19 Hidden gems of Paris
Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world and you should visit it at least once in your lifetime. For first-time visitors, there are dozens of classic sights and experiences to see like the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, thousands of tourists visit every year. Luckily, there are still secret places and true Paris gems where you can soak up the authentic Paris and see a different more private side of the city.
After you visited the ´must-see´ places, it is a time to discover the city from a different perspective. It is time to explore Paris hidden gems. In this blog post, I have assembled a list of the best secret spots, unusual and unique unique Paris experiences as well as interesting places to eat and the best hotels to stay at.
When you spent a few days in Paris and feel like you want to get out of the city for a while check out these amazing daytrips from Paris by train.
19 HIDDEN GEMS of PARIS
Paris statues of Liberty | Parc de Boulogne-Edmond-de-Rothschild | Marché St.-Quentin | Les Frigos | Paris sewer system | Cinéma du Panthéon | Paris Perfume Museum | Rue Crémieux | Du Pain Et Des Idées | Kozy Paris | Le Train Bleu | Song-Heng | Mama Shelter Rooftop Bar | Candelaria | Le Lavomatic | St Christopher’s Inn Canal | Les Piaules | Hôtel Particulier Montmartre | Bourg Tibourg
1. Paris Statue of Liberty
75015 Allée des Cygnes, 75015 Paris
You might be surprised, but Paris has its own Statue of Liberty. It sits on the southern end of the Île aux Cygnes and it is an exact replica of the Statue of Liberty in New York.
In French, it is known as the Statue de la Liberte and it all came about due to the relations between America and France, and a French sculptor by the name of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi who was inspired to create this monument.
The easiest way to get there is to get off at Subway stop, ‘Alma-Marceau’ – with the Flame of Liberty being close by. You can also walk, cycle or cruise up to the statue or take a local tour.
If you are travelling via train, then the nearest RER train stations are called the Gare d’Avenue du Pdt Kennedy stop or the Javel stop both serving the RER C line or upstream a little further heading towards the Eiffel Tower you have the Champ de Mars – Tour Eiffel stop also serving the RER C line.
2. Parc de Boulogne-Edmond-de-Rothschild
3 Rue des Victoires, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt
The park is located just over the border in the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt. It is a great place to relax, people-watch, and mingle with the locals.
Not very well known by tourists, this forested area not far from Paris, is one of the best hidden gems in Paris.
When you enter the park, you will easily spot château Edmond de Rothschild. A mansion sure to have seen Great Gatsby styled parties, back in the day. The family who owned the palace left the château at the beginning of World War II, and the Nazis later then seized and plundered it. After the war, the family got the mansion back, but they never returned to the site, leaving it to decay over the decades.
Luckily the parks around the palace are still well maintained, and there are a number of themed areas, including a French, an English and a Japanese garden. All set around a beautiful lake decorated with a red bridge and bordered by a forest and vast lawns.
Nowadays, it is not possible to enter the building, however, the surrounding park is a great place for a picnic or a nice relaxing walk. It’s a public park and as such, free to enter all year round.
3. Marché St.-Quentin
85 bis boulevard Magenta 75010 Paris
The Marché Saint Quentin is one of those spectacular covered food markets I love to visit. The market is located between Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est, on boulevard Magenta. You can find a variety of stalls selling a huge range of wares from clothes and flowers to fruits and vegetables, charcuterie, gift shops, baked goods and more.
The market also has two specialist stalls, one selling German groceries, with a big range of bottled German beers, and another overflowing with Portuguese delicacies, including dried cod and chorizo.
Part of what makes Marché Saint-Quentin so great is that there’s no massive hype around it, making it overpriced and pretentious. It’s just a beautiful, yet functional, market with a variety of stalls that sell everything.
The market is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 am-7:30 pm, and on Sundays from 8:30 am-1:30 pm.
4. Les Frigos
19 Rue des Frigos, 75013 Paris
Les Frigos is a former refrigeration station built back in 1921. It was, as the name implies, used to store products that needed to be kept cold before refrigerators were readily available all over the city.
During the 1980s the building was illegally occupied by new tenants, such as alternative artists and artisans. They were all attracted by the great space and it’s a unique quality of sound and atmosphere created by the buildings thermal and sound insulation. Les Frigos is still today a center for alternative Parisienne culture and houses a huge variety of artists and cultural entities as well as smaller corporations. Les Frigos is open to visitors only during a few days per year, normally during a weekend towards the end of May. So once a year, thousands of visitors can go and enjoy dozens of exhibitions and concerts at this very unique and special location.
Les Friogos, is located in the 13th arrondissement otherwise known for its street art, Asian community and the National Library of France.
5. Paris Sewer Museum
Pont de l’Alma, 7th arrondissement, Paris
The Paris Sewers Museum offers a behind-the-scenes look and unique perspective on how this modern city deals with an age-old problem. In the museum, you can follow the history of the city’s drainage system from its first-ever sewer system in the 1200s, to the epidemics of the dark ages, and to the creation of the modern sewer system of Paris. Out of all of Paris museums I highly recommend this one.
The sewers opened to tourists during the 1867 World Expo and have been a huge draw ever since. You’ll get to walk through some of the active sewers and can hear the waste flowing to its final destination below you.
6.Cinéma du Panthéon
3 Rue Victor Cousin, 75005 Paris
Located in the Heart of Latin Town, Cinéma du Panthéon is the oldest functioning movie theatre in Paris. It was built in 1907 and it was a pioneer in showing foreign films, without the voice over.
Nowadays, this movie theatre is immensely popular among locals and film lovers gather here for film clubs, debates and even the occasional meeting between filmmakers and film critics.
The theatre has screenings every day, afternoons and evenings so it’s easy to find the time to visit this special secret gem and it is totally worth it.
7. Paris Perfume Museum
9 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris
France has been a world center of the perfume industry since the 17th Century when Louis XV’s court at Versailles was known as “le cour parfumée.”
Over the centuries, French perfumers have developed incredible techniques to extract fragrance from flowers, leaves, moss, herbs, spices and all other thinkable ingredients.
For perfume lovers, the Perfume Museum is a definite must-see.
Located in the Opéra Garnier quarter of Paris, the museum reveals the secrets to the perfume trade, as well as a collection of precious objects tracing the history of perfume from antiquity to the present day.
During the year, the museum offers guided tours, talks and other activities, and admission is free! How great is that? They also offer a workshop to creat your own perfume.
Opening hours of the museum are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays and holidays).
8. Rue Crémieux
Rue Crémieux is definitely a hidden gem in Paris, located in the 12th arrondissement. Do not miss this one-block pedestrian street which was originally built as workers’ housing.
It is a small, cobbled street that’s lined on both sides by cute houses painted in all the colours of the rainbow.
Unlike the adjacent rue de Lyon, there are no Haussmann style buildings here. The 35 identical houses that border the street look like English cottages.
When you visit this place, you might think that it doesn’t really feel like Paris at all and is perhaps more reminiscent of Portobello Road in London’s Notting Hill, or Burano in Venice. The street is full of colourful facades, shuttered windows and windowsills filled with lush plants that all add to the feeling that you have somehow escaped Paris and ended up somewhere completely different.
The funny thing is that this street became so popular for taking selfies, Instagram posts, and video shoots that in 2019 the residents got too tired of the constant stream of visitors and asked the city of Paris to erect gates closing the street to visitors on evenings and weekends.
Another interesting fact is that the street is named after a human rights lawyer. It was renamed, already back in 1897, in dedication to Adolphe Crémieux, who defended the rights of the Jewish population in France. Which was quite remarkable at the time.
Hidden gems of where to eat
9. Du Pain Et Des Idées
34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris
Open Monday to Friday, from 6.45am to 8pm.
After opening Du Pain et des Idees in the 10th arrondissement, Christophe Vasseur was elected best baker in Paris in 2008 by “Gault & Millau”, a famous gourmet magazine.
The reason behind the bakery’s success is its trademark loaf, “Le Pain des Amis”. It is baked in a wood-fired oven and has a delicious nutty-flavoured fluffy inside and a perfect crust.
Their croissants are also incredible and don’t miss the escargot pastry, named so after its swirling shape. The traditional flavour is pistachio but is available in five other flavours as well.
Do note that they are closed on the weekends as well as certain weeks in the summer and the last week of December so plan accordingly. Also, expect a long line at peak hours.
10. Kozy Paris
79 Avenue Bosquet, Paris 7th
Paris right now is the perfect city for a brunch despite the fact that it was not very popular in the previous years. The brunches in the city are varied, ranging from French classics to American-inspired and so much more.
One of the places you should not miss for brunch in Paris is Kozy, located in the 9th arrondissement. It is full of local people so if you want to live the typical French atmosphere while drinking a delicious coffee, this place is perfect for you.
Kozy restaurant already has two other locations, beyond the original (address above). The other locations you find on Avenue bosquet rive gauche and on rue de Ponthieu behind the Champs Elysées.
When you come to Kozy you will be able to find a wide selection of coffees, pressed fruit juices and homemade dishes. On weekends and public holidays, they offer generous brunch packages full of flavour.
11. Le Train Bleu
Gare de Lyon | 75012 PARIS
An iconic restaurant in Gare de Lyon, Le Train Bleu, the blue train in English, offers a majestic setting where the show takes place in the kitchen as well as the restaurant. Built-in 1900 and unveiled the following year, the restaurant is a living testament to Paris’ Belle Epoque. You and your special someone will dine under painted ceilings, opulent gold, and chandeliers.
The Luxury brasserie is located within Gare de Lyon train station. It was built for the World’s Fare and was opened in 1901 by President, Emile Loubet.
Among Train Bleus loyal customers, you could find Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Cocteau, Dali and Jean Gabin.
The menu is a small selection of perfectly cooked French classics, many of which are served with a touch of drama well suited to the decadent surroundings. Meat is carved at the tables, steak tartare is prepared and seasoned in front of you and to your taste, and flambéed desserts make a show-stopping end to the meal.
The restaurant is opened every day from 11:30 am to 2:45 pm – 7 pm to 10.45 pm and the Lounge Bar from 8:00 am to 7 pm.
3 Rue Volta, 75003 Paris, France
Despite France’s colonial past, Paris has not always been the place for great Vietnamese food. Recently, that has started to change, and it’s now possible to find delicious Southeast Asian specialities at a number of restaurants around the city.
In Song-Heng you probably find one of the best pho spots in Paris. They serve only two items, pho and bo bun.
Pho is Vietnamese national soup, with pork, noodles and a broth flavoured with star anise. The second dish, bo bun is cold rice vermicelli noodles topped with stir-fried lemongrass, typically with spring rolls, pieces of pork, full of peanuts, raw vegetables. It is just amazing.
In addition to serving great Vietnamese food, Song-Heng restaurant is located in one of the oldest houses in Paris, making it well worth the visit for that reason alone.
Where to drink
13. Mama Shelter Rooftop Bar (Paris 20)
Opening hours: from 11 am to 11.30 pm from Monday to Friday, from 12 pm to 11 pm on Saturdays and from 5 pm to 11.30 pm on Sundays.
Mama Shelter Rooftop Bar, located in the 20th Arrondissement is a vibrant and charming venue, packed with Ping pong tables, hammocks, nap-inviting mattresses, colourful parasols, and fruity cocktails.
This place is perfect for spending a good moment with family or friends especially during a hot summer in Paris.
The restaurant serves a set dinner menu, from 49€, and it includes a mezze platter to share as a starter, a main course and dessert. The set menu is also available for 39€ as lunch on Saturdays. With your meal, you can indulge in refreshing and well-crafted cocktails, sangria, wine and beers from the rooftop bar.
At Mama Shelter rooftop bar you find a cozy atmosphere perfect for an afternoon of relaxing when you need to get off your feet after a long day of strolling down the streets of Paris
A true hidden gem, Candelaria, a popular bar and restaurant, that offers some of the best Mexican cocktails and food in Paris. This place is hidden behind an unmarked door at the back of a Taco restaurant and you definitely should not miss this place.
This place is full of character, with its rough-hewn walls, candle-lit and cushion-strewn interior. The menu isn’t that extensive, but it has exactly what you want and everything is so tasty that it can be hard to choose. All is made right there in the visible open kitchen, so you can see the chef at work and you know you’re getting the real deal.
The margaritas are also worth a try and there’s Mexican beer on offer as well. Or why not try some agua fresca. The place is really small so I would recommend arriving early if you want to be sure to snag a seat. Sometimes they even squeeze a DJ in there, upping the hip factor to the next level.
15. Le Lavomatic
30 Rue René Boulanger, 75010 Paris
Having a drink while doing the laundry?
Yes, it’s now possible thanks to the opening of Lavomatic bar. This new cocktail bar is part of the revival of the speakeasy culture, meaning it’s well-hidden and very sought after. If La Candelaria, Moonshiner or La Mezcaleria made a splash when they opened, Lavomatic is likely to put them to shame.
It is a very well-hidden gem in Paris. On Rue Boulanger you have to find the right laundromat, it’s a real one, and pull open the door of the one fake washing machine and climb the stairs hidden behind.
You will enter a small flat and discover a cozy and relaxed atmosphere within. The decoration is modern and original in style. The bar offers wine, with a selection of natural wines as well-sourced from small organic vineyards around the country as well as delicious cocktails.
It is the perfect place for an original evening which will take you back the 1920s American prohibition era.
The best way to get there is by underground line 3, 5, 8, 9 or 11 (République) or line 5 (Jacques Bonsergent).
16. St Christopher’s Inn Canal
St Christopher’s Inn Canal is a great budget hostel. This hostel is the real hidden gem for backpackers. When I was visiting Paris, I found this hostel to be in the perfect location and for a really good price. Don´t forget that Paris is one of the most expensive cities in Europe so if you are on a budget, this is a really great deal for you.
Located just 3 stops from Gare Du Nord and a 5-minute stroll from the Crimée Métro stop.
If you’re heading to a gig at Zenith Concert Hall, you can walk there in 15 minutes. The canal-front promenade is right outside the hostel and is the ideal place to spot the latest trends worn by those famously chic Parisians or just the perfect route for runners taking the scenic route around town.
17. Les Piaules
Les Piaules is a perfect hostel in Paris located close to the popular area of Belleville full of local cafes and bars. There is a bar available, rooftop terrace and 24-hour reception.
The bar, rooftop and cozy atmosphere make this place a perfect hidden gem for digital nomads or freelancers. You have all in one space and the staff speak different languages including good English.
The hostel is located less than 10 min from Paris historical center and the nearest station is Couronnes Metro Station, 120 m from Les Piaules.
18. Hôtel Particulier Montmartre
Hôtel Particulier Montmartre is one of the luxury boutique hotels in Montmartre that was previously home to members of the Hermès and Rothschild families. Since becoming a hotel it has lost none of its bourgeois home charm with its five spacious suites that differ dramatically in mood and décor.
The hotel garden is designed by the famous landscape architect Louis Benech and here you can also find a very fashionable restaurant and cocktail bar.
19. Bourg Tibourg
Bourg Tibourg is a boutique hotel in Paris located in the fashionable Marais district.
The location couldn’t be better for soaking up the best of the chic Marais area’s terrace cafés and abundant boutiques. With the key shopping streets Rue Vieille du Temple and Rue de Rivoli just a few minutes’ walk away, Bourg Tibourg is the perfect place to stay for any fashionista visiting Paris.
The 30 guest rooms, designed by Jacques Garcia, delicately combine intricate patterns and antique Parisian furniture, to create a secret paradise in the City of Light.
The hotel is a great place for a long weekend stay in Paris with its warm and inviting atmosphere, tucked away in the beautiful Marais quarter.
Do you know of any other hidden gems of Paris? Please tell me in the comment section below.
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Paris is one of the most visited cities in Europe and it has the perfect location for various day trips by train. Paris itself definitely deserves your visit, however when you step out of the city, you will be able to see stunning castles, charming towns and...