On the blog series 10 Must do’s in… after Marrakech, Barcelona, Dresden, Berlin, and Havana, I couldn’t not just include Paris. I know, I know, there are endless blog posts on the web where you can read about the innumerous things you can do in Paris, even here on the blog you can find quite a few: 20 things worth doing in Paris, Paris with a baby: what you need to know, 15 romantic things to do in Paris, which is one of the most popular here on Packing my Suitcase, among others.
However, this post has something different about it, exactly because there are thousands of things one can do in Paris, I decided to dedicate one more post to the City of Love, this time to share with you the things you can’t miss, the must, the top, or however you want to call it. The perfect list not only for those with a short time, or wanting to focus on the best of the best to do in the city, but also for those returning. If I ever had to choose 10 from the endless things to do in the city, these would be my 10 must do’s in Paris (in no particular order), and what’s interesting about this list is that every time I’m back, I do 100% of these activities EVERY SINGLE TIME, in a way or another:
Admire, visit, walk by… the Eiffel Tower
It’s impossible to be in Paris and ignore the Iron Lady, and even if you don’t want to spend hours in line to go up the tower, you must (and you will) at least once during your trip, pass by this iconic monument. Here are some of the best places to admire the Eiffel Tower for free: the Trocadéro, Champs-de-Mars, Rue Saint-Dominique, the Seine river from bridges like Iena and Alexandre III, Rue de L’Université, Place Nadar in Montmartre, Printemps Haussman and Galeries Lafayette rooftops, the Bir-Hakeim bridge, Avenue de Camoëns, Rue Berton, Place de Mexico, Avenue du Président Wilson/Rue de la Manutention, square Rapp, Place de Breteuil, Boulevard Pasteur, among many others.
Enjoy the best view in town from the Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe itself is already amazing, only walking by it and standing under it, but what’s even more special about it is the view it offers. To me, there is no better view of Paris than the one from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, a visit you won’t regret, especially at sunset. For prices and opening hours click here.
Walk, shop or window shop along the Champs Elysées
Filled with designer and popular stores, cafes, restaurants, and fancy hotels, the Champs Elysées is one of the most famous avenues in the world. If it’s your first time in town, I recommend you to walk it from Place de la Concorde until the Arc de Triomphe, contemplating your way. During the Christmas season here you will also have the opportunity to enjoy a Christmas market and ice skating.
Indulge in the art and history of the Louvre
From inside or outside the Louvre, there is no way your jaw won’t drop. The size of the museum is incredible, one can spend days exploring it, but if museums aren’t your thing, then the architecture of the building is already enough to make you stop by. I believe it’s one of my favorite buildings in Paris, and I’m not even including the pyramids.
Fall head over heels in love with Montmartre
There is no way I visit Paris and won’t spend some time walking the streets of Montmartre. It’s like being transported back to the 20’s. No one can resist the charm of its old houses and cobble stoned streets, not to mention the view from up there.
The best time to go: very early in the morning when it’s still quiet, or late in the afternoon for a beautiful sunset.
Walk the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Quartier Latin
These two Paris neighborhoods make up for one of the most charming areas of the city, busy day and night. Famous cafes (such as Les Deux Magots), bars, restaurants, the famous Sorbonne University, the Luxembourg Palace and Garden, the Pantheón, bookstores (including the famous Shakespeare & Co.), churches, narrow streets, all spread out on these two must visit quarters making up for a beautiful stroll and an ideal and well deserved short break from all the sightseeing.
Walk around and visit the Nôtre Dame & Île de la Cité
The famous Nôtre Dame and its stunning architecture is located on the small island in the middle of the Seine, Île de la Cité. Even if you aren’t willing to stand in line for hours (really) to enter or go up the towers of the cathedral, you cannot just pass by and not admire the place.
Tip: during spring watch out for the stunning cherry trees.
Stroll along the Seine
Walking along the banks of the Seine river means you will be able to see several important attractions of Paris along the way: Place de la Concorde, Île de la Cité, the Louvre, Musée D’Orsay, Île Saint Louis, Conciergerie, the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, and many, many more. And if you want more than just walk by, take one of the boat tours offered by the local companies. You can even choose to have lunch or dinner aboard a boat.
Sit at a Café
One of my favorite things to do in Paris. There is nothing like sitting in a café or traditional brasserie of Paris watching the passers by, with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
Earn the worthiest calories of your life
French macarrons from the most famous patisseries in the world, pain au chocolat, éclairs, croissants, wine, croque madame and monsieur, traditional baguettes, tartelettes… ahh! The choices are endless, and they are all worth the calories!
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