One of the incredible things about Paris is that it’s full of beauty everywhere you look. However, this beauty isn’t exactly a well-kept secret, and there are some places that have gotten super popular, and with good reason. They’re awesome! Though, if you’re looking to get away from the crowds, or if you’ve visited these places before and are looking for something new, we’ve got some fantastic alternatives.
After all, Paris isn’t lacking in hidden gems that will round out your Paris experience (minus the crowds). We’ve got a list of some tourist places to avoid in Paris in the high season, along with some suggestions about where to visit instead. And don’t forget that our Travel Design team can plan your itinerary and organize skip-the-line tickets if you are visiting for the first time and you have your heart set on visiting Paris’ most popular attractions.
Tourist Places to avoid in Paris
Pont de Bir-Hakeim
Best known for its feature in the movie Inception, this bridge’s symmetry, and killer Eiffel Tower view have turned it into a bona fide photo op. Of course, you won’t be the first one to have this idea–a very popular spot and many visitors use this location for fabulous photo opportunities. It can be tricky to get your own great shot when plenty of other people are vying for the same one at peak timese.
Visit Instead: Passerelle Debilly
On the other side of the tower, this footbridge tends to be less crowded and offers beautiful sunset light, with the same great view of the Iron Lady as you’d get from the other bridge.
Arc de Triomphe
While there’s not much that beats the view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, you’ll definitely have to queue for your turn at the best photo spot which might be an exhausting prospect after climbing nearly 300 stairs to get to the top (there is a lift in operation, but it is officially reserved for handicapped access only). Although iconic, it’s one of the main tourist places to avoid in Paris if you want a place that’s peaceful.
Visit Instead: Printemps
Head to the Printemps Homme store and take the elevator straight up to the 8th or 9th floors to Printemps du Gout or the new rooftop restaurant Perruche for unparalleled views of the city. Bonus points if you grab a table and order a glass of wine to sip while watching the sunset.
If you love the Impressionists, no doubt already you’ve made your way to the top floor of the Musée d’Orsay to admire the collection of their works, along with several hundred other art fans. However, what you may not know is that this isn’t the only Impressionist collection in Paris.
Visit Instead: Musée Marmottan Monet
For a more dedicated Impressionist/Monet experience, this smaller and very underrated museum houses a surprisingly rich collection, including masterpieces by Monet and Manet, and unless your visit coincides with one of the ever more popular exhibitions, you shouldn’t be jostled by people with selfie sticks!
Champ de Mars
If you come to Paris and don’t take a picture with the Eiffel Tower on the Champ de Mars, did you really come to Paris? Well, yes, and there are certainly alternatives that don’t include random strangers in the backgrounds of all your photos. It easily makes the list of tourist places to avoid in Paris for solitude.
Visit Instead: the View from your Paris Perfect Apartment
Many of our Paris Perfect apartments offer incredible Eiffel Tower views, and the best part is, you’ll have them all to yourself from the comfort of your own apartment.
As adorably charming as this little artists’ village can be, setting foot there on any given weekend or sunny day, for that matter, and you won’t be able to take in the charm for the flood of people moving you in any given direction. Come early in the morning on a weekday if you want the streets to yourself, but there are other neighborhoods just as charming for evening strolls, drinks and dinner.
Visit Instead: Butte aux Cailles
The Butte aux Cailles neighborhood in the 13th arrondissement is what the more snobbish might call ‘the real Paris’, though it’s doubtful anyone you’ll encounter there would call it that. It’s as much like a village as Montmartre, but without the crowds, and with the friendly locals, cobblestone streets and great dining options. Try a traditional Basque dish at the original Chez Gladines, a popular restaurant with several Paris locations.
Jardin du Luxembourg
This garden, though expansive, is often quite crowded with relatively limited seating, and only certain parts of the grassy areas are open for people to sit. It is elegant and well manicured, but too expansive to really be a place to relax.
Visit Instead: Parc Monceau
Many of the things the Jardin du Luxembourg tries to have are made better in Parc Monceau: more seating for picnics or just relaxing, lush trees and a beautiful little stone bridge over a creek, a carousel and pony rides for children, and a path that runs around the circumference of the park, perfect for runners.
Place des Vosges
As the Marais neighborhood has risen in popularity, so has Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris. On any given day, benches within the park are hard to come by, as are seats on the terraces of the restaurants along the square.
Visit Instead: Place Dauphine
If you’re needing your Henri IV square fix, go instead to the second of his planned squares: Place Dauphine. Though it’s no secret, it’s also not particularly evident from any of the surrounding streets, virtually guaranteeing its perpetual calm. Take a seat at one of its sidewalk cafes and enjoy watching a group of people play pétanque, a game similar to bocce, on the main square underneath the chestnut trees. You can even have all this right outside your door by staying in one of Paris Perfect’s Place Dauphine apartments!
Though it houses the Musée National d’Art Moderne, the Centre Pompidou is a complex that also houses a large public library and a center for music and acoustic research. This guarantees that it will almost always be crowded, and the lines to enter the museum on the weekends speak for themselves.
Visit Instead: Palais de Tokyo
Contrary to the Pompidou, the Palais de Tokyo houses the Musée d’Art Moderne of the city of Paris. It holds temporary exhibits, houses two well-reputed restaurants and one of the largest art bookshops in Paris, and happens to offer a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower.
Chateau de Versailles
Even on a foggy day in late December, Versailles can be packed to the point of not being able to move in between the tour groups. It’s hard to really capture the beauty of the architecture and detailing when guides with microphones are yelling in several different languages all around you. If your heart is set on Versailles (it is amazing!), make sure to book one of our small group or private tours.
Visit Instead: Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte
Why not instead visit the chateau that made King Louis XIV so jealous that he built Versailles to prove that his was better? Vaux-le-Vicomte was once owned by Nicolas Fouquet, the king’s superintendent of finances, who was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment after a grand party because the king deemed the chateau too lavish for someone who wasn’t… well, him. The chateau still stuns to this day, with gardens designed by the same landscape architect as that of Versailles and the Tuileries, André le Nôtre. Check out our full-day tour here.
For your next stay in Paris, our friendly reservations team are on hand to help you select one of our other stunning family vacation rentals. To help you navigate the crowds and ensure you make the best use of your time, we can also help with shopping, itineraries, tours, dining reservations, and customized private experiences! Email us today for more information.