THE TOP THINGS TO DO
Visit the Museums
There are probably a million museums in Paris. Ok, maybe not that many, but there are a lot! You'll never fit them all in so my top three are the Louvre, d'Orsay, and Rodin. You could spend an entire day or two at the Louvre alone, especially if you're an art buff. The Mona Lisa at the Louvre is a must-see. Fun fact, the Mona Lisa was made famous because it was stolen in the 1920s and recovered 2 years later. At the Louvre there is also a lovely restaurant and lawn for relaxing. You'll want to hang out for a while.
The Musee d'Orsay is famous for the clock and the Rodin for The Thinker statue. I personally love the gardens at Rodin.
The lines can get long at these museums so definitely get there as soon as they open and buy your tickets in advance. You'll breeze right in.
With one pass you'll have access to over 60 major attractions including:
Palace of Versailles
Arc de Triomphe
The Paris Pass does provide access to the Louvre but you must pre-book a time slot to enter. This can be done at the Paris Pass Redemption Center in Paris.
The Louvre at 8:30am. There were no lines!
We attended a wedding at the Rodin and it was magical! Fancy attire is not required to see this museum :)
The Best Gardens of Paris
Like museums, there is a bevy of gardens but here are my top picks.
There are tables, chairs, and food kiosks nearby. Bring a blanket and some wine and you have the perfect picnic.
Located in the 6th arrondissement.
Place des Vosges
Commissioned by King Henry IV, Place des Vosges was the first formally planned public square and was originally named Place Royale. This is another beautiful garden to have a picnic or take a nap. There are many restaurants nearby, too.
Located in the 4th arrondissement.
Built in 1692, Palais Royal has survived mobbings and a fire but was restored in 1876. The black and white columns we know and love were actually installed in 1986 along with a modern sculpture by Daniel Buren.
This is the most romantic garden in my opinion. Take a stroll through the tree lined paths with your love.
Located in the 1st arrondissement.
The Eiffel Tower
Located in the 7th arrondissement, the Eiffel Tower was designed and built by two engineers and an architect that entered a contest for the monument to be the main attraction at the 1889 World's Fair. It was not, in fact, designed by its namesake, Gustave Eiffel, though, the two engineers did work for Eiffel's company. The tower was meant to be torn down after 20 years but because of a radio antenna & wireless telegraph transmitter Eiffel had installed in the Tower, the government found it useful and did not demolish it.
You can climb the stairs to the top for a spectacular view of the city or take the elevators. Like most other attractions in the city, the lines get very long so buy tickets in advance and go early.
Alexander III Bridge
This ornate bridge connects the Champs-Élysées quarter with Les Invalides. When mapping out your route, be sure to include this extravagant bridge.
Located in the 8th arrondissement.
Montmartre & Sacre Coeur
Of all of the cathedrals in France, Sacre Coeur is the most elegant. Perched at the top of the hill of Montmartre, the cathedral watches over Paris.
Early evening, stop by a market to pick up wine and cheese then hop on the Metro or take a taxi to La Maison Rose on Rue l’Abreuvoir - a quaint street with colorful french buildings that date back to the 17th century.
Just beyond Rue l’Abreuvoir is a square with many restaurants. Stop by Le Consulat and have an espresso or glass of wine then make your way to the Sacre Coeur before sunset. If you're wanting to go inside the cathedral, allow yourself more time because you'll want to be on the steps or lawn at sunset to take in the best view of the city.
It gets very crowded so go during the week.
Located in the 18th arrondissement.
Seine River Cruise
This was my second time to do a Seine River cruise because it's so delightful. It's a cool way to see the Eiffel Tower up close and especially cool to cruise past it as it sparkles at night. So romantic!
Crazy Horse Cabaret
A few years ago, we went to a show at Moulin Rouge and it was absolutely terrible. We had some friends in Paris this last time that invited us to go to Crazy Horse and we were very skeptical but we went anyway. You guys, this show was fantastic. It's definitely cheeky but also very artistic. The dancers were fabulous, the lighting was well done and, overall, a great experience. Try it out!
As I mentioned before, there is so much to do in Paris, you probably won't be able to check it all off your list, but here are a few more notable sights to see and things to do. No pressure! :)
- Notre Dame
- Arc de Triomphe
- Les Invalides
- Do a bike tour to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time
- Visit Versailles
- Day trip to the Champagne region for a Champagne and wine tasing
- Day trip to Loire Valley to see castles and taste wine
I put together an itinerary by arrondissement. This itinerary is jam packed so feel free to cross off sights you don't mind skipping. I wanted to help organize the sights in case this is your first time to Paris. It can be very overwhelming.
Feel free to leave a comment with any questions you have.
For hotels, read Paris Hotels for Every Budget.
Have fun in Paris!