Oh, Paris! The city of love, art, culture, and of course, the irresistibly delightful croissant. This metropolis, dubbed as the City of Lights, offers an enriching smorgasbord of experiences to any traveler – be it the history enthusiast, the art lover, the romantic soul, or the gastronome.
Unraveling the myriad things to do in Paris is akin to unearthing a treasure chest – each find is more precious than the previous one. Let’s embark on a captivating journey through the city’s romantic boulevards, magnificent landmarks, hidden corners, and more.
Popular Tourist Attractions in Paris
There’s something breathtaking about gazing up at the Eiffel Tower. This iconic Parisian landmark, with its iron lattice structure reaching up to the sky, dominates the cityscape. Whether you take the elevator or muster the courage to climb, the panoramic views of Paris from its viewing platforms are stunning, especially at night when the city transforms into a glittering sea of lights.
Stepping into the Louvre is like diving headfirst into a sea of artistic grandeur. Housing masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Venus de Milo, it’s a must-visit for any art lover, and indeed, for anyone looking for things to do in Paris.
This French Gothic masterpiece, known for its flying buttresses, vibrant stained glass, and formidable gargoyles, is as beautiful as it is steeped in history. Climb the towers for a breathtaking view of the city, or just marvel at its architectural magnificence from below.
Top Things to Do in Paris
Stroll Along the Seine River
One of the top things to do in Paris is a leisurely stroll along the Seine River. The picturesque walkways, brimming with bookstalls, artists, and charming cafes, offer a slice of quintessential Parisian life. The river also offers a unique perspective of the city’s iconic landmarks as you pass under the historic bridges.
Montmartre is an eclectic mix of bohemian charm and artistic legacy. Visit the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica, enjoy the panoramic city views, and soak in the artistic atmosphere around Place du Tertre where artists set up their easels and paint in the open air.
Discover The Catacombs
Step beneath the city streets into a labyrinthine network of tunnels housing the remains of millions of Parisians. While not for the faint-hearted, this unique and somewhat eerie attraction provides a fascinating glimpse into Paris’s past.
Must-See Places in Paris
Hidden away within the Palais de la Cité, this magnificent chapel is a marvel of Gothic architecture. The upper chapel’s stained glass windows, depicting 1,113 scenes from the Bible, create a kaleidoscope of color when sunlight streams through, making it one of the must-see places in Paris.
Palace of Versailles
Though technically just outside Paris, no visit is complete without experiencing the opulence of the Palace of Versailles. Its grand halls, extensive gardens, and intricate fountains are a testament to the extravagance of the French monarchy.
Housed in a stunning Beaux-Arts railway station, this museum is renowned for its collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces. Works from Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, and Degas grace its halls, each more captivating than the last.
Best Places to Visit in Paris for First-Time Visitors
The Champs-Élysées, one of the world’s most famous avenues, is a paradise for shoppers. Whether you’re looking for high-end designer boutiques, flagship stores, or even just to window-shop, this bustling street is a first-time visitor’s dream.
An architectural masterpiece, the Palais Garnier, is worth visiting for its stunning interiors. The grand staircase, the opulent foyers, and the breathtaking auditorium with its Chagall-painted ceiling are sure to leave you mesmerized.
Île de la Cité
This small island in the heart of Paris is packed with notable sites, including the aforementioned Notre-Dame Cathedral and Sainte-Chapelle. Don’t forget to visit the charming Place Dauphine and the Conciergerie, a former prison and part of the former royal palace.
Best Places to Visit in Paris for Families
One of the best places to visit in Paris for families is, without a doubt, Disneyland Paris. With its myriad of thrilling rides, charming fairy-tale characters, and magical parades, it offers an unforgettable experience for kids and adults alike.
Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie
Located in the Parc de la Villette, this is the largest science museum in Europe. Interactive exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater make learning about science fun and exciting for all ages.
Jardin du Luxembourg
This beautiful park is a great place to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. With pony rides, puppet shows, and a playground, there’s plenty of entertainment for kids, while adults can relax by the Medici Fountain or play a game of chess with locals.
Best Places to Visit in Paris for Couples
For couples seeking a less touristy neighborhood, the area around Canal Saint-Martin is perfect. With its trendy boutiques, cozy cafés, and picturesque footbridges, it’s a charming place to explore hand-in-hand.
Seine River Cruise
Romance is almost a synonym for Paris, and nothing spells romance better than a Seine River cruise at sunset. Glide past iconic landmarks, under beautifully lit bridges, all while sipping champagne with your loved one.
Picnic at Champ de Mars
Just at the foot of the Eiffel Tower lies the expansive Champ de Mars. Pack a picnic with some French cheese, baguette, and wine, and enjoy a leisurely afternoon watching the world go by. Don’t forget to stay until evening to see the Eiffel Tower’s dazzling light show.
Best Places to Visit in Paris on a Budget
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
With its clifftop temple, waterfalls, and hidden grottoes, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is one of the most enchanting – and free – spots in Paris. It’s an excellent place to relax, enjoy a picnic, or just appreciate the beauty of nature.
Free First Sundays
On the first Sunday of every month, many Paris museums offer free admission. The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and Centre Pompidou are among the participating institutions. Be prepared for bigger crowds, but the cultural enrichment is worth it.
Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen
One of the largest flea markets in the world, Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, offers a maze of stalls selling everything from vintage clothing and antique furniture to second-hand books. Even if you’re not buying, it’s a fascinating place to explore.
Best Day Trips from Paris
Just a short train ride from Paris, Giverny is the enchanting home of Claude Monet. Here you can tour the impressionist master’s house and the spectacular gardens that inspired his Water Lilies series.
Château de Fontainebleau
Once a royal hunting lodge, Château de Fontainebleau is now a vast palace with over 800 years of history within its walls. Its unique blend of Renaissance and classical architecture, as well as its sprawling park and gardens, make it a worthwhile day trip from Paris.
In the heart of Champagne country lies the city of Reims. Visit the magnificent Reims Cathedral, take a tour of one of the many champagne houses, and of course, indulge in a tasting or two.
Hidden Gems in Paris
Passage des Panoramas
One of the oldest covered passages in Paris, Passage des Panoramas, is a delightful find. With its vintage boutiques, philatelic shops, and quirky restaurants, it’s a slice of old-world charm nestled in the heart of the city.
Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
This quirky museum dedicated to hunting and nature is a fascinating blend of art, artifacts, and taxidermy. It’s an unusual and often overlooked gem in Paris’s rich museum landscape.
Square du Vert-Galant
Tucked away at the western tip of Île de la Cité, this little park is a tranquil oasis amidst the bustle of the city. It’s the perfect place to relax, enjoy the river views, and watch the world go by.
Off-The-Beaten-Path Places in Paris
La Campagne à Paris
For a taste of the countryside in the city, head to this charming residential enclave. With its pastel-colored houses, cobbled streets, and flower-filled gardens, it feels like a world away from the urban hustle.
La Petite Ceinture
This abandoned railway line turned walking trail offers a unique perspective of Paris. The trail winds through various neighborhoods, presenting an ever-changing backdrop of urban landscapes, lush vegetation, and even street art.
Le Musée des Vampires
For those with a taste for the macabre, this offbeat museum dedicated to vampires and their place in folklore and modern culture is worth a visit. It’s a truly unique addition to your list of things to do in Paris.
Best Places to Eat in Paris
Le Comptoir du Relais
Located in the bustling Saint-Germain neighborhood, this charming bistro serves traditional French cuisine with a twist. The duck confit and the chocolate mousse are must-tries.
Offering hearty French fare at reasonable prices, Bouillon Pigalle is a favorite among locals. Their escargot and beef bourguignon are especially popular.
L’As du Fallafel
For a change of pace from French cuisine, L’As du Fallafel in the vibrant Marais district is renowned for its, you guessed it, fallafel. Their tasty wraps are both delicious and budget-friendly.
Night-Life in Paris
Experience the glitz and glamour of Paris’s most famous cabaret show. The Moulin Rouge’s spectacular performances, complete with extravagant costumes and sets, are a feast for the senses.
Experimental Cocktail Club
This speakeasy-style bar in the trendy 2nd arrondissement is known for its creative cocktails. The unique concoctions and the cozy atmosphere make it a favorite spot for a nightcap.
For those who love to dance, Rex Club offers a stellar line-up of DJs spinning everything from house to techno. Its state-of-the-art sound system and vibrant crowd ensure a fun night out.
Read More: Things to do in London
Things to do in Paris – Conclusion
As the city lights twinkle in the twilight, it becomes apparent that the allure of Paris is timeless. With so many things to do in Paris, there’s a memorable experience waiting around every corner. The city’s rich history, its stunning architecture, its vibrant culture, and its mouth-watering gastronomy come together to create an irresistible tapestry that is sure to capture your heart. Au revoir and bon voyage – until you find yourself wandering the romantic streets of Paris once more.
Frequently Asked Questions for Things to Do in Paris
Paris is a beautiful city to visit year-round. However, the best times are generally in the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) when the weather is mild. The city is also less crowded during these periods compared to the summer months.
While French is the official language, many people in Paris, especially those in the tourism industry, do speak English. However, it’s appreciated if you learn a few basic phrases in French.
The currency in Paris is the Euro (€). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s always a good idea to carry some cash.
Paris has an extensive public transportation system, including the Metro, buses, and trams. You can also rent a bike or take a taxi. Walking is often a great way to see the city.
Paris is full of iconic sights, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Montmartre, and the Champs-Élysées. Don’t miss out on a cruise along the Seine River.
Paris is generally safe for tourists, but like any major city, it’s important to stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings. Pickpocketing can be a problem in crowded areas and on public transport.
France uses Type E power plugs, which have two round pins and a hole for the socket’s male earthing pin. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
French cuisine is renowned worldwide. When in Paris, be sure to try dishes such as escargot (snails), croissant, baguette, crème brûlée, coq au vin (chicken in wine), and ratatouille.
This depends on your nationality. Citizens of many countries can enter France for up to 90 days for tourism purposes without a visa. However, always check the latest visa requirements before your trip.
Pack based on the season you are visiting. Comfortable walking shoes are a must as you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking. A good umbrella can also come in handy as Paris often experiences rain.