50 Things You Must Do When in Paris

Paris has an annual 30 million visitors, which makes it the most visited city in the world. However, first visits to the city of love can be quite overwhelming because it’s difficult to know where to begin and things to do in Paris. I’ve compiled a list to help you navigate your way around the city and tick off the most quintessential Parisian experiences!

Paris attractions.

1. Climb the Eiffel tower

The Eiffel tower is at the top of everyone’s “things to do in Paris” lists, but for obvious reasons. Time it so that once you get to the top you’ll be able to witness the sunset, dusk and then see the lights turn on. Paris has really spectacular pink sunsets in the Summer. By the time you get down it’ll be night, and you’ll be able to get photos of it all lit up as well. Enjoy a glass of champagne at the top of the tower, lunch at the new 58 Tour Eiffel on the first floor, or an elegant dinner at Le Jules Verne.

2. Explore the Louvre

The Louvre or the Louvre Museum is one of the world’s largest museums and a historic monument in Paris. You could spend days wandering around so be sure to schedule at least half a day. The Mona Lisa is arguably the highlight of the museum, but there are many more impressive works of art to be found.

3. Scale the Arc De Triomphe

If you’re looking for the best views of Paris with the Eiffel tower in sight, head to the The Arc de Triomphe. It’s 9,50 € entry to climb to the top but it’s well worth it. The entrance is underground so be sure to look for the signs.

4. Visit Sacré-Cœur

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is commonly known as Sacré-Cœur. It’s open every day from 6 am to 10.30 pm, so don’t miss the chance to experience its spiraling steps leading you to the basilica’s dome. If it’s a sunny day, the hillside front park is a lovely place for a picnic.


5. Discover Montmartre

Arguably my favourite neighborhood of Paris is Montmarte, dedicated to arts and local artists. In it’s intricate backstreets and laneways you’ll find more local colour than you would in the centre of Paris. It’s known as the ‘old Paris’ where time seems as though it’s stood still.

6. Visit Notre Dame

Notre Dame Cathedral (full name: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, “Our Lady of Paris”) is a beautiful cathedral on the the Île de la Cité in Paris. Begun in 1163 and mostly completed by 1250, Notre Dame is an important example of French Gothic architecture, sculpture and stained glass. It is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages.

7. Admire impressionist pieces in Musée d’Orsay

Housed under the soaring roof of one of Paris’s grand old Beaux Art railway stations, the recently renovated galleries of the Musée d’Orsay contain the world’s largest collection of Impressionist masterpieces by the likes of Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Degas, Gaugin, and many others.

via traveltoeat.com
via traveltoeat.com

8. Take a day trip to Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles, also known as the the Château de Versailles, is technically just out of Paris, but it is somewhere I would urge everyone to visit on their trip. Together with its gardens, the Versailles is one of the most famous monuments of world heritage. You could easily spend a day in Versailles, as well as exploring the city surrounding the palace. Although if you’re short on time, it’s also manageable to only spend half a day.

9. Relax in Jardin du Luxembourg

The Jardin du Luxembourg, or the Luxembourg Garden, located in the 6th arrondissement, was created in 1612. It is currently the largest public park in Paris. If you’re planning on picnicking, forget bringing a blanket – the elegantly manicured lawns are off limits apart from a small wedge on the southern boundary. Instead, corral one of the iconic 1923-designed sage-green metal chairs and find your own favourite part of the park.

10. Shop on Champs-Élysées

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a boulevard in the 8th arrondissement. It is arguably the world’s most famous and beautiful boulevard where you’ll find many flagship stores including Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Sephora.


11. Have afternoon tea at Ladurée

It wouldn’t be right to visit Paris and not visit the Laduree flagship store on Champs-Elysées. Sit yourself down and enjoy some afternoon tea and lots of sweets (the macarons are to die for!)

12. Visit Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle first opened in 1248 and was founded by the ultra-devout King Louis IX of France, who constructed it as a chapel for the royal palace and to house precious relics.

Palais Garnier

13. Climb the staircase at Palais Garnier

The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. Highlights include the Grand Staircase and horseshoe-shaped, gilded auditorium with red velvet seats, a massive chandelier and Chagall’s gorgeous ceiling mural.

14. Walk across Pont Alexandre III (and take a photo under it!)

The Pont Alexandre III is a deck arch bridge that spans the Seine in Paris. It connects the Champs-Élysées quarter with those of the Invalides and Eiffel Tower. The bridge is widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in the city.

15. Explore the Latin Quarter & Sorbonne University

A great area for wandering back streets and cheap eats, but be sure not to miss Sorbonne University – the historic soul of the Latin Quarter, founded in 1257. Enjoy a drink on the café terrace in front of the college before exploring the winding little streets of the Quartier Latin behind it.

16. Ice-skate at Hotel de Ville during Winter

Montréal’s handsome City Hall was built between 1872 and 1878, then rebuilt after a fire in 1926. Far from being a humdrum administrative center, it’s actually steeped in local lore. From December to early March, an ice-skating rink sets up outside this beautiful building, creating a real picture-book experience.


17. Stroll around Saint-Germain-des-Prés

This quartier is named for the oldest church in Paris, St-Germain-des-Prés, and it’s become a prized address for Parisians and expats alike. If you had to choose the most classically Parisian neighborhood, this would be it. St-Germain-des-Prés has it all: genteel blocks lined with upscale art galleries, storied cafés, designer boutiques, atmospheric restaurants, and a fine selection of museums.

18. Descend into the Catacombes

Paris’ most macabre sight is its underground tunnels lined with skulls and bones, which hold the remains of about six million people. In 1785 it was decided to rectify the hygiene problems of Paris’ overflowing cemeteries by exhuming the bones and storing them in disused quarry tunnels and the Catacombes were created in 1810.

19. Picnic at Tuileries Garden

The gardens, which separate the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde, are a cultural walking place for Parisians and tourists where Maillol statues stand alongside those of Rodin or Giacometti.

20. Discover famous tombstones Père Lachaise Cemetery

Paris counts within its walls many of the world’s most poetic cemeteries– but Père-Lachaise outdoes them all. Countless famous figures are buried here: the most popular being Jim Morrison, whose tomb is kept constant vigil by fans. The French playwright Molière, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and Richard Wright are a few others.

Le Marais, Paris

21. Enjoy an afternoon in Le Marais

Dripping in old world elegance yet thoroughly modern in sensibility, Le Marais is one of Paris’ most intriguing neighbourhoods.  It spreads across parts of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. Cobblestone streets wind through Le Marais’ dizzying network of hidden courtyards, provocative galleries, and ivy-covered boulangeries.

22. Grab a freshly baked baguette

I’m not kidding when I say you haven’t tasted bread until you’ve tasted a baguette in Paris. Le Grenier à Pain currently takes the title of Paris’ best baguettes!

23. Design your own perfume

Number 68 on the Champs-Elysées is the glittering, iconic home of Maison Guerlain. It is the world’s largest fragrance house, and the ultimate in Parisian beauty. Fragrance-junkies can follow their noses up the gilt staircase to perhaps most extraordinary of all: an entire library of scents; as well as its signature perfumes (from Shalimar to latest addition La Petite Robe Noire), they can create one all of their own.

buddha bar

24. Dinner and drinks at Buddha Bar

This restaurant-bar-lounge is located on the ultra-chic Faubourg St Honoré. Sushi isn’t something that’s correlated with Paris but trust me on this one and order the sushi. It’ll be some of the best you’ll ever have. After dinner, head upstairs and indulge in one too many cocktails.

25. Have a street crêpe

Thin, garnished and delicious, Paris has crêpe-making down to a pin. I found the best crêpes to be hidden in lane ways, where they mix their own local chocolate with nutella and strawberries! To. Die. For.

25. Stroll along the Seine River with a Café au Lait

Because there’s no better way to walk along the famous Seine river than with a coffee in hand!

26. Try eating snails

Because when in Paris? In all honesty, if you can close your eyes and get past the fact you’re about to eat a snail, it’s not the worst thing in the world. I’d say it’s worth ticking off this Parisian bucket list experience.

paris christmas market

27. Visit the Christmas markets

If you’re lucky enough to witness the magic of Paris during Christmas, you MUST head to the Christmas market on the Trocadero. Stroll along with your mulled wine, gingerbread and multiple pastries.

28. Watch the Moulin Rouge

This has been a hit and miss with a lot of people and despite being quite touristy, I think it’s worth it if you book the dinner and show. Prepare yourself for topless dancers, sparkles and lots of red velvet decor. For a less touristy show, settle into a booth at Le Crazy Horse.

29. Find the best macarons

Don’t think there was a day (or few hours) that passed where I wasn’t downing macarons in Paris. My favourites were from Ladurée, Pierre Hermé and Gateaux Thoumieux, but they’re pretty much all winners.

30. Wait in line for hot chocolate at Angelina

And yes, it’s totally worth the wait.

31. Have Dinner and drinks at Maxim’s

It may be a cliche, but this legandary grandest of grande dames on the Rue Royale still pleases hopeless romantics with its lavish, step‑back‑in‑time art nouveau interior.

montparnasse view

32. View Paris from the Montparnasse Tower

Arguably the best view of Paris in my opinion. Get the bird’s eye view of Paris that actually includes the Eiffel Tower. It looks absolutely magical when the city lights up at night.

33. Day trip to Disneyland Paris

Disneyland may not seem all that special to some people, but for us Australians, it’s a far-away childhood dream. I’m not going to say no to the happiest place on earth.

34. Browse Shakespeare and Company bookstore

Perhaps the most famous independent bookstore in the world, Shakespeare and Company can feel like something of a literary utopia. Cozy up and browse the former grounds of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

breakfast in paris.

35. Eat a croissant for breakfast

When in Paris, eat like the Parisians eat. Head to Eric Kayser or Gontran Cherrier for the most deliciously light and flakey croissants you’ve ever had!

36. Go to a Jazz club

Jazz is a Paris favourite. Autor de Midi et Minuit in Montmartre does free jam sessions on a Thursday and Blue Note in Montmarte just expects you to buy one drink as an entrance fee. Both are excellent!

37. Wine, Baguette & Cheese in the Park

Paris is home to many spectacular parks so grab yourself a bottle of wine, a fresh baguette from the bakery and lots of cheese from a local grocery store. Find a bench or grass patch and enjoy the finer things in life.

peonies in paris!

38. Buy (or smell) all the peonies

When it’s peony season you’ll find every florist has a 3-foot pile of peonies sitting on their counter! There’s something special about peonies and Paris.

39. Head to the markets

For the best flea market go to Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, for food head to Marché Bastille and for art and antiques, find Hôtel Drouot or Brocante des Abbesses.

40. Stroll La Promenade Plantée

Roughly translated as The Green Walkway, La Promenade Plantée is a three mile long elevated green space, built atop an abandoned railway-line. The path is enveloped by trees and shrubs and lovely on a summer’s day. Walk along the Promenade Plantée till you reach Jardin De Reuilly – a ‘hidden’ garden in the middle of Paris.

41. Explore the Belleville neighbourhood

Enter Belleville – Paris’ working-class cosmopolitan neighbourhood. The array of cultures here is dizzying to say the least – chinese supermarkets and african stores hob nob with Tunisian restaurants and French cafés. It’s somewhat of a local secret and you will find few tourists here. Spend an afternoon exploring the quirky Rue Denoyez, a lane crammed with graffiti, street-art, and murals, followed by a drink at the legendary Café Aux Folies (an Edith Piaf favourite).

things to do in paris.

42. Watch a movie at the open-Air Cinema

The fantastic free open-air cinema festival Cinéma en Plein Air returns to Parc de La Villette every summer. It’s just one of the events that brings the buzz to this increasingly hip corner of northeast Paris.

43. Check out Love Wall

Paris being the city of love, it’s no surprise that this mural that features “I Love You” scrawled in hundreds of different languages, draws countless visitors looking for an opportunity to capture a smoochy holiday snap.

44. Dine at Le Double FondCafé Theater

Enjoy a moment of warm and Parisian authenticity. Located in the heart of the historical Paris, you will spend an unforgettable time in “Le Double Fond” with magicians that perform at your table, quality of service and the unique welcoming experience of this magic place.

45. Dinner & drinks at Jules Verne on the Eiffel Tower

The height of Paris cliches, but one that is truly unforgettable. A little pricey, but to be fair, you are dining on the Eiffel tower itself. Don’t forget to book in advance!

wine tasting - things to do in paris.

46. Go on a wine tasting tour

Take a day trip to Champagne, go on a Champagne sipping cruise along the seine and drown yourself in baguettes and cheese. Sounds like a perfect day to me! Ô Château are renowned for having the best wine tasting tours in Paris.

47. Have a late night picnic at the Square du Vert-Galant

The cosy park is situated on the western tip of the Île de la Cité. In the summer, the park is dotted with people relaxing on the grass, enjoying the view and watching the boats sail past on either side of the island.

48. Find vintage at Les Puces de Saint-Ouen

A labyrinth of shops are filled with surprises, strangeness and charm. Find all the vintage you never knew you needed.

things to do in paris

49. Eat at a secret restaurant

Derrière is a hidden restaurant with an unmarked entrance on Rue des Gravilliers. The entrance opens into a courtyard, and a fabulous apartment. You can eat and drink wherever you like – in the salon, the dining room, the garden, even the bedroom.

50. Go to the Place des Vosges

The Place des Vosges is the oldest and most beautiful square in Paris—and where Victor Hugo lived. Have a drink in one of the cafés on the square and then roam around the Marais for the day, or end on the square. It was built by Henry IV in 1605-1612, over 400 years ago.

I’d love to hear from you! What wouldn’t you miss in Paris?

  • Great guide. Never been to the Buddha Bar. Have to go there next time!

    Kisses from http://poshnessary.com

  • Great list, makes me want to visit Paris again! I did many of the things on this list, but there is still plenty more left for me to see and explore! Happy 2016 :)


  • As someone who studied much of Paris’ history in college, I can agree with so many of these destinations! I loved this post – I had no idea Sephora’s flagship store was here!


  • I’m desperate to visit Paris! It looks so beautiful with gorgeous buildings and pretty streets. I will be bookmarking this post in the hope that I will visit someday! xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

  • Love this Parisian list! Love to do everything what you mentioned! The next time I would like to rent an apartment with high ceilings and a balcony and to live the Parisian life! Looking forward to it! :)

  • This was SUCH a useful post – definitely a few that I hadn’t come across yet that are now marked down as to-dos when I’m in Paris next week! Thank you!

    Ash / The Beauty Collection

  • Laura Mareno

    Amazing photos! and amazing post! i want to visit Paris so baaad! kisses:D


  • Adding all of these to my bucketlist because I will set foot on Paris one day!

    Love, Richel. | Richel Goes Places

  • petitepea2011

    This is so cool! I really want to visit Paris again, but in the summertime (rather than winter which it’s been every time so far) so the open air movies are going straight on my to-do list. Also, last time I was there I found that most, if not all, of the touristy places (so the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvré) are free the first weekend of every month – always good to know.


  • I love Paris and try to visit once a year as it’s super close to my home in London. I haven’t had been to the Moulin Rouge yet though, thanks for the recommendations x


  • Trang Do

    Wow!! So many lovely places in Paris!! Love Paris!!
    Love from http://www.trangscorner.com {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

  • The catacombs are one of the most different places to visit and Place des Vosges was just around the corner from where I lived for four years in paris. Such a wonderful city, great guide!
    Lisa x

  • dré

    I’ve never been to Paris, but I dream of going someday! I’m saving this post so I can reference it later when I can go! Thank you!
    xo dré


  • Cathy

    Cheesy and a bit pricy, but a ‘Bateau Mouche’ dinner trip on our wedding anniversary was sooooooooo romantic and memorable, with floodlit buildings and accordion accompaniment!

  • Cathy

    Les Halles is always worth a visit; for culture vultures????

  • Ruth Sklar

    Add the Musée Cluny in the 5th. It’s my fave and isn’t too big and crowded.In order to see Notre Dame, go early to avoid long lines! And there are marvelous galleries around the Place des Vosges. I bought a wonderful piece at Gallerie Modus! And use the métro. It’s fast and easy to use!

  • I need to go to Shakespeare and company!

    Jemima x

  • Gemma

    I LOVE that outdoor cinema event in the summer! Paris is my favourite city but I have never attended that before… Must be a calling for me to go back..!


  • Wow so much to see in Paris! Definitely bookmarking this for future reference! ;)

  • Roxie

    Really enjoyed the article! Kudos! I found a lot of new places and can’t wait to go to Paris again.

  • sophieab5

    Have a brunch at Mariage Freres, 35 rue du Bourg Tibourg (75004) in Le Marais or on the left bank : 13 rue des Grands Augustins (75006). One of my favorite places. And taste their “Coup de Soleil” pie. Just. Try.
    I have been in Angelina twice and never will be back. Too crowded, too expensive for what it is. There are many better places to have an afternoon tea !
    Try to have lunch at “Bouillon Chartier” 7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 Paris, typical parisian food, and special place, (and cheap). Be there early if you don’t want to stand in line in the street.
    Visit les “Passages”, sort of corridors in the middle of the buildings. Passage Jouffroy and Passage Verdeau (75009) are my favorites, with nice shops and windows, bookshops where you find treasures.
    Have a little river trip on one of the péniches, it’s worth seeing Paris from the river, at anytime of the day.
    Take motorbike taxi. It’s not cheap but a nice way to wander in Paris and enjoy the architecture without the care of driving.

  • I’m planning on visiting Paris next year (eek! It’s my dream!) This list gives me even more excitement! I’ve bookmarked it for future reference! Thank YOU so much!! xo

    McKenzie | therosynook.com

  • Paris has been on my bucket list! When the time comes, I’ll be needing this list!

    Shop & Get Inspired | http://www.dailyopulence.com

  • Sam King

    Your blog is absolutely awesome! I love all your content, photos and the layout. Would you have time to take a look at my blog: http://www.abubblyblog.com and tell me what you think? I would really appreciate it! xx

  • Kassidy Jacqueline

    Just a note :) I think the copy on #16 is inserted by mistake! To me, it appears to be speaking about the hotel de ville in Canada!


    Who ever wrote this one does not know what he is talking about. After more than 25 years of going to the Paris flea market in St Ouen almost every weekend. This place is the best place in the world to buy Art, Antiques and Vintage design. Even if you are just browsing, it is as good as any Paris museum if you want to see beautiful items, that maybe, if you can’t live without it, you can bring it home, on the plane or ship it home if you want to fill up your space with inexpensive art and antiques. The prices are at least 1/3 of the cost compared to any where else. If you are lucky and have an eye, your purchase could be worth 1/10 of what you can find in a good antique dealer in the US. When you finish browsing the more than 1500 dealers, that are spread out across 13 markets, then maybe you should try to visit some of the “brocantes” street markets that pop up throughout the year in the different parts of the city.

    Abbesses is not a good brocante and it is not even a regular market that is open every week, there are more than 20 different “Brocante” street markets for art and antiques that pop up at different time of the year. Hotel Drouot is for people that have no idea what they are doing, or professionals that are there to sell what they don’t sell in their flea markets stands or professional wholesale warehouses. Why would you want to spend all day in an auction where people are trying to sell for more money what you can buy for less in the flea markets.

    You have to be a professional to understand the auction market and to learn how to buy in Hotel Drouot. Otherwise it is a waste of time and money. The Paris flea market is St Ouen is the only place to go if you want to start to understand the Art, Antique and Vintage Design marketplace. This place is, and has been the source for the world’s art and antique dealers for more than 100 years. So start here.

  • Nikul
  • Great post with such beautiful pictures! I just find Paris to be such a beautiful city. I hope I get to visit again soon!