By Briana Seftel
Is there a city more iconic than Paris? Its impressive monuments, elegant bridges and sidewalk cafes have inspired countless authors, filmmakers and travelers over the years.
Unfortunately, that means you'll be sharing the French capital with millions of other visitors all vying for that perfect photo in front of the Eiffel Tower. If you're looking some peace away from the crowds, seek out these hidden places in Paris!
Parc de Belleville
Located in the artsy neighborhood of Belleville in the 20th arrondissement, Parc de Belleville is one of Paris' prettiest parks. Opened in 1988, the park offers visitors a totally unrestricted panoramic view of the city, which is especially enchanting at sunset. A fun spot for families with small children and picnics, the park is even home to 140 vines producing wine, a nod to the neighborhood's wine-producing history dating back to the Middle Ages.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons user Ralf.treinen
Le Passage de l'Ancre
Home to Paris' only umbrella repair shop (yes...that does exist), Le Passage de l'Ancre is a lovely little backstreet in the popular 3rd arrondissement. Enter through the big blue doors at 223 rue Saint-Martin and prepare to be awed by the oh-so-charming nature of the family-run shops and pots spilling over with leafy plants that make up this tiny passage.
Photo via Instagram user @gioverrecchia
The Mouzaïa, also known as “Quartier d’Amérique” (America District), is so hidden, most locals don't even know about it! Located in the 19th arrondissement not far from the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, this area feels more like a quaint countryside village than a city neighborhood. Named after a city in Algeria, the district features charming little houses built in the 1890s to house workers from the nearby quarry. You'll feel like you uncovered a true Parisian secret in the Mouzaïa.
Musée de Montmartre
While everyone is fighting for the perfect selfie in front of the Sacré-Coeur, head to the Musée de Montmartre, a museum opened in 1960 in the oldest home in Montmartre built in the 16th century. Dedicated to the artsy neighborhood that was once home to the likes of Auguste Renoir and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the museum's collection is simply divine - you'll be amazed by the original Le Chat Noir artwork, the iconic black cat that is a feature in every souvenir shop in Paris. The museum is also home to the Renoir Gardens which offer breathtaking views of the Clos Montmartre vineyard and the Paris skyline.
Photo via Instagram user @bapt_ou
Le Louxor Palais Du Cinéma
The French love going to le cinéma to catch the latest arthouse flick or blockbuster, and there are a wide variety of movie theaters in Paris. One of the most unique is Le Louxor in the 18th arrondissement, built in 1921 in an ornate neo-Ancient Egyptian style. While the theater was almost demolished, it was restored and reopened in 2013 and shows recent films as well as classics. Come early and enjoy a drink at the third-floor bar with a terrace overlooking the Sacré-Coeur.
Photo via Instagram user @savannah_pln
La Butte aux Cailles
Everyone knows the Parisian neighborhoods like Le Marais and Montmartre, but if you're seeking something a little more "secret," head to La Butte aux Cailles. Located in the 13th arrondissement, this hilltop neighborhood feels more like a village with its pretty main square and fountain, Art Nouveau architecture and cobbled lanes. If you're a fan of street art, this area is a great place to see vibrant murals by local artists.
Fun fact: This was the site of the first ever hot air balloon ride by Jean-François Pilâtre in 1783.
Paris' secret covered passages (galeries) are a feast for the eyes. Galerie Véro-Dodat, located in the 1st arrondissement near the Louvre, is one of the best-preserved passages with beautiful black and white diamond-shaped marble paving and an engraved ceiling. Wander past chic boutiques and restaurants and take in the elegance of this 19th-century shopping arcade. If you're visiting Paris in the colder months, this is a great place to stay warm!
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
In search of some sweet green serenity? Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is a 61-acre park in the northeast of Paris with a lake, waterfalls, grottoes, a suspended bridge, and some of the best views of the Paris skyline! The park, designed by Baron Haussmann for the 1867 Exposition Universelle, is a great place for picnics in the warm weather.
Take a page from the millennials and visit Paris’ most Instagrammable street! Hidden away in the 12th arrondissement between Rue de Lyon and Rue de Bercy, Rue Cremieux is filled with candy-colored homes that flank both sides of the small cobblestone street. Since this is a residential street, be on your best behavior as you snap photos for the ‘gram.
Photo via Instagram user @francepanoramic
Musée de la Vie Romantique
Are you a romantic at heart? Make a beeline to the Musée de la Vie Romantique, a museum dedicated to the Romantic era of the 19th century. Down a quiet cobblestone alleyway, you will find a hôtel particulier that was once home to the Dutch-born painter Ary Scheffer. The museum, divided into temporary and permanent collections, is filled with art and artifacts from Sheffer and the French author George Sand. At the museum’s garden, find peace and quiet among the lilacs and roses and enjoy tea in the seasonal tearoom, open from March to October.