Have you visited the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and all the other unmissable Parisian places? Do you feel like you’ve seen enough postcards-like visits ? Are you curious and want to explore another facet of the capital? This guide is full of quirky and unusual Parisian places that you will enjoy! For an authentic and memorable stay in the capital, follow our guide and, above all, do not hesitate to shake old habits!
1. A Very Cool Artistic Squat in Paris
59 Rivoli (in French only) is an artistic community that was created at 59 rue de Rivoli. Ten artists settled in this building to live and have their studio there after it was abandoned by a national bank and by public authorities. Today this seven-floor “squat” is absolutely legal and welcomes visitors for free. About thirty artists present their studios and their works; as for the gallery, it offers several exhibitions. In here, every genre rubs shoulders with one another: street art, painting, sculpture, and even music!
59 Rivoli: 59 Rue de Rivoli, 1st district.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 1pm to 8pm.
Entrance for free.
2. A Digital Immersion Into Art
The Ateliers des Lumières is located in a former smelting plant of the 11th district and is the first digital art centre in Paris. This centre allows you to be immerse in masters’ paintings – such as Gustav Klimt’s – thanks to its ten-meter high walls, 140 projectors, and 50 speakers on 2,000 m². A quirky activity not to be missed!
L’Atelier des Lumières: 38 rue Saint Maur, 11th district.
Opening hours: every day from 10am to 6pm, night-times on Fridays and Saturdays until 10pm.
Full rate: €14.50
Seniors’ rate (+65 years old): €13.50
Reduced rate (students, unemployed people, disabled people, teachers – you must present valid written evidence): €11.50
Youth rate (5-25 years old): €9.50
Family rate (2 adults + 2 children): €42
Free for children under 5 (you must present valid written evidence)
3. A Very Colorful Basketball Field
This one is for you, basketball fans! The nicest basketball field is in Pigalle in the 9th district: the Pigalle Playground. As it is located between two buildings, this field does not have the regulatory measurements, and the rubber floor absorbs the ball’s noises in order to avoid noisy disturbances for the neighbours. The very flashy colours – purple, yellow, and pink – make it a nice place to play basketball. The field is loved by photographers (non-professionals and professionals), and it is undoubtedly one of Paris Instagrammers’ favourite places!
Pigalle Playground: 22 rue Duperré
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm
4. A Weird Taxidermy Museum
If you are in the neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, don’t hesitate to visit the maison Deyrolle. This shop / museum is specialized in taxidermy and entomology (i.e. the study and classification of articulated animals and especially insects) and this is where you will discover a sort of cabinet of curiosity with rich collections of insects , shells, stuffed animals and other natural curiosities. Whether you are a collector, a natural science enthusiast or just a curious visitor, this place is made to dazzle your eyes.
Crédits : ©Jeremy Zilar
Maison Deyrolle, 46 Rue du Bac, Paris 7th
5. Virtual Reality Fly Over Paris
At Fly View, you will find another way to see a quirky view of Paris. A virtual reality headset and a flight simulator reproducing the movements of a jetpack will transport into into the Parisian sky for a twenty-kilometer-long ride over the city. You can look anywhere around you (360° camera), making it an even more immersive experience. It all is a virtual reality experience, but be assured that you will see real images of Paris, that have been shoot by a drone. This unforgettable experience, with your head in the air and your feet on the ground, will allow you to see the most famous monuments of Paris in a ay that you have never dared dreaing of! Fly over the Seine, and the Arc de Triomphe, around the obelisk of the Concorde Place, up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and in ont of the gargoyles of Notre-Dame Cathedral.
32 Rue du 4 septembre, 2nd district
Open every day from 11am.
Full rate: €15
Discount for families and disabled people. Warning: we strongly advise to book our ticket in advance on the Internet, a ticket office is nevertheless available on the spot.
6. Parisian Street Art
Paris is full of street artists; some of them are renowned, such as jef Aérosol or Miss.Tic, and some are unknown.
In Paris, some walls are entirely dedicated to street art. That is the case, for example, in Rue Aubervilliers, where you can find the longest mural in Paris. Nearby, graffiti artists flood in Rue de l’Ourcq and on the Ourcq canal quays. In Belleville, there is even an entire street dedicated to street art: the Rue Dénoyez.
The 13th district can be considered as a museum in the open air: south of the district, the Butte-aux-Cailles neighbourhood is famous for its alleys covered with graffiti and stencil paintings. You will find enormous murals on the 13th district’s buildings.
Street art is also developing in neighbouring cities such as the art-committed city Vitry-sur-Seine or along the Saint-Denis canal in Saint-Denis.
7. Get Into a Sumo Fight
Are you ready to fight? Discover this original pub, in the heart of the Latin Quarter, in which you can fight with a professional wrestler. There is, indeed, a real wrestling ring in the basement of the Lucha Libre!
La Lucha Libre:10 rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, 5th district.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm to 2am.
8. Eat at a Restaurant in The Dark
This restaurant will shake your connection to food up. The concept of Dans le Noir (“in the darkness”) is to serve customers in pitch-black, therefore, you cannot see what is on your plate, but you will love it anyway. Only blind or visually-impaired people serve in here.
Dans le noir: 51 rue Quincampoix, 4th district
Opening hours: services at 8pm and 9:45pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, 6:30pm, 8:15pm, and 10:15pm Fridays to Sundays, 12am on Saturdays and Sundays.
Menus vary from €45 to €100.
9. Walk In The Mysterious Catacombs of Paris
The most interesting secrets of Paris might be those hidden under the ground. The catacombs, the former quarry of Paris, have hosted the bones of the Cemetery of the Innocents since the 18th century. Nowadays, about 6 million people rest there. The path is about 2 km long. Do not forget to bring your jacket, as the temperature can go down to 14°C (even during the summer)!
The Catacombs: entrance at 1 avenue du colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, exit at 21bis avenue René Coty.
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 8:30pm.
Full rate: €13
Reduced rate: €11
10. Finding Quircky Architecture in Paris
You just took a tour of the Eiffel Tower or the Champs de Mars? You may not know but you are close to an architectural oddity not to be missed: the Lavirotte Building. It is an unusual and fanciful building; erected opposite to the Eiffel Tower. It is built in a unique style which is eccentric and quite unexpected.
Its ornaments are groundbreaking, disproportionate, and reminiscent of a multitude of different historical eras.
Crédits : ©Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
Lavirotte Building : 29 Avenue Rapp, Paris 7th
11. Quirky Views Over Paris
You obviously already know the magnificent views over Paris that you can see from the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, etc. But there are other places from where the view over the capital city is stunning!
Indeed, you surely have heard of the department stores of the Boulevard Haussmann as a shopping place, but have you ever been up on the rooftops? You can admire the incredible view on the Garnier Opera from the Galeries Lafayette’s and the Printemps’ rooftops. Both of these shopping malls also own restaurants and bars on their rooftops.
If you prefer quietness, the Belleville park is perfect to enjoy a picnic and a magnificent view over Paris.
Check out our article: “The 18 Best Magnificent Views in Paris and Where to Find Them”.
12. A Quircky Cinema Theatre
You feel like a movie to mix things up? Visit Studio 28 for a magical session in a calm and creative environment. This cinema offers regular previews that will appeal to lovers of good movies wishing to spend a quiet session in a suitable architectural space. A winter garden will welcome you for a cup of tea or coffee while you will enjoy homemade cookies, either before or after the film.
Crédits : ©Son of Groucho
Studio 28: 10 rue Tholozé, Paris 18th
13. Quircky Streets
Are you planning on going to the Gare de Lyon? Make a quick stop at the Rue Cremieux, you will not regret the trip. On this street, you will discover an extraordinary atmosphere, thanks to the rich colors and the artistic details of the different houses. Each of them has its own unique artistic details and its own charm. Pastel shades are very rare in Paris, and they offer a magical and pleasant scene that is not to be missed. This paved street was conceived thanks to a model of housing estates and offers 35 pavilions which are all artistically unique.
A short stop not to be overlooked.
Crédits : ©Jean-Louis
If, during your stay in Paris, you find yourself near the 11th district, take the opportunity to visit the marché d’Aligre; one of the oldest market in the capital, but also one of the most lively and friendly Parisian food markets. Its picturesque appearance is reminiscent of the joyful atmosphere of popular markets; and this is also the cheapest food market of the city.
The Aligre Market includes a covered market and merchants are positioned along the street of Aligre.
This relaxing place is not to be missed and is both pleasing to the eyes and to the palate.
Crédits : ©User:Popolon
Aligre Market, Place d’Aligre, Paris 12th
14. Quirky Japanese Crepes
Traditional Breton crepes have serious reasons to worry! Although Paris is full of creperies, Princess Crêpe is an unusual creperie as it will make you travel all the way to Japan without leaving the Marais neighbourhood. The kawaii and girly atmosphere, the dollhouse decoration, and the Jpop music playing are the guarantees of a sweet escape!
Crepes – sweet and salty – are rolled in the shape of a cone to be able to savour while walking around in the neighbourhood. As well, they offer a great variety of recipes – from a simple strawberry-whipped cream to a pastry cream-banana-chocolate-whipped cream crepe.
Princess Crêpe: 3 rue des Ecouffes, 4th district.
Opening hours: from 1pm to 7pm (closed on Mondays and Thursdays)
From €3 to €6.