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5 Hidden Gems To Visit In Paris

Gowithguide travel specialist O.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Gowithguide travel specialist O.

Last updated : May 22, 20248 min read

Things To Do

Paris Tour Guide

 

You don’t need us to tell you that Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, but even though the city has been traipsed to and fro by tourists for years, there are still some hidden gems that not too many are aware of.

 

In this article, we’ll be introducing some of our favorite less traveled and unusual Parisian spots. If you really want to delve deeper to uncover some of the city’s secrets, hiring one of our local private guides is a surefire way to get to know everything Paris has to offer

 

Paris catacombs

 

Number one on our list is literally situated underground and hidden away from the everyday goings-on of the city. This is not for the faint of heart or the claustrophobic, though, as the Paris catacombs is a labyrinthine series of tunnels that are home to the remains of approximately six million people! 

 

Most of the remains were relocated from the city’s overflowing graveyards during the 18th century, but the tunnels are also home to macabre mysteries and unexplained incidents that occurred throughout the years. This includes the disappearance of Philibert Aspairt, several alleged murders during more politically turbulent years, and even its use as a hideout for the French Resistance during World War II. 

 

Parts of the catacombs are open to the public, and alongside one of our private tour guides you can even gain access to some of the restricted areas! Here you will be treated to a fascinating dive into the city’s darker history, uncovering the mysteries of the catacombs from its days as a limestone quarry all the way to its use as a grave site. A trip to these tunnels will surely make for an unforgettable and enchanting experience

 

Abbey Bookshop

 

For book lovers, there is a truly magical experience waiting at the 29 Rue de la Parcheminerie, the historic and charming Abbey bookshop. If you love old, cluttered bookshops filled with dusty tomes, you can spend hours upon hours browsing through the massive selection of books here. Concerned because you can’t read French? Well, worry not, because the Abbey Bookshop specializes in English titles from all over the Anglosphere. 

 

Founded in 1989 by Canadian Brian Spence, the store has catered to the literary needs of Paris’s English community for decades. Its history goes back even further though, located in a street that was once the home of many Parisian scribes during the Middle Ages. 

 

Featuring an expansive collection of over 40,000 titles, you can find even the most obscure works in these vaults. The store also offers online reservations, in-store pickup, as well as the ability to ship a book straight to your door. The Abbey bookshop operates Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 19:00 pm. 

 

Montmartre Sinking House 

 

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is well known as one of the most photogenic landmarks in the world, but did you know that a similarly amazing place exists in Paris? The Montmartre Sinking House has become a siren’s call for Instagram enthusiasts over the last couple of years, and makes for some amazing picture opportunities. 

 

The secret though is that the house isn’t actually sinking into the ground, it’s all a clever optical illusion that can be captured from a particular spot on the adjacent hill! This endearing orange house is situated right next to the famous Basilica of Sacré-Cœu, so you can get a two-for-one for your Parisian bucket list on your visit. 

 

Sit down on the grass to enjoy some amazing views of Paris, whether you head there in the morning to avoid the crowds, or in the evening to capture some amazing sunset vistas over the City of Lights. Head to 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre to snap a picture of this enigmatic landmark. 

 

The Passages of Paris

 

Next up we head to some well-preserved 19th century shopping areas with a visit to the “Passages of Paris”. This is a series of covered malls that are home to an eclectic variety of stores, cafés, and restaurants.

 

Start your journey from Le Grand Colbert, 2 Rue Vivienne, and enjoy an engaging couple of hours exploring the myriad of historic shops located under these sprawling awnings. Head to the Passage du Grande Cerf and bask under its expansive glass roof while window shopping or enjoying a coffee. Constructed in 1826, the Galerie Vero-Dodate was one of the first parts of the city to be equipped with gas lighting, and here you can find several fashion boutiques and high-end cosmetic stores to name but a few. 

 

The passages also make for a great venue to enjoy a romantic dinner and drinks, with several famous locations dotted around. These include Le Grand Colbert, an amazing bistro which offers up hearty French fare for a decent price. Consult one of our guides, or check out our look at some of the best Parisian restaurants for even more delectable decisions

 

59 Rivoli

 

For our final recommendation, why not get in touch with your artistic side by venturing to one of Paris’s unique art museums? The Le Squat du 59 Rue de Rivoli (more commonly referred to simply as 59 Rivoli), is a building that used to be occupied by renegade squatting artists. They expressed themselves using eccentric art pieces, installations, and graffiti, creating a special modernist art scene separate from the classical art that Parisian museums are usually known for. 

 

With more than 30 artists in residence at any given time, each claims a specific room or wall as their canvas to express themselves. Intrepid visual artists can also apply for an exhibition space within the museum, meaning that it’s truly open for anyone driven to display their talent. The museum is usually open between 13:00 and 20:00, although specific exhibitions and times can change frequently. In addition to being able to enjoy some truly original art, visitors can also enjoy concerts hosted at the gallery on Saturdays and Sundays. 

 

The museum saw its unusual birth when in 1999, Gaspard Delanoë, Kalex, and Bruno Dumont broke down the front door of the historic building that had stood abandoned for 8 years. The charming Haussmannian structure had stood derelict for years as the bank that owned it went out of business. A number of artists then set up residence in the newly liberated structure, and opened their exhibitions to visitors free of charge. Eventually, the City of Paris acknowledged 59 Rivoli as a protected art museum, and it has since welcomed over 50,000 visitors annually through its doors. This home of contemporary art is a must-see for any art lover, and can be visited free of charge to this day. 

 

Conclusion 

We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of all the amazing and hidden away treasures that one can find in Paris in this article. The city is home to many more unique attractions that don’t always make it onto the mainstream tourist brochures. If you’d like to truly explore and get to know the City of Lights, we recommend organizing a customized tour experience with one of our resident local guides. They can show the ins and outs better than any traditional tour offering can dream! 

Paris Tour Guide - Jillian A.

Jillian A.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)
France

Bonjour de Paris! I'm Jillian, your independent Paris guide, ready to sprinkle some magic on your adventure! Walk with me – your experienced, passionate, dynamic, and undeniably cool local guide. Let's meander through petite cafes and historic wonders, unlocking the secrets to living like a true Parisian! Marvel at hidden gems where the art of the past and present intertwines, making history your playground! Join my small groups or opt for a private/personalized walking tour, because in Paris, the best stories are told step by step. Whether alone or with your favorite people, I'll show you the beauty of Paris. Let's make your time in Paris a whirlwind of joy. Have fun and let the City of Lights enchant you!                                                                                                                                  

Paris Tour Guide - Leo K.

Leo K.

5.00 / 5
(7 reviews)
France

Hi there! My nickname is Leo, I've been a tour guide in Paris and France for 6 years and I love my job and meeting people from all over the world to share my passion with! My speciality is the museum of catacombs, which is a very unique site. I also do tours of the historical crimes and legends of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Seine river cruise, Chartres and its cathedral, the cemetery of Père Lachaise, Le Marais and much more.                                                                                                                                  

Paris Tour Guide - Ellen L.

Ellen L.

5.00 / 5
(3 reviews)
France

I am an experienced tour guide and a friendly Franco-American who has lived in Paris for 33 years. Travelers feel comfortable with me due to my fluency in both English & French. I am a trained historian and my tours are well researched, well documented and well presented on high tech material (tablet), a multi-media experience using archival photos, video footage (and when appropriate sound). My tours are not for the first time traveler - I could never compete with the big bucket tours that go to the Eiffel Tower. Instead, I market tours for those who have already seen the sights and want to see Paris beyond the monuments, the real Paris with its private courtyards, quiet cobblestoned streets & hidden monuments that only locals know.                                                                                                                                 

Paris Tour Guide - Julien A.

Julien A.

France

After a long experience in the Food & Beverage scene in Paris, I would be happy to make you discover the more trendy districts of Paris through a gourmet and festive perspective! Let's discover at the same time Paris history/geography and the best places to have lunch /dinner / cocktails and where to buy tasty food.                                                                                                                                 

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