Parc Monceau – Grands Boulevards
So close to highlights like the Arc de Triomphe and the Grand Palais, yet far enough – Parc Monceau is a local favorite for the residents of the affluent 8th arrondissement. Popular with joggers and families, if you’ll come during the week you’ll see schoolchildren playing at lunchtime and if you come during the weekend, picnics are the signature mark of the park. Not too many tourists make it here, but with one of the best markets in Paris just 5 minutes away at Rue de Levis – a picnic in one of the most beautiful parks in Paris is not a bad idea.
Palais Royale – Grands Boulevards
Wrapped by government offices, the central courtyard of the Palais Royale is one of the most beautiful spots in a city that already has so many. Whether you’re relaxing in a cafe, playing a round of petanque, or just chilling by the water fountain – the gardens of the Palais Royale are a world away from the madness of central Paris just a few meters away. It’s also one of the most romantic spots in Paris and you’re almost guaranteed a superb musical performance, like this one, as you exit at its southern end.
The Louvre and so much more are right next to the Palais Royale. Have a look at this guide to the Paris Grands Boulevards.
Beneath the Pont Alexandre III – Eiffel Tower District
There’s no better way to end a perfect spring or summer evening in Paris, than on the left bank of the Seine just beneath the beautiful Pont Alexandre III. As the days get longer and sunnier, pop up bars and riverboats (péniches) spring to life and bring with them a magical vibe that makes you want to stay out as long as possible, or at least take the long way home. Grab a spot by the bar or bring your own – it doesn’t matter. You’re in one of the best spots in Paris so just cherish the moment.
See what else is around with this itinerary guide to the Eiffel Tower district.
The Paris Sewer System Museum – Eiffel Tower District
The underground of Paris is said to be more like Swiss cheese. As a visitor to Paris, there’s no doubt you’ll venture underground at some point as there’s just no way to avoid using the exceptionally efficient Metro. Like thousands of others, you might even try and make it to the underground cemeteries of the Catacombs (highly recommended). But few visitors know that there’s another way to explore Paris underground and that’s at the Paris Sewer System Museum. For a mere €4.50, you’ll head underground and learn about the history of water and waste management in Paris. You’ll get to walk along real sewer tunnels, running right beneath the major Parisian boulevards, and see the machines that do the real dirty work. It’s surprisingly not that stinky down here and was mostly visited by locals when I came on a beautiful Saturday morning.
Read more about planning your visit to the Paris Sewer System Museum
Place Saint-Sulpice – Saint Germain
One of the most beautiful squares in Paris in one of the coolest parts of town, whether you’re grabbing a spot in the terrasse of Café de la Mairie overlooking the square or just grabbing some shade beneath a chestnut tree, you won’t want to leave Place Saint-Sulpice. The church for which the square is named after is one of the prettiest in town and The Da Vinci Code fans will just love it. Outside on the square, the gushing waters of the fountain are as soothing as things can get in a megacity.
You do not want to miss exploring Saint-Germain-des-Prés! Check out this Saint Germain itinerary guide and plan a day in Paris that you’ll never forget.
The terrasse at Le Relais de la Butte – Montmartre
The former village of Montmartre commands the highest point in Paris and it’s one of the most romantic parts of town. For a little bit of extra romance, grab a seat on the terrasse of Le Relais de la Butte. The service might not be the best but it’s all about the location. Get some wine and maybe something small to eat – and just enjoy the views!
Have a look at this itinerary guide to Montmartre and plan a super romantic day in Paris.
Bois de Boulogne – Western Paris
Modeled after London’s Hyde Park, the Bois de Boulogne is a place that Parisians flock to if they want to visit the countryside without leaving town. Miles and miles of tracks snake their way across this massive park, which seems more like a forest at times. The highlight is no doubt renting an old-fashioned rowboat and hanging out with the ducks in the giant lake.
Butte-aux-Cailles – Southern Paris
Known as the ‘poor man’s Montmartre’, the former village of Butte-aux-Cailles (‘the Hill of the Quails’), is a little less high than Montmartre, a little less picturesque, a little bit further out from the center of town – and therefore gets a lot fewer visitors. But that shouldn’t stop you from coming here, especially if you want a no-frills dinner and drinks. The tiny former village still retains that old-time vibe and at night, the cobblestone lanes are packed with locals out for a good time.
Have a look at this Montparnasse & southern Paris itinerary to explore further
So now that I’ve shared my list of the 15 best secret spots in Paris, you’ll have to tell me yours after you come back.
Plan the perfect trip to Paris with free and in-depth Paris travel guides, including the Best of Paris collection and a guide to all major Parisian neighborhoods.