The road less traveled is also the one less captured. While the Eiffel Tower, L’avenue des Champs-Élysées, and La Pyramide du Louvre are all popular Parisian destinations, they’re also a little typical when it comes to photography. We’ve enlisted Ashley Bartlett — founder of Quaintrelle.ca and current Paris transplant — to show us a different side of Paris. Visiting the City of Light? Up your ‘gram game and avoid the tourist traps with her guide of The 10 Not-So-Obvious Instagrams to Take in Paris.
Hero: where pastel interiors meet Korean BBQ
While fine French fare c/o your local brasserie surely has its place, Paris’ young chefs are going against tradition with a string of very cool new restaurants. Hero, a Korean BBQ spot in the 2nd, is gaining buzz with its menu of savoury deep-fried chicken and carefully crafted cocktails. Even more unexpected is the pale pink and blue interiors which will surely appeal to your aesthetic senses.
289 Rue Saint-Denis, 75002
L’hôtel de Soubise: a taste of Versailles in Le Marais
You won’t necessarily find Le Marais’ Archives nationales on many “must-see” guides (unless you are a history buff, of course) but this hidden gem is one worth adding to your itinerary. As with much of Paris, there is always more than what meets the eye. Walk in past the gate and you are greeted by a stately garden and pillar lined walls. There are various exhibits held inside but regardless of what’s “on,” walk beyond and float into the opulent Versailles-like quarters of the L’hôtel de Soubise. This monumental mansion was built in 1397 and stands as the only remnant of private 14th century architecture still visible in Paris. Stunning.
60 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003
Olympia Le Tan’s Paris boutique: hidden gem with an Instagram worthy pink facade
Step inside the jewel-like fashion showroom of Olympia Le Tan and be transported into the designer’s fanciful world. Open to the public, the two floor boutique is tucked along le Passage des deux Pavillons — just a hop and a skip from the Palais-Royal. The walls are wrapped in monogrammed paper in the Le Tan’s signature pink and the shelves are carefully curated with Le Tan’s iconic book clutches, alongside items from the ready-to-wear collection. An absolute treat for the eyes.
Passage des Deux Pavillons, 5 Rue des Petits Champs, 75001
Café Kitsuné: home of fox shaped cookies, custom marbled walls, and latté art
Paris is in the midst of a most wonderful coffee culture explosion. You likely know French brand Kitsuné for its hip fashion offerings and trendy mixtapes but have you sipped one of their lattés? The newest café location in the 11th boasts a seriously cool interior, most notably with its custom speckled marble walls and floors. In fact, the owners liked the marble so much they have applied to the design to wearable pieces which you can shop in the boutique above. Completing the aesthetic: woven chairs in clashing neon hues, staff in white signature fox embroidered polos, and of course — plenty of light, perfect for capturing the moment.
18 Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, 75011
Popelini: where choux are the pastry of choice
Macarons are of course a patisserie staple and while they have their place, South Pigalle (aka SoPi)’s Popelini is shining the spotlight on choux — an equally delicious treat. Similar in size (think two-bite), these round French sweets are made of a light pastry and filled with anything from cream to confiture. While choux are less popular than macarons, they are just as pretty and colourful and can be finished with rose petals, caramel, or gold ball dragées.
44 Rue des Martyrs, 75009
Musée Carnavelt: swoon-worthy jardin of maze hedges and rose bushes
Le Carnavalet is a museum dedicated to the history of Paris. Free to enter, the museum houses the following: about 2,600 paintings, 20,000 drawings, 300,000 engravings and 150,000 photographs, 2,000 modern sculptures and 800 pieces of furniture, thousands of ceramics, many decorations, models and reliefs, signs, thousands of coins, countless items, and thousands of archeological fragments. But before you dive into all that good stuff, take a few moments to enjoy the central jardin when you enter. You’ll be greeted by a sculpture of Louis XIV amidst the most picturesque of winding hedges, colorful rose bushes, and uniform topiaries.
16 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003
Square des Batignolles: a hidden oasis in the middle of the city
Tucked in the 17th behind Place de Clichy, Square des Batignolles feels like a tranquil repose in the city. The park is filled with lush greens, a swan and duck inhibited pond, and this charming carousel. Paris is known for its beautiful collection of carousels and while the Belle Epoque style is what comes to mind, this hand painted design has a more whimsical feeling. Equally charming and less photographed — tell your own Paris story within your Insta-feed.
17th arrondissement, 75017
Pain Pain: where the traditional Parisian boulangerie is flipped on its head
Graphic blue and pink wallpaper. Checkered floors. And a gold foil lettered window reading Pain Pain. This is the image of a traditional French boulangerie, flipped on its head. Opened in 2012, Pain Pain is a proud purveyor of artisanal bread and pastries but it’s the modern design that will surprise and delight you.
88 Rue des Martyrs, 75018
Rue Cremieux: a colorful splash of Notting Hill in Paris Though
Rue Cremieux and its cheerful line of colourful walk-ups are slowly cropping up on Instagram, the street still feels like a bit of a secret. Unlike the Haussmannian architecture that surrounds it, Rue Cremieux feels a bit like being transported to Notting Hill. Between the colorful pastel facades and the neighborhood tabbycat that is sure to appear in your shot, expect the comments and ‘likes’ to roll in with this one.
Rue Cremieux, 75012
Musee d’Orsay: Parisian architecture at its finest
Musee d’Orsay is one of the most visited places in Paris, right? True, but while everyone else is taking selfies with Renoir, Van Gogh, and Beraud, save your snaps for the sunlight-filled hallways on the third floor. The classic herringbone wood floors, ornate mouldings, and gilded chandeliers are far more photogenic than the iconic paintings which are best experienced with our eyes — not through the lens of our smartphones.
1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007