Paris is one of those cities that everyone has on their bucket list, and what makes a trip to Paris truly memorable is taking in the city like the Parisians do. That means venturing off the beaten tourist path and seeing places in the city that the tourists might not know about. This leads to the discovery of perfect quiet places to enjoy the French capital and see Paris through the eyes of the locals. I love finding spots on each trip to Paris that might not be in a tourist guide or a map of popular destinations. They are often not even that far from major tourist destinations; peeking around corners and behind famous buildings reveals some of the best places in Paris to enjoy a quiet afternoon. Grab a fresh baguette or a box of macarons and watch the world go by.
Square Jean XXIII
Right behind Notre Dame sits a fantastic little park that is always empty. I’ve been all times of year, from the quiet winter months to the busy summer months. For some reason, hardly anyone ventures to the back of the famous Cathedral—meaning it’s the perfect spot to take in a peaceful afternoon. This little square is landscaped beautifully all times of the year, and the back views of Notre Dame are perhaps even more breathtaking than the front (where the massive crowds of tourists flood). My favorite thing to do is grab a freshly baked croissant and a glass bottle of Orangina from Maison Martin on the Île Saint-Louis, find a bench in Square Jean XXIII and then just watch as Paris buzzes around me.
Le Jardin du Luxembourg
I only recently found the Luxembourg Gardens
on my last trip to Paris, but I know this spot will become a regular for return trips. Not only are the gardens breathtaking, filled with flowers and ponds, but the Palais du Luxembourg is a gorgeous architectural treat as well. Perhaps the best thing about the Luxembourg Gardens though, is that it’s not a major tourist attraction (yet). It’s mostly filled with locals doing yoga or reading a book on a warm summer afternoon. For a spot untouched by tourists, head to the middle of the Left Bank.
Jardin des Tuileries
While floods of tourists will be at the Louvre
as well as the large open squares that border it, if you walk just a bit further towards Musée de l’Orangerie
, the Tuileries
can be a surprisingly quiet escape. The Southwest corner of the park is lined with trees and small paths, and a surprising amount of peace can be found so close to the crowds near the Louvre. I love to grab a box of macarons just up the street at Ladurée
on Rue St. Honoré, find a chair in the Tuileries and pull out a good book. This area can be a great escape from the heat in the summer months as well, with lots of shade and nice breezes off of the large ponds throughout the park.
Grand Canal de Versailles
Though this spot isn’t in Paris proper, I always suggest travelers make the trip out to Versailles
while in the city. It’s a quick 30 minute train ride to the famous palace, and it’s definitely worth the trip to take in the Palace and grounds. However, it can get quite crowded here as well, so when you want to find some peace and quiet at Versailles, rent one of the small paddle boats on the Grand Canal and spend the afternoon floating on the water. Not only is it peaceful, but it’s a scenic adventure too with swans and great views of the Palace gardens and grounds. It’s always worth getting away from the massive crowds you can encounter at the Palace and this is the perfect spot to get away.
Author Bio: Casey is an avid traveler, exploring the world as much as she can every year. She runs the travel blog True Colours, which focuses on showcasing locations all over the world as well as her background growing up as an expat kid in the Middle East and offering advice and tips for travelers today. She is passionate about exploring the world and seeing as much of it as she can.