If you’re planning a vacation to this romantic city but aren’t looking forward to the swarms of other tourists, you might want to take a look at our list of the best little-known spots in Paris. They can provide you with new experiences and high-quality goods, not to mention a glimpse into life the way locals live it.
Take a break from the popular visitor attractions and do some exploring off the beaten track. You never know what you might find.
For the designer
If you’re a fan of architecture and artsy pieces of furniture, you should check out the Chez Moi Paris. This shop resembles a home, with everything on sale including the abstract paintings on the wall and colorful clothes in the closet. Each piece is designer-made and hand-selected, so be prepared to spend some cash if you’re looking to buy!
For more designer beauty – specifically of the jewelry selection – you must head down to Olwen Forest in the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen outdoor flea market. While it’s a bit of a trek from the center of Paris, it’s worth it for lovers of unique jewelry pieces that have a history. The owner, Forest, has amassed this large collection of jewelry from couture runway models and other stylish friends, with unbranded pieces along with classic Chanel and Miriam Haskell works.
Spend a lot of time in the kitchen? If you’re a cook or passionate for cuisine, spend a day at the Laguiole Paris – Île Saint Louis. This shop is centrally located and creates high-quality folding knives, kitchen knives, and other cutlery. Blades and handles alike are made of the finest material, with handles of olive wood, juniper, and ebony, but also buffalo horn, stag antler, or even the rare mammoth ivory. Worried about taking it home? Employees at this shop will know just how to package your purchase for travel.
For the foodie
Perhaps you’re more interested in what you can eat during your time in Paris.
To experience some of the local lifestyle, visit The Hood cafe. Not only will you find delicious coffee and unique menu options (we recommend their signature Banh Mi sandwich on a baguette) but it will come at a more affordable price compared to other popular spots in Paris. They even have a variety of instruments inside that customers are invited to play, and they host music events throughout the month.
Can’t go to Paris without eating bread and pastries, right? For a lesser-known bakery that won’t have long lines but will still blow your mind, try Utopie. They have loaves of bread sporting flavors like cilantro and ginger, apricot and thyme, or basil and pepper. And when you’re craving something sweet, try their watermelon mint tart, a mango hazelnut biscuit, or the unique black sesame lime cake. Needless to say, their recipes are wonderfully innovative and their bakes are made to perfection.
Of course, you can’t have good bread without a good cheese to go with it. For this, we recommend the Fromagerie Boursault. This quaint store crams a wide variety of cheeses, wines and other spreads onto its shelves. They keep a minimal online presence which helps the place stay somewhat under the radar, but locals know this is a go-to destination for amazing tasting cheeses.
For the eccentric
Looking to glimpse something more unconventional?
Stop by the Thanx God I’m A V.I.P store, just a five-minute walk from Place de la République. Here you can find all things vintage, including second-hand designer clothing and one-of-a-kind trinkets. Expect to find a lot of color and a lot of expression! At night TGV will sometimes host music events, too, so keep it on your list of Paris must-sees.
Another strange attraction is the Deyrolle Cabinet de Curiosités, a collection of objects you will likely not see in regular stores. This includes taxidermied animals, ancient fossils, and beetle collections. Things tend to be expensive here, so if you’re looking to take home one of their unique items be prepared with some savings. If not, however, this store is still worth a walk-through before your plane ride home.
Last on our list is the Le Comptoir General, a place of luxury and perhaps a little mystery. You can drink at Le Comptoir’s two bar rooms or reserve their concert space and community center for events. They also have differently themed rooms; one based on a 1950s classroom, one set up with old books and records, and another with its own cabinet of curiosities. You can even enjoy a bite to eat in their evening restaurant.
Taking the time to explore this list of the best little-known spots in Paris will allow you to see another side of the city, broaden your perspective on all it has to offer and maybe even provide you with a unique souvenir to take home. They may be out of the way or hard to find, but the experiences they offer are worth it.
So sure, visit the Louvre and gaze upon the Palace of Versailles, but then take a detour through the lesser-known parts of Paris, and get some time away from the bustling tourists with their selfie-sticks. Don’t be afraid to see Paris like a local!