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 the early hours of the morning and throughout the night. From art, history, and museums to cafes and bars, you’ll definitely want to create a travel itinerary for this trip!
We were on our honeymoon and spent four days in this gorgeous city. While four days and five nights in Paris won’t allow you to do it all, you can easily see many of the main attractions, enjoy good food, and get a basic feel for the city with this time. Below, you will find 15 things to do in Paris, plus a few travel tips to help you get the most out of your vacation!
There is so much to see and do, you should plan around your own interests. It’s a densely populated city of over 2 million people and there are things to do around every corner. Below you’ll find some of the city’s most popular sites and attractions.
1. Go Up The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower, lovingly known as the Iron lady, was built in two years, from 1887 – 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!
2. Musée du Louvre
The Lourve Museum is quite the museum, housing over 380,000 objects of art and artifacts. First, visit the iconic pyramids located in the courtyard– there is no entry fee to do this. The courtyard is significant, and you can get many beautiful photos from many angles.
If you’re a fan of art, then you’ll want to get tickets to go inside this masterpiece! The Lourve Museum is the most-visited museum in the world and is where the Mona Lisa lives! Also, be sure to take a walk around the courtyard at night. The main pyramid will light up offering spectacular options for photography lovers.
3. Jardin des Tuileries
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!
4. Arc de Triomphe & Champs-Élysées Ave
The Arc de Triomphe is only of the most famous monuments in Paris. The monument is a memorial to all who have served and died for France during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The monument can be found 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!
5. Musée d’Orsay
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 artists such as Claude Monet and Edgar Degas. Audio tours are offered, and exhibits are labeled in French and English. Be sure to give yourself at least two hours if you’re an avid art lover.
6. Latin Quarter & Parthenon
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.
7. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris caught fire in April 2019. Construction continues today, preventing you from visiting the inside of the cathedral that 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.
8. Le Marais Neighborhood
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 visit as well. The area is beautifully lit at night, making for a fun and romantic spot for a dinner date or a few drinks with friends.
9. Jardin du Luxembourg
On the grounds of the Luxembourg Palace, the Luxembourg Gardens are spectacular! This 60-acre public park is filled with flowers, plants, sculptures, fountains, and cafes. Take a stroll, or take a seat within the gardens and marvel at its beauty. There are many photogenic places around the gardens as well. Currently the seat of the French Senate, you can buy tickets for a tour of the Palace if you must go in!
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 have the opportunity to visit two floors (you must climb the stairs). Inside, you will find beautiful stained glass windows which tell the story of the bible. It is one of the most impressive 13th-century sainted glass chapels that can be found around the world.
11. Moulin Rouge
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, be sure you 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.
12. Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre
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? Not to 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 be respectful, as it is a place of worship. And, if you want a spectacular view of Paris, you can climb the (no lift) 300 steps to the Dome.
When you’re done visiting the church, be sure to roam the streets of the Montmartre neighborhood! It gets quite lively in the evenings, and there are tons of cafes to stop by and grab a bite or have a glass of wine!
13. Saint-Germain-des-Prés Neighborhood
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.
Take a 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!
14. Seine River Cruise
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 as well as many other landmarks.
Many cruises are guided in English and will give you intimate information about the sites you are seeing. Pass beneath the beautiful bridges and take as many photos as your heart desires!
15. Day Trip to the Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles and its gardens are exquisite! This 18th-century palace built by King Louis XIV is merely a 45-minute drive from Paris and is perfect for a day trip. If you are a lover of art and history, be sure to 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.
Essential Travel Tips for Your Paris Vacation
If you are traveling to Paris or Europe for the first time, there are some essential things you should know. Below, you will find nine tips to help you with your travel 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 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’re going to be fatigued. However, it is essential to try and push through and get yourself situated with your new current time zone. If you must take a nap, only give yourself an hour or two when you arrive.
- Where to Stay: When planning your trip, try to stay central to the sights and activities you want to experience. You will be doing a lot of walking. There are 12 arrondissements (aka districts) in Paris. Arrondissements 1-7 are in the center of Paris and close to many of the 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 if you are interested in biking or taking a scooter around town. 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 stick to 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, you’ll find far fewer English speaking people. 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 you’ll find that only take cash. If you run out of euros on your trip, avoid street banking machines and find a bank that does 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 that 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.
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!
This article 15 Lovely Things to Do in Paris, France on Your Vacation + Travel Tips originally appeared on Wander With Alex.
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, explore, and escape! Alex’s mission is to help peopl find the perfect vacation destination.