In normal times, Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world. This is especially true during the summer months which is peak season in the City of Light.  There’s no question that it’s going to be a particularly momentous summer with the 2024 Summer Olympics Games. Taking place from 26 July to 11 August, and followed by the Paralympics from 28 August to 8 September, the Summer Olympics will have a big impact on the streets of Paris. But not everywhere!

The big events are taking place mainly in western Paris and north of the capital in Saint-Denis. The good news is you can escape the huge crowds. Skip the the main tourist attractions (like the Arc de triomphe, Louvre Museum and Notre Dame), the closed métro stations, increased traffic, and other chaos. Whether it’s your first trip to the City of Light or you know it like the back of your hand, visiting or staying in these alternative parts of the French capital, off the beaten path will help you avoid the crowds while still soaking up the ambiance that makes Paris a beloved destination.

Les Batignolles

This charming former village nestled in the 17th arrondissement is accessible via public transportation. It is situated along the métro line 13, which goes up to the Stade de France sector of the Olympics. If you’re attending events in that zone and on your way back to Paris, this is the closest nice place to flee the big city crowds and chaos of the major attractions. The area revolves around the central square, la Place du Dr Félix Lobligeois. Its adjacent streets are lined with local businesses, small designer boutiques, relaxed cafés, and excellent restaurants. It is the perfect antidote to big crowds. There is no better way to enjoy the good weather than at the district’s two parks: Square des Batignolles and Parc Clichy Batignolles – Martin Luther King. Discover our picks for the best places in Les Batignolles

The green leafy area of the Square des Batignolles on a sunny day.
Top: photo by Valentina Giarre; Above: Square des Batignolles photo by Lily Heise

And if you’re looking for the perfect hotel to serve as an oasis during your trip the Hotel El Dorado fits the bill. This 4-star hotel offers eclectic decor and plenty of breathing space in its courtyard garden that opens onto the restaurant.

The Upper Marais

Despite its central location, le Marais is removed from the Olympic event areas in Paris. The whole district is a great place to escape the Summer Olympic Games, but the Upper Marais will have fewer tourists. There’s plenty to do in the area to occupy a day, night, or more. Some of the best things to do include browsing the area’s art galleries and boutiques . One of the best ways to soak up some culture is at the Musée Picasso or the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. Stop for a top-quality coffee at Boot Café or Kawa or a cocktail at Little Red Door or Bisou. Pick up some food at the Marché des Enfants Rouge to enjoy a picnic in the pretty Square du Temple Elie-Wesel or have a meal at one of these restaurants included in our article on Where to Eat in the Marais.

two women walking near red door in the upper Marais.
photo by Venus Major


We love this neighborhood at any time of year. But you’ll hardly know the Olympics are taking place by spending time in this cool neighborhood, found far away from the sporting venues. Hugging a hill in the northeastern 20th arrondissement, the district has retained its rebellious and bohemian spirit. You can wander the city streets, just a stone’s throw from the Canal Saint-Martin (another great place to avoid the tourist hordes).

It is great for the art lover. There is an abundance of street art and the chance to peer into the studios of working artists. Have a coffee in the cozy café Le Barbouquin, order some reasonably priced drinks at cool bar Aux Follies, or savor delicious fusion small plates at Bahar. On your explorations be sure to seek out the Parc de Belleville, where you can connect with nature. It is also a favorite way to take in soaring views of Paris from the plaza above it. Here is a fantastic way to see the Eiffel Tower without the crowds and hecticness of the Champ de Mars which will be buzzing around it this summer.

A cobblestoned passageway in Belleville with people sat on restaurant terraces on both sides.
Bahar in Belleville

La Butte-aux-Cailles

Found on the opposite side of Left Bank from the Les Invalides and Eiffel Tower locations of the Olympics, this charming lesser-visited area is a perfect escape. Another former village once on the outskirts Paris, it still has a bucolic countryside feel. This is especially the case on and around its main street, rue de la Butte-aux-Cailles. Here you will find loads of casual restaurants and lively bars. The neighbood is also a prominent street art hub. As you wander its picturesque lanes look out for colorful murals and quirky artistic statements.

A statue in a square surrounded by graffiti painted walls.
Butte aux Caillie

Port de la Gare

If you’re craving some waterside vibes with fewer people, this little-known area along the river Seine is an enticing area. There’s a walkway along the river from the Gare d’Austerlitz (one of train stations to the east of the City) to Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand. You’ll have a great time here in summer thanks to the many extended terraces of the barge boats moored here and other hip hangouts. The eclectic Cité de la Mode et Design has two rooftop bars, including the fashionable Wanderlust. Further east is Le Petit Bain, occupying on a modern boat and with a large terrace on land. You’ll laso find La Dame Canton, a traditional Chinese boat where you can get a drink and live music.


Written and photographed by Lily Heise. Looking to travel? Check out Plum Guide and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long or short term, or buy in France? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out our marketplace shop and experiences.


Lily Heise

Lily Heise has been living in Paris for more than 10 years. When she’s not getting into romantic mischief, she writes on dating, travel, and culture. Her writing has been featured in Frommer’s Guides, the Huffington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, City Secrets, DK Eyewitness Guides, and other local and international publications. She is the author of Je T’Aime, Me Neither, and Je T’Aime… Maybe? lively novelized memoirs on her romantic misadventures, and continues to share dating tips, stories and travel features on her blog

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