This June, we spent a few days exploring France’s amazing and seemingly endless capital city. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, you name it, we saw it. But if you know us a bit by now, you can’t be surprised that we looked for some hidden places as well, and not without success! Here’s our final compilation of the hidden gems we found during our recent stay in Paris. Check out all of them on our Treasure Map to see where they all are.
Hidden gem #1: The Arena of Lutèce
Did you know that there is a Roman amphitheater in the city center? We loved hanging out at the Arena of Lutèce, watching the local boys playing football and the extensive picnics that their parents bring to the public park. Lovely and strange to find such a place hidden behind a busy street and a tall housing block, and behind a lovely green zone.
Hidden gem #2: Restaurant Le Passage à Niveau
Kirsten found this lovely hidden restaurant around the corner from our hotel. We went on a late night drink once to see what the place was like, and ended up going back two days later for dinner. Located along the abandoned Petite Ceinture railway (Google it, the background story is quite interesting), Le Passage à Niveau has a bit of a hipster vibe, good beers and cheap food. €12,90 for a proper two course menu in the center of Paris! Even if your hotel isn’t near, use your metro card to get to Ourcq station and try it out!
Hidden gem #3: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
Surprisingly, we found a lot of remarkably peaceful parks in the center of Paris. This one must have been one of the best. Within walking distance from our hotel, walking through the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont sort of felt like a tiny hike out in nature.
Hidden gem #4: Three galleries in the center
This hidden gem is sort of a package deal. Go back in time and visit these three covered galleries hidden away in the absolute center of Paris. We shared some more about these galleries in our previous blog.
Hidden gem #5: Salsa by the Seine
We read about this place before going to Paris, and were wondering if what we read was true; every single evening at 7PM in summer, people gather by the Seine in this particular spot to dance salsa. Well, we were a bit surprised to find a group of well over 100 people watching, dancing and enjoying plenty of alcohol by the looks of it! And we actually heard more Spanish than French in this particular spot. It was the absolute highlight of our days in Paris for us! Be sure to check out our Instagram Reel to catch a bit of the atmosphere, and to seek out this spot to experience it for yourself when you next visit Paris.
Hidden gem #6: Coulée Verte René-Dumont
For a city of its size, Paris has done its best to create pockets of green wherever possible. In a few different places around the city, there are ‘Coulées Vertes’ or green belts. This particular one is raised above street level, meaning there’s an uninterrupted park of about 3KM long running through the city center. We entered near the Place de la Bastille and walked about half the belt, until we reached the Parc de Reuilly. This park is special for another reason, as it has a water fountain that dispenses an endless free supply of sparkling water!
Hidden gem #7: Saint Ouen Flea Market
In four days, this flea market was our only stop outside of the actual inner city. And to be honest, we noticed a rather sudden change in atmosphere when we got to the nearby metro station Porte de Clignancourt. Crossing under the Boulevard Péripherique (the ever-clogged inner city highway ring), we walked into a massive market where the locals sell a plethora of fake sunglasses, bags and clothes. But once you get past this rather strange part of the market, the vibe suddenly changes to a slightly touristy flea market full of overpriced anything and everything. There are shops selling coffee grinders, ancient furniture, light switches and whatever else you can imagine that you probably don’t need. We certainly didn’t buy anything, but had a good time walking around the market amazed at what was around every next corner. And after visiting the outdoors market, we crossed the street into the covered Marché Dauphine flea market; also worth a visit!
Did we miss any hidden gems during our visit to Paris? Let us know by leaving a reply here or on our Instagram!
Kirsten & Thomas