Top 10 Non-Touristy Things
to Do in Paris

Paris is more than just the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame. It is a city that offers a variety of cultural and experiential opportunities for those who want to explore its hidden gems. Whether you are interested in art, history, food, or nature, there are many non-touristy things to do in Paris that will make your trip unforgettable. Here are the top 10 best of them.

Explore Le Marais

What is it?

Le Marais is a historic neighborhood located in the heart of Paris, known for its charming cobblestone streets, elegant architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. It spans the 3rd and 4th arrondissements and is a delightful blend of history, culture, and modernity. The district has a rich history dating back to medieval times and has undergone various transformations, making it a unique and dynamic part of the city.

Why should you go?

One of the main attractions of Le Marais is its architecture, which dates back to the medieval and Renaissance periods. The neighborhood is a labyrinth of narrow streets lined with well-preserved buildings that reflect the history and culture of Paris. You can admire the ornate facades, the elegant mansions, and the hidden courtyards and gardens that offer a glimpse into the past.

Another reason to visit Le Marais is its abundance of art galleries and museums that showcase contemporary art, historical artifacts, and unique exhibitions. You can explore the Musée Carnavalet, which tells the story of Paris from its origins to the present day, or the Musée Picasso, which houses the largest collection of works by the famous artist.

Finally, Le Marais is a great place to enjoy French cuisine and culture. The neighborhood is dotted with charming cafés, bistros, and eateries that offer both traditional French dishes and international flavors. You can also experience the nightlife of Le Marais, which is lively and diverse.

Visit Canal Saint-Martin

What is it?

Canal Saint-Martin is a picturesque waterway located in the northeastern part of Paris. Stretching over 2.8 miles, the canal was originally built in the early 19th century to provide the city with fresh water and a means of transportation. Today, it's cherished as a serene urban escape, beloved by both locals and visitors alike.

Why should you go?

Canal Saint-Martin is a place where you can experience the charm and beauty of Paris. The canal offers a tranquil and charming atmosphere that contrasts with the bustling city streets. Lined with trees and crossed by iron footbridges, the canal's waters reflect the surrounding buildings and provide a peaceful backdrop.

You can explore the canal by walking along its banks, where you can admire the bridges, watch boats pass through the locks, and enjoy the scenery. You can also take a boat cruise, which allows you to pass through the canal's locks and under its charming bridges, offering a different perspective of the city.

The canal is also a favorite spot for locals to relax and socialize. You can observe Parisians engaging in leisurely activities like picnicking, playing games, and enjoying the company of friends along the water's edge. You can also discover hidden cafés, restaurants, and boutiques in the surrounding neighborhoods, which exude a bohemian spirit and attract a creative and artistic crowd.

Discover Butte-aux-Cailles

What is it?

Butte-aux-Cailles is a charming and lesser-known neighborhood situated in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. This hidden gem is characterized by its village-like atmosphere, cobbled streets, colorful houses, and bohemian flair. Unlike some of the more touristy areas of Paris, Butte-aux-Cailles retains a strong sense of local identity and offers a unique experience for those looking to discover an authentic side of the city.

Why should you go?

Butte-aux-Cailles is a neighborhood that has long attracted artists, creatives, and free spirits. This creative energy is palpable as you wander through its streets adorned with street art, murals, and unconventional galleries. You can admire the works of local and international artists, who use the neighborhood's walls and buildings as their canvas.

The neighborhood's architecture stands out with its colorful houses, intricate facades, and a mix of styles that span from Art Nouveau to contemporary design. These features make for a picturesque backdrop for your exploration. You can also discover charming hidden passageways, small courtyards, and tucked-away gardens. These secret corners add an element of discovery to your visit.

Butte-aux-Cailles is also known for its local cafés and bars that offer a cozy and friendly atmosphere. You can enjoy a leisurely afternoon sipping coffee or indulge in a glass of wine at a traditional Parisian bistro.

Have a picnic at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

What is it?

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is a captivating urban park situated within the 19th arrondissement of Paris. Spanning 61 acres, it presents a departure from the classical French garden design that is often associated with Paris. This park was created in 1867 for the World's Fair and is characterized by its diverse landscapes, undulating terrains, and distinctive architectural elements.

Why should you go?

Visiting Parc des Buttes-Chaumont offers a departure from the more traditional Parisian parks. Its rugged topography, featuring cliffs, hills, and grottoes, sets the stage for an exploratory journey. The park's design creates an environment that feels more natural and less manicured than its counterparts.

The park's centerpiece is the Temple de la Sibylle, a graceful classical-style temple perched atop a rocky island in the middle of a serene lake. This architectural gem offers an aesthetic delight and rewards those who climb up with sweeping views of the park and the cityscape beyond.

As you stroll through the park, you'll find yourself traversing rustic bridges, descending stone staircases, and discovering hidden corners that provide a sense of seclusion. The waterfalls, cascades, and artificial grottoes enhance the park's calming ambiance, offering a retreat from the bustling city.

Locals frequently flock to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont for picnics, leisurely walks, and outdoor activities. Its diverse landscape accommodates joggers, yoga enthusiasts, and families seeking quality time outdoors. The park's spacious lawns invite you to relax, bask in the sun, or engage in people-watching.

Browse the Village Saint-Paul

What is it?

The Village Saint-Paul is a hidden enclave nestled within the historic Le Marais district of Paris. This charming village-like area is a collection of narrow streets, hidden courtyards, and passages that are full of character. It's known for its collection of antique shops, art galleries, and unique boutiques, making it a haven for those seeking distinctive finds and a glimpse into the city's artistic and historic past.

Why should you go?

Visiting the Village Saint-Paul offers a departure from the well-trodden tourist paths of Paris. As you stroll through its labyrinthine streets, you'll be transported to a quieter and more intimate side of the city. The architecture and cobblestone pathways exude a timeless charm, providing a delightful backdrop for exploration.

Antique enthusiasts and art aficionados will find the Village Saint-Paul particularly appealing. The area is home to a variety of antique shops, each housing a treasure trove of vintage furniture, rare collectibles, and curious artifacts. Whether you're a serious collector or simply browsing, the diverse offerings are bound to pique your interest.

Art galleries dot the landscape, showcasing works from both contemporary and traditional artists. These galleries often feature exhibitions that capture the essence of Paris' vibrant arts scene, offering visitors a chance to engage with the city's creative pulse.

The Village Saint-Paul is also a place to enjoy a leisurely afternoon. Quaint cafés and bistros offer respite from your explorations, inviting you to savor a cup of coffee or indulge in a delicious meal. You can relish the pleasure of watching the world go by in this serene corner of Paris.

Relax at Parc de la Villette

What is it?

Parc de la Villette is a sprawling cultural park located in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. Covering a significant expanse of land, the park offers a dynamic blend of green spaces, architectural innovation, and cultural attractions. Situated on the site of a former slaughterhouse and meat market that was closed in 1974, Parc de la Villette stands as a prime example of the city's modern approach to public spaces, combining nature, art, and entertainment in a seamless fusion.

Why should you go?

A visit to Parc de la Villette promises an experience that goes beyond the typical park outing. The park's design is characterized by its boldness and creativity, making it a prime destination for those seeking a unique and modern take on urban leisure.

Architectural innovation is a hallmark of Parc de la Villette. The park's structures, such as the striking Geode and the distinctive red cube-like pavilions, stand as architectural marvels that challenge conventional design. These structures house cinemas, exhibition spaces, and performance venues that offer a diverse array of cultural experiences.

The park's openness to artistic experimentation is evident in its various sculptures and installations that punctuate the landscape. These creative elements engage visitors and encourage interaction, adding a sense of discovery to your exploration.

Families will find Parc de la Villette particularly appealing due to its abundance of play areas, including playgrounds, water features, and open spaces where children can engage in outdoor activities. The park's commitment to providing a family-friendly environment makes it an excellent place for parents and kids to enjoy quality time together.

Wine and dine in Belleville

What is it?

Belleville is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood located in the northeastern part of Paris. It's situated on a hill and offers a blend of cultures, artistic expression, and a strong sense of community. Once a working-class district, Belleville has transformed into a melting pot of creativity, attracting artists, musicians, and individuals seeking an alternative and bohemian atmosphere.

Why should you go?

A visit to Belleville presents an opportunity to immerse yourself in the neighborhood's unique and dynamic ambiance. Unlike some of the more tourist-centric areas of Paris, Belleville offers an authentic glimpse into the daily lives of its residents and the cultural tapestry that defines the city. The neighborhood is a treasure trove of artistic expression. Street art adorns its walls, reflecting the creative energy that permeates the area. You can explore the ever-evolving outdoor gallery, discovering vibrant murals and graffiti that capture the spirit of Belleville.

Belleville's culinary scene is a reflection of its diverse population. The neighborhood has a rich history of immigration and diversity, hosting various ethnic groups such as Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Algerians, Tunisians, Moroccans, Chinese, Vietnamese, and more. So it's no surprise that Belleville boasts a rich offering of international cuisine, from Vietnamese pho to Middle Eastern delicacies and everything in between. Exploring the local eateries is a culinary adventure in itself, allowing you to savor flavors from around the world.

Local markets, such as the Belleville Market, provide a vibrant atmosphere where you can find fresh produce, artisanal foods, and unique products. These markets offer insight into the neighborhood's community spirit and the way locals engage with their surroundings.

Visit the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

What is it?

The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, translated as the Museum of Hunting and Nature, is a distinctive museum located in the heart of the Marais district in Paris, in two adjacent mansions that date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Unlike traditional museums, it offers a unique and thought-provoking exploration of the relationship between humans, animals, and nature. The museum's collection features an array of artworks, artifacts, and installations that delve into the historical, cultural, and ethical dimensions of hunting and humanity's interactions with the natural world.

Why should you go?

A visit to the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to engage with complex themes surrounding human interaction with animals and the environment. The museum's innovative approach challenges preconceptions and prompts reflection on the intricate connections between humans and the natural world.

The collection itself is a blend of artistic expression, historical artifacts, and contemporary installations. Paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts are juxtaposed with taxidermy and scientific specimens, creating a multi-layered narrative that encourages visitors to consider the cultural and ethical dimensions of hunting, as well as our roles as stewards of nature.

Throughout the museum, thought-provoking exhibitions explore topics such as conservation, biodiversity, and humanity's evolving relationship with the natural world. These exhibits engage visitors with questions about sustainability, ethics, and the complex ways in which humans have historically perceived and interacted with animals.

Discover street art in Belleville

What is it?

Street art in Belleville is an integral part of the neighborhood's identity and creative spirit. Belleville, located in the northeastern part of Paris, has become a hub for urban artists, muralists, and graffiti writers. The walls, buildings, and public spaces of the neighborhood have been transformed into an ever-changing canvas that reflects the diverse and vibrant artistic expressions of its residents and visitors.

Why should you go?

Belleville's street art reflects the neighborhood's character – bohemian, multicultural, and unfiltered. The artworks range from large-scale murals to intricate stencils, and they often tell stories, share social commentary, or simply brighten up the urban landscape. Some of the most renowned street artists who have left their mark on Belleville include C215, Seth Globepainter, Jef Aérosol, Invader, and Miss. Tic.

Visiting the street art in Belleville is not just about viewing the art; it's about engaging with the artists' voices and interpretations. You'll find pieces that celebrate the neighborhood's history, cultural diversity, and even political issues, creating an authentic and raw dialogue that's unique to this art form.

Experience a jazz night at Le Caveau des Oubliettes

What is it?

Le Caveau des Oubliettes is a historic jazz club and music venue located in the heart of the Latin Quarter in Paris. Situated in the basement of a 16th-century building, the venue has a rich history dating back centuries. It's not just a jazz club; it's also a place where history, culture, and music come together to create a unique and unforgettable experience.
Why should you go?

A visit to Le Caveau des Oubliettes is a journey into the soul of Paris' music scene and cultural heritage. The venue's history alone is enough reason to explore it. The building's foundations are steeped in history, and the club's name, which translates to "The Dungeon of Forgotten Ones," harks back to its past as a former prison cellar. This historical significance adds an air of mystique and intrigue to the experience.

For music enthusiasts, the club offers a chance to immerse yourself in live jazz performances. The venue hosts talented musicians who perform a variety of jazz styles, from traditional to contemporary. The intimate setting creates a connection between the performers and the audience, allowing you to feel the raw energy and emotion of the music up close.

Engaging with the local community is an essential part of the experience. The club attracts a diverse crowd, from locals to travelers, all gathered to enjoy the music and the ambiance. This shared appreciation for live music and the arts fosters a sense of camaraderie and connection.

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