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Planning a trip to Paris? Keep reading for everything you need to add to your Paris bucket list!
Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for a very good reason: there’s just so much to do! With world-class museums, iconic monuments, incredible shopping, delicious food, and so much more, Paris is truly a bucket list destination.
When you think of Paris, there are probably a few sights that come to mind – spots like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre. These sights are all amazing, but there are also so many more amazing places to visit and things to do when visiting the City of Light!
So, if you’re planning a trip to Paris, keep reading for a guide to some of the city’s most bucket-list-worthy things to do. Here, you’ll find all of the city’s top attractions as well as some hidden gems and local favorites.
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Paris Bucket List: Incredible Things to Do in Paris
See the Eiffel Tower, the Iconic Symbol of Paris
The Eiffel Tower is the most iconic symbol of Paris and is a bucket-list-worthy attraction that you must see when visiting the City of Light.
The tallest structure in all of Paris, the tower was first constructed for the 1889 World’s Fair. At the time, many considered the tower to be an eyesore, but now, the “Iron Lady” is beloved by locals and tourists alike.
READ MORE: The Most Famous Landmarks in Europe
There are countless points around the city where you can get an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower, like Trocadero, the rooftop terrace at the Galeries Lafayette Hausmann, the top of the Arc de Triomphe, and Sacré-Coeur Basilica. Champ de Mars, the green space at the foot of the tower, is the perfect spot to have an afternoon picnic with an incredible view.
Each evening, every hour on the hour, the Eiffel Tower is lit up with a dazzling display of twinkling lights. The light show lasts for 5 minutes and is a magical experience.
You can also get up-close-and-personal with the tower by ascending to its observation deck. Ticket prices vary depending on if you choose stair or elevator access and if you opt to visit the summit or the second floor.
Book Now: Eiffel Tower Summit Access by Elevator
Go window shopping along the Champs-Élysées
You can’t visit Paris without taking a stroll along the Champs-Élysées. One of Paris’s most famous streets, Champs-Élysées is lined with luxury shops, cute cafés, theatres, and more. It’s also a popular gathering spot for major events like the Bastille Day Military Parade and the city’s official New Year’s Eve Celebration. The Champs-Élysées ends at the Arc de Triomphe, one of Paris’s most iconic monuments.
Strolling along the Champs-Élysées is a great way to spend an evening. Take the metro to Franklin D. Roosevelt station. From there, follow the street towards the Arc de Triomphe, stopping in the various shops along the way. Don’t miss visiting the Galeries Lafayette – though smaller than the flagship Haussmann location, the Champs-Élysées branch of the famous department store is worth a stop.
After doing a bit of shopping (or window shopping), make your way to the Publicis Drugstore that’s right across from the Arc de Triomphe. Inside, you’ll find a small Pierre Hermé shop selling some of Paris’s best macarons. Grab a box of macarons and head to one of the benches outside, enjoying your treat with a view of the Arc de Triomphe.
Climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe
Located at the western end of Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe is one of Paris’s most famous landmarks.
The Arc de Triomphe is a monument honoring the French armies who fought the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Beneath the monument is a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, holding the remains of an unidentified French soldier who died during World War I.
The Arc de Triomphe is a massive structure, and simply seeing it is one of the best things to do in Paris. However, I highly recommend booking tickets to climb to the top of the Arc. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best views of Paris. Go in the evening to see the lights of the Champs-Élysées and the twinkling hourly light show at the Eiffel Tower.
Climbing the Arc de Triomphe is no easy feat: you’ll have to climb 284 stairs, mostly in the form of a narrow spiral staircase. An elevator is available for visitors with reduced mobility or for groups with young children, but you’ll still need to climb 64 stairs to reach the top. If you need the elevator, make sure to tell the attendants before going through the security check.
Once you make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views. You’ll be able to see the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Coeur, and even all the way to the business district of La Défense.
Make sure to book your tickets for the Arc de Triomphe in advance, as the line for purchasing on-site tickets gets extremely long.
To get to the Arc de Triomphe, follow the signs for the underpass. Don’t attempt to walk across the busy roundabout!
Book Now: Skip-the-Line Arc de Triomphe Rooftop Tickets
Add a visit to the Louvre to your Paris Bucket List
Ask anyone what they think is the most famous museum in the world, and chances are they’ll say the Louvre. The museum is the most visited museum in the world and is home to iconic works of art like Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo as well as artifacts like the Code of Hammurabi.
Many tourists visit the Louvre only to rush to see the Mona Lisa and then leave, missing out on many of the museum’s highlights. While you shouldn’t miss out on seeing the museum’s most famous tenant, you should also plan on spending at least a few hours roaming around the massive collection.
The crowds surrounding the Mona Lisa are insane, so get there early if you want to see her up close. Or, just step to the side of the crowd – you might not get a frontal view, but you’ll still be able to see the famed painting.
Tickets to the Louvre tend to sell out, so make sure to purchase your tickets well in advance. When I visited Paris, I made the mistake of waiting until arriving in the city to try to get my admission tickets – and they were all sold out.
If this happens to you, don’t fret. GetYourGuide has several different attraction combo tickets – I was able to purchase a Louvre/Seine River Cruise combo ticket in the morning and visit the museum that same afternoon. I paid a bit more than the regular admission price, but it was worth it to be able to visit a museum that had been on my bucket list for ages. Plus we were planning on taking a Seine cruise anyway, so it worked out perfectly!
Even if you don’t have time to explore the inside of the museum, make sure to stop in the Louvre Courtyard to see the Pyramid.
See the world’s largest collection of Impressionist art at Musée d’Orsay
The second most visited museum in Paris, and my personal favorite, is the Musée d’Orsay.
The museum is home to the largest collection of Impressionist paintings in the world as well as other French works of art. Along the walls of the museum you can see masterpieces by famous artists like Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Auguste Renoir, and many more.
In addition to the masterpieces inside, the museum building itself is a work of art. It is located in the former Gare d’Orsay railway station, which opened in 1900 just in time for the World Fair. The station closed in 1939 and was used for various other purposes until the decision was made to turn it into a museum, which opened in 1986.
The Main Hall of the museum, with its clock, is reminiscent of the building’s former use as a train station. Additionally, the large clock window on the top floor of the museum is one of Paris’s best photo spots.
Make sure to book reserved tickets online to skip the ticket line!
Book Now: Musée d’Orsay Skip-the-Line Tickets
Relax while sightseeing on a Seine River Cruise
Taking a cruise on the Seine is a great way to get a unique view of Paris all while learning more about the city’s history.
There are several different Seine cruises to choose from, ranging from affordable sightseeing cruises to pricier, romantic dinner cruises. You can also frequently find tickets that combine a river cruise with admission to another popular Paris attraction, like the Louvre.
Many Seine cruises depart from Port de la Bourdonnais at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. The cruises begin at the Eiffel Tower, making their way east along the Seine seeing famous spots like the Louvre, Grand Palais, Pont Neuf, Notre Dame, and many more. Commentary along the way will tell you more about the history of those sights. The cruises end back at the Eiffel Tower, often timed so that you can enjoy the hourly light show if you’re cruising at night.
Bateaux Parisiens is one of the most popular (and affordable) Seine cruise companies. They offer both sightseeing cruises and dinner cruises.
Paris Bucket List Landmarks: Notre Dame Cathedral
Contributed by Jessica from Very Obsessed
When visiting Paris, you must add seeing Notre Dame to your Paris bucket list! This medieval, gothic-style cathedral is located in the 4th arrondissement on the Île de la Cité and is breathtaking.
Opening its doors in 1345, Notre Dame took over 175 years to build. It’s gone through several renovations, and the Parisians do an exceptional job at maintaining and restoring this historic structure. Unfortunately, in 2019, during a restoration project, a major fire broke out. The cathedral was seriously damaged and is still closed to the public during reconstruction.
Do not let this deter you though! Just walking the hallowed grounds, seeing the amazing architecture, walking along the river, and admiring the stained glass is quintessential Paris. It’s not just a feeling either, Notre Dame is the most visited monument in Paris, so it is absolutely not to be missed.
Prior to the fire, Notre Dame was an operating Catholic cathedral and offered daily mass. Services are planned to resume in the Spring of 2024.
Enjoy the views at Trocadero
Contributed by Christine from Live Love Run Travel
Trocadero is a must on any Paris bucket list. Thanks to being one of the best Eiffel Tower photo spots, Trocadero is one of the most popular spots to visit in Paris. Located just across the river from the Eiffel Tower, you can enjoy the epic view at any hour of the day or night.
Because of its popularity, Trocadero stays busy. If you want to avoid the crowds and get photos, get there early. It is popular for photoshoots at sunrise, but you’ll find it is much less crowded than later in the day. If you can’t make it during the day, it is also a great spot to enjoy the Eiffel Tower light show at night.
The gardens at Trocadero are also beautiful, especially in the spring and summer. If you have the time, take a walk through the gardens to enjoy more of what Trocadero has to offer.
Visit Paris’s beautiful Opera House, the Palais Garnier
Contributed by Jessica from Uprooted Traveler
While Paris is known for its beautiful architecture, the Palais Garnier, its opera house in the 9th arrondissement, may just be the city’s most opulent building. In fact, when the theater first opened in 1875, it was actually the world’s largest theater!
Today, you can explore the theater’s grandiosity on your own, marveling at the intricate murals painted on its ceilings, marble busts of opera starlets, and gold-laden walls.
If you want to see the theater truly spring to life, visit during a performance of an opera or ballet. Or. for a more affordable option, you can stroll through the building at your own pace on a self-guided tour. Just make sure to stop by Box #5, especially if you love musicals or ghost stories. The famed Phantom of the Opera novel is actually based on this very theater and, to this day, Box #5 is always reserved for the Phantom!
Book Now: Self-Guided Visit to Opera Garnier
Visit Père Lachaise Cemetery
Contributed by Sarah from Life Part 2 and Beyond
What do Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and Jim Morrison of The Doors all have in common? They are all buried at the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
Visiting a cemetery during your time in Paris may not be the first thing you think of when visiting the French capital, but this place is truly beautiful, peaceful and fascinating, and well worth a visit.
Easy to reach on Metro line 3, I recommend entering the cemetery from the Gambetta metro stop, the one after the Père Lachaise stop. This way, you enter from the top of the graveyard and can meander your way downhill rather than having to walk uphill.
To really appreciate the cemetery, take your time, wander slowly and admire the incredible tombs and statues. You can download a map via a QR code at the entrances if you are looking for a particular gravesite. Walking tours of the cemetery are also available. To best experience the cemetery, allow two to three hours for your visit.
Book Now: Père Lachaise Cemetery Guided Walking Tour
Dine at a Famous Paris Café
Contributed by Denise from Chef Denise
Visiting one of the famous cafés in Paris should definitely be on your bucket list. It’s like going to a museum, but better because there’s food and drinks. See where the brightest minds in philosophy, art, and literature gathered, in some cases, over a hundred years ago for inspiration, and to discuss new ideas that have literally changed the world.
Depending on who you talk to, either Les Deux Magots or Café de Flore is the most famous Paris café. They happen to be almost next door to each other on Boulevard Saint-Germain des Prés. They also share a long list of distinguished historical clientele like Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Picasso. And both have a prestigious literary award for up-and-coming writers.
Maybe you would prefer the cafés that was most popular with staving artists – La Rotonde, or with African American writers – Le Café Tournon? Or perhaps you would simply like to eat at the oldest – Le Procope? Whichever you choose it is sure to be a wonderful experience!
Admire the ornate stained glass at Sainte-Chapelle
Contributed by Jami from Celiac Travel Pack
Sainte-Chapelle is a stunning gothic cathedral that was built in the 13th century.
Located on the Île de la Cité just minutes from Notre Dame, the chapel boasts one of the most well-preserved examples of 13th-century stained glass in the world. Some of the glass was damaged during the French Revolution and had to be replaced but the majority is original.
You can feel how special the place is as soon as you enter. Dark blue light streams through the stained glass and sweeps you into a different time. The grandeur of the 15 stained glass windows, depicting 1113 Biblical scenes, is the crown of a very ornate building. It is an example of gothic architecture at its finest. Visit in the late afternoon for the most vibrant colors from the stained glass.
You must have a ticket with a reserved time in order to enter Sainte-Chapelle. There are two levels in Sainte-Chapelle and you should plan to spend at least 30 minutes (though probably not much more) on each of them.
Combine your visit to Sainte-Chapelle with a visit to the nearby Conciergerie. Combined tickets are available.
Book Now: Sainte-Chapelle Skip-the-Line Tickets
Marvel at the Street Art in Paris
Contributed by Kelly from Girl with the Passport
Looking for a fun and unique activity to add to your Paris bucket list? If so, then consider searching for street art within in the ethereal City of Light.
Do a self-guided tour of local street art hot spots like Canal Saint-Denis, Vitry-sur-Seine, Belleville, the Centre Pompidou, and Montmarte.
In particuliar, the Oberkampf Wall at 107 rue Oberkampf is an absolute must-see for any fellow street art enthusiasts out there.
Otherwise, book a guided tour with an amazing organization like Street Art Tours Paris. Organized tours with this company are led daily by fun and engaging experts who will take you on an exciting, 2-hour tour of Paris as you learn all about and marvel at some of the city’s most vibrant street art.
Tours are also small – usually consisting of ten people – and start at just €22.00 per adult, making this a fun way to enjoy some of the best hidden gems in Paris.
Read reviews or book now: Street Art Tours Paris
Experience the World’s Most Famous Cabaret at Moulin Rouge
Contributed by Fiona from Travelling Thirties
A Paris itinerary is not complete without checking one of the biggest items from your Paris Bucket list, visiting the Moulin Rouge.
Located in the neighborhood of Montmartre and home to the most famous cabaret shows in the world is the Moulin Rouge. From the moment you step inside the Moulin Rouge you will be set for a night of glitz, glamour, over-the-top costumes, and, at times, minimal clothing and a night filled with memories to last a lifetime.
If you are planning on seeing a show at the Moulin Rouge make sure you book your tickets early, as tickets sell out months in advance. When buying your tickets, you are able to choose a ticket on its own, a ticket including dinner before the show, or a ticket including a half bottle of champagne per person.
It is worth noting that the Moulin Rouge is not cheap but is a must-do, so it is recommended to have dinner before you go to the Moulin Rouge but treat yourself a little bit by purchasing a ticket including champagne.
Even if you are not planning on taking in a show at the Moulin Rouge, make sure you venture to Montmartre one night to see the beautiful windmill and the gorgeous lights of the Moulin Rouge.
Go on a Macaron Walking Tour
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels
One of the most fun and delicious things to do in Paris is a self-guided macaron walking tour. Macarons have become really popular in the last decade and Paris is the perfect place to try out different ones from the best confectioner houses in France.
The tour incorporates famous names such as Ladurée, Fauchon, Angelina Paris, and Jean-Paul Hévin. Start the tour at the Rue du Bac with Dalloyau and end with Pierre Hermé on the Champs-Elysées. The tour can take from 2-5 hours depending on how fast you walk and how long you take to sample the macarons.
A macaron walking tour is a fun way to discover Paris and a perfect way to do something different than just visiting the iconic sites. They’re well worth your time, but a break from sightseeing can be welcome.
If you’re unsure about a self-guided tour, there are several excellent guided tours on offer as well.
Explore the eerie Catacombs of Paris
Contributed by Debbie Fettback from World Adventurists
Even glamorous Paris, also known as the City of Light and Love, hides some dark history. One of the most fascinating places to visit and learn about the dark side is the Catacombs of Paris.
In the 17th century, Paris cemeteries were overflowing; there was no room left for any additional burials. The solution to this problem was to use underground tunnels to store the remains.
Exploring the underground tunnels is equally sad, fascinating, and eerie at the same time as you wander through the bones of the unknown. There you will find six million laid to rest, their bones stacked neatly and some in designs, making them a work of art. Visiting the catacombs will bring many emotions, is very humbling, and is an excellent way to pay respect while learning some history of Paris.
Allow an hour and a half to explore inside the catacombs. Visiting the catacombs is extremely popular, so buy your tickets ahead of time.
Bring a light sweater. Even if you are visiting on a warm summer day, it can get chilly underground.
Book now: Paris Catacombs Skip-the-Line Tickets
Stroll along Canal Saint-Martin
Contributed by Lena from Salut from Paris
If you are looking for a hidden gem in Paris with great vibes but without the tourists, you should head to the Canal Saint-Martin.
The channel in the northeast of Paris connects the River Seine with the northern suburbs and offers a laid-back alternative to the somewhat overrun banks of the Seine.
Especially from spring on, the Canal Saint-Martin is a good location for a stroll or a picnic by the waterside. It’s also a good destination if you are keen on photography. The bridges and the sluice make for beautiful subjects highlighting Paris off-the-beaten-path.
Overall, the area around the channel is much different from the opulent cityscape you find in the center of Paris. Rather, it is an alternative quarter with a faint flair of Amsterdam, with lots of street art, concert venues, and many international restaurants.
Go shopping in Le Marais
Contributed by Ashleigh from Ashleigh’s Atlas
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Paris, make sure to go shopping in Le Marais.
Le Marais isn’t somewhere that would usually be on the standard Paris bucket list like the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. But, it’s definitely somewhere you should explore if you like more a local experience – exploring the cool neighborhoods that locals love and finding all their favorite cafes and shops.
Le Marais is a cool, kind of hipster, neighborhood in Paris. It’s the kind of place that doesn’t really have any major tourist attractions but that’s fun to just wander around and explore and feel like a local. Le Marais is kind of like the East London of Paris, whereas St Germain is the Notting Hill.
There are a few popular stores in Le Marais that are worth checking out. Le BHV Marais is a luxury department store, and Merci is a super-trendy interiors concept store with amazing home goods. Otherwise, the best way to explore Le Marais is to stay off the main busy streets and get lost exploring the backstreets, searching for small independent and designer shops.
Avoid the main shopping street by the train station. It’s super busy and just has high street shops and lots of outdoor stalls with cheap knockoffs.
Enjoy a visit to the Jardin du Luxembourg
Contributed by Stephanie from The Unknown Enthusiast
Visiting the Jardin du Luxembourg is a great addition to any Paris itinerary, as these gardens situated in the Saint Germain quarter are expansive and gorgeous. At the main entrance to the garden is the Palais du Luxembourg, a palace where the French Senate meets.
Notable features of the garden include a large basin where you can rent toy sailboats, cultivated flower beds, over 100 statues situated throughout the garden, and the beautiful Medici Fountain. There are some grassy areas or lots of park chairs throughout the garden to relax in.
The park is popular with runners, especially during the early morning hours, and from midday on it is popular with locals and tourists alike, who enjoy a pleasant oasis where you can enjoy a picnic and spend time with family and friends.
There is a cafe and a few stalls selling food and drink. The garden is free to the public and is open from roughly dawn to dusk.
Explore the Hidden Gem of Île Saint-Louis
Contributed by Renee from Dream Plan Experience
Île Saint-Louis is one of Paris’s best hidden gems. Located in the 4th arrondissement, this tiny island lies in the middle of the Seine and is connected to the Left and Right banks by five bridges.
If you are looking for a charming area of Paris that offers quintessential Parisian life then escape to Île Saint-Louis. Stroll the quiet streets admiring the elegant grandeur of the well-preserved 17th-century buildings, especially the most notable ones of Hôtel Lambert, Hôtel de Lauzun, and Hôtel Le Vau. Visit the island’s only church designed in a classic Baroque style, Saint-Louis-en-l’Île.
Walk down the main street, Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, which is lined with unique specialty shops offering everything from bakeries to cheese to chocolatiers and antiques to books to children’s toys. The city’s most famous ice cream shop, Berthillon is the top reason why people come to Île Saint-Louis. Don’t miss visiting the longest-standing shop, Maison Moinet, a confectionery store, known for its fruit jellies, caramels, and flavored mints that have been in operation since 1852.
End your visit to Île Saint-Louis at Place Louis-Aragon, a quaint square at the tip of the island that offers a lovely view overlooking the Seine.
Visit the breathtaking Sacré-Coeur Basilica
Contributed by Dymphe from Dym Abroad
One of the best things to do in Paris is visiting Sacré-Coeur Basilica, one of the most iconic sights in the city. The basilica was constructed in the year 1914 and has an interesting architectural style, including a lot of Romano-Byzantine elements.
You can visit the inside of Sacré-Coeur and see various objects and art, and there is no admission fee to do so.
Sacré-Coeur is located at the highest point of Paris in the Montmartre district. Because of that, you are treated to a wonderful view of Paris when visiting. You can also climb to the top of the basilica for an even better view of Paris.
To get to Sacré-Coeur, you can either climb the 270 steps or take the funicular, which costs the same as one ride on the metro. If you take the steps, make sure to look for the famous sinking house on the right when you get near the top!
Immerse yourself in the City of Lights on a Paris Walking Tour
Contributed by Jolayne from simplyjolayne
Whether this is your first time visiting Paris or your tenth, there is nothing like a walking tour through Paris to immerse yourself in the City of Lights and understand history as it comes to life. The Wego Walking Paris tour highlights world-famous and iconic Parisian sights.
Your guide is not only knowledgeable but personable and creates a fun-filled walking tour that is perfect for the whole family. You will walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for Paris’s history and architecture.
Your tour may begin at Notre Dame and ends at the pinnacle of the Paris landscape—the Eiffel Tower. Be sure to put on your walking shoes as you will be exploring throughout the city.
You must book in advance as the tours fill quickly. All tours are €30 per person booked and totally worth the cost.
If you’re traveling on a budget, consider taking a free walking tour of Paris. There are several to choose from, including New Europe’s popular free tour and City Free Tour’s selection of free Paris walking tours.
Take a stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries
Contributed by Helen Wildgoose from Curious Goose
One of the best gardens to visit in Paris is the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries. This beautiful
17th century landscaped garden is located alongside the River Seine and next to the
Louvre. Despite its position in the center of the city, it’s a tranquil place, perfect to relax and
read a book in the sunshine.
At the west end of the Jardin Des Tuileries is the Musée de l’Orangerie – a small museum
showcasing 20th-century artwork, including 8 of Monet’s Water Lilies paintings. Book your tickets online in advance to avoid the queues.
Getting to the Jardin Des Tuileries is convenient as it has its own metro stop and there are
also toilet facilities next to the Musée de l’Orangerie. There are several cafes within the
Jardin Des Tuileries, but if you are on a budget, head to one of the bakeries or shops on the
outskirts of the park first and bring your own picnic to enjoy in beautiful surroundings.
In December and early January, part of the garden transforms into the Tuileries Garden Christmas Market, which is a must-do if you’re visiting during the holiday season.
Visit Shakespeare and Company
Contributed by Faith from XYUandBEYOND
Located on the left bank of the Seine River almost directly across from Notre Dame Cathedral sits Shakespeare and Company. This iconic English bookstore opened in 1951 and has been a meeting place for English-speaking writers and readers since that time.
Originally called Le Mistral, the building the shop is located in was a monastery during the 17th century, but there is little of the monastery that remains today. The shop quickly became the center of literary life in Paris for the writers that hung out here including Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Anaïs Nin, and Henry Miller.
Within the shop, you will find an eclectic mix of books, maps, and prints including fabulous guides to the castles of the Loire Valley, books on Parisian life and history, the wines of France, WWII history, and much more.
The shop is a major tourist attraction so you will find yourself neck-deep in tourists following their guides with flags and influencers attempting to match their outfits to the shop front. There is a café attached to the bookshop where you can grab a really good coffee and a muffin for breakfast before you begin your day touring Paris.
Snap a photo at Les Deux Plateaux
Contributed by Timpani from Like the Drum
While researching things to see in Paris, you’ve more than likely come across photos of these famous black and white pillars.
Splattered all across Instagram and travel blogs, Les Deux Plateaux, or “The Two Levels” in English, is an art installation by French artist Daniel Buren. The modern black and white stripes of the pillars provide a unique juxtaposition to the classic 17th-century architecture.
You can find the pillars within the courtyard of the Domaine National du Palais-Royal. Palais Royal is located in the 1st arrondissement near the Louvre and Jardin des Tuileries.
If you want to get a photo of the courtyard without tons of people in the background, arrive earlier in the day as it tends to get pretty crowded as the day goes on. Afterward, grab yourself a coffee at the popular Cafe Kitsune located within the palace’s arcade of shops.
Admire the artwork at Musée de l’Orangerie
Contributed by Lisa from Waves and Cobblestones
Musée de l’Orangerie is one of Paris’s hidden gems. Located at the southwestern corner of the Jardin des Tuileries, it was originally built to shelter the garden’s citrus trees during winter. As such, it features vast windows which let in plenty of natural light.
Today, Musée de l’Orangerie is home to many pieces of 20th-century art from the estate of Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume. But is best known for its collection of Monet’s Water Lilies paintings.
These aren’t just any paintings – these vast murals span a combined length of over 90 meters. Two oval rooms were specially constructed in Musée de l’Orangerie to display these masterworks in a 360-degree immersive experience.
It’s tempting to rush through museums to check as many things as possible off of your Paris to-do list. But you would be remiss not to give yourself plenty of time in Musée de l’Orangerie. Rest on the benches in the center of the Water Lilies rooms and just absorb the beauty of Monet’s art.
Book now: Musée de l’Orangerie Reserved Admission Ticket
Enjoy the panoramic views atop Montparnasse Tower
Contributed by Becky from Planes Trains and Buggies
The Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck provides outstanding views over Paris, both day and night. The main highlight is the view of the stunning Eiffel Tower.
Upon arrival, you’re led into an elevator and whisked 200 meters up in just 38 seconds. Take some photos at this level or perhaps enjoy a coffee at the café before venturing the final 10 meters to the outside observation deck. Here, you can bask in the stunning views over Paris or relax in the comfy chairs on the spacious terrace.
To save time, book online so you can go straight up the tower on arrival with no need to queue. Also, there is a Day and Night ticket option which allows you to visit twice over a 48-hour period. With this ticket, you can enjoy Paris both during the day and at night, when you can see the Eiffel Tower in all its twinkling glory.
Explore the Covered Passages of Paris
Contributed by Sarah Vanheel from CosmopoliClan
Visiting the covered passages of Paris is like stepping back in time. These 19th-century shopping streets were the places to see and be seen, mostly located in the 2nd and 9th arrondissements, close to theatres and banks.
The Haussmannization of Paris and the introduction of department stores marked the decline of the enchanting Parisian shopping streets. In recent times, about twenty of these historic passages have been beautifully restored. Their modern-day appeal is a result of the vintage mosaic or marble floors, the neoclassical iron framework, and beautiful glass roofs.
Each covered passage has its own distinct character. There’s the upscale Galerie Vivienne, the retro Passage des Panoramas, and the Passage Verdeau with its many antique shops. Other passages house enchanting bookshops, interesting art galleries, elegant fashion stores, and chic home décor boutiques. Not only do the passages couverts make for a great place to spend a rainy day or to escape the summer heat, but their quintessentially Parisian style also makes them a must-see regardless of the weather.
Seek out the covered passages on your own, or join a covered passages walking tour with a local guide.
Take a day trip to the Palace of Versailles
Contributed by Disha Smith from Disha Discovers
Whether you’re spending three days in Paris or several weeks, a visit to the Palace of Versailles belongs on every Paris bucket list.
In a nutshell, a succession of kings and queens lived in the palace until the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 when Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were forced to leave Versailles for Paris. The palace was subsequently abandoned but was later restored.
Today, it is one of France’s most popular tourist attractions and will transport you back in time to the opulence of the French monarchy with its 2300 rooms.
The palace highlights are the lavish apartments that once belonged to the king and queen, the gleaming Hall of Mirrors, the grandiose Grand Chapel, magnificent artwork, and more.
The palace is also home to the Gardens of Versailles, which are truly a work of art in themselves with their perfectly manicured lawns, topiary, flower beds, sculptures, and fountains. Be sure to rent a golf cart so you can freely explore the gardens.
With over ten million visitors a year, a skip-the-line pass for the Palace of Versailles will help you maximize your time. You’ll be able to avoid the long ticket lines and go straight into the palace.
Book Now: Palace of Versailles & Gardens Skip-the-Line Full Access Ticket
See famous sculptures at Musée Rodin
Contributed by Palo from Moons & Roses
When in Paris, visiting the Musée Rodin is a must. Situated near Les Invalides, this museum displays the great works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin. It is open year-round, from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., and is easily accessible both by public transportation and by car.
The museum occupies a beautiful 18th-century mansion with a garden that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. Home to the famous bronze sculpture of The Thinker, Musée Rodin showcases carved masterpieces made of mostly plaster and bronze.
You can get the best of Musée Rodin if you visit on a sunny day, as the sculpture garden is truly a work of art in itself! Not only that, but the sun piercing through the gorgeous antique windows of the mansion as you stroll around the gallery is a wonderful experience that can also serve as an opportunity to snap some great pictures!
Book Now: Musée Rodin Entrance Ticket
Visit Les Invalides
Contributed by Sharon from Exploring Our World
The sparkling gold dome high atop Les Invalides is a landmark visible throughout central Paris.
Not only is the building a stunning sight, but it’s also a wonderful complex to visit for several reasons. Built to house wounded French soldiers in the 1670s, Les Invalides today still serves as a hospital.
Les Invalides is best known as the final resting place of Emperor Napoleon, whose tomb is inside the lovely Cathedral of Saint-Louis. The army museum on the grounds features intriguing exhibits on World War I and World War II. Changing exhibits focus on displays such as spycraft. Purchase tickets in advance or buy a ticket as you enter and roam around as you please.
You are free to enter the courtyard of Les Invalides without a ticket. Here, you are standing in a courtyard where French ceremonies have been held for centuries. Guns and weapons line the walks along the sides of the historic open space.
Book Now: Les Invalides Skip-the-Line Admission Ticket
Explore the neighborhood of La Cité Fleurie
Contributed by Emilie from Love Life Abroad
The Cité Fleurie is a stop to add to your bucket list whether you’re traveling with kids or adults. It is a small but colorful neighborhood in the 13th arrondissement, hidden between the Buttes-aux-Cailles district and the Cité Universitaire de Paris.
The six small cobblestone streets of the neighborhood are all named after a type of flower: Iris, Orchidées, Liserons, Glycines, Volubilis, and Mimosas. All of the little townhouses found on those streets are covered in vines with balconies full of flowers.
A tour of the Cité Fleurie doesn’t take very long. Depending on the number of pictures you take, you can plan to spend around 30 minutes there. But a visit is 100% worth the detour. You’ll find a really peaceful ambiance when walking around the Cité Fleurie, you’ll almost forget you’re in the big city of Paris.
After your visit, you may want to explore the micro-district of Buttes-aux-Cailles and maybe head to Parc Montsouris.
READ MORE: The Best Cities to Study Abroad in Europe
Check out the Louis Vuitton Foundation
Contributed by Bea from Pack Your Bags
One of the most architecturally unusual places in Paris is the Louis Vuitton Foundation, an art museum, and cultural center. It is tucked away in the lush greenery of the Bois de Boulogne in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. This other-worldly structure was designed by the Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry who is renowned for his whimsical designs.
The Foundation is an ideal place for architecture and art lovers. It’s easy to spend a few hours, if not the entire day here admiring both the building and its grounds and the art collections housed inside. And if you enjoy fine dining, you need not leave the premises. Le Frank, located inside the Foundation, is a restaurant by a Michelin-star decorated French chef Jean-Louis Nomicos.
The museum houses both permanent and visiting art collections. There are also music performances from time to time. To easily get to the Foundation, grab a shuttle from Place de Charles de Gaulle. It only costs €2 both ways for museum ticket holders. You can book your tickets to the Louis Vuitton Foundation online.
Book now: Louis Vuitton Foundation Skip-the-Line Tickets with Priority Access
Spend a day at Disneyland Paris
Contributed by Erica Riley from Travels with Erica
Disneyland Paris is the only Disney park in Europe and is one of the best things to add to your Paris bucket list. You can meet your favorite Disney characters, indulge in delicious food, and ride your favorite attractions.
Disneyland Paris is one of the more unique Disney parks in the world, and there are a number of exclusive things you can do including riding Crush’s Coaster and walking underneath the castle.
You can visit Disneyland Paris is a single day, but it’s important to get to the park early. They normally start letting guests into the park 30 minutes before it officially opens. Being at the park early allows you to ride the most popular attractions without having to wait in line for over an hour.
There are actually two parks at Disneyland Paris: Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios. You’ll want to visit both so be sure to purchase a park hopper ticket!
Paris is home to so many iconic landmarks and attractions that are worth a spot on everyone’s bucket list. Have you visited Paris, or are you planning to visit? What would you add to your Paris bucket list?
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2 thoughts on “Paris Bucket List: Incredible Things to Do in Paris, France”
Wonderful list! I am traveling to Paris for the first time this fall. Found some things on this list I haven’t read about before. Thank you so much for the info!
How exciting! You will have a great time!