The City of Love is one of our favorite European cities. We started our Paris bucket list since we started traveling, and after our visits, this list keeps growing. Use our guide on the best things to do in Paris itinerary for an epic trip!
Ultimate Paris Bucket List Things To Do In Your Lifetime
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- Check out the Eiffel Tower
- Explore Trocadero Gardens
- Visit Louvre Museum
- Hop on the Seine River Sightseeing Cruise
- Book an Instagrammable photoshoot in Paris
- Visit Arc de Triomphe
- Stroll Champs Elysees
- Stay in a hotel with Eiffel Tower views
- Explore the neighbourhood of Montmartre
- Check out Place du Tertre
- Visit Musee de Montmartre
- Head to the Sacre Coeur for sunset views
- Eat at a local cafe
- Watch cabaret at the historic Moulin Rouge
- Visit Grand Palais and Petit Palais
- Visit the Pantheon
- Stroll Île de la Cité
- Check out Notre Dame Cathedral
- Explore the royal chapel – Sainte Chapelle
- Visit the Conciergerie
- Check out Rue Crémieux
- Discover Paris bouquinistes
- Explore the neighbourhood of Latin Quarter
- Enjoy an afternoon at the Luxembourg Gardens
- Visit Musée d’Orsay
- Check out Pont Alexandre III and other stunning bridges
- Visit Place de la Concorde
- Les Invalides
- Louis Vuitton Foundation
- Visit the largest Père Lachaise Cemetery
- Palais Garnier
- Explore Le Marais
- Check out Canal Saint Martin
- Visit Musee Rodin
- Enjoy bike rides in Paris
- Go shopping at Galeries Lafayette
- Parc des Buttes Chaumont
- Musée National d’Art Moderne
- Soak in views from Montparnasse Tower
- Passage des Panoramas
- Check out Jardin du Palais Royal
- Visit Centre Pompidou
- Admire Tuileries Garden
- Visit la Butte aux Cailles
- Explore the Catacombs
- Stroll Promenade Plantee
- Explore the grand National Museum of Natural History
- Musée de l’Orangerie
- Visit Disneyland
- Head to the Palace of Versailles
Check out the Eiffel Tower
The Iron Lady aka the stunning Eiffel Tower is a must-add Paris bucket list item. This landmark structure has been forever associated with Paris. The tower dates back to the 1889 World’s Fair when it was officially inaugurated.
Did you know, ‘Parisians originally hated the Eiffel Tower’, and during the Nazi occupation of France, Hitler called for the Eiffel Tower’s demolition? Thankfully it was not carried out.
This wrought iron lattice tower was named after its architect Gustave Eiffel.
As a visitor to the city, you will soak in the view of the Eiffel Tower from various places in Paris (and for free) – like the Trocadero Gardens next door.
The ground level of the Eiffel Tower is called the Esplanade, and here is where you will find ticket counters, information desks, souvenir stores, and other stores.
In order to access the tower, there are entry fees for each floor. The first floor of the tower has a transparent glass floor and offers views of Eiffel Tower grounds and nearby areas.
The second floor is the most popular one and showcases mesmerizing views over the city of Paris. From here you can check out the sights of the Invalides, Notre Dame, Louvre, Grand Palais, and the Seine river. There is a restaurant on-site with romantic dining options, plus souvenirs shops are located here as well. You can book your tickets online to the second floor
The summit of the Eiffel tower stands tall at 273 metres high and you can see the whole of Paris below you. Book your summit tour of the Eiffel Tower.
We highly recommend that you book tickets ahead of time, and arrive 30 minutes early. You will find ‘skip the lines’ tickets online, and they are essentially advance bookings where you pre-pay and reserve your entry spot. This guarantees your visit for the day.
- Hours: Everyday 09:00 am to 12:45 am
- Cost: Starts at 7 euros (8.60 USD)
- Tickets: Tickets to the 2nd floor, Tickets to the summit, Romantic dining + tickets
Explore Trocadero Gardens
The Trocadéro was the site of the Palais de Chaillot and a palace that was located here. One of the reasons locals and visitors frequent this place is because of the uninterrupted view of the Eiffel Tower.
These gardens are huge with an area of 93,930 square metres. You can visit the gardens for free, and capture the beautiful Iron Lady from Trocadero.
At the Gardens site, you will also find a number of museums including Musée national de la Marine (naval museum) and the Musée de l’Homme (ethnology) which you can visit (paid entry).
- Hours: 24 hours
- Cost: Gardens are free
Visit Louvre Museum
The stunning Louvre is the world’s MOST visited museum and is a must-add for every art lover’s Paris bucket list things to do.
There are more than 350,000 historical and art items displayed inside including Leonardo da Vinci’s Monalisa, and many items that came from the royal family (Louvre Palace), the work of French painters, and the art history.
Do set aside 2-3 hours here.
Pro-tip: Head there in the late afternoon to beat the rush. And when the museum closes head over to the Arc de Triomphe Carrousel to enjoy a lovely stroll in the evening. From the Arc de Triomphe Carrousel, you will see the Eiffel Tower illuminated in all of the night’s glory.
- Hours: Closed on Monday. Open 10:00 am to 06:00 pm rest of the week. Also closed on January 1, May 1 and December 25
- Cost: Starts at 17 euros ($ 21) or free with Paris Pass
Hop on the Seine River Sightseeing Cruise
Seine River Cruise is an effortless way to enjoy the City of Lights in one day. We recommend an evening sightseeing cruise to soak in the starry skies, illuminated buildings, and a lovely dinner as well.
There are two options for cruise starting points – from Vedettes du Pont Neuf which is located only 10 minutes away from Louvre, or Bateaux Parisiens (located near the Eiffel Tower Grounds).
You might like Seine River dinner cruise 2.5 hours.
- Hours: Everyday 10:30 am to 10:30 pm
- Cost: Starts at 10 euros ($12 USD) or free with Paris Pass
Instagrammable photoshoot in Paris
Paris is such a beautiful city, and it truly is one of the Instagrammable destinations in Europe. We highly recommend joining an Instagram photo tour or a photoshoot done by a local photographer!
This will not only make for a memorable experience, but you will also treasure the images/captures as a souvenir!
Tip: Here are some more epic private tours in Paris to choose from!
Visit Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile is one of the most popular monuments in Paris. Arc de Triomphe was built between 1806 and 1836, on the orders of Napoleon, who wanted to honor the victories of the French troops after the Battle of Austerlitz. It is a symbol of French Unity.
You can check out the monument from across the road at Champs Elysee or head to the top of the monument for stunning views over Paris. By doing so, you can climb 280 stairs to reach the top.
For less than $15 USD, you can capture some amazing views. Book your rooftop access tickets here.
- Hours: Opens everyday 10:00 am. Closes at different hours for rooftop access depending on the season
- Cost: Starts at 12 euros (15 USD) for rooftop access. To explore from the outside is free
- Tickets: Rooftop access tickets
Stroll Champs Elysees
Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the stunning commercial streets in the world. It is located on the 8th arrondissement, and it stretches from the Place de la Concorde to Arc de Triomphe/Place Charles de Gaulle.
This leafy boulevard is lined with beautiful cafes and high end brands like Louis Vuitton and others like L’occitane, Zara, and more.
Champs Elysees is often described as ‘the world’s most beautiful avenue’, and we recommend this for your Paris bucket list!
Hours: Every day. Store hours vary
Stay in a hotel with Eiffel Tower views
Here is one of the must-do Paris bucket list experiences and that is to stay at a hotel with Eiffel Tower views. Imagine waking up to the Iron Lady from the comfort of your suite, or your private balcony!
There are restaurants and breakfast rooms from where you can soak in the views of the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel tower is located in the 7th arrondissement, and you can choose accommodation at the 8th, 15th, and 16th arrondissement from where you can check out the views.
Keep in mind that these suites get filled up quickly, and can be expensive. Read our guide on the best hotels in Paris with Eiffel Tower views here!
Explore Montmartre – Neighbourhood
Montmartre is located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. This is where you will find pretty Parisian cafes, cobblestone lanes, and the iconic Sacre Coeur.
Set aside a few hours (or even a day of your Paris itinerary) to explore Montmartre. When pressed for time, book a Montmartre walking tour to learn about the arrondissement and snap its pretty corners. This recommended tour takes you around and also guides you to the Sacre Coeur.
Check out Place du tertre
Place du Tertre is an artist square in Montmartre. It dates back to the year 1133 when it was created by King Louis VI. This square was known as the “Montmartre Village Central Square” where locals would gather and hang out.
The meaning of “Place du Tertre” translates to a public square. Tertre simply means a small hill, and place denotes a public square.
Today, it is a lovely spot to watch the artists at work, or get a portrait made!
Visit Musée de Montmartre
The Musée de Montmartre is a well-known museum in the 18th arrondissement. It was founded in 1960, and the building dates back to the 17th century, and is considered to be one of the oldest in the neighborhood.
This building served as a residence and meeting place for many artists including Auguste Renoir, and Suzanne Valadon. The museum today houses some of the finest works of art from many French artists.
In order to properly visit the museum and the Renoir Gardens, you would need at least 2 hours. Read our 3 days in Paris itinerary to incorporate this bucket list item into your trip!
- Hours: Open 06:30 am to 10:30 pm (except Mondays and Tuesdays – 2021)
- Cost: Free
- Tickets: 5 euros ($6) to get to the top of the basilica
Sacre Coeur for sunset views
The Sacre Coeur as we see today dates back to over 100 years. The origin of the construction of the Sacré – Cœur started in 1870 when Napoleon was imprisoned in Sedan after his defeat against Prussia, and then Paris suffered a series of setbacks.
For Catholics, all these unfortunate events have a religious reason and so the archbishop proposed to build a monument to protect the city. It was decided that the basilica is dedicated to the Sacred – Heart: A tribute to the love of the heart of Jesus.
The Sacre Coeur is located at the summit of Montmartre hill, and due to its location, you can expect stunning views from its towers.
Although access to the basilica is completely free, and they are open from 06:30 am to 10:30 pm, you do have to pay a fee to get to the top of Sacre Coeur to soak in those sunset views.
- Hours: Open everyday 06:30 am to 10:30 pm.
- Cost: Free
- Tickets: 5 euros ($6) to get to the top of the basilica
Eat at a Instagrammable local cafe
Montmartre is the perfect place to snap Instagrammable cafes, and also stop by and eat!
Some of the Instagrammable cafes in Montmartre include Le Consulat, which is one of the most photographed cafes in Montmartre. This historic cafe has welcomed great artists for decades from the likes of Van Gogh and Picasso.
Another Instagrammable cafe in Paris is La Maison Rose. The cafe in pink and green decor is super gorgeous, especially with the cobblestone surroundings. Just like Le Consulat, this cafe has been visited for decades by artists and writers.
Watch cabaret at Moulin Rouge
With a history of over 120 years, the Moulin Rouge is a must add to your Paris bucket list. Yes, it is touristy but so worth it.
The Moulin Rouge first opened its doors in 1889, in the Jardin de Paris, at the foot of the Montmartre hill. It has showcased actors, musicians, and iconic stars from its existence till today.
You can grab your tickets here for the Feerie show, one of the famous performances at the Moulin Rouge.
- Hours: Varies for shows
- Costs: Starts at €87
Visit Grand Palais and Petit Palais
Grand and Petit Palais are two museums located in the 8th arrondissement. Due to its location, it makes it easy to explore after touring Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysées.
Both the museums were initially built for the 1900 Exposition, and today it invites visitors to enjoy the rich art scene in Paris.
Grand Palais was designated as a historic monument in 2000. It is one of the most iconic Parisian monuments and is a must-visit for even non-art lovers. At the Palais, you will also find 3 major sites: the Nave, the National Galleries, and the Palais de la Découverte.
There is a huge statue of Winston-Churchill in front of it, and there are a variety of national and international events that are organized here.
Petit Palais is the sister museum and the one which is overshadowed by its big sister Grand Palais. It is home to the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts. The museum showcases amazing artwork from the Renaissance era to the 20th-century.
You can visit both the museums on the same day but do set aside 2-4 hours for that.
- Hours: open daily except Tuesday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
- Costs: Starts at €12
By Sam from My Flying Leap
A visit to the magnificent Pantheon is a must-see for any trip to Paris. It’s a beloved landmark by architecture aficionados and art enthusiasts given its impressive and imposing presence in the city of Paris. It was commissioned by King Louis XV and built in the mid-1700s.
The Pantheon was built to impress, and it does with its massive size. It was constructed in the shape of a Greek cross with massive Corinthian columns, with inspiration from the Roman Pantheon.
The huge domes were built to rival St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. You can see them from anywhere in the city and they rise over 270 feet (83 meters).
The Pantheon was initially built as a church to honor St. Genevieve. As the story goes, King Louis was very sick and said that if he lived through it, he would build the Pantheon. You’ll see a painting of St. Genevieve commissioned by Napoleon in 1811.
During the French Revolution, the Pantheon was considered a shrine to French heroes. It was then established as a resting place for the great people who died fighting for the liberty of France.
Later, it became the resting place for well-known French greats. The necropolis houses some famous figures including Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Rousseau, and even Marie Curie, the first woman interred there.
Nestled behind the Pantheon is the smaller but exquisite Saint Etienne du Mont. If you’re a fan of historic architecture, it’s worth seeing when you visit the Pantheon.
The Pantheon is located on the Left Bank in the Latin Quarter. It costs 11.50 Euros (around $13.50 USD). Plan to spend at least an hour and consider the audio guide to learn more about its interesting history.
- Hours: 10:00 am to 06:30 pm everyday
- Cost: 11.50 euros/$13.50 USD
Stroll Île de la Cité
Île de la Cité is the historical centre of the city of Paris. The iconic Notre Dame Cathedral and the Paris Point Zero are located here.
Paris Point Zero marks all the distances in the city, marking it the central area.
Admire the Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame is one of the most popular sites in Paris and is well known for its Gothic architecture. The construction of the cathedral began in the 12th century, and its location on the Île de la Cité signifies the city’s medieval origins.
It is recognized worldwide for its size, antiquity, and architectural interest!
As you know, Notre Dame was struck by fire in April 2019, and since then the cathedral is closed. The French are hopeful that it will be completely restored on/before 2024 when Paris is set to host the Olympics.
Visit the royal Sainte Chapelle
Sainte Chapelle is the name of a royal chapel located on the Île de la Cité. This chapel is known to have the finest and the most stunning stained glass windows in the world.
The construction of Sainte Chapelle began in the 13th century and was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his relics. Sainte Chapelle is not as big as Notre Dame Cathedral and can be easily explored in a few hours.Here are the entry tickets
- Hours: Open everyday from 09:00 am. Closed from 01:00 am to 2:30 pm. Closing hours from October to March 05:00 pm, and from April to September 07:00 pm. Also closed on January 1, May 1 and December 25
- Cost: 11.50 euros ($14 USD)
- Tickets: Combo ticket with Sainte Chappelle and Conciergerie
Explore the complex of La Conciergerie
By Nesrine from Kevmrc
Located in the heart of the city close to Notre Dame Cathedral in the 1st arrondissement, La Conciergerie is one of the best-kept secrets of Paris. Most locals don’t even know about this incredible landmark full of history!
Built in the 13th century, this medieval castle along with the Sainte Chapelle used to be the royal palace and the seat of power of the Kings of France.
But during the French Revolution, the Conciergerie became a prison for more than 2,500 people. Queen Marie-Antoinette and chemist Lavoisier were the most famous prisoners of the Conciergerie.
Standing on the Seine river banks in the middle of the Ile de la Cité, Paris’ big island, the Conciergerie is beautiful both inside and outside.
The building stands out from others because of its unique medieval architecture and its tower that features Paris’ oldest clock, which is a pure work of art.
Inside, it’s all about impressive arches, sculptures, and huge rooms that will take you back in time.
Opened every day from 9.30 am to 6 pm, the entry fee is 11,50€, but the best is to buy a ticket to visit both the Conciergerie and the Sainte Chapelle for 18,50€. Entry is free for those under 18 years old, the UE people under 26 years old, and disabled people.
The Conciergerie is not a famous tourist sight, so you won’t need to queue and you won’t be bothered by the crowds like in other attractions.
- Hours: Open everyday from 09:30 am to 06:00 pm
- Cost: 11.50 euros ($14 USD)
- Tickets: Combo ticket with Sainte Chappelle and Conciergerie
Photograph the Rue Crémieux
If you are looking to add an Instagrammable neighborhood to your Paris bucket list, then look no further than the Rue Crémieux. This is a pedestrian street, located in the 12th arrondissement of Paris.
This one block was originally built as workers’ housing, and is popular for its colorfully painted houses, and quaint lanes, making it perfect for photography!
Check out Paris bouquinistes
Paris bouquinistes are the green bookstalls found on each side of the Seine River banks. These stalls are a UNESCO World Heritage Site today (designated in 1991), and truly speak volumes of Seine that it “runs between two bookshelves“.
The iconic, ‘Shakespeare and Company’ bookstore is located here.
Stroll the neighbourhood of Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter is often known as the University quarter, as it is home to Sorbonne University. You will find a lot of international restaurants and Parisian cafes here.
This neighborhood is very different from Montmartre, and you can find some offbeat photo locations (like the University grounds) for an epic picture!
Spend time at the Luxembourg Gardens
Luxembourg Gardens or the Jardin du Luxembourg are the stunning royal gardens in the Palace of Luxembourg. These gardens are completely free to explore.
These beautiful gardens date back to the early 17th century (1612), and they were created by Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV, for the new residence.
You can enjoy a lovely stroll or relax in the gardens with a nice book. These gardens are located on the border between Saint-Germain -des-Prés and the Latin Quarter neighborhoods, on the 6th arrondissement.
- Hours: Opens 7.30am and 8.15am, and closes between 4.30pm and 9.30pm according to season
- Costs: Free for the gardens (museum is paid)
Visit Musee d’Orsay
Musée d’Orsay is an art museum located on the Left Bank of the Seine. This popular museum is housed inside a railway station from the 19th century, and features a gorgeous ornate Beaux-Arts façade, with passenger elevators, and electric rails for visitors to check out.
At the museum, you will find paintings, sculptures, photos, and French art from 1848 to 1914. You must add this to your Paris bucketlist for its beautiful interiors alone, especially the atrium.
- Hours: Closed on Mondays. Tuesday to Saturday: 09:30 am to 06:00 pm. Thursdays open till 09:30 pm.
- Cost: 16 euros (19.60 USD)
- Tickets: Buy here
Pont Alexandre III and other stunning bridges in Paris
By Christine from Live Love Run Travel
Paris is full of beautiful places and amazing things to do, but one of the best free things to do in Paris is to enjoy the views from the bridges of both the city and the Eiffel Tower.
One of the most famous bridges in Paris is the Pont Alexandre III. The bridge itself is beautiful with bronze winged horses standing high up on pedestals representing arts, sciences, commerce, and industry.
You can enjoy a view of the Eiffel Tower and of the Grand Palais as well. The views and the beauty of the bridge make it one of the more popular photo spots in Paris, so try to visit earlier in the day to avoid the crowds.
Pont d’Iena is another bridge you need to visit in Paris. It leads right up to the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero, making it one of the bridges with the most foot traffic in Paris.
You’ll find people on the bridge at all times of the day thanks to the great views of the Eiffel Tower, so visit earlier in the day to avoid the crowds. It makes for a beautiful view around sunrise as well.
Pont de l’Alma is perfect for sunset views of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River. And since it isn’t as crowded as the other bridges, you can visit it any time of day.
Because the Eiffel Tower is west of the bridge, it makes for a beautiful view of the Iron Lady as the sun paints the sky behind it at sunset.
One final bridge to visit in Paris is the Pont de Bir-Hakeim. This bridge has been featured in several movies, and it also provides a great view of the Eiffel Tower.
Because it has two levels and pedestrians stay on the lower level, you’ll see the Eiffel Tower through the steel columns making it perfect for photos.
While you can visit the bridges at any time of day, try to visit one of them after dark to watch the light show at the Eiffel Tower. If you visit Paris at New Year’s, you can also see the fireworks from the Arc de Triomphe from the bridges with Pont d’Lena or Pont de l’Alma the closest.
Explore Place de la Concorde
The Place de la Concorde is one of the major public squares in the French capital covering 7.6 hectares in area. It is located in the 8th arrondissement, between Champs-Élysées and the Tuileries Garden.
This square has a long history. For the most part of Parisian history, this land that Place de la Concorde sits on was a swamp, and later a square was built under the guidance of Louis XV. A statue was also erected here but was later removed during the French Revolution.
In the later years, the square was renovated, and today it showcases a giant 3,000-years-old Egyptian obelisk with two rivers and sea-themed fountains (inspired by the fountains of Rome).
Together with that, the views of Paris are breathtaking with the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre Museum on one side, and the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe on the other – this spot is a must add to your Paris bucket list.
Check out Les Invalides
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings, located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. From military museums and monuments to a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the complex is full of history and purpose.
It is home to the Musée de l’Armée (military museum of the Army of France), the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine. There is a former hospital chapel, a former Royal Chapel known as the Dôme des Invalides, and the tallest church building in Paris.
Napoleon’s final resting place is also located here.
This complex with 15 courtyards, a church, and gardens is free to visit. An entrance ticket of 16 euros includes entries to the Army Museum and Napoleon’s Tomb.
- Hours: 10 am to 6:00 pm (museum)
- Costs: €16,00
Visit the Louis Vuitton Foundation
Louis Vuitton Foundation is a beautiful art museum and cultural center which is managed and operated by LVMH and its subsidiaries. The building where the museum is housed is gorgeous, and makes for a nice photo spot in Paris, as it overlooks the Jardin d’Acclimatation.
The museum’s collection includes works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gilbert & George, and Jeff Koons.
At the centre, you can also check out temporary art exhibits, and music performances. There is an entry fee to explore the inside, as well as to attend concerts.
Head to the largest Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Paris, located in the eastern part of the city. This is one of the massive cemeteries and the most visited necropolis in the world.
At Père Lachaise you will find the tombs of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde to name a few. It is also the site of three World War I memorials.
You can visit the cemetery on your own, and for free.
Père Lachaise is an operating cemetery and still accepts new burials. In order to be buried in a Paris cemetery, one has to pass away in the French capital city or lived there.
Admire the Palais Garnier
By Jessica from Uprooted Traveler
The Palais Garnier, Paris’s opulent opera house in the 9th arrondissement, is an architectural and artistic masterpiece.
The sprawling building was actually the world’s largest theater when it was initially opened in 1875 by Emperor Napoleon III and perfectly encapsulates the lavishness of the Second Empire.
To see the grandiosity for yourself, you’re invited to explore the building’s grand staircase, gold-laden walls, and resplendent decor, from gorgeous murals painted on the halls’ ceilings to marble busts of opera divas and mythical creatures.
The extravagant decor is well-matched for the operas that take place here, which are renowned for their ornate costumes, swelling music, and, at times, larger-than-life egos of the beloved sopranos and altos whose voices still grace these halls.
If you can swing seeing a ballet or opera performance during your visit, it’s well worth the ticket price to enjoy not only the masterful production but to see the Palais Garnier spring to life, with performers and audience members, just as its architects imagined.
For a more affordable option to see the Palais Garnier, you can instead choose to tour the facility at your own leisure (€14 for an adult ticket) or on a guided tour.
Peek into the main theater to catch a glimpse of the colorful fresco painted by Marc Chagall on the ceiling, which is surprisingly abstract and modern as compared to the rest of the theater’s more traditional baroque aesthetic.
And if you’re a fan of musical theaters or perhaps, just a good old-fashioned ghost story, stop by the theater at night- Gaston Leroux’s beloved “Phantom of the Opera” novel is based in the Palais Garnier.
In fact, to this day, Box #5 remains empty during every performance for the Phantom’s own personal use!
- Hours: 7:30 am to 2:00 am everyday
- Costs: €14. Buy tickets here
Wander the neighbourhood of Le Marais
By Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
If you are looking for a quaint, quiet, and charming neighborhood in Paris, head straight to Le Marais.
Located between the 3rd and 4th arrondissement, this is where you’ll find a series of lovely small boutiques; gorgeous buildings, and one of the most charming squares in Paris – Place des Vosges.
The name “Marais” is due to the marsh terrain (that’s the literal translation) upon which this district was built from the 12th century and where French nobility moved between the 16th and the 17th century.
Among the best places to visit in Le Marais there is the Hotel de Ville which is the seat of the Paris Council since 1357. There is the Carnavalet Museum – dedicated to the history of France and Paris; the Place des Vosges which is one of the best knowns squares in the city; and the Tour Saint-Jacques, which was part of the Eglise Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie destroyed in 1797.
This neighborhood also houses some of the best museums in Paris like the Museum of Arts and Crafts and the Centre Pompidou where the Museum of Modern Art is located.
Walking distance from Le Marais you will find some of the most famous attractions in the city – the Louvre Museum and the Notre Dame cathedral.
Le Marais is also the best known gay-friendly neighborhood in Paris, as well as the district where the local Jewish community lives.
Check out Canal Saint Martin
By Martina from PlacesofJuma
The Canal Saint-Martin is a real hidden gem in Paris and definitely one of the best places to visit in Paris off the typical tourist paths.
This picturesque canal is situated in a former working-class neighborhood and enchants with many beautiful locks, Venetian-style footbridges, lush green parks, colorful flowers, and numerous pretty places to sit and where you can enjoy the ambiance.
Locals and tourists meet here on the banks of the canal to have a picnic together or simply enjoy the atmosphere with a glass of wine or coffee.
Walking along the canal and experiencing the wonderful scenery is one of the best things you can do in Paris away from the typical attractions.
Best you do just like the locals do: take your snacks, a baguette, a bottle of wine, and a few drinks with you and enjoy the unique atmosphere of Paris right on the water.
If you prefer to eat out, there are many nice little shops and bars along the canal. But be sure to bring your camera! The Canal Saint-Martin offers many beautiful photo opportunities.
The length of the canal is 4.5-kilometre-long, but the most enchanting part of Canal Saint-Martin is definitely between Rue Dieu and Rue des Récollets.
Here is where you will find the Hotel du Nord, which was built in 1885 and was used as the set for the movie Hôtel du Nord by Marcel Carné.
Costs: Guided tours start at €25 euros or $30 USD
Visit Musee Rodin
By Kat from World Wide Honeymoon
One of the best things to do in Paris has to be visiting Musee Rodin. Not only is this museum gorgeous, with both an outdoor sculpture garden and an intricately decorated interior full of sculptures, but it is a bit of a hidden gem.
If you are searching for a piece of serenity in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Paris, this is the perfect place.
Once you pass through the museum entrance, you’re met with a mansion and garden that makes you completely forget that you’re in the heart of the city.
This Paris bucket list spot may even look familiar to you if you’ve ever watched Midnight in Paris. The characters walked around the iconic The Thinker statue while Paul argued with the tour guide about Rodin’s lovers.
Even if you’ve never seen the movie, this museum is well worth a visit to see the many sculptures of Auguste Rodin. Aside from the stunning works of art, the flower garden and tranquil fountain outside are magical all on their own.
As this place isn’t terribly crowded, you can visit almost any time. However, avoiding weekends is best to ensure the least amount of people.
If you love Paris art museums but prefer fewer crowds and more lovely sculptures, then Musee Rodin is the place to go!
- Hours: 10:00 am to 06:30 pm, except Mondays
- Costs: €13
Bike rides in Paris
By Lena from Salut from Paris
There are many ways to explore Paris, but one of the most fun is renting a bike in Paris. It might sound crazy to suggest cycling through a metropole like Paris, but during the past years, the city became more and more bike-friendly.
Especially during the year 2020 a lot of new bike lanes were constructed so that at the time of writing more than 1000 km of bicycle lanes are present in Paris. The cheapest way of renting a bike in Paris is by signing up for the bike-sharing service Vélib.
The 1800 stations are providing more than 20000 bikes, both electrical and normal. The great thing about Vélib is the low price and the huge flexibility – just pick a bike, cycle to your destination and drop it off at the next station.
Renting a Vélib in Paris is great for sightseeing but also to experience Paris like a local. More and more Parisians are using their bikes for daily commuting and the city of Paris has an ambitious agenda for becoming more eco and bike-friendly. In September 2021, the city-wide speed limit was reduced to 30 kmh and many bike lanes were planned.
If you want to explore Paris by bike, a nice itinerary to follow is along the Seine. The entire route is safe to ride and you will pass by many sights that are worth visiting: the Jardin des Plantes, Saint Michel, Shakespeare & Company, the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and of course the Eiffel Tower and the Pont Neuf.
Alternatively, you can also cycle along the Rue Rivoli to the Champs Élysées starting at Bastille. Big parts of the way are even car-free zones!
Tour: Join a guided bike tour
Shopping at Galeries Lafayette
Whether you are a window shopper or a credit swiper you must visit the Galeries Lafayette. This is an upscale department store in Paris located in the 9th arrondissement that deserves a visit.
The interior of the store is elegantly decorated in a neo-Byzantine dome designed by artists of the Art Nouveau school of Nancy. It first opened its doors in 1912 and is home to over 280 shops today.
Galeries Lafayette is recognized for luxury shopping in Paris. You will find mid-range to high-end brands here.
- Hours: Varies by season
- Costs: Free to visit
Go to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont
By Sam from Find Love & Travel
If you are looking for a hidden gem in Paris, look no further than Parc des Buttes Chaumont. While not mentioned often, Parc des Buttes Chaumont is definitely worth a visit. This beautiful green space in Paris is actually the 5th largest park in Paris covering 61 acres.
Located in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, Parc des Buttes Chaumont features a lovely man-made lake, a suspension bridge from the cliffs, and even caves to explore. Because the park was built on an old quarry, you can go inside the cliffs and even see a small waterfall.
One of the most popular features of the park is the Temple De La Sybille. You will be able to easily identify it sitting at the top of the cliff. This Roman-style monument stands 165 feet above the artificial lake and is easily a top photo-worthy spot in Paris.
From the top of the cliff, you will also be rewarded with beautiful views of the city including a glimpse of Sacre Coeur Basilica and a birds-eye view of the Montmartre neighborhood.
This public park is free to visit and is especially popular on warm days where you will find Parisians strolling through the park or setting up picnics on the lawns.
During spring you will be greeted with beautiful blooms and in the month of autumn in Paris, you will see lovely fall foliage. Additionally, you will find ducks, turtles, and moorhen around the lake which sets the scene for a peaceful retreat inside the city of Paris.
Visit the Musée National d’Art Moderne
The Musée National d’Art Moderne is the national museum for modern art in France and is the 12th most visited art museum in the world. It is housed in the Centre Pompidou in the 4th arrondissement.
Soak in views from Montparnasse Tower
By Ania from The Travelling Twins
Montparnasse Tower, the only skyscraper in central Paris, is hard not to notice and hard to pass without comments. The brownish-black 210 meters tall exterior glass dominates Montparnasse.
While it is decidedly drab by aesthetic standards, that’s not what Montparnasse Tower is for. It was built to provide a range of services to residents and visitors alike, including office space and the best 360 degrees view of Paris.
So if you’re looking to get a good view of Paris, one of the best places to go is the Montparnasse Tower. You can get an amazing panoramic view of Paris.
In the good weather, you can see from the terrace up to 40 km, and special interactive panels inform you what you see in front of you. It is the best place in Paris to admire the Eiffel Tower.
Besides the 56th-floor observation deck and 59th-floor rooftop terrace, Montparnasse Tower also has an excellent bar on the roof, so if you’ve been eyeing a drink where you can enjoy your hard work as well as an evening in Paris with a glass of champagne overlooking the city – then this is your place!
Prices for the entrance to the view terrace starts at 15€ for adults, and young people (age 12-18 years) and students at 12.5€
After or before the visit to the tower, you should visit the closeby Montparnasse Cemetery – one of the oldest in Paris. Here you can find Charles Baudelaire, Simone de Beauvoir or Jean-Paul Sartre buried.
Costs: €15. Buy tickets here
Photograph the Passage des Panoramas
By Dymphe from Dymabroad
One of the best things to do in Paris is going to the Passage des Panoramasm which is an old-covered passage. In fact, it is the oldest of its kind in Paris and it was one of the oldest covered passages in Europe.
The history of Passage des Panoramas dates back to the year 1800 and you can see that in its design. There are all kinds of decorations everywhere, and the signs of the shops look wonderful.
The Passage des Panoramas is a great place if you want to go shopping or have dinner. That’s because you find many boutique shops in the passage and a variety of restaurants.
What’s great is that there are both fine dining restaurants and restaurants that are more casual. Furthermore, it is famous for the shops for stamps and postcards.
But, even if you aren’t going here for shopping or having dinner, this is a great place for a stroll, especially when it rains outside.
Moreover, the Passage des Panoramas is very photogenic, and it is one of the most Instagrammable places in Paris for sure! So if you go here shopping, don’t forget to also take some pictures.
Also, keep in mind to make a reservation at a restaurant you want to have dinner at here because this place is very popular.
Costs: Free to visit
Walk the Jardin du Palais Royal
By Sarah from CosmopoliClan
Just a short stroll from the Louvre lies a glorious garden framed by both tree-fringed pathways and neoclassical galleries, called the Jardin du Palais Royal or the Garden of the Royal Palace. This is a vast complex of apartments commissioned by Richelieu and eventually bequeathed to the Royal Family.
The Palais itself now houses three French institutions, one of which is the Ministry of Culture, and two renowned theaters, one of which is the Comédie Française.
While the buildings are not accessible to the public, the peaceful garden and elegant courtyards are.
They offer a peaceful escape in the heart of the bustling city, are open every day of the year until late in the evening, and can be visited free of charge.
The Jardin du Palais Royal is home to a collection of chestnut trees, lime trees, rose bushes, and other colorful plants as well as a majestic fountain and plenty of chairs to enjoy the tranquil setting.
It’s framed by three covered galleries, the Galerie de Valois, the Galerie de Beaujolais, and the Galerie de Montpensier, which have a long tradition of housing some of the city’s most exclusive boutiques and a handful of convivial cafés.
The gorgeously styled courtyards south of the garden offer a wonderful, neutral canvas for the eye-catching artwork that’s featured.
At the Cour d’Orléans you’ll find the Sphérades, two sphere-shaped fountains by artist Pol Bury and at the Galerie de la Cour d’Honneur, Les Deux Plateaux, a collection of 260 black-and-white striped columns designed by sculptor Daniel Buren.
- Hours: 09:30 am to 08:30 pm
- Costs: Free
Head to the Centre Pompidou
By Haley from Haley Blackall Travel
The Centre Pompidou is located on the border of the Beaubourg and popular Marais district of Paris, in the city centre.
The modern art museum was built in 1977 by architects Rogers, Piano, and Franchini, winners of a design competition put on by President Georges Pompidou.
They were influenced by the works of Cedric Price who experimented in the 1960s with open forms and flexible places. The three architects’ decided to maximize interior space by flipping the construction inside out.
The colorful exposed mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems on the exterior of the building give it its character and fame.
The museum itself is considered to hold the most important collections of modern art in Europe and is coined the Europe MOMA.
The Centre Pompidou houses over 100,000 works from famous modern artists of our time, Henry Matisse, Frida Kahlo Pablo Picasso, and more.
The founding movements of modern art can be found here also, from Fauvism, Cubism, and Surrealism, to Lyric Abstraction and Geometric Abstraction.
As well as traditional art, the Centre Pompidou boasts works in the form of plastic arts, books, design, music, and cinema.
The centre also has exhibits of contemporary art (from the 60s to the 90s), with sculptures, paintings, and drawings from Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, and Yves Klein.
Head up to the upper floor balconies for great views of Paris and all of its fantastic monuments and attractions.
If you’d like to pursue the exhibits in peace, visit after 6:00 pm. Every first Sunday of the month, entrance to the centre is free of charge, otherwise, the cost of admission is 14 euros and can be purchased at the door.
- Hours: 11:00 am to 09:00 pm every day, except Tuesday
- Costs: 14 euros. Buy tickets here
Admire Tuileries Garden or Jardin des Tuileries
By Elisa from World in Paris
The Tuileries Garden is simply the best garden to visit in Paris. It is located in the first district of Paris, in the heart of the city, near the Louvre Palace and the Seine River.
The Tuileries Garden is not only the most beautiful garden in Paris; it was also the theater of historical events, setting for festivals, ceremonies, royal strolls, and intrigues.
The Tuileries Garden was commissioned in the 16th century by Queen Catherine de Médicis to surround the newly built Tuileries Palace.
The Queen was never fond of the Louvre Palace, home to the French Kings and Queens, and ordered the construction of a new place and gardens following the latest architectural trends.
The designer of the French-style gardens was André Le Notre, a famous landscape designer who later will design other beautiful gardens near Paris.
The Tuileries Garden was a private garden for the exclusive use of the royals of the time.
When a terrible fire ravaged the Tuileries Palace in the 19th century, the City of Paris decided to open it for all the Parisians. That’s why the Tuileries Garden became the first public garden in Paris.
Today, the garden’s layout respects much of the original design by André Le Notre. It has a central alley, with two small ponds on the sides, beautiful parterres with colorful flowers, an interesting collection of classic sculptures, playgrounds for children, and two small cafes with some tables outside offering a good variety of drinks and snacks.
The garden is free to enter, and the opening times depend on the season, usually from sunrise to dusk.
Admire La Butte aux Cailles
By Sasha from The Alternative Travel Guide
Every capital city has its street art center. There are several such centers in Paris, and one of them is the 13th arrondissement.
The 13th arrondissement is often called “Chinatown,” but Chinatown occupies only a small corner of this district. Nearby there is another fascinating and very Parisian neighborhood, the quarter of la Butte aux Cailles.
If you want to explore alternative Paris, you have to go to la Butte aux Cailles.
It’s full of architectural and historical surprises, but above all, it’s a favorite place for street artists.
The concentration of street art here is such that only certain quarters of the Vitry-sur-Seine in Paris suburbs compare to this quarter. No other neighborhood in Paris offers as much street art as la Butte aux Cailles.
Here you can have a great time strolling through the alleys and passages, hunting for street art. You also might be lucky enough to see street artists at work.
The area of Bute-aux-Cai can’t be built up with new tall buildings because it stands on the site of a former quarry. The soil beneath it would not be able to withstand massive construction.
That’s why in this neighborhood, old low, colorful houses are preserved that create a special atmosphere of this neighborhood. Maybe that’s why artists are especially fond of this neighborhood.
You can meet and talk to the artists of the 13th district themselves in the “Frigos” squat (19 rue des Frigos). This building, a former warehouse, was given to artists’ studios. It stands almost on the very bank of the Seine.
Some of the walls outside and inside the building are painted with graffiti. Inside there are about 100 art studios that you can visit.
Explore the Catacombs of Paris
By Debbie from WorldAdventurists.com
Even Paris, known as the City of Light and Love, hides some dark history. You can explore some of that history by wandering through the Catacombs of Paris. Equally eerie, fascinating, and sad, the catacombs are full of bones of the unknown.
In the 17th century, the cemeteries in Paris were overflowing; they were no longer able to properly bury their dead. This led to the decision to use the underground tunnels to store the bones.
Six million were laid to rest underground, their bones neatly stacked, some stacked in designs like a piece of art. Yes, art made from the bones of the unknown.
Visiting the Catacombs is a unique way to learn some of the history of Paris. It feels like visiting an open tomb.
Plus, you will leave with more respect for the grandeur of Paris that is above, once you gain respect for what is below. It will also leave you wondering what their lives were like, and the causes of death. Wandering the Catacombs of Paris is very humbling.
The Catacombs of Paris are extremely popular and the line can get very long during peak season. It is more expensive, but to skip the line, you can buy your tickets online.
Keep in mind that you are going underground, so even on a hot summer day, it can get a little chilly down there. You will want to bring a light sweater with you.
Give yourself at least an hour and a half to explore the Catacombs.
Costs: Start at $34 USD. Book a guided tour
Stroll Promenade Plantee
By Sharon from Dive Into Philippines
If you are looking for a unique attraction in Paris that’s lots of fun, then take a stroll along Promenade Plantee. This walkway runs a scenic three miles from the Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes and was the world’s first elevated park walkway.
Three levels above the ground for the first part of its journey, Promenade Plantee was built on a disused railway line. It’s beautifully set up with gardens, water features, and benches.
In some parts, the path is quite wide, in others narrow. Some parts are undercover and go through tunnels and buildings, other parts feel like you’ve left the city behind. There are some great views as you walk around and, on a summer evening, it has a great buzz.
The Promenade Plantee eventually gets to Jardin de Reuilly which is the perfect place to stop and have a picnic. From here, the path continues at ground level and below.
Promenade Plantee is free and there are numerous entry points. You can start at the beginning by getting the Metro to the Bastille station.
From here, walk down Rue de Lyon until you hit Avenue Daumesnil. On your left are stairs to access the promenade. You can also access the walkway from Jardin de Reuilly by taking the metro to Montgallet. From here, it’s a few minute’s walks.
The best time to visit this Paris attraction is in fine weather, particularly in the summer months where the greenery can make it feel cooler than the surrounding streets.
Discover the National Museum of Natural History
The French National Museum of Natural History, as the name suggests, is a natural history museum. The museum complex comprises four galleries and dates back to 1793. It is located at the Jardins des Plantes.
The Jardin des Plantes was initially created as a medicinal garden for Louis XIII in the 17th century, and later it turned into a national museum and a centre for botanical research.
You will find various types of flowers, gardens, greenhouses, libraries, and a small zoo.
Often known as the Louvre of the Natural Sciences, its popular gallery is the Grand Gallery of Evolution. The museum has over 9500 specimens, with animals from other continents on display.
You must pay a visit to the zoo, which is the second oldest in the world. There is also a children’s gallery, and a virtual gallery for visitors to enjoy.
- Hours: Everyday 10 am-6 pm, except Tuesdays, January 1, May 1, and December 25
- Costs: Starts at €10+
Learn at Musée de l’Orangerie
By Martha from May Cause Wanderlust
There’s a place in the centre of Paris that is calm and still, a place to retreat from the buzz of the city and to contemplate beauty. It is called Musée de l’Orangerie.
The gallery features impressionist and post-impressionist work from Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and others.
But the biggest attraction (literally and figuratively) is a series of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies.
The building was commissioned by Napoleon III (nephew of Napoleon) in 1852 to protect citrus trees of the Tuileries Garden during winter – hence the word ‘orangerie’ in the name.
After World War I, the building was transferred to the Under-Secretary of State for Fine Arts as a space to display works by living artists. Monet was working on his Water Lilies paintings at the time and collaborated with the architect to design the space for eight of them to be displayed.
The result is two large oval-shaped rooms with four huge water lilies murals in each room. Natural light floods the rooms from the skylight. The effect is both visually arresting and very calming.
Sitting on one of the central benches, you’re surrounded by water lilies. It feels less like you’re admiring a work of art and more like you’re immersed in it.
It makes for one of those rare and special exhibitions where you feel like you’re really experiencing the art the way the artist envisioned.
Top Tip: Go on the first Sunday of each month for free entry – though you still need to reserve a place online in advance.
Costs: Tickets are €12.50 and must be booked in advance with a time slot.
Spend a day at Disneyland Paris
By Erica from Travels with Erica
Disneyland Paris is one of the best things to do in Paris. It is the only Disney theme park in Europe and has a number of unique attractions that you won’t find at any other Disney park in the world.
You get to escape the world for a day and remember how much fun it was to be a kid and live in a world of fantasy.
There are two separate theme parks at Disneyland Paris. The traditional castle park is called Disneyland Paris and a smaller park is known as Walt Disney Studios that has more thrill rides.
Crush’s Coaster is a must-ride at Walt Disney Studios. It is an indoor rollercoaster, unlike any other Disney roller coaster. Not only do you move forward through the track, but your ride vehicle spins 360 degrees at the same time.
Since there are two parks, it is in your best interest to purchase a park hopper ticket. This ticket allows you to visit both of Disneyland Paris’ theme parks in a single day. They are only a few steps apart, so you can easily explore both parks in one day.
There is a lot to see and do though, so you should be at the parks as soon as they open. This is when the parks are the quietest, and you can ride a number of attractions before the crowds show up and the lines get long.
Cast members often start letting guests into the park 30 minutes before it officially opens. You can’t go on any rides during this time, but there are characters out and about meeting guests.
A few minutes before the park officially opens, get in line for the land that has the attraction you want to ride first, so you can get there before anybody else.
Costs: 1 day ticket starts at $63 USD
Go on a day trip to Palace of Versailles
Versailles is a historic town in France, and it makes for an easy day trip from Paris. It is only 20 kilometres away from the city.
Versailles was built by King Louis XIV in the 17th century when he was in search of a new seat of governance and administration, and Versailles made for a perfect match. Versailles is the epitome of royalty and luxury.
Versailles Palace was built to be the new home of the monarchy. Once built it became a symbol of grandeur and power for the French. This palace also saw the demise of the power and strength of the monarchy when the French Revolution broke out, and ultimately led to its fall.
Versailles also witnessed many important treaties, including the Treaty of Versailles that ended the First World War in 1919 – inside the Hall of Mirrors. It was on my Paris bucket list for years, and I was happy to have checked it off!
Costs: €18. Book a tour
So that’s a wrap! We hope you found this post on Paris bucket list ideas useful to kick start yours. We love visiting Paris, it is such a beautiful city. We will be adding more attractions and experiences as we keep exploring the City of Love – so stay tuned!