We all love a good trip to Paris, but if you like to do things a little off the beaten track then this post is for you. Whether you’re looking for the ultimate Paris hidden gems or the quirkiest activities in the city, I’ve got them all lined up for you.
Add these unique things to do in Paris to your vacation bucketlist. You’ll have an experience you simply can’t wait to tell your friends about. These are some of the most unique Paris experiences you could take part in.
Quirky Things to Do in Paris
If you’re looking for peculiar and special things to do in Paris, then this list of unexpected activities will have you shaking with anticipation.
Dine With the Locals
Withlocals offers a truly unique experience by connecting locals with those visiting their area. Simply download the app, choose a host and dine at their house for the evening. They’ll pull out all the stops for their special guests and serve a traditional home-cooked Parisian meal you’ll love.
You’ll get to know the local culture a little better. And who knows? Maybe make a brand new friend. While Paris has many cute cafes and restaurants that will satisfy a hungry stomach, indulging in a home-cooked meal is always a treat.
Enjoy Forbidden Art – 59 Rivoli
Where to find it: 59 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
59 Rivoli, also known as “the art squat of Paris” is a studio, gallery, and creative space that encourages talented locals to express their creative freedom. The walls, floor, and even the staircase are covered in writing, art and expressive symbols that completely overwhelm the senses.
In 1999, three artists forcibly gained access into the building that had been abandoned for 15 years and soon after gained squatters’ rights. The building was later declared a legal art studio and gallery. Local artists started claiming their space on the walls and the rest is history. If you’re ready to witness urban art at its best, pop into 59 Rivoli during your stay in Paris.
Visit the Museum of Vampires
Where to find it: 14 Rue Jules David, 93260 Les Lilas
The Musee des Vampires is dedicated to the mythology of vampires throughout human history. If you’re a fan of these blood-sucking creatures, this cannot be left off your list of the best things to do in Paris.
Books, posters, artworks, movie props and many other fascinating vampire-related objects can be found at this museum. Please do note that you need to book an appointment by phoning the museum before you arrive. You can only do this on the following number – (+33) 06 20 12 28 32. It seems the museum is still living in the ‘dark ages’, but don’t let that deter you.
Stroll Through the Abandoned Railway
Where to find it: 36 Boulevard de Beauséjour, 75016 Paris
Paris is one of the most built-up cities around. So finding an abandoned railway that runs through the middle of the city is a surprise to almost every traveler that comes across it.
La Petite Ceinture is a railway that began running in 1862 and was used to carry people and freight right up until 1934 – when the metro system took over. About 10 kilometers is still reserved for pedestrians to explore. The railway is shrouded in trees but there’s more than enough space to walk along the track. You’ll pass under moss-covered bridges, beautiful scenery, and best of all – you’ll have exquisite photo opportunities.
Explore the Less Popular Neighborhoods
If you want to really get to know a city inside and out, then exploring the less popular neighborhoods in the city is crucial.
Belleville is a lively and certainly quirky area in Paris that is home to one of the city’s Chinatowns. The area contains a melting pot of different cultures from Greeks, Jews and Armenians to North Africans and Chinese immigrants. The neighborhood has influences from all over. The neighborhood has also become a hotspot for local street artists so ambling around the adequately decorated streets is an absolute treat.
The Grands Boulevards is another one of the lesser-known neighborhoods in Paris. It’s filled to the brim with interesting cafes, local restaurants, theaters, clubs, and cabarets.
It’s a great place to spend the day strolling the streets, admiring architecture with a strong cup of coffee in hand, before heading to a restaurant and enjoying a hearty French meal and taking part in a healthy dose of people-watching.
La Butte aux Cailles is a quaint Paris neighborhood that takes you back to a past era with its narrow winding streets and small apartments. It’s hidden between Chinatown and Montparnasse, so it’s no surprise many tourists fail to realise it even exists.
Take in the gorgeous townhouses and peaceful atmosphere before dining at one of their quaint restaurants.
Attend a Unique Festival
Festivals and fairs can get especially festive in Paris. This is often due to the extravagant costumes, pumping music, and the buzzing atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for music concerts or funfair experiences, Paris is the place to be.
The Paris Fringe Festival is one of the most popular performing arts festivals in Paris. It showcases music artists and theater companies from all over the world.
Foire du Trône is a funfair that will take you straight back to the childhood of your dreams. It contains roller coasters, Ferris wheels, ghost trains and candy floss stalls. Is there anything more your inner child could ask for?
Weird Things to Do in Paris
If you’re wanting to find the really strange yet interesting activities to do in Paris, then indulge yourself in a few of these things to do.
Entertain Your Eyes In Some of the Cities Strangest Shops
Paris is home to many things, but some of my favorites are the unusual shops that somehow thrive in this city.
Deyrolle features a series of strange objects juxtaposed together – antiques, stuffed animals, insect collections, and artworks. You could easily find everything you’d never want in one room. But it’s certainly fascinating to look through.
L’Objet Qui parle Paris is a vintage shop that contains an overwhelming amount of clutter, but is a great place to stumble across one-of-a-kind objects. It’s the kind of place that you’ll find something truly unique to take home with you after your travels.
Aurouze Deratisation is another weird shop that displays strange configurations of stuffed rats. Yes, you read that correctly. They’re an extermination company that has made a name for themselves by displaying their victims in their store windows – often depicting scenes from movies like Ratatouille.
Visit an Urban Farm
Parisian locals have been on a mission in recent years to create a huge variety of urban farms. Many of these have become rooftop farms and soon Paris will have the largest rooftop farm in the world.
Visiting these farms provides a lovely escape from the city without having to travel large distances. It’s also a pretty unique view you’ll treasure in your memory, and no doubt on your Instagram feed too.
Explore the Dirtier Side of Paris – The Sewer System
Where to find it: 93 Quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris
Although you might think this attraction goes a little too far, Paris’s sewer system is something every off-the-grid traveler needs to explore. Part of the Paris sewer system has been turned into a museum which is not only informative but quite an adventure.
The Le Musée des Égouts de Paris teaches you about the very first sewerage system that was implemented in Paris during 1370. It leads you through the process of how and why it was adapted over the years to prevent the spread of disease and increase sanitation. Note that the museum is temporarily closed due to renovations, but reopening is scheduled for October 1, 2020.
Dine in the Dark
Where to find it: 51 Rue Quincampoix, 75004 Paris
If you’re looking for a sensory experience second to none, dining at the Dans le Noir is a must during your stay. What makes them so special? The restaurant sits in complete darkness, which is done to create awareness about those who are partially sighted or completely blind.
What makes the experience even better is that 50% of the wait staff are blind. But trust me, they know their way around. You’ll be ushered to your seats in complete darkness and be served an exquisite meal that tantalizes the taste buds.
If you truly want to experience your food, this is one of those extremely different things to do in Paris. It’ll help you appreciate your food in a completely new way.
Explore the Underground Lake, Below the Paris Opera House
The Palais Garnier is one of the most famous Opera Houses in the world. But the showy architecture and incredible performances are not all there is to this fascinating structure.
Under the building, you’ll find an underground reservoir – which is actually referenced in the Phantom of the Opera. Most people believed this to be a myth. But there is, in fact, a lake under the building which is one of Paris’s great mysteries. It’s the perfect place to take some spooky pictures or enjoy the eerie atmosphere. Though some try to claim it doesn’t exist, the reservoir is still used today in training firefighters how to swim in the dark.
Wrapping Up Alternative Things to Do in Paris
If you’re a traveler who likes to do things a little differently then these are guaranteed to be some of the best fun things to do in Paris. Whether you’re ready for a creepy experience or some achingly thorough explorations, these activities will satisfy any adventurers cravings.
Add some of the unusual things to do in Paris to your trip itinerary for the most amazing vacation experience.