45 Authentic Best Things to Do in Paris France in 2023
Last Updated on September 23, 2023.
Known as the city of light and the city of love, Paris, France is equally filled with both. The city is world-famous for its delectable gourmet cuisine, magnificent tree-lined boulevards, an eclectic art and cultural scene and of course, French wine. The beauty and ambiance of the French capital makes for an unforgettable getaway, especially since there’s so much to see and do.
Imagine strolling along the Seine, people-watching at a Parisian café, discovering one-of-a-kind finds at elegant, French boutiques and beyond! Here are some of the top activities, restaurants and wine bars you have to experience in Paris.
- Travel Logistics: Getting To and Around Paris
- Best Things to Do in Paris This Year
- Book Tickets & Activities in Advance Online Here
- Face Out
- Admire All the Art
- View the Eiffel Tower
- Go Wine Tasting
- Sample the Best French Restaurants in Paris
- Visit All the Famous Sites
- Ride on Two Wheels
- Peruse Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis
- Dress Like a Parisian
- Explore the Seine
- Catacombs of Paris
- Le Marais
- Jardin du Luxembourg
- Père Lachaise Cemetery
- Picnic at Champ de Mars
- Explore the Latin Quarter
- Visit Les Invalides
- Go to the Opera at Opera Garnier
- Stroll the Rue Mouffetard
- Le Bon Marché
- Take a Break From the City
- Get in More Green
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Things to Do in Paris
- What are the must-see things to do in Paris?
- How can I experience Paris like a local and discover hidden gems?
- What are some romantic things to do in Paris for couples?
- Where are some of the best places to go wine tasting in Paris for a unique and authentic experience?
- What are some day trips from Paris to nearby attractions?
- What are the best parks and gardens to visit in Paris?
- How do I get around Paris and what is the best mode of transportation?
- What are the best places to shop for fashion and souvenirs in Paris?
Travel Logistics: Getting To and Around Paris
Many airlines fly nonstop between several US cities and Paris like Delta, Air France and American. You can get updates as flight deals become available and check prices here for your travel dates.
Once in Paris, the Metro System is easy to navigate and affordable, with 16 different lines and over 300 stations.
For those who’d prefer a pickup, taxis and Uber vehicles are readily available. Take at prices for these beautiful hotel options in and around the heart of Paris (all are upscale/luxury options).
#Winetravelers keen on exploring the many nearby wine regions on a day trip should consider booking these top rated wine tastings in and around Paris.
Best Things to Do in Paris This Year
Book Tickets & Activities in Advance Online Here
It doesn’t matter what you eat or drink (although we advise coffee and macarons for those with a sweet tooth and duck confit and vin rouge for savory eaters), just make sure to do it while seated outdoors at a delightful Parisian café. Moreover, ensure your chairs are facing the sidewalk, a quintessential sign you’re in Paris. You might be squished in between other clientele, but this is the only way you can enjoy your glass of rosé and pomme frites like a true Parisian.
Admire All the Art
When asked about art in Paris, most people immediately think of the Louvre. While this is an exceptional museum that you could, in fact, spend weeks in, Paris has so many other wonderful places to see art.
Visit the Louvre
We know we mentioned the Louvre as the ideal place to visit for art, but yes, you should start with it. The Louvre Museum, nestled in the heart of Paris, is a treasure trove of artistic delights. As you step into this majestic palace-turned-museum, prepare to be whisked away into a world of unparalleled beauty and intrigue. With over 35,000 works of art on display, this magical place will captivate your senses and leave you yearning for more.
Much like the Parisian experience of savoring macarons and coffee at an outdoor café, the Louvre offers an authentic taste of French culture. As you meander through its grand halls, don’t be surprised to find yourself cheek-to-cheek with fellow art aficionados – this is all part of the experience, after all. Embrace the closeness, as it only adds to the enchanting atmosphere that permeates every corner of the museum.
Of course, no visit to the Louvre would be complete without basking in the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, admiring the elegant curves of the Venus de Milo, or losing yourself in the vast collection of masterpieces spanning from antiquity to the 19th century. Each step you take through this illustrious museum brings you closer to the creative genius that has shaped our world, offering a glimpse into the minds of the great artists who have walked before us.
As you wander the galleries, don’t forget to pause and simply take in the grandeur that surrounds you. Whether it’s the awe-inspiring ceilings, ornate staircases, or the subtle whispers of history echoing through the halls, the Louvre is a feast for the senses. So, just as you would revel in the delights of rosé and pomme frites at a Parisian café, take a moment to savor the richness of the art and culture that the Louvre so graciously offers. In doing so, you’ll be truly immersing yourself in the quintessential Parisian experience.
Ah, the Musée d’Orsay! A veritable haven for Impressionist fans and lovers of all things artistic. As you approach this exquisite museum, once the bustling Gare d’Orsay train station, prepare to be transported into a realm of color, light, and pure emotion. The building itself, with its striking Beaux-Arts architecture and lofty glass ceilings, is a masterpiece that sets the stage for the visual feast that awaits within.
Much like indulging in a warm, buttery croissant at a charming Parisian boulangerie, stepping into the Musée d’Orsay will fill your senses with delight. Picture yourself wandering its light-filled halls, rubbing elbows with fellow art connoisseurs, as you drink in the splendor of Monet’s Water Lilies, the vibrancy of Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhône, or the intensity of Renoir’s Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette.
The Musée d’Orsay is, quite simply, an Impressionist lover’s paradise. The museum’s enchanting collection also includes works by other renowned artists such as Cézanne, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec, among others. As you peruse each magnificent piece, you can’t help but feel the allure of the Impressionist movement – the allure that lies in its ability to capture fleeting moments in time, the very essence of life itself.
And while you immerse yourself in the captivating world of Impressionism, don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the museum’s unique setting. Much like sipping a glass of champagne at a cozy Parisian bar, the experience of the Musée d’Orsay is heightened by the ambiance of its former life as a train station. The grand clock that adorns the main hall serves as a gentle reminder of the passage of time, urging you to cherish each and every moment spent in this magical place.
The Musée Rodin, an enchanting oasis nestled amidst the bustling streets of Paris. As you enter this tranquil sanctuary, dedicated to the illustrious French sculptor Auguste Rodin, you’ll feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a secret garden, brimming with artistic treasures. The elegant 18th-century Hôtel Biron, which houses the museum, is a delightful setting to showcase Rodin’s mesmerizing works, including his iconic sculptures The Thinker and The Gates of Hell.
Take a leisurely stroll through the museum’s verdant gardens, where you’ll find Rodin’s masterpieces artfully arranged amidst the lush greenery, much like the delicacies of a Parisian pâtisserie displayed in a window. Here, you can bask in the dappled sunlight, surrounded by the whispers of the past and the timeless beauty of Rodin’s creations. As you breathe in the serene atmosphere, you’ll discover that the Musée Rodin offers not just an artistic experience, but a truly Parisian one – a harmonious blend of history, art, and the simple pleasure of enjoying life’s finest moments.
For the modern art aficionado, the Centre Pompidou is an unmissable destination that melds culture, creativity, and curiosity in the heart of Paris. As you approach this architectural marvel, with its unmistakable high-tech façade, you’ll feel a sense of excitement akin to that of discovering a hidden gem in a Parisian flea market. The Centre Pompidou’s innovative design, featuring its iconic exterior escalators and colorful tubes, is a bold statement of artistic ingenuity that sets the stage for the remarkable collection housed within.
Once inside, allow yourself to be swept away by the vast array of contemporary and modern masterpieces, much like a Parisian flâneur wandering the city streets, discovering treasures around every corner. The Centre Pompidou’s eclectic collection, which includes works by legendary artists such as Picasso, Kandinsky, and Duchamp, is sure to ignite your imagination and inspire deep appreciation for the boundless creativity of the human spirit. As you roam the galleries, don’t forget to step outside onto the terrace for a breathtaking view of the city, adding yet another layer of charm to this unforgettable Parisian experience.
Musée de l’Orangerie
A visit to the Musée de l’Orangerie offers a serene and intimate encounter with some of the most beloved masterpieces of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Nestled in the picturesque Tuileries Garden, this charming gallery is most famous for housing Claude Monet’s monumental Water Lilies series, displayed in two oval-shaped rooms designed specifically for these ethereal paintings.
As you step into the museum’s softly lit spaces, you’ll be enveloped in the mesmerizing beauty of Monet’s panoramic landscapes, which transport you to the tranquil gardens of his Giverny estate. The immersive experience of these enchanting water lily scenes invites you to contemplate the ephemeral nature of light, color, and reflection, as captured by Monet’s masterful brushstrokes.
In addition to Monet’s iconic works, the Musée de l’Orangerie also features an impressive collection of paintings by other renowned artists, such as Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, and Modigliani.
View the Eiffel Tower
No list of Paris activities would be complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Of course, getting up close or going up in the Eiffel is a very touristy activity, and if you plan to do so, get there early and buy any tickets ahead of time to avoid lines.
But we recommend seeing it from up above as an alternative — like from the top of the Arc de Triomphe or the from the Panoramic Observation Floor of Montparnasse Tower. Gazing at the glittering Paris skyline complete with this famous metal structure is an unforgettable moment. You can actually take an elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower now and sip Champagne while you digest the cityscape of Paris.
Go Wine Tasting
Obligatory for the #Winetraveler, be sure to hit some of Paris’s most famous wine bars and get your palate wet before exploring the rest of the city. Some of our favorites are included below:
Le Verre Volé
67 Rue de Lancry, 75010 Paris, France
Located in the trendy Canal Saint-Martin area, Le Verre Volé is a cozy, unpretentious wine bar with a carefully curated list of natural and organic wines. The knowledgeable staff will help you navigate the menu and find the perfect glass to suit your palate. Pair your wine with a selection of their delicious small plates for a delightful evening.
La Cave du Paul Bert
16 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris, France
Just a few steps away from its sister restaurant, the renowned Bistrot Paul Bert, La Cave du Paul Bert is a charming wine bar featuring an extensive list of French wines. The relaxed atmosphere and expert staff make it an ideal spot to explore regional wines while enjoying a selection of tasty charcuterie and cheeses.
Juveniles Wine Bar
47 Rue de Richelieu, 75001 Paris, France
Situated near the Palais-Royal, Juveniles Wine Bar is owned by Tim Johnston, a knowledgeable British expat with a passion for French wine. The welcoming atmosphere and eclectic wine list, which includes selections from lesser-known regions, make this a must-visit spot for wine enthusiasts. Be sure to try some of their delicious tapas-style dishes to complement your wine tasting experience.
Le Baron Rouge
1 Rue Théophile Roussel, 75012 Paris, France
Le Baron Rouge, a cherished Parisian institution, is a quintessential French wine bar tucked away in the bustling 12th arrondissement of Paris. Renowned for its convivial atmosphere and unpretentious charm, this cozy establishment draws locals and tourists alike to its welcoming, rustic interior adorned with wooden barrels and vintage wine memorabilia. At Le Baron Rouge, patrons can savor a curated selection of French wines by the glass or bottle, paired with an assortment of delectable charcuterie and cheese platters. A true gem for wine lovers and those seeking an authentic Parisian experience, Le Baron Rouge offers an inviting and memorable respite from the city’s fast-paced rhythm.
Sample the Best French Restaurants in Paris
Paris is a culinary paradise with a wide array of restaurants offering traditional French cuisine. Here are some of the best establishments where you can savor classic dishes, paired with the perfect wines:
Le Comptoir du Relais
9 Carr de l’Odéon, 75006 Paris, France
Located in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, this cozy bistro is known for its exceptional dishes, such as the slow-cooked beef cheek bourguignon. Pair this tender, flavorful dish with a glass of earthy, full-bodied red Burgundy for a sublime experience.
Chez L’Ami Jean
27 Rue Malar, 75007 Paris, France
This bustling Basque bistro in the 7th arrondissement offers hearty French classics with a touch of Basque influence. Don’t miss their famous duck confit, which pairs beautifully with a rich, smooth red Bordeaux wine.
Le Grand Véfour
17 Rue de Beaujolais, 75001 Paris, France
Nestled in the Palais-Royal gardens, this historic Michelin-starred restaurant is the epitome of French elegance. Indulge in their delicate sole meunière, and accompany it with a crisp, refreshing Chardonnay from Chablis to enhance the dish’s delicate flavors.
Bistrot Paul Bert
18 Rue Paul Bert, 75011 Paris, France
This quintessential Parisian bistro in the 11th arrondissement is renowned for its delicious, unpretentious dishes. Try their classic steak frites with a side of perfectly cooked green beans, and pair it with a bold, fruity red Côtes du Rhône for a true taste of France.
30 Rue Gay-Lussac, 75005 Paris, France
Les Papilles, nestled in the heart of Paris’ vibrant 5th arrondissement, is a delightful culinary oasis that combines a charming bistro with an enchanting épicerie and wine shop. The warm, intimate atmosphere of this rustic yet elegant venue invites patrons to indulge in a sumptuous, market-driven cuisine crafted by the skilled hands of its passionate chefs. Les Papilles’ ever-changing set menu showcases the freshest seasonal ingredients, transforming them into mouthwatering dishes that delight the senses. Adding to its allure, the establishment boasts an impressive selection of carefully chosen wines, which can be enjoyed on-site or purchased to take home.
Chez la Vieille
1 Rue Bailleul, 75001 Paris, France
Located near Les Halles, this intimate bistro offers a delightful array of traditional French fare. Savor their rich, comforting pot-au-feu, a slow-cooked beef and vegetable stew, and pair it with a glass of earthy, spicy red from the Loire Valley, such as a Chinon or Bourgueil.
Le Petit Pontoise
9 Rue de Pontoise, 75005 Paris, France
Situated in the Latin Quarter, this charming bistro is a favorite among locals for its authentic dishes and welcoming atmosphere. Enjoy their classic coq au vin, a slow-braised chicken in red wine sauce, accompanied by a glass of silky, elegant Pinot Noir from Burgundy.
9 Pl. des Vosges, 75004 Paris, France
For a truly luxurious dining experience, visit this three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Place des Vosges. Sample their exquisite langoustine ravioli with truffle sauce, and pair it with a vibrant, complex white Burgundy, such as a Meursault or Puligny-Montrachet, to elevate the dish to new heights.
Visit All the Famous Sites
You can’t skip out on the most famous monuments in Paris, so make it a point to see the Arc de Triomphe. Unfortunately, the famous medieval cathedral Notre-Dame was recently struck by fire and remains closed for repairs, but be sure to see the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Panthéon and of course, the famous street Champs-Élysées. See our next point for how to see all these spots in just a few hours.
The Champs-Élysées, often referred to as “the most beautiful avenue in the world,” is a magnificent boulevard stretching 1.9 kilometers (1.2 miles) from Place de la Concorde to the iconic Arc de Triomphe. Lined with picturesque trees and grand historic buildings, this renowned avenue is a bustling hub of Parisian life, drawing tourists and locals alike to its enticing array of shops, restaurants, theaters, and cafés.
As you walk the street, you’ll experience the vibrant energy of Paris, with its blend of luxury and charm. The avenue is home to flagship stores of famous brands, such as Louis Vuitton and Cartier, as well as the historic Lido cabaret and the famous Ladurée patisserie. The Champs-Élysées is not only a symbol of elegance and sophistication, but also a testament to the dynamic spirit of Paris, where history and modernity coexist in perfect harmony.
Arc de Triomphe
As you stroll down the elegant Champs-Élysées, the majestic Arc de Triomphe rises before you, a symbol of French pride and history. This iconic monument, commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to celebrate his victories, stands triumphantly at the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle. Its imposing presence and intricate reliefs, honoring French soldiers and their battles, command your attention as you draw nearer, much like the allure of a perfectly flaky croissant at a Parisian pâtisserie.
Venture to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, climbing the spiral staircase to the terrace, where you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of Paris. As you stand atop this emblematic landmark, the city unfolds before you, its boulevards radiating outwards like the spokes of a wheel. Gaze upon the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, and the sprawling metropolis beyond, and you’ll feel a sense of awe and connection to the rich tapestry of history that has shaped the City of Light. In that moment, the magic of Paris is palpable, and you’ll be reminded that the Arc de Triomphe is more than just a monument—it’s a testament to the enduring spirit of this extraordinary city.
The Sacré-Cœur Basilica, perched atop Montmartre’s highest point, is a striking architectural masterpiece that has become one of Paris’s most recognizable landmarks. With its white stone façade and domed silhouette, the basilica stands as a beacon of spirituality, offering a serene respite from the bustling city below. Constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Sacré-Cœur is a symbol of hope and redemption, built in response to the tumultuous period following the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune.
Visitors to the Sacré-Cœur can ascend the hill either by foot or via the funicular, and upon arrival, they are greeted with a breathtaking view of the Parisian skyline. Inside the basilica, the awe-inspiring mosaic of Christ in Majesty adorns the ceiling, while the serene atmosphere invites reflection and contemplation. Surrounding the Sacré-Cœur, the charming streets of Montmartre, once home to artists like Picasso and Van Gogh, offer a glimpse into the bohemian past of this historic neighborhood. The Sacré-Cœur Basilica is not only an architectural marvel but also a testament to the enduring spiritual and artistic heritage of the City of Light.
Panthéon in Paris
The Panthéon in Paris, an architectural masterpiece located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, is a must-visit for anyone seeking to explore the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. Originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, this neoclassical edifice now serves as a mausoleum for some of France’s most revered figures.
Upon entering the Panthéon, you’ll be struck by the grandeur of its soaring dome and intricate frescoes, which pay tribute to the great achievements of French history. Beneath the monument’s majestic vaults, you’ll discover the final resting place of an illustrious group of writers, scientists, and philosophers, including Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie.
Ride on Two Wheels
While wandering the Parisian streets is a lovely way to explore, Paris and its 20 arrondissements cover quite a bit of ground. If you want to see a good portion of it, rent a bike or even better, do a bike tour. Bike About Tour is a reputable tour company with expert guides offering both day and night cycling tours.
Peruse Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis
Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis are two natural islands nestled in the heart of Paris, surrounded by the meandering Seine River. Steeped in history and charm, these islands offer a unique and captivating glimpse into the soul of the city.
Île de la Cité is the birthplace of Paris, where the medieval city was founded. As you peruse its narrow streets, you’ll encounter some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, such as the magnificent Notre-Dame Cathedral, with its intricate gothic architecture, and the Sainte-Chapelle, renowned for its exquisite stained-glass windows. Other notable attractions include the Conciergerie, a former royal palace turned prison, and the bustling flower market, Marché aux Fleurs, where vibrant blooms brighten the historic setting.
A short stroll away lies the enchanting Île Saint-Louis, connected to Île de la Cité by the charming Pont Saint-Louis. This island offers a more tranquil and residential atmosphere, with its elegant 17th-century mansions, tree-lined quays, and quiet courtyards. As you wander the cobblestone streets, you’ll discover a range of quaint boutiques, art galleries, and cozy cafés, perfect for enjoying a leisurely coffee or a scoop of the famous Berthillon ice cream.
Dress Like a Parisian
Obviously, you’re going to want to come home looking more fashionable than before you left. Paris is one of the most stylish cities in the world, and if you want to shop the big brands, then head to Champs-Élysées or Rue de Commerce. For more boutique, one-of-a-kind finds, wander along Rue de Charonne. Vintage hunters should stop into the many thrift and vintage shops located throughout Le Marais.
Explore the Seine
Walking along France’s second-largest river is a relaxing way to spend the afternoon. Then, take a dinner or drinks cruise along the waterway to see the sparkling lights of Paris by night, this particular cruise also includes Champagne while you cross under the many bridges over the Seine.
Montmartre, a historic and picturesque neighborhood perched atop a hill in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, is a must-visit destination for wine travelers. With its narrow, winding streets, ivy-covered walls, and village-like atmosphere, Montmartre provides an enchanting backdrop for those seeking to explore the rich history and culture of French wine.
The neighborhood’s connection to wine dates back to Roman times when vineyards covered the hillsides. Today, Montmartre is home to one of the last remaining vineyards in Paris, Clos Montmartre, which has been producing wine since the 1930s. Each year, the neighborhood celebrates its winemaking heritage with the Fête des Vendanges, a lively grape harvest festival featuring tastings, food, music, and other festivities.
In addition to its historical vineyard, Montmartre boasts a variety of charming wine bars and bistros, where wine enthusiasts can sample a diverse selection of French wines while soaking in the neighborhood’s artistic and bohemian atmosphere. The area has long been a haven for artists, with famous painters like Picasso and Van Gogh once calling Montmartre home. As you wander the cobblestone streets, you’ll discover numerous art studios, galleries, and museums, including the iconic Salvador Dalí exhibition and the Montmartre Museum, which further enrich your wine-centric journey through this captivating neighborhood.
Not sure you’re ready to navigate Montmartre on your own? Travel with a local and book a guided walking food and wine tour for an intimate and immersive night out.
Catacombs of Paris
A visit to the Catacombs of Paris offers a fascinating and eerie journey into the city’s subterranean depths, providing a unique perspective on the history and culture of the French capital. This vast network of underground tunnels, which spans over 200 miles beneath the streets of Paris, houses the remains of more than six million people, earning its moniker as the “Empire of the Dead.”
The Catacombs were created in the late 18th century in response to the overcrowding of Parisian cemeteries and the resulting public health issues. As you descend the spiral staircase into the dimly lit passageways, you’ll be struck by the sheer scale of the ossuary, with walls lined with meticulously arranged skulls and bones. The eerie atmosphere is contrasted with thought-provoking quotes and inscriptions on mortality and the passage of time, inviting visitors to contemplate the fleeting nature of life.
A guided tour of the Catacombs will provide insight into the history, legends, and engineering feats behind this remarkable subterranean world, while also illuminating the stories of the people whose remains rest within its chambers. This unique attraction offers a captivating and educational experience that you won’t find anywhere else, making it well worth the visit for those seeking to uncover the lesser-known side of Paris. Get skip the line and special access to the Catacombs with these tickets right here.
Le Marais, nestled in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris, is an essential stop for anyone seeking to experience the city’s rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant atmosphere. This charming neighborhood, characterized by its narrow cobblestone streets, elegant architecture, and hidden courtyards, offers a captivating blend of past and present that is quintessentially Parisian.
One of the primary draws of Le Marais is its remarkable preservation of historic architecture. The area is home to some of the city’s oldest buildings, including the stunning Hôtel de Ville and the exquisite Hôtel de Sully. As you wander through the neighborhood, you’ll discover a wealth of beautifully restored 17th-century mansions, once inhabited by French nobility, alongside contemporary art galleries and boutiques.
Le Marais is also renowned for its cultural diversity. The neighborhood is home to the city’s historic Jewish quarter, featuring the moving Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation and the vibrant Rue des Rosiers, where you can savor delicious falafel and traditional Jewish pastries. Additionally, Le Marais has emerged as the epicenter of LGBTQ+ culture in Paris, with a lively array of bars, clubs, and cafés that cater to the community.
Aside from its rich history and cultural offerings, Le Marais is a shopping and dining paradise. The neighborhood boasts an array of trendy boutiques, high-end designer stores, and open-air markets, as well as a fantastic selection of restaurants, bistros, and wine bars that cater to all tastes and budgets.
Jardin du Luxembourg
The Jardin du Luxembourg, a sprawling 25-hectare park nestled in the heart of the Left Bank, is an essential stop for anyone seeking a tranquil oasis within the bustling city of Paris. Created in the early 17th century for Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV, this beautifully landscaped garden offers a perfect blend of French and English styles, with meticulously manicured lawns, vibrant flower beds, and elegant statues that pay homage to French royalty and cultural icons.
Visiting the Jardin du Luxembourg allows you to experience a slice of Parisian life, as locals and tourists alike come to enjoy the park’s various attractions. From the serene Medici Fountain to the charming vintage carousel, the garden offers something for everyone. Children can sail model boats on the picturesque pond, while adults relax with a good book or engage in a game of chess under the canopy of shady trees. The park is also home to the French Senate, housed in the stunning Luxembourg Palace, which serves as a striking architectural backdrop to the lush greenery. With its beautiful landscape, rich history, and vibrant atmosphere, the Jardin du Luxembourg is an essential stop for a truly immersive Parisian experience.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery, located in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, is an essential stop for those seeking a serene and historically rich experience within the city. Established in 1804 by Napoleon Bonaparte, this vast 44-hectare cemetery is the final resting place for many of history’s most notable figures, as well as an exceptional example of funerary art and architecture.
As you meander through the labyrinthine pathways of Père Lachaise, you’ll encounter the ornate tombs and memorials of famous individuals such as Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Frédéric Chopin, and Jim Morrison. The cemetery is also home to poignant monuments dedicated to the victims of war and persecution, serving as a poignant reminder of the city’s complex past. Amidst the array of sculptures, mausoleums, and stone crosses, you’ll find yourself enveloped in an atmosphere of quiet reflection, where the veil between art, history, and mortality is gracefully interwoven.
Picnic at Champ de Mars
A picnic at the Champ de Mars is an essential experience for anyone seeking to embrace the quintessential Parisian lifestyle, offering a delightful combination of relaxation, stunning views, and the simple pleasures of French cuisine. This expansive green space, stretching between the Eiffel Tower and the École Militaire, provides an idyllic setting for an alfresco meal amidst the iconic backdrop of the City of Light.
As you lay out your picnic blanket and unpack your carefully curated selection of French delicacies, such as crusty baguettes, flavorful cheeses, ripe fruit, and perhaps a bottle of wine, you’ll be swept up in the convivial atmosphere that defines Parisian joie de vivre. Surrounded by locals and tourists alike, all reveling in the warmth of a sunny afternoon or the enchanting glow of the Eiffel Tower at dusk, you’ll find yourself immersed in a truly unforgettable experience.
Explore the Latin Quarter
Exploring the Latin Quarter, located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, is an essential experience for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and intellectual heritage. This bustling neighborhood, which takes its name from the Latin language once spoken by the scholars of the nearby Sorbonne University, is a captivating blend of medieval charm, lively cafés, and winding cobblestone streets, making it an irresistible destination for curious travelers.
As you wander through the Latin Quarter’s maze of narrow streets and hidden squares, you’ll encounter a wealth of architectural treasures, such as the stunning Notre-Dame Cathedral, the ancient Roman ruins of the Arènes de Lutèce, and the historic Saint-Étienne-du-Mont church. The neighborhood is also home to a diverse array of bookshops, galleries, and cinemas, reflecting its longstanding reputation as a hub of creativity and intellectual pursuits. Savor the lively atmosphere of the famous Shakespeare & Company bookstore or indulge in the culinary delights of the bustling Rue Mouffetard market, where you can sample a delectable assortment of French cuisine.
Visit Les Invalides
A visit to Les Invalides, an impressive complex of buildings located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, is an essential experience for anyone seeking to delve into the city’s rich military history and marvel at the grandeur of French architecture. Originally constructed in the 17th century as a hospital and retirement home for war veterans, this sprawling site has evolved into a renowned hub of military museums, monuments, and the final resting place of some of France’s most celebrated figures.
As you explore the magnificent grounds of Les Invalides, you’ll be struck by the sheer scale and elegance of the structures, particularly the iconic golden dome of the Dôme des Invalides, which houses the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. The complex is also home to the Musée de l’Armée, a vast museum that showcases an impressive collection of military artifacts, armor, and weapons, spanning from the Middle Ages to the present day. You’ll find yourself immersed in the stories and history of the French military and the nation’s complex relationship with conflict and conquest.
Go to the Opera at Opera Garnier
Attending an opera at the Opéra Garnier, also known as the Palais Garnier, is an essential experience for anyone seeking to indulge in the elegance, grandeur, and cultural richness of Paris. Located in the 9th arrondissement, this architectural masterpiece was designed by Charles Garnier and inaugurated in 1875. With its opulent façade, resplendent interiors, and breathtaking auditorium, the Opéra Garnier stands as a testament to the city’s dedication to the arts and its enduring love affair with beauty and refinement.
As you ascend the magnificent Grand Staircase and step into the lavish auditorium, adorned with a dazzling chandelier and a mesmerizing ceiling painted by Marc Chagall, you’ll be transported to a world of enchantment and wonder. The Opéra Garnier’s world-class performances, which include a diverse repertoire of operas, ballets, and concerts, provide an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the magic of the performing arts. Whether you’re a seasoned opera aficionado or a curious first-time attendee, the sheer splendor and captivating atmosphere of the Opéra Garnier will leave you with a lasting impression of the city’s passion for artistic excellence.
Stroll the Rue Mouffetard
Strolling along the Rue Mouffetard, located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, is an essential experience for anyone seeking to discover the charm and vibrancy of one of the city’s most beloved streets. Often referred to as “La Mouffe” by locals, this lively cobblestone street is steeped in history, having been an important thoroughfare since Roman times, and offers a captivating blend of traditional shops, bustling market stalls, and cozy cafés.
As you meander through the vibrant heart of Rue Mouffetard, you’ll be delighted by the array of tempting culinary offerings that line the street. From fragrant boulangeries with their freshly baked bread and pastries to bustling fromageries with their impressive selection of cheeses, the street is a paradise for food lovers. Stop by one of the many colorful market stalls, where you can find everything from fresh produce and fish to specialty products like olive oil and spices, and create your own perfect Parisian picnic to enjoy in one of the nearby parks.
Rue Mouffetard is not only a culinary haven, but it also boasts a lively atmosphere that draws locals and tourists alike. In the evenings, the street comes alive with the sounds of laughter and music spilling out from the numerous bars, bistros, and live music venues.
Le Bon Marché
Le Bon Marché, situated in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, is an essential destination for anyone seeking to experience the sophistication, luxury, and elegance of Parisian shopping. Established in 1852 by Aristide Boucicaut, this iconic department store is often hailed as the world’s first modern shopping emporium and continues to set the standard for high-end retail in the City of Light.
As you enter the striking building, designed by architect Louis-Charles Boileau and the famous engineer Gustave Eiffel, you’ll be instantly captivated by the vast selection of luxurious goods and refined atmosphere. Le Bon Marché is renowned for its meticulously curated assortment of high-end fashion, beauty products, accessories, and homewares from both established and emerging designers. The store’s innovative displays and impeccable customer service ensure that every visit feels like a uniquely indulgent experience.
In addition to its fashion-forward offerings, Le Bon Marché is also home to La Grande Épicerie de Paris, one of the city’s most prestigious gourmet food markets. Here, you’ll discover a veritable treasure trove of culinary delights, including exquisite chocolates, rare spices, and artisanal cheeses, as well as an exceptional wine cellar stocked with some of the world’s finest vintages.
Take a Break From the City
We all need to escape the busy city sometimes. Consider a day trip to a spot like Palace of Versailles (priority access tickets at this link), or the Gardens of Giverny or go to Champagne to drink, you guessed it…champagne! A day in the French countryside will give you a feel of the real France, and not just the big city.
Get in More Green
If you don’t have time for a day trip, you can still explore some of the green spaces in Paris for a nature break. A picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens as we mentioned before gives you the best of green grass, snacks and wine. Taking a break to see the Tuileries Gardens or the Jardins du Trocadéro (with Eiffel Tower views) allow you to see some trees and flowers while right in the middle of the city.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Things to Do in Paris
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