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30 Best Things To Do In Paris 

From museums to neighborhoods, bookstores to parks. 

Paris is high up on the list of breathtaking international cities. After medieval neighborhoods were deemed unsafe in the 1800s, the city underwent a massive renovation and doubled in size. Today, palaces, monuments, museums and houses all exhibit a similar Hausmannian architectural style and are fitted amongst wide avenues and astutely-designed gardens.  Combine that with the French passion for fashion, romance, food and drink, and you can’t go wrong.

With so much to do, see, and eat, it's hard to know how best to plan out your itinerary for optimal sightseeing—whether it's your first time in Paris or your fifth. This list of the best things to do in the City of Lights is a great place to start.

But remember—no list of things to do can compare to a custom-built itinerary from Journy. Leave it to the experts to build a daily travel plan from scratch just for you—complete not only with activities, but also restaurants, cafés, bars, transportation, and accommodation.

1Visit The Picasso National Museum


5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris, France
Picasso spent many formative years in France, so it’s only fitting to have a museum dedicated to exhibiting the evolution of presence as an artist. The Museé Picasso houses over 5,000 of this Spanish artist's works, and is the only one in the world to present his complete painted, sculpted, engraved, and illustrated work of art through sketches, drafts, etchings, photographs, films, documents, and more. The museum is located in the Marais district inside Hotel Salé, an expansive, 17th-century building that recently underwent extensive renovations to expand the exhibition space. 

2Walk Across Pont Alexandre III


Pont Alexandre III, 75008 Paris, France
Stretching across the River Seine in Paris is the opulent Pont Alexandre III. It connects the Champs-Élysées on one side, to the Eiffel Tower on the other (making it a great place to take a photo). 

The 19th-century structure is itself photo-worthy, with its gilded statues of the Fames, sculptures of the Renaissance and Louis XIV, and the decorative lions.
Sounds like something you’d like to experience? Trust the experts at Journy to build an itinerary from scratch just for you with all the must-see sights and hidden gems.

3Walk Across Pont Neuf


75001 Paris, France
Constructed in 1578 at the orders of Henry IV, the Pont Neuf is the oldest stone bridge in Paris, connecting the Louvre on the Right Bank with Saint-Germain-des-Prés on the Left (via Île de la Cité). It's recognized around the world by its 12 arches and close to 400 "mascarons," or stone masks decorating the sides of the bridge that represent the heads of forest and field divinities from ancient mythology. 

4Add a Love Lock To Pont des Arts


Pont des Arts, 75006 Paris, France
Pont Des Arts is known to many as the bridge covered in locks. These locks are put here by couples to signify their unbreakable love. Unfortunately, the locks themselves damage the bridge, so city workers are constantly removing them. 

This is still a very romantic place to steal a kiss in Paris; it bridges the Seine between the Institut de France and the square in front of the Louvre.

5Wander Through Père Lachaise Cemetery


16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris, France
Père Lachaise isn't your ordinary cemetery. With winding pathways, street signs, and elaborate tombstones bearing the names of historical figures like Jim Morrison, Chopin, Marcel Proust, Edith Piaf, and Oscar Wilde, it's a bonafide necropolis. It also happens to be the first garden and municipal cemetery in Paris. Don't miss the three World War I memorials on the property. 

6Admire Impressionist Art at Orangerie Museum


Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris, France
Located in the southwest corner of the Jardin des Tuileries (next to Place de la Concorde), the Orangerie Museum is home to a number of important impressionist and post-impressionist works, most notably, Monet's Water Lilies (Nymphéas). You'll also find works by Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, Sisley, Soutine, Rousseau, and Utrillo. Opt for a single admission ticket to Orangerie, or a combined ticket to also visit Musée D'Orsay. 

Protip: the first Sunday of each month is free for everyone, so if you can manage that, it's definitely worth it! 

7Visit Musée de Montmartre


12, rue Cortot, 75018 Paris, France
Musee de Montmartre is the one of the most charming museums in Paris, hidden on a cobblestone street around the back of the Sacre Coeur in the 18th arrondissement. The museum is housed in the seventeenth century Bel Air House, which is the oldest building in Montmartre and was a former meeting place for famous artists. Don’t forget to enjoy the magical Renoir gardens after exploring the permanent and temporary turn of the twentieth century art exhibitions.

8Peruse Marché des Enfants Rouges


Marché des Enfants Rouges, 75003 Paris, France
A farmer’s market with plenty to eat, drink, and explore, Marché des Enfants Rouge is like a little village within Paris—with several places to get an inexpensive but delicious lunch. If you're feeling peckish, the Japanese bento box is the perfect small meal. 

It was established in 1628 as the "petit marché du Marais" and is located at 39 Rue de Bretagne in the Marais arrondissement. The market has been listed as a historic monument since 1982.

9Snap a Photo Near The Arc de Triomphe


Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France
If you’re near Place Charles de Gaulle, you cannot miss the immense Arc De Triomphe at the western end of the Champs-Élysées.

Built to honor fallen soldiers from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the arch stands atop a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from WWI.

Construction was completed in 1836, and the imperial history of France is literally etched into the arch: reliefs all around the arch display the historic victories (and failures) of the empire.

10Visit The Panthéon


Place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris, France
Located in the Latin Quarter atop the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the Pantheon was originally built as a church, but was secularized during the French Revolution. 

Inside, you'll find beautiful mosaics and paintings of scenes from French history and the final resting places of France’s greatest minds— including Voltaire, Rousseau, Marie Curie, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, and Louis Braille. 

There is currently a Victor Hugo Exhibition, "la liberté au Panthéon," on display.

11Walk Down Champs-Élysées


Champs-Élysées, Paris, France
This 1.9-km avenue is home to some of the finer things Paris has to offer: theatres, restaurants, hotels, and luxury shops.

Any cycling fan will recognize the avenue as the traditional end for the Tour de France, but it is also home to the Bastille Day military parade.

The Arc de Triomphe is located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, and it forms part of the city’s historical quarters.

12Relax In The Luxembourg Gardens


6th arrondissement of Paris, 75006 Paris, France
Created in 1612 by Marie de Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France, the Luxembourg gardens cover 23 hectares and is known for its lawns, tree-lined promenades, flowerbeds, and the Medici Fountain. 

Today, the gardens are home to the French Senate, which meet in the palace. It’s the ideal place to walk around and relax on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

13Visit Sacré-Cœur


35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France
Built in 1912, Sacré-Coeur Basilica (aka Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris) stands at the summit of Montmartre, the highest point in the city. Because of its elevation, it has earned the well-deserved reputation as the best spot in the city to watch the sunset. Get there early on warm nights and you may even experience some live music. 

The Basilica itself is open until 10:30PM daily (and it’s free to enter!). If you'd like to visit the Dome or the Crypt, the entrance is at the bottom of the staircase to the left of the Basilica. There is a small fee to visit the Dome, which is open until 8PM in the summer months from May through September and until 5PM from October through April. You can climb up 300+ steps to the top for an even more spectacular view of Paris. There is also a funicular (lift) which is free for those who are disabled and their party.

14Go Shopping, Grab a Bite, Or Just Wander Through Le Marais


Le Marais, Paris, France
Le Marais is a fashionable district in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. Here, you'll still find relics of its past as the old Jewish neighborhood of Paris, marked by the many falafel shops and kosher bakeries lining its cobblestone streets. 

These days, it is known as one of the most romantic neighborhoods of the city and is dominated by stylish boutiques, art galleries, trendy cafés, and a thriving LGBTQ population.

15Visit Place des Vosges


Dating back to 1605, Place des Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris. At the time, it was a place for the nobility to stand around and chat—until the Revolution put an end to that.

Today, the square is a perfect place for a picnic, before going to visit the home of Victor Hugo, and then on towards the rest of the trendy Marais neighborhood.

16Visit The Louvre Museum


75001 Paris, France
The entrance to one of the world’s most famous museums is inside a gigantic glass pyramid. This adequately sets up visitors for the splendor they are about to enjoy.

There’s enough artworks here to keep you busy for weeks, but if you’re just visiting once or short on time, make a beeline straight for The Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and The Winged Victory. 

Aside from fine art, the Louvre is home to an extensive Egyptian antiquities exhibition and Napoleon’s intact apartment.

17Marvel At The Eiffel Tower


Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France
Built in 1889, this instantly recognizable and iconic structure is now visited by over 6 million visitors every year. When you see the wrought-iron lattice up close, you’ll understand just why it’s so popular: La Tour Eiffel is not just beautiful, it’s a feat of engineering. 

The view from the top is second to none, and you can get priority tickets online in advance for only $41 (trust us, it’s worth it). 

An unmissable part of this Paris experience is to spend some time lounging in the grassy area, Champs de Mars, next to the tower (it’s also a great place to take photos).

18Visit The Catacombs of Paris


1 avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy
The Catacombs of Paris were built in 1785 to address a serious issue the city was facing: what to do with its overflowing cemeteries. 

Over 65-ft below the city’s surface, these winding tunnels house more than six million remains. Prepare yourself to come face-to-face with death in corridors lined with skeletal remains.

During WWII, the Catacombs found a new purpose: as an escape route and shelter from the invading Nazi army.

19Peek Into Notre Dame


Notre Dame, Paris, France
The Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral is one of the most prominent, and recognizable, examples of French Gothic architecture.

One of the most notable features of the cathedral are the world’s largest organs, and the immense church bells. 

While the cathedral suffered major damage in April 2019, the building still stands and restoration has already begun.

20Visit Musée Rodin


79 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris, France
The Musée Rodin is situated within the Hôtel Biron, an 18th-century mansion. Inside, you'll find a number of Auguste Rodin's sculptures as well as works that demonstrate his taste for collecting art: drawings, paintings, ceramics, photographs, and antiques. The French garden at the museum is a must-see, with the sculptures "The Thinker," "The Burghers of Calais," and "The Gates of Hell." There's a combined ticket for the museum and garden, or one just for the garden–although we highly recommend checking out both.

21Wander Through Saint-Germain-des-Prés


Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 75006 Paris, France
Located next to the church of the former Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, this neighborhood of the same name is one of the four quarters of the sixth arrondissement of Paris. It's quintessentially Parisian in the best way, filled with upscale art galleries, cozy cafes (once frequented by the social circles surrounding Ernest Hemingway), bustling restaurants, and cobblestone streets ideal for wandering. The historic quarter is a popular local hangout, especially for students since it's close to La Sorbonne and Sciences Po, so embrace the crowds. Famous neighborhood spots include: Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore, le Procope, and the Brasserie Lipp bookstore.

22Visit Centre Pompidou


Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France
The museum is designed in a postmodern and "high-tech" style as a steel superstructure with reinforced concrete floors. As the most famous museum of modern art in the world (and the largest modern art gallery in Europe), it houses over 50,000 works from artists such as Picasso, Duchamp, Ernst, and Miro. 

23Browse The Bookshelves of Shakespeare and Company


37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France
In the shadow of Notre-Dame in Paris’ Left Bank is Shakespeare and Company, a charming, traditional bookstore that has been around since Sylvia Beach opened its doors 1919. Formerly a meeting place for the likes of Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and other writers, the original location closed during the German occupation of Paris in 1941. This location opened in 1951. ]

Selling both new and second-hand books, the store specializes in English-language literature. You may recognize the bookstore from Richard Linklater's Before Sunset.

24Sip on World-Famous Hot Chocolate at Angelina


226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
To satisfy your sweet tooth in Paris, look no further than Angelina on Rue de Rivoli. Founded in 1903 by the confectioner Anton Rumpelmayer and named after his daughter-in-law, Angelina was once the go-to, fashionable meeting spot of the likes of Coco Chanel and Proust. Today, locals and tourists alike flock to the elegant tea room or to-go shop next door to snag a cup of their famous hot chocolate, L’Africain, and an eclair. 

25Admire Sainte-Chapelle


4 boulevard du Palais
Saint-Chapelle is a royal chapel located on the Île de la Cité that housed the kings of France until the 14th century. The chapel features over 1000 jewel-colored stained glass windows that are over 15 meters high—plus sweeping Gothic style architecture. Protip: On a clear day the view from the chapel’s front steps is fantastic. Be sure to book tickets in advance!

26Stroll Along Canal Saint-Martin


Canal Saint-Martin, Paris, France
Fans of the movie Amelie will recognize the idyllic iron footbridges and tree-shaded quay's that line Canal St. Martin. These days, the area has become a hipster hotspot due to its stylish surrounding restaurants and watering holes. Come here for some excellent people-watching, or to see what the latest food truck has to offer.

27Visit Montparnasse Tower


33 Avenue du Maine, 75015 Paris, France
Tour Maine-Montparnasse, also commonly referred to as Montparnasse Tower, is a sprawling 689-feet office skyscraper located in the bustling Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris, France along the Left Bank of the Seine. 

Constructed from 1969 to 1973, it was the tallest skyscraper in France until 2011, when it was surpassed by the 758-meter Tour First.

The 56th floor of the tower is home to an aptly-named restaurant, Ciel de Paris (sky of Paris).

28Relax In The Tuileries Gardens


The Tuileries Gardens replaced a palace, which replaced a number of factories when they were first re-landscaped back in 1664. The gardens, which are manicured in the formal French style, sit between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde and are a charming place for walking for both Parisians and tourists alike. 

The gardens’ two ponds are the perfect places for relaxing, while the Musée de l’Orangerie is ideal for visitors to admire the works of Monet. Come during the summer to enjoy the Fête des Tuileries.

29Take a Tour of Palais Garnier


8 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris, France
The Palais Garnier—which was built between 1861 and 1875 under the reign of Napoleon III for the Paris Opera—is now the famed home of the Paris Ballet and one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris. 

Located in the ninth arrondissement near the famous Galeries Lafayette shopping hall, the theater is open for tours if you can't make it for a show. 

Opt for the VIP tour, which provides up close and personal views of the auditorium, the Foyer de la Danse, and the incredible ceiling painted by Marc Chagall.

30Go Shopping at Les Halles


Les Halles, 75001 Paris, France
If you’re tired of pounding the streets going from shop to shop, then Les Halles is the place for you. This shopping center—which was made famous by Emile Zola’s eponymous novel—is simply monstrous in size. There are scores of shops, ranging from well-known brands to smaller outlets, and no fewer than 25 restaurants. 

Built on the site of a former meat market, the building has recently been completely renovated into a modern, sleek shopping hub. Just remember to set aside a few hours if you plan to explore it all.

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