33 things to see and do in Paris

33 things to see and do in Paris

A visit to the City of Light is always a good idea! From iconic monuments and buildings to mysterious underground tombs, here are some things to see and do in Paris.

It should come as no surprise that Paris has plenty to offer travelers both in summer and winter alike. So, what to do and see in the French capital?  Get some metro tickets and let our nifty To Do List inspire you to not miss a single thing in the City of Light.

1. Visit the magnificent Louvre Museum and see the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, ancient Egyptian mummies and much, much more

Paris’ most famous museum (and one of the most visited in the world) is housed in a former royal residence. The museum’s enormous collection, organized into three large wings (Richelieu, Sully and Denon), spans nearly 10,000 years of history. The painting that raises the most excitement is undoubtedly the Mona Lisa. Michelangelo’s masterpiece is housed in a heated display case in the Estates Room (Denon Wing). In this same room, in addition to La Gioconda, we find fantastic examples of Venetian painting, such as The Marriage at Cana by Veronese. Lovers of Greek sculpture should go to the Antiquities Gallery (Sully Wing) to see the Venus de Milo, while Renaissance enthusiasts should not miss the Great Gallery (Denon Wing).

The museum is really big, so we advise you to plan your visit in advance to create the most suitable itinerary according to your tastes and interests.

2. Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower and discover a restaurant with a transparent floor and magnificent view of Paris

Did you know that the Eiffel Tower was built for the Universal Exhibition of 1889? It was originally designed as a temporary structure (it was to last 20 years), but fortunately for the nearly 7 million annual visitors it receives, it is still standing! Besides being the symbol of Paris, the views from the observation decks on the second floor (116 meters high) and from the top (276 meters high) are spectacular. The entrance fee varies depending on whether you want to visit the first floor, the second floor or the top, and whether you plan to use the stairs and elevator or just the elevator. In any case, it is recommended to book in advance, especially in high season, as it is one of the most visited monuments in the city.

3. Have a picnic at Champs de Mars

Located at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, this sprawling green space is the ideal place to feel 100% Parisian. It is a public garden, so admission is free! As a curiosity, you may be interested to know that several of the Universal Exhibitions held in Paris took place here, as well as the celebrations during the French Revolution.

4. Enjoy a drink at the Café des Deux Moulins and pretend like you’re in the film Amélie

This café-brasserie rose to fame in 2001, thanks to the movie Amélie. After its success at the box office, tourists have flocked to Montmartre to see the place where the protagonist of the famous romantic comedy worked.

5. Visit the surroundings of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris

Unfortunately, after the huge fire in 2019, the Notre Dame Cathedral is still closed to the public. The good news is that, if the reconstruction work goes according to plan, the cathedral could reopen its doors in 2024. Very close to Notre Dame, without leaving the Île de la Cité, there are plenty of interesting sites, such as Sainte Chapelle and the Conciergerie.


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6. Stroll around Montmartre and discover a charming district known for its narrow streets and portrait artists.

This picturesque hilltop neighborhood was the home and source of inspiration for many artists, such as Van Gogh, Picasso or Renoir. Walking through its narrow cobblestone streets you will come across a lot of places of interest. Don’t miss the Sacré Coeur Basilica, the windmills that are still standing (moulin Radet and the moulin de la Galette), or the cabaret shows of Moulin Rouge or Lapin Agile.

7. Visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart

As we mentioned in the previous point, this huge white basilica built in Roman-Byzantine style is one of the essential visits in Montmartre. Inside, it is worth mentioning the huge mosaic ceiling and the crypt. After you leave, head to the square in front of the temple and enjoy an incredible panoramic view of Montmartre and Paris.


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8. Attend a cancan show at the iconic Moulin Rouge!

The popular cabaret, located in the bustling Pigalle district, opened its doors in 1889 and is already part of Paris history. Toulouse-Lautrec immortalized the atmosphere of the Moulin Rouge in one of his works, but the place was a source of inspiration for many other artists of the time. Today, many travelers come here to watch live cancan shows while enjoying a nice dinner or a glass of champagne.

9. Shop at Les Halles de Paris

The huge shopping mall is located on the site of the former Paris wholesale market. The huge glass and metal roof (known as “La Canopée”) is one of its most distinctive features. After shopping, recharge your batteries in the Nelson Mandela Garden, a beautiful green area of about 4 hectares located in the same neighborhood.


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10. Enjoy some bucolic moments in the three large greenhouses of the Jardin des Plantes

The Jardin des Plantes is without a doubt one of Europe’s most beautiful botanical gardens. In the different greenhouses, you will be able to see species ranging from the tropical rainforests to the deserts, as well as the most arid habitats. The rose garden is not to be missed. Located in front of the Gallery of Mineralogy and Geology, the garden contains more than 170 varieties of roses. And, of course, do not leave without visiting the “Ménagerie“, one of the oldest zoos in the world, and the National Museum of Natural History, known for its Gallery of Evolution!

11. Sip tea on the lovely patio of the Grand Mosque of Paris

Not far from the Jardin des Plantes you will find the Grand Mosque of Paris. This mosque was built in Hispano-Moorish style in the 1920s. Along with the huge 100-foot high minaret, the beautiful courtyard surrounded by cloisters stands out. In addition to being a place of worship, the complex houses a tearoom, a restaurant, and a souvenir store.

12. Take a cruise on the river Seine to discover the beauty of the quays, bridges, and architecture

Admire the city’s main monuments (Eiffel Tower, Grand Palais, the Louvre, the Orsay Museum, etc.) aboard a sightseeing cruise is a must experience in Paris. There are many options, so you can choose according to your taste: at night or during the day, with an audio guide, with food or drink included…

13. Visit the mystical Père Lachaise cemetery

Père-Lachaise is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, so it is not surprising that every year it receives around 3 million visitors. Much of its popularity is due to the fact that it is the final resting place of more than 40 artists and more than 75 painters, including Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Chopin and Jim Morrison. Besides being a cemetery, it is a huge park with more than 5,000 trees, so it is not strange to see many people walking through. It is easily one of the most curious places to see in Paris.

14. Taste Pierre Hermé’s delicious macaroons in his eponymous shop on the Champs Elysées or in Saint-Germain-des-Près and Le Marias neighborhoods.

Macarons are one of the most famous sweets of French gastronomy. These small round and colorful cakes are a real treat.

15. Wonder around Saint-Germain-des-Près

This chic, bohemian and intellectual neighborhood is home to timeless cafés such as Café de Flore, Brasserie Lipp, and Les Deux Magots. During the 20th century, these cafés were the meeting place of great writers and artists. Among their most prominent clients were Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso and Simone Beauvoir. The Saint-Germain-des-Prés church, the Eugène Delacroix National Museum, the Institut de France and the Pont des Arts are also located here.


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16. Visit Palais de Tokyo and the National Museum of Modern Art, where contemporary art merges with the banks of the Seine

The Palais de Tokyo, built for the International Exhibition of 1937, houses the Museum of Modern Art in Paris in one of its wings. This museum is an essential stop for art lovers who enjoy artworks from the 20th century since its extensive collection includes works from Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso and Yves Klein.

17. Stop at the iconic English bookstore Shakespeare and Company

Located on the left bank of the Seine, just opposite Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company opened its doors in 1951, although it was originally called Le Mistral. Since its opening, more than 30,000 writers are believed to have slept on the bookstore’s shelves. These guests, known as “Tumbleweeds“, were asked to help out in the bookshop for a few hours, read a book a day, and write a short autobiography as a way to “pay”.

18. Visit the superb Rodin Museum to admire the sculptor’s masterpieces

One of the two sites of the Rodin Museum is located in Paris, specifically in the former Hotel Biron, a spectacular 18th-century mansion surrounded by a huge sculpture garden. In addition to admiring well-known pieces such as The Kiss and The Thinker, the museum also houses works by his muse, Camille Claudel.

19. Picnic at Buttes Chaumont Park

This is one of the most beautiful and atypical green spaces in Paris, full of waterfalls and hidden treasures. It is located in the northeast of the city and occupies an area of about 25 hectares. There are a wide variety of exotic trees and numerous species of plants that grow in the park.


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20. Visit the Picasso Museum

Nestled in a mansion in the Le Marais district, the Picasso Museum houses an interesting collection of the artist’s works. The collection includes paintings by Picasso, but also sculptures, ceramics, drawings, and even manuscripts and engravings. In addition, thanks to the variety of materials on display, visitors can fully immerse themselves in the creative process of the father of Cubism.

21. Take a guided tour of the legendary Opera Garnier, a marvel of nineteenth-century architecture

The Garnier Palace is one of the most exuberant buildings in the City of Light, one of those places that must be seen. In the auditorium, a huge bronze and crystal chandelier hangs from the beautiful dome decorated by Marc Chagall in 1964. But that’s not all, the grand marble staircase and the magnificently decorated halls are sure to leave you speechless.

22. Have a coffee in the Galerie Vivienne, a gorgeous covered passage

This emblematic gallery was declared a historical monument in 1974. The elaborate mosaics on the floor and the beautiful glass ceiling make it a magical place, so we can’t think of a better place to enjoy a good coffee. If you prefer shopping, you will find everything from ready-to-wear clothes to wine shops and antique bookstores, among other options.

23. Get spooked in the Catacombs of Paris, arguably the most mysterious place in the city

Located 20 meters underground, the Catacombs of Paris stretch for almost 2 km. The resting place for approximately 6 million Parisians, who were moved here due to sanitation problems in the Paris cemeteries at the end of the 18th century. The skulls and bones covering the walls create a unique (and frightening!) atmosphere.


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24. Take a stroll along the Canal Saint-Martin, the city’s hippiest district, which you can cross by boat or on foot

This neighborhood, which inspired the film director Marcel Carné in the movie Hôtel du Nord, will steal your heart. The Canal Saint-Martin stretches 4.5 km between the 10th and 11th arrondissements. In addition to 9 locks and several swing bridges, it is one of the best places in Paris to see street art.

25. Go shopping in the famous Galeries Lafayette and admire its famous dome

The huge shopping mall is a staple in Paris, so it’s not surprising that it receives more than 20 million visitors a year. Whether you like shopping or not, it’s worth entering the Galeries Lafayette to see the massive 43-meter-high dome, one of the most photographed places in the city. It is also possible to attend fashion shows or take part in a cooking class.


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26. See an exhibition in the Centre Pompidou, an exceptional cultural venue with gorgeous rooftop views of Paris

The building that houses the museum designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers caused a sensation in the 1970s. Don’t settle for just seeing it from the outside, its interior holds many surprises, especially if you like modern and contemporary art. The permanent collection features works by Kandinsky, Duchamp and Delaunay, among other artists. Before your visit, take a look at the museum’s program to see if there are temporary exhibitions, as they are also worth visiting.

27. Walk along the Coulée Verte, an old railway line that is now an elevated promenade

The path, designed by landscape designer Philippe Mathieux and architect Jacques Vergely, stretches for almost 5 km, from the Opéra de la Bastille to the Porte de Montempoivre. A highly recommended walk to discover the 12th arrondissement!


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28. Taste an ice cream from Une glace à Paris and discover the historic, dynamic, and charming Marais district

What better way to stroll around the Place des Vosges (the oldest square in Paris) or admire the spectacular architecture of the Hôtel de Sully and the Hôtel de Sens than with an ice cream in hand? This neighborhood is full of attractions, so take your time to stroll through its cobblestone streets and discover them little by little.

29. Take a stroll through the 13th arrondissement to admire the street art then stop in the Asian district for some Pho soup

The French capital is a paradise for street art lovers, and the 13th arrondissement is a true open-air museum. Some of the works you will see include Turncoat by English artist D*Face, Liberté, égalité, fraternité by Shepard Fairey, or Inti’s La Madre Secular 2. If you get hungry after wandering around the district looking for the best graffiti, don’t worry! You are in the right place, especially if you like Asian food.

30. Taste the delicious cakes of Rose Bakery located on the picturesque rue des Martyrs

Rue des Martyrs is one of the busiest streets in the Pigalle neighborhood. If you pass by on your way to Montmartre, make a stop at Rose Bakery, you will not regret it!

31. Visit the flower market at Place Louis Lepine on Île de la Cité

Very close to the Notre Dame Cathedral, in Place Louis Lepine, botanical enthusiasts can stroll among the charming pavilions of the flower market. This market has been open since 1830 and can now be visited every day.

32. Have a drink on rue de la roquette near Place de la Bastille

One of the best places to enjoy the Parisian nightlife is Rue de la Roquette. The street is home to art galleries and many bars and restaurants, so it is always a good spot to have a drink.

33. A few kilometers from Paris, the magnificent Château de Versailles welcomes you on a journey back in time

The Palace of Versailles could not be left off our list! The Gallery of Mirrors alone is worth walking the few kilometers that separate this monumental architectural complex from the center of Paris. Do not miss the Royal Apartments, Marie Antoinette’s Estate, and the famous gardens.

Planning a getaway to the French capital? Here are the best things to see and do in Paris:

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