17 Incredible Things to Do in Paris for a Memorable Trip

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Paris is a city that’s on almost everyone’s global bucket list. It’s the city of love, fashion and art. Needless to say, you’ll never run out of things to do in Paris, France.

savannah on caroline's back in front of the eiffel tower
Ready to climb the Eiffel Tower

From cruising down the Seine River to admiring the iconic Mona Lisa and works of art in the Louvre, to chowing down on some escargot (snails) and endless croissants and macarons, there’s plenty to keep you, and the family, occupied.

In fact, deciding which attractions in Paris to add to your itinerary is the hardest part. To help you out, we’ve created this list of unmissable Paris attractions so you can make planning easier.

Whether you’re visiting for a weekend, or a week, these are not to be missed. Read the tips below, then don’t miss our 39 essential things to know before going to Paris guide and our four day Paris itinerary.

1. See Incredible Views of the Eiffel Tower from Montparnasse Tower

Aerial view tree lined streets in a city and a giant tower called the Eiffel Tower
Views from Montparnasse Tower

The most iconic site in Paris is of course, the Eiffel Tower. But where is the best viewpoint? At 210 meters tall, the Montparnasse Tower is the tallest building in Paris. It features an outdoor observatory deck on the 56th floor that provides stunning panoramic views of Paris, including, the Eiffel Tower.

The tower itself is a beautiful sight, but when you add in the cityscape of Paris in the background, it’s a truly amazing view. You can see all the famous landmarks from up here, from The Louvre to The Panthéon and more.

Aerial view of buildings and trees over Paris.
Incredible views over the city

The Tower is open from 11am to 10:30pm, so you can come up here day or night. It is the most crowded during sunset (for good reason), so if you want to avoid the crowds, come up a little earlier or later in the day.

No matter what time of the day you decide to visit, you’ll certainly be amazed by the views! We particularly enjoyed visiting at night, when you can see the Eiffel Tower and the rest of Paris lit up. It’s one of our favorite things to do in Paris at night.

  • Hours: 11.00am – 10:30pm daily
  • Address: 33 Av. du Maine, 75015 Paris

Don’t miss these other 17 stunning viewpoints in Paris – above, below and inside!

2. Visit the Mona Lisa in The Louvre

Mom and two daughters standing in front of a glass, pyramid structure called the Louvre.
The Louvre

Exploring the Louvre Museum is one of the best things to do in Paris, and for good reason. It is home to some of the most famous art in the world, such as the Winged Victory of Samothrace and Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch.

But perhaps the most iconic piece of work is Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, one of the great masterpieces from the Italian Renaissance.

The museum is massive, with more than 35,000 works of art on display. It can be overwhelming to try to see everything, so it’s best to plan ahead and decide which exhibits you want to see. There is something for everyone at The Louvre, from ancient artifacts to modern art.

One of the best things about visiting The Louvre is the architecture of the building itself. The museum was originally built as a royal palace in the 16th century, and its grandeur is still evident today.

Mom and two daughters walking through a plaza in front of a historic building.
Beautiful architecture

Even at the entrance, you’ll see the stunning Louvre Pyramid, a structure designed to remind visitors of the Egyptian Antiquities collections within the museum.

Whether you’re an art lover or not, The Louvre is well worth a visit. It’s one of the most iconic landmarks in Paris, and its history and beauty are sure to impress.

Click here for your Louvre Museum timed ticket and audio guide

  • Hours: 9.00am – 6.00pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Monday, 9.00am – 9:45pm Friday, Closed Tuesday
  • Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

Tours and Tickets

Advanced reservations are now required for many of Paris’s museums. Plus, the timed entry and skip the line passes are invaluable for such popular European cities!

We love the small group, walking tours with local guides offered through Take Walks and LivTours. Here are some of their options for The Louvre

And a few other options for skip the line tickets.

3. Climb the Eiffel Tower Steps

caz with view of paris behind her on eiffel tower
Made it to the top

One of the most popular activities in Paris is to climb The Eiffel Tower steps up to the viewing platform. Walking up the steps was certainly an exhilarating experience and will take your breath away – both in the effort of climbing and with the breathtaking views from the top.

Climbing the Eiffel Tower ismore budget friendly than the elevator (which in a city as expensive as Paris, is certainly a reason to brave the steps!).

It also provides ample opportunities to capture stunning photographs from different viewpoints and angles, as well as be able to walk in the footsteps of thousands of other travelers before you in the last century.

We have an in-depth guide to help you plan how you want to visit The Eiffel Tower and gave you some insight into what it’s like to climb it.

3. Dine With Celebrities at Pink Mamma

If you’re looking for a delicious and unique culinary experience when in Paris, look no further than the Pink Mamma restaurant.

This hip and trendy eatery offers up a fusion of Italian and French cuisine that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. From the moment you walk in, you’ll be struck by the eclectic decor – think bright colors, modern art, and funky light fixtures.

Though the decor of Pink Mamma is gorgeous enough to warrant a visit, the food is equally spectacular.

The star of the restaurant must be the Fiorentina, a huge and juicy T-bone steak cooked on the grill. The cocktails are also quite unique and delicious, with things like “Spicy Blood Mary” and more.

Pink Mamma is one of the most famous and beautiful restaurants in Paris, and it is not uncommon to see celebrities dining. Who knows? You might even meet your favorite star here!

But at the same time, because this restaurant is so famous, it is highly recommended that you make a reservation well in advance. If you could, request seating on the top floor, where there is a beautiful garden and glass ceilings and windows that flood the room with natural light!

  • Hours: 12.00pm-2:15pm, 6:45pm11.00pm Monday to Friday, 12.00pm-3:15pm, 6:45pm-11.00pm Saturday and Sunday
  • Address: 20bis Rue de Douai, 75009 Paris

4. Take a Day Trip to Chateaux de Chantilly

grand Chateau de Chantilly on green lawn
One of the great castles of France

If you are looking for a relaxing day out, consider taking a day trip from Paris to Chateaux de Chantilly. Located about 48 km (30 mi) north of Paris, Chateaux de Chantilly is only a short trip away.

Built in the 1500s, the Chateaux de Chantilly looks like a fairytale castle. It has been modified and improved many times over the years, but the current version of the palace was built between 1875 and 1882.

It’s a beautiful estate with gorgeous gardens, an impressive palace, and a massive courtyard. Visitors can explore the different rooms of the palace, learn about its history, and even see some original furniture and paintings.

Outside of the palace, there are beautiful gardens to stroll through, a large pond, and even an equine museum! The Chateaux de Chantilly is the perfect place to spend a day if you’re looking to get out of the city and explore something new.

  • Hours: 10.00am – 6.00pm daily, Closed on Tuesdays
  • Address: 60500 Chantilly

You may prefer a day trip to the Palace of Versailles <– click to read our full guide with loads of tips for the perfect visit!

You may also want to read our guide on the best of the Loire Valley if traveling to this Valley of the Kings and endless chateaux.

Full-Day Loire Valley Chateaux Tour

This his full-day tour of the Loire Valley includes visits to Châteaux Chambord, Chenonceau, and Cheverny. Book your tour here.  

5. Relax in Tuileries Garden

Mom and two daughters sitting on a chair in the garden.
Loved the Tulieries gardens

The Tuileries Garden is an iconic Parisian destination that should be on every visitor’s list of free things to do in Paris.

Originally created in the 16th century by Catherine de Medici, the garden has a long and rich history and is home to some of the most famous landmarks in Paris, including the Musée de l’Orangerie and the Grand Bassin Rond.

The Tuileries Garden is a beautiful park with lush green lawns, tranquil ponds, and flower gardens. It’s the perfect place for a relaxing stroll or a picnic lunch.

Two girls walking through a park.
Space to roam

And if you’re visiting Paris with kids, they will love running around and exploring all the different areas of the garden.

The Tuileries Garden is completely free to visit, and it is a popular spot for everyone to enjoy some refreshing greenery in the middle of the bustling city.

  • Hours: 7.00am – 9.00pm daily
  • Address: Pl. de la Concorde, 75001 Paris

6. See Impressionist Art at Musee d’Orsay

 Visitors looking at white sculpture of woman with clock in the background on glass domed ceiling and walls in the Musee d'Orsay
Visitors in the Musee d’Orsay in Par

If you’re into impressionist art, then there is no better place to visit in Paris than the Musée d’Orsay.

It’s home to the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art in the world! The museum is situated in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built in 1900.

The Musée d’Orsay contains a vast collection of art, including masterpieces by Monet, Manet, Pissarro, Morisot, and Renoir. The museum is housed in a beautiful Art Nouveau building, and the ceiling of the central hall is adorned with a large glass skylight.

The Musée d’Orsay is a must-see for any art lover visiting Paris. It provides visitors with a unique glimpse into the art movement that changed the course of painting forever. There are also temporary exhibitions in the museum, so no two visits are ever the same.

Click here for your skip the line entrance ticket. or Meet the Impressionists: Musée d’Orsay Skip-the-Line Fully Guided Tour

  • Hours: 9:30am – 6.00pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, 9:30am – 9:45pm on Thursday, Closed on Monday
  • Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris

7. Watch a Show at the Moulin Rouge

Neon lights of Moulin Rouge lit up at night with windmill spinning
The Moulin Rouge by night

The Moulin Rouge is a world-famous cabaret in Paris that first opened its doors in 1889. It is known for its lavish shows, which combine music, dance, and acrobatics.

The most popular show at the Moulin Rouge is the “Féerie”, which features 80 artists from around the world. The show is a dazzling display of color, light, and movement, and it is sure to leave you mesmerized.

If you are looking for things to do in Paris at night, then make sure you check out the Moulin Rouge!

Top tip: Just make sure you buy your tickets ahead of time because they do get sold out quickly! You can do that here with this Moulin Rouge ticket WITH champagne

  • Hours: Doors open from 6.45pm daily. Dinner before a show starts at 7.00pm. The 1st show starts at 9.00pm and the 2nd show starts at 11.00pm.
  • Address: 82 Bd de Clichy, 75018 Paris

8. See the Iconic Arc de Triomphe

Lady standing under a monument in Paris called Arc De Triomphe
Arch of Triomphe at sunrise

Commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 and completed in 1836, the Arc de Triomphe is arguably the most famous monument in Paris. The arch was built to honor the French soldiers who fought and died in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

It is decorated with numerous reliefs and sculptures, including a large representation of Nike, the goddess of victory. At 50 meters tall, the Arc de Triomphe is an imposing sight, and it’s definitely worth a visit when you’re in Paris.

Visitors can climb up to the observation deck at the top of Arc de Triomphe, where they can see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Sacré Coeur.

Views from the top

Visitors should note there is no elevator and there are 284 steps to get to the top. Get your skip the line ticket here.

  • Hours: 10.00am – 10.30pm daily
  • Address: Pl. Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris

Read our guide on how to visit the Arc de Triomphe including tips and insights into this iconic Paris attraction.

9. Take a Seine River Cruise

Young girl taking a photo of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Seeing from a river cruise is also cool!

One of the best ways to see Paris is from the water, and a Seine River cruise is the perfect way to do that.

The river cruises offer stunning views of some of Paris’ most famous landmarks, including Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum.

There are many different companies that offer Seine River cruises, and each offers something different.

We highly recommend one with narration so you can learn a little bit about Paris and France as you float down the Seine River!

If you’re traveling in the high season, make sure you get your tickets ahead of time, and confirm your departure point, because each company’s boats leave from different wharves.

10. Check out the Stunning Sainte-Chapelle Cathedrale

People inside a church that has incredible stained glass windows
This place is incredible

Sainte-Chapelle is a Gothic cathedral located on the Île de la Cité, which is one of the two remaining natural islands in Paris.

The cathedral was commissioned by King Louis IX in 1248 to house his collection of religious relics, including Christ’s Crown of Thorns.

The Sainte-Chapelle is famous for its beautiful stained glass windows, which depict scenes from the Bible and cover almost the entirety of the walls and reach up to 40 meters in height.

The light that streams through the windows casts beautiful colors throughout the cathedral, making it a truly magical place. It is one of the most beautiful places in Paris, so don’t make sure you have it on your Paris itinerary!

  • Hours: 9.00am – 5.00pm daily
  • Address: 10 Bd du Palais, 75001 Paris

Traveling to Paris with older kids? Here’s what our older kids loved most about Paris.

11. Watch an Opera at Palais Garnier

elaborate grand staircase  and marble interior with gold leaf  painted ceilings in the Palais Garnier
The Grand Staircase at the entry to the Palais Garnier

When most people think of opera, their minds will jump to Italy. However, one of the most beautiful and opulent opera houses in the world is located in Paris.

Palais Garnier was built in the mid-1800s and is a stunning example of French architecture. The inside is just as magnificent as the outside, with a grand staircase, marble floors, and ceilings painted with gold leaf.

The Palais Garnier is home to the Paris Opera, and it stages some of the most popular operas in the world. If you are a fan of opera, or even if you’re just curious about it, then we recommend checking out a show at Palais Garnier!

Just make sure to buy your tickets in advance because they do tend to sell out quickly.

  • Hours: 10.00am – 5.00pm
  • Address: Pl. de l’Opéra, 75009 Paris

12. Explore the Vibrant Montmartre Neighborhood

Mom and two daughters walking a cobblestone street in Paris
Montmartre district of Paris.

Montmartre is a picturesque hilltop neighborhood in Paris that’s worth visiting for its charming streets, lively atmosphere, and stunning views of the city.

The narrow cobblestone streets are lined with colorful buildings, quaint shops and bistros, and art galleries.

Montmartre was originally its own small agricultural village before being absorbed into Paris in 1860. That is why you’ll find plenty of village charm as you stroll down its streets!

There’s always something going on in Montmartre – street performers, artists, and musicians can be found throughout the neighborhood. And don’t forget to visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica for some of the best views of Paris!

Montmartre Food Walking tour of Montmartre

We recently joined a food walking tour of Montmartre, which was fantastic and included six food stops (mix of savory and sweet) and natural wine tasting. We also learned a lot about the Montmartre neighborhood. You can read more in our Guide To A Montmartre Food Tour In Paris. It was our favorite thing to do in Paris.

See rates and availability here.

Tours and Tickets

13. Eat a Picnic in Luxembourg Gardens

caz and girls sitting on chairs looking at palace in luxembourg gardens
Luxembourg gardens

Luxembourg Gardens is one of the most popular parks in Paris, and it’s easy to see why. The gardens are beautifully landscaped with flowers, trees, and shrubs, and there are plenty of benches where you can sit and relax.

The gardens also have a large pond where you can go boating, and there’s a playground and a puppet theatre that your kids will love.

In the summer, the Luxembourg Gardens are the perfect place to enjoy a picnic lunch with friends or family. Just be sure to buy your food from one of the many bakeries or cafes nearby – there’s no need to bring your own picnic when you’re in Paris!

  • Hours: 24/7
  • Address: 75006 Paris, France

14. See Daniel Buren’s Columns In Palais Royal

black and white column sculptures in front of Palias Royal building
Palais Royal in Paris

In the center of Paris’s Palais Royal gardens, you’ll find an installation of striped columns by French artist Daniel Buren.

The outdoor installation consists of 260 octagonal columns of different heights arranged in a grid pattern. The columns are made of black and white marble creating alternating stripes.

Its unusual modern decor contrast starkly with the classical architecture of Paris’s Palais, and many did not like the installations at first. However, it has since become one of the most popular and well-known landmarks in Paris.

The alternating stripes are meant to be read as an “exploration of the perception and intellectual projection of space”. It has now become a popular place for kids to run around and play “hide-and-seek” with their parents!

15. Visit the Stunning Sacre Coeur Basilica

Man and woman outside a Basilica in Paris
Sacre Coeur Basilica

The Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre, or in English, the Sacred Heart of Montmartre, is a Roman Catholic Church that is dedicated to the “Sacred Heart” of Jesus.

It’s located on a hill in Montmartre which offers stunning views of the neighborhood below. The dome sits 200 meters above the Seine, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Paris for views.

The Basilica took forty years to build under the supervision of five different architects. It was officially completed in 1914 and consecrated after WWI in 1919.

people walking under tree framing basilica sacre coeur
Sacre Coeur, Paris

The design is a combination of Neo-Byzantine and Romanesque architecture and is a beloved building in the city, even for non-Catholics.

This is certainly one of the most unmissable things to do in Paris.

  • Hours: 6.30am – 10.30pm daily
  • Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris

16. Shop at the most beautiful department store: Les Passages Couverts

 People walking in  covered passage of Paris.
People walking in covered passages

Since Paris is one of the major fashion capitals in the world, you can’t make a visit here without doing a bit of shopping.

One of the best places to visit in Paris for shopping is Les Passages Couverts, or Covered Passages of Paris in English. This is a shopping arcade full of several stunning passages that are architecturally beautiful.

The covered passages were built in the first half of the 19th century and were intricately designed with skylights, mosaic floors, and ochre paintwork. The first passage to be built was the Passage des Panoramas in the 9th arrondissement.

Each walkway has a story to tell. You’ll find both luxury brands and some market stalls selling souvenirs. For all your shopping needs, look out for one of these passages.

You’ll find many in the 2nd arrondissement and 9th arrondissement, but there are hundreds all over the city. There were said to be 183 built in total, but many of them have been destroyed after Haussmann’s renovation of Paris.

17. Check Out The Paris Catacombs

tunnel walls made of skulls and bones
The Catacombs of Paris

Exploring The Catacombs is one of the most unique things to do in Paris and is definitely not for the faint-hearted (especially if you’ve seen the horror movie, As Above, So Below).

The catacombs are a series of underground ossuaries that hold the remains of more than six million people. Each of their graves is placed in the rock walls inside the tunnel network.

The catacombs were built to deal with the overflowing cemetery problem in the late 1700s.

In the 19th century, strangely, the catacombs became a venue for events and concerts. Today, it serves as a museum.

It’s best to take a guided tour or at the least an audioguide, so you can learn all about its creation and uses, as well as to find your way around this underground maze!

(You can see catacombs in Rome as well)

  • Hours: 9.45am – 8.30pm daily, Closed Monday
  • Address: 1 Av. du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris


  • OUR RECOMMENDED TOUR: Skip-the-Line Paris Catacombs Tour with Special Access With Take Walks. We love their small-group size See Rates and Availability
  • Catacombs Skip-the-Ticket-Line Ticket and Audio Guide: Skip the ticket line AND listen to commentary from your informative audio guide, available in 4 languages. Get your ticket here.
  • VIP Skip-the-Line Restricted Access Tour: Skip the long lines and unlock gates to hidden rooms in the Catacombs on this small group VIP tour. Book your tour here.

Where to Stay in Paris

We have hand-selected a few top rated hotels in Paris for you to save you time researching.

We look for high guest ratings, great reviews, good location, exudes local personality, and clean rooms and facilities travelers enjoy.

  • Novotel Paris Centre Gare Montparnasse: We stayed at this 4-star hotel located in the city center of Paris within a 5-minute walking distance to Montaparnasse Tower and train station. They have rooms for a family of four. See rates and availability.
  • Relais Christine: This boutique hotel is set in a 17th century mansion in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, just 2,300 feet from Noter-Dame Cathedral. Book your stay here.
  • Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel: This 4-star hotel is set at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero. Decorated in a contemporary style, the bright guest rooms offer panoramic views of Paris. Book your stay here
  • Ibis Paris Tour Eiffel Cambronne 15ème: Located in the 15th district of Paris, just a 15-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower Book your stay here

If you’re looking for other accommodation in Paris you can use the map below to compare hotels and short-term rental options.

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