Paris: Top 10 Things to Do in the City of Love
Romance and Paris go together like a little spoon and a big spoon (note – we're not really talking about cutlery here). And the City of Love is so vast that you'll only scratch the surface of all the must-see places and must-do activities in one city break. Whether you're going for your first visit or your fifth, here are 10 things to do in Paris that will leave you aching for more.
1. Take in the views from the Eiffel Tower
Imagine sweeping views across Paris. The Eiffel Tower was originally constructed as a temporary exhibit for the 1889 World’s Fair. But its wrought iron frame, standing 320 metres tall, has since become an iconic symbol recognised across the world. Taking in city views from the Eiffel Tower is an absolute must-do for anyone visiting Paris.
Top tip: buy tickets online in advance to avoid the long queues.
2. Admire architectural brilliance at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
The Cathédrale Notre-Dame – with its stunning rose windows, epic bell tower, and many intricate gargoyles – is a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture. Its beauty attracts thousands of visitors daily, making it Paris’ most visited unticketed site. Its role in the Disney classic, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" draws people, too. Despite the crowds, this is one Paris attraction you simply cannot miss.
3. Lose yourself at the Louvre
Admire Da Vinci’s "Mona Lisa", the Great Sphinx of Tanis, or any one of the Louvre’s 35,000 masterpieces and antiques. The Louvre is the world’s largest museum, and you could spend days wandering through the many exhibitions, which make an almost-overwhelming selection of cultural treasures.
Top tip: before you visit, download The Louvre app – excellent and FREE – and go on your own self-guided walking tour.
4. Enjoy the sights at the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur
Construction of this church started in 1875, as a reaction to spiritual woes including defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, and the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur has been an important part of Parisian history ever since. Make sure to climb the 300 steps to the basilica’s dome for breathtaking views across Paris – it's said on a clear day you can see up to 30 kilometres away! From religious pilgrims to picnickers to buskers, this is also a great place to people-watch.
Top tip: keep your euros and valuables in zipped pockets or bags to stay safe from pickpockets.
5. Meet the masters at Musee d’Orsay
Home to the world’s largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces, the Musee d’Orsay is a must-visit. It offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to admire Manet, Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas, Pissarro, and Van Gogh’s works of art. Our favourites include "The Starry Night" by Van Gogh, "The Ballet Class" by Degas, and "Blue Water Lilies" by Monet.
6. Try not to blush at Moulin Rouge
Let us set the scene. The lights go down, the curtain goes up, and the dancers appear dressed in sexy costumes of colourful feathers, shimmering sequins, and dazzling rhinestones. Welcome to the Moulin Rouge – the world’s most famous cabaret show and birthplace of the can-can. The Moulin Rouge is one show you definitely need to see. We dare you to not blush.
Top tip: make sure to book tickets online as this show can sell out months in advance.
7. Travel back in time at the Palace of Versailles
While the Palace of Versailles is not in the heart of Paris, it’s certainly worth the trip. Once home to Marie-Antoinette, Versailles is a testimony to the French monarchy's power, back in the 17th century. When you stroll through Versailles’ intricate landscaped gardens and grandiose Hall of Mirrors, it’s easy to feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.
8. Ramble down back alleys in Le Marais
One of our favourite things to do when travelling is to wander through quaint neighbourhoods. With crooked cobblestone streets, hip boutiques, and plenty of independent coffee shops, Le Marais – in our opinion – is perfect for this pursuit. A pleasing and relaxing day can be spent in this neighbourhood, and it also ranks highly for excellent accommodation.
9. Sample French cuisine at L'Escargot Montorgueil
French cuisine is known for its richness and plays a huge role in the national culture and identity. In fact, UNESCO added French gastronomy to its list of world intangible cultural heritages in 2011. One of the French specialties that many tourists are keen to try, if only for the novelty, is escargot. AKA cooked land snails. We think one of the best places in Paris to sample this delicacy is L’Escargot Montorgueil.
10. Pick up the hottest high-end fashion
As a global fashion capital, Paris is a dream if you want to indulge in some high-end retail therapy. Whether you catch the internationally-renowned Paris fashion show, shop at elegant boutiques, or visit luxury brands at their flagship stores, you'll love the opportunity to pick up the hottest trends if you're a bit of a fashionista. Chanel, Dior, Rochas, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton are just some of the amazing brands found here.