Want to know some of the more underrated things to do in Paris? There are so many amazing sights, attractions and neighbourhoods that are often overlooked in the French capital - but they deserve to be on your bucket list just as much the likes of the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame. See parts of Paris you may have never even thought about visiting for a real, local experience of the city. Skip the tourist traps and queues and head to our favourite underrated spots in the City of Light...
HANG OUT IN LE MARAIS
Once the city’s Jewish quarter and now a fashionable neighbourhood brimming with boutique shops, hip restaurants, art galleries and gay bars. Get a feel for the real Paris in the 4th arrindissoment. There is so much to do in Le Marais that you could spend the whole day here. Just to name a few of the things to do, The Picasso Museum, The Pompidou Centre, The Place des Vosges and the beautiful church, Église Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis. Head to Rue des Rosiers which is the main Jewish street in Le Marais filled with charming Jewish bakeries, kosher restaurants and local shops selling falafel stuffed pita breads.
Le Marais is also the hub of the city’s gay community - so you can imagine it makes for a pretty fun night out on the town.
HEAD UNDERGROUND TO THE PARIS CATACOMBS
Get off the beaten track in Paris and do something a little different to the main sights and attractions. Sure, the Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower are must-sees, but have you ever wondered what lies beneath the bustling Parisian streets? The Paris Catacombs are a series of underground tunnels open to the public where you can come up, close and personal with the skeletons of Paris’ past. You’ll learn a lot about the history of the city including the more creepy, hidden side to Paris. When you come out, you’ll be dying for a glass of wine...
SEE MORE OF MONTMARTRE THAN JUST THE SACRE COEUR
One of the main reasons tourists visit Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement of Paris is to see the beautiful Sacré-Cœur basilica, one of our favourite sights in the city. This white domed church cannot be missed on a trip to Paris; not only is the architecture outstanding but the views from the top are one of the best panoramic views in the city.
However, the mistake that a lot of people make is not exploring the rest of the district. Montmartre is a beautiful area located on a hilltop with charming houses, quaint cafes and winding streets where you’ll benefit from sweeping views of the city. With a village-like atmosphere and narrow cobbled paths lined by Parisian shops, it’s easy to fall in love with this area. Take the metro to Abbesses station and step out in the heart of historic Montmartre, find a nice French restaurant for lunch and then start exploring one of the city’s most interesting neighbourhoods.
TRY THE PISTACHIO ESCARGOT AT DU PAIN ET DES IDÉES
You can’t come to Paris and not eat your bodyweight in beautifully crisp pastries. There are patisseries dotted all over the city, but our favourite has to be Du Pain Et Des Idees close to Canal Saint Martin. Here, they serve up one of the best pistachio and chocolate escargots you’ll find in Paris. There’s always a small queue of locals lining up to buy an escargot - and for a good reason. It tastes like heaven. The exterior of the patisserie is also exquisite - totally Instagrammable.
SEE MONET’S WATER LILIES AT MUSÉE DE L'ORANGERIE
On a trip to Paris, most people put the Louvre on the top of their museum list. But of the most underrated museums in the city has to be Musée de l'Orangerie, perfectly located on the edge of the leafy Jardin Tuileries. We reckon this museum is just as impressive as the Louvre (and less crowded). This art gallery hosts a fantastic range of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings including the famous works of French artist Claude Monet. If you’re an art lover, you will appreciate seeing his famous water lilies in real life. Entry to the museum is €9.
WANDER AROUND LE MARCHÉ DE BELLEVILLE
Belleville is one of the prettiest and most underrated neighbourhoods in Paris and it’s also home to a bustling open-air farmers market where you can sample cuisines from all around the world. If you’re a foodie in Paris, then you’ll really enjoy discovering what this hidden gem has to offer. With fresh fruit and vegetables, worldwide cuisines on offer from China, Morocco, Italy and of course, local French cheese and bread, this is a real local market. Vegetable sellers will be trying to lure you in to make a purchase but it all makes for the overall bustling atmosphere. The great thing about Le Marché de Belleville is that it maintains its neighbourhood market feel. It’s a great example of a friendly, French market. Plus, the prices are great.
VIEWS, VIEWS VIEWS
To get the best views of Paris, people tend to flock to the top of the Eiffel Tower rather than considering other options that may be cheaper and less busy. Some of the other spectacular viewpoints in the city are often overlooked. For example you can head to the top of Le Centre Pompidou, or get some amazing views from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Paris has some incredible viewpoints so don’t forget that there are more options than the very touristy Eiffel Tower.
THE WINDOWS OF SAINTE-CHAPPELLE
Sainte-Chappelle is a beautiful Gothic chapel in Paris right by the River Seine. You simply must go inside where you'll be taken back by the huge stained glass windows and incredible high ceilings. The 15 windows depict 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments so it’s a pretty special sight to see. The detail in the ceilings is so impressive so don’t forget your camera when visiting Sainte-Chapelle. The inside is simply phenomenal and you’ll feel a magical atmosphere, which is why we’ve named it one of the most underrated things to see in Paris. This chapel is actually a royal chapel where the Kings of France used to live before the 14th century. Entry is €10.
BEER PONG IN BELUSHI’S
Paris can be pretty expensive when it comes to planning a fun night out. That’s why young people love to hang out at Belushi’s where cocktails are affordable, the music is always banging and you can play beer pong all night long! There’s always a fun atmosphere at Belushi’s, beating some of the pretentious over-priced clubs in Paris where one drink will cost your whole wallets worth. Belushi’s is a backpacker bar below St Christopher’s Inns hostels. So after a big night at Belushi’s, guests of the hostel can just head upstairs to sleep. Convenient. There is a Belushi’s bar in Gare du Nord and one right next to Canal Saint Martin. An underrated night out - and our favourite bar for affordable drinks in the city.
EAT A DONER KEBAB
French cuisine is known as being the best in the world and Paris is full of quaint cafes and restaurants serving up affordable local dishes. Obviously you can’t miss out on these authentic French dining experiences. But after dancing away at one of Paris’s clubs, you can’t end the night without indulging one of Paris’ famous doner kebabs. They’re easy on a backpacker budget, they’re simply delicious and they’ll soak up all that alcohol. What more could you want? You’ll definitely come across a few late night doner kebab shops after a night out so keep an eye out.