Dive into the real Paris, stepping beyond its renowned title as the City of Light and the layers of romance that lure countless admirers. Here, art and high fashion are the essence of the city, but it’s the lively pulse of the Parisians’ daily lives that truly paints its character.

To capture the spirit of Paris, wander away from the famous landmarks and into the uncharted quarters. There’s a captivating charm in the tranquil courtyards, down the timeless cobblestone lanes, and within the walls of storied structures.

Skyline Paris with city view and French flag

This guide will take you on an unconventional tour of Paris, where you’ll encounter the beloved, local-frequented side of this illustrious city—a version held dear by its residents and those who yearn for a deeper experience of the French capital’s allure.

Explore the Local Markets

Amongst the first non touristy things to do in Paris is to take a walk around the vibrant Parisian marketplaces, where you can engage through taste, touch, and observation with the vibrant cultural mix of the city. Talk to the friendly vendors or take in the sights as you walk by tables brimming with locally produced goods, classic finds, and delicious produce.

Local French market on Levis street in Paris with workers around.

Marché d’Aligre

See a hidden treasure in the 12th district that combines a genuine food market setting with a flea market vibe. Here, the smells of freshly made bread and the lively conversation of the merchants welcome you as you begin your morning. Go grocery shopping with the residents or have a leisurely glass of wine whilst wandering the curving tunnels.

Rue Mouffetard Market

For a timeless Parisian experience, head to Rue Mouffetard, one of the oldest streets in Paris that boasts a vibrant market selling everything from gourmet cheeses to exotic spices. As you walk the uneven cobblestones, take in the sight of local cafés buzzing with life and the occasional street performer adding to the street’s eclectic ambiance.

In Paris, France on a winter day a Montparnasse market vendor holds a credit card reader in hand as he talks with a customer who is done shopping and ready to pay.

Discover the Canal Saint-Martin Neighborhood

Situated in the 10th and 11th arrondissements, the Canal Saint-Martin has this cool and relaxed feel, capturing the modern spirit of Paris. The neighborhood around it is not just about the canal; it invites you to explore art and enjoy delicious food.

Grabbing a Picnic and Strolling by the Canal

One of the non touristy things to do in Prais is to hit up a nearby market to pick up some berries, a fresh baguette, and a rich Camembert to create an easy, classic Parisian picnic. Choose a cozy spot along the canal banks, enjoy the view of the boats drifting past, and embrace the simple joy of Parisian living. And if you’re up for a walk, a leisurely stroll next to the canal in the early evening lets you take in the everyday charm of the city.

Paris, France: A young couple sits at the edge of the Canal St Martin in the 10th arrondissement.

Discovering Art and Shopping Indie

Another of the non touristy things to do in Paris is the streets around Canal Saint-Martin are a goldmine for those who love art and unique finds. Venture into the side streets to find small, offbeat boutiques and independent art galleries. No matter if you’re serious about art or just like to look around, you’ll discover interesting pieces that show off the neighborhood’s creative edge.

Eating at Cozy Local Bistros

You’ll find cozy bistros along the canal and its nearby streets where you can enjoy real French food away from the tourist buzz. These places are also gathering spots for locals and each one has its own flair, celebrating the artistic and laid-back feel of the district.

Attend a Workshop or Class

Getting to know Paris goes beyond just seeing the sights; it’s about jumping into its culture. The city is packed with interactive workshops and classes where you can hang out with Parisians and start building your own stories from the heart of the city.

Man with headphones and Audience at a local class in Paris.

French Cooking Classes for an Immersive Culinary Experience

Another non touristy things to do in Paris is imagine slipping on an apron and stepping into the bustling world of a Parisian kitchen. Here, in local cooking classes, warm and knowledgeable chefs will walk you through the process of making celebrated French dishes.

From the rich and satisfying Coq au Vin to the intricate layers of classic pastries, these classes are more than just about learning recipes; they’re about capturing a piece of Paris that you can bring back to your own kitchen.

Art Workshops in Paris’s Creative Spaces

For those drawn to the arts, Paris is a vast canvas of opportunities, offering a range of art workshops tucked away in its charming studios. Engage in drawing sessions that reflect the historic artistry of Montmartre or shape your memories in clay with pottery classes. Such experiences go beyond artistic expression—they provide a genuine insight into the vibrant cultural fabric of Paris. It’s one of the must-do non touristy things to do in Paris.

Artist’s studio

Visit Lesser-Known Museums and Galleries

Step off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the lesser-known yet captivating museums of Paris, away from the crowded tourist spots.

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature

The Musée de la Chasse et de la natural, based in the Marais surroundings, is a gallery that uses art and history to present the themes of hunting and natural preservation.

This place isn’t just for hunters—it offers a mix of old furniture, art, and preserved wildlife that tells the story of how humans and animals have been connected throughout history.

Musée Jacquemart-André

The Musée Jacquemart-André is like taking a trip back in time inside a fancy chateau from the Second Empire—it’s more than just a museum. Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart used to own this house, and they transformed it into a gallery to show off their collection of French sculptures, Italian Renaissance pieces, and Dutch masterworks.

Well lit glass display showing various earthenware in a museum.

Spend Time in the Parks and Gardens

Paris has some truly peaceful spots right in the heart of the city rush. These smaller parks and gardens are hidden gems that many tourists miss, but they’re perfect for a bit of calm and to see how the locals like to unwind.

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

This park is a favorite in the northeast side of Paris. It’s hilly and spacious, making it ideal for jogging, having picnics, or just chilling out. Check out the Temple de la Sibylle, which sits on an island in the middle of the park’s lake. From there, you get awesome views and a quiet vibe that feels miles away from the busy streets and it’s one of the best non touristy things to do in Paris.

Promenade Plantée

Stroll through the lush walkways of Promenade Plantée, which used to be an old train track high above the streets. It’s kind of like New York’s High Line. You’ll walk right by apartment buildings, creative studios, and cool, hidden spots. It’s a great way to see a different side of Paris that’s still connected to its history but is also moving forward into a fresh, green future it might be one of the non touristy things to do in Paris.

People relaxing in chairs, walking around and enjoying the garden. Dome of the Pantheon is in the background.”

Engage With Parisian Cafés and Coffee Shops Culture

The café — a cornerstone of Parisian culture — offers a glimpse into the city’s most cherished tradition and often unbeknownst to tourists, serves as a hub for locals to gather, debate, and unwind.

Tips on Finding Quaint Cafés Where Locals Go

Eschew the chains and find a local café with personality. Look for spots that spill onto the sidewalk or hide within historic arcades. These are the places where you can watch the rhythm of Parisian life unfold over a café crème or a glass of vin rouge.

For more, watch this video here:

Recommendation of Specific Spots for Coffee and Pastries

Sip your coffee amid the history-soaked walls of Café de Flore or spend an afternoon with the locals at Café Charlot. For pastries, seek out hidden pâtisseries such as Du Pain et des Idées, where you can indulge in a pain au chocolat or the famed “escargot” pastry.

Breakfast in Paris

Experience Paris by Night

As dusk falls, Paris takes on a new allure. Dive into the after-dark adventures that define the local nighttime scene.

Live Music Venues Showcasing Jazz and Contemporary Music

Check out cool jazz spots and places with up-to-date tunes all around Paris. You can find places jamming with music in busy areas like Saint-Germain-des-Prés or cozy little bars in the Marais. If you’re into jazz or just want to hear what’s new in music, Paris has a spot for you.

Nighttime Walk Through the Illuminated Streets

When it gets dark, go for a walk in Paris and see how beautiful it is with all the lights on. The windows shine bright and the streets have a special glow. Walking through places like Montmartre or Le Marais at night lets you see a calmer side of Paris that’s really special when everyone else has gone home its one of the best non touristy things to do in Paris.

A night shot taken on one of Paris’ oldest streets, called rue Saint-Denis.

More from us, read here; Is Paris Worth Visiting?


Diving into local vibes in Paris is truly rewarding. It lets you glimpse a side of the city beyond the well-known attractions. Walk through the local markets, spend time in various neighborhoods, and immerse yourself in the true Parisian lifestyle.

You’ll discover that the most delightful parts of Paris are often away from the typical touristy places. Next time you’re planning a trip to Paris, forget just following guidebooks. Bring along your sense of adventure and go where fewer tourists have gone before. It’ll show you the real heart of the city.

And keep in mind, for every hidden treasure you stumble upon, there are plenty more out there, each offering an experience that’s as cool and special as before.

frequently asked questions

What are some non touristy things to do in Paris?

Some of the non touristy things to do in Paris, are visiting and exploring lesser-known places like Canal Saint-Martin Stroll, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Promenade Plantée, La Petite Ceinture and Street Art in Belleville.

What is one thing not to miss in Paris?

While there are numerous iconic attractions in Paris, one thing not to miss is the Eiffel Tower. It’s not just a symbol of Paris but also an architectural masterpiece that offers breathtaking views of the city.

What are the dos and don’ts in Paris?

Do say “bonjour”
Don’t eat while walking.
Do keep your voice down.
Don’t forget to ask for the check.
Do serve others around you first.
Don’t overdress.

How do I not act like a tourist in Paris?

Try to be polite (bonjour, merci, au-revoir), speak English slowly, don’t be a bother by being too loud, blocking the way or asking things as if they were your slave. By adapting little kind gestures you’ll look like a local.

Similar Posts