Looking for culture in a city? Sure, you could spend all day at a museum or take in a big event—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discovering a place’s hidden cultural gems. From unique works of art to hidden historical spots, there are so many little-known places in Paris that offer a great glimpse into the city’s cultural riches. And you don’t have to be a local to find them—all it takes is a bit of digging beyond the tourist sites.

Hidden Art Gems in Paris 

Much of Paris’ artistic charm lies in its art galleries and famous landmarks —but if you really want to explore the city’s creative spirit, you’ll have to look beyond the tourist destinations. Here are just a few hidden art gems to uncover in Paris:

  • Montreuil Bell Tower: Though it’s often overlooked, this beautiful bell tower is the perfect spot to appreciate the city’s architectural history. Built in the late 17th century, this magnificent structure boasts spectacular views of the Seine and Notre Dame Cathedral.

  • La Cabane: This is an artists’ collective situated on top of an apartment complex in the 10th arrondissement. La Cabane’s members curate thought-provoking installations and exhibitions that combine performance, music and visual art.

  • Espace Louis Vuitton: Not surprisingly, the famed fashion house’s headquarters in the 7th arrondissement doesn’t just house their clothing lines. They also put on exhibitions that explore the worlds of contemporary art, architecture and design.

  • Palais de Tokyo: A variety of avant-garde pieces line the walls at this dynamic space for creative exploration in the 16th arrondissement. Visitors of Palais de Tokyo can take in exhibitions, screenings, performances and even engage in interactive programming.

Under-the-Radar Historical Sites 

Paris is full of loads of historical sites, from Sacré-Cœur to Notre Dame. But the city’s lesser-known sites don’t get nearly as much attention. Here are just some of the stellar historical sites even many locals don’t know about:

  • Musée Eugène Delacroix: Though it’s relatively small, this museum literally lives inside the former home and studio of Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix. It houses a diverse array of exhibits, including ceramics, drawings, prints, photographs and sculptures.

  • Église Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois: This stunning church is a much-loved but lesser-known site by visitors to Paris. It dates back to the 12th century and has served as a witness to some of the city’s most momentous occasions—including the marriage of Louis XII and Anne de Bretagne in 1499.

  • Bibliothèque Nationale de France: This is a great spot to explore Paris’ literary history, as it’s one of the largest libraries in the world. It boasts a variety of rare texts and manuscripts, along with stunning art and architecture.

  • Place Dauphine: Known as the 11th arrondissement’s hidden gem, Place Dauphine is the oldest and last of King Henri IV’s city squares. It’s known for its cobblestone streets, serene atmosphere and tight-knit local community.

Unique Shopping Experiences 

Shopping isn’t just about picking up souvenirs—it’s also a great way to explore a city’s local culture. Here are some of Paris’ lesser-known shopping destinations:

  • Marché Raspail: This traditional Sunday market is a must-visit for foodies. It boasts a variety of French delicacies from reliable food vendors, all spilling out onto the streets around Montparnasse.

  • Marché Saint-Quentin: Though it’s mostly known for clothing and accessories, this market in the 10th arrondissement is also home to a number of delightful food stalls. Pop in for a spot of lunch and to discover some unique French treats.

  • Rosny 2 Shopping Mall: This mall is much more than just any old shopping centre. It’s complemented by gardens, riverside walkways and even a picnic area. It’s situated just east of Paris and is a great place to find some unique items.

  • Passage du Grand Cerf: A shopping passage with plenty of character, this pretty passage dates back to 1827. Located in the 2nd arrondissement, it houses an array of quaint boutiques, including jewellery, books, perfume and antiques.

From unique works of art to hidden historical spots, there are so many little-known places in Paris that offer a great glimpse into the city’s cultural riches. The next time you visit Paris, go beyond the tourist sites to uncover these hidden gems and to experience the city’s authentic culture and atmosphere. Get ready to be amazed at what you’ll find!