Whether you have a limited amount of time to see Paris or just want to know what the top things to do in Paris are, you’ve come to the right place. I visited Paris for a week and have compiled a list of the top 10 things to do in the City of Light.
Admire the grand Eiffel Tower during day and night
I think it’s safe to say that the Eiffel Tower is the most iconic monuments in Paris and flocks of visitors from around the globe come to see the massive iron structure. If time permits, I suggest seeing the Eiffel Tower during the day and at night for the light show. Trocadero is one of the best places for an unobstructed view of the tower.
Get a panorama view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower from Montparnasse Tower
Skip climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower and go to the observation deck at Montparnasse Tower instead. From here, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in your view. You can visit the observation deck once for 18 euros or visit day and night for 23 euros. The tower also offers sunrise yoga for 20 euros! For more information, visit https://www.tourmontparnasse56.com/.
Climb to the top of Arc de Triomphe
Standing tall at the western end of Champs-Élysées is the Arc de Triomphe, one of my favorite monuments in Paris. Built between 1806 and 1836, the arch is an honor to those who fought for France during the Napoleonic Wars. The names of the generals and wars found are engraved on the inside and at the top of the arch. You can climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe to see the view of Paris, Champs-Élysées, and the Louvre. To avoid the queue, you can purchase skip-the-line tickets from Viator or GetYourGuide.com.
Indulge in hot chocolate at Angelina
Angelina is one of the most well-known patisseries and cafes in Paris, famous for serving the best hot chocolate. It can be pretty sweet, so if you’re not accustomed to sugary drinks, then share with someone!
See the Basilique de Sacré-Coeur
Located at the highest point in the city of Butte Monemartre, the Sacre-Coeur, also know as the Sacred Heart Bascilia of Montmartre, is one of Paris’ most iconic monuments and offers panoramic views of the capital. This basilica is also one of my favorite monuments in Paris due to its grand size and architecture. The Basilica is open daily from 6am to 10:30pm. Entrance is free. However, be aware of men who try to approach you and offer to make a bracelet for you. They will ask for money in return!
Wander through Luxembourg Gardens
Paris is home to numerous beautiful gardens but if you only had time to visit one, I would suggest the Luxembourg Garden. Covering over 50 acres of land, the Jardin du Luxembourg, or the Luxembourg Garden, was created under the direction of beauty-loving Queen Marie de Medici in 1612. The Luxembourg Garden is split into French gardens and English gardens and between the two lies a geometric forest and a large pond. The grounds holds 106 statues spread throughout the garden. You can participate in a variety of activities in the garden, such as playing chess, tennis, controlling remote boats, and more. You can visit the Luxembourg Gardens any time of the year but the best is spring to fall when the flowers have bloomed and the trees re-grown its leaves.
See real human bones at Les Catacombes de Paris
One of the creepiest but coolest things to do in Paris is to visit the catacombs. Les Catacombes de Paris is located in the 14th arrondissement and covers 11,000 square meters of underground space. This ossuary was created as part of a solution to eliminate the city’s overflowing cemeteries. The catacombs contain over six million bones from various cemeteries spread throughout a mile long tunnel. The start and end of the tunnel are at different entry and exit points so please keep this in mind when you come out and realize that you are in an unfamiliar part of the city. To enter the catacombs, you will need 213 steps down a narrow, winding staircase so if you’re highly claustrophobic or get easily nauseated, this may not be a suggested tour for you.
Appreciate impressionist art at Musée d’Orsay
Okay, I’ll admit – I’m not the biggest fan of museums, especially art museums. It was never an interest that really took off but when visiting Europe, especially Paris, museums are often a highlight to see. You’ve probably heard of the The Lourve, the most visited and famous museum in Paris, but the reason why I’m recommending Musée d’Orsay is because I’m the most interested in impressionist art and Musée d’Orsay is home to a rich collection of impressionist and postimpressionist art. Its national collection represents all expressions forms, such as painting, architecture, photography, sculpture, and decorative arts. You’ll see masterpieces from Van Gogh, Money, Renoir, and Pissarro. Although this museum doesn’t get as many visitors as the Louvre, don’t expect an empty place all to yourself.
Eat a meal at Les Papilles
Honestly, food in Paris is just okay. I tried many restaurants in my week long exploration of Paris and there were only a handful of restaurants that I would highly recommend and Les Papilles is my top. You can choose a few dishes a la carte or go with the chef’s daily special menu. I suggest going with the chef’s daily special menu. This consist of three courses – starter, main, and dessert – and each course is bursting with notes of flavors, something I was missing at other restaurants in Paris. If you can only stop by to eat at one restaurant, I highly suggest this one!