Paris is one of the world’s most renowned tourist destinations. Called the ‘City of Lights’ or the ‘City of Love’ – it’s definitely one of the most beautiful cities that everyone should visit at least once in their lives! Full of wonderful things to do, it can be hard to choose if you haven’t got tons of time – so here’s my top ten best picks.
1. Moulin Rouge
This one is a little pricey; but definitely something that is on a lot of people’s bucket list. Whilst the ticket will set you back a little more than you’d like, seeing Moulin Rouge is a once in a lifetime experience. Once you’re inside you can just sit back and enjoy the show. Drinks are a little pricey, but there’s no need to drink to enjoy the show – just sit back and take in the atmosphere. For tickets and other information visit the Moulin Rouge website, as you’ll need to pre-book.
2. Croissants for Breakfast in one of Paris’ many parks
Pick up some croissants and coffee from one of Paris’ omnipresent boulangeries and head to a park to enjoy your surroundings (and your food!). The Jardin De Luxembourg is the second largest park in Paris and is the garden of the French senate. This beautiful 17th century garden contains hundreds of statues, monuments and fountains making for a beautiful setting. Equally, the Jardin Des Tuileries is another beautiful spot with fountains, greenery and a views of the Seine and the Louvre – making it great for people watching.
3. Dinner cruise
Another pricey option but it is definitely worth the money for an unforgettable experience. Bateaux Parisiens offer lunch time and dinner time cruises; but the evening dinner time is the more spectacular option. Sail down the Seine, taking in all the beautiful sights with an unobtrusive tour in the background and eat some of the best food imaginable. On top of this you get a continual flow of wine (always a good thing) and pull up beside the Eiffel Tower at midnight.
4. Visit Montmartre
Montmartre is talked about by Parisians, the way New Yorkers talk about the Village – it’s not what it used to be, it’s like Disneyland, the artists can’t afford to live here any more, too many tourists etc. There’s some truth to these opinions but Montmartre is still enjoyable. Visit the Basilica De Sacre Coeur and enjoy the view from the top of the hill, wander over to the Moulin Rouge (if you’re not going in then at least take a picture of the famous red windmill) and round it off with delicious croque madame and chips.
5. Walk down the Champs-Élysées
Even if the shops boast expensive price tags it’s worth strolling down this fantastic Parisian street just to gawk at the ridiculous restaurant prices, expensive cars and sophisticated shoppers. What’s more, you’ll get to see the Arc de Triomphe at one end, the Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde at the other and the Grand and Petit Palais on the way – all of which offer great Instagram opportunities! #nofilter
6. Eiffel Tower
The quintessential Paris must-do, you can’t think of Paris without the Eiffel Tower swimming into your imagination. Arguably, a picture of the Eiffel tower standing proudly out from the city is more typically Parisian than the view looking down; but the sights from the viewing platform are vast, with Paris stretching into the distance in every direction.
6. Day trip to Versailles
This takes a whole day out of your Paris trip, so if you’re only here for a couple of days there are more than enough things in the city to keep yourself occupied. However, if you do decide to venture out to see the magnificent palace of Versailles in all its glory, then it really is worth it. Just a short train ride away, you can explore Versailles in your own way or get involved with one of the numerous guided tours available. Another option for the athletic amongst you is the Bike About Versailles tour; which takes you through the royal forests, into local food markets, by the Grand Canal, into Marie Antoinette’s village and to the doors of the infamous château. This option also includes a picnic (yay!) and entry into the palace where you can see the famous ‘Hall of Mirrors’.
Free!! (Sometimes). The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and over 50 others are free for under 26 year olds, so take your chance now. The Louvre holds some of the most impressive paintings in history, see the Mona Lisa in all her (surprisingly small) glory and then head to the Musée D’Orsay to pretend you understand what constitutes as impressionism.
Other than that some of the most popular museums and monuments in Paris are free on the first Sunday of the month, including the Modern Art Museum in the Centre Pompidou and others. The full list can be found here.
9. Parc De Villette Open Air Cinema
This only runs through July and August; but if you’re around Paris at that time it’s really worth going along to make the most of the summer evenings. Each year follows a particular theme, with this year being ‘Tous en Scène’ or ‘Everybody on Stage’ and showing films such as ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and ‘The Killing’. Taking a picnic blanket and stretching out on the grass is lovely; but if you’re particularly adverse to sitting on the ground (or suffer wildly from hay fever) you can upgrade to a deckchair for 7 euros.
10. Walk along the Seine
Take in Paris in its full glory. If the weather is good then following the river is the best way to see some great tourist attractions and the beautiful architecture of Paris. See the padlocks on Love Lock bridge, the boats whizzing up and down the Seine or just perch on the benches dotted along on the river offering quiet places for reading or thinking.