There is an endless list of things to do in Paris from sightseeing, art, music, theatre, opera, gastronomy, shopping, and much more. Some say that the best experience is getting lost and wandering around to uncover the unexpected rather than checking off a list, especially as such a list is endless in Paris.
In the summertime, enjoy the Paris Plages -- beaches by the River Seine. Grab some delicious ice cream at Berthillon nearby on Île Saint-Louis, or a fresh pain au chocolat for breakfast at a local boulangerie – follow your nose and get it fresh! Ask the seller what they recommend if you drop by the many farmers’ markets, they often know their produce better than the buyer.
For the fashion-conscious, the biannual Paris Fashion Week may be the time to go, perhaps combining the visit with the newer Foundation Louis Vuitton by architect Frank Gehry.
Visit the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris (Notre-Dame Cathedral) a Gothic giant on the Île de la Cité, and see the mixture of dark and light ambiance filtered through the stained glass rose window. You may be lucky enough to hear the organist perform within the centuries-old building.
Montparnasse Tower's terrace is great for views of Paris as is the iconic Eiffel Tower where you can purchase a ticket to take the lift up and down or walk part of the way. Around Christmastime, an ice rink opens on level 1 for a romantic winter experience.
Highlights from Paris
- Visit the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris (aka Notre-Dame) to see where the first architectural flying buttresses were created.
- Stroll along the Berges de Seine or head to the beaches to relax.
- Go ice-skating underneath the Eiffel Tower in wintertime.
- Look for the Aphrodite of Milos or Mona Lisa’s smile at The Louvre.
- Ride the Ferris wheel at the Place de la Concorde – also the site of Madam Guillotine.
- At night enjoy the sparkly white lights of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
Hints and Tips for Paris
- Be prepared for very long lines at the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay and other iconic locations, as Paris is a huge tourist destination. You may want to look into purchasing tickets ahead of time and double-check when locations are open to make better use of your time.
- It is incredibly useful to know French or, at least, make an attempt using a language guidebook or the like. Greeting with the French equivalents of good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and hello, how are you are considered basic good manners, without which might lead to a rockier conversation (or lack, thereof).
- There are many forms of transport from buses, walking tours, renting bicycles and more.
- The city is very different from the countryside, so consider venturing out for a dramatically different experience!