Unusual Paris: 7 Things You Won’t Find in Any Guidebook

Discover unusual things to do in Paris with our selection of the city’s best unique places!

If you feel like stepping off the beaten track and exploring beyond the galleries of the Louvre and the picturesque streets of Montmartre, you’ll find that the French capital offers plenty of extraordinary, non-touristy attractions to experience.

Whether you are into the arts, shopping, or eating out, read on about our favorite unusual things to do in Paris!

Had enough of the Eiffel Tower? Get off the beaten path and discover these seven unusual things to do in Paris.

1. Hôtel Drouot

Take your shopping experience to the next level and attend a live auction!

The legendary Hôtel Drouot, France’s largest auction house, is a fascinating site to explore.

Drop by the exhibition salon to check out the objects that will be sold the next day, or sit in one of the auction rooms to catch some of the action. From fine art to vintage designer clothes, to stamp collections, to wine, you can really get everything and anything in this magical place.

Enjoy watching bidders fight over a gold candelabra—or participate and go home with a treasure!

2. Ballon Generali

See Paris in a whole new way when you climb aboard a tethered helium balloon.

Located in the Parc André Citroën, a modern park built on the site of a former automobile plant, the Ballon Generali takes adventurous passengers 150 meters above the ground for a unique ride over the city.

On a good day, weather permitting, you’ll enjoy memorable and unusual views of the French capital, from the park’s modern designs to the River Seine and the Eiffel Tower.

One of the most unusual things to do in Paris is to take a hot air balloon ride above the city.
Paris is positively magical when seen from above.

3. Sur un Arbre Perché

A quirky restaurant for the romantic and young at heart! Eating in Sur un Arbre Perché is just like having a meal in an enchanting tree house. Sit on swings or in one of the elevated booths, and savor the chef’s creative French cuisine.

And that’s not all! Aside from its unique decor, the place also has a special room in the back where you can enjoy a massage before, during, or after your meal. Eating out has never been more relaxing!

One of the most unusual things to do in Paris isn't just eat a meal in a magical treehouse—it also comes with a massage!
French food tastes even better when there’s a massage involved.

4. Chapelle Notre Dame de la Médaille Miraculeuse

Notre-Dame de Paris and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica may have their appeal, but no church in Paris is more mysterious than the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, built in 1815.

On three occasions, in 1830, the Virgin is said to have appeared to one of the young sisters, asking her to print medals. Those medals allegedly saved many lives during a later cholera epidemic.

Ever since, the church has been an important pilgrimage site. Every year, it welcomes over two million visitors from all around the world.

Whether you believe in miracles or not, the church’s unique atmosphere is undeniable, so don’t leave without visiting and buying yourself a medal!

5. Deyrolle

Calling all natural history buffs!

Both a cabinet of curiosities and “the world’s most enchanting shop” frequented by writers and artists such as Salvador Dali, Deyrolle has retained much of its old-style atmosphere since it opened in 1831.

Displayed in charming wooden cases, you’ll find hundreds of exotic animals, insects, and other stuffed specimens. From polar bear to zebras, there’s nothing in Deyrolle that you won’t be able to admire… or buy!

One of the most unusual things to do in Paris is to visit Deyrolle, a unique shop that's been called the most enchanting in the world!
Deyrolle is certainly unusual, but maintains a certain enchantment about it. Photo credit: flightlog

6. Bel Canto

At first glance, Bel Canto might just look like a regular Parisian restaurant… until the waiters suddenly burst into song!

Located along the Seine, this unique venue offers a truly original concept, mixing opera and haute cuisine. Between delicious French courses, students and new professionals of the music academy spice up your meal with famous lyrical melodies. An extraordinary dining experience for opera lovers!

7. Le Louxor and its secret rooftop bar

Housed in a stunning Art Déco building, Le Louxor is a charming, historic cinema from the 1920s, with a quirky neo-Egpytian theme.

Turned nightclub in the 1980s, the building soon fell into disrepair for several decades. The old, beloved cinema was finally restored to its former glory and reopened to the public in 2013.

On the program: classics and independent movies screened in their original language, making for an incredible experience in a setting full of character.

The best part? Before the session, cinemagoers can access their secret rooftop bar and sip a drink with views of the Sacré-Cœur.

Le Louxor is one of our favorite unusual things to do in Paris. A vintage cinema AND a rooftop bar? Count us in!
Enjoy drinks with a view before settling in to enjoy a show at Le Louxor.

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