Linda On The Run

10 Unusual Things To Do In Paris That Are Not The Eiffel Tower

Are you looking for unusual things to do in Paris? Is this perhaps a repeat visit to Paris and you have already seen the top tier most-visited touristy attractions? Or maybe you are simply yearning to visit unique Parisian spots maybe you are not aware of. Well,  you have come to the right place! I have been to Paris several times and I love seeing the unique and unusual side of her.

Paris, referred to as the City of Light, is one of the most beautiful and captivating of European capital cities. With a little research, you can dig into the heart of the city and find what the locals do and where they go to eat, drink and shop.

And that is exactly what I have done for you here: I have shared my favorite10 unusual things to do in Paris to tempt you to discover and explore Paris’ many, maybe not so well-known, locations.

If you are in the planning stages of your trip to Paris, here are some great posts for you to read later:

The Ultimate 4 Days in Paris Itinerary

The Ultimate 2 Days In Paris Itinerary

7 Things You Want To Know Before Your First Trip To Paris

5 Things To Know About Eating Healthy In Paris

10 Unusual Things To Do In Paris That Are Not The Eiffel Tower

 

Unusual things to do in Paris shopping arcade

 

1)Visiting The Only Working Vineyard In Paris Is One Of The More Unusual Things To Do In Paris

Yes, that’s correct! There is actually a working vineyard in the heart of Paris. It is Vignes du Clos Montmartre, located in the 18th District of Paris, otherwise known as Montmartre. Perhaps visiting the bohemian and artsy neighborhood of Montmartre is already on your Parisian itinerary.

Of course, you want to see the spectacular view of all of Paris from high atop the hill of Montmartre. And you do want to stop in the magnificent basilica of Sacre Coeur. Also, there are local artisans selling their wares galore, amidst so many restaurants and souvenir shops that will surely delight your senses.

But not many know that located on Rue des Saules, on a very steep slope heading back down Montmartre Hill is a working winery!. Visiting a winery is certainly one of the unusual things to do in Paris for sure.  Many tourists are not even aware of Clos Montmartre so you will have an advantage over them.

You can take a tour of Clos Montmartre, and it is best to purchase your tickets online beforehand. When I visited with my family, we simply strolled Rue des Saules and Rue Saint Vincent, the streets bordering the vineyard.

Purchase tickets here: Paris Wine Cellars & VIP Montmartre Vineyard Tour & Tastings

Unusual things to do in Paris vineyard

The only working vineyard in Paris, Clos Montmartre on the sunny afternoon we visited.

2) Have A Choux Pastry At Odette Tea Room

Located not far from the iconic Notre Dame, in Paris’ Latin Quarter, is a sweet (no pun intended!) cafe called Odette. You will not find the famous French macarons there, because the owner does not like them and wanted to do something a bit different with his establishment.

What you will find is a charming, albeit small, quaint cafe filled with tempting pastries, most notably choux pastry, which translated into English means “cream puff.” They are light and airy and filled with flavorful creams of different flavors for you to choose from.

Taking a moment out of a busy day in Paris to sit and sip coffee while eating a choux pastry at  Odette’s is one of the more unusual things to do in Paris!

Unusual things to do in Paris Odette pastry shop

  Odette is a lovely place to stop for French pastry during your visit to Paris.

3) Stop At Shakespeare & Company Bookstore And Cafe

Literally located simply steps from Notre Dame Cathedral, Shakespeare and Company Bookstore is understandably a very busy place! Located in a refurbished building, (they kept to its period authenticity) there are loads books written in English to be found.

If you only have time for a quick stop but find something intriguing, you can purchase it online at a later time. There are events and speakers scheduled at the bookstore so be sure to speak with an attendant to inquire what is going on when you visit.

If you are looking for refreshments or a meal, you are in luck. Next to the bookstore, you will find Shakespeare & Company Cafe serving all things fresh and delicious, mostly organic and vegetarian. They have a great selection of muffins, donuts, and desserts if you are interested in only a quick fix as you go on about your day.

It is easy to quickly walk by this establishment during your busy day in Paris, but worth a stop to slow down a bit and wander amid all the lovely books and perhaps have some coffee and refreshments. Visiting Shakespeare & Company Bookstore and Cafe is one of the intellectual and unusual things to do in Paris.

Unusual things to do in Paris Shakespeare & Co bookstore

A stop to browse in Shakespeare & Company Bookstore is one of the more unusual things to do in Paris. Coffee and pastry at the adjoining cafe would be lovely as well.

4) Watch A Parisian Sunset From Printemps Rooftop Terrace

One of the unusual things to do in Paris that many tourists do not know about, or take advantage of, is witnessing a gorgeous sunset from one of Paris’ rooftop bars.

To gain unobstructed, almost 360-degree views, not much beats the rooftop terrace at Printemps Department Store.  You can shop till you drop, then grab a glass of French wine or a cocktail and enjoy the sunset. Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur Basilica appears very very close, and in another direction, the Eiffel Tower off in the distance, silhouetted by the setting sun, is a memory not easily forgotten.

Catching a sunset from Printemps is one of the many unusual things to do in Paris.

Unusual things to do in Paris Printemps rooftop sunset

This beautiful Parisian sunset shot was taken on my last trip to Paris from the Printemps rooftop.

5) Glimpse Parisian Local Life At Rue Cler

Rue Cler is Paris’s most famous street market. It is located in the 7th arrondissement and is almost nirvana to explore.  The entire street is mainly pedestrian-oriented with its original cobblestones. And this is where the Paris locals do their daily shopping. And while the Rue Cler is busy and bustling, it is not overrun by loads of tourists which makes this one of the more unusual things to do in Paris.

You will find bakeries, florists, ice cream and gelato shops. There are several grocery stores to stock up with supplies if you happen to be staying at an Air BnB, or simply want some snacks to tuck into your backpack. There are coffee shops, pastry shops and of course, lots of restaurants and cafes to select from.

Of course, I think the most fun of all is having a glass of wine, a coffee, or a bite to eat and sit outside at one of the outdoor cafes and watch the world go by!

Unusual things to do in Paris rue Cler

The charming rue Cler where you can wander the cobblestone street, shop, eat and drink as the locals do!

6) Grab A Photo At Rue Cremieux, But Be Respectful

You do not have to be an Instagrammer to want to have pretty pictures as memories of your trip to Paris. And there is no better location to head to than Rue Cremieux for such photos.

Located in the 12th  arrondissement,  Rue Cremieux is just about one block long and full of charm and whimsy. The houses are small and painted in luscious pastel colors. Depending on the season, you can find flowers blooming in the window boxes below their front windows or on their front stoops.

The entire block is pedestrian friendly and still retains its original cobblestoned street.

All this being said, there are people who disrespect the owners’ properties and more importantly their privacy. So if you do decide to seek out Rue Cremieux for some memorable snaps, do not walk on the owners’ steps or porch. And golly, don’t look into their windows! This happens all too frequently and makes it a burden for those who call Rue Cremieux their home.

Unusual things to do in Paris rue Cremieux

Seeking out rue Cremieux is one of the more unusual things to do in Paris. Please be respectful.

7) Check Out Pigelle Basket Ball Court That Is Eye-Popping!

If you are a sports’ fan, especially basketball, or have one traveling with you, this unusual things to do in Paris destination is a must visit. Or in this particular case, a must see!  If you are an artist who does not much care for any sports, especially basketball, this is still a must-see for you as well.

Located on Rue Duperre, in Paris’ 9th arrondissement, the Pigalle basketball court is sandwiched in between historic residential buildings on nothing more than a sliver of property. Painted in nothing less than eclectic pinks and blues, it is eye-popping for sure.

The idea behind this in the first place was to make the basketball court and basketball hoops appealing to the local kids who live in the area. Enter several high-profile companies to bring that thought to fruition and wow the results are visually stunning.

Unusual things to do in Paris 2 Pigalle basketball court

The brilliant and vibrant colors of the Pigalle basketball court. (So much better to see in person.)

8) For A Real Parisian Experience Visit The Covered Passages

Not sure what I mean by “covered passages?”  Back in the 1800s, they were fashionable shopping arcades and were extremely popular. However, over the years they almost disappeared. It is wonderful that the most charming and exquisite of these old-time arcades are still around and waiting for you to explore them.

The first time I visited Paris I did not even know they existed. I do not want you to travel to Paris and not be aware of such a very cool option to explore.

Today the covered passages are meccas of restaurants and cafes, independent shops, pastry shops, bookstores, and antique shops.

What is so cool is the all old world architecture from the 1800s still visible in the remaining covered passages. It is literally like stepping back in time. One of the truly unusual things to do in Paris is visiting the nostalgic covered passages.

Check out this link for The Top Ten Covered Passages In Paris And How To Find Them. Even if you only have a short visit to Paris planned, this will help you decide which covered passage to visit,  and where to go to find it.

Unusual things to do in Paris hidden passageways

Here I am looking at all the lovely architectural features in one of Paris’ hidden passages: Gallery Vivienne. 

9) View Symbolism At The Gustave Moreau Museum

Gustave Moreau lived in Paris in the 1800s. He was a “symbolist” painter. At the museum honoring him, you will see three stories full of his works. There are literally thousands of his paintings, watercolor drawings and pastel sketches to view.

Located in the 9th arrondissement, you will find that this museum is kind of off the beaten path, and a bit less crowded and touristy. Along with all of his works prominently displayed, you will be able to explore the living quarters where he and his family actually lived.

The architecture is glorious, and there is a grand circular staircase that will lead you from the second to the third floor, that could be the backdrop for a wonderful and memorable picture of your Parisian visit.

Unusual things to do in paris Gustavo Moreau Museum

My daughter Victoria poses on the ornate staircase at the Gustave Moreau Museum in Paris.

10) Scooter Around Paris As An Alternative Way To Get Around

Yes, you read that right. Instead of taking a bus, or mass transit, or a taxi to get around Paris, give riding an e-scooter a try.

During our last trip to Paris, we noticed clumps of lime green scooters everywhere. It was as if they were left randomly. And they were. When you are finished using your scooter, you simply leave it at your destination. The only caveat is: do not leave your scooter in the pedestrian walkway or in the street, both of which make good sense!

Download the phone application of the scooter company (we used Lime) and input your credit card information. Once you have established an account, you can see where available scooters are in your vicinity, due to the GPS capabilities of each individual scooter.

You can rent a scooter for as long as you think you will need one. when you have arrived at your destination, you verify through the app on your phone that your are done, and simply leave the scooter and walk away. More likely than not, there will be someone who will scoop it up and be on their way very soon.

Touring Paris by scooter is definitely one of the more unusual things to do in Paris.

Unusual things to do in Paris riding Lime scooter

Here I am negotiating a side street in Paris using a Lime e-scooter. They are very easy to use and a fun way to get around Paris! 

Packing Tips For Your Trip To Paris France

I think that using these useful packing tips will enhance your trip to Paris and help you remain organized while there.

concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring during your visit to Paris. This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind. You can keep your most valuable documents safe and secure next to your body.

If you have a pouch already you may not want to or need to invest in a new one, like me. If it does not come with the RFID protection, these RFID sleeves would be handy to prevent identity theft. This configuration comes with enough passport and credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your current pouch or wallet. 

Don’t forget to bring along a universal power adapter on your trip to France.  This worldwide power plug is a great example and will charge your phone at the end of your busy days. And this world traveler adapter kit can charge several devices at the same time. This is what you will need when there are several people traveling in your group, or if you bring several electronic devices on your trip that require charging at the same time.

If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery. This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips. It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast! I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about. And if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.

My daughter gifted me this FugeTek Selfie Stick and Tripod for my birthday. It has Bloothtooth connectivity so it is very easy to use. It is made of durable aluminum and is very lightweight and easy to carry. I love mine and I think you will enjoy it too!

If you are in need of new luggage, this expandable soft side spinner luggage is affordable and comes in lots of colors. If you like hard-sided better, then you may favor this hard-sided luggage set better. Both sets come with TSA approved zippers locks and 8 wheels per piece. Either will be great for the plane or train or even your car depending on how you plan to travel to Italy. 

I was never a fan of packing cubes until I tried them out! Now I am soldThese Bagail packing cubes are the exact ones I use whenever I travel. I cannot believe how much more organized I am now!

Hydration is so important. You want to remain hydrated to support your immune system which in turn will be stronger to fight off any germs you will encounter during your travels.  You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.  I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for travel and it will fit nicely in the pocket of a backpack or your purse. Also when filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the Bobble carbon filter ensures fresh clean water whenever and wherever you fill the Bobble. You can find filter replacements here. 

Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium. Then this set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles would work well for you. Would not take up much space in your suitcase at all. And you will be receiving a set of two.

You will want to bring a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great. It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from. The fact that it folds down into a zippered pouch will make it easy to pack.

Perhaps you need a more substantial backpack for your international travel. This antitheft backpack has a charging port, is water-resistant and can comfortably carry up to a 15.6″ laptop.It comes in a range of colors to choose from and it is inexpensive as well. 

You will be walking more than usual when visiting Paris. A sturdy and comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must-have. These waterproof all-season shoes are extremely affordable and yet fashionable.  Mostly everyone is familiar with the Skechers brand, and these Air Run high fashion sneakers come in a lot of colors to match your outfits and are still affordable.

You may be visiting Paris in warmer weather, and you may want a pair of sandals to wear exploring.  I highly recommend these Vionics adjustable strap orthotic sandals. I have several pairs of these exact Vionic sandals in several colors that I bring with me *everywhere* I travel. They are very comfortable. I also sometimes bring along my Vionic Tides flip flops. The toe post is so comfortable which makes wearing these super comfortable. 

Bring a lightweight scarf or shawl. Scarves and shawls are very popular in Europe, especially in Paris. Both men and women wear scarves, both decoratively and as a layering piece to keep warm. This cotton unisex lightweight scarf is versatile and can be worn in any season. And here’s another option to consider: this lightweight sunscreen shawl scarf would do double duty to protect you from the sun in the warmer seasons as well as being a fashion accessory layering piece.

We all need to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. These unisex polarized sunglasses come in a lot of lens colors and frame designs and are extremely affordable too.

If you are fond of the aviator-style of sunglasses these polarized aviators may interest you. I like polarized sunglasses because they remove the glare and help you to see things more clearly. This will be very helpful in Paris.

If you are in need of new luggage, this expandable soft side spinner luggage is affordable and comes in lots of colors. If you like hard-sided better, then you may favor this hard-sided luggage set better. Both sets come with TSA approved zippers locks and 8 wheels per piece. Either will be great for the plane or train or even your car depending on how you plan to travel to Italy. 

I was never a fan of packing cubes until I tried them out! Now I am soldThese Bagail packing cubes are the exact ones I use whenever I travel. I cannot believe how much more organized I am now!

Quick Tips For Your Trip To Paris

Here are some quick tips and tricks which hopefully will enhance your visit to Paris and make it less stressful and more enjoyable.

UPDATED: Stay vigilant! During our last trip to Paris, our family of four was robbed 3 times. We discussed at great length how we had to remain vigilant to protect ourselves against pickpocketers. However, we were not successful. My daughter had her brand new Olympus camera stolen in the broad daylight in a McDonald’s Restaurant in the Montmartre District of Paris while we were having afternoon refreshments. 

My thief was caught red-handed with her arm up to her elbow inside of my backpack as I was walking along a busy Parisian boulevard.  Fortunate for me my daughter apprehended her, and I was carrying my passport and credit cards on my body. She wore better clothes, better shoes and more trendy sunglasses than I did. She did not “fit” our idea of what a pickpocketer was. (I still do not understand how she could unzip my backpack while I was wearing it, without me knowing or feeling it.)

And finally, my daughter’s boyfriend was saved by a fellow passenger in the Paris subway when another traveler was rifling through his backpack.

Please do not have any preconceptions of who can violate you by stealing your possessions while in France.  Stay vigilant and alert. Hope you have more success than we did.

Remember to always stay hydrated. Bring a nondisposable refillable water container and refill it often! Not only will you hedge the odds against getting sick, but you will also be saving a lot of water bottles from being sent to the landfills.

Call your credit card company for two reasons: 1) to notify the bank that you will be out of the country and give them your exact travel dates. 2) to check to see if the bank charges foreign transaction fees every time you are out of the country and use your card.  If it does, inquire about applying for a credit card that does NOT charge such fees.

When using an ATM in France make sure it is in your bank’s network, so you do not incur a transaction fee every time you use an ATM to withdraw money. Also, consider withdrawing larger amounts of money, fewer times, to limit the transaction fees by your bank.

Whenever you can, purchase advanced tickets to Parisian attractions whenever possible. Tickets purchased online, in advance, are mostly always discounted, and many times come with a “skip the line” perk. You will have more time to spend at the attraction since you will not be waiting in the entrance line. Also, you can better pace yourself during your busy days.

I have shared with you ten of the most unusual things to do in Paris. Things and places that I have personally enjoyed doing and visiting. Have you ever been to Paris? Did you visit any of these places I enjoyed so much? Do you have any other unusual things to do in Paris to add to my list? Please leave in the comments section below! Thank you. Merci.

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12 thoughts on “10 Unusual Things To Do In Paris That Are Not The Eiffel Tower

  1. Pingback: The Ultimate 2 Days In Paris Itinerary - Linda On The Run

  2. Lee Ann Troutman

    Just returned home after week in Paris. Love your article. I visited a few of your suggestions but was happy to see places mentioned for “next time”.
    However must comment on Lime scooters. Yes they were left everywhere and in the middle of the walk way. Poor etiquette.

    1. Linda Malys Yore Post author

      I am so happy some of my suggestions worked for you. Honestly, that is awesome. And I hope you DO get to return someday and explore other places! It makes me sad some people are not abiding by the rules & leaving the Lime scooters in the middle of the walkway.

  3. Darcy

    Thanks for the insight into some different ideas and places to see. My husband and I will be in Paris for a month and look forward to checking out some of your suggestions.

    1. Linda Malys Yore Post author

      I am very glad you think my suggestions may be helpful when you and your husband spend time in Paris. Jealous you will be there for one month and I won’t!!

  4. Mariel

    Enjoyed reading your article this made me more excited for my Paris trip 😍 can’t wait! Thanks for your suggestions! 🙂

  5. Pingback: 7 Things To Know Before Your First Time In Paris - Linda On The Run

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