Off the Beaten Path: 6 Tourist-Free Destinations in Paris
By: Millija Laszkiewicz
When planning a trip to Paris, it can be difficult to navigate between the hugely commercialized attractions and the throngs of tourists. In case you are looking for some alternative places to visit as well as some sights that will show you the real Paris and not just the one you see in movies, then look no further — here is a guide to doing Paris away from tour busses and tickets!
One of the most beautiful streets in Paris is hidden near the Gare de Lyon, in the 12th arrondissement. It is a row of adorable pastel-colored houses, hidden between two gray streets lined with apartments and offices. Small cats stroll across the street, and for a brief moment, it really feels as though you’ve been transported to provincial France. It’s a go-to for photographers and Instagrammers, but little known to the conventional sightseer.
Institut du Monde Arabe
On the left bank of the Seine, near the Jardin des Plantes and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, lies the Institut de Monde Arabe – the center for all things Arabian in Paris. This no-so-well-known museum is beautiful, showcasing a hugely diverse display of works in relation to the Arab world and Arab-Islamic civilization. This is definitely a must-see museum, especially if you just can’t face the throngs of people in queues at the Louvre.
La Coulée Verte (Promenade Plantée)
Across the 12th arrondissement in Paris is an abandoned viaduct, on which trains used to run from Bastille to Vincennes. Today, it is host to a pedestrian-only walkway that will transport you completely out of the city. The 5 km long trail is lined with plants, flowerbeds, and trees raised above the street level. If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, La Coulée Verte is the place to be.
Visiting a squat may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a trip to Paris, but 59 Rivoli is one of the hottest places for artists working and selling their art. The ground floor hosts regular concerts with up-and-coming artists that are always worth checking out. With free entry and an always-changing selection of art and workshops to see, 59 Rivoli is not a spot to miss.
Le Petit Palais
Often overlooked due to her sister Le Grand Palais, (host to amongst much else, the Chanel shows during Paris Fashion Week) Le Petit Palais is a museum of fine arts that has a charm of its own. The garden in the middle of the building houses the most beautiful cherry blossoms one can find in Paris, and it is often very quiet due to the Grand Palais attracting all the tourists. The architecture is exquisite, the artwork is stunning, and there is even a delightful restaurant!
An area of Paris often forgotten by people seeking to fit in all the most famous attractions, Belleville is a charming destination that should be on everyone’s Parisian travel guide. The view over the Parc de Belleville is a personal favorite because it gives a perspective of the Parisian skyline unique to that of standard tourist vantage points. This spot is full of life and has a more authentic French atmosphere than typical commercial areas in Paris. The drinks in Belleville are often cheaper than those in more central areas, and you’ll get to experience a much more authentic view of the ‘real’ Paris!
The next time you visit Paris, consider taking a look at some of these places. Of course, the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysées, and the Louvre are all unmissable, but some of the most interesting and different attractions are those a bit further away from the beaten track.