15 Lovely Things to Do in Paris, France on Your Vacation

Whether on your bucket list or you’re in the city of love and lights for your honeymoon, there are countless things to do in Paris, France. This large and populated city will keep you entertained from early morning to late night. From art, history, and museums to cafes and bars, you’ll definitely want to create a travel itinerary for this trip!

There is so much to see and do; you should plan around your own interests. It’s a densely populated city of over two million people and has things to do around every corner. Below are some of the city’s most popular sites and attractions. 

Go Up The Eiffel Tower

Top of the Eiffel Tower Paris, France
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

The Eiffel Tower, lovingly known as the Iron Lady, was built in two years, from 1887 to 1889; she’s over 135 years old! She has 1,665 steps that, unfortunately to my adventure seekers, you can only climb from the bottom to the second floor. Otherwise, you’ll take a lift.

You can buy tickets to access the second floor or the top. Either way, you’ll gain beautiful views of the city of lights. If you’re on a budget and don’t want to pay to visit the Eiffel Tower, don’t worry. You can see her beauty from all around the city!

Interesting fact: Hilter loved Paris and the Eiffel Tower. So much so that he arranged a visit to declare the Iron Lady as his own. Of course, the Parisians did not want this to happen. So, when he came to visit, they told Hitler that the lifts were broken and he would have to climb 1,665 steps to get to the top. Guess what? Their clever plan worked!

Musée du Louvre

Musée du Louvre
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

The Louvre Museum is quite a museum, housing over 380,000 art objects and artifacts. If you’re a fan of art, then you’ll want to get tickets to go inside this masterpiece! The Louvre Museum is the most-visited museum in the world and is where the Mona Lisa lives! You’ll have to practice patience with this museum as lines are long and the museum gets crowded. 

You can also visit the iconic pyramids located in the courtyard—there is no entry fee. The courtyard is significant, and you can take many beautiful photos from many different angles. During our visit, we also visited at night. There are significantly fewer people, and the pyramids are illuminated.

Jardin des Tuileries

Jardin des Tuileries
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

The Tuileries Garden is a massive public garden that is definitely worth a stroll. This beautiful garden was created in 1564 and was originally the garden for the Tuileries Palace. Stroll through the many gardens and fountains, or sit in front of the artwork and marvel at its beauty for a while.

There are even several cafes where you can stop for a bite or a sip of wine during your visit. There are public restrooms on the grounds, but be sure to bring your own toilet paper, as the toilets aren’t always stocked! Bring hand sanitizer with you, too!

Arc de Triomphe & Champs-Élysées Ave

Arc de Triomphe & Champs-Élysées Ave
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It is a memorial to all who served and died for France during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The monument is located on the western end of Champs-Élysées Avenue, so you can kill two birds with one stone.

Stroll Champs-Élysées Avenue and do a little shopping, or stop at a Cafe for lunch on your walk to the Arc de Triomphe. Once you arrive at the monument, you will be in awe of its size and beauty. Exploring the outside of the monument is free, but if you want beautiful views of the city, grab yourself a ticket to go to the top!

Musée d’Orsay

Musée d'Orsay
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

If you are curious about French art, visiting the Orsay Museum is a must. This large museum houses mostly French artwork from 1884 to 1914. When you first arrive, you will be awed by the beautiful sculptures and art in the museum’s center. Then, you can make your way around the rooms that cover different periods.

You will find popular pieces from artists like Vincent Van Gough and his Starry Night to Claude Monet and Edgar Degas. Audio tours are offered, and exhibits are labeled in French and English. If you’re an avid art lover, be sure to give yourself at least two hours. 

Latin Quarter & Parthenon

Latin Quarter & Parthenon
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

Don’t miss a stroll through the Latin Quarter when in Paris! There are landmarks, shopping, a nearby University, and many cafes to visit. The area is also home to the Jardin de Plantes (botanical gardens) and the National Museum of Natural History.

The Parthenon, King Louis XV’s project, can also be found in the Latin Quarter. Initially serving as a church, the building is now a mausoleum. To roam outside the Paris Parthenon is free, but you can also buy tickets to explore inside or take a guided tour. 

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris caught fire in April 2019. Construction continues today, preventing visitors from visiting the inside of the cathedral, which was opened to the public in 1345. However, this has not stopped tourists from visiting the outside of the massive church. It can be spotted from around the city, or take a stroll for a few up-close and personal photos. The reopening is set for December 8, 2024.

Le Marais Neighborhood

Le Marais Neighborhood
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

Le Marias is a charming neighborhood in Paris filled with boutiques, shops, art, bars, and cafes.  It is also a hotspot for fun LGBTQ bars. The area was once known as the Jewish Quarter, and many kosher restaurants can still be found there today. There are several off-the-beaten-path museums in the area that you can also visit. The area is beautifully lit at night, making for a fun and romantic spot for a dinner date or a few drinks with friends. 

Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

On the grounds of the Luxembourg Palace, the Luxembourg Gardens are spectacular! This 60-acre public park has flowers, plants, sculptures, fountains, and cafes. Take a stroll, or sit within the gardens and marvel at its beauty. There are many photogenic places around the gardens as well. Currently, as the seat of the French Senate, you can buy tickets for a tour of the Palace if you want to go in! 

Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

Opened in 1248, this historic gothic-style royal chapel is a wonderful visit. Marvel at the outside of the chapel and its beautiful architecture, and then buy tickets to go inside! You will be able to visit two floors (you must climb the stairs). Inside, you will find beautiful stained glass windows that tell the Bible’s story. It is one of the most impressive 13th-century sainted glass chapels that can be found around the world. 

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

If you’re feeling a little risqué or don’t mind nudity, you can visit the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. Opened in 1889, this birthplace of the French can-can dance is a marvelous visit during the evening. If you wish to see a musical show, buy your tickets well in advance. If you attempt to purchase tickets for more than one person just a few days ahead, you will not have luck. 

Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre

Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

The Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre is a gorgeous hilltop church in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris that opened in 1875. Open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, this exquisite sight is free and open to the public. Whether you visit during the day or at night, it is spectacular! 

As you climb the outside steps, you will see gates with hundreds or thousands of love locks! Don’t have your own? Don’t worry; there are many people on the streets selling locks! Once inside the church, you will be amazed at its size and beauty.

Be sure to stay quiet and respectful, as it is a place of worship. For a spectacular view of Paris, climb the 300 steps to the Dome (there is no lift).

When you’re done visiting the church, be sure to roam the streets of the Montmartre neighborhood! It gets lively in the evenings, and there are many cafes to stop by and grab a bite or have a glass of wine!

Saint-Germain-des-Prés Neighborhood

Saint-Germain-des-Prés Neighborhood
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

The Saint Germain neighborhood in Paris is a beautiful place to visit and a great place to call home base. It is central to many famous sights and near the Seine River. You can easily walk to many places, such as shopping, bars, cafes, museums, churches, and art galleries.

Walk through the neighborhood and enjoy a gelato or a delicious macaron. Charming cafes sit on the corners, and the views of the Seine River are impeccable. A popular thing to do in the evenings is to take a bottle of wine to the river, sit by the bank, and enjoy each other’s company! 

Seine River Cruise

Seine River Cruise
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

While in Paris, be sure to book a Seine River cruise! For a romantic outing, take a dinner cruise at sunset. Sunset is truly the best time for any cruise. You will have spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower and many other landmarks.

Many cruises are guided in English and will give you intimate information about the sites you see. Pass beneath the beautiful bridges and take as many photos as your heart desires!

Day Trip to the Palace of Versailles 

Palace of Versailles
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

The Palace of Versailles and its gardens are exquisite! This 18th-century palace built by King Louis XIV is a 45-minute drive from Paris and is perfect for a day trip. If you love art and history, book a full-day guided tour.

If you like to wander on your own, this can be more of a half-day trip. Either way, you won’t be sorry! You’ll roam endless rooms elaborately decorated, filled floor to ceiling with art. Then, get lost in the magnificent gardens, which feel like a maze. 

Travel Tips for Your Paris Vacation

Paris, France
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

If you are traveling to Paris or Europe for the first time, you should know some essential things. Below are nine tips to help you with your trip to Paris!

  • Overnight Long-haul Flights: Most flights from the United States to Paris, France, are overnight trips. Flying any other time will surely cost you an arm and both two legs. Plus, this enables you to get to Europe in the morning for a full day of exploring. And try to get as much rest as possible on your flight. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. 
  • Jet Lag: When you are changing time zones, and your body gets out of sync, you will be fatigued. However, it is essential to try to push through and get yourself situated in your new time zone. If you must nap, only give yourself an hour or two when you arrive. 
  • Where to Stay: When planning your trip, stay central to the sights and activities you want to experience. You will be walking a lot. There are 12 arrondissements (aka districts) in Paris. Arrondissements 1-7 are in the center of Paris and close to many main monuments and attractions. 
  • Getting Around: Walking is the primary method of getting around the busy city. There are shops, attractions, cafes, and so much more everywhere you turn. However, there are bike lanes around town if you are interested in biking or taking a scooter. There is also the Métro, RER train, and tramway if you’re looking to utilize public transportation. Uber is possible in Paris, but if you’re looking for direct transport, download the G7 Taxi app. G7 Taxis can be found all around the city. Lastly, you can always hire a driver for the day for maximum comfort. 
  • Language Barriers: If you stay in the touristy areas of Paris, you should not have a problem with language barriers at most hotels, restaurants, and attractions. However, the further you travel, the fewer English-speaking people you will find. In those cases, Google Translate or any other translation app can help you with key phrases along the way. 
  • Take a Tour: Taking any kind of guided tour on your trip will get you insight from a local. You’ll learn intricacies about the city you’d otherwise not learn, and you’ll have the opportunity to ask any burning questions you have about Paris. 
  • Money Tips: Be sure to carry euros on you, as there are a few places that only take cash. If you run out of euros on your trip, avoid street banking machines and find a bank that offers currency exchange. 
  • Map Out a Plan: Begin by mapping out what you want to do each day. Use a trip-planning app or a website like Google Maps. Pinpoint all the attractions you want to see in each arrondissement so you can use your time wisely. The city is large, and the attractions are spread out. 
  • Scammers: Be aware of scammers and pickpocketers in Paris! Wear a money belt close to your body, or buy a cross-body bag and keep your valuables near your person. If someone tries to stop you in the street, politely say no thank you and walk away. You may also run into gypsies that will try and distract you while your partner steals your stuff. Don’t be afraid to go to public areas, but do keep your wits about you.

Visiting Paris, France, on Vacation

Things to Do in Paris, France
Photo Credit: Alexandrea Sumuel

If you’re traveling to Paris for your vacation or honeymoon, let me tell you, it is worth it! We spent four days in Paris and were able to do all of the things you have found on this list. We visited in early September when the crowds were lessened, and the weather was still lovely. Be sure to plan your visit ahead of time and book tours well in advance. I hope you enjoy your upcoming visit to Paris, France!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

15 Lovely Things to Do in Paris, France on Your Vacation

Alexandrea Sumuel Groves is a nationally syndicated travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog. Her work has appeared on MSN, YAHOO!, Euronews, and FOX, ABC, and NBC affiliates across the United States. 

Alex travels to experience, eat, explore, and occasionally escape! She collaborates with destinations, vacation property management companies, and hospitality technology firms to provide her readers with exclusive insights and information.