One of the most romantic places in the world, Paris is aptly called the “city of love”. It is also a city popular for its history, good food, fashion, and art. You could spend a month in Paris, France and still not get to see all the attractions. In this article, we will look at a few of the best things to do in Paris to give you a taste of everything.
Best Things to Do in Paris
1. Eiffel Tower
No trip to Paris would be complete without visiting the world-famous Eiffel Tower. This wrought-iron tower was named after Gustave Eiffel, an engineer whose company designed and built the tower. Standing at 324 meters (1,063 feet) tall, it is the tallest structure in Paris. The tower has 3 levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first (Le 58 Tour Eiffel) and second (Le Jules Verne) levels. You can visit this iconic tower day or night (to see the 20,000 lights display).
2. The Louvre
Besides the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre is probably one of the most recognized landmarks in Paris. Containing the greatest art collection in the world, this is also the largest art museum on the planet. You can view some of the most famous artworks such as Winged Victory, the Venus de Milo and most importantly, the Mona Lisa. Even if you are not that into art, this will surely be an experience of a lifetime.
3. Musée Picasso
This museum received a makeover and was reopened in 2014. It houses the largest public collection of works by Picasso. The museum covers a massive 54,000 feet encompassing the Hôtel Salé which dates back to the 17th century and includes furniture designed by Diego Giacometti, as well as a new structure which houses temporary exhibitions.
4. Notre Dame de Paris
The Cathédrale de Notre Dame is a must see when visiting Paris. This cathedral is steeped in history. It saw the marriage between many kings and queens over the years and even the coronation of Napoléon. This Gothic Cathedral offers amazing architectural design features including its stunning windows, stone gargoyles and breath-taking views of Paris.
5. Avenue des Champs-Élysées
One of the best-known avenues in Paris, the Champs-Élysées is home to chain stores and fast food joints alongside some of the more historical exhibits such as the Arc de Triomphe and the Grand Palais. This avenue has something for everyone. From cheap dining to exquisite art exhibitions, this is one place you need to add to your list of best things to do in Paris.
6. Pain de Sucre and Bontemps
Pastries to die for are available in these sections of Paris. Pastry makers delight with baked goods such as sable cookies, sacristan, mouna bread and chausson aux pommes to name but a few. Make sure you go on an empty stomach as you will want to savour many of these delightful sweet and savoury treats.
7. Seine on the Bateau Mouche
Take a boat along the Seine to see the graceful architecture of the bridges over the Seine while passing some of the most famous landmarks. Boat rides are between 2 and 4 hours long and often offer drinks and meals while you are sightseeing. Many of the boats stop at some of the most famous places such as the Louvre and Eiffel Tower.
8. Musée d’Orsay
This stunning renovated gallery contains works by Manet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gaugin and Degas. There are restaurants and cafes housed in the museum as well as a bookstore. Guided tours can be booked to get the most out of your visit.
9. Le Marais
This is a district in Paris with cobblestone streets and amazing stone architecture. It was home to Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and still has the look of medieval times. This neighborhood also housed royalty over the years. Much of the architecture is pre-French Revolution and is a testament to a rich history of amazing architecture and diverse cultures. The area has an amazing nightlife, many galleries and museums and amazing shopping. It includes the oldest science museum in Europe, Musée des Arts et Métiers, as well as many vintage shops, specialty stores, and boutiques.
10. Musée Rodin
This museum was originally the sculptor’s studio. It is an 18th century mansion containing more than 6000 of Rodin’s sculptures including The Kiss, The Gates of Hell, The Burghers of Calais and the world famous The Thinker. This is one of the most beautiful museums in Paris and includes a rose garden, complete with fountain and outdoor café. There are also exhibitions of contemporary works hosted here at various times.
11. Luxembourg Gardens
These stunning gardens epitomize relaxed Parisian lifestyle. You are sure to find sun bathers, people picnicking, and kids racing sailboats. There are puppet shows, the city’s oldest merry-go-round, and lovely playgrounds for children. This is also a great place to cycle or jog if you want to get some exercise while in Paris. You could also just take a stroll past orchards and the beekeeping area where the subject is taught. Stop by the museum or grab some honey to take back with you to your hotel.
12. Musée Nissim de Camondo and Others
Smaller museums that are worth a visit include the Musée Nissim de Camondo, which is a refurbished home of a Parisian banker known for his love of art. There are other museums offering historical weapons, jewelry, art, and other objects that can be viewed. Some even have lovely little cafes where you can enjoy some Parisian cuisine. These include Musée de la Vie Romantique, Musée National Gustave Moreau, Musée d’Ennery, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature and Musée Guimet.
13. Fondation Louis Vuitton
This cultural center and museum houses a massive private collection, with pieces by Ellsworth Kelly, Sarah Morris, Gerhard Richter, Taryn Simon, and many more. The museum also houses temporary exhibits of contemporary art from many cultures and artists at different times.
14. Palais-Royal Gardens
Take a break from the hustle and bustle in the main streets and enjoy some of the elegant boutiques and serene gardens inside the walls of a 17th century palace. This was once a royal residence and is now home to antiquaries, perfumers, and designer boutiques. You can also a meal at the many restaurants and outdoor cafes in the area.
15. Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen
This is a 150-year old market, one of the oldest and largest in the world. You can find almost anything here. Vintage couture, a good book, gilded mirrors to antique luggage. The ambiance is something all on its own. Even if you aren’t buying, take a look at the remnants of the past along with fashions and furnishings from more modern eras. There are also some good eateries in the Marché aux Puces‘s alley ways.
16. Rue Saint-Honoré
This is the spot for shopping for fashion alongside famous people and celebrities from all over the world. This area houses big name French labels such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Goyard, Hermès and more along with stylish Balenciaga and Comme des Garçons. If the big brands are a little steeply priced for your pocket, you can also check out Zara and many other stylish brands. Take an afternoon to revel in the clothing and accessories that make Paris the fashion capital of the world.
17. St. Germain des Pres
Fancy some chocolate? This neighborhood has morphed into the home of the chocolatier. Featuring more than 20 world-class chocolate makers, you can delight in a huge selection of delicious bonbons, truffles, pralines, and more.
These are just some of the best things to do in Paris. There is so much to see and experience – history, art, culture, fashion, and French food. It’s not surprising why so many people fall in love with this romantic and beautiful city. To hear about our trip to London, Paris, and Scotland check out our show notes page.
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