Best Things to Do in Paris
Paris. The City of Light. The city that never sleeps. Paris goes by many names, and in the article you will see why. From its world class art galleries to its museums, palaces, Paris does everything to the highest of standards. So read on and find out how you can make your trip to Paris unforgettable.
The cultural capital of the world
Paris is a mesmerising city to visit, full of history and architecture. There are so many great museums to explore that it would be impossible to list them all here, but some of the most popular include The Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral. Not only do they have world-class exhibits, but they're also perfect places to take photos if you want to share some amazing memories with your friends and family back home!
The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the world's most famous and popular churches, it is also home to some beautiful art such as the famous Madonna and Child Monuments, not to mention being one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris. The Sainte Chapelle is another popular tourist destination and houses some beautiful religious art from the Middle Ages.
The Musée d'Orsay is one of the most famous museums in Paris, if not the world. It houses a huge collection of art from all over history. Of course, no visit to Paris would be complete without a visit to the world-famous Louvré in Paris, with more than 800 million visitors annually and home to perhaps the owner of the world's best-known smile, the Mona Lisa.
If you're looking for a natural history museum with a difference, head over to La Roquette in the south of Paris. This small but stunning museum has specimens from around the world on display and is home to some very rare animal species such as an Albino Gorilla and a Japanese White Rhino. Admission costs €8 for adults, €4 for children ( 5-16 years old) and free for children under 5 years old.
Paris also boasts a large number of museums focusing on fashion, painting, cinema and more. These include The Musée du Louvre's Fashion History Museum, the Centre Pompidou's Museum of Modern Art and numerous others.
Some of the best cinemas are housed in Paris. One of the most historic is the Empire Cinema, which opened back in 1932. Other well-known cinemas include the Cinémathèque Française and Le cinéma Rex.
Another quirk of French cinema culture is its famous silent cinemas. There are a number of these located in and around Paris. Some of the most well-known include the Gaumont Film Palace and L'Olympia.
Famous sites to see whilst visiting Paris
Arguably, Paris is home to the highest concentration of sites and iconic structures in the world. Some of the better known of the buildings have already been covered on this list such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre Museum. It's almost impossible to talk about Paris without mentioning these landmarks, such are they part of the identity of Paris.
Arc de Triomphe is another iconic monument located near to Notre Dame Cathedral; it commemorates military victories and is one of the largest triumphal arches in the world. It is also home to The Tomb of Napoleon I, which was moved from Saint-Helena in 1815.
If you love learning about history, or simply want to snap an iconic photo of yourself next to one of the world's most iconic buildings, then be sure to visit the Eiffel Tower. It was built as a temporary structure for the World's Fair in 1889 but has since become an enduring symbol of France. Whether for its iconic view of Paris or for the history it holds, this is one not to be missed whilst in Paris!
Other lesser-known attractions include the Centre Georges Pompidou, which includes an art museum, a concert hall and a cinema complex and the Musée Rodin, which boasts the world's largest collection of sculptures by French artist Auguste Rodin. Each of these attractions is a must-see for any visitor to Paris.
The Palace of Versailles is another of these famous attractions that everyone has heard of in Paris, but may not be sure exactly where it is. It is actually located just outside of Paris but makes a great day trip from the city if you are interested in seeing one of, if not the, most opulent French palaces ever built.
Activities for nature lovers visiting Paris
A popular open-air exhibition of French Impressionist paintings near the Bois de Boulogne is one great place to go for a nature hike. Alternatively, the Parc du Champs Elysées offers plenty of opportunities for aerobic exercise in a beautiful park setting in Paris.
The world's best outdoor bouldering can be found at Fontainebleau. Even for those who aren't interested in climbing, the unusually shaped boulders and spiralling trees offer an amazing mystical landscape to walk through and are just a short drive or bus from Paris. The trip is normally around €7 per person and takes about 30-60 minutes, depending on the time of day.
The Jardin du Luxembourg offers stunning views of the cityscape from its terrace and gardens. It's also home to a small zoo that has some interesting animals on display.
The Bois de Boulogne is near the Arc de Triomphe, while the Jardin du Luxembourg is in a very central location. The Tuileries Garden can be reached on foot from Rue Royale or Place Vendôme and is home to the famous flower show in Spring. The Bois de Vincennes is another great option if you're looking for a nature-packed park with plenty of trails to explore, while the Parc Georges Carpentier offers a nice mix of jungle and open space.
Nearby, Versailles also offers attractions such as the Palace of Versailles, where there are many wonderfully decorated palace gardens to wander around.
The Parc du Champs Elysées is a large recreational area that includes a number of lakes and forested areas, and The Jardin d'Acclimatation, located in the northeast of Paris, is home to a zoo as well as gardens with more than 3000 species of plants from around the world. The Jardin des Plantes is another botanical garden located near the Parc du Champs Elysées in Paris. The gardens were founded by Louis Juchereau-Desvernois and are now operated by the French National Research Institute for Agricultural Research. These botanical gardens are a great place to see lots of different kinds of plants and flowers in their natural environment and take a picnic amongst this beautiful man-made wilderness, in the heart of Paris, could you believe?
Montsouris Park Royal Botanical Gardens of Compiègne is another garden not to be missed. Home to more than 9000 species of plants and trees, an orangery, a rose garden, a Japanese garden and gardens devoted to the cultivation of fruit trees, you will surely feely whisked away into a natural paradise.
Les Tuileries Gardens The Tuileries Gardens are a large royal garden located in the centre of Paris. The gardens were originally created by Louis XIII in 1662 as a place to relax and entertain himself and his court. They have since been the setting for many historical events, including Napoleon's coronation and Marie Antoinette's execution.
Theme parks in Paris
Paris is home to a number of theme parks that you should be sure not to miss whilst visiting Paris. Parc Asterix is a replica of the famous Gaulish village of Asterix and Obelix, themed around characters from the comics.
Futuroscope is a theme park that uses cutting edge technology to give you an immersive experience of the future. From rides and attractions simulating life on other planets to exploring computer-generated models of ancient civilisations, this theme park has something for everyone.
You can't talk about theme parks in Paris without talking about Disneyland Paris. Disneyland Paris is one of the most popular Theme parks in Europe and homes those characters you know and love from Disney classics such as Sleeping Beauty, The Lion King and Pirates of the Caribbean. If you're a Disney fan then this is the park for you! But beyond simply wandering through this wonderland, Disneyland also has a number of rides for those thrill seekers amongst you, including the world's second tallest roller coaster, Thunder Mountain.
If we're talking of the world's biggest, best, fastest and so on, we have to mention the Guinness World Records Museum, located in Paris. while not necessarily a theme park, we think that with the cult-like following of their books, and with many not realising that Paris is the home of this prestigious institution, it's definitely worth a visit.
Each of these theme parks is home to some of the most iconic attractions in the world, making them a must-see on any trip to Paris.
Waterparks in Paris
Having now covered theme parks, we couldn't leave the topic of waterparks without mentioning some of them, since Paris is home to a number of stunning waterparks for fun for all the family.
The first and most famous of these is probably Plage de la Mer, located close to the Centre Pompidou in the La Villette district. This park features an array of slides, swimming pools and beach areas as well as bars and restaurants making it the perfect place to cool down in summer.
Just a few minutes’ walk away from Plage de la Mer is the aforementioned Parc Astérix, which also has an extensive list of water activities including slides and pools as well as a range of food options.
In the 9th arrondissement (like a sector of a city) (right next to Montmartre), you'll find Parc du Rentel which offers a range of aquatic attractions including slides, pools and a lazy river.
If you're looking for a more serene experience, head to Parc du Châtelet which offers visitors an intimate setting with tranquil stretches of water perfect for swimming and relaxing.
And last but by no means least, if you are feeling energetic and want to get up close and personal with some wild water fun, then the wonderful site of La Villette is the place to go. This park includes a range of slides, jumping pools and whirlpools as well as beaches where you can cool off in summer.
Nightlife and restaurants in Paris
Paris is a city that never sleeps and there are plenty of places to let loose at night. Whether you're after lively bars and clubs or luxurious Wine Bars & Restaurants, Paris has something for everyone. Some of the most popular spots for partying include La Grande Roue (known as 'the wheel'), which is an imposing Gothic-style building in the 5th arrondissement close to Place de la Bastille.
Some of the most popular nightclubs to check out include Funky Buddha, Soho Beach Club and Berghain.
If you're after a more intimate experience, then head to one of the many wine bars in Paris where you can savour delicious French cuisine while enjoying a glass of your favourite vintage.
Shopping in Paris
Paris is known for its high-end fashion boutiques, and there are plenty to choose from. From exclusive luxury outlets such as Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton to more affordable options like Zara, H&M and Nike, there's a store for everyone in Paris.
One of the best places to start your shopping spree is the famous Champs Elysées where you'll find all kinds of luxury stores as well as renowned restaurants and hi-fi retailers.
If you're looking for something different, then head to the hippie haven of Rue du Tertre where you'll find antique dealers, quirky boutiques and organic food shops.
It's impossible to list all of the great places to visit in Paris, so be sure to mix things up and explore different parts of the city - there's bound to be something on your bucket list that you'll love!