There’s plenty to see on a trip to Paris, and countless resources trot out the same itineraries: the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Notre-Dame, the Louvre. Don’t get me wrong—you’ll definitely want to see those places. They’re famous for a reason, after all. But what if you want to shower some lesser known attractions with some love and Instagram hashtags? I turned to some fellow travel bloggers for their favorite—and “unseen”—things to see in Paris.
What to Eat, Drink, and Do in Paris
One of the best places to visit to escape the tourist crowds and take some incredible photos is a little street called Rue Crémieux. Running between two bustling city blocks, Rue Crémieux is known as the most colorful street in Paris! And as soon as you turn onto this quaint cobblestone laneway you’ll see why.
At less than 150m in length you’ll be able to walk the street in just a few minutes – but what Rue Crémieux lacks size it more than makes up for in personality and character. Each of the small, private homes have been other free painted using gentle pastel colors. Your eyes will dark between purple, blue, yellow, green, peach, and every other bright color you could want. Not only that, the locals have decorated their homes with picturesque flower arrangements to make this street even more unique.
Words and photos don’t do it justice – you need to visit for yourself! You can find Rue Crémieux between Rue de Bercy and Rue de Lyon in the 12th arrondissement I’d tell you to keep an eye out, but it’s impossible to miss!
Contributed by Stefan from Stefan Round the World
Place du Trocadéro
On my second trip to Paris in July 2018, I wanted to see the “big” things as it had been eight years since I last visited. However, I also wanted to do the small things in hopes of having different experiences.
A picnic in the park with the Eiffel Tower in view was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had on my travels. But, what was even more surreal was when and where we viewed the Eiffel Tower after the picnic.
If you want to watch the sunset all while seeing brilliant colors dance behind one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, the view from the Jardins du Trocadéro is the place. I couldn’t believe how fast the brilliant blue sky changed to all different shades of pinks and purples. In the midst of this, the Eiffel Tower turned her lights on in order to begin dazzling Paris with all of her beauty.
I couldn’t stop snapping photos, and this one quickly became one of my favorite travel photos of all time!
You can get there by mapping to Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris, France. Go up the steps until you are right above the cannons. The light depends on the time of year, but this was taken on July 6 at 10:11 pm
It’s surprising how relatively very few people know about this gem in the city of lights. With 56 floors, Montparnasse Tower is the first skyscraper of Paris. It has the fastest elevator in the world, taking you to the 56th floor in no time and offering you a panoramic view of the entire city through the glass walls. This is undoubtedly the one location that gives you the best Paris panorama to take home—at the same elevation as that of the Eiffel Tower summit, you get to see Paris with the sparkling Eiffel itself! Can you imagine having a romantic dinner on the same floor with a glass roof on top? Well, you can have that too! This is one of the best experiences to have in an evening in Paris.
Wine and Cheese Tasting
Think of France and you probably think of cheese and wine. So what better thing to do in Paris than take a cheese and wine pairing workshop? The workshop starts with a glass of wine and an introduction to French cheeses. Then you sample 12 different kinds of cheese and the wines to pair them with. The seasonal cheeses are purchased the same day from a specialty cheese shop on the left bank and many are at their prime for only a couple of weeks a year. You can taste the flowers that the cows ate and the salt used to cure others. With a bite of cheese in your mouth, you take a sip of wine and note how the addition of the wine changes the cheese. Often it will make the cheese mellower; sometimes it makes it worse. There is a personal score sheet for you to record your personal ratings for each cheese, each wine and each pairing of cheese and wine. The workshop gives you the ability to more fully appreciate the wine and cheese that you will have the rest of the time you’re in Paris (and when you go back at home, of course). Round off your experience with a visit to the cheese shop in Saint Germain that the cheeses came from and buy your own cheese for a Parisian picnic.
Le Leche Vin
My favorite spot for a drink in Paris a little bar called Le Leche Vin in Bastille. The place is a real surprise of a bar with its very religious theme in the seating area and x rated theme in the toilet (I will say no more – you really have to go to find out what I’m talking about!). The atmosphere is warm and friendly too. Their happy hour is shockingly cheap, with cider for approximately only 2euro and beers and cocktails on offer too, making it a real gem of a find in this beautiful city.
Contributed by Ann Marie from Eco Conscious Traveller
Le Potager du Marais
Le Potager du Marais is my absolute favorite place to eat in Paris. This small, rustic restaurant is probably not in your guidebook but it’s certainly worthy of a visit.
Hidden in the trendy district of Les Marais, Le Potager du Marais offers traditional French cuisine with a vegan twist. From tartare d’algues (seaweed tartare) to soupe à l’oignon (French onion soup), caviar d’aubergines (eggplant caviar) or bourguignon de seitan (seitan stew) you can’t go wrong with this place.
For dessert, the moelleux au chocolat (chocolate cake with chestnut flour and vanilla custard) is to die for. Not only the food is delicious, but the staff is also super friendly and accommodating. What’s more, for such an expensive city like Paris, prices are very reasonable, especially if you consider the quality of the food and service.
Even if you’re not a vegan or vegetarian, I would definitely recommend checking out this place for a taste of French cuisine in a cozy atmosphere and without breaking the bank.
Contributed by Vanda from The Yogi Wanderer
The Catacombs of Paris:
Containing the remains of over 6 million people the Catacombs of Paris are on definitely on the more morbid side of attractions that this incredible city has to offer.
The reasons for the Catacombs are quite strange also. In medieval times the cities cemeteries were overflowing so the government decided to put some abandoned salt mines to use. What happened next was the removal and storage of the remains of all of Paris’s former residents.
The skeletons are stacked in intricates designs and pathways, and it truly is a surreal experience to visit Paris underground.
To reach the entrance to the Catacombs you can walk 20 minutes from Notre Dame, or you can go via taxi from wherever you are in Paris. I would recommend getting a fast pass ticket. The lines are quite long, and I managed to save myself for almost two hours waiting.
As most of the catacombs are closed it takes maybe an hour to get around if you are not part of a group. And if you are claustrophobic, consider before you go, as it isn’t the most welcoming of environments if you have problems with tight spaces.
Contributed by Eoin from Dolly’s Quest
My favorite recommendation for Paris is equally macabre (but not underground this time!). Père Lachaise cemetery is the final resting place for a number of famous folk, including Édith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Maria Callas, and Oscar Wilde.
Located in the 20th arrondissement, it’s the first cemetery designed as a garden, which makes for a pleasant stroll and a nice break from the crowds. I went with the sole intention to visit Oscar Wilde—and back in 2009 left him a kiss. In 2011 they erected a glass wall around the stone so you can no longer kiss the headstone itself, but it’s still a sight to behold.
Have you been to Paris and seen any of these spots? What are your favorite other unseen places in the City of Light?