Secret Paris

Secret Paris

A look at the hidden gems in Europe's number one romantic destination.

Sights

The secretive side to Europe's romantic city

So you've been to the Louvre, walked around the Arc de Triomphe, and you've looked out over the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower, but there's so much more to see in the world's most romantic city. We've overturned every paving slab and crept around hidden street corners to bring you a selection of Paris' best unknown gems, but don't tell anyone!

Little-known day spots

Parc de Bagatelle

When you're exploring one of France's most unique cities, a trip around the usual tourist traps can mean missing out on the most interesting parts of a city. Paris is known for its beauty and many tourists head to the famous parks surrounding Champs-Elysée avenue. For a quieter spot, head to Parc de Bagatelle of the Château de Bagatelle in western Paris. This beautiful, quiet garden was created in the 18th century, and is home to a Chinese-style pagoda, as well as stunning rose gardens, which play host each year to an international competition.

Parc de Belleville

Another stunning green space, which provides great views over Paris is Parc de Belleville. If you're tired of the Eiffel Tower, this is a superb alternative that will give you panoramic views over the city, and it even has its own wooden children's park. Home to waterfalls, streams, and 140 wine-producing grape vines, take a picnic to the top of Belleville hill and watch as the city breathes below. Another interesting way to see the city is by taking a boat tour along the River Seine, an option that is surprisingly overlooked by many tourists.

Views over the city at Parc de Belleville

Views over the city at Parc de Belleville

Marché Monge

Paris has dozens of markets, both open air and covered, but one of the most delightful is Marché Monge. This food market is set in the quiet surroundings of Place Monge, which can be found just south of the River Seine in the city centre. You can spend an afternoon pleasantly browsing the high quality goods that are on sale, and we love the fact that you're able to buy produce directly from the source. Chat with the fishmonger and ask about sustainable fishing, or discuss local farming whilst buying fresh fruit and veg. Take some extra cash to this market though, as prices reflect the quality of goods on offer.

Underground culture

La Pagode Cinema

If you're looking for something to do in the evenings, why not spend some time checking out Paris' movie theatres? La Pagode Cinema is celebrated amongst those who know its existence, as it's one of the most beautiful places to see a film in Paris. Located at 57 Rue de Babylone, in the southwest of Paris, La Pagode gets its name from its authentic pagoda, which is made from parts imported from Japan, and has been showing films on and off since the 1930s. There are also some exquisite gardens at the site, which are perfect to relax in whilst waiting for a film.

Musée Carnavalet

Tucked away in Paris' historic Le Marais district, Musée Carnavaletshowcases the history of Paris, housed within two beautiful mansion buildings. Formerly a famous Renaissance hotel, the setting of the museum has its own gardens, and houses a range of collections such as items from the Middle Ages, French furniture, art, and archaeology. The museum is known, but many overlook it in favour of the famous Louvre, and Le Marais is a fantastic district for museum addicts, as it's home to many different galleries and museums.

Musee Carnavalet

Musee Carnavalet

Bab-Ilo

Paris has an ever-changing music scene, and one great way to get a glimpse of local culture is to head to a live music venue. We love the Bab-Ilo, a famous jazz club with the Parisian locale. You'll find it in the Montmartre neighbourhood, and whilst this area is packed with busy bars and clubs, Bab-Ilo is tucked away inside an old pub, which serves as a cosy setting within which local jazz musicians perform, as well as Brazilian and Caribbean bands during most nights of the week.

Paris Montmartre neighbourhood is well-trodden, but there are still secrets to uncover

Paris' Montmartre neighbourhood is well-trodden, but there are still secrets to uncover

Secret eats

Chez Ramona

Within Paris' charming Belleville district, you'll find Chez Ramona. Serving up Spanish food, this restaurant is popular with locals who want to spend a long evening dining on classic Spanish dishes, whilst enjoying a lot of sangria! It's a little hidden away, and to get to the restaurant space you'll have to venture through the downstairs bakery, before climbing the narrow stairs which take you to the dining room. The décor is fun and typically Spanish, and the prices are very reasonable.

Sip sangria and feast on paella at Chez Ramona

Sip sangria and feast on paella at Chez Ramona

L'Ebouillanté

If you're after some more traditional French cuisine, head to L'Ebouillanté, in a low-key square just beyond the St-Gervais-St-Protais Church. It's technically a café, dishing up pastries, cakes and light meals, and in the evening you can dine on crêpes filled with meat and vegetables, whilst sipping on well-made cocktails. There's an art studio upstairs, so much of the clientele here reflects the bohemian vibes that L'Ebouillanté has managed to uphold in all its years in business.

Hidden hotels

Hotel Daniel

This small, lavishly decorated hotel is perfect if you're looking for a luxury stay in Paris. Located between the Champs-Elysées avenue and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, this hotel is a beautiful home away from home, decorated with comfortable furniture, tasteful artwork and flowers throughout.

The hotel restaurant serves up consistently good food, from breakfast through to brunch and teatime, and you have the luxury of having breakfast at any time of day. During the evening, relax in the tasteful bar and enjoy a glass of champagne, or one of the select cocktails on offer.

Hidden Hotel

This hotel is situated down a peaceful street, near to the Arc de Triomphe. Despite the location, you don't feel as though you're in one of the busiest parts of Paris, as the noises of the nearby hustle and bustle are muted by the surrounding buildings, and the Hidden Hotel'swooden entrance feels like a secret door to another world.

Inside you're greeted by an eco-friendly escape. The original building was renovated and replaced with all-natural fittings and materials, and the décor is chic and modern, and incredibly comfortable. Be aware though, that this part of town is very touristy, although the location is convenient if you want to see the main sights.

Getting there and around

Europe is just a 35 minute journey with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, so it's never been easier to take a city break!

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Photo Credits:
Parc de Bagatelle - Image by Flickr user Andrea Anastasakis
Views over the city at Parc de Belleville - Image by Flickr user davitydave
Musee Carnavalet - Image by Flickr user Nelson Minar
Paris' Montmartre neighbourhood is well-trodden, but there are still secrets to uncover - Image by Flickr user Dennis Jarvis
Sip sangria and feast on paella at Chez Ramona - Image by Flickr user Pierre LANNES

All pictures licensed for commercial use at time of publication.

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