10 Best Things to Do in Paris, France

A city of ancient art and a great place to travel, Paris has one of the oldest and the most enriched history and a beautiful culture. Once you start composing your own list of things to do in Paris, you are going to notice one thing. Namely, you will only have a limited amount of time and a lot of things that need to be done. But that's okay!

That just means you won't spend a dull moment in Paris. And with a bit of good planning and organization, you will be able to find enough time for all the items from our list. Also known as the city of light, Paris is undoubtedly one of the world's cultural centers and one of the most visited cities in the world. We do not doubt that, once you see the City of Light, you will want to return.

Imagine walking through its cobbled streets of the Bois de Boulogne or elegant avenues, touring the Seine in bateau mouche, enjoying a coffee and delicious croissants in the traditional Café de Flore. If you are thinking of what more there is in store for you, Paris plays a host to many festivals throughout the year and in case you are short of time, it's one of our most sincere travel tips that you take the time to visit them.

But Paris is much more than just impressive architecture and incredible people. It's a unique feeling and atmosphere that can be felt only when walking down the Parisian streets. And, try walking as much as you can. A lot of the charm you’ll find in Paris has much more to do with things that are not tourist traps/destinations.

It's one of the best destinations in France for foodies. And it's a place that is bound to leave you speechless. Go along the Canal Saint Martin, discover the authentic streets of the Marais, eat a croissant in the morning in a good boulangerie artisanale, have a lunch in a small bistro, wine and cheese plate in a wine bar.

Cafes, shopping in the Marais and cultural treasures at every street corner - Paris never goes out of style. It also kept many world events - did you know that one of the world's largest marathon held here? Sunday, April 5, 2020 hosts the 55,000 runners Champs Elysees, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.

The capital city, along the Seine River, is among the most visited tourist destinations in the world. Lovestruck couples, fashionistas, master chefs, history buffs, and artists from all over the world throng this metropolis in all seasons. It has the Eiffel Tower, Disneyland, Pantheon, and landscaped gardens, museums, and churches.

The weather is pleasant throughout the year. All one needs to do is to dress well like the French, and walk in the artistic boulevards. Bakeries and cafes are spread throughout the city. One can relish on a slice of chocolate cake and have red wine or a hot cup of espresso. Almost all street pillars have statues of horses, nymphs, and cherubs.

The city has many attractions, which include the Palace of Versailles, Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre museum. In the art galleries here, one gets to see famous works of legends like Leonarda Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Monet, Pissarro, etc.

things to do in paris

The next time you visit Paris, keep these best things to do in Paris in mind.

1. Getting around Trocadero

A lot of people fall in love with this Parisian landmark that they decide to make Paris their permanent home. And if you are preparing for your move to Europe from America, from South Asia to France or really any other location, it will certainly help to know that you will be moving to a place that has left many an artist impressed and stunned.

The city can be covered on foot, just wear some comfortable shoes and that’ll be it. Every corner is beautiful and Instagrammable in Paris. However, the city is very well connected with public transportation. M6 is one of the metro lines that goes above the ground and has a magnificent view of the tower. You could buy a day pass or a weekly pass and has unlimited trips for bus, train, metro and trams.

When passing the gates, pass the luggage BEFORE you or the door will close on it. Parisians get easily bored with slow people. If you don’t know where you’re going, step aside and let them pass. Parisians spend 1 or 2 hours commuting per day and they don’t like it: they’re not rude, they’re in pain. Most people in Paris are super nice (except during commuting time of course). Smile, say Bonjour monsieur, Merci and Au revoir, you’ll see a change on their face.

Don’t buy tickets from random people, it’s a scam. Tickets are bought in legit booths and vending machines.

Keep your phone and wallet in your inner pockets and your bag safe and closed. Pickpockets are here and they don’t aim at locals, they’re here for you! Paris has one of the most dense metro network, which means most of the time, it’s faster and more enjoyable to walk from 1 place to another than using public transport. Because of that, don’t rush on a daily pass: they’re expensive and if you will most likely pay more than a few tickets per day.

Are you in Paris for the first time and want have a great memory of your first encounter with the Old Lady? Don’t get out of the metro station Bir-Hakeim - Tour Eiffel. Instead, stop at Trocadero (line 6 and 9). You will have a stunning view of the tower and the city, a nice walk through a park and across the Seine. But remember that for Parisians, they are places to avoid absolutely. Prices are crazy high, there is no good place to eat or have a drink. So if you want to the authentic Paris, run away from there!

BUSES! use buses! they go fast (too fast, hang on!), and you get to see the city.

Check for the last metro at night. After that, taxis are impossible to catch, Uber get really expensive and night buses are full of drunk people. If you arrive from Roissy Charles De Gaulle airport, you will probably take the train RER B. The train will go through the saddest, poorest suburbs and your first stop will be Gare du Nord, which is sad and dirty as well. So, brace yourself, don’t stop there for too long and enjoy the rest of the city!

The weekly pass is valid from Monday till Sunday. If you’re arriving via flight, you can buy your pass at the CDG airport itself and take the train to get to the city. It makes more sense because a one way ticket from the airport to the city can cost you around 10 euros, while the weekly pass costs 25 euros for the whole week. Alternatively, you can also buy a bunch of 10 tickets as a book.

2. Montparnasse Tower

Montparnasse is also the name of a very central metro station, so tourists are likely to have heard about it to some extent. It is indeed a landmark in Paris, since it’s the only high building in that part of Paris, and it’s high enough to be visible from other parts of the city. It’s actually a very good point to get a view of Paris, and other landmarks including the Eiffel tower.

Apart from the bar and restaurant and open deck at the top, the tower in itself is not very glamorous. However, it was the setting for a wacky movie called La Tour Montparnasse infernale. It hosted popular TV comedians and was aired several times on TV since the original theatrical release, so most millenials have been exposed to it.

Apart from the absolute abomination which is Tour Montparnasse, a huge tower isolated in the south east of Paris and which single-handedly wrecks the entire skyline of Paris, there are a few places which can offer some higher views of Paris.

3. Arc de Triomphe

Along with the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe is one of the main symbols of Paris. Walk Champs Elysee from end to end, from Place du Concorde to Place Charles de Gaulle, and finish the walk up to the terrace of the Arc de Triomphe for a panoramic view of the city. The Arc de Triomphe is at the end of the Champs Élysées avenue, meaning it can be seen from any place on the avenue, including from the also famous Place de la Concorde.

It is also at the center of the Place de l’Étoile, and is in the perspective from all avenues leading to that square. Across from the Champs-Élysées, there is the Avenue de la Grande Armée leading to the outer ring of Paris, and extending outside of the city to the tertiary business district of La Défense. There, the perspective ends with the Arche de la Défense, another arch of some kind.

You can visit the Arc de Triomphe and walk up the stairs to enjoy the view from the top. There is also a virtual visit (on the French-speaking part of their website). The monument in itself is adorned with sculptures and is quite impressive. The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is host to many national events, including a tribute to all French soldiers who fought in both World Wars, every year, on May 8th and November 11th.

On these occasions, and for most major events in France, a huge French flag is hung under the monument. It’s also used as a giant screen for illuminations on such occasions.

Truth be told, this will be quite a walk, and it might not be suited for those who don't like to walk more than five minutes. However, if you are trying to stay fit while travelling, you are already aware this is one of the best ways for doing so. You get a bit of physical activity as well as enjoyment that comes with beautiful vistas.

The Arc de Triomphe hill is a combination of a natural hill and a luxurious, opulent district with very large avenues which allows for better views in some rare places.

4. Tombstones along Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Tombstone tourism is big in Paris. Only the cemeteries itself is incredibly beautiful, and many famous musicians are buried here. You will find, for example the singer Edith Piaf and rock star Jim Morisson in the Pere Lachaise cemetery.

5. Enjoy the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris like a Parisian

The atypical Gothic cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, on the Ile de la Cité, is one of the most famous and oldest in the world. If you arrive early, you can climb the towers and the bell tower. The Cathedrale is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. The Notre-Dame suffered devastating consequences in a fire that took place, while the entire world put in efforts and resources towards its renovation.

In early April, there bloom beautiful cherry trees around central Paris. Streets, parks and the area around Notre Dame are adorned with pink cherry blossoms. An unforgettable moment to visit the city. There are several nice restaurants in Paris and street food places like L’as du Falafel but the best thing you can do in Paris, especially during summer is to take your lunch to go and enjoy it in the beautiful parks and gardens of Paris.

It’s also nice to do a picnic, that’s what Parisians do.

6. Montmartre

Montmartre is the bohemian neighbourhood par excellence. It's one of the mandatory places on the itinerary of every person visiting Paris for either a short or long period of time. In fact, Montmartre is so impressive that people who shaped history felt compelled to visit it. That's why, today, you can walk in the steps of Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso.

Feel free to walk through its cobblestone streets, climb to the top of the hill to visit the Basilica of Sacre Coeur or tour the Place du Tertre, where you will see the artists in action and sit on the steps to enjoy the view. Visit the lower area of Montmartre at night to see the legendary cabaret Moulin Rouge.

La Butte Montmartre is the highest hill in Paris, situated in the North of the city, a few buildings perched high up provide a large panoramic view of the city.

7. Les Halles

Imagine a perfect street that is lined with all the best opportunities for socializing. We are talking about restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, wine shops, etc. Really, every single shop you can imagine. This type of place doesn't have to be a dream - if you visit Paris, it can be a reality. Rue Montorgueil is the place where Parisians go to socialize while taking care of their day to day tasks.

Whether you are buying cheese, tasting wine, or sipping your favourite hot beverage, you can rest assured that Rue Montorgueil is the perfect place to do it in good company. It doesn't grace numerous lists of the best things to do in Paris for no reason.

8. Boulevard Haussmann

For shopaholics, there is no place better to fulfill their shopping desire than France. Home to the fashion capital of the world Paris, France offers budget, boutique as well as luxury shopping experience to its tourists.

Along with a few other metropolitan cities, Paris is known as the world's capital of fashion. People in Paris, both male and female, are known for their exquisite taste in all things fashion-related. That's why when visiting Paris, one of the best things to do is to take a look at the local style and try and copy it.

The good thing about the fashion here is that it oozes with elegance and grace while remaining fairly simple, making it the perfect style for all occasions. There are many places where you can shop - from local boutiques to big shopping centres, such as Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann. Although, make sure you don't get too carried away and blow your budget. You will need it for the remainder of your stay in the French capital.

The Haute Couture stores in Avenue Montaigne and Rue du Cherche-Midi and the Galeries Lafayette are undoubtedly a shopper’s paradise, with stores like Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Armani and Cavalli offering an unmatched shopping experience to tourists.

9. Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is one of the most impressive French palaces.

Just bear in mind that if you are packing for a winter trip, you will have to pack a lot of protective gear, like mittens and scarves.

But if you are travelling in summer, you will have no worries. Feel free to let yourself go and soak in the views. They are as good as it gets.

10. Disneyland Park

Among the things to do in Paris with teenagers, Disneyland Paris is one of the best amusement parks to visit in Europe. End the day at Disneyland Paris that has a lot of attractions and is an incredible experience.

Book your tickets directly on the website to get cheaper tickets for weekdays. They have mini/magic packs. It has two parks: Disneyland and Walt Disney studios. You can get three fast passes per park or 1 per 2 hours to skip the queue, so use it wisely.

There are so many things to do in Paris that you won't have a dull minute

Last but not the least, the French pastries are one of the best. The macrons, croissants and those cheese cakes are to die for. Definitely try them when you’re here.

It would truly be a shame to miss any of them considering the fact that they are what make Paris one of the most amazing cities in the world. Finally, just have fun! It's not every day that you get to be in Paris, so you use every second of it. We know we would if we were you! The city is beautiful and has so much to offer during every season of the year. Make the best out of your stay!

Au revoir!
Kalyan Panja