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HIDDEN GEMS IN PARIS: 14 OF THE BEST KEPT SECRETS

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The image shows Montmartres sinking ship - a hidden gems in Paris.
The image shows Parc Des Butted Chaumont in Paris - one of the hidden gems in Paris.

Hidden gems in Paris: 14 of the best kept secrets

Most people head to the well-known Paris attractions to tick them off their bucket list, and so they should as they’re awesome.

However, if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find many hidden gems in Paris too. From crazy artistic corners of the city to unbelievable pockets of nature, there are secret spots scattered everywhere.

In this guide, you’ll discover some of the most unique areas and sights in Paris that we’ve uncovered after visiting the city of love almost every year for longer than we can remember.

At the end of each section, you’ll also find the address of each location. These truly are some of the coolest things to do in Paris.

Key information about Paris

a street in Paris
a street in Paris

Best time to visit: June – October
Average flight time from the US: 7.5 hours
Visa: No visa is required unless you’re staying for more than 90 days
Language: French is the main language, however, most also speak English
Currency: Euros
Plug: Type C and E – you’ll need a travel adapter!
Daily budget: €50/£45/$60 USD
Safety: Paris is a safe city to explore both day and night, however always make sure you pack a money belt!

Hidden gems in Paris

🏨 Before we jump in, if you haven’t already got something booked, then I wanted to highlight a really great place to stay called La Maison Hotel – it’s a mid-range hotel thats so gorgeous and definitely somewhere to check out!

Le Squat du 59 Rue de Rivoli

The image shows Le Squat du 59 Rue de Rivoli which is a hidden gem in Paris.

Close to the Louvre is Le Squat du 59 Rue de Rivoli – a very unique art museum!

It was previously occupied by squat artists up until 1999 when Paris legally announced it as a museum.

The walls of 52 Rivoli are head to toe in artistic graffiti, with many artists claiming each room as their studio to present their fascinating work to the public.

While the museum is free to enter, you can make a small donation or purchase pieces of art from the hosts.

We highly recommend visiting Le Squat du 59 Rue de Rivoli to admire the creative work and capture some funky pictures.

The opening hours are between 1 pm and 8 pm.

Where to find it: 59 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France

Read more: We just mentioned the Louvre, which is also featured in our post: things to do in Paris: 10 attractions you can’t miss

Le Mur Des Je T’aime (I love you wall)

The image shows the I love you wall in Paris - one of the hidden gems.
The image shows the I love you wall in Paris - one of the hidden gems.

The I love you wall is possibly one of our favourite hidden gems in Paris.

In keeping with the city’s romantic theme, this wall contains the words ‘I love you’ in 311 different languages across 612 lava tiles.

Artists Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito knocked on both embassy and neighbours’ doors until they had collected each phrase to create this monument of love – how amazing is that!

If you’re in Montmarte then this is a great little discovery in a small park with very few tourists.

Where to find it: Square Jehan Rictus Paris, 75018 France

Read more: We love Montmartre for so many reasons. It also features in: things to do in Paris: 10 attractions you can’t miss and where to stay in Paris: budget to luxury locations.

Rue Crémieux – a hidden street in Paris

The image shows RUE CRÉMIEUX in Paris - one of the hidden gems in Paris.
The image shows a colourful house on RUE CRÉMIEUX in Paris - one of the hidden gems in Paris.

Similar to Notting Hill in London, these tiny French houses in the Parisian suburb of Bastille allow you to escape the busy city life.

The colourful streets bring life to what would otherwise be a concrete jungle.

Just like most Europeans, the residents here wouldn’t be able to call it their home without having a plant or two outside the front to add to the finishing touch.

Whilst this street is absolutely beautiful and will no doubt give you home envy, it’s worth being mindful that it is also a residential street that real Parisians live on.

If you’re taking pictures and a local is trying to enjoy their home, you may want to consider asking whether they mind you taking pictures of their home.

The image shows RUE CRÉMIEUX in Paris - one of the hidden gems in Paris.

Where to find it: Rue Crémieux, 75012 Paris, France

Read more: We also think Bastille is a great place to stay, so it features on our post: where to stay in Paris: from budget to luxury.

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

The image shows Parc des Buttes-Chaumont - one of the hidden gems in Paris.
The image shows Parc des Buttes-Chaumont - one of the hidden gems in Paris.

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont has a permanent place on our list when visiting Paris – it’s full of waterfalls, bridges, and great viewpoints!

Tucked away in Canal Saint-Martin, it always feels surreal going from a busy city high street to a peaceful place to eat your lunch!

For us, this is one of the best free things to do in Paris.

If you consider yourself a hiker, then this will give you your fix.

Plus, the hike to the viewpoint certainly gets your blood pumping!

The image shows Parc des Buttes-Chaumont - one of the hidden gems in Paris.

Where to find it: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, 1 Rue Botzaris, 75019 Paris, France

Read more: We think that Canal-Saint-Martin is a great base, so it’s featured on: where to stay in Paris: budget to luxury locations

Petite Ceinture – Paris’ abandoned railway

The image shows an abandoned railway in Paris called Petite Ceinture.
The image shows an abandoned railway in Paris called Petite Ceinture.

Following the implementation of the metro in the 19th century, Paris’ previous transport line was abandoned.

Today, many sections of the overgrown tracks are covered with an abundance of greenery and flowers, as well as artistic graffiti.

You can access the railway from many points between the 12th and 20th arrondissements of Paris, however, entering from the Catacombs is the easiest option.

From here, you take a break from the busy streets and wander along the railway line surrounded by nature.

The image shows an abandoned railway in Paris called Petite Ceinture.

Read more: More information about the Catacombs can be found on: things to do in Paris: 10 attractions you can’t miss

Montmarte’s sinking house

A clever illusion of a hidden gem in Paris - Montmartres sinking house.

This clever optical illusion has been right in front of us for years and we’ve only just noticed!

Just before the top of the hill as you walk up towards Sacré-Cœu in Montmartre, there’s a small patch of grass on the right.

If you look behind you, you’ll spot the vibrant orange house.

Tilt your phone to the left to snap this quirky optical illusion!

Where to find it Sacré-Cœur, 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France

Read more: We love Montmartre for so many reasons. It also features on: things to do in Paris: 10 attractions you can’t miss and where to stay in Paris: budget to luxury locations.

Statue of Liberty, Pont de Grenelle

Statue of Liberty, Pont de Grenelle- a hidden gems in Paris.
Statue of Liberty, Pont de Grenelle- a hidden gems in Paris.

A tiny piece of New York City smack bang in the middle of the river Seine!

This miniature version of the real statue was gifted to France in 1889 by the United States to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution.

Although a quarter of the size, it’s easy enough to spot and can be accessed from Pont de Bir-Hakeim or Pont de Grenelle via a tree-lined walkway!

The hidden little red car outside Meric in Paris

Little red car outside Merci in Paris.

This retro little red car is slowly popping up on Instagram feeds, often dressed with seasonal décor!

You can find this in the small courtyard area off of the main high street if you’re in Le Marais.

The Merci concept store which sits behind is home to a host of fashion and homeware stores that are presented in a hip and trendy design.

The Merci Cine has a cute bookstore incorporated and does great food in each of its 3 cafes!

Where to find it: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, France

Read more: We just mentioned Le Marais which also features on: where to stay in Paris: budget to luxury locations.

La Recyclerie

The image shows La REcyclerie - a hidden gems in Paris.

Among the fancy restaurants that swamp the city is the hidden gem, La REcyclerie.

It heavily focuses on reducing waste and recycling materials whilst offering locally sourced food at an impeccable standard.

What used to be a train station is now a vibrant quirky café, also offering classes such as cooking and gardening!

It’s also right by the previously mentioned Petite Ceinture.

When we visited back in 2016 I took zero pictures as we didn’t expect to go on to share our findings, however, I’ve managed to source a picture elsewhere.

It doesn’t really show off how cool it is, so we’d recommend checking them out on Instagram instead.

Where to find it: 83 Boulevard Ornano, 75018 Paris, France

Museum of Counterfeit Goods (The Musée de la Contrefaçon)

Tucked away on a quiet side street of the chic 16th arrondissement is a discreet, classic building with a dark marble plaque: Musée de la Contrefaçon, or Museum of Counterfeit Goods.

It would be easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there – making it a great little hidden gem in Paris.

Its mission is to educate us about fake goods and ring an alarm bell about their use.

Fake goods have economic consequences, of course, but they can also be deadly – for example when fake medicines or drugs are sold to sick people.

The tiny museum, with only a few rooms, does a credible job in showing off the many types of counterfeit products.

From perfumes to children’s toys to art – in many cases, you’d be unable to tell the real from the fake without the museum’s red dots (red means fake, green means real).

You’ll be surprised at just how many fakes exist.

We’re all familiar with the Rolexes and Vuitton bags, but… counterfeit ketchup? And yoghurt?

On a rainy or cold day in Paris, this is the perfect spot to spend an hour – it won’t really take longer.

You’ll learn why you should never, under any circumstance, buy an illegal imitation

Where to find it: 16 Rue de la Faisanderie, 75116 Paris, France

Abbey Bookshop

Hidden away in the Latin Quarter in Paris is the Abbey Bookshop, home to over 40,000 English-language book titles.

Originally opened in 1989 by Canadian Brian Spence, the bookshop’s slogan is “New books, used books, and rare books“. 

And although there are a lot of Canadian books on the bookshelves, there are also plenty of other great reads for the Anglo-speaking community.

It’s impossible to walk past the shop without stopping as the books are quite literally spilling out onto the pavement.

The building itself is an old 18th-century hôtel, Hotel Dubuisson, and is now a protected building due to its architectural design. 

It’s an Instagrammers dream with books piled on barrows outside, the British, American and Canadian flags flying and, of course, the stunning façade of the building itself.

Rue de la Parchemineriea, originally Rue des Escrivains, was an important part of the book trade in the Middle Ages and is where the business of making books in France first started.

A paradise for book lovers it is wall-to-wall books everywhere you look, inside and out.

The quirky little store is a treasure trove of every genre of book you can imagine, and when you go down the stone steps into the basement, you can lose yourself in the joy of reading.

Every nook and cranny is filled with interesting titles and books you’ve probably never heard of.

Brian is also a big supporter of established and up-and-coming authors, regularly inviting them to host events to promote their books and be a part of the community.

And, the best part is you’ll always find a pot of coffee waiting for you to enjoy at Abbey Bookshop.

Where to find it: 29 Rue de la Parcheminerie, 75005 Paris, France

Les Marches

Next up on this list of hidden gems in Paris is a recommendation from fellow travel blogger – Ali who runs Inspired Lifestyle.

When you are in Paris, one hidden gem you need to get dinner at is the restaurant Les
Marches.

Located near the Eiffel Tower, right between the Seine River and the Museum
of Modern Art, Les Marches is a Parisian bistro with some of the best authentic French
cuisine
, friendly staff, and classic decor.

This restaurant is not tacky, touristy, or overdone with decor and mediocre food like a lot of other restaurants you’ll find in Paris.

Instead, it feels authentic and the food is incredible.

Their menus are seasonal, and on the summer menu we ordered the beef filet with béarnaise sauce and truffle and it was easily the best dinner I had when visiting Paris, which included visiting a Michelin-plated restaurant on a previous night.

The staff was very attentive and friendly, and we had a lovely time sitting out on their patio out front.

The restaurant is tucked away on a quiet street just off of the main road that will take you to the Eiffel Tower, and for being so close to a busy area, it was very quiet and calm where we were located.

One tip I suggest is making a reservation for this restaurant.

Although it is not overly touristy, its close proximity to the Eiffel Tower can make it a little bit busy for dinner time and you likely will have to wait for a table if you do not book ahead of time!

Monument a Louis de Canoes (hidden Eiffel Tower viewpoint)

Paris is undoubtedly a beautiful city and capturing a view of the Eiffel Tower is an unforgettable experience.

It’s hard to beat a picnic in Champ de Mars or a sunset from Place du Trocadero.

Unfortunately, everyone else in Paris has the same idea so getting a beautiful photo of the Eiffel Tower without several thousand tourists is a bit of a challenge.

Luckily, there is a street just a 5-minute walk from Place du Trocadero that offers an extraordinary perspective of the Eiffel Tower!

This street is Av. de Camoens and the exact spot is at the top of the staircase called Monument a Louis de Canoes.

From here you have plenty of great compositions that include the Eiffel Tower and a cute lamp post framed by the Parisian apartment buildings on either side.

It’s definitely best to come at sunset and wait until the tower lights up to get the best view!

The spot never gets too busy, but there are usually a couple of other people around – typically locals looking to escape the crowds.

Compared to the literal thousands of people nearby it’s quiet and serene – definitely a hidden gem.

As for getting to Monument a Louis de Canoes, it’s located in the heart of Paris making it easy to reach, so you will most likely walk from Place du Trocadero or Passy metro station.

Make sure to have a working sim card in France and Google Maps to find the location.

Grand Mosque of Paris

Nestled in the heart of Paris, amidst the city’s iconic attractions, lies the Grand Mosque of Paris – a hidden gem that weaves together a rich tapestry of architecture, history, and tranquillity.

This mosque’s architecture draws inspiration from Spanish-Moorish styles with an intricate minaret, an elegant prayer room, and towering columns adorned with vibrant mosaics.

The craftsmanship is exquisite, transporting you to another world within the heart of Paris.

But the mosque’s highlight that attracts many visitors is its central garden filled with palm trees, orange trees, cypresses – and even the beautiful wisteria if you’re visiting in late April.

In the middle of this garden, you’ll find magnificent pink marble fountains, creating a serene oasis in the midst of Paris’s vibrant chaos—a perfect place to pause and recharge during your itinerary.

Beyond its architectural beauty, the Grand Mosque of Paris has an inspiring history.

It was constructed as a gift to the Muslim soldiers who fought alongside France during World War I.

Moreover, during the dark days of World War II, this mosque was a sanctuary of hope.

It provided refuge and saved the lives of 1,732 Jewish individuals facing persecution.

Located in the 5th arrondissement, you can reach the Grand Mosque by taking Line 7 of the Paris Metro and getting off at the Place Monge station.

When you visit the mosque, dress modestly, covering your shoulders.

Scarves are available at the entrance if needed.

Respect the solemnity of this place of worship by maintaining silence throughout your visit.

Hidden gem hotels in Paris

The image shows the view from a hidden hotel in Paris.
The image shows the view from a hidden hotel in Paris.

There are heaps of hidden gem hotels in Paris, you just need to know where to look.

Below are some handpicked hotels that deserve a mention.

Before you reach the end of the guide, don’t forget to grab your SafetyWing travel insurance that I mentioned at the start of the guide.

I use them on every trip because they’re around 80% cheaper than what I was paying previously whilst still offering more than enough coverage!

Explore beyond hidden gems in Paris

The image shows a restaurant in Paris.
The image shows a house in Paris.

Some of these hidden gems in Paris will undoubtedly make it onto your itinerary.

However, if you’re looking for further resources for your trip then we’ve written some more guides which you can find below.

Stay Wild Travels.

Disclosure: some links within this blog are affiliated. This means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you; if you use any of these links it really helps support our blog, so thank you!

Things to do in Paris: 10 attractions you can't miss! -

Tuesday 5th of January 2021

[…] Read more: There are also other things to do in Paris near Les Catacombs…find the hidden gem +… […]

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Saturday 2nd of January 2021

[…] Montmartre isn’t only featured in where to stay in Paris, it also has some key attractions as well as hidden gems! […]

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