What to do in Paris


How to have fun in Paris? Where to go on excursions or shopping? What activities are worth travelling to Paris for?

Generally speaking, Paris is a city for everyone, except perhaps nature lovers, which is limited to a few beautiful parks and gardens.

Discover an endless number of sights

What most people come to Paris for, and what you definitely can't avoid, are the monuments, which are scattered throughout the city in incredible numbers.

While Paris lacks a historical centre in the true sense of the word, as the entire city was rebuilt during the 18th to 20th centuries, many of the most important monuments have either been preserved or were created during this period.

You can discover beautiful cathedrals and churches or even a synagogue and a mosque. You'll see neighbourhoods full of beautiful palaces with hidden gardens and houses on Montmartre Hill.

You can also visit the cemeteries, where famous people from all over the world are buried, or the catacombs.

What are the most famous sights in Paris? It's hard to rank them, but they are definitely among the most visited:

For a complete list of all the sights we have personally visited and can recommend to visit, see the What to See section of this guide.

Museums and galleries

If you're going to be in Paris, it's almost mandatory to visit at least one museum or gallery. Art lovers can easily spend a whole week in Paris and still not feel like they've visited everything.

Paris is home to perhaps the largest number of world-famous museums or galleries.

What famous museums or galleries in Paris are not to be missed?

Other museums that we have not yet visited and therefore do not have detailed descriptions of include the following institutions. The links lead directly to the websites of the museums in question.

Check out the discount tourist cards page, which will give you better access to museums and galleries.

Relax in the beautiful gardens

Many streets in Paris are lined with beautiful trees, plus there are lots of parks and gardens, some hidden in the courtyards of palaces and houses.

Just outside the Louvre itself and around the Eiffel Tower, you'll find various beautiful parks. So you really won't miss nature in the city. The 2 largest parks are the Bois de Vincennes and the Bois de Boulogne on the eastern and western outskirts of Paris respectively.

But you can also find famous gardens right in the city centre, all of which are free to visit.

Take a bike ride

The city is perfect for cycling because, with a few exceptions outside the centre, there is flat ground everywhere.

The bicycle is a popular mode of transport among locals and tourists make use of the many bike rental services, at least for a short ride. Popular routes include the embankment along the Seine River, along the Canal Saint Martin and of course rides through the large parks.

As the bicycle serves as one of the main means of transport for Parisians, we describe the details of the bike-sharing services in the Transport chapter.

Sitting in cafés and wine bars

Like all of France, Paris is characterised by its special gastronomy and wine industry. French cuisine can be sampled in luxury Michelin-starred restaurants as well as traditional bistros. Boulangeries, which are bakeries, and their famous croissants or patisseries, which are patisseries, are very popular.

Among the oldest patisseries in Paris, it is worth mentioning Ladurée, where the famous macaroons were born.

For the record, there are over 500 Michelin-starred establishments in Paris. You can find a list of them at guide.michelin.com.

And all over the centre you'll find little cafés with outdoor seating. Some of the best neighbourhoods for sitting late into the night include Montmartre and the student Latin Quarter around the Sorbonne University.

Parisians can hardly imagine a day without a good glass of wine, which is why you'll find so many good wine bars and stylish Bars à vin. The same goes for good coffee, which is an integral part of the day for locals.

What are the prices in Paris restaurants?

Prices vary according to the location and quality of the restaurant. We describe the prices in common restaurants, of which there are thousands throughout Paris.

Of course, expect the highest prices in the centre around the Champs-Elysées and the Eiffel Tower. In the famous Latin Quarter, prices are slightly lower, and the lowest prices are further away from the centre in neighbourhoods where only locals frequent the restaurants.

  • The main course - in the centre, normally around 20 eur
  • Starters - between 15 eur and 25 eur
  • Dessert - 8 eur to 12 eur
  • Water 0.5 litres - 4,50 eur
  • Espresso - 4 eur

Bargain menus combining starter, main course and dessert are common in tourist restaurants and are usually only available until 5pm or 6pm.

Paris for teens

Paris is a very welcoming city for minors under 18 from all over the world and under 26 from European Union countries.

In fact, these age groups have free entry to the vast majority of monuments, museums and galleries.

The Seine: cruises and walks along the river

If you take a trip along the river, you can see almost all the important sites and a few places of interest. In addition, the entire shoreline and waterfront is beautifully landscaped, making it one of the most beautiful walks in Paris.

Check out our map of the best promenades and walks along the Seine.

Sightseeing cruises

Sightseeing cruises along the Seine River are a very popular attraction, especially among tourists. One of the biggest companies that organizes them is Bataeux-Mouches and you can enjoy a beautiful 70 minutes. More information can be found here: bateaux-mouches.fr/en.

  • 17 eur adults over 12 years old
  • 8 eur children aged 4 to 12
  • Free for children under 4
  • Tickets can be purchased online

Similar prices are offered by most Seine river cruise companies.

Would you like to take your romantic Seine River cruise to the next level? Then purchase your dinner, lunch or brunch along with your boat ticket. The food will be served directly during the cruise. Dinner prices start at 79 eur, brunch can be purchased at 55 eur.

Although there are no regular boat lines included in the public transport system on the Seine, you can use the tourist boat Batobus, which sails along a pre-determined route with several stops.

You can only buy a day pass for 23 eur. A map of the routes and ports of call is detailed in the Transport chapter.

Views and sights

Although Paris is one of the flatter cities, you can still enjoy spectacular views with literally world-class panoramas. Who wouldn't want to get the best photo of the Eiffel Tower or have Paris in the palm of their hand? Where are the best and most beautiful views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower?

Free views

The best places are the ones where you don't have to pay, that's a given. Among the most iconic is the Place Trocadéro, across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower, where you'll get a breathtaking view of the tower, the river and, in the background, the dome of the Invalidvona.

The Champ de Mars (Champ de Mars Fields) park, right under the base of the Eiffel Tower, is also a legendary spot. It is here that you can take the famous photos of the Eiffel Tower being held by the tip.

If you like a view, head to the Sacré Coeur Basilica, which stands on the only real hill in Paris. From the famous staircase, you can see the whole city..,

A very nice view of a large part of the city can be seen from Beleville Park on the eastern edge of Paris in a pleasant local neighbourhood.

The views from the towers and buildings

Of course, the most famous view in Paris, and quite possibly in the world, is that from the Eiffel Tower, the tallest building in all of France, from which you get a 360° view of the entire city. But of course, it has one major drawback: you won't see the Eiffel Tower itself.

If you want to have a view from the highest point and see the Eiffel Tower at the same time, head to the Tour Montparnasse skyscraper. Moreover, many people will sarcastically tell you that the best view from here is precisely because you can't see the skyscraper itself, which is an ugly building in the eyes of Parisians.

The roof of the Grande Arche in the modern district of La Défense offers a slightly more unusual view overlooking the 8km-long Axe historique.

However, in our opinion, the most beautiful view of Paris is from the gallery of the dome of the Paris Pantheon.

Modern architecture

The city is not just about history and monuments, but modern architecture is also coming to the fore.

In the city centre, you can admire the Pompidou Gallery, Les Halles metro station, the glass pyramid at the Louvre or the houses on the Champs Élysées.

Next to the city centre, the Montparnasse skyscraper, the Louis Vuitton Foundation and the modern La Défense district across the river with its famous La Grande Arche are worth mentioning.

Excursions around the area

If you're visiting Paris for the first time or have more days to spare, there are a number of excursions you can take in the wider area. Some of the most popular excursions include travelling to the castles around Paris. Some of them we have already introduced in the chapter "What to see", i.e. those that are right in the Paris agglomeration, for example the Chateau of Versailles and the Chateau of Vincennes.

Even beyond its borders, say within 100 km, you will find many more, but with fewer tourists. Let's take a look at the most beautiful of them, we are only choosing the big and well-known castles, there are dozens to hundreds of smaller castles in Paris and its surroundings...

Chateaux around Paris

Pierrefonds - The Château de Pierrefonds is a massive medieval castle that looks both monumental and magical at first glance. Built between 1393 and 1407, it dominates the entire Pierrefonds region.

Tickets cost 8 eur (children and students under 26 free) and it is open daily from 9:30am to 6pm, see the official website.

From Paris, take a day trip here. First, take the train to Compiegne (it leaves from Paris Nord station and a return ticket costs 32 eur), then from Compiegne to Pierrefonds there are buses on lines 27 and 27/28, costing 1 eur each way.

Compiegne - The aforementioned Château Pierrefonds is ideally combined in one trip with the Château de Compiègne in the town of the same name, through which you would have to go to Pierrefonds anyway. The chateau was originally built in the 14th century, and converted into its present building in the 19th century by Napoleon.

Tickets cost 7,50 eur (children and students under 26 free), see the official website. Train transport is identical to the aforementioned Chateau Pierrefonds.

Vaux-le-Vicomte - the chateau is in the picturesque Brie area near Melun and is an ideal place for a day trip. The chateau was built in the Baroque-Classical style between 1630 and 1661) and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. It is one of the most famous and beautiful chateaux around Paris.

Admission is 14,90 eur, and the gardens are only 8 eur. Students do not get a discount. If you go here on a Saturday, pay 19,90 eur, or only 15 eur for the gardens. It is open daily except Monday (when it is closed) from 12:00 to 18:00, on Saturday until 22:00, see the official website of the chateau. Information about transport can also be found on the castle's website.

Fontainebleau - One of France's most famous and largest châteaux can be found 60 km south of Paris in a beautiful wooded landscape. Its origins date back to the 12th century, but it came into its present Renaissance form as a royal palace in the 16th century thanks to Louis XIV. The castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although it looks inconspicuous from the outside despite its vastness, from the inside it will captivate you with its richly decorated interiors.

Admission is 12 eur, free for students under 26 and children. Open daily 9:30am-6pm (only until 5pm in winter). More information on the official website.

From Paris, you can get here by regional train on the R line from Gare de Lyon. Get off at the Fontainebleau-Avon stop, then walk about 1.5 km through the forest belonging to the chateau, or you can take the local bus line 1 directly to the main entrance. A train ticket from Paris costs 9 eur one way.

Disneyland Paris

Extremely popular is a world full of rides, experiences, shows and entertainment - Disneyland Paris. Detailed information on ticket prices, transport or accommodation can be found in the separate chapter Disneyland Paris.

City of fashion and shopping

If you love fashion and shopping of all kinds, you'll feel like you're in heaven. Here you will find many shops of world-famous luxury brands and much more.

However, you'll see most of them in the centre, on the Champs Élysées and in department stores like Galerie Lafayette or Le Bon Marché.

The greatest concentration of luxury boutiques is on Place Vendôme and in its wide surroundings.

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