After having lived in Paris and visiting nearly every year we’ve learned a thing or two about the best things to do in Paris. Here is our list of the best things to do in Paris and some money saving tips for those on a budget. And as they say, Paris is always a good idea.
Below are the Top Things To Do In Paris
The Eiffel Tower. Sparkly lights, beautiful gardens, and views oh my!
1. Climb to the top and be rewarded with views all throughout Paris.
2. On a Budget? Have a picnic at sunset and wait for the light show to begin. It never gets old and it’s always romantic. This is something I do every time I am in Paris.
Travel Tip: Avoid the lines and buy your tickets with a skip the line pass in advance.
The Seine River may be dirty but, it is actually pretty.
1. Although I’d never swim in it, a boat cruise gives you a unique view of Paris. Almost all the major attractions are located near the river, and it’s even more dazzling at night.
Travel Tip: Walking along the river is free and while it may take you longer, you still get the same views. During the summer, Paris transforms the banks along the Seine into a “beach,” and there are dj’s, food and drinks.
Notre Dame Cathedral Beautiful on the inside and out
1. Climb it!! No seriously, did you know you can climb the steep spiral staircases to the top of the towers? It’s true and the view is beautiful.
2. Don’t forget Paris is the city of lights. Stroll along the Seine at night for the most epic views of Notre Dame Cathedral.
Travel Tip: On a Budget? Sit on a bench and admire the pigeons. I know it sounds crazy but, if any city can make pigeons cute, it’s Paris. FYI just don’t bring any food.
The Luxembourg Gardens. No matter what season are beautiful & free.
1. My favorite time of year however is Spring. Sit by the pond and watch the tiny sailboats race, while eating a crepe.
The Arch Triomphe & Champs Elysee. Shopping Paradise.
1. The shopping is insane here and also pricey. Travel Tip: during July and February Parisians have their SOLDES. Sales are controlled by the government and only occur twice a year. During these times everything is on sale and the deals are amazing.
2. Don’t forget to stop by Ladurée for tea time. On one of my recent trips to Paris I splurged and we had late lunch/tea at Ladurée. While pricey it was worth every penny and was an experience all in its self.
Travel Tip: On a budget? Window shop and head for the Arch Triomphe. Remember pictures are always free.
Museums, if you got the time do the crime. Just Kidding.
1. The Musee de l’Orangerie is smaller and is a more focused art experience. Housing Monet’s eight water lilies this is an impressionist art lovers dream. Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Henri Rousseau’s works are featured in the musuem. Travel Tip: Unlike the Mona Lisa, you can spend hours looking at these massive paintings, in fact the rooms have long benches to do so.
2. My number one museum isn’t the Louvre, shocking? Not really, while the Louvre is impressive, it’s also large and confusing to navigate. Travel Tip: the Mona Lisa, is tiny and about the size of a MacBook, people clog the area so either get there early or late. On a budget? If you have an international student ID card most museums will let you in for free, but double check. I have one from ISIC, I paid $27 got in for free at all the museums.
Travel Tip: Head to the Louvre early to avoid the crowds. Then head to one of the cafes to have breakfast overlooking the glass pyramid.
Sunsets. Who doesn’t love a sunset?
1. Best view of Paris is from Montparnasse Tower. There’s a restaurant at the top, and while the food can set you back a lot, grab a drink and enjoy the view. This is number one because at Montparnasse you get the Eiffel Tower in your view.
2. Sacre Couer is my second pick. Not only does it have the views, but it’s littered with musicians who serenade you for free.
Travel Tip: beware of pic-pocketers and the beggars, they are usually harmless just be mindful and cautious.
Travel Tip : In the summer time there a few rooftop bars where you can watch the sunset from. Get there early as there usually tends to be a wait or a long line.
Paris is the city of lights, so go out and dance the night away.
1. My favorite club of all time is Queen. It’s a gay club with strippers. Everyone goes there, it’s a blast, just trust me. Showcase was a club my friends and stumbled on, that night was pretty legendary.
2. The latin quarter is filled with a ton of bars, so bar hop till your feet can’t hop anymore. If you are on a budget the bars don’t normally have a cover charge.
Travel Tip: If you are thinking about going to the Moulin Rouge upgrade to the champagne package. Due however avoid the dinner option as the seats are actually further back from the stage.
Treats. They are everywhere, beware.
1. Macarons are everywhere so eat them, they are delicious and out of all the french cuisine you can eat, the cheapest. Laudree is my favorite and having tea at their Champs Elysee location is like a dream.
2. The first time I ate Nutella was in Paris, I was 20 years old, and #ForeverChanged. I’ll never forget my first crepe or my 14374th, and ill never stop loving them. Eat one while walking the Seine.
Travel Tip: Check out our post on dining at Chez Julien here. It is one of my favorite places to eat in Paris.