The French capital is renowned for being known as the “city of love” – for promising the travel experiences that will make visitors fall in love with the place itself. When thinking about Paris, we first think of popular sites such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Arc de Triomphe. However, there are lots of hidden places in Paris that are not as famously known but are just as attractive and awe-inspiring to see. Here are the secret Paris spots that offer you a more intimate experience with the city:
I love you : the Wall
Looking for a hidden spot to express your love for someone? I love you : the Wall is a monument dedicated to love erected in the center of Square Juan-Rictus in Montmartre, France. Created in 2000 by calligraphist Fédéric Baron and mural artist Claire Kito, the wall is a place of reconciliation and reflection of love itself, a meeting place for all people. It is composed of enameled lava adorned with the phrase “I love you” in 250 different languages. In a world dominated by boundaries and individualism that divides people, I love you : the Wall unites them in a lasting moment of adoration and peace.
A historic district often referred as the “Old Paris”, the Marais represents Paris’ old city charm and modern-day functionality in one area. It is full of architectural and historical importance. During the 17th century, the Marais was designed by King Henri IV and a home for the French nobility where they built urban mansions and hôtel particuliers. Today, the Marais is one of Paris’ main locations for art galleries.
The small crooked lanes along the aristocratic district are filled with bars, restaurants, hotels, and boutiques; a similar feel to the West Village area in New York City. There are also pre-revolutionary buildings and streets, where some of them indicate the wealthy status of former residents. The oldest square in Paris, the Place de Vosges is also located here. A hidden gem like the Marais is one reason that makes Paris such a unique city.
Rue des Martyrs
Rue des Martyrs is a sophisticated destination home to bohemian concept stores and culinary shops loved by many Parisians. The hidden street was given its name from the martyrdom of Saint Dennis after being beheaded for preaching the Gospel. According to legend, Saint Dennis had miraculously picked up his head and began walking for miles before shortly dying after.
Beginning from the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Church to the Place des Abbesses, the streets are alive with lively cafes, bars, cabarets, and so much more. From authentic bookstores to vibrant art studios, the extravagant charm and color the street emanates will have you wanting to visit once more. At Rue de Martyrs you will discover some of the finest cuisines and treasures from around the world in just one street.
A gallery, studio, and celebration of creative freedom, 59 Rivoli is where you can find the most unique artists in Paris. When a group of tenacious artists decided to occupy the abandoned building in 1999, they originally took it as a way to make a large empty space into an alternative and cultural activity by making it as space for them to live in. Today, the building is composed of 30 art studios by the artists who live there, as well as an exhibition and events center.
The modern, thriving studios range from traditional portraits to full-room installations of color and mood. They are open for visitors every Tuesday to Sunday from 1pm-8pm. The facade of the building is constantly changing, from colorful balloons to three-dimensional sculptures which are an exclusive sight for everyone to see. There are also concerts hosted every Saturday and Sunday at 6pm from September to June, with different artists playing each day. This hidden whimsical and expressive building is always full of life at any time of the year, making it an interactive and enjoyable destination for many visitors.
La Promenade Plantée
La Promenade Plantée is an unusual green space right above the city of Paris. It is the world’s first elevated park built on a railroad built in 1988 and was the inspiration for the creation of the High Line park in New York City. The park starts behind the Opéra Bastille and ends at the entrance of the Bois de Vincennes, with accesses along the park for visitors to enter and exit.
During your walk, you will have expansive views of the city and surrounding buildings along with different paths. Near the end of the Bastille, there is a line of shops featuring high quality and expensive goods for visitors to buy. You will also pass by the Allée Vivaldi, a wide street with lawns, trees, and harmonious white buildings. La Coulée Verte has both a walking and cycling path and is filled with dim lit tunnels and greenery. Flowers such as cherry trees, maples, rose trellises, and lavender fills the entire park with color and life. As you reach the end of the path, you are welcomed by a pleasant garden that offers more beautiful trees and plants as well as rest areas. This hidden scene is a place where nature and urbanization meet to create a modern, unique perspective on a park.
Located in the heart of Palais de la Cité, this dazzling 13-century royal Gothic chapel is a precious gem to Paris that everyone should see. Sainte-Chapelle was originally built to house ancient Christian relics, including the crown of thorns which were acquired by Saint Louis. After originally destroyed in several fires and a floor, the reconstruction of the chapel soon became a symbol of religious and political influence on Christianity.
Although the exterior of the chapel is already grand itself, the hidden beauty of it is ultimately discovered inside. The upper chapel features Gothic architecture in its best light, where color, light, and space create a sense of harmony between art and religious faith. 15 stained glass windows, each one 15 meters and depict 1,113 scenes of the Old and New Testament of the Bible. As soon as you walk inside, light pours through the ornate stained glass windows, transforming them into lanterns of light. The lower chapel is fully dedicated to the Virgin Mary, whose statue stands freely next to the central pier. Its walls are decorated with trefoiled arcades and twelve medallions that represent the Apostles. A beautiful and mystical space that is a crowning achievement of Gothic architecture.
Paris Royal Gardens
The Paris Royal Gardens is a hidden sanctuary perfect for experiencing the beauty and charm created by the French monarchy. Located right next to the Louvre, the garden is rich in architecture, history, and serenity. The garden was envisioned by Duchess Henrietta to make it as one of Paris’s most beautiful ornamental gardens. The main garden is arcaded by four 17th century galleries as well as contemporary and vintage boutiques and cafes. The central garden is bordered with vivid flower beds designed by American gardener Mark Rudkin. A more intimate and private garden like this one makes it a peaceful haven for every travel lover.
Secret Paris revealed for those who love to travel and explore beyond the tourist hotspots.