Ah Paris! The city of love and magic all around. The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées, all major tourists attractions for millions of people a year. There is so much to do in Paris, and many great things that are often missed. I will be the first to say that the Louvre is definitely worth spending the entire day exploring, while other travel bloggers may disagree. So what I’m saying is, don’t skimp on the big stuff, but do experience Paris’ underrated ‘To Do’ list as well! To kick this mini series off (London and New York to follow), I am going to give you 8 lesser known things to do in Paris.

8 Lesser Known Things To Do In Paris

1. Musée Rodin

A litter lesser known, this museum attracts approximately 700,000 visitors per year to the Louvre’s 8.8 million visitors. As such, Musée Rodin is often missed by tourists but it is bloody magnificent and very worth a visit. It consists of three areas: The Hôtel Biron, The Chapel, and the Sculpture Garden. The museum was officially opened in 1919 after Auguste Rodin donated all his works to the hotel. Walking through the old hotel that was converted in to the museum is a beautiful architectural journey. The grounds are stunning as well.

2. Clignancourt Flea Market

This is, without argument, probably the best and largest flea market in Paris. Clingnancourt flea market covers several blocks and sprawls in to many alleyways. One of my favorite things about this flea market is that Clingnancourt has many options for shipping on the premises, should you decide to buy furniture or get something quite large. Easy peasy! Tourists tend to wonder on over to the area by the Latin Quarter and the Ile De Cite for trinket shopping. I highly suggest skipping this area and instead doing some antique hunting at the flea market. Plus, that place is notorious for pick pockets.

3. Point Zero

Point Zero is so often missed. In fact, I missed this myself on my first trip to Paris. Alas, I am not perfect. Point Zero is the place in Paris where all distances are measured from. So it’s quite literally, ‘point zero’. It can be found just behind the Notre Dame, and it’s a little round stone set in to the ground with a copper sun in the middle. Many people believe that if you stand on Point Zero and make a wish it will come true. That is probably a little touristy, but still really neat to do nonetheless! After all, every great city has their place where wishes come true.

8 Lesser Known Things To Do In Paris

4. Buttes Chaumont

Located in the lesser visited 19th arrondissement, the Buttes Chaumont is a breath taking urban park located in the middle of the city. It has several bridges and a grotto with multiple waterfalls. Probably the most famous site is the Temple Sybille. This temple sits on top of a cliff on an island (yes, a cliff and an island in a park) and overlooks an artificial lake. I really can’t think of a cooler park! Perfect to enjoy a late afternoon picnic with some French wine and cheese. Don’t forget your camera, because the temple and the Ile are really fabulous for photos.

5. Parc Monceau

Another fabulous park that isn’t visited enough in Paris. Located in the 8th arrondissement, Parc Monceau is a step away from the traditional French style parks and gardens. This park boasts English features with its curved pathways and quite random layout. If you’re a fellow blogger or just a workaholic, this park also offers wifi and is great for getting some fresh air while working. There is also a shop and cafe located in the park. Tourists often claim this is one of the places in Paris that is full of locals where they feel like they can ‘fit in’.

8 Lesser Known Things To Do In Paris

6. Sacré-Coeur Views

I bet you didn’t think the Sacré-Coeur would be on this list, did you? This is a well known visit for many tourists, but too many people don’t take the chance to climb to the top. Also, maybe parks aren’t your thing and you’re looking for a more common missed occurrence. It’s a long way to the top, but just do a few mile runs before you leave for Paris and you should be good to go! It can get quite claustrophobic as the stairway is very very tiny (only one person can fit in one direction at a time). Once you make it to the top though, it is well worth it. The view is the best in Paris in my opinion, outside of the Eiffel Tower. My favorite photos are always taken from the top of the Sacré-Coeur.

7. Climbing the Eiffel Tower

This is another one that tourists just don’t seem in to, but it’s a small sacrifice for you time. If you’ve been to the Eiffel Tower, I’m sure you will have noticed the longest queue you have ever seen in your life. That queue is to a non-sweating, walking-free ride up to the top. Instead, climb the first two levels which consists of about 600 steps. Most people don’t know that after the first two levels there is an elevator where you can continue to the very top anyway. Climbing the first two levels is great exercise, nearly queue-free, and almost void of any other tourists. Take the time and enjoy the sights of Paris along the way!

8 Lesser Known Things To Do In Paris

8. Eating Vietnamese

This may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but Paris has some amazing Vietnamese food. This includes pho and Bánh mì. Paris has always had a significant Vietnamese population, and in the 13th quarter you can find some of the best pho of your life. Restaurants like Saigon Pantheon and Pho 14 are ‘lines out the door’ worthy. Check out Aname for a more fancier bistro take on Parisian Vietnamese.

Whether you’re planning your first trip to Paris (I can give you a hand with that too), or your third, these are some of my favorite things to do that people often miss. Hopefully you add these to your list on your next trip!

What’s your favorite thing to do in Paris? Or, what would you love to see in Paris that you haven’t seen yet?

Check out Trip Planner for a hand in planning your next trip!

72 Comments

  1. I’ve never been to Paris, but thanks so much for sharing these awesome tips. I would not have known anything about Point Zero – but it’s stuff like that that’s fun to go and see. Going to the top of the Eiffel Tower would be amazing too!

    Lindsey Elyse | lindseyginge

    Reply
  2. Aw my heart is melting! What a great post and suggestions! You really have spotted very worth visiting places, like the point Zero and the Clignancourt flea market! I love Paris, I go there 1-2 months per year and my dream is to live permanently! The views from the Sacre Cœur are simply breathtaking, my first apartment in Paris was right there and I have so many beautiful memories! Thank you so much for this amazing post Emily, you really made my evening! Now the only thing I will be thinking about will be Paris! <3
    Love,
    Stella
    http://www.stellaasteria.com

    Reply
    1. Aw that’s amazing you get to visit so much! It would be such a dream to live there. Especially since my French is quite good (studied it for 5 years). That’s awesome you’ve done a lot of these things. Let me know next time you go, and please throw me in your suitcase. ;p

      Author Reply
    1. You’re welcome Shireen! The first place I mentioned is really really really good. The lines are usually long. Hopefully you guys get there soon! It’s such a beautiful city.

      Author Reply
  3. I absolutely love this post babe! I’ll be visiting next year and need all the help I can get planning our trip. I love visiting places that are not as well known to other people or “hidden gems”. I’ve visiting Paris once before but was only there for a day and half! Talk about torture! I didn’t even get to climb the Eiffel Tower so it’s definitely on my to-do list. I would also like to find the best places to take pictures while I’m there. I would never think to order Vietnamese food there so thanks for the tip!

    xoxo Rina
    http://www.andshedressed.com

    Reply
    1. Ahhh so jealous! Paris is so amazing for first timers (or kind of in your case). If you do any of the touristy things there, the Eiffel tower and the Louvre are definitely worth the hype. I would highly suggest those two. And then I really think the best views of Paris are from climbing the Sacre Coeur. So definitely do that! I want to say it’s like $5 or something, but not a lot of people do it. Have so much fun! And let me know if you need any suggestions. I’d be happy to help. 🙂

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  4. Awww this post takes me back! 🙂 I went to Paris a few years back, it was the first proper holiday me and my boyfriend ever did together, and it was super special. We did actually make the climb to the top of Sacre Coeur!! It was so exhausting, and a little bit dodgy on the steps especially if there were people coming the opposite direction… But well worth it! The views from the top are absolutely stunning, like you said. 🙂 And yes, Musee Rodin is deffo worth the visit! Some beautiful sculptures and artwork there, so glad we didn’t miss it! Thanks for sharing these, hun. <3 Hope you're well! Kisses xoxo

    Kay
    http://shoesandglitter.com

    Reply
    1. Haha yes! Dodgy is the right word. My poor mom. I thought she was going to die going up them! Hope you guys make it back to Paris someday again. Perfect trip for couples!

      Author Reply
    1. Thanks Emily! I definitely think the touristy things are worth doing sometimes. At least in Paris. I mean, it’s Paris haha. You have to see the Eiffel tower and the Louvre. 😉

      Author Reply
    1. Oh no argument here! The Louvre is amazing and I usually plan a whole day for the Louvre in Paris. I mean, just even the interior architecture is a marvel in itself. Like forget the actual art! JK, obviously. But the fact that it is underground too is so impressive. When I was in Paris last I was an avid runner. I would wake up around 5am to go running, and I would run the Louvre. There were actually a few other people doing it too (and French people at that!). It is still one of my favorite memories. Just being at the Louvre when it was so quiet and no one was around, and running on top of thousands of years worth of famous art. 🙂

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    1. Ah thank you Aurelie! That makes me so happy! I will definitely add those to my lists on my next visit. I LOVE museums and history. I could hang out in them all day long.

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  5. I’ve had this page open since Saturday but didn’t have the time to read it all the way through until today. And I’m so glad I did! You’ve got some great hidden gems here, I’ve only ever heard of the eiffel tower one. I looove aerial views and even when the walk up is grueling, it’s totally worth it for the birds eye view of a city. I’ll definitely be adding the Sacre-Coeur view to my Paris wish list! The Rodin museum also sounds amazing. It’s lovely visiting places dedicated to a single artist since you can really track their growth and their various influences and changes and what not. I visited the Picasso museum in Paris when I was there and loved it. Point zero sounds cool too! I wonder if all cities have a similar point.

    I would have never guessed that Paris had wonderful vietnamese food! But now I know 😉

    Thanks for all the wonderful recs!

    Mili | Sharmtoaster

    Reply
    1. I haven’t been to the picasso museum, but I totally need to do that! Good suggestion. The Sacre Coeur is definitely my favorite view of Paris. You can see the Eiffel Tower in the distance too. There is just so much to do in Paris, I didn’t even cover half the hidden gems! Haha. Thanks for reading Mili. I really appreciate it! Hope you have a great rest of your week. 🙂

      Author Reply
  6. How did I miss Point Zero when I was in Paris?! That sounds like such a fun little thing to see/visit. Guess I’ll have to go back 😉 Thanks for sharing Emily, and happy Monday!

    Kathryn • simplykk.com

    Reply
    1. Thanks Kathryn! Happy Monday! I missed Point Zero my first trip too, ugh. I didn’t even know it existed. It happens!

      Author Reply
    1. Thank you Carmen! Paris is just so iconic and classic. Jealous you’ve been so many times! I always discover something new, which is the best part. It’s such an exciting city. 🙂

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  7. OMG I didn’t know that about the Eiffel tower climb! I always skipped going up simply because I didn’t want to wait in line and be crammed in. BUT, I would totally climb a few flights of stairs. Despite visiting Paris a few times, I still haven’t done most of the “touristy” things. I tend to go the route of getting lost in the streets. This leaves me with a lot of things I have to do still!

    Thank you for a great, comprehensive guide to the lesser known things. 🙂

    xo
    N
    Style Tomes ||ST on IG

    Reply
    1. Haha definitely take the stairs! That queue is ridiculous and I think at least a two hour wait. I love to get lost in the streets too. It’s so fun to just take it all in and have no agenda!

      Author Reply
  8. Such a good post idea! When I travel I love to explore things that are going to be memorable and of course landmarks but sometimes I like to travel off the beaten path and get away from the touristy areas a bit. I hope to make it to Paris in the next few years, thanks for sharing!

    xx

    Lauren
    Blame it on Barneys
    http://www.blameitonbarneys.com

    Reply
  9. Thanks for these tips! My husband and I would love to go to Europe in the future (no definite plans when yet but WE SHOULD) and this could really be helpful. Who would have known that you can also find good Vietnamese food in Paris of all places! When I hear Paris I always think of coffee and pastries. xD

    xoxo,
    Gelleesh.com

    Reply
    1. Yay! When do you leave? I am so jealous. I really wanted to go somewhere towards the end of the year, but it’s just not gonna happen haha. Too much going on.

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