5 Unmissable Hidden Gems in Paris

Updated on 20 August 2017

Paris may be one of the top tourist destinations in the world, however there are plenty of lesser known sights to explore. I used to live there and often get asked for my recommendations, so we’re sharing a list of 5 unmissable hidden gems in Paris and some nearby restaurants with you.

1 – Hidden Gems in Paris – Palais Royal Gardens

The Palais Royal is a palace located near the Louvre, with gardens that are a real sanctuary on a Summer’s day.

Palais-Royal gardens in Paris, France
Flanked by contemporary and vintage fashion boutiques and cafes, it’s a lovely place for a stroll.

Palais-Royal garden in Paris, France
If you’re lucky you might come across a mysterious birdman, as I did – a gentleman who attracted all the birds to him.

The birdman at the Palais-Royal in Paris He let me in on his secret, give them bread soaked in milk and they will eat out of your hand. I certainly had fun once I’d got used to them landing on me!

2 – Gardens and Mansion Houses of the Marais

The Marais is one of the most unspoilt areas in Paris and Place des Vosges is a magnificent square, built by Henry IV in 1605. Although the square itself is quite well-known, if you venture into the side streets you’ll come across some lesser-known museums and parks that are really worth a visit.

unmissable hidden gems Paris
Under the vaulted arcades of the Place des Vosges, there are some interesting art galleries.

Le Marais has some amazing museums including the Carnavalet Museum, which is all about the history of Paris, and the Picasso Museum shown below.

Musee Picasso le Marais Paris
The Hotel de Soubise is one of the most charming Paris hidden gems, housing the Museum of French History and the National Archives.

Hotel Soubise ParisRobert et Louise is an unpretentious little steak house at rue Vielle du Temple in the Marais. We sat at the communal table and tucked into delicious potatoes, wood-fire cooked meat and a tasty creme brulee to finish.

Robert et Louise Paris restaurant

3 – The Passages of Paris

Paris has numerous passages or covered malls dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. These days they house interesting shops and restaurants. One of my favourites is Galerie Vivienne, built in 1823 with mosaic floors and some great shops including Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Galerie Vivienne Paris hidden gem
Nearby you can find the Passage du Grand Cerf in rue Saint Denis near the Chatelet les Halles shopping area. It was built in 1825 and is almost 12 metres tall, with an impressive glass roof.

Passage du Grand Cerf Paris arcadeThe Galerie Vero-Dodat dates from 1826 and was one of the first passages to get gas lighting, in 1830. It houses two Christian Louboutin stores and the “By Terry” renowned make-up range.

A very cool option for a drink before or after dinner is Andy Wahloo on rue des Gravilliers. There’s a hidden Paris courtyard with Moroccan inspired decor – no surprise that it’s owned by the Mazouz brothers who are behind Sketch and Momo in London.

Andy Wahloo ParisA fun place for dinner is Le Grand Colbert, which film buffs will recognize from the film “Something’s Gotta Give” with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. It’s a classic Parisian bistro serving up simple dishes like the roast chicken that Diane Keaton had in the film.

Le Grand Colbert Paris brasserie

4 – Promenade Plantee

One of our favourite secret things to do in Paris, this raised park was built on a disused viaduct and soars above the streets from Bastille to Vincennes. It’s a pleasant 4.7 kilometre scenic walk, which inspired the Highline in New York.

You get a great view over the surrounding buildings like this Art Deco masterpiece.

Art Deco building in Paris, FranceBelow the viaduct, there are quite a few design shops and some good brunch spots like L’Arrosoir on Avenue Daumesnil.

L'Arrosoir, Paris - a good place to eat if walking the Promenade Plantee

5 – Pershing Hall

Perfect for a late evening drink, Pershing Hall near the Champs Elysees is steeped in history. Now a luxury five star hotel, it was originally built by the Count of Paris at the end of the 18th century. In 1917, General John Pershing made it his headquarters and it later became the HQ of the American Legion.

Pershing Hall Paris hotelThe building was empty for quite a few years before being transformed by designer Andree Putman in 2001.

Pershing Hall where to drink ParisThere’s a spectacular living wall reaching up to 30 metres, created by famous botanist Patrick Blanc with 300 species of plants and trees. Talking of spectacular hotels, don’t forget to visit The Peninsula Paris which recently opened, the decor is amazing. The cosy bar is the perfect place for a nightcap! We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our favourite hidden gems in Paris. Now after all that sightseeing, what about a bit of retail therapy in the 5 hottest Paris shopping districts? And if you’re a fan of getting off the beaten path, you might want to check out our articles on hidden gems in Ibiza, London, Rome and Venice!

trendy bars Paris

  • Angie SilverSpoon

    Gorgeous post, Suze 🙂

    Lots of love,
    SilverSpoon London

    • Thanks Angie, I was back there a week ago but didn’t have time to explore!

  • Pingback: 5 hottest Paris shopping districts - Luxury Columnist()

  • Great photos. Place des Vosges and the Palais Royal are some of my favourite Paris spots. Looking forward to going back to Paris next week 🙂

    • Looking forward to reading about it! I want to go back to get photos of the Daniel Buren columns in the Palais Royal – they were being renovated when I last visited.

  • Gorgeous, Suze! A few places here which I’ve passed but never been to…and I love that you provide a dining option for each – having good food close at hand is ever so important when you’re exploring!

    Follow Your Sunshine

    • I think that’s part of the fun in Paris, so many great dining options!

  • Lifeplus1

    This is what I love about Paris: it’s such a big city, packed with a million wonderful things to do.

    This is what I love about you: You give unique suggestions and inspirations, different from so many other bloggers.

    Awesome list!


    • That’s really kind V, and I’m really glad that you managed to get into Paris after all – I’ve had a few scary passport moments myself!

  • Lady Lilith Bloodcrave

    How cool. Paris is just full of surprises.

    • You’re right, for a smallish city, it certainly does have a lot of cool surprises

  • I lived in Paris for years but I feel like there is always more to discover!! Great post 😀


    • Oh maybe you should do a Paris post or a Vancouver one! Glad you liked it Camilla

  • Dressed With Soul

    Oh, I must forward this post to my nice as her boyfriend lives in Paris 🙂 Thank you!

    xx from Germany/Bavaria, Rena


    • I hope your niece gets to check out some of the places, we really had fun going off the beaten track!

  • That birdman looks so cool! I have visions of me sitting in parks all over the world attracting all kinds of critters to my person with milky bready treats… I’m a little nuts 😀

    • He was very cool, it was almost like a moment out of a film. He asked me if I wanted to try and I was a bit apprehensive but it was fantastic!

  • I went to Paris when I was a teenager on a class trip and I have always wanted to go back on my own and just explore. I am now dying to get over to The Maris! Thanks for sharing these hidden gems — I am saving this for when I do get back to Paris!

    • The Marais is my favourite part of Paris, many of the other parts were standardised by Baron Haussman and they look lovely but the Marais is really quirky. Hope you get to go back soon!

  • Oh this is not helping my wanderlust you know!! Those pictures of the birds are brilliant! xx

    • Thanks Laura, my hubbie did a great job capturing the birds – they were moving around so much!

  • Laura @ Laughter is Catching

    i didnt get to go to any of these places when I was in Paris, we just didnt have the time. I really want to take my sister in May though, so ill make sure i see these places!

  • What a great recap! Now I’m jotting down these 5 hidden gems especially the brunch place L’Arrosoir. Thanks for a great informative post! xo~ Lena

    • L’Arrosoir was great and the walk along the viaduct is great, so far away from any beeping horns! I loved my visit to Chicago by the way though was a good few years ago

  • These are gorgeous places

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves


    • Thanks Candice, hope you get to see some if you ever visit Paris

  • Beauty Follower

    Wonderful recap… the little place des Vosges is a cute place to visit in summertime!


    • Place des Vosges is brilliant in Summertime, but it’s very atmospheric in Winter wandering around under the arches!

  • I absolutely adore your blog 🙂

    XoXo One Stiletto At A Time

  • This is giving me such travel lust to return to Paris–the last time I was there was 2008, and it remains my 2nd favorite city (only behind NY, of course;-) I love the tip of the bread soaked in milk for feeding the birds, I’ll have to try that!

    • The bread tip is definitely worth a try – I loved my visit to New York and I must write it up for the blog. A highlight was cycling around Central Park on bicycles loaned by The Mark. Some of the runners were cycling quicker than we were!

  • Some great suggestions and wonderful pictures Suze. I think I’ve only come across the first place on my prior travels.

    Thanks to the bird man I’m going to have to remember that tip about bread and milk, sounds like a lot of fun 🙂

    • Whoever said Parisians aren’t friendly is wrong, that bird man was a really lovely guy and it definitely felt like I was in a film when he got all the birds to come to me!

  • I’m hoping to make a very cheeky last minute trip up to Paris next weekend (!) so I’l definitely be remembering some of these trips if I do!

    It’s such a beautiful city – no matter how many times you visit there’s always more to see!

    Lauren xx

    • Hope you do get up there Lauren, must be quite quick on the TGV? Looking forward to reading about your trip

  • I’ll be in Paris in April, looking forward to seeing some of these favorite haunts again!

    • Have fun Noel, and if you’re ever in London, do let me know!

  • K.

    Just look at all the hidden things to do in Paris. I absolutely love each and every one of these photos. I can’t wait to visit Paris one day.

    Kay of Pure & Complex

    • Hope you get to go there soon Kay, it’s amazing how much you can cram in as it’s such a compact city

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    I haven’t been to Paris on years but didn’t know of any of these places! The promenade plantee looks just gorgeous!

    • Yes the Promenade Plantee is gorgeous, it starts near to the Bastille Opera and it’s also known as La Coulee Verte, the Green Flow literally translated!

  • They are indeed gems judging by these stunning photos. Paris seems to have gotten everything when it comes to beauty.

    • You’re right, Paris does come out top in beauty, and it looks amazing by night too

  • Lucy

    Well I thought I had explored Paris having been a few times, clearly not this post has reinvigorated the want to visit. Le Marais District looks beautiful Lucy x

    • Le Marais is so lovely, there’s even more new parks and museums – I really want to get to the Picasso Museum again

  • Coco Cami

    Lovely post,stunning photographs! Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to visit Paris again after reading this 🙂

    Camille xo


  • I’m taking note of this! Thanks for sharing 🙂


  • Ruby

    i’ve been to paris a couple of times before but never had chance to explore it thotoughly, these are some great pointers for my next trip! Thanks xxxx


    • Glad you liked it and hope you have fun on your next trip Ruby

  • The Palais Royal Gardens look gorgeous, great list!

    • Thanks Becky, the gardens are indeed lovely and there’s some really nice little cafes around the edges

  • Emily Ray

    Fantastic recommendations, got to love off-the-beaten-track spots in Paris – I especially like the look of Pershing Hall <3

    • Thanks Emily, Pershing Hall is great and the cocktails are to die for

  • A most excellent write-up of charming finds. I love the hidden passages; you’re right, it’s as though you’re in on a secret. Now I have an entire list for our next visit. Terrific post!

    • Thanks Betsy, that’s very kind. Hope you have an amazing trip to Paris

  • Оксана Золотухина

    I love Paris so much! Such lovely pictures!!!! Thanks for sharing))


  • We are just back from Paris and what I love most about the city is that there is always more to see! Our discovery this time was St Germain, a great place to mooch, shop, eat and drink!

    • I really love strolling around St Germain, some fantastic cafes and people watching to be done!

  • It’s been too long since we’ve visited Paris – must return… Such a great city! We love walking, so strolling the Promenade Plantee would be one of many things we’d like to do, which we’ve not yet done – so thanks for informing us :-).

  • What a wonderful post Suze! It will certainly be very useful to me soon 🙂
    I have been to Paris many times and also lived there for a few month, but I keep discovering some gems… maybe that is also one of the reasons why Paris is always a good idea.
    I loved how you combined the place and a location to eat <3
    Thank you for sharing these gems!
    By the way… do you have a nice restaurant suggestion for a romantic dinner there? Preferably with a view? 🙂

    • Thanks so much! I would recommend Chez Julien for a romantic dinner, it’s on the quayside in the 6th district (not to be confused with their larger Art Nouveau brasserie in the 10th!).

      • Thank you so much for the recommendation dear! I appreciate it 😀
        I will look into it!!

  • WOWWW vad a GREAT POST 🙂 i feel i want to travel when i see this LOVE your blog and i will for sure come back dear.

    Check out my classy New England decor post 🙂

    Have a FAB weekend dear

    LOVE Maria Inredning – it’s Swedish for decor

  • I miss Paris! Cant wait to go back in the Spring X


  • These are indeed hidden gems, I would love to see these places next time – love the visuals Suze.

  • Sally Nguyen

    I love the street with gold leaf carpet stretching. That’s so romantic.