Things to do in Paris

Get Your Bearings in Paris

By Paige Donner
Paris Expert

See & Do
Stay
Eat
Party
Shop

Things to See

Architecture, arts and amour. There is no shortage of sights and things to do in Paris. Most of the popular tourist destinations are in the city center - such as the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Don't forget to enjoy a walk through some of Paris's fabulous parks such as the Tuileries and Jardin du Luxembourg. And if you really want to treat yourself to an unforgettable experience, take that river cruise along the Seine. 

Avoid:

The line at the Louvre on the first Sunday of the month - that's when entrance is free and everyone is there.

Hot Tips:

Buy tickets to top attractions online to save time waiting in line.

Where to Stay

Paris hotels range from comfortable to utterly fabulous. Stay in the the city center to be nearest to the top attractions. You won't be able to be right by them all, so take comfort in the fact that Paris has an efficient metro system. Keeep in mind that the Left Bank is historically artsy, around the Bastille is hip, young and trendy and anywhere on, near or around the Champs-Elysées is going to be ritzy. 

Avoid:

Hotels that are far outside of the city center if short on time.

Hot Tips:

For a stay fit for royalty, check out Hotel Le Bristol. Or also Le Pavillon de la Reine.

What to Eat

When dining in Paris, you'll want to indulge in a wide array of establishments. That includes quaint cafés, traditional and sultry brasseries and white-gloved fine dining. Don't forget to try some crêpes from the many street stands around the city, too. You'll also want to try Nouvelle French cuisine versus traditional French fare. 

Take It or Leave It:

Try the namesake dish at Au Pied de Cochon, the foot of the pig.

Hot Tips:

Be sure to dine in at least one traditional French bistro while in Paris.

Places to Party

Paris nightlife is some of the best in the world. Top on your list of to-do's should be one of the dance reviews, like the Moulin Rouge or Paradis Latin. And jazz clubs in Paris... well, these are legendary and for good reason. To take in a concert, Salle Pleyel is a must. When it comes to clubbing, with a pulse on the music scene, Paris attracts some of the best DJs who in turn make the dance clubs of Paris dynamic, pulsating places to be. Paris also has a quieter nightlife side with romantic wine bars and stylish cocktail bars. 

Take It or Leave It:

Cocktail clubs have become all the rage here in Paris. Do a cocktail club crawl one night to see what original cocktails Paris mixologists can create.

Hot Tips:

The live dance reviews, such as the Moulin Rouge, Paradis Latin and Crazy Horse will end up being one of the highlights of your trip to Paris.

Where to Shop

Paris offers shopping for every budget and taste. The Bon Marché, BHV, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps are luxurious department stores. For designer brands, head to rue du Faubourg St. Honoré. Paris's brand new Centre Beaugrenelle will give you that quintessential shopping mall experience. For a unique underground shopping experience, go to Forum des Halles, packed with brand favorites. If you're in the mood to get the best for less, head outside of the city to One Nation or La Vallée Village, two outlet malls both accessible by public transportation.

Hot Tips:

Paris sales are in January and then again at the end of June through July. You will be amazed at the bargains you can find here then.

Best Local Souvenir:

Learn how to tie a silk scarf around your neck. With that skill, you will always look as stylishly dressed as the Parisian women do.

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Things to do in Paris


Paris is known for...

Five of Paris's most unique features and characteristics.

1. Art:

Not only does Paris possess many of the world’s greatest museums and much of its most acclaimed architecture, its walls, pavements and facades also provide the canvas for some of the world’s most imaginative street artists. Have your camera ready at all times – for smart graffitis, multi-coloured wall paintings (often on paper which was then glued to the wall) and clever little mosaics a couple of meters above street level.

2. Fashion:

Paris is still the world’s capital for glamorous clothing, men's and women's, at the high and highest ends of fashion. No top designer in the world can afford to forego the opportunity of being represented with a shop on Avenue Montaigne or Rue Saint-Honoré. Just walk along these two main fashion streets of Paris – to shop, if you can afford it, or to just to ogle and dream like the rest of us. 

3. Street Cafés:

Life in Paris is a never-ending street theatre, where everybody is an actor and a spectator at the same time. Sit down in a street café along a busy boulevard and let them all pass by: the shoppers, the office workers on the way back to their desks, the flaneurs – and never forget: they are watching you, too. 

4. Romance:

It’s wherever you find it, of course, but no matter how ardent your feelings may already be, there is no romantic sensation that could not be further enhanced by a walk along the Seine on a sunny day. Start behind Notre Dame Cathedral, walking past the Pont des Arts in the direction of Pont Alexandre III for an unforgettable two hours, preferably with someone dear to you by your side.

 

5. Good Food:

As long as the French love to eat well, there will still be good restaurants in Paris. Just trust your instinct: when you think it’s a tourist trap, it probably is one. Tip: try one of the excellent “traiteurs” who sell home-made French food to take away. Be adventurous in your choice – and purchase a good bottle of wine to go with it for a great “night in”.