Top Fifteen Best Activities in Paris, France

(Paris, France) – The City of Love is the most populous and arguably the most iconic city in France. The entire territory of Paris is an international landmark, and it is easy to be enamored and get lost in its time-frozen streets, idyllic shops, and rustic cafés if unguided. While it is a good idea to let your wanderlust take you to wherever it takes you, Paris has a handful of landmarks that you should never ever miss. Here are the top 15 best things to do in Paris, France.

sunny morning and Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
sunny morning and Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Walk around the Eiffel Tower

The iconic Eiffel Tower was originally considered an eyesore by the locals and was actually at risk of being demolished. After years long of debate, they finally decided to keep the iron tower, which now stands as one of the most famous landmarks in the world.


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Top 15 Best Things to Do in Paris
Top 15 Best Things to Do in Paris

Officially opened to the public in 1889, the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of the city. Besides piercing the skyline at 324 meters tall, the tower offers a view deck that gives guests breathtaking sights of Paris. At nighttime, the tower lights up a golden yellow hue from sundown to 1 AM, and is visible in almost all corners of the city, even when one is not walking around it.

Best Activities to do in Paris photo via KLOOK
Best Activities to do in Paris photo via KLOOK

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Come face to face with renowned artworks at the Louvre

The Louvre Museum at night
The Louvre Museum at night

Home to more than 380,000 objects and 35,000 paintings, the Louvre is the world’s largest art museum. Time-old works of art like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Dying Slave sculpture of Michelangelo, and the Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch are just some of the masterpieces that are kept in here.

After long hours of marveling at works from great minds in the past, people often visit the spectacular glass Louvre Pyramid, as well as the nearby Tuileries Gardens, which is just nearby. In fact, the Palais du Louvre where the museum is part of is already a tourist attraction in its own right.

Getting to the Louvre

Metro: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7) and Pyramides (line 14)
Bus: no. 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95

Location: Musée du Louvre, 75001 Paris, France
Entrance Fee to the Louvre is 15 Euros. If you are from a European Union member country, entrance is free for children under 18 and for young adults under 26. Young adults just have to show their ID to the museum staff. If you visit the Museum after 6pm on a Wednesday or Friday, entrance is reduced to just 6 Euros and the museum is open until 9.45pm.

The Louvre Museum Tour photo via KLOOK
The Louvre Museum Tour photo via KLOOK

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Pray at the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral

Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral
Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral

This medieval Catholic Church is notable for its French Gothic architecture. Its construction began in the 12th century, and it took at least two hundred years before it could actually finish. During the 1970s, the church was damaged during the French Revolution, and projects that aim to reconstruct and maintain the icon were launched just shortly after.

Today, the Notre Dame remains with its unforgettable two-tower façade, dark buttresses, lines of gargoyles, and stained glass windows. Besides the structure itself, the church is notable for its surrounding sculptures that depict various Biblical scenes, which are collectively referred to as a “poor people’s book”.

Go on a walking tour and see the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile

The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, which literally translate to the Triumphal Arch of the Star, is a historical landmark that was built in 1806 to commemorate fallen French soldiers during the World War I. In fact, all the names of those heroes are engraved in the inner and outer walls of the symbolic arch. The arch was preserved even during World War II and has been a historical tourist attraction ever since.

Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

This Parisian landmark stands in the middle of the intersection of several avenues in the city, so it serves as a connection of sorts and is impossible to miss, especially if one is in a walking tour.

Wine and cheese tasting tour

Wine and Cheese Pairing
Wine and Cheese Pairing

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Paris, do as the Parisians do. The Parisian cuisine has much to do with cheese and wine. In fact, every region in the country has its own variety of wine, and Paris is but one of the many regions in France!

There are many wine cellars in the city and there’s a dozen offered tours that focus on wine and cheese tasting. I was able to experience a wine and cheese tasting tour myself. We visited a shop along Quai de Jemmapes, where we’re taught that certain types of wine and cheese go well together.

Visit the ossuaries at the Catacombs of Paris

Catacombs of Paris
Catacombs of Paris

Established in 1810 and officially opened to the public in 1874, the Catacombs were built as a response to the lack of public cemeteries and the series of cemetery collapses in the 1770s. Active efforts to transfer the displaced remains of individuals started in the 1780s.

The underground ossuaries of the Catacombs hold the remains of about six million people, and their bones are organized in walls that stretch and connect to the city’s ancient stone mines.

How to get there

By Métro et RER B: Denfert-Rochereau
Bus: 38, 68

Address: 1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France
Hours: From Tuesday till Sunday from 10 am till 8:30 pm
Phone: +33 1 43 22 47 63
Entrance Fee: 13 Euro

Wander in the streets of Le Marais

Chez Marianne, a Jewish restaurant in Le Marais
Chez Marianne, a Jewish restaurant in Le Marais – By Zantastik – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Le Marais the Calle Crisologo of Paris. In this historic district, travelers will find not only centuries-old buildings, but also art galleries, boutiques, bars, and rustic restaurants. Notable buildings include the castle-like Hotel de Sens, which is actually a private mansion and not a hotel; the Hôtel de Guénégaud private townhouse; and the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan, where one will find the Museum of Jewish Art and History.

Le Marais covers two administrative districts in the city, and there are many courtyards, public gardens, and picturesque 17th to 18th-century buildings that capture the aristocratic culture of Paris.

See the Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur) up close and from afar

Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre
Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre

Elegantly sitting atop a hill is the Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre, a Roman Catholic Church in Paris that is often called Sacre-Coeur in short. The basilica is located on the highest point in Paris, the Montmartre butte, in the eighteenth administrative district of the city. Because of its location, it is visible in most unobstructed parts in the French capital.

The basilica is even more of a marvel up close. Its high gables and the statues of Saint Joan of Arc and King Saint Louis are some of the eye-catchers in this church. It is also known for its enormous church pipe organ, which was installed in 1905.

How to get there

SUBWAY

Jules Joffrin (M° 12) + Montmartrobus (Place du Tertre stop)
Pigalle (M° 12, M° 2) + Montmartrobus (Norvins stop)
Anvers (M° 2) + Cable car (métro ticket) or steps
Abbesses (M° 12) + Cable car (métro ticket) or steps

BUS

30 – 31 – 80 – 85 (Anvers Sacré-Coeur bus stop at foot of Montmartre) 

Look at even more artworks at the Musee d’Orsay

Musee d'Orsay
Musee d’Orsay

Despite the museum being established in 1986, the building itself dates way back to the 1890s.

The building itself is a historical artifact worth talking about. The building was originally a railway station which operated until the 1930s. After the stopping in railway operations, it became the central provider of mailing services during World War II (the 1940s).

After the war, there were many plans on renovating the building into a hotel, among others, but eventually, it was agreed upon to transform it into a museum. Today, it holds some famous artworks like the Whistler’s Mother painting by James McNeill Whistler and Self Portrait by Vincent Van Gogh.

How to get there

The easiest way to get there is by Metro, either station Solferino on Line 12 or the station Musee d’Orsay on the RER C. It is also very central, just across from the Louvre if you would like to walk.

Hang out in the Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg)

Luxembourg Gardens
Luxembourg Gardens

The Luxembourg Gardens cover a whopping 23 hectares of area in the 6th administrative district of the city. The massive garden began construction in 1612 as a complement to the Luxembourg Palace, which was also built around the same time.

The Gardens are known for their picturesque, tree-covered promenades, flowerbeds, and Medici Fountain, which was a relatively recent addition to the property. The peaceful and refreshing atmosphere of the park has attracted visitors since it opened to the public.

Statues abound in the garden as well; one of which includes the Liberty of Enlightening the World, which is the original model of USA’s Statue of Liberty.

How to get there

The closest station is Luxembourg which you can reach with RER B. However the following metro stations are just a short stroll away: Saint Sulpice (Metro 4), Mabillon (Metro 10), Odeon (Metros 4 and 10), Cluny la Sorbonne (Metro 10)

Be amazed by the modern works of art at Centre Pompidou

Centre Pompidou
Centre Pompidou

Somewhere in the fourth administrative district of Paris lies the Centre Georges Pompidou, which is frequently shortened to Centre Pompidou (or the Pompidou Center in English). The center is a building complex that showcases modern architectural designs and can be thought of as the creative playground of the architects who built it in the 1970s.

The building houses the Bibliothèque Publique d’information (Public Information Library), the Musée National d’Art Moderne (National Museum for Modern Art), and various exhibitions in floors one and six. The building is also known for the Stravinsky Fountain, which was inspired by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky.

How to get there

Metro: Rambuteau (line 11), Hôtel de Ville (lines 1 and 11), Châtelet (lines 1, 4, 7, 11 and 14)
RER: Châtelet-Les Halles (lines A, B, and D)
Bus: 29, 38, 47, 75

Tour the Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles)

Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles served as the residence of French kings for more than a hundred years. Its historical significance is recognized by UNESCO and has declared the palace a World Heritage Site.

The Chateau is notable for its elegant façade, its blue-and-gold rooftops, and the intricate, marble flooring of the palace grounds. Guests are further enamored by its interior.

Inside the palace is the Hall of Mirrors, a long hallway that is filled with gold and silver decorations, where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 during WWI. The Royal Opera, the Royal Chapel, and the Hall of Battles are also well-known attractions.

How to get there

By RER C or SNCF train

RER line C arrives at Versailles Château – Rive Gauche train station, just 10 minutes’ walk to the Palace.
SNCF trains from Gare Montparnasse arrive at Versailles Chantiers train station, which is 18 minutes on foot to the Palace.
SNCF trains from Gare Saint Lazare arrive at Versailles Rive Droite train station, 17 minutes on foot to the Palace.

By Shuttle

Versailles Express offers transport to the Palace of Versailles from the Eiffel Tower in Paris from Tuesday to Sunday:

Departure at 7.45 am, return at 3.15 pm.
Departure at 9.45 am, return at 3.15 pm.
Departure at 1.30 am, return at 6 pm.

By Bus

The RATP bus line 171 runs between Pont de Sèvres (terminus of the Paris metro line 9) and the Palace of Versailles in 30 minutes without traffic.
T+ tickets can be used for this journey.
Journey times and routes available on the RATP website

Shop at Avenues des Champs-Élyséee

Champs-Elysee
Champs-Elysee

The Champs-Élyséee Avenue is one of the many streets that converge at the Arc de Triomphe. While all streets in Paris are picturesque, the avenue has emerged to be one of the most recognized avenues in the world, and is often referred to as the “most beautiful avenue in the world”. The long and narrow street is known for its aristocratic feel of luxury shops, theatres, and cafés.

Many Parisian activities are held in the Champs-Élyséee. It is the setting for the yearly Bastille Day Military Parade, which is celebrated yearly on July 14th; and is also known for being the finish line of the annual cycling competition Tour de France.

Experience a Paris River Cruise

Paris River Cruise
Paris River Cruise

There are many tour operators that offer packages that include river cruises as their itinerary. Having a river cruise is the undeniably the best way to spend an evening in the French Capital.

Most river cruises start and end at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, which, by night, becomes a giant golden tower that reflects beautifully on the calm surface of the Parisian river Seine.

Appreciate history at the Les Invalides

Les Invalides
Les Invalides

The Hotel National des Invalides, or the National Residence of the Invalids, is a large complex of buildings that contains museums, monuments, and other structures that commemorate the military history of the country. It was built under French King Louis XIV’s orders who wanted to honor the veterans and soldiers who served the country.

Here, one can find the Musée de l’Armée (Military Museum of the Army of France) and the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine (Museum of Contemporary History). Amongst the streets also lies the Dome des Invalides, a beautiful and large church that houses the tombs of French military heroes, like Napoleon Bonaparte.

How to get there

By metro line 8 to La Tour-Maubourg station, or line 13 to Varenne station.

Opening hours: Daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Best Things to Do in Paris
Best Things to Do in Paris

Paris is a city of many streets, hippy cafés and shops, a hectares-wide park, and various architectural delights. Despite its diversity, at the end of the day, the French Capital remains united in its history and culture, which is evident in its avenues, cathedrals, and its people.

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