Top things to do in Paris, from the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame cathedral, and even the fantastic graffiti, are astonishing. Paris is the city of lights and love. This beautiful city is full of interesting hidden gems. If you are a first-time visitor to Paris, you will be surprised by the magic and beautifulness of this city. Here are the essential things to see & do in Paris chosen by Lilimag:
Top things to do in Paris No. 1: MONTMARTRE
Montmartre is a charming hillside neighborhood with amazing views of Paris and one of the best places to visit in Paris. It was a popular spot for world-famous artists who worked and lived in Montmartre and around. Artists such as Picasso or Van Gogh found inspiration in the beautiful streets and atmosphere of Montmartre. Even today, you will see painters and other artists working on their subsequent works of art. At the top of the hill, you will find the famous Sacré-Cœur basilica, an important political and cultural monument, and an architectural marvel. Don’t miss the Church of Saint-Pierre next door and adorable small vineyards close to the Montmartre Museum. At the foot of the hill, there is a famous Moulin Rouge, the historic birthplace of French cancan dance. Moulin Rouge is now a popular tourist attraction, offering musical dance entertainment shows.
Top things to do in Paris No. 2: NOTRE-DAME
Notre-Dame de Paris meaning “Our Lady of Paris,” is a famous medieval gothic cathedral located on the island in the center of Paris called Île de la Cité, and one of the most notable things to see in Paris. The cathedral is full of impressive gothic elements and architectural details. Notre Dame was completed mainly in the 13th century and was severely damaged during the French Revolution until it was rescued from destruction by Napoleon, who used the cathedral to crown himself emperor of the French. The cathedral is widely known for the story of Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. Don’t miss the nearby Conciergerie, a former medieval royal palace and a prison during French Revolution, now mainly used for law courts. It was also the last prison to hold Marie Antoinette. You can walk around the island and imagine what life in Paris was like centuries ago on its beautiful authentic streets.
Top things to do in Paris No. 3: CATACOMBS OF PARIS
Discover the impressive underground Paris by visiting the Catacombs of Paris, a shadowland of underground tunnels and galleries underneath busy Parisian streets. The ossuary known as the catacombs date back to the 18th century when the remains of over six million people were moved into the underground tunnel network of former stone mines to reduce the growing number of cemeteries in Paris. While you walk through the tunnels, you will see the signs of the streets you are under and the names of the original cemetery locations from where the remains were moved.
Top things to do in Paris No. 4: EIFFEL TOWER
Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous world attractions and most-visited paid monuments in the world. Including the tip, Eiffel Tower is 1,063 ft tall and is the tallest structure in Paris. It was constructed in 1889 by the company owned by the engineer Gustaf Eiffel as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair and was initially supposed to be demolished after. It has initially met with criticism from many famous Parisian artists. The tower offers three floors, and to reach the second one, you can even climb the 674 stairs if you don’t feel like taking the elevator. Did you know that there is a small secret apartment at the top of the Eiffel Tower? Yes, there is a small private apartment at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Gustaf Eiffel built it to entertain the science elite like Eiffel’s friend Thomas Edison, and some also say to make some Parisians jealous. You can see Eiffel’s cozy apartment if you take the tour to the top of the Eiffel tower.
Top things to do in Paris No. 5: MUSEUMS
Paris is home to over 100 museums. The most famous museum in Paris is the Louvre, the world’s largest art museum, featuring permanent displays of the most renowned world artists, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. You can start the tour by entering through an impressive glass pyramid. Les Invalides is a complex of buildings and monuments relating to the military history of France, including the tomb of Napoleon. Pompidou Centre, designed in high-tech architecture, houses the largest museum of modern art in Europe. Don’t miss the nearby Stravinsky Fountain. Musée d’Orsay is located in a former railway station and houses an extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces.
Top things to do in Paris No. 6: CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a 1.2-mile-long street located in the center of Paris and is considered one of the most recognizable avenues in the world. It features numerous luxury shops, theaters, and cafés. Champs-Élysées is the annual Bastille Day military parade and the finish line of the Tour de France cycling race. Before it became a fashionable avenue in the late 18th century, the location was occupied mainly by fields and gardens. On the west side, Champs-Élysées ends with Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 and inaugurated in 1836, dedicated to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire. Beneath the arch, there is a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, added in 1921.
Top things to do in Paris No. 7: LA DÉFENSE BUSINESS DISTRICT
La Défense is Europe’s most prominent business district containing many of Paris’s tallest buildings and a large shopping mall with numerous restaurants and movie theaters. La Défense features an impressive modern architectural masterpiece La Grande Arche, a 364 ft tall cubical high-rise mimicking the shape of Arc de Triomphe. You can visit the observation deck and see that the structure is perfectly aligned with the Arc de Triomphe located in Paris city center, over two miles away.
Top things to do in Paris No. 8: VERSAILLES
Palace of Versailles is an impressive royal residence of the king of France from 1682 until the start of the French Revolution in 1789 and is one of the most beautiful places in Paris. Château de Versailles is located about 12 miles from the center of Paris and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The visit offers an insight into the abundant lifestyle of the French royalty before the French Revolution. Walk through the royal Hall of Mirrors, royal apartments, Royal Opera, and extensive Gardens of Versailles. The history of Versailles does not stop with the French Revolution. Part of the Peace Treaty of Paris, by which Britain recognized the independence of the United States, and The Treaty of Versailles, which formally ended the First World War, were both signed here.
Best things to do in Paris No. 9: CANALS
While many people think that canals are only located in Venice or Amsterdam, you’d be surprised that Paris is full of channels too. The Canal Saint-Martin is almost 3 miles long and was built in 1825 to supply fresh water to Parisians and to help prevent diseases such as cholera. In the 19th-century, parts of the canal were even covered to create more open space above. You will find many popular bars, restaurants, and other attractions along the canal. Or you can even take a boat ride on the channel.
Best things to do in Paris No. 10: PARISIAN STREETS
Paris is full of amazing and unique streets, markets, and neighborhoods, offering an insight into Parisian culture and art. Each street offers an entirely different experience. To see a collection of colorful facades, visit Rue Crémieux. Paris is a romantic city, but if you want to take it up a notch, visit Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole, a.k.a. the romantic street. For a fantastic graffiti collection, stays Rue Denoyez. There are many more like Rue des Rosiers, Rue Lepic, Quai d’orsay, Rue Cler, Rue Montorgueil and many others.
These are our choices for the top 10 things to do in Paris. For more about the best Paris activities and attractions, you can see the video below:
The following are the other best things to do in Paris:
Best things to do in Paris No. 11: WINDOW SHOPPING
Feel like shopping? Or maybe window shopping? Well, Paris offers plenty of that too. But not only on the famous shopping avenue of Champs-Élysées. Visit Galeries Lafayette, a 750,000 square feet department store with an impressive dome stretching over four floors (read more). Most of the store space is dedicated to fashion, but you will find plenty of other items too. The storefronts are especially interesting during the Christmas season when they create unique Christmas-themed displays. You can also visit the Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville, located close to the Notre Dame cathedral.
Best things to do in Paris No. 12: GALLERIES or ATELIER
Paris is home to numerous boutique museums, shops, small art galleries, and ateliers that you will hardly find anywhere else in the world. You can visit the Artists’ Studios at 59 Rivoli, an art collective in a former squat with 30 studios and exhibition space. l’Atelier des Lumières is a digital art museum located in a former foundry where you can experience art through light presented using 140 video projectors. If you like perfums, visit the Musée du Parfum Fragonard, a paradise for both perfume connoisseurs and amateurs. On the other hand, Paris also features a Sewers Museum, which is currently closed for renovation. Many other interesting, unique places to visit, such as the Museum of Montmartre, Museum of the History of Medicine, Hotel de Cluny, Les Caves du Louvre, and others.
Best things to do in Paris No. 13: UNIQUE VEHICLES
Have you heard about the recent invasion of electric scooters in bigger cities around the world? Paris is a large city, and walking can take you a lot of time, while there is something beautiful and new to discover around every corner. So rent an electric scooter and drive around Paris instead. Electric scooters are super easy and fun to use. All you need to do is download the app and find the scooter located closest to you (For iOS, click here, for Android, click here). And when you’ve arrived at your destination, you park it there, and the scooter will be waiting for its next driver. Or, if you want a super authentic experience, reserve a retro car tour where you can, for example, see Paris from your sidecar (click here for reserving).
Best things to do in Paris No. 14: BARS & CAFES
Paris is famous for good food, sweet pastries, and exciting and unusual bars. You can visit Lavomatic, where you enter through the washing machine. We tried it and had so much fun! Try Ice Kube Bar, where you can order a cocktail from an ice bar in an iced glass. There are plenty more to discover, so let’s just name a couple of them: Little Red Door Paris, La REcyclerie, Le Comptoir Général, Le Dernier Bar Avant la Fin du Monde. To know more about the fantastic foods in Paris, click here: Best Food in Paris
Best things to do in Paris No. 15: FRENCH PASTRY
Paris and France are known for their fantastic pastry. Try the famous macarons at Ladurée or one of the other well-known pastry shops. If you like crepes, order one at City Crepes Café or other small unique crêperie. Or find your preferred pastry shop like Lacroix Patissier and try crème brûlée, soufflé, croissant, profiterole, or mille-feuille. And if you want a truly unique experience, attend a cooking class or use an app called EatWith, where you can book a dinner hosted by locals (For iOS, click here, for Android, click here).
Best things to do in Paris No. 16: PARKS AND GARDENS
Paris is full of beautiful city parks and gardens where you can walk, jog, read a book or soak in the atmosphere and experience the Parisian lifestyle. Some of the best gardens include: Tuileries Garden is located just next to the Louvre museum and was a popular meeting place for Parisians in the 19th and 20th centuries. Luxembourg Gardens were created in 1612 as a garden of the Luxembourg Palace, which is now the seat of the French Senate. Bois de Vincennes is the largest public park in the city, featuring lakes, gardens, a zoo, a botanical garden, a castle, and other attractions. Paris offers many other parks.
Fun things to do in Paris No. 17: PÈRE LACHAISE CEMETERY
Père Lachaise Cemetery, established in 1804, is the largest cemetery in Paris and is supposed to be the most visited cemetery in the world. A cemetery is a resting place of numerous world-famous figures, including Jim Morrison, Édith Piaf, Balzac, and Oscar Wilde. Take a walk and explore numerous streets of this vast over 100-acre cemetery full of Gothic graves, burial chambers, and ancient mausoleums. The cemetery contains 70,000 burial plots.
Fun things to do in Paris No. 18: STATUE OF LIBERTY
Did you know that Paris has its Statue of Liberty, looking exactly like the one in New York City? Except, it’s smaller. It is a quarter-scale replica of Liberty Enlightening the World, commonly known as the Statue of Liberty. The one in Paris is located on Île aux Cygnes, an artificial island within walking distance of Eiffel Tower, and was given to the city of Paris in 1889 by the American community in Paris to celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution. And if you still want to see more Statues of Liberty in Paris, there are others, like the one in Musée d’Orsay and its copy at Jardin Luxembourg. Or the one at Musée des Arts et Métiers. Or if you want to see the flame, there’s one known as Flame of Liberty Paris.
Fun things to do in Paris No. 19: CHASE SPACE INVADERS
Have you heard about the Space Invaders or how people have been chasing “them” around the city? Space Invaders are pieces of art made from mosaics glued to the walls and other surfaces by a French urban artist Invader. The inspiration for the art comes from the 1970s video game Space Invaders. Art appears and disappears overnight in different places all over the world. You can find them in Los Angeles, Rome, Hong Kong, and other cities. People chase art with their smartphones using a popular app called FlashInvaders. Are you ready to find a few yourself? (For iOS, click here, for Android, click here)
We suggest you watch the video below to learn more about the sights of Paris :
Of course, Paris offers many other exciting and unique places and experiences (read more). Do you have your favorite hidden gem or something interesting to do in Paris, or have you been to one of the places we presented in this article? Please share it in the comments below.