Unique Things to Do in Paris - Les Catacombes

5 Alternative Things to Do in Paris


The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame… these are the sites that everyone knows to see while in Paris. But while studying abroad there, you have the unique opportunity to see the sites that are a little off the radar but are just as cool as the major sites. Check out these five off-beat sites worth seeing while in Paris.

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Unique Things to Do in Paris - Les Catacombes

1. Cemeteries and Les Catacombes

The French can make anything beautiful. You know it’s true when some of the most beautiful gardens and parks in Paris are actually cemeteries which house the final resting places of numerous international and historical figures… Parisian cemeteries are more like gardens with grave stones. Some of the gravestones could even be considered works of art.

Pèrelachaise, Montparnasse, and Montmartre are just some of the great examples of prime Parisian after-life real estate that are a must- see. If you are looking for something a little Halloween-y and cemeteries are not your thing, Les Catacombes are a curious display of bones in tunnels underneath Paris.

You can get access to secret rooms in the Catacombs if you book a tour with The Tour Guy.

Price : $

Looking for off-the-beaten path things to do in Paris. This list will help you discover unique, cool things to do while visiting Paris that are budget-friendly.

non tourist things to do paris Shopping

2. Les bouquinistes

You’re in Paris and you have a laundry list of souvenirs to buy for loved ones. Where do you start? What do you buy? Les bouquinistes, or the vendors along the Seine river, is the place to go. They are easily recognizable by their worn out, green boxes. If you are looking for that unique souvenir for friends and family back home than look no further. Les bouquinistes sell everything old and new, touristy and authentic merchandise. It is one of the few places in Paris where locals and tourists gather together. You will not leave disappointed or empty handed.

Price: $-$$$ (depending on what you buy)

cool things to do in Paris Crazy Horse

3. Crazy Horse

The Moulin Rouge is world-famous for girls lifting up their skirts. Tourists flock to the Pigalle district to catch a glimpse of the old French tradition of the can-can. But the Moulin Rouge can be fully experienced by just taking your picture on the outside. If you really want to see a little skin in Paris, best to see it the way the Parisians do– at the Crazy Horse. The Crazy Horse, unlike the Moulin Rouge, is located in the rich and chic 8th district. This is no ordinary lady revue club. Men and women, younger and older go there to dine, wine, and have a show. The Crazy Horse show is an excellent display of beautiful dancers who just happen to be topless. You’ll be entertained and awed by the atmosphere and the showmanship. This really is a must see!

Visit Crazy Horse’s website for show times.

Price: $$$ (but well worth it for one time!)

what to do in paris study abroad sewers

4. Les égouts de Paris

Did you know that you can visit the sewers of Paris? It’s not as stinky an idea as it may sound. Les égouts de Paris is a fascinating tour of the Parisian sewer system. As the sewer is the size of entire city, you are only able to visit a part but you will see that that Paris is an old city above and below the streets. This interesting visit will show you the history of the city in a way you won’t learn in class.

You don’t have to go on a tour, you can visit Musée des égouts de Paris on your own too.

Price: $

Read next: How to Fit in With the French Culture While Studying Abroad

Off Beat Things to Do in paris - Montmartre

5. Montmartre

Do you like art, history, music, and good food? Then the area of Montmartre is the place for you. Montmartre is the name of the 18th district in Paris. It is easily recognized from afar by the Sacre Coeur basilica. This is the place where artists, new and historical, have come to for years. It’s a fun district with outdoor artists, great eateries at every turn and lots of museums which display the history of the district and the people who lived there.

Price: Free (but $$$ for artwork)

Photo sources: Mike Alexander via Flickr, pierre bourru via Flickr, Universo Produção via Flickr, Stephan van Es via Flickr

Andrea was a French major at Rutgers University from where she graduated in 2009. She studied at the Université de Paris IV, Paris- Sorbonne from 2007-2008. Andrea is also the author of E-book Twenty in Paris which details the experience of studying abroad in Paris, France from start to finish.