By Expedia Team, on March 19, 2020

Like a Local: 8 Non-Touristy Things to Do in Paris

“Far beyond the famous attractions like the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower and Champs Élysées is a world of wonders in Paris that only the locals know. From quiet picnics to off-the-beaten tracks attractions, take a look at the top 8 non-touristy things to do in Paris to plan a memorable trip.

1. Have a picnic along the canal

The Seine gets most of the tourist attention, but Paris is home to many beautiful waterways where you can relax and enjoy the views. The Canal Saint-Martin is one of the best places for an alternative experience in Paris. The charming area features lush, green parks, picturesque city squares, Venetian footbridges and seating areas on the waterfront for beautiful views. You can have a picnic on the canal banks to relax and enjoy the scenery and fresh air. Paris has many parks that are perfect for a picnic as well.

2. Enjoy a traditional French breakfast

If you want to experience the local culture of Paris, why not try a traditional French breakfast before your day of sightseeing? You can find plenty of charming cafes where the locals dine, such as Le Petit Cler and Du Pain et des Idées, which have menus of juices, fresh-baked bread and jam for a light, quiet breakfast, or something a little more indulgent like hot chocolate, brioche and eggs. If you’re feeling adventurous, many French cafes serve dishes like escargot pistache.


Street art in LanMarais

3. Discover wonderful street art

With so much art and creativity coming out of Paris, it’s no wonder the city is home to a vibrant street art scene. You can find street art throughout the city’s trendy neighbourhoods, including the Latin Quarter and Montmartre, but some of the best are discovered in the less-trodden paths. Neighbourhoods like Belleville, Ménilmontant and Oberkampf showcase some of the city’s best street art, which is found on buildings, walls, floors and other surfaces. Even if you’ve seen the art in the area before, you may find something new on your next visit.

4. Dive into subterranean tunnels

One of the most fascinating museums in Paris isn’t found on the surface. The Sewers of Paris Museum showcases the underbelly of the city with exhibits on the developments of the sewer, water and electricity infrastructure. Dating back to the dark ages, the museum features exhibits like the ‘flushing boat’, sewer maintenance equipment through the ages, uniform displays and wooden balls to clean tunnels, all with the drain water rushing in from the streets above.

5. Tour a monastic library

While a library may not be at the top of your list of sightseeing in Paris, the beauty of the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève alone makes it well worth the trip. Beginning as a monastic library in the 12th century, Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève quickly became one of the most notable on the continent. The current library was constructed in the 19th century and features open-concept architecture that hadn’t been seen before in Europe, such as lofty ceilings, exposed beams and enormous windows.

6. Uncover the lore of vampires

Hidden in a home on the outskirts of the city, the Museum of Vampires is one of the most intriguing museums you can visit. The creepy spot was created by Jacques Sirgent, an expert in dark folklore who collected and translated information on demonology, witchcraft and vampiric rituals. You can only visit the museum by appointment, but you’ll be guided by the creator himself to learn about Paris’s dark history and vampiric rituals while you explore a collection of artefacts, such as vampire slayer kits, antique texts and other oddities.

7. Search for Roman ruins

Hidden among the buildings of Jardin des Plantes Quarter is a treasure of Roman antiquity. Nestled between a park and apartments stands the remains of a 2nd-century Roman amphitheatre, which was once the site of epic gladiatorial games and festivities. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the amphitheatre was partially destroyed, but workers discovered it in the mid-19th century during a construction project. You can visit the adjacent park and enjoy some sunshine while you check out the ruins.

8. Shop for unique gifts

Once the former Jewish quarter of Paris, Le Marais is a bohemian hub of culture. Located in the 3rd and 4th arrondissement, Le Marais is home to trendy bars, street art, artisan food shops and eclectic fashion boutiques, all surrounded by stunning and distinctive architecture. You can find a range of unique gifts and treasures in Le Marais, from vintage clothing and original artwork to Middle Eastern cooking oils and spices. The area is home to many beautiful mansions as well, such as the former home of Victor Hugo.


People in La Marais

Plan your offbeat holiday

From lost ruins to masterpieces of street art, Paris is filled with unique attractions and experiences for a different take on the city. If you’re planning a trip, check out Paris holidays on Expedia to make the most of the experience!”