We all know there are a ton of things to do in Paris. After all, it is one of Europe’s top travel destinations. Whether you’re into shopping, art, history, architecture, music, religion, fine dining or something else, chances are high you’ll find plenty to do!
But what are the best things to do in Paris? Check out my list of the top 100 things to do in Paris to fill up your itinerary.
Rent a bike in Paris
Enjoy Paris via bicycle using its bike rental service, Vélib’. Vélib’ offers 1-day and 7-day rental passes and 3 monthly subscription options, with over 1,200 locations around the city.
See the world-renowned Paris Opéra Ballet in its home city. The Paris Opéra Ballet performs classic and original pieces, with a new repertoire of ballets each year.
Enjoy dinner and drinks while taking in a Parisian cabaret performance.
Shakespeare and Company bookstore
Open since 1951, Shakespeare & Company is an English language bookshop known for letting up-and-coming artists, writers and thinkers sleep in its store.
In exchange for this setup, they must work a few hours a day at the shop, read a book, and write 1 page about themselves.
Many who have stayed or frequented Shakespeare & Company are well-known today, such as Ethan Hawke, Allen Ginsberg, Geoffrey Rush, and Kate Grenville.
Cemeteries in Paris
Speaking of cemeteries, Paris has some hauntingly beautiful cemeteries, many of which are worth an afternoon stroll.
Père Lachaise Cemetery is Paris’ largest cemetery and perhaps its most famous. A number of famous people are buried there, such as Frédéric Chopin, Jim Morrison, and Oscar Wilde.
Paris catacombs tour
The Catacombs of Paris, known as the World’s Largest Grave, is an underground tunnel lined with the bones of more than 6 million people. It is one of the most unusual things to do in Paris.
It may sound like the hideout of a serial killer, but the Catacombs of Paris was actually born out of necessity in the late 1700s.
Cemeteries were too full and mass graves were causing damage to the buildings next to them. Remains were moved to empty mines to help reinforce them so that they did not collapse.
Panthéon in Paris
The Panthéon is a mausoleum where many famous French citizens are buried, such as Voltaire, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie.
Churches in Paris
Paris is home to beautiful, historic churches. The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is not only Paris’ most well-known cathedral, but also the world’s! Its main area is free to visit, but be ready to wait in line, even during the low crowd seasons.
Christmas markets in Paris
If you visit during the months surrounding the Winter holidays, you’ll likely find outdoor Christmas markets around the city.
Even the famed Avenue des Champs-Élysées gets in on the fun, hosting a large Christmas market with tons of fair-type food, mulled wine, gifts, ornaments + plenty of entertainment.
When I visited Paris in January 2017, I visited the Christmas market on Avenue des Champs-Élysées twice. One of the more interesting finds at this market was a cheesy ride with a zombie theme à la Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Ferris wheel in Paris
The Roue de Paris ferris wheel is a temporary fixture. It originally popped up in 2000 to celebrate the new millennium. The past few years it has popped up nearby the entrance to the Christmas Market on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées during the Winter holidays.
The ferris wheel is popular with tourists, but allegedly not so much with residents. So if it happens to be there when you visit, take a ride because it might be gone soon!
Disneyland in Paris
Yes, you read that right! There is a Disneyland just outside the Paris city limits. It features 2 parks, Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios.
Disneyland Paris is easily accessible via Paris’ train system, though many tour operators offer both private and coach bus transportation to and from the parks.
If you prefer a shorter commute to the parks, Disneyland Paris offers 7 hotels and also has a partnership with 8 more. If you’re a Disney fan or traveling with kids, I recommend adding Disneyland Paris to your list of things to do in Paris.
Taste all the Parisian food and wine
Paris is chock full of fine dining and delicious bakeries, as well as some of the best wine you’ll ever taste. You’re sorely missing out if you rush your meals or only eat fast food.
Make time for at least 1 fancy meal, attend a French wine tasting, savor the buttery, flaky croissants at breakfast and definitely make a few pit stops for macarons or other baked goods.
Enjoying delicious French food is one of my favorite things to do in Paris!
Learn to cook French food
If you enjoy trying new food or consider yourself a fine dining connoisseur, set aside time for a French baking or cooking class. Whether it be a full meal or learning to bake macarons, you’re sure to learn from the best!
Best museums in Paris
There are over 100 museums in Paris, so you’ll definitely find at least 1 that piques your interest. I love to visit art art history museums, so I had no problem finding a handful to see on my last visit.
Art museums in Paris
The Louvre is Paris’ largest and oldest museum and it’s also perhaps the world’s most famous art museum. It is gigantic and impossible to see all of its collections in a single day, but it is home to some of the most well-known artwork, such as the Mona Lisa.
Fashion museums in Paris
Palais Galliera, also known as Musée de la Mode, is a must for all fashionistas. It features a rotating set of fashion exhibition. Nothing here is permanent, which means chances are high you’ll have a completely new experience each time you visit!
History museums in Paris
Musée de l’Armée is a fascinating look at the history of the French military, as well as wars and conflict around the world.
Explore Parisian neighborhoods
Spend a day exploring one of Paris’ unique neighborhoods, such as artsy Montmarte, historic Le Marais, or shopping paradise Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
If you’re after a more leisurely vacation, definitely add this to your list of the things to do in Paris.
Paris Hop on Hop off Bus
As cheesy as the touristy hop-on-hop-off buses are, they are often a great way to get a sense of a city’s layout. If you choose to do one of these tours, I recommend doing them on your first day for this very reason.
After a hop-on hop-off tour, you’ll know where you might want to spend more time exploring. Plus, you might even find a neighborhood you weren’t planning to visit and you’ll be able to hop off to do so.
Paris walking tours
Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours aren’t the only way to see the Paris! Walking tours are one of my favorite things to do in Paris because they allow you to get a more intimate and informed view of select areas.
Localers offers a variety of walking tours, all led by Parisian experts. I did a World War II walking tour through Localers. It was a fascinating and informative tour that focused on what life was like in Paris during World War II, especially for the Jewish population.
For more tour recommendations, check out my post on Tours in Paris: 10 Unique Ways to See the City.
Visit palaces and châteaus in France
Many of France’s historic royal palaces still stand today, many of which are converted to museums. Château de Versailles can be done in a day, but is best done over at least 2.
The Paris Museum Pass offers entry into more than a dozen, including Château de Fontainebleau, Conciergerie, Château de Chantilly, and The Louvre.
Best parks in Paris
Paris may be a city, but it is still full of lovely parks and gardens throughout.
Visit in the morning for quiet solitude among beautiful scenery, have a picnic lunch or simply take a stroll.
Champ de Mars, along the Eiffel Tower, Jardin du Luxembourg, outside the Luxembourg Palace, and Jardin du Tulleries, along the Louvre, are among the most popular options for visitors and residents.
Photo shoot in Paris
Make like a French model and get your picture taken by a professional in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Flytographer is an established business that offers such a service (and not just in Paris!). Flytographer can help coordinate a photo shoot or book a photographer follow you as you explore the city for more candid shots.
A Parisian photo shoot is at the top of my list of things to do in Paris on a return trip.
Paris scavenger hunt
THATMuse offers scavenger hunts at The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Les Marais, and the Latin Quarter.
THATMuse is a great way to learn more about the museums or neighborhoods and makes a great activity for group travelers.
Seine River cruise in Paris
Take in Paris’ beautiful sites on a leisurely cruise through the Seine River.
There are a number of tour operators offering cruises on the Seine, but Bateaux Parisiens stands out due to its open-air rooftop seating, as well as its dinner cruise option.
On my last trip to Paris, I did an evening river cruise with Beateaux Parisiens on my first night in Paris and it was a great way to get an idea of where I wanted to go the rest of my trip.
Shopping in Paris
Stroll along Avenue des Champs-Élysées for a mix of high-end and affordable fashion. Visit Les Halles if you prefer a mall-like experience. Comb for antiques and vintage items at one of Paris’ flea markets.
Street art in Paris
Paris is known for its historic buildings and architecture, but you can also find some pretty sick street art, too! Street art tours are one of those things to do in Paris that you can do on repeat visits and have a completely different experience than the last time!
Music in Paris
From Opera and the Philharmonic to Rock, Jazz, and Hip Hop, Paris is full of venues featuring performances of many musical genres.
Catch a popular artist at one of Paris’ stadiums, experience a classic Opera performance, or perhaps visit during one of Paris’ several Jazz festivals.
Another option for music lovers would be crate digging at one of Paris’ record stores, such as Lucky Records, which specializes in Madonna collectibles!
Views of Paris
There are a handful of places in Paris where you can catch absolutely amazing views of the city.
The Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse Tower, and Sacre-Couer Basilica are 4 amazing spots to get a bird’s-eye view in Paris.
Day trips from Paris
Paris isn’t the only happening place in France. I highly recommend setting aside at least 1 day to take a day trip outside the city.
For more ideas, check out my post on day trips from Paris.
What are your favorite things to do in Paris?