20 things worth doing in Paris

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

Paris is enormous; in every corner of the city there is something to see, to do, to take a photo of. The town is a paradise for tourists, who will mostly be overwhelmed with so much to explore. To see only the basics already requires a certain length of time, let alone everything.

But what to do if you don’t have months to explore the French capital? What to do if you don’t want to waste your time and miss out the best? I selected 20 things worth doing in Paris; I have done each one of them and they are all worth the effort, every penny and/or time spent in line:

Walk by the Seine

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

I mean, really walk! Set up a goal, let’s say from Île Saint-Louis until the Eiffel Tower, of course, making stops along the way. You will never forget this!

Why: because is beautiful and you will see half of the sightseeing of the city on your way.

Have a Parisian breakfast

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

A Parisian breakfast:

tartine + beurre/confiture – baguette + butter/jam
croissant/pain au chocolat
coffee/tea/hot chocolat
juice

Why: because it’s delicious, it’s a lovely way to begin your day in the city, you can find it everywhere, and gives you a great excuse to sit at the sidewalk and watch passers by. Just like the Parisians do.

Eat and drink with a view to the Eiffel Tower

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

It doesn’t matter if you are up high on a rooftop, sitting somewhere on the grass or peaking from your hotel window, alone, with your friends or with your lover. Just do it.

Why: the scene will be forever on your mind, and even bad food will taste amazing.

Go up the Arc de Triomphe

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

Many have no idea that it is possible to go up there, but the good news is that it’s not only possible, but also breathtaking. There are long lines and it’s not expensive like most attractions in town.

Why: the view is simply stunning and unforgettable. My favourite in town.

Buy a book at one of the oldest bookstores in the World

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

Opened in 1951, Shakespeare & Company, an English-language bookshop based in a 17th century building, was founded by the American George Whitman. It is located at the Kilometer Zero of Paris, the point where all the French roads begin. This is a very special place for all book lovers out there – God knows I am one of them.

Buy a book, or simply grab one, sit in a tiny stool or on the couch, and read it. It is a very tiny and old place, filled with history, original works, and of course, book lovers.

Why: it is original, old, special and a little paradise for book lovers. I fell in love with the place.

Go back in time on the streets of Montmartre

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

Montmartre is the most charming neighborhood of Paris, where painters and writers of the last century used to meet. The buildings are pretty much well preserved, so much that walking on these streets will take you back in time.

Why: charming, beautifully old, romantic, and special. Every corner of Montmartre is filled with history.

Admire the view from the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

One of the most famous views of Paris, the Notre Dame Cathedral will leave you breathless, not only because of the stairs to be climbed – which aren’t even that bad – but also because of its unmistakable view, which became well known after the movie The hunchback of Notre Dame.

Why: the view is breathtaking, and you will be able to take a closer look at the gargoyles.

Explore the tiny Île de St. Louis

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

This tiny island located in the middle of the Seine and near Île de la Cité might be often overlooked, but it is one of the loveliest places of Paris. Narrow streets and old buildings well preserved, brasseries, chocolate stores and the best ice cream shop of Paris (Bertillon), this little romantic place will make you fall in love with Paris all over again.

Why: it’s romantic, beautiful and picturesque.

Try the best macarons in the world

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

No matter how many macarons you try in your life, the ones from Ladurée are the best in the world, and have been since the famous patisserie was founded in 1862. The price isn’t only for the brand; it is for the texture, the taste, the creativity, and the love for these French addicting little sweets.

Why: amazingly delicious, worth every penny, and the place is amazing; like a little piece of heaven filled with temptations.

Shop or window shop at Les Grands Magasins

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.
Les Galeries Lafayette

Le Bon Marché, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette are three different and famous department stores in Paris. All luxury brands have their space on these stunning places, and even if you don’t have thousands in your account to buy what’s on sale there, window shopping is still for free.

Why: their interior is stunning; they offer restaurants and beautiful rooftop views. You can also take a peek at the products of the most expensive brands in the world without feeling poor, because no one will care if you will buy or not – there are enough people doing it anyway.

Catch or lose your breath at Place des Vosges

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

The Place des Vosges is not on every tourist itinerary, but only because most people have no idea how beautiful this place is.

Why: beautiful, relaxing, peaceful and located in the middle of Le Marais.

Think of your life sipping wine at the point of Île de la Cité

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

Buy a bottle of wine at a nearby supermarket, sit by the Seine, and sip your wine watching the boats passing by, the Pont des Arts in front of you, and the Louvre on your right side. My favourite spot in Paris.

Why: beautiful, different, relaxing, and fun.

Walk the entire Champs-Élysées

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

From the Arc du Triomphe until the Ferry Wheel of the Place de la Concorde, and many stores in between, a walk on one of the most famous avenues in the world is a must!

Why: a beautiful, busy, fun, and famous walk!

Get lost around Saint-Germain-des-Prés

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

This neighborhood will win your heart over and over again. Old buildings, narrow streets, brasseries, the famous Université Paris-Sorbonne, the Pantheon, the Place St. Michel, bistros, and libraries will make your entire trip to Paris even more worth it.

Why: beautiful, charming, original, romantic and full of surprises.

Take a break at Le Jardin du Luxembourg

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

All the walking around and the metro stairs of Paris will make you tired. Take a break in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, probably the most beautiful garden of Paris: le Jardin du Luxembourg.

Why: it is stunning, you can sit on a chair or lay on the grass, it’s really up to you. It is easy to reach and at the same time it can offer a little peace and quiet.

Take a picture at Rue Saint Dominique

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

A certain part of this street serves as the perfect scenario for a picture: an old street where at the end you can spot the one and only Eiffel Tower.

Why: the perfect romantic picture.

Le Louvre

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

Of course, Le Louvre. You have to enter this museum at least once in your life, even if you don’t like museums. And if you have already done it, pass by the Pyramids once again, it never loses its charm.

Why: if you had to pick one museum in your life to visit, this should be the one.

Take a boat tour

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

Cliché as it may be, it is also a must. Seeing Paris by boat gives you a different perspective of the city, and it might surprise even those who have been there several times.

Why: it’s beautiful and romantic, with stunning views; the Seine at it’s best!

Contemplate a glass of wine where Picasso used to hang around

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

You can have a glass of wine anywhere in Paris, but in the colourful Montmarte you will have it at a special place. Picasso and many other artists often came to discuss their ideas at places like Le Consulat. Nowadays, you can imagine this scene while watching passers by and listening to a guitar and a great voice singing the classic Les Champs-Élysées by Joe Dassin.

Why: historical, unique, special, and romantic.

From wherever you are: see the Eiffel Tower shine!

20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

The icon of Paris, one of the symbols of love, the most famous metal tower in the world, the Eiffel Tower. Every night, every hour you will see her shine.

Why: a must, beautifully breathtaking, and Romantic.

This list could go on and on, though these are my top recommendations for Paris, the ones that will not disappoint you, summer or winter.

À Bientôt.

 

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20 things worth doing in Paris, by Packing my Suitcase.

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • Thank you Erin 😀
    Ohhh that will be a great trip for you and your kids <3

  • Gin

    I agree with Erin, the Tuileries are pretty amazing. I also love les jardins du luxembourg, it’s a real oasis in the middle a busy town. All in all, I don’t like paris, even if there are some pretty places.

    • Awnnn I know you don’t like Paris hahaha 😀

      • Gin

        It’s not like I haven’t tried hard… have been there several times already … with locals (friends that are living there). But no. 😀

    • Same here! I’ve been to Paris three times and I just don’t get the appeal. It has some nice places but it’s not THAT special. Strasbourg is prettier!

  • I’m in love with Paris!! Walking the entire Champs Elysee and visiting Luxebourg gardens is always on my list! I also like walking around Quartier Latin and St Germain! As for dessert the Cafe Beaubourg makes a profiterole like no other!!

    • Hmmmm this profiterole sounds amazing! I wish I had known this so I could have tried! Next time then 😀

  • hahahaha happy to know that!!!
    Yes Rue Saint Dominique is pretty cool, it’s near Les Invalides… it’s nice for a different photo of the Eiffel Tower 😀

  • Thank you Andrew 😀
    Me too, I also don’t know if it was possible to go up there when I first visited the city. The first time I went up there was in 2008.
    Well, next time you go, you have to do it 😀

  • Yaaay happy to know that 😀
    Of course that there is much more to do there, and it also depends on each person’s taste.. but there are definitely my favourites!
    Next time I’m in Paris we have to meet 😀

  • Nihar Pradhan

    This is indeed one of the finest galaxy of photos I have seen, each picture tell a tale, such a beautiful set of photographs of Eiffel Tower. How did you manage to take such wonderful angles and views, you have magically played with the light and the color, the macro and the composition have become picture perfect…just love this post, it is equally romantic and mysterious in its manifestation. The glass concept is a superb one…

    Sorry for little delayed response, have been little tied up and last week has been bit very hectic…hope you are doing great and we will catch up on our conversations…
    take care!!!
    😀

    • Thank you so much Nihar!! I am veeery happy to know that you liked the pictures… I have been trying to improve my photography skills, so I tried a few creative angles 😀 the glass one is my favourite!!

      I am sorry too for the late response, since I came back from Paris I have been trying to keep up with everything hahaha it’s been a challenge, but I am getting there 😀
      I hope all is fine with you! We will catch up with each other soon!

  • When we spent New Year in Paris, the Champes de Elysse was closed to traffic until after the celebrations. I have a photo somewhere of my boyfriend and I standing in the middle of the street 😀

    • hahahaha how awesome!!!
      This photo must look pretty cool!
      I have spent NYE there once too, but I decided to spend it at the Trocadero… it was soooo cold! 😀

  • Kathleen (Kat)

    I might have missed Saint Germain before, so if I do find myself in Paris again, I would visit Saint Germain, and stay in Montmatre 🙂

  • Thank you so much dear!!
    I hope you go back soon and enjoy doing some of these things!!
    Yesss I know, you guys have Laduree in London… by the way, we might finally meet for that tea this year! I will let you know when 😀

  • Exactly!!! Same thing here… that’s why I walked easily 60km in one weekend 😀
    If I have the choice, I prefer the bus than the metro!

  • 😀 thank you dear!

  • That’s awesome!! I still have to do that one… another thing to add to my new list of things to do in Paris! It seems that every time, something new to visit always comes up 😀
    Thank you for the tip!!

  • Thank you Phoebe! I am happy to know that you liked it!! I certainly thought of #AllAboutFrance and I will add it next time for sure 😀

  • Definitely 😀

  • hahaha awesome 😀 glad that you liked it!

  • Thank you so much! Glad you liked it!
    That sounds like a great plan, and something I love doing in Paris 😀

  • I still can’t believe I haven’t been to Paris! How awful, however, I am determined to go next year and do all the things on your list! 🙂

    • Gooooo, you have too! You won’t regret 😀 and take Monkey, he will love Disneyland <3

  • Happy that you liked 😀
    thank you so much!
    I hope you accomplish this dream soon 😀

  • That is really sweet 😀
    I hope you take Monkey there next time!!
    Macarons are the best, I’m addicted to them 😀
    Thank you!

  • Thank you so much! Happy that you liked, I hope it will be useful to your trip 😀

  • Thank you so much Tracey!
    I hope you get to visit Paris sometime 😀

  • Yaaaay I hope Mr. ATWWAH read this comment and get going with this trip for you 😀
    Glad you found the post helpful!

  • Awwnn I am so happy to know that Sarah 😀
    I hope next time you spend more time there… so much to see and do in Paris 😀

  • Thank you dear! Happy that you liked it! 😀

  • Thank you Cathy 😀
    Sainte Chapelle is definitely amazing!

  • Thank you so much dear <3
    The Louvre is huge… you will need a few hours there 😀 I hope you visit it sometime!

  • Thank you so much 😀 happy that you liked it!!
    Paris has it’s flaws no doubts… I also have a few problems with it, but in the end I still love returning there 😀

  • Yes, there are a loooot of things to do in Paris. After several times there I still haven’t managed to see everything 😀 it will probably take a while until I do!
    I hope you visit it again for some more 😀

  • Definitely!! That’s what I do too 😀

  • Hi Christine!! Montmartre is no doubt amazing, my favourite! This last time I was there I go to see it empty, at 7:30 in the morning… perfect for pictures 😀
    Yes you are allowed to say that hahaha I love London too!!

  • Thank you 😀
    hahaha yesss, it is definitely one more reason to go back to Paris 😉

  • Thank you 😀 <3
    Happy that you liked it!! Yes, this tiny island is very pretty, worth the visit 😀

  • Thank you so much Merlinda!
    I am happy to know that you liked the photos 😀
    I also looove the architecture! It doesn’t matter how many times I go there, my mouth always drops and my eyes always shine when I see those buildings and their balconies <3

  • Hi Sabrina!! Yes, in Paris especially, there is sooo much to do! I hope you return some time soon and do some more of theses things 😀

  • Thank you so much Jo!!
    I am happy that you liked!!
    And 5 days is a great length to do them all in no hurry. Versailles is amazing, I want to return there someday. I have never been to Giverny, another thing to add to my list for next time 😀

  • That’s awesome!! 😀
    As they say, Paris is always a good idea!
    Thanks for stopping by!

  • yaaaaay that sounds great! I believe fall in Paris might be the best season to go there 😀 enjoy!!

  • Hi Laia 😀
    I’m glad you liked Paris better in the second time, maybe the 3rd will be even better!
    I hope you get to try some more of these things of the list next time you go. Montmartre is amazing 😀

  • Ohhhh the smell of the pastries are the best!
    It really brings me back great memories!
    How exciting that you will be back in Paris in November! I hope you enjoy your trip 😀 well, I’m sure you will!

  • Thank you Natalie, happy that you liked the list 😀
    I still need to visit the Musse d’Orsay, somehow every time I try to go my plans need to change! On more thing to do next time 😀

  • Mabel Kwong

    So many things to do in Paris. What an informative post! So cool you got to go up the Hunchback of Notre Dame cathedral – fear of heights didn’t stop you 😀 What a view, worth the trip up there and hopefully one day I get to do that.

    Soooo cute blue windows along the streets of Montmarte. I love blue and I think I will enjoy walking there 😀 Judging by all the things to do in Paris from your list, it might be hard to find time to do everything at one on a short trip 😀

    • Yaaay I hope this post will be very useful to you when you visit Paris!!
      Yes, in a short trip will be difficult to do everything on the list, unless you walk a lot 😀
      Montmartre is a dream <3
      I hope you visit it someday!

  • So, I ADORE this post bc it has done the impossible and made me miss Paris, which I hated for the 5 months I lived there.

    The only point I would disagree with is the boat tour. Usually I am a HUUUUGE fan of city tours by boat, but I thought the one in Paris was overrated and unnecessary. Why? Bc the Seine is pretty narrow and the embankment is pretty high up, and the most interesting buildings are set back from the river front – so you’re always craning your neck to see the sights but, w exception of the Eiffel Tower – never get a good look/photo.

    Oh, but Ile St Louis… I miss you so!

    • hahahha awnnn happy to know that!! I achieved something remarkable!! I think all you need is a great company in your next trip to Paris 😀

      I actually enjoy the boat tour, I did with 2 different companies and both were great.

      😀

  • Yess do it!! It was one of my favorite views of Paris 😀

  • Thank you dear 😀 Happy that you liked it!

  • Thank you dear 😀

  • Phoebe Thomas

    So many lovely ideas in one of my favourite cities of all time, but I beg to differ on the subject of best macarons. Did you know Ladurée macarons are made in a big central factory and FROZEN before being shipped to the shops? I don’t think it’s the same for Pierre Hermé who I prefer even if he also freezes. Ladurée macarons are beautiful to look at, fabulously marketed, very tasty of course but a mega rip off. I’m glad you mentioned Place des Vosges, it’s one of my favourite places in the city. Thanks for linking this to #AllAboutFrance, sorry it took me so long to comment, time just ran away this month! It’s back on again in 2 days already!!

    • Thank you dear 😀
      Well, I guess most of the famous Pâtisseries freezes them, unfortunately. And I only mentioned the best in the world because that’s the official thing you read around… but I also love Pierre Hermé 😀 to be honest, I love macarons and don’t really care about the brand hahaha
      I also love Place des Vosges, it took me so long to finally visit it, I’m happy I did 😀
      Ohh no problem at all, don’t worry 😀