Last Updated on January 1, 2024 by April Verge
Welcome to the city of love, fashion, and elegance – Paris! While there’s no denying that the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Notre-Dame Cathedral are must-visit attractions in the City of Lights. But if you want to experience a more authentic side of Paris beyond touristy spots and crowded streets, then it’s time to go offbeat. From hidden neighborhoods brimming with street art to quaint cafés serving delectable pastries, we’ve got you covered with my top picks for exploring Paris off the beaten path.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, these spots will show you a side of Paris that most tourists never get to see. So grab your map and your sense of adventure and let’s dive into the lesser-known corners of the City of Love!
The Best of Paris Off the Beaten Path
La Campagne à Paris
A neighborhood in Paris off the beaten path is La Campagne. This unique spot is located in the heart of the city, yet it feels like a world away. La Campagne à Paris is a hidden oasis that is perfect for a relaxing afternoon. This charming spot is filled with beautiful flowers and greenery, making it the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Serene and tucked away in the 20th arrondissement, La Campagne à Paris is a lovely housing development that contrasts the hustle and bustle of the nearby boulevard Périphérique. This curious neighbourhood is definitely worth a visit the next time you’re in Paris!
To discover the area, nothing is best than to take a pleasant stroll along a couple of streets such as:
- rue Irénée Blanc, which leads to
- rue Jules Siegfried,
- the stairs of rue du Père Prosper Enfantin and of
- rue Mondonville.
Paved streets, flowered-decked houses, little gardens, plant-covered walls… the area is full of surprises.
Ferme de Paris
For a taste of the country life, go to the Ferme de Paris. This working farm is located in the middle of the city and offers visitors a glimpse into the life of a Parisian farmer. You can tour the farm, meet the animals, and even try your hand at milking a cow.
The farm is located in the Bois de Vincennes, a large park on the eastern edge of Paris. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the grounds, which include gardens, greenhouses, and a dairy farm. There is also a petting zoo, making the Ferme de Paris a great place to visit with kids.
In addition to being a working farm, the Ferme de Paris is also a museum. The farmhouse houses a collection of traditional farming tools and equipment, and there are exhibits about the history of agriculture in France.
If you’re looking for Paris off the beaten path, the Ferme de Paris is a great option. It’s a unique place to learn about French culture and the country’s food production.
Visit Rue Crémieux
In the 12th arrondissement of Paris, just south of Bastille, lies the Rue Crémieux. This narrow, one-block street is lined with pastel-colored houses, each one unique. It’s like a little slice of heaven in the midst of the city, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
The Rue Crémieux was built in the early 1800s as part of a housing development for the poor. At that time, the houses were simple and uniform, but over the years they’ve been individualized with colorful facades, wrought iron balconies, and more. Today, the street is home to a mix of artists, musicians, and other creative types.
If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of Paris, the Rue Crémieux is the perfect place to go. It’s quiet and peaceful, and the houses are absolutely beautiful. It’s definitely one of the most unique and lovely places in Paris off the beaten path.
Le Musée de Montmartre
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Paris is the Musée de Montmartre, a small but charming museum that tells the story of the area’s rich history. This bohemian neighbourhood was once home to some of the most famous artists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh. Today, the museum offers a glimpse into that vibrant past, with a collection of artwork, photos, and personal belongings of the artists who once called Montmartre home.
The Musée de Montmartre is located in the former home of writer Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The building itself is a work of art, with a beautiful Art Nouveau facade. The museum’s collection includes paintings, sculptures, and other artwork by the artists who lived in Montmartre, as well as personal items belonging to them. Visitors can also see the studios where some of the most famous paintings in the world were created, including Renoir’s La Moulin de la Galette and van Gogh’s The Starry Night.
Les Passages Couvert
In the heart of Paris lies a series of hidden gems – Les Passages Couvert. These covered walkways were once the social hubs of the city, and today they offer a unique glimpse into Parisian history. There are a total of nine passages, and each one has its own unique character. You can find everything from high-end shops to quaint cafes in these passages.
Some of most popular passages include:
- Passage des Panoramas
Passage des Panoramas is the oldest of the covered walkways in Paris, and was once the city’s main entertainment district. Today, it is home to a number of antique shops and is a popular spot for people watching.
- Passage du Grand Cerf
Passage du Grand Cerf is one of the most atmospheric of the covered walkways. It is known for its beautiful glass roofs and for its artisans who sell their wares from stalls along the passage.
- Passage des Arts
Passage des Arts is a bustling covered walkway that is home to a number of art galleries. It is the perfect place to browse for art and to soak up the creative atmosphere.
Deyrolle is a truly Paris off the beaten path. This taxidermy shop is unlike any other, and is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Founded in 1831, Deyrolle is one of the oldest taxidermy shops in the world. The shop is full of taxidermied animals, both common and exotic. You can find anything from lions and tigers, to sharks and whales. Deyrolle also has a wide selection of birds, including some very rare species.
What sets Deyrolle apart from other taxidermy shops is its focus on education. The shop has a large diorama of a African Savannah, which is popular with school groups. Deyrolle also offers classes on taxidermy, so you can learn how to mount your own animals.
Le Musée des arts forains
There are plenty of museums to visit in Paris, but why not mix things up and check out Le Musée des arts forains? This unique museum is dedicated to carnival and fairground art, and it’s a great place to learn about the history and evolution of these festivities.
The museum is home to a collection of over 200 items, including carousels, wagons, rides, and games. You can also see some traditional French carnival costumes and masks. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a performance or two!
Le Musée des arts forains is a great place to visit if you want to experience something a little bit different or perfect for a rainy day, and it’s sure to put a smile on your face.
Le marché des enfants rouges
In the heart of the historic Marais district, the Le marché des enfants rouges is one of the most beloved markets in Paris. Boasting a rich history dating back to the 17th century, today the market is a vibrant and lively place, offering a diverse range of produce, goods, and services.
While the market may not be as well-known as some of the city’s other markets, such as the well-known Rue Cler market, it is certainly worth a visit. With its charming, old-fashioned atmosphere, the market is a great place to find fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other specialty foods. In addition to its food offerings, the market also features a number of shops selling clothing, toys, and other items.
The Conciergerie is a great alternative to the other tourist attractions in Paris. Built in the 14th century, it served as a prison for some of the most famous prisoners in French history, including Marie Antoinette and Maximilien Robespierre. Today, it is a museum that gives visitors a fascinating glimpse into the past.
Located on the Île de la Cité, the Conciergerie was originally part of the Palais de la Cité, the residence of the Kings of France. In the 14th century, it was converted into a prison, and it remained in use for that purpose until the early 19th century. During the French Revolution, it was used as a prison for political prisoners, and many of them, including Marie Antoinette and Maximilien Robespierre, were executed here.
Today, visitors can explore the former prison cells, which have been turned into a museum, and learn about the history of the French Revolution. The Conciergerie is a must-visit for anyone interested in French history.
Coulée Verte René-Dumont
One of the most interesting and unique places to visit in Paris is the Coulée Verte René-Dumont. This linear park stretches for over three kilometers, making it one of the longest in Paris.
The Coulée Verte René-Dumont was built on an old railway line that was decommissioned in the early 1990s. The tracks were then removed and the area transformed into a green space. Today, the Coulée Verte René-Dumont is a haven for pedestrians, cyclists, and runners.
The Coulée Verte René-Dumont is also home to a number of unique features, such as an urban farm, an outdoor art gallery, and a playground. There is also a section of the park that has been turned into a mini-golf course!
Le Musée Jaquemart André
Located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, le Musée Jaquemart André is housed in a stunning late 19th-century mansion. The museum is dedicated to French and Belgian art from the Renaissance to the early 20th century, and features a remarkable collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, and objets d’art.
The Jaquemart André museum is one of the most unique and underrated museums in Paris. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking to get off the beaten path and explore some of the city’s lesser-known treasures.
Arènes de Lutèce
If you find yourself in Paris yearning for a taste of history, head to the Arènes de Lutèce. This ancient Roman amphitheatre is one of the few remaining relics of the empire in the city and is well worth a visit.
First built in the 1st century AD, the Arènes de Lutèce was once used for a variety of entertainment, including gladiatorial contests, public executions, and plays. Today, it is a popular spot for picnics and sunbathing, as well as a venue for concerts and other events.
Despite its worn state, the amphitheatre is still an imposing sight, with its soaring walls and seating for up to 15,000 people. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the neighbouring Luxembourg Gardens and beyond.
WWII Bunker Under Gare de l’Est
Sitting under Gare de l’Est, this war bunker is one of the most unique places to visit in Paris off the beaten path. Built in the 1930s, it was intended to be a bomb shelter for the French government in the event of World War II. However, the war never reached Paris and the bunker was never used for its intended purpose.
Nowadays, the war bunker is open to the public as a museum, giving visitors a glimpse of what life would have been like had the war reached Paris. The bunker is a must-visit for anyone interested in history or curious to see a different side of Paris.
The art nouveau building on Avenue Rapp
If you find yourself in Paris and are in search of something a little different than the average tourist attractions, then make your way to Avenue Rapp. Here you will find an art nouveau building that is truly a work of art.
Completed in 1902, the building was designed by Jules Lavirotte and is considered to be one of the finest examples of art nouveau architecture. The exterior is decorated with a variety of symbols and figures, all of which are meant to represent different aspects of human knowledge.
The interior of the building is just as stunning as the exterior, with a beautiful glass atrium and a grand staircase that is adorned with a stunning mural. Be sure to spend some time exploring this fascinating building, as it is truly a hidden gem in Paris.
Where to see this: 29 Avenue Rapp, 75007
Statues of Liberty Replicas
Visiting the Statue of Liberty is a must-do when in New York City, but did you know that there are also replicas of this iconic monument in Paris? There are actually several Statue of Liberty replicas located throughout the city, and each has its own unique story.
The first and most well-known replica is located on Île aux Cygnes, a small island in the Seine River. This replica was given to the people of France by the people of the United States in 1886, and it stands at about one-third the size of the original. Visitors can take a short ferry ride to the island to get a close-up view of this beautiful statue.
Other replicas can be found at: Musée des Arts et Métiers, 292 Rue Saint-Martin, 75003; in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Rue Guynemer, 75006; at the Musée d’Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007; and inside the centaur statue (Centaure de César), Place Michel Debré, 75006
Paris Sewers Museum
The Paris Sewers Museum is one of the most unique and interesting places to visit in the city. This museum is dedicated to the history and workings of the city’s sewer system, and it offers a rare and fascinating look at a critical part of the infrastructure of Paris.
The museum is housed in an old sewer station that was built in the 19th century. The station has been restored and now contains a series of exhibits that tell the history of the Parisian sewer system. The exhibits include old maps, photographs, and mannequins that show how the sewer system was built and how it operates.
Visitors to the Paris Sewer Museum can learn about the engineering feat that is the Parisian sewer system and how it has served the city for over 150 years. The museum is a great place to visit for those interested in urban history or engineering.
When most people think of Paris, they think of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and other well-known landmarks. But there is so much more to this city than that! If you’re looking for something a little bit different, Belleville is the perfect place for you.
This neighborhood is located in the 20th arrondissement, and it is well known for its multiculturalism and its art scene. You’ll find a variety of street art here, as well as some great nightclubs and cafes. Belleville is also a great spot for shopping, as you’ll find a number of independent boutiques and shops selling all sorts of unique items.
If you’re looking to escape the tourist crowds, Belleville is the perfect place to do it. This neighborhood is definitely off the beaten path, but that’s what makes it so special. So take some time to explore Belleville, and you’ll be sure to have a unique and memorable experience.
59 Rivoli is a must-see offbeat destination in Paris. This former auction house was converted into artists’ studios in 1999, and is now home to over 60 artists from around the world.
The studios are located on the top floors of the building, with the ground floor and basement remaining as commercial space. The building is open to the public from Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm, and admission is free.
In addition to the studios, 59 Rivoli also hosts a range of cultural events throughout the year, including exhibitions, performances, and workshops. This is the perfect place to discover emerging artists and experience the creative energy of Paris.
Tombées du Camion
If you’re looking for something a little bit different on your trip to Paris, then be sure to check out Tombées du Camion. This quirky little shop is crammed full of interesting trinkets, gifts and souvenirs, all of which have been sourced from local markets and car boot sales.
You could easily spend hours browsing the shelves at Tombées du Camion, and there’s something to suit every taste and budget. From quirky keyrings and magnets to vintage postcards and retro toys, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.
Gustave Eiffel’s Secret Apartment
If you’re looking for an offbeat place to visit in Paris, then you must check out Gustave Eiffel’s secret apartment! Located on the top floor of the Eiffel Tower, this apartment was once the private office and living quarters of the tower’s architect. Today, it’s open to the public and offers stunning views of the city.
To reach the apartment, you’ll need to take a lift to the second floor of the tower, then climb a staircase to the top. Once you’re there, you’ll be able to see original furnishings and artifacts belonging to Eiffel himself. You’ll also get an incredible 360-degree view of Paris – definitely worth the climb!
Did you enjoy reading the best of Paris off the beaten path? What is your favorite offbeat activity in Paris? Let me know in the comments below! As always, I love hearing from you.