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Your favorite lesser-known spots?

My husband and I are spending four days in Paris in a couple of weeks at the tail-end of our honeymoon, and I'm looking for a favorite activity that wouldn't show up in a guidebook top 10 list.  We'll be hitting a lot of the most well-known spots but I'd love some suggestions for something more off the beaten path!

11 Answers

top answer by
Jinny from Los Angeles

Hi Melissa, 

Is there a chance that you might be open to exploring other nearby cities? I've spent 4 months living in France and I got to say that Paris was probably my least favorite just because it was way too overcrowded with tourists. 

Other cities that I LOVED are Lyon, Lille, Beaune and Annecy

Lille is probably the closest to Paris, only about an hour or so outside of the city, which you can get by train or bus (cheaper, try MegaBus or IDBus).

Beaune is this beautiful little wine-making city. Small, but lots to do in a day.

Lyon is one of my favorite places in the world. It's like Paris with all the beautiful architecture, history and the scenery, but minus all the tourists. It's about two hours on a train from Paris, runs every hour, anywhere between 20-90 Euros roundtrip depending on schedule and how early you buy the tickets.

Annecy is also one of the most beautiful places I've been to. It's on the boarder of France and Geneva, Switzerland. You can also reach here by train. It's a lake/mountain scenic city. Super cute architecture, something out of a Shakespeare story. 

Check out some pictures on my blog here

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Paris (city)
  2. Lyon (attraction)
  3. Lille (city)
  4. Beaune (attraction)
  5. Annecy (attraction)
6 thankscomments (4)

answered by
Pamela from New Canaan, Connecticut

Don't miss the Musée Carnavalet, where you'll find the relics of historical Paris housed in two neighboring historical mansions in the hip and happening Quartier Du Marais.  The buildings themselves, and the courtyard within, are a glimpse into life there in the 17th century.  Sit in the courtyard and imagine listening to the rustle of silk taffeta and the murmurs of genteel ladies, as Madame de Sévigné and her friends strolled in the garden. (It's free, so even if you don't have time to go through the whole museum, take a quiet travel break in the garden!) 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Musée Carnavalet (attraction)
  2. Paris (city)
  3. Quartier Du Marais (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
JJ from New York City

Congratulations on your marriage! What better place than Paris to spend your honeymoon right?

The beauty of Paris is no matter how many times I go, I always find something new and exciting. Here are a few of my favorite Paris spots that I've grown to love over the years. There are all over the place, but good thing about Paris is it's a very walkable city and the Metro will get you just about anywhere (though can be confusing for first-timers)

Musée Carnavalet - No big names nor famous paintings here. But rather a great collection of pieces showcasing the history of Paris. If memory serves me correctly, admission is free, but there might possibly be a charge for temporary exhibitions.

Taking a stroll along the Canal Saint Martin or a walk through Place Dauphine, the latter is typically quiet and serene on during the week. Expect a little heavier traffic on weekends. 

Timhotel Jardin Des Plantes is probably my favorite garden in Paris. It's beautiful and not overly crowded.

If you're a film lover, check out Cinémathèque Française! From screenings, to a large film library (paid), to exhibitions. This place will satisfy your love for the cinema. Not sure when you are taking your trip, but here's a calendar of events for October:  Parc de Bercy is also nearby if you feel like taking a stroll after the cinema.

Coutume Instituutti  is a great little place for coffee! It's inside the Finland Institute. They do offer pastries and sandwiches, but the coffee here is the real star. However, beware of the crowd, it can get pretty packed.

For a romantic dinner, I recommend Le Violon d'Ingres. Beautiful restaurant with a mouth-watering menu. If you do decide to dine, try the pigeon! Dinner for two would be about 250-300 euros if you do starters/deserts and drinks. 

Now for the important stuff :) You can't leave Paris without stuffing yourself with mouth-watering pastries! Ps. Pack elastic waist pants

Colorova - I like their serving size is smaller compare to most patisseries in Paris, gives you the opportunity to try a little bit of everything :) I highly recommend the Banana Bailey tart and the Pistachio tart. They also do a very solid brunch if you're in the mood for something sit-down.

Pierre Hermé Paris - One of the best Macaroons in the world! There are several locations in Paris. If you're doing a bit of shopping, the stall inside Gucci - Galeries Lafayette is probably the most convenient.

Sadaharu Aoki - Caramel tart. The end

Café Pouchkine - Saint Honore (Drooling as I type this), or just get one of everything. Cafe Pouchkine is probably my favorite patisserie in the world. It's located at the ground level of the Printemps department store. Right next to Galeries Lafayette.

L'Éclair de génie - Eclairs heaven! There are so many different flavors I promise you'll be staring at the case for a long time before you can decide :) They're super cute and delicious. (about 4-6 euros per). 

This is about all I can think of. Have a great time!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Musée Carnavalet (attraction)
  2. Canal Saint Martin (attraction)
  3. Place Dauphine (attraction)
  4. Timhotel Jardin Des Plantes (hotel)
  5. Cinémathèque Française (attraction)
  6. Parc de Bercy (attraction)
  7. Le Violon d'Ingres (restaurant)
  8. Colorova (restaurant)
  9. Pierre Hermé Paris (attraction)
  10. Gucci - Galeries Lafayette (attraction)
  11. Sadaharu Aoki (restaurant)
  12. Café Pouchkine (attraction)
  13. L'Éclair de génie (restaurant)
  14. Coutume Instituutti (restaurant)
  15. Coutume Instituutti (restaurant)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Patrick from Grand Rapids

My wife and I also spent the last couple days of our honeymoon in Paris and L'Entrée des Artistes was one of the highlights. The staff (owners) were incredibly hospitable, the cocktails were spot on, and they have amazing share plates.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. L'Entrée des Artistes (restaurant)
2 thanks

answered by
Marnie from Conflans-sur-Anille

Great answers already here, I see : Carnavalet museum, Cluny museum, Vincennes, the catacombs...

Just 55 min by fast speed TGV train, the medieval Plantagenet city of Le MansLe Mans is really worth visiting. Less well known, and much less touristy than Tours, it is a real gem, a time tunnel, and is UNESCO Heritage site candidate. And nearby, the little Loir valley, running parallel to the major Loire (which is much more crowded),from VendomeVendome to La Chartre-sur-le-LoirLa Chartre sur Loir, is full of bucolic countryside and quaint towns with farmer's markets, such as La Ferte-Bernard or Montoire-sur-le-Loir France the way it used to be. Very restful. And just an hour away from all the major castles, if you do want to visit them.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Le Mans (city)
  2. Vendome (city)
  3. La Chartre-sur-le-Loir (hotel)
  4. La Ferte-Bernard (city)
  5. Montoire-sur-le-Loir (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Ben from London

Head up Parc de Belleville for great views overlooking Paris.

Check out the Catacombes de Paris for a really weird experience and I think the Musée Carnavalet is heavily underrated!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Parc de Belleville (attraction)
  2. Catacombes de Paris (attraction)
  3. Musée Carnavalet (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Emily from Los Angeles

Hi Melissa!

My favorite lesser-known museum in Paris is the Musée Jacquemart-André. It was the private home of an art collecting couple that was converted to a museum.  The art is displayed as it would have been in their home, but it is chock full!  I think it's such a fun way to see art -- including painting, sculpture, furniture, etc.  I also love the surrounding neighborhood, so take a stroll around it too!  Good luck!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Paris (city)
  2. Musée Jacquemart-André (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Michelle from Melbourne

I really enjoyed walking through the Promenade plantée (Coulée verte) in the 12th arrondissement. It's an elevated park built on top of an old railway line. I hope the weather will be good enough for you to enjoy it.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Promenade plantée (Coulée verte) (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Ilias from Athens, Greece

Parc Monceau is beautiful for a stroll. Especially on a sunny day!

Near Parc Moneau there is an Arabic restaurant called Rimal which is good price for good middle-eastern food.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Parc Monceau (attraction)
  2. Rimal (restaurant)
2 thanks

answered first by
Ashley from Calgary

The last time we went to Paris we checked out Château de Vincennes, a 14th century castle surrounded by a huge moat that has some interesting history, It was great and there were hardly any people around. The ChateauDraw bridge entrance into the grounds.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Château de Vincennes (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
John from Carlsbad (California)

Congratulations!  Paris is the perfect place to finish a honeymoon.  There is so much to do and see, I would resist leaving the city with only four days to spend.  In addition to the fine suggestions already made, I would add these:

I think the Musee Rodin is one of the best small museums anywhere, not only for the exquisite sculpture, but also the setting.  The gardens are magnificent and you can see everything without being overwhelmed. A nice spot to relax and take in the river is from the Square du Vert Galant on the bow of the Île de la Cité, just off the Pont Neuf.From there, it is a short walk to the Place Dauphine.The Gardens of the Palais-Royal are stark, but still beautiful in the colder months.If you are a fan of Monet, the Musée Marmottan Monet is another small museum with great charm and you can take a walk through the pretty Jardins du Ranelagh from the La Muette metro stop to get there.

Musee de l'Orangerie is the other place for Monet fans, with his large water lilies murals shown to great effect.Paris has some very interesting shops, even if you aren't much of a shopper.  If you are into cooking, Dehillerin and A.Simon are the places to go for everything a cook could possibly want.  Souleiado is the place for fabrics and pottery from Provence.  In addition to Pierre Hermé Paris and Sadaharu Aoki already mentioned, I would throw in Gérard Mulot for pastries.  There are countless cheese shops in Paris, but my favorite is the jewel box shop of Fromager Marie-Anne Cantin. Her Le Saint Antoine is a super-creamy 75% butterfat cow's milk cheese that is perfect with a bottle of champagne.

Finally, I mentioned the Galerie Vivienne, Paris. in another post.  I particularly like the wine shop/bar Les Caves Legrand Filles et Fils that is off it. There are many of these passages in Paris that shelter from the cold weather.  Rather than try to list them, I would point you to and where you can download a guide to them. 

Have a great honeymoon!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Musee Rodin (attraction)
  2. Square du Vert Galant (attraction)
  3. Île de la Cité (attraction)
  4. Pont Neuf (attraction)
  5. Place Dauphine (attraction)
  6. Palais-Royal (attraction)
  7. Musée Marmottan Monet (attraction)
  8. Jardins du Ranelagh (attraction)
  9. La Muette (attraction)
  10. Musee de l'Orangerie (attraction)
  11. Dehillerin (attraction)
  12. A.Simon (attraction)
  13. Souleiado (attraction)
  14. Pierre Hermé Paris (attraction)
  15. Sadaharu Aoki (restaurant)
  16. Gérard Mulot (restaurant)
  17. Fromager Marie-Anne Cantin (attraction)
  18. Galerie Vivienne, Paris. (attraction)
  19. Les Caves Legrand Filles et Fils (attraction)
1 thanks

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