What Are The Best Secret Visits To Do In Paris?

For those in the secret, Paris is an infinite source of corners that you can visit. But how do you think outside the box when you don’t know Paris that well? In this post, we have selected for you ten places that only true Parisians know about!


1) Petite Ceinture

Credits : Thomas Claveirole under Creative Commons 2.0

Once a railway track that went all around Paris, the Petite Ceinture was created during the Second Empire by the Baron Haussmann to allow the transportation of goods and passengers. It is in a way the ancestor of the metro, and it was left when it was put into circulation. Today, the largest part of the Petite Ceinture is abandoned and closed to the public. Nature reclaimed its rights but three sections are open to the public and form a walk that seems out of Paris and out of time. You can also discover a fauna and a flora that are quite incredible for the place!

La Petite Ceinture in the 12th arrondissement: the entrance is made by the Square Charles Péguy, 21 rue Rottembourg 75012.

La Petite Ceinture in the 15th arrondissement: the entrance is made across from the 99 rue Olivier de Serres, at the 397 ter-399 rue de Vaugirard, across from the 82 rue Desnouettes, or at the place R.Guillemard.

La Petite Ceinture in the 16th arrondissement: the entrance is made across the 77 boulevard de Montmorency, across the rue du Ranelagh, or at the 36 boulevard de Beauséjour.



2) Catacombs of Paris

Credits : Vlastula / Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA

For the morbid enthusiasts, Paris offers a visit of its catacombs. It is the perfect occasion to scare yourself by walking among the rows of human skulls and bones! Built in 1786 to make room in the Parisian cemeteries, the catacombs collect the remains of thousands of Parisians who died more than 200 years ago. This little known and unusual visit will reveal to you an entire chapter of French history that has been forgotten, and all of that six feet under!

Address: 1, avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy (place Denfert-Rochereau) 75014 Paris. 1.5km long tour exiting at the 21bis avenue René Coty 75014 Paris.

Book a skip-the-line ticket to the Catacombs with audioguide included



3) Sainte-Chapelle

Credits : Mark Mitchell / Wikimedia Commons under CC BY

Built in 1248 by Saint-Louis to host the Christ’s relics, the Sainte-Chapelle is today one of the last remnants of the Palais de la Cité. If the relics have disappeared, the Sainte-Chapelle is famous for its marvelous stained-glass windows and its architecture! Enthusiasts for history, religion or gothic art, the Sainte-Chapelle will be perfect for you!

Address: 8 boulevard du Palais, 75001, Paris

Book tickets to Sainte-Chapelle



4) Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont

Located in the 5th arrondissement, the Eglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont was built between 1491 and 1624. It is one of the last churches in France that has a rood-screen. The church’s interior is absolutely magnificent and worth a visit! And, bonus, the entrance is free!

Address: Place Sainte-Geneviève, 75005 Paris



5) Galerie Vivienne

One of the many particularities in Paris is the covered galleries. They are part of the many dispositions made by Baron Haussmann during the Second Empire and their Art Nouveau architecture is astonishing! The Galerie Vivienne is one of those covered galleries and, on top of the architecture, you will find many shops and restaurants there!

Address: 4 rue des petits champs, 75002 Paris



6) Flea market of Saint-Ouen

Credits : Carsten Sprotte under Creative Commons 2.0

If you like antiques and vibes coming from another time, the Flea Market of Saint-Ouen will be perfect for you! Coming straight out of the 1930s, this flea market will transport you into the past! Stroll around the alleyways and take a look at the antiques and thrift shops. Who knows, you might find exactly what you’ve been looking for!

Access: Metro Porte de Clignancourt (line 4) or Garibaldi (line 13).



7) Albert Kahn gardens

Credits : Apostoly / Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA

Located at Boulogne-Billancourt on 4 hectares, the Albert Kahn gardens are the banker’s magnum opus and he devoted his life and fortune to them. The gardens are divided into ‘scenes’ which take inspiration from different vibes. The English and Japanese gardens in particular are beautiful and very pleasant. You will be able to walk around and appreciate a getaway in nature and only a few kilometers away from Paris! You can also access the Albert Kahn Museum, which has an impressive photo collection!

Address: Musée départemental Albert-Kahn, 10-14, rue du Port, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt

If you wish to get more information, you can check the official website of the Albert Kahn museum. (Website in French)



8) Great Mosque of Paris

Credits : Marc Cooper / Wikimedia Commons under CC BY

Discover another culture by visiting the Mosque of Paris! Built between 1922 and 1926, the Mosque of Paris spreads out on almost a hectare and is decorated in a Hispano-Mauresque style, inspired by the Alhambra in Granada. The fountain in particular is magnificent and worth the visit! Ladies, for a relaxing time, you can also go to the hammam and enjoy a steam bath and a massage! Be careful; the hammam of the Mosque of Paris is reserved exclusively for women.

Address: 39 rue Saint-Hilaire, 75005 Paris



9) Observatory of the Sorbonne

Credits : besopha / Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA

If you’re in love with space and the stars, this visit is perfect for you! A few nights a week, the Sorbonne offers a visit of its observatory. It is then possible to climb on top of the tower and watch the stars! The telescope and the entire machinery are the original ones from 1935. Careful, the tours are made in small committees and you will need to make a reservation in advance by calling the Société Astronomique de France!

Société Astronomique de France: 01 42 24 13 74

Price: 7 euros.

Address: 17 Rue de la Sorbonne, 75005 Paris


10) Quai Saint-Bernard

Credits : Florent Darrault under Creative Commons 2.0

Located in front of the Institut du Monde Arabe, in the Latin Quarter, the Quai Saint-Bernard is nothing extraordinary… If you go there by day! But at night, from June to the end of August, hundreds of people spontaneously meet to dance! Rock n’ Roll, Salsa, Tango… You will surely find something you like. You will be amazed by the warm atmosphere of this surprising experience!

Address: 2 quai Saint-Bernard – 75005 Paris.