Dining inside the Eiffel Tower, sipping champagne in its birthplace and biting into a freshly baked croissant: these are the top things to do in Paris.
The City of Lights is a beacon for starry-eyed couples, dreamers and travelling gourmands. Millions flock to Paris every year to experience the magic that this most elegant of cities holds. From quintessential Parisian experiences like standing under the twinkling Eiffel Tower at night to smelling pages in the world-famous Shakespeare and Company independent bookstore and indulging at a 100-year-old deli selling aromatic cheeses and wine, read on to discover our ultimate guide of things to do in Paris. Bon voyage!
Ready to book your dreamy Paris escape? Check out our handpicked escapes.
Landmarks for first timers
Set eyes on France’s most iconic landmark: the Eiffel Tower. Although Parisians breeze by unphased in its shadow, this 1,000-foot wrought-iron tower draws in seven million international visitors each year, eager to witness this ultimate symbol of romance. By day, enjoy sweeping views of Paris from the second or third floor, and by night watch the tower glow with thousands of twinkling lights from ground level.
The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte аnd completed in the 1830s to commemorate French soldiers. Walk around the arch and admire the intricately sculpted façade, a historic tribute standing proud in the middle of the chaotic French road. Entry gives access to the rooftop, where rewarding city panoramas await.
What’s a more fitting way to see Paris’ sights than on a romantic boat ride along the Seine? Spot the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum, the Conciergerie and many other exquisite sights of Paris while floating down the famous river. All that’s missing is a dreamy rendition of La Vie En Rose to round out the experience…
Culture & history
Paris is undisputedly the centre of fashion, cuisine, art and architecture in France – if not the world. Did you know that France is the world capital of fragrance production? At Fragonard Perfume Museum, perfume is not simply a fragrance one wears, it’s an artform. Learn all about the manufacturing process, from harvesting the raw materials to distillation and the final judgement of the master ‘noses’. There’s even a shop where you can purchase Fragonard perfume products for yourself.
Visit the city’s most unique and eerie attraction: the subterranean labyrinth of the Paris Catacombs. Not for the faint-of-heart, these gloomy tunnels are lined with the bones of six million late Parisians dating back to the 18th century. We recommend seeing the catacombs with a guide who knows their way through the dusky maze – this isn’t the place you’d want to get lost in.
It’s said if you spent 60 seconds looking at each object in the Louvre for eight hours a day, it would take 75 days to see it all. This speaks volumes about the sheer magnitude of Paris’ renowned museum. If there’s one item you can’t leave without seeing, it’s the Mona Lisa – the best-known painting in the world.
From vintage flea markets to upmarket boutiques, the streets of Paris are a shopaholic’s utopia. Lovers of the written word can’t miss a visit to Shakespeare and Company, the most famous independent bookstore in the world. Housed in an early 17th century building along the banks of the Seine, this quaint store is a must-do Paris experience. Books purchased here are stamped with genuine bookstore stamp, making for an excellent souvenir.
For the perfect Paris take-home gift, We Are Paris boutique features items like handmade soaps, high-quality notebooks, candles, jewellery, art and perfumes, all crafted by local artisans. There’s a focus on eco-responsibility and sustainable packaging, so you can shop locally while also giving back to the environment.
Take a stroll down the world’s most beautiful avenue, Champs-Élysées, where historic monuments stand alongside a shopper’s paradise. Sink your teeth into crispy macarons at Ladurée, splurge on cashmere sweaters at Éric Bompard, treat yourself to trinkets at Tiffany & Co, or pop into familiar high-street stores like Sephora and Nike if you’re on a budget.
Pastel-hued macarons, garlic-infused escargot, crusty baguettes and technique–defining cuisine. French food: need we say anymore? For that special, romantic dinner – nothing tops dining in the ultimate symbol of love, the Eiffel Tower. At Madame Brasserie, admire spellbinding panoramas of the Seine, Place du Trocadéro and the Bois de Boulogne Forest while dining on blue lobster, lightly seared hake steak or a decadent custard-infused chocolate cake.
Gourmands can’t miss a visit to A La Ville De Rodez, a 100-year-old deli selling aromatic cheeses, cured meats and other classic French delicacies. Stock up on slices of duck salami, wheels of soft Pérail cheese, olives, fresh bread and a bottle of wine for a perfect picnic lunch.
Is there anything more French than the croissant? These buttery, flaky, crescent-moon pastries are thrown into the spotlight at Laurent Duchêne. With a whopping 60K+ following on Instagram, this pastry franchise is well worth the hype: try the buttered croissant with swirls of chocolate and homemade praline spread.
Beyond the City
Bountiful rail links make it easy to discover the host of treasures awaiting exploration just outside the city walls. Discover an important part of French history in the city of Reims, just 1.5 hours from Paris. Home to four UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Cathedral of Notre-Dame – a sky-piercing Gothic masterpiece where French kings were coronated from 816AD – the city is a must-visit for any Francophile and history buff.
Reims and the Champagne-Ardenne region, two hours east of Paris, are where you’ll find renowned vineyards producing the world-famous tipple, Le Champagne. Discover highly regarded pours at Ruinart, Comtesse and Veuve Clicquot, whose names you may recognise from your top-shelf bubblies of choice.
Experience the sheer scale and opulence of former French royal residence, the Palace of Versailles. Just 40 minutes out of the city, this grand, glittering and gilt-flecked complex is home to a series of immaculate gardens, 2,300 rooms, countless crystal chandeliers, golden statues and priceless artwork.
Where to Stay
For five-star boutique luxury, enjoy a stay at the stylish Hotel Napoleon Paris, located just steps from the Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe. You’ll be perfectly placed to explore the city’s most iconic sights with Parc Monceau, the Louvre Museum and the Eiffel Tower all nearby.
For a charming Art Deco abode tucked away in Paris' sought-after South Pigalle neighbourhood, stay at Grand Pigalle Hôtel. The hotel is just a 10-minute walk from Moulin Rouge, and you’ll pass a handful of eclectic bars and fine-dining restaurants along the way.
Fashionistas with their sights set on Paris’ beautiful Champs-Élysées should base themselves at the five-star Hôtel de Sers, located just 400 metres from the heart of the action. Between shopping at world-famous boutiques, make use of its garden-themed restaurant, courtyard with a moveable roof, onsite hammam and sultry cocktail bar.
Ready to book your dreamy Paris escape? Check out our handpicked escapes.
Looking for more Paris inspiration? Read Paris in Winter: Experience the Magic of the City of Light.
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