Unusual things to do in Paris

These unusual and offbeat activities will be sure to make your Paris stay a memorable one!

Paris has any number of unusual places just waiting to be discovered by curious and adventurous people. If you’re always on the lookout for something new and exciting, then go right ahead and try out an offbeat experience. Here are a few ideas for the more daring among you.

Off-the-beaten track places

At Studio Harcourt, a famous photography studio, photo enthusiasts can wander around admiring portraits of some of the greatest stars, from Marlene Dietrich and Zinedine Zidane to Brigitte Bardot. You can even follow in their footsteps and have a portrait of yourself taken, just like a celebrity. At La Tête dans les Nuages, arcade games and other attractions are the main draw. There’s something for people of all ages and tastes, from pinball machines and bowling alleys to running simulators and basketball hoops. This place takes you straight back to your childhood days. A visit to a former brothel? Aux Belles Poules is the only place in Paris that has kept its period decoration! Take a trip back into its history with unusual guided tour, proposed by Caroline Senot.

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The town of Asnières-sur-Seine has one of the most unusual cemeteries in France, which is well worth visiting: the dog cemetery. Here, you will be able to see the graves of famous pets, the pets of famous people, and animals that have gone down in history, like Moustache the soldier dog and Marguerite Duras’s horse. And for a truly unusual experience, take a guided tour of the Musée Fragonard located inside the Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire (veterinary school) in Alfort, which has a collection of no fewer than 4,200 animal skeletons. The display of écorchés, i.e. flayed cadavers, is a must-see.

Unusual bars and restaurants

There is no lack of offbeat concept bars and restaurants in Paris. At the Ice Bar – the first such bar in the capital – clients step into an amazing setting made out of ice and chill out – literally – over a drink. It is to reopen soon and meanwhile, you can sip signature cocktails or have dinner at the concept restaurant Après, themed around the French resistance movement during the Second World War.

To enjoy a get together with friends and play some sport at the same time, head to Mini Pong or Gossima, two ping-pong bars, where you can challenge each other to a game. For a Provençal touch, opt for one of the many boules bars, where pétanque is the name of the game: Chez Bouboule, Bar Ourcq, etc.

A warm fuzzy feeling is guaranteed when you pet the twelve cats at the Café des Chats and are rewarded by their purring. And, after a busy day’s sightseeing in Paris, the ZZZen siesta bar is a wonderful place to relax and have a nap.

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Offbeat ad one-of-a-kind experiences

Sightsee with a difference in Paris: go riding in a RetroTour side car for a memorable journey through the city’s streets in a vehicle unlike any other. If you’ve always wanted to be a sailor, you can rent a boat without a licence from Marin d’Eau Douce and go sailing on the Bassin de la Villette or along the Canal de l’Ourcq. Walking towards the unknown doesn't scare you? Black'Oz offers experiences ans challenge with your eyes closed!

Another unusual thing to do is to attend a French and international art auction. Go along to the famous auction house Hôtel Drouot and watch the bidding frenzy during a sale (open to all) – or maybe start your own collection.

Paint me up breaks the mould of the traditional after-work drink, by offering apero-painting workshops in a bar or restaurant. For 2 hours, put on your apron and stimulate your creativity while sipping your drink.

Street art enthusiasts will enjoy the guided tours organized by My Urban Experience, while those wishing to unleash their own creativity can sign up for the graffiti workshops offered as part of the FreshStreetArtTour from ExploreParis. To bring out your sensual side, you can sign up for a pole dancing class at Pole Dance Paris or Pink School, while Burlesque Klub has workshops where you can learn the art of striptease.

Attractions for thrill seekers

Thrill seekers in search of an adrenaline rush will find plenty to satisfy them in Paris. Les Cognées and Wildness Paris offer a great way to let off steam after a very stressful day: axe throwing! An activity that’s fun – and original, to say the least. At Archery Bump de Porte d’Ivry, you can do battle with your friends, each of you armed with a bow and soft-tip arrows, or play against each other in a bubble football match at Archery Bump in La Defense.

For virtual reality fans, there’re Illucity, VirtualTime Châtelet-Montorgueil, or VirtualTime Bastille-République, which offers state-of-the-art VR experiences, and has a one-of-a-kind escape game. At La Villette, you can put on a flight suit and launch off in the iFly wind tunnel: a chance to try out indoor skydiving.

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If you wish to admire the capital and Versailles from on high, Helipass will take you on a helicopter ride enabling you to see western Paris and the Ile-de-France region from a different perspective. And for an exciting flight simulation experience, head to AviaSim Paris to ‘fly’ a fighter plane.

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Unusual things to do with the family

Families too are well catered for in Paris, which has plenty of unusual activities for kids to enjoy: escape games, cookery classes, art workshops in big museums, amusement parks, guided backstage tours of major monuments to learn all kinds of little-known things about them, and so on. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to organizing an entertaining and unusual family holiday in Paris.

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