A Guide to the Hidden Gems in Paris

Paris is the city that captured my heart.  I spent a year living there and I do my best to go back at least once a year.  I love just wandering around and exploring but sometimes you need a bit of extra help to find the true hidden gems in Paris.  The places below are all places you would never just stumble across.  You have to know that they’re there or you would never find them.

I like to research a place thoroughly before travelling there, so in my hours spent pouring over travel blogs, newspaper articles and glossy magazine stories I’ve managed to find some amazing places that most people would just never know existed.   From restaurants to bars to hotels, I hope you’ll find a few new favourites that will capture your heart too.  Far away from the tourist traps, these ideas will help you see Paris through the eyes of a local!Hidden Gems in Paris by Emma Eats & Explores

Ralph Lauren Restaurant

Behind some imposing doors on the Boulevard St Germain is the most beautiful courtyard restaurant.  I found this place by doing quite a bit of research online because from the street you don’t really know it’s there.  The food is quite American themed – think Burgers, Lobster and Cobb Salad but it’s the setting that is just so beautiful.  Whether for lunch in the sun or a romantic candlelit dinner it’s just such a stunning location.  And you’d never know you were just 10 paces from one of the busiest streets in Paris.  A relaxed dining experience in the centre of Paris that feels like you’re worlds away from reality!Hidden Gems in Paris by Emma Eats & Explores

Restaurant L’Île

Just out to the west of Paris is a small island in the Seine called Île St Germain.  Most Parisians have never even heard of the island, let alone the restaurant so it really is one of the definitive Hidden Gems in Paris.  The whole island is parkland and in the middle there is a restaurant set in stunning gardens.  L’île is absolutely beautiful and best visited on a sunny day when you can eat outside on the terrace under the gorgeous cherry blossoms.  The food is chic brasserie style with salads, steaks, seafood and fantastic ingredients.  I’ve had the goats cheese millefeuille as a starter and also the tuna tartare and the freshness of the produce is fantastic.  Good simple food done really well in a beautiful setting – what more could you ask for?

Bagatelle Restaurant

If you fancy taking a wander through the Bois de Boulogne on a sunny day then don’t miss this amazing restaurant.  Set in the rose gardens on the far west side of the Park, you’d be hard pushed to find somewhere more hidden away.  With an incredible terrace area for dining outside and a light bright dining room if you prefer to eat indoors, this place is definitely one of Hidden Gems in Paris.  The menu is light and elegant, with plenty of salads and seafood.   Exactly what you want for a light lunch, outside, with a crisp glass of white wine.  You can also rent the entire place out and I think it would be a beautiful setting for private events or even a wedding reception.

Pavillion de la Reine

My favourite of all the Hidden Gems in Paris has to be the Pavillion de la Reine.  While exploring Places des Vosges one day I saw a very discreet sign on the wall saying Pavillion de la Reine.  Wandering through the huge doors I found myself in an oasis, far from the hustle and bustle of the main square.  The Pavillion de la Reine is a Spa Hotel set just back from the Place des Vosges and while I’ve never stayed there, what I love so much about it is the beautiful courtyard.  You can sit in the sun and relax with a glass of wine and never know that you are in the centre of Paris.

The courtyard itself is beautiful, very green, with ivy climbing the walls and lots of modern art sculptures from the gallery next door.  I’ve sat here for many an afternoon taking a quick respite from the business of the streets.  The staff are very friendly and the bar is an honesty bar so you help yourself to wine/champagne and pay for what you had at reception at the end.  It really is a small haven of tranquility in a bustling city and you leave feeling relaxed and re-charged!  I’m sure it would be amazing to stay there too but it seems pretty pricey!

We just go there for the wine, the peace and the sunshine.  It’s definitely a favourite spot for both me and my mum!

Hotel des Grandes Ecoles

I used to live at the other end of the street to this hotel and never thought much of it until one day when they left the main door open and i could see all the way through into the stunning courtyard at the back.  I’ve never stayed her so I can’t vouch for the rooms and service – I’m just so enthralled by the terrace and courtyard area that I can’t wait to stay one day.

I can just imagine, breakfast, with the newspapers in a sunny spot – heaven!  They used to only let you book three months in advance – no earlier, so we never managed to get a room as they all filled up so fast.  Recently they’ve changed their booking system so you can now book up to 9 months in advances so here’s hoping that next time I go to Paris I can get in!Hidden Gems in Paris by Emma Eats & Explores

Ciel de Paris

This bar is not so much one of the Hidden Gems in Paris, as it was an impossibility to find.  Situated at the top of the Tour Montparnasse I think it has the best view in all of Paris.  Most people trek up the Eiffel Tower to get a bird’s-eye view of Paris but from the tour Montparnasse you can get the same view with the Eiffel Tower included in it!

I’d done some research so I knew it was up there, but when we got the tower there were no signs, no directions, we thought we’d got it wrong.  Finally we asked someone who explained you had to go to a special door round the side and take the lift to the top – you’d never know what to do unless you asked!  When you arrive you step into a beautiful champagne bar with a completely unrivalled view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower.Hidden Gems in Paris by Emma Eats & Explores

Amazing during the day but even more spectacular at night when the whole of Paris is light up and the Eiffel Tower sparkles.  Definitely the best view in town!

Le Troubadour

When all the tourists head to the crush of the Artist’s Square in Montmartre to grab a drink, you can act all smug as you venture one street further to find this tucked away courtyard cocktail bar.  Bathed in sunlight you can enjoy an afternoon drink amidst  the cobbled stones and lush vegetation.  The cocktails are fantastic, the vibe is very chilled and it’s very easy to lose time here and realise you’ve spent an entire afternoon sitting in the sun and sampling cocktails.Hidden Gems in Paris by Emma Eats & Explores

Library Bar at the St James Hotel

If old school glamour is what you’re looking for then you need to head to the 16th arrondissement where you’ll find the luxury St James Hotel.  A beautiful Parisian Mansion that is definitely one of the Hidden Gems in Paris.  Hidden Gems in Paris by Emma Eats & Explores

A luxury boutique hotel and private members club that is way out of my budget for a night’s stay, but i can afford a drink in their beautiful library bar.  A martini in here is the perfect aperitif to any night out in Paris and the relaxed environment is charming and luxurious at the same time.Hidden Gems in Paris by Emma Eats & Explores

So there you have it – all of my favourite Hidden Gems in Paris – I’ve done the hard work for you – now all you have to do is go and enjoy them!  If you love finding different places you should check out my Top Restaurants in the Algarve post or my post on the  Most Authentic & Traditional Restaurants in Madrid.

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59 Comments Add yours

  1. Thewifeslife says:

    I would love to visit Paris. These look like great places. You have beautiful pics of wonderful sounding places to go in Paris. Thank you for sharing your gems. 🙂

  2. Lisa B says:

    I did an Erasmus year in Paris and LOVED it- I’m definitely saving this list for next time I’m back! Merci 😉
    Lisa x

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      That’s what I did and that’s where I fell in love with the place. A year just wasn’t enough so I keep having to go back all the time!

      1. Lisa B says:

        Yes, I know the feeling very well! I’m going back for the third time in two years in July and I can’t wait. I know I should be travelling to other places too, but Paris just draws me back every time!

  3. Beautiful places ALL! Still have not been to Paris, but it’s high on the bucket list! Thanks for the insider tips.

  4. My parents are going to Paris in a few months and are looking for hidden gems so I am passing this post along to them! You are so lucky to be able to travel there as often as you do…I’m jealous! Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. lepetitchef says:

    So many beautiful nooks and crannies in Paris…I hope to make it there soon!

  6. Paris is my happy place and like you said I keep making excuses to go there as often as I can. 🙂 I have never been to any of these places and would love to check them out when I revisit. Ah sipping cocktails in lush courtyards – dreamy!

    Pinned for later and following your adventures around the world now X

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Paris is definitely my Happy Place too – i feel like I’ve come home when I step off the Eurostar! Sounds like we love all the same things! Hope you get to go back soon!

  7. Dody says:

    There are places that you can’t really get enough of. I would imagine Paris is one such place. I haven’t been there, but I will one day. I just hope those restaurants will still be there. Great post!

  8. Such beautiful photos. It looks like you had a wonderful experience.

  9. Lauren says:

    Ahh! We just went to Paris a few weeks ago, I wish I had seen this before! We will have to add these places to our list for next time!

  10. Sigh, Paris has always been number one on my travel wishlist. This post is making me want to go sosososo much more than I already do aha. One day. Beautiful photos, girl. 🙂
    xx

  11. Paris is on my list of places to visit soon so pinning this!!

  12. islanderbookworm says:

    What a great post! I loved being in Paris when I went there nine years ago – we stayed at a sort of Air BNB type place in one of the neighborhoods near the Natural History Museum. I would love to go back – definitely pinning this for when I do.

  13. I love Paris so much. The last time I visited, my husband and I rented a flat and tried to just live as locals. One of my favorite restaurants is Au Passage. It has a limited, but regularly changing menu that is just heavenly.

  14. Candiss says:

    Great tips for such a well documented city! I meant to get to the Top of the Tour of Montparnasse last time I was in town but actually forgot! haha! I was visiting my sister so we went on a day trip instead 🙂

  15. Nice guide! I love visiting Paris, but I’m not great at finding awesome restaurants that don’t break the bank – your list is super helpful!

  16. Ellie Chan says:

    the last time I went to Paris was for my Honeymoon and we were slightly rushed, finding restaurants was a not so pleasant experience at the time BUT I cannot wait to go back and try some of these restaurants, they sound lovely!

    Ellie |

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      You’ll just have to persuade the hubby to take you back for an anniversary to do it properly 😉

  17. I was going to try and pick my favourite of your picks, but I just can’t! We’re going to Europe next year and I will be referring to this list when we stop in Paris!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Please do – I hope you love them all as much as I do!

  18. Thanks for these places! I can’t wait to go back to Paris and check them out. Lovely photos as well!

  19. MaryAnne says:

    Wow those places look so great a cool to visit! I´d definetely like to visit them some day!

  20. Your photos are gorgeous. ??? I have never ever been to Paris but if I’m going there I will definitely bring your blog. Thanks for sharing these hidden gems.

  21. I need to visit Paris! All of those pictures look beautiful. It would be such a peaceful and beautiful getaway!

  22. Leah Hall says:

    Oh my, now my bug to go to Paris has bitten me even more! These all sound lovely, and i just can’t wait to go!

  23. Cheyenne says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Paris! This will be a great list for when I finally get there!

  24. I’m literally in LOVE with your post! Paris is my all time favorite city, and I would love to explore these places next time I go. Especially Ciel de Paris. That view is breathtaking! I’m so ready to go back to Paris now 🙂

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      I’ve had so may comments that Paris is everyone’s favourite city – it really is such a special place!

  25. You’ve covered a wealth of great spots to hit in Paris! I hope to make it there someday.

  26. featherflint says:

    These are such gorgeous spots! When I visited Paris, my favorite places by far were the “hidden gems” that bloggers and Yelpers pointed out. I felt like I was seeing the real city, not just the tourist-y facade. My favorite way to see a place!

  27. Momma To Go says:

    I haven’t been to Paris since 03- needs to get back! Love this post the places all look so charming

  28. ~ carmen ~ says:

    What a fabulous list & great timing too. I’m headed to Paris next week. :]

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      I hope you have a fabulous time!

  29. Kristi says:

    I love Paris! It’s an amazing city and thank you so much for sharing these hidden gems! I had no idea!

  30. nnsmith says:

    I definitely would love to visit Paris one day! I have family that are going in a few months for their anniversary…I’ll have to share your post with them.

  31. Chelsea says:

    I want to eat and shop my way through Paris so bad! Someday…

  32. Jen says:

    This is in my bucket list. It’s my dream to visit the Eiffel Tower and all its magnificence.

  33. Jenni Petrey says:

    All of these places sound amazing. I’d love to visit Paris one day. My children are obsessed with a French superhero show at the moment and through the show they have begun to recognise all the landmarks in Paris 🙂

  34. Wish I would have known about some of these places when I visited Paris. I guess I have to go back 😉

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      I’m sure it will be such a hardship 😉

  35. megandemoss says:

    I love your mention of Ciel de Paris. As much as I’d love to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, I’d love a different view (especially from a bar). I’m more of the off-the-beaten-path kind of traveler but you really can’t go to Paris and NOT check out the Eiffel Tower. I’ll be storing this information for an upcoming trip!

  36. one of the out of the country I want to be visited.. hoping this will come true

  37. Kristin says:

    Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world. All of these little restaurants I now feel the need to go back and try! My favorite was a little crepes place around the corner from our hotel. Two years in a row we stayed there and I loved going down for an afternoon crepe!

  38. Naomi says:

    So many fabulous recommendations! Ralph Lauren Restaurant sounds amazing ?. I love Paris, such a lovely city and the food of course is wonderful. I can’t wait to go back! Living there for a year would be a dream.

    xoxo
    Naomi

  39. Deb Sharratt says:

    I love Paris. I’ll be checking out some of these places next time I go.

  40. Visiting Paris is on my travel bucket list. When I do get there I’d definitely love to visit Ciel de Paris. That view is breathtaking!

  41. Oh lala i wosh to visit Paris soon! But many not so soon when the place especially the security is quite stable.

  42. Morgan Paar says:

    Great list, just in time for my return to Paris. Thanks!

  43. Visiting Paris would be a dream come true for me…arghhh…too beautiful is an understatement 😮

  44. Danay says:

    You absolutely had me transported throughout this post. The Ralph Lauren Restaurant looks exactly as one would expect. We’ve been planning a trip to France for 2109, and you’ve given me some places to look at.

  45. Amy says:

    Looks incredible!! I’m going to Paris in September and will definitely bookmark this post for when I get there!

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Aww – hope you have a fabulous time!

  46. Anna nuttall says:

    Beautiful photos. I always enjoyed visiting Paris. Xxx

  47. helenvella says:

    One of my favorite cities in the world, I have been there many times and find it very romantic. You have done a great job showing some really nice places.

  48. Claire says:

    I’m off to Paris in July so I’m glad I stumbled across this. Thanks for the recommendations. Can’t wait to try a couple of them out

    1. emmaeatsandexplores says:

      Go for it – they’re all amazing!

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