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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!