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As a dynamic and creative city, there are tons of cool things to do in Paris. Instead of merely seeing the classic sites, we highly recommend you include some unique experiences in your Paris itinerary. Learning the craft of a local artisan, hunting down funky antiques or street art, and cruising the city’s offbeat canals, put yourself into the shoes of a Parisian on our favorite unique experiences to try in Paris.

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(WA = Wheelchair Accessible)

This is an image of bric-a-brac out front of an antique store. Getting a tour of the world's largest flea market is a unique experience to try in Paris.

Image Courtesy of Marché Vernaison via Facebook

Visit the world’s largest flea market

Technically located just outside Paris, le Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen is the largest flea market in the world, and browsing its stands is a popular Parisian pass-time. Held from Saturday to Monday, Les Puces has a whopping 1,700 vendors spread across 14 market zones. If you visit the market on your own, we suggest starting with the picturesque Marché Vernaison, whose stalls generally sell smaller quirky items that are easier to pack. However, the market can be overwhelming, so if you’d like to visit it with an expert, consider taking a small-group tour. You’ll learn the ropes of the market, get tips on which areas to visit, and how to get the most out of your experience. 

Join a small-group tour of Le Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen | Saint-Ouen 

This is an image of a chef brushing fresh pastries with a wash or syrup.

Image Courtesy of Viator

Go behind the scenes at a Parisian bakery 

Going to Parisian bakeries is a highlight of any trip to Paris. Instead of simply consuming France’s heavenly baked delights, you can get an insider look at how French boulangeries work and how the country’s emblematic baguette and breakfast pastries are made on this special experience. The hour-long workshop takes you behind the counter at an award-winning boulangerie, where a baker will reveal some of the best secrets to this French art. And of course, at the end, you’ll get to taste these delectable wares hot out of the oven!

Book a behind the scenes of a boulangerie tour | 18th Arrondissement

This is an image of a group learning how to make their own perfume mix. There is also an instructor explaining what needs to be done. Making your own perfume is a unique experience to try in Paris.

Image Courtesy of Get Your Guide

Make your own perfume with an expert perfumer

One of France’s top products, the French have been perfecting the art of perfume-making for centuries. Taking place in an artisanal perfumery in the Marais, these unique experiences to try in Paris begin with learning about the history and basics of perfume creation. Afterward, you’ll put your new knowledge to work by devising your own scent. You’ll leave with a small bottle of your fragrance – which makes for a very special Paris souvenir.

Learn more about these perfume-making workshops | 4th Arrondissement

This is an image of a person gazing up at beautiful street art of a woman's face.

Image Courtesy of Get Your Guide

Hunt down “Space Invader” street art

Paris is filled with amazing street art and some of the most famous works are small pixelated ‘space invaders’ by an artist called ‘Invader.’ Inspired by early video games, there are over 1,400 space invaders, of varying themes and styles, in sneaky places around the city. You might not have time to find them all, but you can have fun tracking down some of them during your Parisian wanderings. You can check the ‘authenticity’ of an invader (there are copycats out there) and earn points by scanning them with the free Flash Invaders app. Alternatively, you can learn more about this unique urban art and discover some of the best space invaders in Paris by joining a Space Invader tour offered by Street Art Tours Paris.

Take a Space Invader tour | Various Arrondissements | WA

This is an image of a man measuring the circumference of a woman's head in order to make her a hat. Creating your own hat is a unique experience to try in Paris.

Image Courtesy of Viator

Create your own hat with Lady Gaga’s renowned hatmaker 

Definitely among the most unique experiences to try in Paris, this class takes you into the workshop of a world-famous hat maker whose creations don the heads of top international celebrities. Fashion ateliers are notoriously difficult to access in Paris, which makes this experience that much more unique. The 3-hour workshop gives you a first-hand look at this Parisian craftsmanship during which you’ll personalize your own made-to-measure creation.

Learn more about these hat-making workshops in Paris | 2nd Arrondissement

This is an image of a yellow, checkered picnic mat laid out with lots of artisan French food and wine. There is a bike and the Eiffel Tower in the background. This bike tour is a unique experience to try in Paris.

Image Courtesy of Fat Tire Tours

Bike around to collect food supplies for a picnic at the Eiffel Tower

Paris is becoming a super bike-friendly city and more and more Parisians are taking to cycling. On this tour, you can combine this increasingly popular means of getting around with another popular Parisian activity – picnicking. Led by a foodie guide, you’ll bike around to various authentic food shops where you’ll learn about and purchase French food staples. You’ll then take your goodies and bike to the Champs de Mars for a picnic in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. This is a great way to take in famous Parisian activities and places in a more local way.

Join a picnic like a Parisian bike tour | 7th Arrondissement

This is an image of a wine-making class where people are mixing flavours to create a taste they like. The teacher is standing next to them explaining instructions. Blending your own bottle of wine is a unique experience to try in Paris.

Image Courtesy of Viator

Blend your own bottle of wine

If you’re a wine lover then these unique experiences to try in Paris are the perfect match for you. The only place in Paris where you can make your own wine, the workshop takes place in historic wine cellars commissioned by Louis XV. In the company of a wine-maker guide, you’ll first learn about different grape varietals before enjoying the task of making your own personal blend. Afterward, you’ll get to create a personalized wine label and leave with your custom-designed bottle of wine.

Reserve a wine-making workshop in Paris | 1st Arrondissement

This is an image of a Parisian canal, where you can see a bridge in the distance as well as a small tour boat gliding through the water.

Image Courtesy of La Marine Douce

Cruise along the Canal de l’Ourcq on a self-drive boat

We’re thrilled that one of our favorite unique activities in London is also available in Paris – taking to the waters via self-drive boats. In the City of Light, you can rent self-drive boats (*no license required) on the cool Canal de l’Ourcq in the northeast of the capital. Pack a picnic (perhaps using the skills you acquired on the bike-picnic tour?) and join fellow Parisian boaters cruising along this offbeat canal. From the unique vantage point of the water, you’ll gaze up at locals strolling or playing pétanque, street art murals, buzzing café terraces, and colorful barge-bars. Super fun, you won’t even notice the time fly by.

Rent a boat through la Marine Douce | 19th Arrondissement

This is an image of a small group surrounded by paints and brushes decorating canvas tote bags. Tote bag decorating is a unique experience to try in Paris.

Image Courtesy of Trip Advisor

Design and paint your own custom canvas tote over macarons or brunch with a Parisian handbag designer

If you’re visiting with a group of friends, you may like to organize one of these unique experiences to try in Paris. These workshops offer you the opportunity to spend an afternoon learning the techniques of handpainted bags with handbag designer and Paris fashion expert Kasia Dietz. The workshops take place in Kasia’s Marais apartment and can be combined with macarons or brunch, adding an extra Parisian element to the experience. You’ll leave with your own beautiful tote bag, which you can use for shopping in Paris or back home.

Learn more about handpainted canvas tote workshops here | 3rd Arrondissement

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Lily Heise

A long-time Paris resident, Lily Heise is a travel writer whose work has been in Condé Nast Traveler, Huff Post, Fodor’s, AFAR, and Frommer’s, among others. When she’s not uncovering the city’s best secrets, she can be found on a Parisian café terrasse or traveling the globe.

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