Paris is such a beautiful, vibrant and eclectic city to visit in France. With quaint markets, fun things to do and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. There are heaps to see and so many of the best things to do in Paris that are dotted all across the city.
This is absolutely fantastic… in principle. However, the practicality of planning a trip to Paris can be a logistical nightmare if you don’t plan your trip efficiently.
So, to help you along your way, I’m sharing some of the best places in Paris you can’t miss.
Have the most amazing time exploring Paris. It really is a great city.
1.) Eiffel Tower
Let’s start with the most obvious, the Eiffel Tower. It’s probably the most famous structure in France and visiting is easily one of the best things to do in Paris when you visit.
Apparently, way back when, the Eiffel Tower stirred lots of controversies from the time it was being constructed up to its unveiling during the 1889 Paris Exhibition. Apparently, lots of Parisians hated it.. though, most have changed their minds by now, I’m sure.
Today, you can book these Eiffel Tower tickets to get to the viewing platforms and learn more about its construction, architecture, and history.
Three levels offer panoramic vistas of the sprawling city of Paris, and you can access them all; depending on which of these tickets you book.
Not only that, you can also spot the fine dining, Jules Verne Restaurant on the middle level which is a one-of-a-kind dining experience by award-winning chefs. It’s spectacular but you do need to book well in advance.
Finally, to get the most out of your time, take a look at our other post on the key tips you need to follow when visiting the Eiffel Tower. It details everything from the best times to advanced ticket options and things to look out for.
Now, the Eiffel Tower can be viewed from anywhere in the city, but the best angles are from the Champs de Mars and Trocadero Garden (our favourite) at sunset.
2.) Paris River Cruise
Hopping onboard this river cruise in Paris is pretty special in Paris. I’d go as far as saying it’s one of the best things to do in Paris to see lots of the main sights.
Now, for me, the best time to hop on a river cruise is at sunset, when the dimming light of dusk illuminates Paris. It’s just magical.
If you want a longer cruise, opt for this Paris dinner cruise that will take you past all the key sights along the river. Plus, you’ll be treated to some of France’s typical dishes to eat. Heads up, the food is typically good (not great) but it’s worth it for the views of the atmosphere along the route.
It’s all very special.
Just make sure to book your river cruise in advance. Places fill up fast, especially at peak times of the year.
2.) The Louvre
Probably one of the world’s most notable art institutions, visiting the Louvre is one of the best things to do in Paris for anyone visiting for the first time.
Now, the museum is characterized by its sleek glass pyramid and ornate buildings that are beautiful to see. After all, it is located in the Palais du Louvre, a royal residence for over 300 years until it was transformed into a world-class museum in 1793.
Though the outside is stunning, the real treasure of the Louvre is inside. There are countless permanent exhibits in the Louvre, showcasing the renowned works of famous artists such as Michelangelo’s Dying Slave, Samothrace’s Winged Victory, and of course, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Just be sure to book these Louvre timed-entry tickets before arriving. Tickets can sell out on the day and you don’t want to be disappointed and not get inside.
Not only will you get to be up close and personal with the Mona Lisa, you’ll asl see notable pieces from all over the world. You’ll see art and sculptures dating back to Ancient Egypt and the Romantic Period are also showcased in different galleries within the museum.
3.) Sacré-Coeur Basilica
Trust me when I say that the Sacre-Coeur Basilica is hard to miss in the landscape of Paris. Well, at least when you get close by.
You see, it stands proud at Paris’ highest elevation in Montmartre and the Basilica is a glinting white symbol of peace, hope, and spiritual tranquillity that’s so brilliant to see.
Once inside, you’ll get to see all the stunning art and windows that make this place so special. interior of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica is dominated by a colourful mosaic which is timeless.
Also, within the grounds, the Basilica’s terrace and tower will give you a stunning view of Paris’ skyline. We love visiting around sunset for this very reason.
4.) Notre Dame Cathedral
Standing in the heart of Paris, the Notre Dame Cathedral is iconic to see. Tragically, a fire has severely damaged the inside, meaning it’s no longer possible to enter.
That being said, seeing Notre Dame it’s still one of the best things to do in Paris when you visit. Not least because it’s so centrally located.
Featuring elaborate Gothic architecture. It can be found on the Ile de la Cite, a historic island on the Seine River and is really easy to visit via the bridges crossing the Seine River.
Once here, you’ll get to see a piece of history that’s been around for centuries. Founded by King Louis IX in 1163, the Notre Dame site is incredible to see. You’ll even see the centuries of history within the stone itself.
Look closely and you’ll spot the architectural transitions from Early Gothic to High Gothic, featuring a series of gargoyles, flying buttresses, and the facade’s stunning design.
It’s well worth a gander!
5.) Jardin du Luxembourg
Not just for any old park, Jardin du Luxembourg is as popular with locals as it is with visitors.
You see, Jardin du Luxembourg has been a permanent fixture in the life of Parisians since the 17th century. It’s stayed pretty consistent with its design, especially since undergoing renovations in the 1800s to have its present form laid out.
The park is just so lovely to stroll around and has heaps of rows of flowers blooms, and well-maintained pathways to explore.
Best of all, there are chairs and picnic areas peppered throughout the landscape to enjoy the park.
After arriving, make sure to spot the octagon-shaped pool with a fountain, The Theatre du Luxembourg, the Fontaine de Medicis dating back to the 17th century, and the Pavillon de la Fontaine where you can sip coffee in an al fresco setting.
Oh, and don’t forget to see Palais de Luxembourg, too. It’s the former Royal Palace that’s so beautiful.
Fancy a cuppa? Stroll over to Les Deux Magots. It’s a quaint little eatery and cafe that’s been going for over 130 years. It’s so special and a great place to try escargot (snails) and a coffee before exploring Paris some more.
Montmartre is the name of the hill and the village where the popular Sacre-Coeur Basilica is located (which I mentioned, before).
So, if you’re already visiting the Basilica, make sure to visit the wider area of Montmartre. It really is one of the best things to do in Paris if you’re looking for a quaint, lively and a unique area of the city.
Reminiscent of the 20th century when famous artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso created waves.
The square is now a renowned hangout for local artists who run open-air exhibits and do live painting sessions for tourists and passersby.
Nowadays, it’s a ‘cool’ and vibrant area of Paris and well worth a gander whilst in the city.
To make your visit nice and easy, book this guided tour of Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur that is so brilliant. Your guide will take you to all the key spots, all without any of the stress or hassle of navigating this area of Paris.
Just be sure to book in advance, tickets sell out fast. Especially on weekends.
Getting peckish? Pop into Le Consulat for some French onion soup and try their crepes, too. So good.
Just a few blocks away from the Sacre-Coeur Basilica, Place du Tertre is an artist’s haven.
7.) Moulin Rouge
The glamour of cabaret is absolutely incredible in Paris, especially at the acclaimed cabaret Moulin Rouge.
Located near Montmartre, the legendary entertainment venue is very popular; and with good reason.
You see, Moulin Rouge gained a reputation for its unique architectural style, lively parties, and lavish cabaret (which is amazing). It is also known as the birthplace of the French Cancan and an inspiration for foreign artists such as Auguste Renoir and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, too.
If you want to include dinner, just book this Moulin Rouge ticket. It’s spectacular!
Nearby, you can visit Café des Deux Moulins, too. It’s the cafe featured in the movie, Amélie. It’s worth visiting if you’re a fan of the movie, but don’t expect the best food or the shiniest of brasseries.
8.) Palace of Versailles
Okay, so it’s fair to say that Versailles isn’t technically in Paris itself. That being said, it’s just outside and a short 30 minutes to get there from the city centre.
We absolutely loved our visit to the Palace of Versailles, which is a mark of the reign and power of the French monarchy before the French Revolution.
Built in the 17th century, the majestic castle served as the hunting lodge of King Louis XIII and the royal residence of Louis XIV and his successors.
Aside from its exquisite rococo and baroque architecture, the palace is highly regarded for its beautiful gardens, intricate buildings, and Renaissance artworks. It will take all day to explore it all, so make sure to plan your day wisely.
Among the most popular features are the Hall of Mirrors, which shows Louis XIV’s accomplishments, and the Queen’s chamber.
Just make sure to book this skip-the-line palace ticket in advance. This way, you’ll avoid the queues on the day of your visit and go straight into the Palace of Versailles itself.
Now, the palace does get busy, some expect lots of people around. If you want to avoid the crowds in the Hall of Mirrors, enter as soon as it opens and head straight to the Hall of Mirrors (walking through the other rooms).
You can always go back to the rooms you missed. It’s one of the best things to do in Paris if you fancy a day trip from the city centre.
For an extra special experience, stay at Airelles Chateau de Versailles. We booked in and loved our stay here. It’s a little on the pricey side, but so worth it for a special experience.
Not only that, they open the Palace of Versailles for you once it’s closed to the public. It’s incredible.
9.) Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is a vast arch built in 1806 to honour the French soldiers who fought in the Napoleonic Wars.
It still stands proudly to this day and is one of the best things to do in Paris to see as you walk the city.
At 50 meters high, the arch highlights massive figures that recount the French armies’ journeys and victories. The arch has been a renowned venue for events related to national holidays such as Fête de la Victoire.
For an extra special experience, book this Arc de Triomphe Rooftop ticket.
This specific ticket will grant you access to the platform on top of the arch provides fantastic views of the avenues linked to the Place de l’Etoile, Champs-Elysées, and the Louvre. also Protestant Temple of the Oratory of the Louvre.
It’s so worth it.
Right in the heart of the city, visiting the Panthéon is one of the best things to do in Paris that’s so grand and opulent.
You see, this national mausoleum was built on the site of the ruins of Sainte-Geneviève Abbey; which has heaps of history dating back from King Louis XV’s time.
Inside the crypts, you’ll be able to see the final resting places of notable French people. This includes people like; Marie Curie, and philosophers Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Plus, it’s also the resting place of the prominent writers Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo.
Finally, if you’re feeling up to it, you can access the balcony and enjoy the panoramic views of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
11.) Marché de Montorgueil
Fancy visiting some of the amazing markets in Paris, then make sure to head to spots like Marché de Montorgueil.
You see, each Thursday and Sunday, the streets of Rue Montorgueil are lined with stalls, sellers and heaps of people.
You’ll find stalls selling everything from local cheeses, champagne, fresh escargot and vintage clothing, too. It’s a bustling experience that’s so much fun.
We loved this wine and cheese tour around Montorgueil. You head out with a brilliant guide and get to taste some local produce from around the wider region.
Just be sure to book these tour tickets in advance. There are limited spaces.
12.) Petit Palais Art Museum
If you love a good trip to a museum, then make sure to visit the Petit Palais that’s right next to the Grand Palais.
Inside, you’ll get to see permanent and seasonal exhibitions that are often overlooked in place of the Louvre. Spend a few hours inside and explore the different rooms. It’s quite special.
13.) The Centre Pompidou
Quite different from most of the buildings you’ll see in the centre of Paris, Centre Pompidou is a spot you can’t miss.
Make sure to book these fast-track tickets for entry. This way, you won’t have to faff with queues once you arrive.
We loved the modern art pieces and the exhibitions can’t be missed. Just make sure to give yourself around two hours to see it all.
14.) Musee Grevin
Dating back to the 1800s, visiting Musee Grevin is one of the best things to do in Paris when you visit. You see, it’s a historic waxwork museum that’s world-renowned.
Once inside, you’ll get to see hundreds of modern-day and historic notable people from around the world.
You’ll find heaps of French artists, scholars, musicians and so much more.
Afterwards, you can take a walk to nearby Galeries Lafayette for some retail therapy. It’s so iconic and the domed-views from the higher floors are so impressive. Just make sure to take your spending money.
15.) Statue of Liberty
Yeah, you read that right! You can visit the Statue of Liberty in Paris.
Gifted to the French people by the United States, the Statue of Liberty stands proudly, right here, in the middle of the River Seine.
Now, a visit will only take 5-10 minutes, but it’s one of the best things to do in Paris as you stroll over Pont de Grenelle.
16.) Catacombs of Paris
Now, hear me out! This might not look like one of the best things to do in Paris but it’s a totally unique and sobering place to visit whilst in the city.
Kept underground, there are over six million people laid to rest within the underground ossuaries. It’s just south of Jardin de Luxembourg and is well worth booking these tickets to experience.
Once here, you will go deep below the streets of Paris (around 20 metres) and learn more about the history of these skeletons and how they came to be placed here.
Yes, it’s slightly macabre but it’s totally unique.
17.) Opera Garnier
Built back in the 1800s, visiting the Palais Garnier is one of the best things to do in Paris if you want to see the opera.
Not only that, you can book entry inside with this ticket to tour the incredible halls and learn more about operatic performances whilst you’re here.
It’s totally beautiful to see and such a grand building in Paris you can’t miss.