These are the places that taught me to always take the road unsigned and to always peek around the door uninvited. In Paris there are a million surprises to be found through secret passageways and it is the inquisitive amongst us that uncover these quiet nooks and crannies. So be adventurous and be bold and Paris will constantly reward you with its hidden treasures. Alternatively follow this guide as we share the top secret spots in Paris with you.
Hôtel de Sully
Just off one of the paths around Place de Vosges, you might just spy a secret door which I beg you to take. Pass through the door and down a couple of steps and you’ll arrive at the magnificent Hôtel de Sully, a private mansion surrounded by a tidy lawn with boxwood hedges and a wall entirely covered with green climbing ivy.
The incredibly beautiful and tranquil Place Dauphine is situated on Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris. The triangular shaped public space is lined with quintessential Parisian shops and cafes. Come here with a book and sit quietly under one of the trees and soak up the classic Parisian scene.
As if Palais Royal wasn’t already beautiful enough, it has just undergone a lengthy refurbishment making it even more breathtaking than before. The peaceful nature of the gardens make it feel far removed from its actual location in the center of Paris. The garden is overlooked by quintessential Parisian apartments often inhabited by politicians, and is framed by antique shops now taken over by famous fashion houses. This spot really is one of the most picturesque in Paris due to the symmetry of the square, the pale grey and white striped shutters, the abundance of soft pink rose bushes. Grab a coffee to go from Café Kitsuné and pull up a chair by the fountain.
Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand Veneur
Not easy to find unless you’re really looking for it but once you navigate your way, you’ll be so glad you did. Completely empty of people you’ll have this oasis all to yourself. This garden has oodles of romance and charm with climbing roses and flowers growing in abundance.
The National Archives are nestled within the Marais and you whilst they are getting more and more well known, they still remain one of Paris’ quieter corners. In the courtyard you’ll find the Hôtel de Souboise, a grand manor house built for the prince and princess de Souboise framed by manicured gardens and beautiful stone columns.
Hôtel le Sens
This building looks it should belong in the Loire Valley rather than the center of Paris and is one of the finest examples of Gothic and Renaissance architecture in Paris. It houses a library specialising in fine arts and where could be more peaceful than the gardens of a library?
Cité des Fleurs
If you’re looking for a tranquil stroll in Paris then there isn’t anywhere more peaceful or picturesque than the Cité des Fleurs. This gated community has the charm and aesthetic of a French village, its open to the public but the privacy of its inhabitants must be respected.
In the middle of the bustling streets of Paris lies this tranquil passage. Just step inside and you’ll feel miles away from the madding crowd just outside. There are Parisian cafes, eateries and the most beautiful courtyard I’ve seen so far in Paris decorated with vibrant flowers and climbing plants.
Photography and words by Faye Bullock