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Hidden Gems in Paris You Don’t Want to Miss

Hidden Gems in Paris You Don’t Want to Miss

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Planning a trip to Paris and want to explore the city beyond the famous attractions? Keep scrolling for my list of the best hidden gems in Paris worth adding to your itinerary!
This list of the best hidden gems in Paris was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Even though Paris has a ton of attractions that are so famous they constantly appear in movies, as one of the largest cities in Europe, it also has plenty of secret spots hidden in every corner.

If you prefer to build an itinerary that doesn’t follow the usual tourist route or you’ve checked out the major highlights in Paris and prefer to focus on hidden gems this time around, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding where to go.

Below is a list of some of the biggest hidden gems in Paris to visit. Some of them are so rare that even locals don’t know about them!

Don’t have time to read a bunch of Paris blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Paris with kids.

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​​1. Montmartre Vineyards

Even though they’ve been around since 1933, the Montmartre Vineyards are rather unknown and extremely special.

Nope, you don’t need to head to the wine country of France in order to see them. They’re actually right in the city in the Montmartre neighborhood. And they are just a couple of blocks away from the Sacré Coeur!

This is one of the best hidden gems in Paris. Famous vineyard on Montmartre, Paris. Tourist landmark place

You can actually only visit the vineyards on a guided tour as they’re not typically open to tourists. Most tours run during the fall months, which is probably the reason the vineyards are such a Paris hidden gem.

Still, if you’re lucky enough to be in Paris during the season, you’ll be in for a true treat!

2. Sewers of Paris

Perhaps visiting the sewers of a city may sound like taking the whole underground exploring thing a bit too far. But the Sewers of Paris are an actual attraction and a very interesting one at that!

Long exposure of Paris Sewers system tunnels in France, one of the best Paris hidden gems

The first sewers in Paris were built back in 1370 and covered ones were introduced to the city during Napoleón Bonaparte’s reign. This new design changed life in Paris, stopping plenty of diseases and overall improving the life of residents.

Today, the network of sewers is home to a pretty unique museum – the Musée des égouts de Paris, or the Paris Sewers museum.

Here, you’ll be able to learn all about the engineering marvel that are the sewers of Paris. This museum is also a must if you’re a fan of Les Miserables, as this was the hideout of Jean Valjean!

3. Le Louxor Palais Du Cinema

Le Louxor Palais Du Cinema is the oldest cinema in Paris and a true relic worth seeing. 

Unfortunately, Le Louxor Palais Du Cinema closed its doors in 1988. For a long time, it remained abandoned and up until a decade ago, it was left almost in ruins.

However back in 2013, the cinema was restored in order to bring it back to its full glory. Now they welcome cinema buffs excited to wander through its halls.

These days, movie nights are offered at the cinema, with titles being mostly French. To top it off, your ticket gives you access to the bar upstairs where you can feel like you traveled back in time as well as a secret rooftop.

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    4. Vintage shops

    Paris has always been considered a fashion capital, and there’s no better city to find unique pieces for your wardrobe.

    Vintage shops are the true hidden gems in Paris. Image of a velvet chair with vintage hats in Paris France

    Going vintage shopping in Paris is an absolute treat. Some of the best vintage shops include Vintage 77, Chine Machine, and Free’P’Star.

    5. Collège des Bernardins

    Collège des Bernardins opened its doors during the 13th century as a lecture spot for students who attended the renowned Sorbonne.

    These days, its purpose hasn’t changed much, as the building is still used as a cultural hub where people can come in in order to attend lectures, public conferences, concerts, exhibitions, and more.

    6. Paris Pet Cemetery

    French cemeteries are as beautiful as they get. While there are plenty of graveyards all over the city that are considered must-visit tourist attractions, there’s a smaller one only true insiders know about: The Pet Cemetery (Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques).

    This place was built during the 19th century for people to say their last goodbyes to their pets. It is the oldest pet cemetery in the world. Today, it remains the final resting place for cats, dogs, horses, and even a few rare animals such as monkeys and sheep!

    7. Musée Curie

    Thanks to her research on radioactivity, Marie Cure was the first woman to ever win a Nobel Price and the first female professor at the University of Paris.

    curie pavilion in paris, a building to research radioactivity

    The Musée Curie is located in what used to be Marie’s laboratory. Here, you’ll get to learn all about radioactivity (a word she herself came up with) as well as her incredibly interesting life. Plus you’ll discover the hardships of being a female scientist during the 19th and 20th centuries.

    8. The Vampire Museum

    If you love all things obscure, this wonderful (and slightly macabre) museum is a must on your hidden gems of Paris itinerary.

    It was founded by an eccentric scholar who was keen to share his discoveries on vampires and other creatures. While exploring the museum, you’ll learn all you need to know about vampires and their world, admire plenty of relics, and even get to see real vampire-killing tools!

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    9. Montmartre Cemetery

    Visiting cemeteries isn’t an unusual thing to do in Paris, especially considering the Père Lachaise Cemetery is one of the biggest landmarks of the city.

    Image of the Monmartre Cemetery in Paris France

    Still, if you want to visit one that isn’t as crowded, the Montmartre Cemetery is a wonderful alternative. The cemetery itself is just as beautiful as Père Lachaise. And some tombs and mausoleums here date all the way back to the early 1800s.

    This is seriously one of the best secret places in Paris. The graveyard is rarely visited, so you’ll be able to explore with absolutely no one around.

    10. Museum of Romantic Life

    Paris is the city of romance, after all, so it only makes sense for the city to have a museum dedicated to love.

    The Museum of Romance is located inside a quaint house in a pretty quiet neighborhood. This means visiting the museum will also give you a chance to explore a lesser-known side of Paris.

    Inside, you’ll find a pretty cool collection of art and items that scream romance. Not to mention it also has a picture-perfect garden where you can order a cup of tea at.

    11. Church of Saint Sulpice

    After Notre Dame, the Church of Saint Sulpice is the largest church in Paris but much lesser-visited than the alternative. That’s why it’s one of the best hidden spots in Paris.

    Saint Sulpice church in Paris, France.

    In order to visit Notre Dame, you’ll likely need to wait in line for a long time. And it gets extremely crowded due to its popularity.

    If you’ve already visited Notre Dame and can’t get enough of the beauty of the churches of Paris or you’d prefer to visit a place that most tourists don’t check out, this is definitely your go-to!

    It was completed in 1870 and features baroque-style architecture. It is only slightly smaller than Notre Dame, so there is plenty to see all over.

    Arguably, the most beautiful place to check out is the Chapel of Angels. It features a striking set of murals by Eugène Delacroix.

    12. Vanves Flea Market

    Flea markets abound in Paris, and even though Clignancourt is usually the go-to for first-timers in the city, there’s a much more local one called the Vanves Flea Market.

    It opens every Saturday and Sunday and makes for the perfect morning activity if you love to bring back home unique items. The Vanves is a local go-to for shopping. It contains over 300 stalls selling just about everything you could think of!

    This is one of the best hidden places in Paris for shoppers! Be sure to bring cash and a few bags to carry your items, because you’re guaranteed not to leave empty-handed.

    13. Galeries Lafayette Rooftop Terrace

    Galeries Lafayette is far from being a hidden gem in Paris, but what most visitors don’t know about is that the building has a gorgeous rooftop that provides glorious views of the city and the Eiffel Tower.

    Observation deck on Galleries Lafayette department store in Paris - CITY OF PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 29, 2019

    Entrance to the rooftop is free, making it one of the best free secret Paris spots for those who love a good view.

    14. Petit Palais

    Located close to the popular Musee d’Orsay, Petit Palais is a beautiful building that houses the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts. It is located right in front of the Grand Palais, and even though most visitors do see the facade of the museum, few actually go inside.

    Image of a statue outside of the Petit Palais in Paris

    At the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts, you’ll find plenty of exhibitions worth checking out, including a ton of collections from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance as well as notable artworks by French artists such as Jean Ingres, Gustave Courbet, and Eugene Delacroix.

    15. Shakespeare and Company

    Shakespeare and Company is a bookshop in the heart of Paris right opposite Notre Dam. 

    It opened back in the 50s as a meeting place for English-speaking writers and readers. Ever since its opening, the library also offered a safe place to sleep for travelers in exchange for a story. Over 30,000 literature lovers have spent the night here!

    Paris Hidden Gems Wrap Up

    Have you ever been to Paris and know of any other hidden gems and secret locations worth checking out? If you know of any other places that don’t appear as often in guidebooks, please feel free to recommend them in the comment section below!

    Looking for more Paris content? Check out my tips for visiting Paris for the first time, things to do in Paris with teens, France hidden gems, things to do in Paris at night, how to book a Paris photographer, best Paris photography locations, my kid-friendly 5 day Paris itinerary, places to stay in Paris for families, day trips from Paris, 2 days in Paris, things to do on a Paris family vacation, how to plan a trip to Paris, and the best Paris tours for kids!

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