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Paris hidden gems: top attractions you won’t find on a postcard

Jul 10, 2021 by Kara Kramer

The best places to visit in Paris aren’t always on the front of a postcard, but beauty is around every corner in the City of Love. Take your time exploring Paris’ cobblestone streets, wide, leafy boulevards, and sidewalk cafes, and you might just discover some of the best-kept secrets in Paris. Come with us as we explore Paris’ hidden gems and the best places to visit on our tours of Paris.


See renowned unicorn tapestries

Take a stroll through Musée de Cluny, the National Museum of the Middle Ages, and you’ll walk under the high-arched ceilings of a 2,000-year-old Roman bathhouse. It’s preserved by the museum in its original location, and now displays museum artifacts. Gaze in awe at the bejeweled gold crowns worn by seventh century Spanish royalty. Discover what is considered one of the greatest works of art of the Middle Ages: the six tapestries of “The Lady and the Unicorn,” depicting each of the five senses and love.


Be transported to the French countryside

You may not actually be in a quaint town in the French countryside sipping hearty wine and eating local dishes, but Le Vieux Bistrot will make you feel like it. This cozy bistro on Rue Mouffetard near the Louvre brings you straight to the heart of French cooking with its rustic setting and traditional French menu. Try the beef bourguignon or fondue at this charming restaurant in the heart of Paris.

See our Travel Guide to Paris >


Behold Paris’ only wine vineyard

Montmartre is known as an authentic village in the heart of Paris. Tucked into this colorful locale is Paris’ only wine-producing vineyard. The Clos Montmartre vineyard is not open to the public, but is easily viewed from the street. The vineyard holds a public, five-day harvest festival every October, which produces 1,500 bottles of wine that are auctioned off for charity. The vineyard is the backdrop to the century-old, pink-and-green architecture of La Maison Rose Cafe, which you might recognize from the series “Emily in Paris.”

Are you an “Emily in Paris” fan? See all the filming locations you can visit in France >


Visit celebrity graves at Père Lachaise Cemetery

History, art, and nature collide to make this local cemetery one of the best secrets in Paris. “One of my favorite places in Paris is the Père Lachaise Cemetery,” said staffer Tori. “It’s so beautiful and home to Jim Morrison’s grave.” Other famous graves include Oscar Wilde’s pharaoh-like tomb smattered with red lipstick kisses gifted from passer-by. French writer Georges Rodenbach’s tomb is a sculpture of a bronze figure emerging from the grave, holding a rose in the right hand. The 100-acre grounds hold impressive statues and grand, vine-covered mausoleums, making it well worth the walk through this beautiful, centuries-old necropolis.

Can’t get enough Paris? Take a virtual tour of Paris >


Picnic by the Seine

The Seine River is one of the best places to visit in Paris. “I always recommend going to a local market and picking up fresh bread, cheese, wine, and taking your picnic down to the banks of the Seine,” said staffer Nilson. “Then you can sit there and eat and drink at your leisure as the sun goes down. You can usually find spots where locals are congregated doing the same thing. There is lovely energy along the river. You can pick your spot, so you know the view will be spectacular, probably better than you can find at a restaurant. The people-watching is great, and you’ll see tour boats passing by. This is the cheapest and most enjoyable way I have found to do dinner in Paris.”


Try Moroccan food at the Marché des Enfants Rouges

Need something to eat by the river? Parisian markets are abundant, but if you need somewhere to start, look no further than the Marché des Enfants Rouges—the oldest food market in Paris. While unimposing from the street, it’s filled with a maze of food stalls and vendors from all four corners of the world. A stand out culinary experience in the market is Le Traiteur Marocain. This authentic Moroccan food stall boasts 13 different couscous dishes including stuffed eggplant and lemon chicken. Don’t leave without an order of baklava—this exceptional honey and pistachio pastry is a perfect riverside treat.

See more of the Seine River on our Paris: The City Experience tour >


Experience a real French jazz club

Get your dancing shoes on for a night out in Paris. The Aux Trois Mailletz is a jazz bar housed in a cavernous, candle lit cellar across the river from Notre Dame Cathedral on the Left Bank. This restaurant and club is a destination for live music in an intimate setting. The cabaret is two levels—upstairs you’ll find a piano player and lounge singer, downstairs a revue of high-energy live music. Entertainment goes well into the night (and morning) at this local favorite, and music rarely starts before 11pm. Be sure to get there earlier to snag a seat.


Spy the “Inception” bridge

The Pont de Bir-Hakeim crosses the Seine River and is often referred to as the “Inception bridge” due to the mind-boggling Christopher Nolan film “Inception,” which used the bridge columns to notable effect. In the movie, mirror images gave the impression that the bridge went on for eternity, linking to the dream sequences that bent reality in the popular cinema masterpiece. The Pont de Bir-Hakeim’s IMDB credits are even longer. It’s the setting for the opening scene in “Last Tango in Paris”, the Marlon Brando film from 1972.


City of hidden treasures

Famous Paris attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées are recognizable around the world, but the City of Light has more to offer than what you’ll find on the front of a postcard. Experience more hidden gems in Paris on one of our tours of Paris.

What’s your favorite spot in Paris? Share it with us on our Facebook page.

About the author | Kara Kramer
Growing up, Kara’s backyard was the Sonoran Desert where her love for exploration was ignited by dirt roads leading to petroglyphs and family road trips to sleepy Mexican fishing villages. Kara’s enjoyment for charting new territory continued with teaching abroad in Thailand, roaming wine cellar caves in Portugal, and swimming in the bioluminescent waters of the Caribbean. She’s always on the lookout for dive bars and a bowl of Vietnamese Pho (lime, basil, and jalapeño is the holy trinity).

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