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An aerial view of the city of Paris. There are various city buildings in the foreground. In the distance is the Eiffel Tower. There is a sunset in the sky. © Philippe LEJEANVRE/Getty Images

30 things to do in Paris if you love design

A native of the City of Light tells all

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Paris has long been one of the world’s most-visited cities. From its incredible architecture and cobblestone-paved streets to its world-renowned fashion and esteemed cuisine, Paris well deserves its top position in tourists’ hearts.

But when it comes to exploring each of Paris’s 20 diverse arrondissements, there’s more—so much more—to Paris than the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, and the Louvre. There are, too, the city’s hidden havens, tiny treasures, and secret rooftops, each of which is far less known to the world than the Musée d’Orsay or Notre-Dame Cathedral.

We’ve gathered a list of 30 of the best off-the-beaten-path museums, galleries, parks, design hotspots, and perches with wonderful views—organized by neighborhood, from the center of Paris outward. Each is an absolute must-visit on your next trip to the French capital. Trust us: We’ve asked a born-and-raised Parisian.

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1. Swedish Institute

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11 Rue Payenne
75003 Paris, France
+33 1 44 78 80 20
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Scandinavian design lovers in Paris: the mothership is calling. The Swedish Institute (l’institut suédois) the largest such cultural center outside of Sweden, occupies the 16th-century Hôtel de Marle. You can admire its beauty while taking in its permanent exhibitions of painting and sculpture, largely from the 18th century, and its temporary design shows. Then, enjoy a delicious Swedish pastry from the café in the garden.

2. Cour de Venise

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10-12 Rue Saint-Gilles
75003 Paris, France
01 44 54 20 54
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If you’re desperate to see behind one of Paris’s Haussmann-era building facades, here are two courtyards to check out. First stop: La Cour de Venise. Hidden next to the Place des Vosges, this massive paved courtyard, which measures a total 4,000 square meters (a little over 43,000 square feet) is also known as the Ilot Saint Gilles and is surrounded by buildings from different periods. Next up: Cour Renaudot (at 55/57 Rue des Francs-Bourgeois). In this secret haven, discover a medieval tower built in the 12th century, under the reign of Philippe Auguste.

3. Galerie Perrotin

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76 Rue de Turenne
75003 Paris, France
+33 1 42 16 79 79
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Want to see some great art for free? Galerie Perrotin is always worth a visit. Located since 2005 in a gorgeous 18th-century mansion, the gallery’s collection includes work by some of the world’s foremost contemporary artists, among them JR, Takashi Murakami, and Sophie Calle. If your trip to Galerie Perrotin Paris turns you into a fan, you can also find them in New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Seoul.

4. Le Derrière Paris

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69 Rue des Gravilliers
75003 Paris, France
+33 1 44 61 91 95
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This restaurant in the Marais provides great French cuisine in an apartment tucked into a courtyard and decked out with Baroque decor. Living room, bedroom, terrace, on a chair or bed: You can eat wherever you’d like. Our advice: Don’t forget to make an advance reservation, which is standard procedure in Paris. (Eater can help.)

5. Post office on Rue Castex

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12 Rue Castex
75004 Paris, France

A post office isn’t the most natural tourist thirst trap—and that is precisely why we recommended design fans make a stop at this branch of La Poste. Tucked away on an unassuming stretch of the Marais, its facade—striped glazed-masonry and retro-chic glass brick—is a thing of beauty. Its delightful Art Deco signage is a welcome bonus.

6. Le Comptoir Général

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80 Quai de Jemmapes
75010 Paris, France
+33 1 44 88 24 48
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Situated along Paris’s Canal Saint-Martin (a popular gathering spot created by Napoleon I in the early 19th century), Le Comptoir Général is a must-visit bar, music venue, and community space. In this former barn, let your eyes take in the details: here some souvenirs from Senegal, Togo, and Ivory Coast; there a bit of second-hand furniture; beyond, a cabinet of curiosities. Enjoy a “Secousse” (the house cocktail) in the bar’s lush greenhouse. In Paris for work? Le Comptoir Général has added coworking space to its list of functions.

7. Hospital Saint-Louis

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40 Rue Bichat
75010 Paris, France
+33 1 42 49 49 49

While walking from Belleville to the Canal St. Martin, take a moment to explore this 400-year-old hospital. Built in 1611 by architect Claude Vellefaux, the historic sections of the hospital are completely enchanting. In the hospital’s center, you can rest in a flower-filled garden far from the tumult of the city.

8. Parc de Belleville

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47 Rue des Couronnes
75020 Paris, France

You’ll need a bit of endurance to reach the highest park in Paris, which sits at the top of the hill of Belleville, but it will be worth the effort. The summit of the park offers a panoramic, postcard-perfect view on Paris, with the Eiffel Tower at its center. Lie on the lawns, walk under the arbors, play along a waterfall fountain. The park is also home to a lovely restaurant: Le Moncoeur Belleville. Brunch with a view of the Iron Lady? Yes, please.

An aerial view of the city of Paris. There are many trees and buildings in the foreground. In the background is the Eiffel Tower and a sunset in the sky.
A view of Paris from the Parc de Belleville.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

9. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

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1 Rue Botzaris
75019 Paris, France
01 48 03 83 10
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Also located atop the hill of Belleville, this park is a real wonder. Its 61 rustic, hilly acres opened in 1867, under the regime of Napoleon III, and offer plenty of green lawn for lounging, a lake on which to row, a 300-foot-long waterfall fountain, and a suspension bridge atop which you can pretend you are Indiana Jones as you make your way to the park’s Temple de la Sybille.

The temple is a tiny replica of the ancient Roman Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy, and from this vantage point you can take in another grand view of Paris. If you’re looking for a home base in the park—and a quick bite—go straight to Le Pavillon Puebla (run by the folks who opened Le Perchoir, #12 here). And don’t forget to pop in to the onsite Fotoautomat, one of six refurbished vintage photo booths throughout Paris.

A view from the Parc des Buttes Chaumont in Paris. In the foreground are trees and grass. In the distance are various city buildings. Alphapicto/Shutterstock

10. Rue Sainte-Marthe

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Rue Sainte-Marthe
75010 Paris, France

The very colorful Rue Sainte-Marthe leads to the just as charming Place Sainte-Marthe. The courtyard is a bit hidden in busy Belleville, but a walk in this small area is a good opportunity to stop in a cafe or restaurant for French, Ethiopian, or Brazilian cuisine.

11. Rue de Mouzaïa

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Rue de Mouzaïa
75019 Paris, France

The Quartier de la Mouzaïa is a tiny neighborhood hidden between the Rue Mouzaïa, Rue du Général Brunet, and Rue Miguel-Hidalgo. In 1901, these streets were opened to build passages along which colorful villas and gardens were installed. Today, it’s an enchanting car-free enclave. Careful: You can easily get lost in this green labyrinth. Take a map!

12. Le Perchoir

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14 Rue Crespin du Gast
75011 Paris, France
+33 1 48 06 18 48
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“Perchoir” means “perch” in French, and this place sure deserves its name, as it’s located on top of a building that offers a fantastic view of Paris rooftops and out to the Sacré Coeur. Only little Parisian birds know this secret place, which is nestled in a tiny street perpendicular to the Rue Oberkampf, on the 6th and 7th floors of an industrial building.

13. Philharmonie de Paris

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221 Avenue Jean Jaurès
75019 Paris, France
+33 1 44 84 44 84
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Rising like a hill in the Parc de la Villette is French architect Jean Nouvel’s most recent contribution to Paris’s architecture scene, the Philarmonie. Opened in 2015, it comprises several concert halls, but the star of the show is the Grande Salle Pierre Boulez. The hall’s plan was inspired by the Berlin Philharmonic and is designed to create optimal acoustics and to intensify the feeling of intimacy between the performers and their audience.

On top of the building, the public is welcome on the “Belvédere,” from which they’re treated to a 360-degree view of Paris and its suburbs—Pantin, the Lilas—and the Buttes-Chaumont, the Montparnasse tower, the Invalides Dome, the Eiffel tower, the Sacré-Cœur, the stade de France and more.

The exterior of the Philharmonie de Paris. The facade is metallic and the building has a geometric structural shape. Huang Zheng/Shutterstock

14. Musée de la Vie romantique

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16 Rue Chaptal
75009 Paris, France
+33 1 55 31 95 67
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If you are walking the streets of the ninth arrondissement, a haven for artists in 19th-century Paris, you must go to the Musée de la Vie Romantique. Visit the charming, green-shutter-festooned former home of the painter Ary Scheffer (a master of the Romantic period). Then enjoy tea and a pastry in the garden.

15. Hôtel Amour

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8 Rue de Navarin
75009 Paris, France
+33 1 48 78 31 80
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The Hôtel Amour, a former Pigalle brothel,  was transformed by nightclub baron André Saraiva and hotelier Thierry Costes into one of Paris’s first boutique hotels about 10 years ago—in a departure from the huge Palace hotels on the avenues closer to the Seine. Our advice? Go there for an “apéro” (short for aperitif) and sit on its luxuriant patio.

16. Musée Gustave Moreau

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14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld
75009 Paris, France
+33 1 48 74 38 50
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Step inside French painter Gustave Moreau’s house and immerse yourself in 19th-century Symbolism. Though the home was completely restored in 2015, it makes visitors feel as if time has stopped, complete with creaking wooden floorboards and a majestic spiral staircase. While you’re there, pause to admire a collection of about 1,300 paintings and 5,000 drawings by the master, who donated this house to the French state to preserve his work.

17. Playground Duperré

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22 Rue Duperré
75009 Paris, France

Get sporty on this basketball court tucked between 2 buildings along the Rue Duperré, in the city’s Pigalle neighborhood. To design this beauty, Nike collaborated with French graphic design agency Ill-Studio and the trendy fashion brand Pigalle. Once slated to be closed, this enigmatic basketball court now welcomes visitors for games on its vivid surface.

18. Terrass'' Hôtel

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12-14 Rue Joseph de Maistre
75018 Paris, France
+33 1 46 06 72 85
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Go straight to design heaven on the seventh floor of this Art Deco building. After 127 stairs—or a shorter elevator ride—you’ll find yourself on a flower-filled terrace with a view of Paris’s rooftops and out to the Eiffel Tower. Have a cocktail, sit on a swing chair, and count your blessings.

19. Hôtel Particulier Montmartre

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Pavillon D, 23 Avenue Junot
75018 Paris, France
+33 1 53 41 81 40
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Here’s yet another hotel that you might not spend the night in, but that you must visit. Hidden between Avenue Junot and Rue Lepic, this 19th-century former private residence once belonged to the Hermès family (of fashion renown) and features a garden designed by French landscape architect Louis Benech and a hip cocktail bar, Le Très Particulier, by interior designer Pierre Lacroix. At the bar, you’ll find a delightful lounge and a lovely greenhouse with a black-and-white checkered floor and red-velvet armchairs. We’d have loved to keep this glamorous place to ourselves, so—shh—you’ll have to keep it a secret.

20. Palais Garnier

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8 Rue Scribe
75009 Paris, France
+33 1 71 25 24 23
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You don’t have to be a fan of opera to enjoy the magic of the Palais Garnier, a 1,979-seat theater built in the late-19th century and designed by its namesake, architect Jean-Louis Charles Garnier, in the rambunctiously ornate style popular during the reign of Napoleon III. Today, the Palais Garnier is home to the Paris Ballet and a restaurant with vibrant red interiors designed by French architect Odile Decq, completed in 2011.

The exterior of Palais Garnier in Paris. The facade is tan with many columns and a gold roof with golden statues arranged at each roof corner. Shutterstock

21. Institut du Monde Arabe

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1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard
75005 Paris, France
+33 1 40 51 38 38
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Designed by Jean Nouvel and opened in 1987, the Institut du Monde Arabe is a marvel of architecture right on the River Seine. The museum includes exhibitions that explore the Arab world from before Islam through the 20th century. The building’s southwest facade is composed of geometric motifs taken from Islamic architecture and made up of 240 photosensitive motor-controlled apertures. Though in Nouvel’s original plan these apertures expanded and contracted depending on the amount of sunlight on the building, today they open or close on the hour every hour.

The exterior of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. The facade is glass and there is a flat roof. In the foreground is a large courtyard. Shutterstock

22. Grande Mosquée de Paris

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2bis Place du Puits de l'Ermite
75005 Paris, France
+33 1 45 35 97 33
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For an atypical visit (although a classic for Parisians), check out Paris’s Great Mosque, with its patio and Andalusian garden. You can also sit in the mosque’s beautiful salon de thé and savor a fresh mint tea and a corne de gazelle. Inside, the vibe is cozy and Moroccan-inspired; outside is lush terrace for unwinding and listening to the birds sing. Hot tip: There is also a hammam.

23. Spa Molitor

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8 Avenue de la Porte Molitor
75016 Paris, France
+33 1 56 07 08 50
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Built in 1929, this swimming pool is the new place to be in Paris. Known for its Art Deco design, and for being the place where the bikini was introduced by Louis Réard in 1946, the pool was closed in 1989. Partially demolished in 2012, it was rebuilt and reopened in 2014. Today, it’s a luxury complex that includes two pools, a Clarins spa, and a four-star hotel.

24. Louis Vuitton Foundation

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8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi
75116 Paris, France
+33 1 40 69 96 00
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Designed by Frank Gehry and opened in 2014, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is a glass-and-steel contemporary art museum created to look like a ship setting sail. These glass “sails” envelop a series of terraces from which visitors can take in several views of Paris. The building sits on the grounds of the beloved Jardin d’Acclimatation (a children’s park) to the north, and the Bois de Boulogne to the south.

The exterior of the Louis Vuitton Foundation building. The facade is glass and steel and multicolored. The structure resembles a sailing ship. In the foreground is a still water fountain. EQRoy/Shutterstock

25. Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine

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1 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre
75116 Paris, France
+33 1 58 51 52 00
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Architecture lovers, this is your spot. The Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, built in 1882, is one of the world’s oldest and largest museums dedicated to architecture. Behind its walls lie roughly 230,000 square feet of permanent and temporary exhibitions. Don’t miss the reconstruction of one of the Le Corbusier-designed apartments at La Cité Radieuse in Marseille. And, as from many places in Paris, a peek out the windows will again reveal the Eiffel Tower, standing behind a sea of trees.

26. Tour of Le Corbusier projects

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Villa Jeanneret
75016 Paris, France

We encourage any architecture buff who finds herself in Paris to take a walking tour of Le Corbusier’s works in the city, among them the hotel Molitor (#23 on our list here) and Villa Jeanneret, a home designed by Corbu for his brother, Albert. The former private residence, in the city’s 16th arrondissement, is today the headquarters of the Corbusier Foundation.

27. Bibliothèque Nationale de France

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58 Rue de Richelieu
75002 Paris, France
+33 1 53 79 53 79
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Though Bibliotheque Nationale de France occupies several sites, we’d like to call your attention to the location on the Rue de Richelieu. Built in the late 19th century and designed by architect Henri Labrouste, the showstopping, recently renovated Beaux-Arts pile holds millions of books, manuscripts, and other volumes—and occupies a vaunted place in the pantheon of great buildings revered by students of architecture.

The interior of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. There are many shelves full of books. The ceiling is ornately decorated and glass. Isogood_patrick/Shutterstock

28. Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art

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261 Boulevard Raspail
75014 Paris, France
+33 1 42 18 56 50
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Though the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s bombastic Frank Gehry-designed building gets a lot of shine, the quieter Fondation Cartier, by French architect Jean Nouvel, is worth a stop. The Fondation Cartier is one-part contemporary art museum, one-part escape wooded escape from the hubbub of Paris—a rectilinear, glass-and-steel machine for art. The word “Cartier” conjures a vision much more indulgent than the muscular exposed-metal framework Nouvel’s building flaunts, and that contrast is part of the building’s genius.

29. Atelier Brancusi - Centre Georges Pompidou

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Place Georges Pompidou
75004 Paris, France
+33 1 44 78 12 33
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Fan of the artist Constantin Brancusi? You’re in luck: In 1997, Italian-born, Paris-raised architect Renzo Piano recreated Brancusi’s studio just opposite Piano’s well-trafficked Centre Pompidou. At the reconstituted atelier, which faithfully recreates Brancusi’s space in the city’s 15th arrondissement, visitors will find 137 sculptures and dozens upon dozens of drawings, paintings, prints, and photographic plates.

30. CENTQUATRE

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5 Rue Curial
75019 Paris, France
+33 1 53 35 50 00
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Le Centquatre Paris is a lively community hub north of Gare du Nord that puts on exhibitions and music performances, and is also activated by breakdancing kids. Bonus: It’s inside an 1870s cast-iron industrial building with a glass roof—formerly a municipal undertaker’s.

1. Swedish Institute

11 Rue Payenne, 75003 Paris, France

Scandinavian design lovers in Paris: the mothership is calling. The Swedish Institute (l’institut suédois) the largest such cultural center outside of Sweden, occupies the 16th-century Hôtel de Marle. You can admire its beauty while taking in its permanent exhibitions of painting and sculpture, largely from the 18th century, and its temporary design shows. Then, enjoy a delicious Swedish pastry from the café in the garden.

11 Rue Payenne
75003 Paris, France

2. Cour de Venise

10-12 Rue Saint-Gilles, 75003 Paris, France

If you’re desperate to see behind one of Paris’s Haussmann-era building facades, here are two courtyards to check out. First stop: La Cour de Venise. Hidden next to the Place des Vosges, this massive paved courtyard, which measures a total 4,000 square meters (a little over 43,000 square feet) is also known as the Ilot Saint Gilles and is surrounded by buildings from different periods. Next up: Cour Renaudot (at 55/57 Rue des Francs-Bourgeois). In this secret haven, discover a medieval tower built in the 12th century, under the reign of Philippe Auguste.

10-12 Rue Saint-Gilles
75003 Paris, France

3. Galerie Perrotin

76 Rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris, France

Want to see some great art for free? Galerie Perrotin is always worth a visit. Located since 2005 in a gorgeous 18th-century mansion, the gallery’s collection includes work by some of the world’s foremost contemporary artists, among them JR, Takashi Murakami, and Sophie Calle. If your trip to Galerie Perrotin Paris turns you into a fan, you can also find them in New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Seoul.

76 Rue de Turenne
75003 Paris, France

4. Le Derrière Paris

69 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris, France

This restaurant in the Marais provides great French cuisine in an apartment tucked into a courtyard and decked out with Baroque decor. Living room, bedroom, terrace, on a chair or bed: You can eat wherever you’d like. Our advice: Don’t forget to make an advance reservation, which is standard procedure in Paris. (Eater can help.)

69 Rue des Gravilliers
75003 Paris, France

5. Post office on Rue Castex

12 Rue Castex, 75004 Paris, France

A post office isn’t the most natural tourist thirst trap—and that is precisely why we recommended design fans make a stop at this branch of La Poste. Tucked away on an unassuming stretch of the Marais, its facade—striped glazed-masonry and retro-chic glass brick—is a thing of beauty. Its delightful Art Deco signage is a welcome bonus.

12 Rue Castex
75004 Paris, France

6. Le Comptoir Général

80 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris, France

Situated along Paris’s Canal Saint-Martin (a popular gathering spot created by Napoleon I in the early 19th century), Le Comptoir Général is a must-visit bar, music venue, and community space. In this former barn, let your eyes take in the details: here some souvenirs from Senegal, Togo, and Ivory Coast; there a bit of second-hand furniture; beyond, a cabinet of curiosities. Enjoy a “Secousse” (the house cocktail) in the bar’s lush greenhouse. In Paris for work? Le Comptoir Général has added coworking space to its list of functions.

80 Quai de Jemmapes
75010 Paris, France

7. Hospital Saint-Louis

40 Rue Bichat, 75010 Paris, France

While walking from Belleville to the Canal St. Martin, take a moment to explore this 400-year-old hospital. Built in 1611 by architect Claude Vellefaux, the historic sections of the hospital are completely enchanting. In the hospital’s center, you can rest in a flower-filled garden far from the tumult of the city.

40 Rue Bichat
75010 Paris, France

8. Parc de Belleville

47 Rue des Couronnes, 75020 Paris, France
An aerial view of the city of Paris. There are many trees and buildings in the foreground. In the background is the Eiffel Tower and a sunset in the sky.
A view of Paris from the Parc de Belleville.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

You’ll need a bit of endurance to reach the highest park in Paris, which sits at the top of the hill of Belleville, but it will be worth the effort. The summit of the park offers a panoramic, postcard-perfect view on Paris, with the Eiffel Tower at its center. Lie on the lawns, walk under the arbors, play along a waterfall fountain. The park is also home to a lovely restaurant: Le Moncoeur Belleville. Brunch with a view of the Iron Lady? Yes, please.

47 Rue des Couronnes
75020 Paris, France

9. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

1 Rue Botzaris, 75019 Paris, France
A view from the Parc des Buttes Chaumont in Paris. In the foreground are trees and grass. In the distance are various city buildings. Alphapicto/Shutterstock

Also located atop the hill of Belleville, this park is a real wonder. Its 61 rustic, hilly acres opened in 1867, under the regime of Napoleon III, and offer plenty of green lawn for lounging, a lake on which to row, a 300-foot-long waterfall fountain, and a suspension bridge atop which you can pretend you are Indiana Jones as you make your way to the park’s Temple de la Sybille.

The temple is a tiny replica of the ancient Roman Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy, and from this vantage point you can take in another grand view of Paris. If you’re looking for a home base in the park—and a quick bite—go straight to Le Pavillon Puebla (run by the folks who opened Le Perchoir, #12 here). And don’t forget to pop in to the onsite Fotoautomat, one of six refurbished vintage photo booths throughout Paris.

1 Rue Botzaris
75019 Paris, France

10. Rue Sainte-Marthe

Rue Sainte-Marthe, 75010 Paris, France

The very colorful Rue Sainte-Marthe leads to the just as charming Place Sainte-Marthe. The courtyard is a bit hidden in busy Belleville, but a walk in this small area is a good opportunity to stop in a cafe or restaurant for French, Ethiopian, or Brazilian cuisine.

Rue Sainte-Marthe
75010 Paris, France

11. Rue de Mouzaïa

Rue de Mouzaïa, 75019 Paris, France

The Quartier de la Mouzaïa is a tiny neighborhood hidden between the Rue Mouzaïa, Rue du Général Brunet, and Rue Miguel-Hidalgo. In 1901, these streets were opened to build passages along which colorful villas and gardens were installed. Today, it’s an enchanting car-free enclave. Careful: You can easily get lost in this green labyrinth. Take a map!

Rue de Mouzaïa
75019 Paris, France

12. Le Perchoir

14 Rue Crespin du Gast, 75011 Paris, France

“Perchoir” means “perch” in French, and this place sure deserves its name, as it’s located on top of a building that offers a fantastic view of Paris rooftops and out to the Sacré Coeur. Only little Parisian birds know this secret place, which is nestled in a tiny street perpendicular to the Rue Oberkampf, on the 6th and 7th floors of an industrial building.

14 Rue Crespin du Gast
75011 Paris, France

13. Philharmonie de Paris

221 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris, France
The exterior of the Philharmonie de Paris. The facade is metallic and the building has a geometric structural shape. Huang Zheng/Shutterstock

Rising like a hill in the Parc de la Villette is French architect Jean Nouvel’s most recent contribution to Paris’s architecture scene, the Philarmonie. Opened in 2015, it comprises several concert halls, but the star of the show is the Grande Salle Pierre Boulez. The hall’s plan was inspired by the Berlin Philharmonic and is designed to create optimal acoustics and to intensify the feeling of intimacy between the performers and their audience.

On top of the building, the public is welcome on the “Belvédere,” from which they’re treated to a 360-degree view of Paris and its suburbs—Pantin, the Lilas—and the Buttes-Chaumont, the Montparnasse tower, the Invalides Dome, the Eiffel tower, the Sacré-Cœur, the stade de France and more.

221 Avenue Jean Jaurès
75019 Paris, France

14. Musée de la Vie romantique

16 Rue Chaptal, 75009 Paris, France

If you are walking the streets of the ninth arrondissement, a haven for artists in 19th-century Paris, you must go to the Musée de la Vie Romantique. Visit the charming, green-shutter-festooned former home of the painter Ary Scheffer (a master of the Romantic period). Then enjoy tea and a pastry in the garden.

16 Rue Chaptal
75009 Paris, France

15. Hôtel Amour

8 Rue de Navarin, 75009 Paris, France

The Hôtel Amour, a former Pigalle brothel,  was transformed by nightclub baron André Saraiva and hotelier Thierry Costes into one of Paris’s first boutique hotels about 10 years ago—in a departure from the huge Palace hotels on the avenues closer to the Seine. Our advice? Go there for an “apéro” (short for aperitif) and sit on its luxuriant patio.

8 Rue de Navarin
75009 Paris, France

16. Musée Gustave Moreau

14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld, 75009 Paris, France

Step inside French painter Gustave Moreau’s house and immerse yourself in 19th-century Symbolism. Though the home was completely restored in 2015, it makes visitors feel as if time has stopped, complete with creaking wooden floorboards and a majestic spiral staircase. While you’re there, pause to admire a collection of about 1,300 paintings and 5,000 drawings by the master, who donated this house to the French state to preserve his work.

14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld
75009 Paris, France

17. Playground Duperré

22 Rue Duperré, 75009 Paris, France

Get sporty on this basketball court tucked between 2 buildings along the Rue Duperré, in the city’s Pigalle neighborhood. To design this beauty, Nike collaborated with French graphic design agency Ill-Studio and the trendy fashion brand Pigalle. Once slated to be closed, this enigmatic basketball court now welcomes visitors for games on its vivid surface.

22 Rue Duperré
75009 Paris, France

18. Terrass'' Hôtel

12-14 Rue Joseph de Maistre, 75018 Paris, France

Go straight to design heaven on the seventh floor of this Art Deco building. After 127 stairs—or a shorter elevator ride—you’ll find yourself on a flower-filled terrace with a view of Paris’s rooftops and out to the Eiffel Tower. Have a cocktail, sit on a swing chair, and count your blessings.

12-14 Rue Joseph de Maistre
75018 Paris, France

19. Hôtel Particulier Montmartre

Pavillon D, 23 Avenue Junot, 75018 Paris, France

Here’s yet another hotel that you might not spend the night in, but that you must visit. Hidden between Avenue Junot and Rue Lepic, this 19th-century former private residence once belonged to the Hermès family (of fashion renown) and features a garden designed by French landscape architect Louis Benech and a hip cocktail bar, Le Très Particulier, by interior designer Pierre Lacroix. At the bar, you’ll find a delightful lounge and a lovely greenhouse with a black-and-white checkered floor and red-velvet armchairs. We’d have loved to keep this glamorous place to ourselves, so—shh—you’ll have to keep it a secret.

Pavillon D, 23 Avenue Junot
75018 Paris, France

20. Palais Garnier

8 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris, France
The exterior of Palais Garnier in Paris. The facade is tan with many columns and a gold roof with golden statues arranged at each roof corner. Shutterstock

You don’t have to be a fan of opera to enjoy the magic of the Palais Garnier, a 1,979-seat theater built in the late-19th century and designed by its namesake, architect Jean-Louis Charles Garnier, in the rambunctiously ornate style popular during the reign of Napoleon III. Today, the Palais Garnier is home to the Paris Ballet and a restaurant with vibrant red interiors designed by French architect Odile Decq, completed in 2011.

8 Rue Scribe
75009 Paris, France

21. Institut du Monde Arabe

1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, 75005 Paris, France
The exterior of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. The facade is glass and there is a flat roof. In the foreground is a large courtyard. Shutterstock

Designed by Jean Nouvel and opened in 1987, the Institut du Monde Arabe is a marvel of architecture right on the River Seine. The museum includes exhibitions that explore the Arab world from before Islam through the 20th century. The building’s southwest facade is composed of geometric motifs taken from Islamic architecture and made up of 240 photosensitive motor-controlled apertures. Though in Nouvel’s original plan these apertures expanded and contracted depending on the amount of sunlight on the building, today they open or close on the hour every hour.

1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard
75005 Paris, France

22. Grande Mosquée de Paris

2bis Place du Puits de l'Ermite, 75005 Paris, France

For an atypical visit (although a classic for Parisians), check out Paris’s Great Mosque, with its patio and Andalusian garden. You can also sit in the mosque’s beautiful salon de thé and savor a fresh mint tea and a corne de gazelle. Inside, the vibe is cozy and Moroccan-inspired; outside is lush terrace for unwinding and listening to the birds sing. Hot tip: There is also a hammam.

2bis Place du Puits de l'Ermite
75005 Paris, France

23. Spa Molitor

8 Avenue de la Porte Molitor, 75016 Paris, France

Built in 1929, this swimming pool is the new place to be in Paris. Known for its Art Deco design, and for being the place where the bikini was introduced by Louis Réard in 1946, the pool was closed in 1989. Partially demolished in 2012, it was rebuilt and reopened in 2014. Today, it’s a luxury complex that includes two pools, a Clarins spa, and a four-star hotel.

8 Avenue de la Porte Molitor
75016 Paris, France

24. Louis Vuitton Foundation

8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 Paris, France
The exterior of the Louis Vuitton Foundation building. The facade is glass and steel and multicolored. The structure resembles a sailing ship. In the foreground is a still water fountain. EQRoy/Shutterstock

Designed by Frank Gehry and opened in 2014, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is a glass-and-steel contemporary art museum created to look like a ship setting sail. These glass “sails” envelop a series of terraces from which visitors can take in several views of Paris. The building sits on the grounds of the beloved Jardin d’Acclimatation (a children’s park) to the north, and the Bois de Boulogne to the south.

8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi
75116 Paris, France

25. Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine

1 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75116 Paris, France

Architecture lovers, this is your spot. The Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, built in 1882, is one of the world’s oldest and largest museums dedicated to architecture. Behind its walls lie roughly 230,000 square feet of permanent and temporary exhibitions. Don’t miss the reconstruction of one of the Le Corbusier-designed apartments at La Cité Radieuse in Marseille. And, as from many places in Paris, a peek out the windows will again reveal the Eiffel Tower, standing behind a sea of trees.

1 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre
75116 Paris, France

26. Tour of Le Corbusier projects

Villa Jeanneret, 75016 Paris, France

We encourage any architecture buff who finds herself in Paris to take a walking tour of Le Corbusier’s works in the city, among them the hotel Molitor (#23 on our list here) and Villa Jeanneret, a home designed by Corbu for his brother, Albert. The former private residence, in the city’s 16th arrondissement, is today the headquarters of the Corbusier Foundation.

Villa Jeanneret
75016 Paris, France

27. Bibliothèque Nationale de France

58 Rue de Richelieu, 75002 Paris, France
The interior of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. There are many shelves full of books. The ceiling is ornately decorated and glass. Isogood_patrick/Shutterstock

Though Bibliotheque Nationale de France occupies several sites, we’d like to call your attention to the location on the Rue de Richelieu. Built in the late 19th century and designed by architect Henri Labrouste, the showstopping, recently renovated Beaux-Arts pile holds millions of books, manuscripts, and other volumes—and occupies a vaunted place in the pantheon of great buildings revered by students of architecture.

58 Rue de Richelieu
75002 Paris, France

28. Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art

261 Boulevard Raspail, 75014 Paris, France

Though the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s bombastic Frank Gehry-designed building gets a lot of shine, the quieter Fondation Cartier, by French architect Jean Nouvel, is worth a stop. The Fondation Cartier is one-part contemporary art museum, one-part escape wooded escape from the hubbub of Paris—a rectilinear, glass-and-steel machine for art. The word “Cartier” conjures a vision much more indulgent than the muscular exposed-metal framework Nouvel’s building flaunts, and that contrast is part of the building’s genius.

261 Boulevard Raspail
75014 Paris, France

29. Atelier Brancusi - Centre Georges Pompidou

Place Georges Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France

Fan of the artist Constantin Brancusi? You’re in luck: In 1997, Italian-born, Paris-raised architect Renzo Piano recreated Brancusi’s studio just opposite Piano’s well-trafficked Centre Pompidou. At the reconstituted atelier, which faithfully recreates Brancusi’s space in the city’s 15th arrondissement, visitors will find 137 sculptures and dozens upon dozens of drawings, paintings, prints, and photographic plates.

Place Georges Pompidou
75004 Paris, France

30. CENTQUATRE

5 Rue Curial, 75019 Paris, France

Le Centquatre Paris is a lively community hub north of Gare du Nord that puts on exhibitions and music performances, and is also activated by breakdancing kids. Bonus: It’s inside an 1870s cast-iron industrial building with a glass roof—formerly a municipal undertaker’s.

5 Rue Curial
75019 Paris, France