I first fell in love with Paris back in 2008, when I visited with my sister. Everything about the city was so charming and beautiful and chic! We stayed for four days but it wasn’t enough for me – I have ALWAYS wanted to go back for another visit. So when my husband and I decided to go on our 45-day vacay, naturally I had to make Paris our first stop!
We spent five days in Paris, staying at the Timhotel Boulogne-Billancourt – a short walk to the Marcel Sembat Métro station, which gets you into downtown Paris quickly. But our neighborhood was pretty great too – full of restaurants and stores and a park nearby.
I was already in love with Paris and it didn’t take long for my hubby to fall in love with it too. There’s natural beauty everywhere, especially in the Fall. The art and architecture alone is stunning. The food and drink is amazing. And don’t get me started on the shopping! We wandered the streets all day, awed by the sights and the beauty. Plus, Paris is so romantic, without even trying. It’s certainly the place to go with a loved one!
So how do you wax poetic about one of your favorite places in the world, in just one blog post? The short answer is, you can’t. It’s virtually impossible to cover everything that’s great to see and do in Paris because there is so much that’s great to see and do! I lived in New York City for a decade and still never run out of new things to see and do there. Paris basically is the chic, European version of that. Between the sights, shopping, art, dining, people-watching and nightlife, there are endless things you can get into. There’s never a dull moment in Paris!
Here’s a list of 25 things to do and see in Paris. (Many of them I’ve already seen and done but there are still a few that I need to do next time I head to France – hopefully this year!)
- See the Eiffel Tower (of course) – It’s Paris’ most famous landmark. You can walk around and take photos of it from every angle imaginable, or pay to take the elevator to the second level or all the way to the top. The view from the top is amazing but be warned – it is VERY tourist heavy so if you don’t like crowds, you may want to hang out at the base.
- Learn to tango on the Trocadero – we spotted a dance meetup happening right on the platform across from the Eiffel Tower. Who wouldn’t want to learn to dance in front of a view like that?!
- Visit the Louvre – Whether you’re a DaVinci Code fan who wants to see one of the major spots mentioned in the book, want to see the Mona Lisa up close and personal, or just want to do the typical touristy shot posing with your finger touching the tip top of the glass pyramid, the Louvre is a must-visit museum.
- Walk the Avenue des Champs-Élysées – It’s said to be the most beautiful street in the world and I have to agree! Especially when the weather is great, and the flowers in bloom and the trees and bushes are a bright, beautiful green. Plus, it’s a shopper’s paradise, with both luxury and fast-fashion stores, and restaurants to grab a bite and rest your feet.
- Eat at Laduree – Macarons are a sweet symbol of Paris and this is the place to go to get your fix of the colorful pastry. Plus, they have a restaurant with yummy meals and creative cocktails and of course, a full dessert menu if you still have room after the macarons!
- Visit the Arc de Triomphe – One of Paris’ most famous monuments which sits at the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle, at the end of Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Use the underpass to get to the center and get tickets to go up to the top to see the museum and enjoy the view!
- Have a café au lait (or wine) and a Croque-Monsieur at a sidewalk café – There are plenty of cafes to choose from and of course in Paris, the coffee and sandwiches are divine! Pull up a chair out front for some chill people watching.
- Take a stroll through Montmarte – This large hill in Paris’s 18th arrondissement is part of the Right Bank where you can take in panoramic views of the Paris skyline from atop. Plus, you can check out some local art and have your portrait drawn by one of many artists wandering throughout the neighborhood.
- Visit the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur – a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, located at the summit of Montmartre, the highest point in the city.
- Visit the Espace Dalí – Any art lover will enjoy this permanent Salvador Dalí exhibition featuring 300 of his original works, like sculptures and engravings. The museum can be found near the Place du Tertre in Montmartre.
- See a show at Moulin Rouge – the famed cabaret is a popular spot in the Pigalle district of Paris on Boulevard de Clichy to check out live music and entertainment. Get tickets to see the most famous Can-Can show in the legendary building with a red windmill on its roof.
- Visit the Pont des Arts – Often called the “Love Locks” bridge, it’s the place to go to declare your undying love! Although in the past year, they have been cracking down on the locks since they’re weighing the bridge down, you can still stop by and see the thousands of locks already left on the bridge, and take in the view of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
- Take a bike ride through Le Bois de Boulogne park – Nestled in the Boulogne Billancourt area is this beautiful park that puts Central Park to shame! You can rent a bike from one of the many public stations (helmets are not included).
- Shop at the Galeries Lafayette – there’s no shortage of places to shop in Paris but one of the best is this famous French department store located on Boulevard Haussmann.
- Cruise the canal – Venice and Amsterdam aren’t the only places famous for their canals. Head down the Seine and into Canal Saint-Martin to tour France’s version.
- Eat at Kong – Sex and the City fans will recognize this restaurant as the chic eatery where Carrie lunched with Alexandr Petrovsky’s ex-wife. The restaurant features floor-to-ceiling glass windows so you can get great views of the city.
- Take the Bustronome – A tour bus serving a four-course lunch or six-course dinner while simultaneously taking you on a tour of Paris’ most iconic sites!
- See the Tuileries Garden – This large, beautiful public garden can be found between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement.
- Visit the Château de Versailles or one of many other châteaus – Paris is full of these breathtakingly beautiful castles. (See a full list here.)
- Take a ride on a carousel – Paris is full of beautiful carousels but the one across from the Eiffel Tower is said to be the prettiest!
- Visit the Musée d’Orsay – A museum housed in a former railway station featuring mostly French art including the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works by Cézanne, Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Seurat and Van Gogh.
- Try a French baguette – We saw people lined up at various boluangeries early on Sunday morning, grabbing some freshly-baked French bread!
- Visit the Cathédrale Notre Dame – One of the most historic Catholic cathedrals in Paris
- Head to Rue de Rivoli – Tons of great shopping, restaurants and energy!
- Take the Métro around the city and get lost! – The Paris Métro is fairly easy to follow and there are stops all over the city and points beyond. Take the train and just get off at a random stop and explore!
What are your ‘must-do’s and ‘must-sees’ in Paris?