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Hidden gems in Paris abound. Sheer curiosity can bring you face to face with the secrets of Paris. Peek behind that entranceway or stroll in the opposite direction to the crowds and you never know what Paris hidden gems you might stumble upon.
It is also nice to have a little insider information to guide you to the best-kept secrets in Paris. Here are some wonderful hidden places in Paris that you won’t want to miss on your next visit.
Let’s discover hidden Paris.
1. Hidden Paris | The Vineyards
Did you know there are vineyards in various places in Paris? The most well known (and not really a secret of Paris) is the Clos de Montmartre (Montmartre vineyard) which has been in operation since the 12th century when nuns and monks were in charge of making wine. Every year, the Montmartre vineyard produces a small amount of wine that is auctioned off for charity. The yearly wine festival in early October is very popular and looks like great fun! Add it to your list.
Read More | Discover 20 amazing things to do in Montmartre
Location: rue des Saules; 18th arrondissement
Metro: Abbesses, Anvers, Lamarck-Caulaincourt
But what about this vineyard? A true hidden gem in Paris.
Head on over to Butte Bergeyre and what you will discover is a quiet little oasis in Paris. Do you know that village feel? Secret Paris is right here. Growing on a steep hillside is a terraced vineyard with lovely views over the city. You have to be on a mission to find this hidden gem in Paris as it is easily missed! Here are 5 Great Reasons to Visit Butte Bergeyre.
Location: 76 rue Georges Lardennois; 19th arrondissement
Metro: Colonel Fabien
2. Rue Crémieux | Is It Still Secret Paris?
In the 19th century, Baron Haussmann redesigned Paris and still today the architectural style is recognizable worldwide. Stone buildings with wrought iron railings line the boulevards in Paris. Quintessential Paris. Tucked away are also many unique streets and rue Crémieux is one of those hidden gems in Paris. Located near the Gare de Lyon, rue Crémieux has become popular with Instagrammers so go early and enjoy this colourful, cobblestone street in Paris.
Residents are tired of all the action on their street and have requested gates at both ends. Visit this not so hidden Paris spot soon.
Location: between rue de Lyon and rue de Bercy; 12th arrondissement
Metro: Gare de Lyon, Quai de la Rapée
Bike Tours of Secret Paris: One of my favourite ways to explore Paris is by bicycle. Here are three guided bike tours to discover Paris. This electric bike tour shows you hidden gems, this bike tour covers Paris highlights and secrets and this bike tour is of charming nooks and crannies. Which will you choose?
3. Secrets Of Paris | Galerie Vivienne
Stroll along the gorgeous mosaic floors of Galerie Vivienne and transport yourself, for a moment, back to 1823 when this covered passageway was filled with Parisians socializing and meeting up at cafés. Today it is possible to do the same! With natural light streaming along the hallway of Galerie Vivienne, the boutiques, stores and cafés are worth exploring or, at the very least, engaging in a window-shopping expedition.
This hidden gem of Paris is one of the remaining and restored covered passageways that were common in Paris in the 1800s. Visit all of the remaining “passages couverts” in Paris, but be sure to start with the elegant Galerie Vivienne.
Location: 4 rue des Petits-Champs; 2nd arrondissement
Metro: Bourse, Pyramides
4. Hidden Paris | Parc Monceau
Parc Monceau is secret Paris at its best! Find the Roman columns facing the pond and for a moment you might wonder where you are. It’s quiet and slightly overgrown in Parc Monceau, a perfect place for a respite from sightseeing. Walking paths wind carelessly under blooming trees and amidst statues. Parc Monceau, one of Paris’s hidden gems and smallest parks, is charming, chill and a great place to try and blend in like a local. Go at lunchtime, find a bench and picnic like the Parisians.
Location: 35 Boulevard de Courcelles; 8th arrondissement
5. Hidden Gems Of Paris | Les Arènes de Lutèce
This is one of the best-kept secrets in Paris. Les Arènes de Lutèce is the real deal. Yup, a real live Roman arena dating from the first century AD hidden away in the 5th arrondissement. Roman gladiators fought here. Imagine that. Right in Paris.
And why the name Lutèce? Eons ago, the capital of France was called Lutece or Lutetia and was occupied by the Romans. Ahh, Paris! Never a dull moment.
Come and sit in an ancient Roman arena where 15000 spectators used to cheer. Hidden gems of Paris? Check!
Location: 47 rue Monge (5th arrondissement)
When you enter from rue Monge, look for the gladiator watching over the doorway.
Metro: Cardinal Lemoine
Walking Tours: Why not try a walking tour of the iconic neighbourhoods of Paris? Pick your area and get to know the hidden gems and stories in the quartier!
6. Secret Paris | The Windmills of Montmartre
It’s hard to believe that windmills exist in a city like Paris. Searching for these hidden gems of Paris is a thrill. The Moulin Rouge is the most famous and obvious of the Parisian windmills. Up the hill though, are two more remaining wooden windmills from another century. Montmartre hill used to be a rural area dotted with windmills that ground flour and pressed grapes. Impressionist painters such as Utrillo, Renoir and Van Gogh immortalized the existence of Parisian windmills in a bucolic setting.
Curious that wooden windmills still exist in Paris? I am obsessed with hidden Paris and went exploring in bohemian Montmartre. One of the windmills is on private property and only visible in the winter or early spring. The other stands proudly above a restaurant, Le Moulin de la Galette at 83 rue Lepic. Did you see Renoir’s painting at the Musée d’Orsay entitled Le Bal de la Moulin de la Galette? It’s a throwback- you’re standing right where Renoir stood!
Location: 83 rue Lepic; 18th arrondissement
Metro: Maison Blanche; Abbesses
7. Hidden Paris | View from Centre Pompidou
From the top of the Centre Pompidou, the views of Paris include the Eiffel Tower, Sacre-Coeur and the classic rooftops of the city. Gazing out across the city feels like one of the best-kept secrets of Paris. Ride the funky exterior escalators and head up to the top floor balcony for €3.
If you are an admirer of modern art enjoy the National Museum of Modern Art’s renowned permanent collection and then head to the top floor for the magnificent views of Paris.
Location: Place Georges Pompidou; 4th arrondissement
8. Best Kept Secrets In Paris | Le Bateau Ivre
Hidden gems in Paris are often tucked away on tiny streets. Rue Férou holds one of these secrets of Paris. Who doesn’t like a poem written on a wall in elegant calligraphy? On rue Férou between L’Église Saint-Sulpice and the Jardin du Luxembourg, Arthur Rimbaud’s poem Le Bateau Ivre (The Drunken Boat) is inscribed for all to see. Rimbaud, a French poet, wrote this poem about a sea voyage in 1871 at the age of 16. He first recited Le Bateau Ivre in a café close to rue Férou.
Location: rue Férou; 6th arrondissement
9. Hidden Gems Of Paris | Atelier des Lumières
Atelier des Lumières opened in Paris in April 2018. Its first multimedia sound and light exhibition featured Gustav Klimt’s artwork. The immersive experience just blew my mind! Atelier des Lumières’ second exhibition in Paris opened in Feb 2019 with a show featuring Vincent Van Gogh’s work. Imagine walking through Van Gogh’s paintings that are deconstructed and recreated on 10 metre high walls.
February 2020 was the opening of the third Atelier des Lumières exposition in Paris. Paintings depicting Provence by artists such as Monet, Renoir and Chagall create a moving and memorable experience.
Hidden gems in Paris? Atelier des Lumiéres might have moved from a hidden gem of Paris to a hotspot!
Location: 38 rue Saint-Maur; 11th arrondissement
Metro: Voltaire, Saint-Ambroise, Père Lachaise, rue Saint-Maur
10. Secret Paris | Castel Béranger
Hector Guimard, a French architect and designer, is well known for his Art Nouveau entrances to the Paris metro. Those in themselves are hidden gems of Paris. But Guimard also designed many houses in Paris in the Art Nouveau style, a far cry from the look-alike Haussmann buildings that line Paris’s boulevards.
Castel Béranger was the first solo project for Hector Guimard for which he became famous. In 1898, Castel Béranger won Paris’s first “façade competition.” Keep an eagle eye out for the ornate details that Guimard used on the doorways, railings and downspouts. Standing in front of Castel Béranger, you can’t help but feel that you have discovered secret Paris.
Read More | Discover hidden treasures of Art Nouveau Paris in the residential 16th arrondissement with Castel Béranger as its star!
Location: 14 rue de la Fontaine; 16th arrondissement
Metro: Ranelagh, Mirabeau, Église d’Auteuil
11. Hidden Paris | Oscar and Victor
Père Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris and therefore not technically a hidden gem of Paris. But, what unique gravestones uncovering the secrets of Paris can you discover amongst the average citizen and the greats? Search for Chopin. Usually, a sonata playing will draw you to his gravesite. And of course, Jim Morrison’s tombstone is no secret. The resting place of Oscar Wilde, the famous Irish writer, draws women to place a red lipstick kiss on the effigy (not really allowed).
But what about Victor Noir?
This reporter was shot to death by a member of the emperor’s family over a century ago. For about 50 years now myth has it that if women rub his bulging crotch and kiss his lips, fertility and a wonderful sex life will follow. Did you think hidden gems of Paris would be this exciting? Looks like it is a story that has captured a wide audience – non?!
You could also pop a flower in his upturned tophat!
Location: Père Lachaise Cemetery; 20th arrondissement
Metro: Gambetta, Père Lachaise
Guided Tour of Père Lachaise: If you don’t have time to discover the iconic gravesites of Père Lachaise yourself, book a guided tour. That is how I first familiarized myself with one of the most visited gravesites in the world.
Tip: If you enter close to the Gambetta station you will be walking downhill towards the main entrance. No maps are available at this entrance.
12. Hidden Gems Of Paris |Garden of l’Hôpital Saint-Louis
I love it when best-kept secrets of Paris are an oasis to relax. This gorgeous hidden Paris gem is minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Canal Saint-Martin. It is the perfect place for a summer picnic or a quiet refuge to rejuvenate away from the crowds. Talk about a hidden gem in Paris.
Getting a weird “déjà vu” feeling? This square was also commissioned by Henri IV and has the same architectural style as Place des Vosges in Le Marais.
If you are in the Canal Saint-Martin area, find out all the things to do.
And… where to grab a bite at a nearby restaurant or pick up picnic supplies.
Location: 1 Avenue Claude Vellefaux; 10th arrondissement
Metro: Goncourt or Colonel Fabian or walk from the Quai de Jemmapes
13. Secrets Of Paris | Tango By The Seine
Is there anything more romantic than dancing the tango by the Seine? Well, there might be, but this ranks right up there with the hidden gems in Paris. Head on over to the Jardin Tino-Rossi. This secret Paris evening is a winner. Watch the partners move across the dance floor, or even bravely partake in this delightful Paris experience.
Read More | Tango by the Seine – Does like in Paris get any better than this?
Location: Garden Tino-Rossi at 2 Quai Saint-Bernard; 5th arrondissement
Metro: Sully-Morland or Gare-d’Austerlitz
14. Hidden Gems Of Paris | Hôtel Particulier
Hidden gems of Paris? Look no further than Avenue Junot. Find the gate at #23 and press the buzzer to enter this paradise. You will feel immediately that you are entering secret Paris.
Wander past the massive rock and find the second gate on the left. Buzz again… Et voilà, the Hôtel Particulier. Come for tea, dinner, a cocktail or splurge and stay in one of their rooms. This is really a taste of unique places in Paris. And did I mention the view of the Eiffel Tower from the passageway?
Location: 23 Avenue Junot; 18th arrondissement
Metro: Blanche or Lamarck-Caulaincourt
15. Hidden Paris | A Taste of Alsace
Hidden gems of Paris sometimes look like an entire neighbourhood! La Butte aux Cailles is truly hidden Paris. Walk the streets in La Butte aux Cailles and feel like you are wandering in a village. Explore the area and find Rue Daviel. Here you’ll find houses built in the style of eastern France in the Alsace region. Facing these homes is Villa Daviel, a quiet street that will transport you momentarily to the countryside. A true best-kept secret in Paris.
Read More | Discover this hidden gem in Paris- the neighbourhood la Butte aux Cailles.
Location: Rue Daviel; 13th arrondissement
Metro: Corvisart or Place d’Italie
16. Secret Paris | Stand By The King Phillipe Auguste Wall
Tucked away in the 4th arrondissement in le Marais is the largest surviving section of the King Philippe Auguste Wall from 1190. Paris was at one time fortified and surrounded by a stone wall with 77 semi-cylindrical towers. It is great fun spotting traces of the ancient wall in Paris.
17. Hidden Gems Of Paris | La Coulée Verte
Stroll along Paris’s ancient and abandoned railway line, La Coulée Verte, that inspired New York’s Highline. You’ll pass interesting architecture, rose gardens, parks perfect for a picnic, and street art. Walk all the way from the 12th arrondissement of Paris to the Bois de Vincennes for a wonderful adventure. La Coulée Verte, also known as La Promenade Plantée, is a true hidden gem of Paris.
18. Hidden Paris | Parc de Bagatelle
Head on over to the Bois de Boulogne and take a stroll through the Parc de Bagatelle. Roses galore and peacocks fanning their tail feathers are the perfect taste of the country in Paris. Read all about how the Parc de Bagatelle came to be because of a bet between Marie Antoinette and her brother-in-law.
Location: Bois de Boulogne
Metro: Pont de Neuilly and then Bus # 43 or #93
19. Secret Paris | This Unique Church
Église Notre-Dame du Travail in the 14th arrondissement is secret Paris at its best! Many Parisians I’ve met haven’t been here. It truly is one of a kind! At least in the interior. I wandered in and immediately thought of the Eiffel Tower. Finished in 1902, the nave of Église Notre-Dame du Travail is built of steel and iron inviting the residents, at the time, in this working-class neighbourhood to join in worship together. Be sure to check out this hidden gem in Paris.
Read More: Tons of fabulous things to do in and around Montparnasse.
Location: 59 rue Vercingétorix, 14th arrondissment
20. Hidden Gems Of Paris | The Queens Of France
The Luxembourg Gardens are well known in Paris. Sitting by the Medici Fountain, one of the prettiest in Paris, or sailing a boat across the Grand Bassin are iconic experiences in this famous Jardin in Paris. But, did you know that 20 queens of France are also watching over you? There are 20 marble statues of Saints and Queens, all women. The statues were commissioned by King Louis-Philippe who reigned from 1830 – 1848. My favourite of the lovely statues is Saint-Genevieve (422-512), the Patron Saint of Paris.
Location: 6th arrondissment
21. Best Kept Secrets In Paris | Finding Héloïse and Abélard
Here are two hidden gems in Paris keeping this medieval love story alive today. One of the most enduring love stories of all time is that of Héloïse and Abélard.
Find the stone plaque at #9 – 11 Quai aux Fleurs on Ile de la Cité confirming that the two lovers lived here in 1118.
Pierre Abélard, a brilliant philosopher and theologian, was teaching in Paris at Nôtre-Dame and was invited to teach Héloïse who was a gifted student in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.
Yup. They fell in love, got pregnant and the star-crossed lovers were secretly married. Héloïse was sent to a convent for safety and Abélard returned to Paris. Héloïse’s outraged uncle, Canon Fulbert, got his revenge and sent a troupe of men in the dark of night to castrate Abélard.
What a story. Is it myth or truth? Abèlard became a monk and the two wrote each other letters but never spoke in person again.
There are many versions of the story. Put your own spin on the love tale but stand before this house, where they fell in love or head to Père-Lachaise Cemetery and find the splendid tomb where the couple has laid together since 1817.
Location: Take a little detour from Notre-Dame Cathedral or from Ile Saint-Louis to # 9 – 11 Quai aux Fleurs on Ile de la Cité.
I hope you enjoy these 21 hidden gems of Paris as much as I do!
Until next time,
Paris Travel Resources
All my Paris resources are right here on this page.
If you love that village feel in Paris these areas might interest you:
Montmartre, much like Ile Saint- Louis, feels like a small village. This post on Montmartre leads you to the most popular sites as well as some lesser-known places on the hill.
Le Marais is one of the oldest areas of Paris. Once marshland, it is hopping with boutiques, cafés, gorgeous old mansions and museums. Read my full guide to le Marais and also insider Marais tips from a local.
Ile Saint-Louis is still one of my favourite spots in Paris. On Pont Saint-Louis, you’ll almost always find some street music.
And Montparnasse. Most people think of the tall black tower looming over the Paris skyline or the train station. This guide on Montparnasse uncovers some marvellous things to discover in the 14th arrondissement.
If you like being by the water, Ile aux Cygnes in the Seine might be for you! The Statue of Liberty, views of the Eiffel Tower and locals walking their dogs!
Wondering what to do in the Eiffel Tower district after you’ve visited the Iron Lady? Here’s my full guide to the 7th arrondissement.
If you are looking for food suggestions, read about where to find the best croissants in Paris. And, if you have a sweet tooth like me, check out these best pâtisseries to try. There are also plenty of café suggestions for the Marais area in this post: Tips from a Local. And if you are exploring the area around Canal Saint-Martin, here are the best places to stop for a bite or to find the fixings for a picnic.
Travelling to Paris alone? This article on navigating Paris alone is full of tips and tricks for the solo traveller.
This page has all my articles on Paris that will help you plan out your trip, including day trips from Paris. I hope you subscribed to my newsletter to get my free download – An Amazing 2-day Itinerary in Paris.
If you are going further afield in France, make sure to check out my page on France.
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Guided Tours and Guidebooks
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