There are so many things to do in Paris, as it is still one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. Rich in history and culture, you will never run out of things to do in Paris. Whether you are a fan of French cuisine, a lover of the arts, a history buff or you just like strolling through the magnificent gardens and abundant shops, you will never tire of this gorgeous city. We have compiled a list of some of the best things to do in Paris so call your travel agent and pack your bags, the City of Lights awaits! Bonjour!
1. Le Marais
Visiting Le Marais is a great option for those who look for budget travel. Recently known as the hub of Paris’ gay community, Le Marais is the former home of famous author VIctor Hugo. You will feel as though you have been transported back in time as you stroll down the cobbled streets of one of the oldest districts of Paris. Le Marais houses many quaint cafes, bakeries, nightclubs, boutiques and min art galleries. Keep in mind that many of the shops are closed on Saturday for the Sabbath as Le Marais is also one of Paris’ most prominent Jewish communities, which is a plus if you are a fan of Jewish delis. You won’t be disappointed in a visit to this quaint, historic district.
2. Pere-Lachaise Cemetery
Even the cemeteries are spectacular in the biggest European cities. One of the world's oldest cemeteries, the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery encompasses nearly 120 acres of the 20ème District. Legendary figures such as Gertrude Stein, Jim Morrison and Molière are buried in this famous cemetery with it’s gorgeous wooded paths. You can either take your time or stroll through the burial ground on your own or pay for the guided tour. Either way, you will not be disappointed.
It’s just not a trip to France without a stroll amongst Paris’ most famous boulevard. If you love to shop, then Champs-Élysées is the place to be. You will find everything from high-end boutiques like Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Armani to less inexpensive (but still great) retailers like the Gap, the Disney Store, and Nike. You will find everything from antiques and collectibles to souvenirs and novelties in this shopper’s extravaganza.
4. Notre-Dame Cathedral
Over 200 years in the making, started in 1163 and completed in 1345, The Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the most famous sights in Paris. Thanks to Victor Hugo stirring excitement is his infamous 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame,” renovations were made on the Notre-Dame Cathedral following its state of disrepair after the French Revolution.
Admission to the cathedral is free, but if you wish to journey to the top of the Notre-Dame you will have to pay. However, it is universally agreed that the view is worth the admission fee. You can also venture down to the crypt beneath the famous cathedral to explore the ancient remains.
5. Musee d'Orsay
The Musée d'Orsay houses some most compelling collection of works by great French impressionist and post-impressionist artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Degas and Cezanne. Since the museum attracts a great deal of visitors, you may want to book your tickets in advance. If you are up for it, it is definitely worth a trip to the top balcony of the Musée d'Orsay to take in the picturesque view of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica.
6. Luxembourg GardensIt just wouldn’t be a trip to Paris without a romantic stroll through Luxembourg Gardens, or perhaps have a relaxing picnic while your children take a ride on the carousel or enjoy a puppet show. There is no admission charge to the garden itself and the gravel paths and ample gardens are spectacular.
7. Centre Pompidou
If you prefer modern art over the impressionist era, be sure to check out the Centre Pompidou. You will be able to explore a spacious complex filled with various art museums, an extensive library, a theater, two cinemas and even a rooftop restaurant. Be sure to check out their website for more information on this exciting venue of contemporary and modern art for the art lover in all of us.
8. The Eiffel Tower
Originally, the Eiffel Tower was despised by the French. It was designed for the 1889 World’s Fair and somehow managed to avoid several plans for demolition and has since become symbolic with Paris for its panoramic views of Paris at night.
By booking online, you can avoid standing in the infamous long lines. And yes, it may be a bit pricey to book in advance, but once you see the views from the top, it will be worth every penny. And don’t forget to bring your camera, especially at night when thousands of flicker licking lights adorn the Tower for one of the most breathtaking sights you will ever experience. A trip to the Eiffel Tower is one of the best things to do in Paris on your European vacation.
9. Versailles Palace
Although the prices can be little exorbitant, visitors claims that the Château de Versailles is worth the admission fees. Rates vary by the season and attraction, so you should check out their website before you plan your excursion. It is recommended to purchase “The Passport” which grants you admission to all of the attractions on the spacious and immaculate grounds of the Versailles. If nothing else, the gardens alone are perfect spot for a picnic. If you are a history buff, you will enjoy touring the castle itself, after all, it is the spot upon which the Treaty of Versailles was signed at the end of World World I.
10. Paris Catacombs
If you are one who happens to enjoy the more chilling aspects of history, you should definitely investigate the Catacombs. As one of the most harrowing sights in Paris, those with a taste for the more macabre history of France will enjoy exploring the dark and mysterious tunnels adorned with skull and crossbones.
Be sure to wear slip-resistant footwear as you take your guided tour amidst this historical burial ground as the paths are known to be slippery and uneven at times.
As one of the most popular tours in the City of Love, you will have to endure somewhat of a wait time to enter the Catacombs, so be prepared to stand in line. However, if you are into more eerie side of French history, you will not be disappointed. For more information on Les Catacombes check out their website.
There you have it, some of the best things to do in Paris. There is something for everyone so book your trip today! The City of Lights awaits!