Paris, nicknamed the City of Lights , is known worldwide for its famous monuments , its emblematic avenues and its rich cultural heritage . However, behind these must-see tourist sites lie many little-known secrets and treasures that give the city its unique charm .
In this article, we invite you to unravel the mysteries of Paris by exploring unusual places . T he hidden little streets and fascinating stories that make the French capital so captivating.
The covered passages of Paris
The covered passages of Paris, true architectural gems , are emblematic places . They transport visitors into the charm of a bygone era. These covered galleries, often hidden in the heart of Parisian districts, offer a unique experience full of nostalgia .
The passage of Panoramas
Among these secret passages, the Passage des Panoramas is a true historical treasure. Inaugurated in 1800 , it is the oldest covered passage in Paris. As you stroll under its elegant glass roof, you will be immersed in a retro atmosphere. With its antique shops, old bookstores and traditional restaurants. The place has even been the meeting place of famous writers, such as Victor Hugo .
The Jouffroy passage
Le Passage Jouffroy, for its part, seduces with its warm atmosphere and its elegant glass roof which bathes the place in natural light . Opened in 1847 , it is famous for its charming old bookstore , but also for the Musée Grévin , an emblematic wax museum where you can come across statues of historical figures and celebrities. Walking through this passage is like going back in time and diving into the Paris of yesteryear .
The passage of the Princes
Strolling through the Passage des Princes, you are transported into a magical world , with its appearance of a miniature castle . There are shops selling toys and board games, for example. Which will delight young and old alike. You will also find cafes with retro decor where you can relax.
The covered passages of Paris are also known for their quaint shops and cafes with a unique charm . Traditional establishments, with atypical brands. Each passage houses gourmet and authentic addresses. Perfect for taking a break in a timeless setting.
Exploring these covered passages is like diving into an enchanted parenthesis, where the charm of yesteryear rubs shoulders with the modernity of the present. These architectural and commercial treasures are an integral part of Paris' heritage. Above all, they offer you an immersion in an extraordinary atmosphere.
The hidden fountains of Paris
Paris' hidden fountains are hidden in the lesser-known areas of the City of Lights. If Paris is famous for its emblematic monuments , its fountains are however less known. And yet, they have a rich history and significant importance in the urban environment.
The Fountain of the Four Seasons
One of these little-known fountains is the Fontaine des Quatre-Saisons located in the Jardin de la Cour Carrée of the Louvre. This elegant marble fountain, dating from the 18th century , represents the seasons through four allegorical sculptures . It was one of the first public fountains in Paris and is a symbol of the art of the classical era .
La Fontaine Cuvier
In the Latin Quarter, you can discover the Fontaine Cuvier, nestled in a discreet corner of the Jardin des Plantes . This rustic and charming fountain is dedicated to the famous naturalist Georges Cuvier. It is a true haven of peace for walkers looking for fresh air.
The Louvois Fountain
Another hidden gem is the Fontaine Louvois, located in the courtyard of the same name in the 2nd arrondissement . This elegant 17th century fountain , representing Neptune , is surrounded by a calm and serene ambiance. She offers an ideal setting to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
These little-known fountains are much more than simple decorative elements. They played a crucial role in the city's water supply. And have been the meeting point for many Parisians throughout the centuries. They reflect therefore the history and culture of Paris, testifying to daily life and the evolution of the city over time.
The secret gardens of Paris
Paris conceals true green gems : secret gardens, these hidden and confidential spaces which often escape the notice of busy passers-by. True havens of peace in the heart of the metropolis. These gardens offer an escape and a perfect balance between urban life and nature .
One of these hidden gardens (but not too hidden) is the Jardin des Plantes, a botanical treasure located in the 5th arrondissement. Founded in 1626 , this garden is one of the oldest in Paris and is home to an incredible diversity of plants, trees and flowers. It is the ideal place to go for a walk among the green paths, admire the exotic greenhouses and recharge your batteries in contact with nature.
The Swiss Valley garden
Another secret garden is the Jardin de la Vallée Suisse, located in the 15th arrondissement . This little corner of paradise is nestled at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, but very few visitors know about it. With its lawns, benches and majestic trees, it is a perfect place for a peaceful break in the heart of the city.
The Square du Vert-Galant
For a romantic experience , go to Square du Vert-Galant on the Île de la Cité located in the 1st arrondissement . This elegant garden is nestled at the end of the island, offering stunning views of the Seine and the bridges of Paris . It is a popular place for lovers and artists looking for inspiration.
To explore and find these secret gardens, there's nothing better than strolling through the alleys and streets of Paris. By deliberately getting lost , we often discover hidden places preserved from the tourist hustle and bustle. The local residents are often the best guides to direct you towards these unsuspected havens of peace.
These secret gardens play an essential role in the balance between urban life and nature . They allow Parisians and visitors to escape the hectic pace of the city, reconnect with nature and enjoy a moment of serenity . They are therefore ideal places to relax, meditate, read or simply contemplate the beauty of nature.
Let yourself be charmed by the magic of the secret gardens of Paris , and treat yourself to a moment of escape in the heart of the French capital.
The secret passages of Paris
In the heart of the cobbled streets and bustling boulevards of Paris lie secret passages and discreet paths that bear witness to the city's mysterious past . These unusual routes offer a journey through time , preserving their old-world charm despite the evolution of the metropolis.
Rue du Chat qui peche in the Latin Quarter of Paris
Among the discreet paths, Rue du Chat qui Pêche is a hidden treasure in the Latin Quarter . This narrow alley, the narrowest in Paris , is lined with picturesque houses and charming colorful facades . It owes its enigmatic name to an unusual sign, that of an inn which no longer exists today.
The passage of the Anchor
This is one of the oldest passages in Paris , a charming secret passage called " Passage de l'Ancre" , a small private open-air road . This delightful path extends from Rue Chapon to Rue de Turbigo, offering a picturesque shortcut. The walk is embellished by charming artisan workshops and colorful, wooded architecture. Located in the heart of the Marais , all you have to do is take the porte cochère at 30 rue de Turbigo .
Court of Bel-air
The charming courtyard of Bel-air, steeped in history , is open to the public during the week . It houses a spacious bookstore and an art gallery . With a length of 56 meters and a width of 3.1 meters, this picturesque paved courtyard transports us to the authentic Paris that is so popular . To get there, all you have to do is go to 56 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine !
Going on an adventure to discover these secret passages is a unique experience . Getting deliberately lost in the mazes of the city can reveal unsuspected treasures and places steeped in history . On the other hand, it is an invitation to curiosity, exploration and wonder at the diversity and beauty of Paris.
The artistic facades of Paris
At the bend of the Parisian streets, a veritable open-air museum unfolds on the facades of the buildings . These true works of urban art add a touch of color and creativity to the architecture of the City of Lights, transforming the walls into canvases for artists.
Graffiti, the most emblematic forms of urban expression , colors the walls of Paris with their bold patterns and committed messages . Talented artists, such as Invader or Levalet (if you want to know more about Invader you can see our blog article on emblematic pixel art artists) . These artists use the facades of buildings as giant canvases to deliver their message and their vision of the world. These urban graffiti transform the urban landscape and create a unique interaction between residents and the city.
The Villette district in Paris 19th
In the 19th arrondissement of Paris, near the Ourcq canal, we are amazed by a long, colorful wall . Several local artists brought this space to life , each bringing their own style and colors. We can notably recognize the ethnic masks of DaCruz , the dancing characters of the graffiti artist Psy and the luminous portraits of Marko 93 .
Just a fifteen-minute walk away, you'll find the longest mural in Paris , created in 2015 on Rue d'Aubervilliers (in the 19th arrondissement). Spanning 493 meters , many street artists such as Kashink , Combo and JonOne paid tribute to African-American Rosa Parks , famous for refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a bus. This multiple work spreads a feeling of peace and living together .
From Beaubourg to Gainsbourg
From Serge Gainsbourg's home to the Halles district , downtown Paris is transformed into a veritable artists' canvas.
On Igor-Stravinsky Square (in the 4th arrondissement), a monumental 350 square meter fresco intrigues passers-by with the enigmatic face of a man, created with a stencil by the artist Jef Aérosol . In rue de la Verrerie (4th), M.Chat brought his touch with his mischievous yellow felines. Then in the Blancs-Manteaux space , the artist Gregos made an impression with a feminist portrait in 2014 , gluing his plaster casts of his own face .
Across the Seine, rue de Verneuil (in the 7th arrondissement), is the home of singer and poet Serge Gainsbourg . Since his death in 1991, his wall has become a veritable open-air gallery. Where graffiti, drawings, paintings and collages pay homage to this artist adored by the French.
The street art city: Vitry-sur-Seine
In towns neighboring Paris, such as Vitry-sur-Seine , street art is flourishing. On walls, sidewalks, electrical terminals or street lamps, a diversity of artistic creations emerge : stencils, small collages, graffiti and paintings come to life in the urban environment. Vitry proves to be committed to art , thanks to the involvement of its artists and its public authorities.
The city is also full of large, remarkable frescoes . As soon as you arrive on the RER, rue Pierre Semard , you will see the emblematic “French robot” by Italian artist Pixel Pancho . Not far from MAV VAL: Contemporary Art Museum of Val-de-Marne, two African warriors, spear in hand, impose their impressive stature. These works, paying tribute to Nelson Mandela, were created in 2013 by the artist Kouka .
Urban art on the facades of Paris buildings transcends the limits of museum space , making art accessible to all , without restriction. It embodies the vitality and dynamism of urban culture , arousing emotions , debates and reflections . These ephemeral works of art help to make Paris a field of expression for artists from around the world. Leaving their mark on the city and contributing to the artistic excitement that animates the French capital.
In short, Paris turns out to be much more than just a world-famous tourist destination. Behind its famous monuments and emblematic districts lie secret and little-known places which contain the whole soul of the City of Lights.
From its enchanting covered passageways and hidden fountains in picturesque neighborhoods to its hidden gardens and historic passageways, Paris is full of hidden treasures waiting to be explored.
And now you know where to wander around Paris to make unusual discoveries! But the best thing is to get lost in the streets of Paris and discover magnificent places for yourself 😉
I hope you liked this blog article, see you next week Quarkos 👋