Things to do in Paris, France

Get Your Bearings in Paris

By Gina Douglas Tarnacki
Paris Expert

Stay
Eat
See & Do
Party
Shop

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. For those on a budget, stay outside the city center and take public transportation in. 

Avoid:

Hotels that are far outside of the city center if short on time. The 16th arrondissement may offer great deals, but you'll be spending quite a bit of time on public transportation.

Hot Tips:

For a stay fit for royalty, check out Hotel le Bristol.

What to Eat

When dining in Paris, you'll want to try a wide range of establishments. Check out quaint cafes, traditional and sultry brasseries and white-gloved fine dining. Don't forget to try some crepes from the many street stands around the city, too. You'll also want to try Nouvelle French cuisines versus traditional French fare. 

Take It or Leave It:

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

Things to See

Architecture, arts and amore. 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. Head outside the city center to see some of Paris' best parks and canals. 

Avoid:

The top of the Eiffel Tower on Valentine's Day - unless you want to be part of the large crowd watching a dozen proposals.

Hot Tips:

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

Places to Party

Paris nightlife is some of the best in the world. With a pulse on the music scene, Paris courts some of the best DJs who in turn make the dance clubs of Paris a pulsating, thrilling place to be. Paris also has a quieter nightlife side with romantic wine bars and stylish martini bars. 

Hot Tips:

Get to the most popular clubs early to avoid hour-long waits in line.

Where to Shop

Paris offers shopping from every spectrum. Head to the Paris flea market for great bargains. Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps are two luxurious department stores. For designer brands, head to the Champs Élysées. For a unique underground shopping experiment, go to Forum des Halles, which also has many brand favorites. 

Best Local Souvenir:

Look at what the Paris women or men are wearing and go buy a copy to be at the height of fashion.

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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 metres above street level.

2. Fashion:

Paris is still the world’s capital for glamorous frocks 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 Honore. Just walk along these two main fashion streets of Paris – to shop, if you can afford, or to just to ogle and dream like the rest of us. 

3. Street Cafes:

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 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 past 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”.