Travel guide for Europe

Top 10 Things to do in Paris

Top Things to do in Paris

Mapping out a trip to Paris can be overwhelming: the City of Lights is filled with things to do. Thankfully, we’ve come up with a list of 10 amazing things to add to your Paris bucket list, a mix of must-see places to visit, legendary spots not to miss, amazing local addresses, as well as unusual and quirky things to do in Paris that one wouldn’t necessarily get off a classic guide book. Check it out.

Traveling by bus to Paris

First things first: getting to Paris! Busbud features many bus routes to Paris, from various cities in Europe. Check out our most popular routes from renowned bus operators, such as FlixBus, BlaBla Bus, Eurolines, Allianza and more.

Getting around in Paris

In Paris, taking public transport (or walking) is always the best solution. To paint you a picture: traffic is chaotic, parking is hell and chances are if you get around with a rented vehicle, you’ll most likely end up being charged extra for dings and dents. The Paris metro doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?

If you have wisely opted for public transit, the RATP (public transport system in Paris) offers various rates. You can get a tourist day pass, but we recommend getting a new one every day (instead of buying several in advance), as the city now offers a discounted “anti-pollution” rate when the temperature rises above 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). 

You can also check out the city’s electric scooter sharing service, quite neat to ride if you’re planning to discover the banks of the Seine or cruise around some of the many delightful gardens! There are a few options out there, but Rent & Go and Lime Scooters have an English website, which makes the reservation process easier to understand if you’re not fluent in French!

Insider tip: Postal codes in Paris can help you locate yourself quickly, as the last number or last two numbers represent the arrondissement. For instance, 75 004 is located in the fourth arrondissement! This can come in super helpful if you’re wondering if two places are close to one another!

Now, onto our list of top things to do in Paris!

1. Have a drink and lounge out at Paris Plage 

In the summertime, if you’re walking along the banks of the Seine, you’ll be surprised to see that the area turns into a beach resort! It’s the perfect place to hang out when the weather gets stifling. Many stalls are offering cold drinks, and even warm drinks, which you can enjoy seated at a table or relaxing in deck chairs, under an umbrella. If you get too hot, simply look for the cold mist area and refresh yourself!

  • Where is it? At Parc Rives de Seine, on the left bank of the Seine, from the Pont de Solferino down to Pont Alexandre III. 
  • How to get there? To start at Pont Alexandre III and walk down the banks to Pont Solférino, simply head to Invalides metro station and walk one minute.
  • When to go? Any day, any time, Paris Plage is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
  • How much time to visit? 2-3 hours
  • Price Range: $

Insider tip: Although Paris Plage is always open, we recommend going during the day, before the sun sets. The crowd will be more pleasant and you can enjoy the view! 

2. Visit the Catacombs of Paris

For a unique experience, you simply have to add the Catacombs of Paris to your Paris bucket list. This underground Paris labyrinth is home to the remains of some 6 million people and has been open to the public since 1809. It is the largest ossuary in the world, stretching out over close to one mile of paths, some 20 yards under the city.

  • Where is it? The Catacombs of Paris are located at 1, avenue du Colonel Henri Roi Tanguy, 75014 Paris.
  • How to get there? Head to Denfert Rochereau Metro Station and walk two minutes.
  • When to go? Be sure to book your tickets in advance. Their website is well made and shows the best times to book your tour. Opening hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 8:30 PM (ticketing office closes at 7:30 PM though).
  • How much time to visit? 1 hour
  • Price Range: $$

Insider tip: Reserve well in advance by booking your tickets online and try to go there during downtimes. Plus, if you book beforehand, you don’t have to wait in line! Oh—and don’t forget a warm shirt, it gets really cold in the Catacombs, even in the summertime! Also, you can’t visit the Catacombs of Paris with a bulky bag or suitcase, so make sure you leave your travel gear behind for this visit!

3. Check out the rich and famous & say hi to La Joconde! 

Paris is often best enjoyed wandering the streets and taking in the architecture, the people, the noise. One of our favorite routes is heading down towards the Louvre Museum from Arc de Triomphe. You can walk down Champs Élysées and admire the luxury shops and fancy cars zooming by, and browse through the Champs Élysées Gardens for a breath of fresh air. Then, hop onto rue de Rivoli, perhaps grab a tourist souvenir, and walk down towards the Louvre. You’ll cross two renowned Paris sights: Place de la Concorde and Place du Palais Royal. If you are feeling up to it, make time to check out the Mona Lisa in person! If not, the Louvre Pyramid and Louvre Palace are still worth taking a look at.

  • Where is it? Start at the Arc de Triomphe, located on Place Charles de Gaulle, 75006 Paris.
  • How to get there? Head to Kléber metro station and walk six minutes.
  • When to go? We recommend heading to the Arc de Triomphe early in the morning in order not to be pressed for time. Louvre Museum opening hours are:
    • Monday from 9 AM to 6 PM
    • Tuesday: closed
    • Wednesday from 9 AM to 9:45 PM
    • Thursday from 9 AM to 6 PM
    • Friday from 9 AM to 9:45 PM
    • Saturday from 9 AM to 6 PM (except on the first Saturday of the month, check their website for more details)
    • Sunday from 9 AM to 6 PM
  • How much time to visit? The walk itself will take you between 45 minutes and one hour, depending on the crowds. As per visiting the Louvre Museum, it’s a whole-day kind of plan, as the venue is immense. If you feel that you might run out of patience or interest, be sure to pick out the works of arts or wings you’d like to visit beforehand so you can make sure to catch everything you wanted to see first!
  • Price Range: $$

Insider tip: To avoid long lineups, even during the offseason, book your tickets online before. Oh, and wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll be doing a LOT of walking!

The Louvre in Paris, France shot at night with reflections from the pools
The Musée du Louvre’s iconic interior square should be on your list of top things to do in Paris.

4. Shop and catch a movie at Les Halles

Welcoming some 150K visitors a day, the Forum des Halles is THE Paris mall to see. Les Halles is a great place to shop, relax, entertain yourself and even grab a bite, and the architecture of the central forum is truly breathtaking. 

The Forum des Halles is home to… Probably every store you can dream of! But one of the coolest shops is the Lego Store in Paris. Check out the shop windows and hop in to check out life-size Lego motorcycle and miniature replicas of the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Arc de Triomphe, and many more exciting things. Once you’ve had enough shopping, you can go catch a movie at the UGC Ciné Cité Les Halles!

  • Where is it? The Forum des Halles is located in the first arrondissement, at 101, Porte Berger, Paris 75 001.
  • How to get there? Les Halles Metro station leads inside the shopping center.
  • When to go? Les Halles is open:
    • Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 8:30 PM
    • Sunday from 11 AM to 7 PM
  • How much time to visit? 3-5 hours
  • Price Range: $$

Insider tip: In France, many venues are closed Sundays, Mondays or Tuesdays, but Les Halles is open seven days a week! You might want to save this one to do on a rainy day or when your options are limited because of opening hours.

5. Go bar hopping in Le Marais

To get the most out of your trip, you’ll want to sample the Paris nightlife. There are many, many diverse bars in Le Marais, Paris’ LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood. With its buzzing nightlife, Le Marais is a popular destination for everyone. So if you’re wondering where to party in Paris, here are two of our fave places:

Lizard Lounge Paris—Best place if you’re feeling homesick and feel like burgers & beer!

Owned by “cheap blonde bars”, the Lizard Lounge Paris is known for its mouth-watering burgers, served up until 11 PM on weekends. Once you’re full, you can stay on and drink a few pints with your friends. 

  • Where is it? 18 Rue du Bourg Tibourg, 75004 Paris, France
  • Opening Hours: Open daily from 12 PM to 2 AM
  • Price Range: $

Insider tip: Thanks to a five-hour-long happy hour, Lizard Lounge is a good place to get your buzz going!

La Boite a Frissons Paris —Perfect place to dance away the night

Featuring a mixed crowd, with people of all ages and orientations, La Boite a Frissons is the perfect venue if you like to dance. They play a great variety of types of music, from “Musette” to Disco—and even world music—but never any techno.

  • Where is it? 13, rue du Maire, 75 003 Paris
  • Opening Hours: 
    • Friday from 10 PM to 5 AM
    • Saturday from 10 PM to 5 AM
    • Sunday from 6 PM to 11 PM
  • Price Range: $

Insider Tip: Admission varies according to the night or the event, but it’s generally quite reasonable (from 6 to 9 euros per person). Be sure to check out their calendar before heading there to confirm the admission fee and see the music program for the evening!

6. Grab a crêpe and stroll through Saint Germain des Prés

Honestly, one of the top things to do in Paris is to sample all the food. And, Paris is not Paris without a crêpe! Whether you have a sweet tooth or you’re more a salty kind of gal or guy, you can find a fabulous crêpe pretty much on every corner. If you prefer to sit down to enjoy your food, you’ll want to head to the Crêperie de Cluny, one of the best addresses in town. The menu is simple and delicious, the staff is friendly and speaks English, and we’re convinced you’ll be back for more. Try a ham-cheese and egg crepe, or the classic chestnut jam-filled crepe. Once you’re full, why not take a stroll in the charming, tiny streets of Saint Germain des Prés, one of Paris’ most beloved neighborhoods? Check out the famous rue de la Huchette, Place Saint Michel and rue Saint André des Arts, to name only a few!

  • Where is it? Crêperie de Cluny is located in Saint Germain des Prés, at 20, rue de la Harpe, 75 005 Paris.
  • How to get there? Head to Saint Michel Notre Dame Metro Station and walk three minutes.
  • When to go? Opening hours are Monday through Sunday from 10 AM to 11:15 PM.
  • How much time to visit? 2-3 hours
  • Price Range: $$

Insider tip: Even though Notre Dame de Paris is currently closed down, you’ll be a few minutes away on foot! At sunset, the cathedral is still a sight to see from the banks of the Seine.

Cozy street with tables of cafe in Paris, France. Architecture and landmarks of Paris.
Enjoy a crêpe and a drink at one of the thousands of cafés and restaurants lining up the streets of Paris.

7. Climb up Pompidou Center and stop for coffee 

Oh, the view from Pompidou is simply beautiful. Plus, it’s only five euros to climb up and you can take the escalators, or the lift (wheelchair accessible). Since Paris is quite low, most buildings don’t exceed five or six stories, you can see far, far away. Gaze at the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, l’Hôtel de Ville, and many more amazing Paris monuments from up top.

If you’re into art, you’ll want to purchase a ticket and check out the Pompidou exhibits. Once you’re done, take a stroll around this architectural wonder and stop for coffee in one of the pretty cafes nearby, perhaps even with a view of the Stravinsky Fountain (on rue Brisemiche).

  • Where is it? Place Georges Pompidou, 75 004 Paris. The main entrance is on rue Beaubourg.
  • How to get there? Take the metro down to Rambuteau station and walk two minutes.
  • When to go? Georges Pompidou’s opening hours are daily from 11 AM to 10 PM, except Tuesdays, when it’s closed.
  • How much time to visit? 1-2 hours
  • Price range: $

Insider tip: The Pompidou Gift Shop is filled with quirky, fun things you can take home with you.

8. Check out the Eiffel Tower and the gorgeous medusae at the Paris Aquarium

Eiffel Tower

We couldn’t resist adding the Eiffel Tower to our list of top things to do in Paris… Seriously, you can’t visit Paris without stopping by. No need to climb it, but it’s worth it to go see it from up close. Today, the tower is surrounded by a towering glass wall so you can’t walk underneath it, but you can still get a decent view as you approach. 

  • Where is it? The Eiffel Tower is located on Champ de Mars, at 5, avenue Anatole, France 75 007 Paris.
  • How to get there? Take the metro down to École Militaire metro station and walk 10 minutes. Even cooler, take the Batobus (boat bus) along the Seine down to the Eiffel Tower stop and walk four minutes.
  • When to go? The Tour Eiffel website features an estimate of your wait time so you can best plan your visit. Check it out! Also note the opening hours, listed on their website.
  • How much time to visit? Should you decide to climb the Eiffel Tower, be sure to buy your tickets online ahead of time and plan enough time as you’ll most likely have to wait in line at the ticketing booth as well as for the lift to go up. If you plan on admiring the tower from down below, one hour will greatly suffice but if you plan to climb up, count two to three hours.
  • Price Range: $$

Insider tip: As you climb your way up to the top, you may have the impression that the tower is moving! You’re not crazy… It does move! The iron expands in the sun and the wind can also make it sway slightly. 

Eiffel Tower and fountain at Jardins du Trocadero at sunrise in Paris, France.
A visit to Paris is never complete without a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.

The Paris Aquarium

For a little bit of cooling down, you can head to the Paris Aquarium, the biggest aquarium in France, located a 25-minute walk away from the tower, in the Jardins du Trocadéro. Walk through the various rooms filled with aquariums and watch the elegant medusae and imposing sharks swim in gigantic tanks. 

  • Where is it? The Paris Aquarium is located at 5 Avenue Albert de Mun, 75016 Paris.
  • How to get there? From the Eiffel Tower, walk 25 minutes, heading towards the Seine. Cross at the Pont de Bir Hakeim and enter the Trocadero Gardens. If arriving from elsewhere, the closest metro station is Iéna.
  • When to go? The Paris Aquarium is open daily from 10 AM to 7 PM. Arrive no later than 6 PM though, as ticketing office shuts down one hour before closing.
  • How much time to visit? 1-2 hours
  • Price range: $$

Insider tip: Towards the end of the visit, you can even pet large, colorful fish.

9. Walk up Sacré Coeur at Montmartre

The massive Sacré Coeur Basilica is one of Paris’ emblematic monuments. Located at the top of Montmartre Hill, it can be seen from various viewpoints in Paris. If you’re feeling in shape, you’ll want to make the ascent and climb the stairs up to the top, where you’ll enjoy a breathtaking view of the city. Once you’ve taken it all in, you can join the queue to visit the interior of the basilica. Sure, you might have to be a little bit patient, but it’s well worth the wait. Once you’re inside, you’ll be able to admire France’s largest mosaic, measuring some 5,000 sq ft. You can also discover the Basilica’s crypt and climb up even higher up to the dome to enjoy a 360-degree view of the city.

  • Where is it? The Sacré Coeur Basilica is located at 35, rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75 018 Paris.
  • How to get there? Take the metro to Anvers station… And begin your ascent!
  • When to go? Sacré Coeur is open daily from 6 AM to 10:30 PM. The Dome can be accessed from the left-hand side of the monument and is open from 8:30 AM to 8 PM from May to September, and from 9 AM to 5 PM from October to April.
  • How much time to visit? 1-2 hours
  • Price range: Entering Sacré Coeur is completely free, but the crypt and dome visits are not. 

Insider tip: If your health doesn’t allow or if you’re tired from so much walking, you can also take the funicular up.

10. Take a romantic stroll on the Ponts des Arts

A popular romantic destination, this beautiful bridge is fully pedestrian and connects the Louvre Palace to the Institut de Paris. For a long time, lovers gathered on the bridge to secure a padlock representing their love, on the bridge’s structure. But, in 2015, the city had to remove over a million locks to preserve the bridge’s integrity, as the weight of love was threatening to compromise it! 

From the bridge, you can admire the Eiffel Tower, but the true attraction lies on the bridge. Enjoy the many art exhibits and photographs, set up freely across the bridge and chat with the artists. And, if you’re sharing your trip with that special someone, you can take a selfie on the bridge, the newly recommended practice

  • Where is it? Pont des Arts is located in the 6th arrondissement in Paris, vis-à-vis the Louvre Palace.
  • How to get there? Take the metro down to Mabillon and walk 9 minutes.
  • When to go? Anytime!
  • How much time to visit? 30 minutes – 1 hour
  • Price Range: Free

Insider tip: While you’re in the neighborhood, consider visiting Paris’ Sainte Chapelle, located a short 11-minute walk away! The gothic architecture and its breathtaking stained glass windows will leave you in awe. A bonus item to include in your list of things to do in Paris.

What’s the best time to visit Paris?

Sure, Paris in the summer is a classic. The sky is blue, the sun is shining… And after all, about a zillion other people have chosen Paris as their travel destination! But, visiting Paris in the Fall is also a great option.

Here are five reasons why you should visit The City of Light in the fall.

Primo. It’s low season.

Visiting Paris after the summer rush means running into fewer tourists. This is convenient for visiting touristy areas, and not having to wait in long lines at major attractions. This also means being able to interact with more locals at restaurants, cafes, and shops! Plus, the staff tends to be more pleasant offseason.

Segundo. You can still sit on an outdoor terrace.

Did you know that once temperatures drop, restaurants and cafes in Paris heat their outdoor terraces? This is why you can spot Parisians enjoying the outdoors, even as winter nears. Take advantage of soaking up the beauty of Paris’ outdoors by having a glass of wine or a coffee on one of the many terraces.

Tercio. Explore art & culture.

There are always plenty of great events and exhibitions going on in Paris, even in the fall. Visit the Palais de Tokyo or pass the Espace Fondation EDF and check out the exhibits of the moment. The Grand Palais and the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art are also quite cool to visit, aside from the great classics: Musée d’Orsay, Musée Rodin, and Musée du Louvre.

Quarto. Sip on hot chocolate.

Lower temperatures mean sipping on hot drinks to keep you warm. Take advantage of the autumn weather by sampling some of the city’s best hot chocolate. Drink up at Angelina, Les Deux Magots, Ladurée, and Les Marquis de Ladurée.

Quinto. Stay fashionable while keeping warm

Colder weather also means layering and accessorizing. Dress up à la Parisienne/Parisien with chic, outdoor accessories. When in doubt, just add a scarf!

That’s it folks, our favorite 10 top things to do in Paris. Did we forget anything? Don’t be shy, share your favorite Paris attractions below!