Secret Spots in Paris: Visit the roads less travelled

So you’ve been in Paris for a while and you feel like you’ve seen all there is to see as far as major monuments. It’s time to explore the roads less traveled in Paris, find spots that you can call your own and assert yourself as a true Parisien. We don’t claim to know every spot in the city, but here’s a list of must-see places to get you started.

 

Amazing Architecture

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Richelieu Library

Built during the height of the Industrial Revolution, this beautiful library showcases a seamless blend of the newest technology of the time and classical architecture. The library can only be accessed by graduate art history students studying in Paris but a little sweet talking with the security guard will get you a peek.

 

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Petit Palais

An amazing art museum with an eclectic collection in its own right, the Petit Palais has one of the most beautiful interiors in Paris, in my opinion. A spectacular example of Rococo turned Romantic architecture, walking through the building feels like floating. Don’t miss the Roman-style courtyard complete with a small cafe, perfect for sunny days in Paris.

 

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Galerie Vivienne

One of the first indoor shopping malls in Paris, Galerie Vivienne is a great place to window shop or catch artisans in the middle of their craft. During Christmas, the Galerie is strung up with dazzling lights and wreaths, making it a happy surprise when one turns the corner into an unexpected winter wonderland.

 

Best Views in the City

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Galerie Lafayette

One may say the best place to see Paris is the Eiffel Tower, but then you can’t see the Eiffel Tower! The Galerie Lafayette is one of the highest points of the city and offers spectacular views of all your favorite monuments. During Christmas, the mall is decked out in twinkling lights and a huge, decorated Christmas tree. Don’t miss out!

Musée d’Orsay Balcony

On the fifth floor of the Musee d’Orsay lies a secret gem. The balcony off of the fifth-floor cafe offers stunning panoramic views of the city, stretching all the way to Montmartre. It’s a great way to end the day at the museum.

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Notre Dame Tower

Another great alternative for stunning Paris views is to climb the towers of Notre Dame. It is free for people under 26 to climb up the 422 steps for breathtaking views of Ile de Cite and the Seine.

Gardens

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Rodin Museum Gardens

The Rodin Museum is a great alternative to the crowded Musee D’Orsay and the Louvre. It has a stunning collection of Rodin’s works as well as other sculptors from the 19th century. Complete with an outdoor sculpture garden, the Rodin Museum is a perfect location for a sunny afternoon and some light reading.

Park at Pont Neuf

Fun Fact: Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris, despite its name meaning “New Bridge”. At the base of the bridge is a small park that looks out over the Seine. It’s a very popular spot for local young people to bring wine and snacks for a picnic, especially in the evenings.

Parc Bercy and Village 

If you are really looking for places off the beaten path, head to the 12th arrondissement and check out Parc Bercy. Built in the 90s to incorporate more green space into Paris, the eclectic park consists of three small gardens connected by footbridges. Next to the park is the Bercy Village, a cute shopping and dining area created out of old wine caverns.

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Place des Vosges

 A popular rest spot for local Parisiens, this park is a great place for a picnic and a nap on a sunny day. Place des Vosges is one of the only parks in Paris where people are allowed to go on the grass, so take advantage of it. Located in a former palace courtyard, the park offers views of stunning architecture and great people watching.

What if you could discover the French “savoir-faire” with a local craftsman “artisant” ?

This is what the website Lebonatelier proposes. Spend a day or 2 learning about french crafts like making a ceramic bowl or weaving your own art wall. And get you a real souvenir from France!

Check out this article for more secret spots in Paris. Happy exploring!

Top Free Places in Paris

Free Activities in Paris? Is this for real? Follow the guide below! 😉

While Paris might be considered an expensive city to visit in terms of lodging and restaurants, there is actually a lot to do for those that want to save a couple bucks, especially students. Here are just a few of the top free attractions in Paris.

 

Landmarks

Paris is known for its iconic landmarks that boast beautiful architecture and extensive history. Thankfully, a lot of the city’s most famous monuments are free and open to the public. 

 

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Notre Dame

Paris’s iconic cathedral is free and open to the public 365 days a year. If you are under 26, you can access the Towers and the crypt for free. If you want to spend a few extra bucks, grab an audio guide and learn about the amazing history of the cathedral. Don’t miss this stunning landmark!

 

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Sacre Coeur and Montmartre

Go on a hike up to the highest natural point in the city and visit Sacre Coeur Cathedral for free and the famous neighborhood Montmartre. The cathedral, built in 1919, is influenced by Romano-Byzantine architecture and is home to amazing mosaics on the interior that are worth a visit.  Montmartre, on the other hand, was the home to famous writers and artists alike in the early 20th century. Icons like Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein all called Montmartre their home at one point or another.

 

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Catacombs

Looking for something off the beaten path and maybe just a little bit creepy? Descend into the labyrinth of tombs under the city and explore the final resting place of an estimated 6 million people, dating back to the 1700s. The one-hour traverse is free to the public and €6.00 for an audio guide. Prepare yourself because it gets cold down there, especially in the winter.

 

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Pere Lachaise

Continuing on the trend of the dead, become one of the millions of visitors that have flocked to one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. Located in the 6478th, this cemetery is open to the public and is home to famous people such as Eugene Delacroix, Edith Piaf, and Jim Morrison. The cemetery itself is an architectural marvel, as the inhabitants chose the design of their residences, thus creating a kaleidoscope of designs and styles.

 

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Shakespeare Book Company

One of the oldest bookstores in Paris, Shakespeare and Company is an established landmark on the Seine across from Notre Dame. The bookstore hosted many famous writers in their heyday, including Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Don’t miss the opportunity to hang out in the plushy chairs and read a rare book in a store that has seen so many of the greats.

 

 

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The Gardens of Paris

Paris may be a concrete jungle but it is still permeated by a beautiful park or garden here and there. Here’s a list of all the green spaces in Paris that I think are worth a visit.

  • Jardin des Tuileries
  • Jardin du Luxembourg
  • Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
  • Canal St. Martin
  • Parc Bercy and Bercy Village
  • Parc des Belleville
  • Parc Monceau

 

Museums

If you are a student under the age of 25-26 (depends on the museum) with a valid visa, you can access many museums for free. Here’s a list of our top recommendations.

 

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Louvre 

One of the most famous museums on the planet, the Louvre puts all other institutions to shame with its extensive collection ranging from 17th-century Flemish art to ancient Egyptian artifacts. And of course, you can’t miss the Mona Lisa. The best time to go to the Louvre is on Wednesday and Friday evenings when the museum is open until 9:45.

 

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Musee d’Orsay

This museum is your one-stop shop for your favorite Impressionists. From Monet to Van Gogh, D’Orsay has everyone. But don’t miss out on all the other amazing pieces in your rush to see the classics. The best time to go is when the museum is open late on Thursdays until 9:45.

 

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Musee Rodin

A small but worthwhile museum to visit that includes both indoor and garden exhibits. The collection includes other 19th century French sculptors in addition to Rodin. The sculpture garden is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon and has great views of Invalides, which is right next door.

 

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Museum of Modern Art

This museum has a great permanent collection that is open to the public and includes notable artists such as Picasso and Kandinsky. The Museum of Modern Art is an affiliate of the Palais de Tokyo but is a different building with a separate ticket. This museum is open late on Thursdays, until 10 pm.