Planning a trip in Paris and looking for unique activities to make the most out of the French capital? Discover 30 must-see attractions to visit in Paris here!
Getting Lost in the Louvre Museum
You can’t visit Paris without dedicating at least one day to exploring the world’s largest museum: the Louvre. With its numerous wings, it promises a delightful afternoon. Whether you’re into paintings, engravings, jewelry, textiles, or furniture, you’re bound to find a work of art that speaks directly to your heart.
Picnicking at La Villette
When summer comes around, Parisians head to the 19th district to soak up the sun at La Villette. This vast park, constructed by Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann, is now a thriving cultural space combining gardens, water basins, and even a grand hall with a timeless style hosting concerts and exhibitions. Simply put, it’s impossible to get bored at La Villette, especially with friends!
Brunch in a Parisian Hotel
Paris is renowned worldwide for the sophistication of its prestigious hotels. Among the most famous are the Ritz, the Bristol, the Meurice, the George V, and the Plaza Athénée. While a night in one of these luxury destinations can be pricey, few people know that you can enjoy brunch just by walking into the lobby of many of these hotels. Among the most esteemed palace brunches, we recommend La Bauhinia at Shangri-La or the brunch at Café de la Paix.
Having a Snack at Angelina
There are many iconic cafes and spots in Paris. Angelina tops this list, and we strongly advise you to pay it a visit. Located on Rue de Rivoli, across from the Tuileries Garden, this tea room is highly popular. Often, you’ll need to patiently wait in line for several minutes before gaining entry. Once inside, you’re in for a treat. We recommend trying the signature Mont-Blanc and the house’s delicious fraisier dessert.
Climbing to the Top of the Arc de Triomphe
Many aren’t aware, but the Arc de Triomphe isn’t just to be admired from the Champs-Elysées. You can also visit and climb to the top! With its 284 steps, the ascent might be a bit tiring but offers a breathtaking view of Paris. What’s more, it’s free for EU residents aged 18-25! So, don’t hesitate to explore this iconic French monument built under Napoleon I to commemorate the victory at Austerlitz.
Getting Your Portrait Drawn in Montmartre
When one mentions Montmartre, many immediately think of the stunning Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur and the cityscape view. However, Montmartre has always been, and remains, an artists’ neighborhood. Head over to Place du Tertre, where for a few euros, you can have your portrait sketched or caricatured by Parisian painters and illustrators. It’s a delightful experience that guarantees smiles and self-mockery.
Discovering the City by Bike
On a sunny day, there’s nothing better than exploring Paris by bike. The city offers everyone the Vélib (bicycles available for public use) which you can rent for just half an hour or several hours. In recent years, the Paris City Hall has introduced numerous bike paths throughout the capital, making it a joy to meander through on two wheels. Enjoy cycling down the Champs-Elysées, crossing Rue de Rivoli, or exploring the Seine riverbanks!
Taking a Coffee Break at Petit Palais
If your stroll takes you near the Alexandre III Bridge, close to the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, why not stop for a break at the best-located café in the area? Head inside the Petit Palais (entrance is free) to enjoy a coffee in one of the most beautiful indoor terraces in all of Paris. It’s a spot not yet widely known, so make the most of it!
Challenging Yourself to Climb the Eiffel Tower on Foot
Now, that’s an exciting challenge! Experience the world’s most famous monument on foot, without an elevator. While the third floor isn’t open to the public, you can still climb up to the Tower’s second floor and its 674 steps. On average, it takes a short hour to reach it and enjoy a panoramic view of Paris.
Enjoying a Bertillon Ice Cream on Île Saint-Louis
Ah, Île Saint-Louis! Undoubtedly one of the capital’s most beautiful spots. Located in the heart of Paris, this island boasts stunning residences, prestigious cafés and bistros, and most notably, Paris’s most famous ice cream parlor: Bertillon. Queue up to savor 2 or 3 scoops of your choice in a large cone while sitting on the quays or on a bench overlooking central Paris. A delicious break in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Taking a Virtual Tour of Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral
Though the Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral tragically burned in 2019 and is still not open to the public, you can still visit and even travel back in time. How? By taking advantage of the “Eternelle Notre-Dame” exhibition. Head to the monument’s plaza in Paris or to the Cité de l’Histoire at La Défense to put on a virtual reality headset and rediscover the cathedral as it was during its construction over 850 years ago. A unique experience!
Strolling Down Rue Mouffetard
Located in the 5th district, one of the most historic in Paris, Rue Mouffetard is a haven for foodies. Stopping here and there to sample a crepe, sip on some wine, or discover delectable pastries, you might take over an hour to wander down this charming street all the way to Place Saint-Médard. A perfect blend of exploring Paris’s beautiful neighborhoods and indulging in treats on a lovely afternoon!
Exploring the Catacombs
The catacombs are shrouded in mystery, a vast network of over 300km of underground galleries. Over time, they’ve evolved to house both ossuaries and sewer systems. If you wish to explore them safely, you can visit the sections open to the public, accessible from Denfert-Rochereau. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not…
Try Café de Flore and Les Deux-Magots
Croissant or chocolate bread (pain au chocolat)? Left bank or right bank? Paris loves its debates. In the famous Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, two iconic and rival cafes stand: Café de Flore and Les Deux-Magots. Both became renowned as hangouts for various famous figures. From philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre to artists like Pablo Picasso, and personalities such as Juliette Greco or Ernest Hemingway: each had their favorite spot. Which will be yours?
Savor a Parisian Bouillon
Have you heard of the Parisian bouillons? Originally, these were humble establishments serving meat “bouillons” to Parisian workers in a warm setting. Today, some of these restaurants still operate, offering quintessential French dishes in a rustic ambiance at unbeatable prices! $9 for beef bourguignon! So, don’t hesitate to lunch at Bouillon Julien or Petit Bouillon Pharamond, for instance.
Discover Paris from the Heights of Saint-Cloud
Sometimes you need to step outside of Paris to get a better view. What a paradox! That’s what the Saint-Cloud park offers, just a few minutes from the capital’s center. Besides its inherent beauty, it overlooks Paris, providing a perfect vantage point. An excellent idea for a sunny afternoon stroll. In summer evenings, they even organize open-air cinemas.
Enjoy One of the Capital’s Many Wine Bars
Wine is arguably one of France’s finest creations. Yet, with so many domains, appellations, and regions, choosing a wine (and the right dish to accompany it) can be a challenge. Our advice: spend an evening in one of the capital’s numerous wine bars. The owners, often enthusiasts, will gladly introduce you to their favorite wines based on your palate, paired perfectly with delicious French charcuterie or cheese.
Experience a Food Tour or a Horror Tour
Why not trust a guide for a memorable Paris experience? If you’re a food lover, consider a food tour through Parisian streets. From delightful pastries to concept stores and hidden gems, you’re in for a treat! If you’re more into evening outings and a bit of a thrill, you’ll love the horror tour, discovering Paris’s spine-chilling tales narrated by a macabre guide. The choice is yours.
Read in One of Paris’s Most Beautiful Gardens
“To be surprised is one of the surest ways not to age too quickly.” This is one of the many quotes engraved on the benches of the Palais-Royal garden, one of Paris’s most historical and beautiful locations. From being a symbol of royalty, then a bastion for revolutionaries, and later Napoleon, the Palais-Royal is now one of Paris’s loveliest gardens. It’s a place to stroll, people-watch, read, or simply relax.
Strolling through Le Bon Marché
Ah, the grand Parisian department stores! One could get lost for entire afternoons. While many favor the famous dome of the Galeries Lafayette, the Christmas displays of Printemps, or the trendy shops of BHV, we have a soft spot for the unique ambiance of Paris’s first major department store: Le Bon Marché! Lose yourself wandering through the aisles of this vast building and explore the top floors for the latest Parisian décor trends. And don’t miss the Grande Epicerie de Paris in the basement, where you’ll find products from all over France!
Having a Péniche party
Forget the tourist-packed Bateaux-Mouches. The best way to enjoy Paris from the Seine is to partake in the evening events on the trendy péniches (riverboats). Some popular ones among the party-loving Parisians include the Batofar, J’peux pas, j’ai péniche, and Mademoiselle Mouche! Most of the time, expect cocktails, street food, Seine cruises, and DJ sets all night long. Cheers!
Visiting the Emperor’s Tomb
If there’s one French figure whose fame has transcended centuries and oceans, it’s Napoleon Bonaparte. Both adored and criticized, he shaped modern-day France and Europe. Inside the war museum at Les Invalides, you can admire the emperor’s tomb, centrally placed in this Parisian monument he had ordered built to care for his injured soldiers. A deep dive into France’s history.
Exploring the Parisian Passages
Paris’s covered passageways are genuine historical gems nestled in the city’s heart. These galleries, often boasting stunning architecture, seem to have leapt straight out of a 19th-century novel. From the Passage Jouffroy with its vintage shops to the Passage des Panoramas, the oldest of them all, each turn holds a surprise. Ideal for a leisurely walk away from street noise, these passageways offer a timeless escape, blending vintage charm with unique discoveries. A hidden and essential facet of Paris!
Admiring the Best View of Paris
Standing at a height of 210 meters, the Montparnasse Tower undoubtedly offers one of the most breathtaking views of Paris. From its top, you get a 360° panorama covering all the capital’s treasures. From the gleaming roofs of the Opéra Garnier to the gothic spires of Notre-Dame and the majestic Eiffel Tower standing proud amidst the urban landscape, every sight is mesmerizing. In the evening, as city lights illuminate one by one, the experience becomes even more magical. Above the street’s hustle and bustle, the Montparnasse Tower’s terrace is perfect for capturing the sheer grandeur and beauty of Paris.
Visiting the Sainte-Chapelle
A masterpiece of radiant Gothic architecture, the Sainte-Chapelle is an architectural wonder located on the Île de la Cité. Built in the 13th century by Saint Louis to house significant relics, including Christ’s Crown of Thorns, it astonishes with its intricate design and exceptional stained glass windows. Upon entering, one is instantly captivated by the 15 towering windows, tinted in blues, reds, and golds, narrating biblical episodes and filling the space with ethereal light. At sunset, when sunrays penetrate these windows, the sight is utterly magical. The Sainte-Chapelle is not just a place of worship: it’s an invitation for a spiritual and aesthetic journey into medieval Paris. An absolute must for lovers of history and art.
Taking a Trip to Versailles!
Just a stone’s throw from the capital, the Palace of Versailles is an unmissable royal getaway. This 17th-century masterpiece, with its renowned Hall of Mirrors and flawless gardens, vividly testifies to the grandeur of the French monarchy. During a visit, you’re transported back in time, from the splendors of King Louis XIV’s court to the nobility’s intrigues. An absolute gem not far from Paris.
Wandering through the Marché des Enfants Rouges
Tucked away in the Marais, the Marché des Enfants Rouges is Paris’s oldest covered market, established in 1628. With its vibrant stalls and welcoming atmosphere, it’s the perfect place for a culinary journey. Whether tasting exotic dishes, purchasing fresh local products, or simply soaking in the typical Parisian vibe, this market is a must-visit. It’s an invitation to traverse flavors and cultures while strolling through its bustling lanes. A truly Parisian experience!
Discovering the Atelier des Lumières
Located in a former Parisian foundry, the Atelier des Lumières is much more than an art gallery. Here, art is experienced and felt immersively. Digital projections bring masterpieces to life on walls, floors, and ceilings, engulfing you in a whirlwind of colors and motion. Each exhibition offers a unique sensory experience, where music and art meld to stir and inspire. A stone’s throw from Bastille, this artistic escape is a must-visit for those seeking a fresh way to appreciate art in Paris. The first Atelier des Lumières was created right in Paris.
Chilling at Rosa Bonheur sur Seine
Nestled at the Port des Invalides, the Rosa Bonheur sur Seine is a staple for those looking to escape Parisian bustle without leaving the city. Drawing inspiration from traditional French open-air dance halls, this iconic place mixes friendship, music, and relaxation by the Seine. Whether you’re sipping a cocktail while watching the sun set over the river, dancing to lively tunes, or simply enjoying an evening with friends, Rosa Bonheur is the place to be. Its festive, laid-back atmosphere makes it a must for anyone wanting to experience the Parisian “art de vivre.” A true haven of joy in the city’s heart.
Walking along the Coulée verte René-Dumont
Discover Paris in a novel way by strolling the Coulée verte René-Dumont, also known as the “Promenade Plantée”. Built on an old railway track, this 5 km urban oasis combines suspended gardens, green tunnels, and panoramic views. A real sanctuary in the city’s heart, it’s perfect for a green escape away from urban hustle.
After these 30 suggestions, there’s no chance of getting bored in Paris. But don’t limit yourself to this list. Remember, Paris is a city of countless secrets. Every street corner, every neighborhood has its own story and wonders to offer. So, let curiosity guide you, get lost on cobbled streets, and keep exploring the world’s most beautiful city!