Ahhh, Paris. The city of light, love, and…a billion tourists. Paris is one of my favorite places, but there is a lot more to do than hit up the most popular sites. As much as I adore the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, there is so much more to the city than taking another picture of the Arc de Triomphe.
If you’re looking for a guide to enjoy the capital of France in a new way, then I’ve got you covered. Here are some of my favorite non-touristy things to do in Paris.
5 Rue de Thornigny, 75003
+33 1 85 56 00 36
There are a number of Picasso museums around the world, but the one in Paris offers a glimpse into the artist’s most expressive years. Much of what made Picasso the genius he was happened during his time in Paris as a young man. You’ll find a number of beautiful portraits and some of his early forays into his famous “blue” period.
1 Rue de la Legion d’Honneur, Sain-Denis
Free for the cathedral, €9.00 for entrance to the crypt
Although nothing can beat Notre Dame, St. Denis is another Gothic marvel just outside the city center of Paris that served as a pilgrimage site for hundreds of years. You still get the feel of Medieval history without the crowds and lines waiting to get in. As the location of the remains of Saint-Denis, you also get a chance to journey through the cathedral’s vast crypts.
104 Rue Brancion
+34 6 66 44 32 69
Even though every time I’m in Paris I pick up a book at Shakespeare & Co as tradition, there are a number of other amazing book stores—seems right for a city with so much literary history! Paris has as many flea markets as it does lovers, which means there’s bound to be a place for you to find the perfect souvenir. For book enthusiasts, it’s hard to beat this store that sells first editions and beautifully-bound gems.
1 Rue des Fosses Saint-Bernard
+33 0 1 40 38 38
Paris is a cosmopolitan city, and it has a number of other cultures that have chosen to settle there. It also has a large Arab population, and this institute has been created to bridge gaps and create understanding between two worlds. Along with artifacts, it also has a number of temporary exhibitions that feature Arab artists living in the city. You might even be lucky enough to catch a performance while you’re there!
51 Rue de Bercy
€12.00 per show
Designed by Frank Gehry, this building regularly plays films from France’s celebrated film history. For something a little different than the Moulin Rouge (and a for a much cheaper price too) you can take in some of the greatest acting and directing jobs in French cinematography and documentaries from other areas around the world. It’s a great way to spend a hot summer afternoon!
10 Rue Sainte-Croix de al Brentonnerie
+33 24 37 20 599
Want to experience France’s wine culture without leaving Paris? Look no further than this boutique. They have every kind of vin that you could imagine, and the staff is happy to teach you about some of the nuances that come in a bottle of French wine. Keep an open mind and be willing to gain an education when you choose to spend time here.
What are your favorite non-touristy things to do in Paris?