- Apr 2, 2019
- All things Paris
- Amanda Mehtala
On every travel site you seem to find the same list of must-see sights in Paris and museums to visit. But for those that are looking for a more hands-on way to experience the City of Lights, you’re going to need to dig a bit deeper and get more original. To experience a different side of Paris might require learning something new, or daring to step out of your comfort zone, but we promise it’ll be worth it.
1. See a show at a historical Parisian theatre
Firstly, our favorite original things to do in Paris, a night in a Parisian playhouse alongside the locals. What some might not know is that you no longer need to speak French in order to appreciate some French theatre. You can see all kinds of shows from comedies and musicals, to dramas and the classics in theatres all over the city, and thanks to English subtitles just like in a movie, you won’t miss a single word. Theatre in Paris always has a variety of Paris shows available, always with the promise of being understood by English-speaking audiences. From neighbourhood venues to grandiose playhouses, start planning your Paris theatre night today!
2. Make your own perfume
The first step on your way to becoming Parisian is to smell French, and what better way to start than by making up a batch of your very own perfume. From celebrated brands to smaller boutique specialties, the streets of Paris are littered with perfume shops catering to any and all palate.
3. Dine in darkness
Now that your sense of smell is awake, how about tuning into other senses with an original dining experience? The Resto Dans le Noir is exactly how it sounds, decadent dining in pure darkness! This unique address employs visually impaired wait staff to lead diners to their seats and ensure the meal goes more, or less, smoothly. Is this chicken, or fish? Where did my water glass go? Trying to guess exactly what you are eating when you can’t see a single bit is even harder than it sounds! You’re in for a uniquely original sensory experience in Paris. Details here
4. Fly high in Paris in a hot air balloon
Did you know one of the largest parks in Paris is equipped with its very own hot air balloon for a truly original aerial view of Paris? To find it you’ll have to visit the Park Andre Citroën in the southwestern corner or Paris. Anyone can go for a short ride up into the air to view Paris from above, and maybe learn a bit more about how a hot air balloon works along the way. Tickets cannot be reserved in advance, so it is recommended to try to arrive in the morning to avoid a lengthy wait. Details here
5. Learn to make macarons
Why wait in line with the other tourists at Ladurée when you can learn to make your very own homemade macarons right here in Paris, a truly original experience! There are few places in the City of Lights willing to unveil the secret recipe, and even less who offer the French cooking lesson in English, but don’t be dismayed, we have found some options! Whether you want an intimate setting in a Parisian apartment, or a family friendly cooking lesson in a tried and true French cooking school, one of the most hands-on experience you can have in the City of Lights is to make a French delicacy, and then bring home the recipe to make again and again!
6. Take an open air salsa lesson
Did you know that the City of Lights also boasts some amazing opportunities for dancers of all kinds and all experience levels to gather? Many of the Paris parks and gardens have special evenings where amateurs gather to dance together, where experts are happy to teach new students a step or two. The most famous salsa dancing location in Paris though is along the riverbanks near the Austerlitz train station. In this amphitheatre-shaped section dancers from all over the world gather as soon as temperatures start to rise for a bit of outdoor fun, every night of the week!
7. Have dessert for dinner
At one very unique Parisian restaurant, savory meals come served up in the form of decadent desserts, and desserts just may resemble your favorite cut of meat! At Privé de Desserts you can truly twist the senses, imagine a cream puff pastry that looks like a boeuf bourguignon simmering all afternoon! Make you to reserve in advance, as space is limited and everyone seems to want to try dessert before dinner!
8. Play the French game pétanque
No matter where you go in France, you can almost always be sure to find a group of individuals hard at play in a green area, trying tirelessly to throw a weighted ball as close as possible to a smaller token. This game of skill and chance called pétanque is a timeless favorite, so why not give it a try, anyone who has played bocce ball will recognize the gameplay instantly! One options is to head to any French sporting goods store and buy a set of pétanque balls for yourself, but another option is the very Parisian startup called Paris ma belle, who take reservations to bring you a complete set of balls, referee, and scorekeeper, everything you need for an afternoon of pétanque!
9. Learn to be a photographer in the most photogenic city
There’s no denying the beauty around every corner in Paris, why not learn to capture it for yourself, take a photography lesson in the streets of Paris! Brush up on your photographing skills or just learn the basics with a professional photographer while you walk the streets of Paris and discover what’s around every corner. So pick an inspiring photographer, get your cameras ready, and head to your favorite Parisian neighbourhood!
10. Learn to play the accordion à la parisienne
There’s no sound that’s more quintessentially Parisian than the tunes of an accordion wafting through the air (or metro). Whether you are musically inclined or not, everyone should give this unique instrument a try, you’ll be playing the ballads of Edith Piaf before you know it! To find the perfect accordion tutor, we suggest the site Superprof to put you in contact with the experts.
Bonus: Catch the subtitled musical I Love Piaf to see a world renowned accordionist bring Edith Piaf back to life!
Want more interesting Paris ideas? Keep reading!