If you are in Paris, or just arrived, or planning a trip to Paris you should read this article. This is a list of the top 10 things to do in Paris. The city of love and lights is so much more than the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.
There are so many different things to do and see in Paris that it would be impossible to list them all. Here I have put together a list of 15 things that you must do if you are planning a trip to Paris. So, let’s begin with number one :
1. See the Eiffel Tower, Picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower
The first thing most people think of when they think of Paris is the Eiffel Tower. Whether you want to take a tour of the inside or just admire it from the outside, it’s a must-see for first-time visitors. You can also climb to the top or take an elevator if you don’t feel like climbing all those stairs. If you go at night and watch the lights turn on, you can also see some beautiful views of the city below.
While you’re in the area, don’t miss out on an opportunity to picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. The Jardins du Trocadéro across from it has plenty of green space for you to spread out your blanket and enjoy some delicious French food with friends!
2. Visit Sacre Coeur & Montemarte
When we visited Paris, my wife and I was surprised that every single person we spoke to recommended we visit Sacre Coeur and Montemarte.
Montemarte is one of the highest points in Paris and provided us with beautiful views overlooking the city. I especially loved walking around all the little streets that lead up towards Sacre Coeur. There are tons of little art shops, restaurants, bakeries, bars, etc. It really felt like an authentic experience living amongst locals and away from tourists even though you’re still very much in the city center.
If you’re looking for a great way to spend your afternoon, I highly recommend walking around this area and then sitting down at Cafe des Deux Moulins. This was one of Amelie’s favorite places to go as a child (and eventually works at). It’s also where she runs into her ex-boyfriend after not seeing him for many years.
3. Eat at a real French Boulangerie
If you don’t get to a real boulangerie, you’re missing out on something very special. You can’t beat the taste of bread that’s freshly baked in the morning.
If you’re in Paris and are looking for something to do, I recommend going to a real French boulangerie. They’re all over the city, and it’s worth taking a little extra time to find one that serves the best pastries.
Bread and pastries from a French boulangerie are baked fresh every day, so you can be sure that no matter what time of day you go in, everything will be delicious. My favorite thing to order is a croissant with a little bit of jam; it’s buttery and flaky on the outside, soft on the inside! You’ll also find quiches, cakes, sandwiches, and more, you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose.
4. See Paris from above at Arc de Triomphe
Do you really want to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower? You might. But there’s a better way to see Paris from above: Go up the Arc de Triomphe. It’s only 284 steps, and the view is incredible. You can see La Défense and the Champs-Élysées, and all of Paris below you. You’ll find it on Place Charles de Gaulle (formerly Place de l’Étoile).
See Paris from above at Arc de Triomphe. You can’t help but feel like an emperor atop the Arc de Triomphe, which is exactly why Napoleon built it in 1806. The ornate structure was built to honor his army and the men who died during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. There are now two ways to experience this historical monument: climb 284 steps or take an elevator. Once you reach the top, soak in views of Paris and its iconic landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees.
5. Visit The Louvre
If you’re visiting Paris, then, of course, you have to go to The Louvre. It’s one of the most famous museums in the world and it’s home to more than 35,000 pieces of art.
The Louvre is actually made up of three wings: Richelieu, Denon, and Sully. Richelieu is the oldest wing and houses some Greek sculptures and the second floor has mostly French paintings from the 17th century. Denon has Greek statues on the first floor, along with some ancient Egyptian art and sculptures. When you get to the second floor, you can see even more Egyptian art, as well as Islamic art.
I recommend it could not complete the entire tour or want to decide which one to visit you should get their app that guides you through the museum gallery by gallery—install it on your phone before your visit and you can choose a few highlights from each section that match your interests!
6. Take a day trip to Versailles
Paris is an exciting city with a wealth of activities to fill your day, but there are some things you can do that will take you outside the city limits. One great option is to take a day trip to Versailles.
You should definitely visit Versailles while you’re in Paris, but it might be out of the way for you if you’re staying in a hotel in the center of town. Luckily, there’s a fast and convenient solution: DayTrip. In just over an hour, DayTrip takes you from Paris out to the Versailles Palace and back again. The trip includes all necessary transportation (round-trip train ticket) as well as skip-the-line tickets for entry into the palace, no more standing outside in the cold waiting your turn to get in!
Once there, you’ll get to see the king’s chambers, the Hall of Mirrors, and the gardens. The palace is huge, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes because this is one place where walking is absolutely mandatory.
7. Listen to live Jazz in Montparnasse
If you want to hear some live music while you’re in Paris, but don’t want to see the same old thing that everyone else is seeing, consider going to one of the jazz clubs in Montparnasse. Jazz has a rich history in this area of Paris, as it was home to many of the musicians who performed at the famous clubs on Rue de la Huchette and Rue Saint-Benoît.
The most famous of these clubs was Le Caveau de la Huchette, which has been a mainstay for jazz enthusiasts for over fifty years. If you’re lucky enough to be in town during one of their jam sessions (held every Sunday from 5:30-8 PM), make sure to stop by. This club has been a popular place for Americans living in Paris since its opening in 1951, as well as for French artists including Picasso and Brassai.
Another great choice is Le Petit Journal Montparnasse, which features live music nightly from 9:30 PM until 2 AM. It’s located just off Boulevard de Montparnasse on Rue du Commandant René Mouchotte and is close to many tourist attractions including the Luxembourg Gardens and the Sorbonne.
8. Explore Pere Lachaise Cemetery
It’s a little morbid, but exploring Pere Lachaise Cemetery is definitely worth it. This is the resting place of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, and many more famous people. The cemetery is massive and beautiful; you could spend hours there.
Père-Lachaise Cemetery is a beautiful, quiet place to escape to when the hustle and bustle of the city get to be too much. You will find the gravesites of many famous artists and authors here, including Chopin, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, and more. Most visitors come here to see the grave of Jim Morrison. It is one of the most visited graves in all of Europe.
The cemetery is also going through a restoration project right now and it’s interesting to see how they are preserving some of the headstones that are over 200 years old.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery is open daily from 8 am-6 pm.
9. Pause for a picnic along the Seine River
It seems that every time you watch a romantic comedy, the couple is having a picnic along the Seine River in Paris. And while that may be cheesy, it’s also beautiful
Paris is a beautiful city and there’s no better way to take it all in than with a nice picnic. For the perfect picnic setting, head to the Seine River and find a nice bench. There are plenty of cafes nearby that offer take-out, so you can grab an assortment of delicious French pastries and sandwiches before making your way to the river.
You can also bring some cheese and wine, or maybe even an accordion for some added Parisian flair. Enjoy your picnic at any time of day, but make sure to check out the Eiffel Tower in the evening as well—it’s breathtaking when it lights up!
10. Admire Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most exquisite structures in the world. No matter how many times you see it, the cathedral never fails to take your breath away. The intricate craftsmanship, the historical significance, and the lovely setting all make Notre Dame a must-see when visiting Paris. There’s a reason it’s one of the most visited attractions in the city!
11. Visit Moulin Rouge or one of the other cabarets or burlesque shows in Paris
Paris is known for its cabarets, and Moulin Rouge is probably the most famous of them all. The 1890s building is decked out in red velvet, gold detailing, and art nouveau tiles. It operates as a tourist hotspot, regularly drawing in a very international crowd to see the showgirls perform their elaborate routines. If you’re looking for a break from the crowds but still want to have the cabaret experience, head to one of the smaller venues like Le Lido de Paris or Le Crazy Horse.
I ended up going to Le Crazy Horse because I was drawn in by its reputation as an adult-only venue that showcases the female form without any nudity. Plus the name made it sound pretty cool. And it did not disappoint! I took my sister with me and we had a great time watching some of the world’s best dancers perform incredible routines that were equal parts erotic and artistic.
12. Shop at Le Bon Marche
Le Bon Marche is located on the Left Bank, near other favorite shops like Colette and Merci. It’s a good place to stop by whether you’re traveling with children or not; they have an amazing toy department plus plenty of food-related items throughout.
You could get anything from a pair of classic red Converse sneakers to a $1000 bottle of champagne. There aren’t as many sales at Le Bon Marche as there are at some other stores around Paris (like Printemps), but you can be sure you’ll find what you need there without having to stop by too many other places.
13. Visit The Catacombs of Paris
The Catacombs of Paris are a bit different than the cemetery, but still worth a visit if you’re into the macabre. The catacombs are underground and run for hundreds of kilometers. It’s an old mine that was used to get the stone to build Paris, but in the late 1700s, they started putting bones here.
If you want to see Paris from a different angle, The Catacombs of Paris is a great option. You’ll need to descend 20 meters underground to approach the ossuary (a room used to store the bones of dead people). It is here that you’ll find the remains of over six million people, arranged in intricate patterns across the walls and ceilings.
14. Visit Disneyland Paris
For me, Disneyland Paris is the best place to go with kids. It’s located in a suburb of Paris near the Charles de Gaulle Airport, which is a good thing if you are planning to fly in and out of France. I know it’s not what you would expect on your trip to Paris, but if you want to make your children happy, then this is a place for you!
Disneyland Park is located in Marne-la-Vallée, which is about twenty miles from central Paris. If you want to save money on your trip, consider spending some time at a hotel in this area. It will be much less expensive than staying at one of the larger hotels in the area. You can also save money by flying to Charles de Gaulle Airport instead of Orly Airport. Most flights from North America and Europe arrive at Orly Airport, so if you want to save money on your trip, fly into Charles de Gaulle instead.
15. Explore Saint Ouen Flea Market / Les Puces de Saint-Ouen,
Paris is known for its chic shopping, but if you’re looking for a different kind of shopping experience, head over to Saint Ouen Flea Market. This massive market is known for its antiques and vintage finds, but you can also find new items from local artists and artisans. It’s a great place to pick up a souvenir that will remind you of your trip to Paris.
Located in the north of Paris. For vintage, antiques and art visit Clignancourt (one of my favorite neighborhoods! The flea market is always buzzing with activity, the food is delicious and I recommend visiting L’Eglise de Saint Pierre de Montmartre which is nearby.