing honey that they won’t even notice you – just don’t disturb their process!
Rue de Médicis – Rue de Vaugirard,75006 Paris
District : Musée d’Orsay – Saint-Germain-des-Prés
2. Covered food markets: If you’ve even spent a couple of days in Paris, I’m sure you’ve come across some local food markets. But have you visited the Marché St. Quentin? It is one of the little-known Paris attractions. It carries some of the best fresh produce you can find in the city and tons of delicious specialty cheeses. There are about thirty stalls to fish through, so go early and take your time to compare prices and find the best possible deals! I guarantee anything you need you can find here.
Address: 85Bis Boulevard de Magenta, 75010 Paris, France
Phone:+33 1 48 85 93 30
Sunday 8:30 am – 1:30 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
3. Historic theaters: If you’re looking for a separate cultural immersion within an already cultural city, try out La Pagode. Found off the beaten path, La Pagode is a historic movie theatre settled in a fabulous 1896 Japanese pagoda. Who would have thought you could find something like this on the streets of hidden Paris? Not strictly a movie theatre, you can come to this incredible building for afternoon tea in the oriental garden. Check out the gorgeous ornate interior with its heavy richness and old world charm.
57 Bis Rue de Babylone, 75007 Paris, France
+33 1 45 55 48 48
4.Taxidermy shops: If you’re looking for something a little, quite, well, unusual, stop into Deyrolle. A strange, magical,surreal,fantastical and quirky taxidermy shop, since 1831, where you can find all sorts of mammals, insects, herbs, and rare crystals – this shop is the perfect stop for anyone who likes to collect anything out of the ordinary.
All the strange taxidermy lovers in the room please stand up; I’ve been standing since I started this article.It is absolutely mind blowing to see all these animals and how beautifully they have been preserved. There are ancient boxes of exotic butterflies, insects,botanical species and shells. Find yourself surrounded by lions, tigers, ostriches,monkeys, zebras,polar bears and even the odd elephant!
Even if you have an issue with taxidermy, stuffing of dead animals, Deyrolle is absolutely worth a visit for the sheer amazingness of this snippet of natural history and also the craft of taxidermy!
Address: 46 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, France
+33 1 42 22 30 07
5. Moroccan restaurants: Popular among locals, 404 is a gorgeous, quaint little Moroccan restaurant in the third district of Paris. Housed in an old 16th-century building, this traditional Morrocan menu is terrific, with the couscous méchoui,fish tagine and Maghrebi-style roast lamb which melts in your mouth as well as offering dishes such as homemade tabbouleh, chicken and pear tagine, lentil salad, and potato pancakes served with hummus – all made the traditional Moroccan way. Enjoy all your food served on gorgeous colorful dinnerware while nestled onto a comfortable couch covered in unique throw pillows. Goodness, I am starting to dribble…!
69 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris, France
+33 1 42 74 57 81
6. Top-of-the-line thrift stores: If you’re looking for the best thrift clothes in Paris but are tired of searching through racks and racks of ugly clothes, check out Pretty Box. This vintage store collects only the best clothing from other vintage stores right throughout all of Europe, making sure that every single item it stocks is a “must have”.
Though a garment or two won’t empty your bank account, the cheap prices combined with the excess of fashionable clothing may make you leave with more than you intended on buying. You may pickup a gorgeous flapper dress from the 1920’s, a 50’s rock and roll outfit or a wonderful funky hippie flower power number……..Pretty box is the place to go if you would like beautiful well cut clothing and wonderful fabrics of another era.
Address: 46 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris, France
+33 1 48 04 81 71
7. The Sewage System: Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re thinking – you didn’t come to Paris to traipse around in the dirty sewers. The Paris Sewer Museum isn’t simply a building filled with historical facts about the sewage system; it’s really an adventure down under the city. For all of you urban explorers or simply those with a spirit of adventure, this museum is one of the most unique you’ll be able to find.Paris’s first sewers were open sewers in the early 1200’s and the very first covered sewer was opened in approx 1370. There is so much information here which I found both absolutely fascinating as well as a little, well, icky! This museum is a wealth of Parisian history.
Address: face au 93 Quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris, France
Phone:+33 1 53 68 27 81
Sunday 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Monday 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Tuesday 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Wednesday 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
8. Street markets: You’ll see these everywhere, but for the most unique street souvenirs visit the Passage l’Homme. It’s off the beaten path, so you’ll have to search a little to find it. The search will be well worth it. The Artisan vendors will set up little stands to sell their unique crafts (and not the touristy ones). You won’t find any “I love Paris” t-shirts here, instead you’ll find a multitude of beautiful clothes, jewelry, and ornaments.
rue de Charonne
Areas: Ledru-Rollin, 11ème
9. Brazilian nightclubs: Looking to find people who have just as much energy to burn off as you do? Look no further. By day, Favela Chic ( Favela means shanty town, so a chic ghetto) is a restaurant specializing in delicious Brazilian food, which change on a regular basis – try out their cocktails as well to start out the evening right! Everyone is welcome here and let me tell you, it is popular.When the kitchen closes at 11pm, everyone lets loose. The night progresses with funky Brazilian and Latin music and plenty of gorgeous groovy people dancing on tables. An added bonus is its also close to the metro.
Address: 18 Rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75011 Paris, France
Phone:+33 1 40 21 38 14
Tuesday 7:30 pm – 2:00 am
Wednesday 7:30 pm – 2:00 am
Thursday 7:30 pm – 2:00 am
Friday 7:30 pm – 4:00 am
Saturday 7:30 pm – 4:00 am
10. Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka, you say? But aren’t we in Paris? You’ll feel as if you just walked into a different country when you stumble upon La Chapelle – known as Little Sri Lanka. Steeped in culture, walking the streets of Little Sri Lanka will allow you to shop for saris, enjoy freshly brewed chai tea and aromatic samosa or curry, and and sniff the wafts of exotic incense. People from these diverse countries of Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Turkey have made this tiny area their home.
Visit this tiny neighborhood during the Ganesh Festival, which pays homage to the Hindu god by parading a giant bronze statue of Ganesh around the streets on August 28th at 9 am at the Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam temple. Be part of this wonderful vibrant event and marvel at how wonderful rituals are and the importance they carry.
The main Streets surrounding La Chapelle: Rue du Faubourg St. Denis, Boulevard de la Chapelle, Rue de Cail
Best way to get there: metro stop La Chapelle on line 2 or Gare du Nord (lines 4, 5 and RER B, D).
Hidden Paris: The Spots That Parisian Locals Don’t Want Us to Find….
The next time you think you’ve seen everything you can possibly see in Paris, think again. I’m sure there are at least one or two places on this list that you have yet to check out, and let me tell you, there are plenty more that I haven’t listed that are waiting, begging to be explored by you and to be found! Don’t just be a tourist, chat to a local, be brave, try out your smattering of French, learn how to be a local and see all the hidden sights that hidden Paris has to offer.I would love to hear about your adventures and what you found or how special or what that encounter meant to you…. after all that is what traveling in a strange city is all about, the unusual sights and the people or adventures you have…
You can write in here,we would love to hear of your secret Paris ….:)
If you want to find out more about Paris secrets, please check this book available on Amazon Store: