Don’t spend your time worrying about whether you’ll tour Tower or the Louvre Museum. Get to know which places deserves a honest visit, while avoiding the common crowded places. Here are the Top 10 unique (underrated) things to do in Paris.
While you’re visiting a city where you’ve never been before, you certainly want to go where everybody goes. However, there’s obviously plenty more to do, or to see, than the traditional touristic places. And when we’re talking about such a remarkable city like Paris, there’s no excuse for you to don’t feel like a true parisienne. Here in this list you’ll not find a single reference to attractions like the Eiffel
1. Explore the Luxembourg Gardens
Very close to the Pathéon in the 6th arrondisement, you’ll find this absolutely stunning park in the center of Paris. Traditionally known as Jardin du Luxembourg, this amazing area is the home of the Luxembourg Palace, constructed in the 17th century by Marie de’ Medici, the widow of the famous King Henry IV of France. Definitely worth a visit!
2. Walk from the Île de la Cité into Île Saint-Louis
Standing on the western side of Île de la Cité, start your morning at the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris with 408 years old. Then, grab a city map and just try to reach Île Saint-Louis. Until you reach Pont Saint-Louis, you’ll cross some amazing places like the Sainte-Chappelle or the Notre Dame Cathedral. At the end of this journey, just spend a bit of your time on some of the finest Paris shops.
3. Visit the Conciergerie
Near the Notre Dame Cathedral, you’ll find this former royal palace with more than 700 years old that once housed the most famous parisienne prison during the French Revolution. Inside, you’ll visit some historical rooms and artifacts, including Marie-Antoinette’s cell and a real guillotine blade used in the 19th century.
4. Relax in the streets of Quartier Latin
Want to feel like a Paris inhabitant and not like a tourist? Easy. Just take a walk among the narrow and charming streets of this Paris neighborhood and you’ll not regret your option. Close to the well-known Sorbonne University, this area has some of the best cafes, patisseries and restaurants in the city.
5. Shop at les bouquinists
As a tourist, you can choose to visit whatever you want, depending if you’re willing to go where everybody goes, or if your heart tells to go “off the beaten path”. But one thing is certain: you will buy souvenirs. And when it comes to it, there’s nothing more traditional than shop on the tiny vendors along the Seine. Ranging from old to new stuff, les bouquinists sell practically everything of touristic interest. You will not leave empty handed, that’s for sure!
6. Visit La Madeleine
Paris has so many wonderful buildings of cultural interest that some of them pass completely unnoticed, even in some city guides. Dating back from 1182 (!), this amazing neo-classical style structure is located in the 8th arrondisement and has a monumental colonnade that deserves to be photographed by every single tourist. La Madeleine was consecrated as a church in the 19th century, and was once designated as temple to the glory of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army.
7. Lunch at Le Pure Cafe
If you’re a movie geek, this is the place for you. Easily recognizable by its rustic interior design or for its classic façade, this conventional parisienne cafe provided one of the best movie dialogues and scenes of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset, that starred Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Apart of that, the food is also pretty tasty.
8. See Paris through the Seine
Just like many other European cities, there’s no better way to get to know France’s capital than ridding a boat tour. Get your ticket and you’ll have unique views to some of Paris’ landmarks, as well as a privileged perspective of every single one of them.
9. Photograph La Grande Arche de la Défense
Located on Europe’s largest business district (purposely constructed for commercial and financial reasons), this arch is seen from many places of Paris, especially because it rises 110 meters from the ground. Clearly deserves a visit, especially at night, when its fountain gives a special atmosphere to it.
10. Just walk in Paris streets by night
After all, there’s nothing better than a simple and comforting walk along the streets of “The City of Light”. There’s a lot to see (and to walk) at night, but reserve a few hours (and energy), to stroll down through some of the brightest Paris’ streets. Which ones? That’s the nicest part. Since they’re all beautiful, you can choose.