I’VE been thinking a lot about Paris lately so I wanted to share some of the amazing things to do there, some photos and some tips!
It doesn’t matter if you’re only staying a few days or a few weeks – this list will help you check off the best things to do in this city.
In no particular order, here are my top things to do in the city of love.
Get lost in the Louvre:
Although this is on most people’s list for Paris but it is possible to get away from the crowds in this massive complex.
When my boyfriend and I visited last June we ended up finding a beautiful quiet wing, which was infinitely better than pushing and shoving our way to see the Mona Lisa with the rest of the world.
This was mostly because we wandered in the wrong direction but it made for a perfect afternoon.
Make sure to book your tickets in advance though, especially during the height of the tourist season or you’ll be in for a long wait in the sun.
Walk as much as you can:
One of the best ways to see a city is to walk through it and Paris is no different.
Make sure to take a stroll along the Seine and look at the tiny book stalls that line the banks.
There’s something magical about walking along the river in the heart of Paris, especially in the evening.
Pick a random place to eat:
I’ll say this for most of Europe – rather than agonising about where to eat, just pick the first decent place you see.
In my experience (especially in Paris), the food will be great and it’s more of an adventure.
Go on a river cruise:
One of the best ways to see this beautiful city is from the water.
Many hour-long cruises leave from the port opposite the Eiffel Tower (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the city’s biggest attraction!) and have audio guides available in a range of languages.
This is a great way to learn more about the city’s rich history, it’s many bridges and some of its most important buildings and areas.
Walk along the Champs Élysées:
This beautiful tree-lined streets gets about 50,000 visitors every day and it’s easy to see why.
All of the world’s biggest fashion brands have a spot there and there are plenty of more minor stores too.
With the Place de la Concorde at one end, you can great a great view of the Arc de Triomphe as you walk along this world-famous avenue.
Climb the steps at Sacré-Cœur:
This one is not for the faint of heart!
Situated in Montmartre at the city’s highest point, this basilica makes for an amazing panoramic view across the whole of Paris.
Climbing the 270 steps up to it is not for everyone, so there is a funicular car for those who don’t feel up to the challenge.
Once at the top the interior of the basilica is open to the public, include the dome at the very top. (I’ve never been inside but it’s on my list!)
Go to Shakespeare and Company bookstore:
This tiny bookstore is almost hidden in a small street near the Notre Dame cathedral but it’s well worth seeking out.
Booklovers need to go here!
The shelves are packed full of a wide range of books and upstairs there is a reading area, perfect to while away some time in.
On the day I went with Michael there was a man playing something beautiful on a piano as a breeze came in through the open window – I actually thought I was in heaven.
If you’re buying a book don’t forget to ask for the attendant to stamp it with the Shakespeare and Company stamp before you leave.
Go to the Pont des Arts (love lock bridge):
It’s a well-known tradition for people to visit this famous bridge, attach a lock and throw their key into the river (ensuring good luck and that their love will last).
However, in recent years the Parisian government has tried to make people aware that this tradition is also slowly destroying the bridge, as it cannot cope with the weight of thousands upon thousands of metal padlocks.
Just before I visited last June a section of the fencing along the bridge collapsed and fell into the river below because of the weight.
While that did mean there was a nice empty panel for Michael and I to put a lock on to when we arrived, I would think twice about this if I visited again because at the end of the day, I don’t want the city to take stronger measures to protect part of its history and take all of the locks away because the bridge is on the verge of collapse.
(As it was, when Mike and I were leaving the area we saw council workers with a ute tray FULL of locks pull up, ready to cut away bicycle chains full of locks that had been fastened to the bridge.)
Take a day trip to the Palace of Versailles:
This is for those on a longer stay in this city and it was well worth a visit.
While our tour tickets cost about $100 Australian each, we got to travel from Paris in an airconditioned coach and have a guided tour throughout the palace and grounds.
A guided tour is something I’d definitely recommend as the guides know exactly what to point out in each room and the most important and entertaining information to give you.
I can only imagine what it would have been like in its prime!
As it was peak tourist season it was packed with people so anyone who is claustrophobic may want to give this a miss, or come at a quieter time of year.
And last but not least, visit the Eiffel Tower.
This was a given and I’d be surprised to see a list of things to do in Paris that didn’t feature it.
This monument is truly worth a visit and if you don’t want to wait in line to climb up into it, spending time around the base is just as lovely.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed this list — I enjoyed writing it!
I can’t wait to book another trip back to this amazing city one day.
Do you have any things on your Parisian bucket list? Or something I haven’t mentioned here? Let me know in the comments!