20 Things You Must Do When Vacationing in Paris! - Updated 2021

20 Things You Must Do When Vacationing in Paris!
Eunice
Eunice
Updated

Paris is one of the world’s most visited cities and will continue to be a popular destination for many years to come. And because numerous tourists flock to Paris annually, many of the iconic attractions often have huge crowds. Instead of competing with the crowds, how about trying something a little bit different? So, whether you’re a first-time visitor to Paris or an honorary Parisian, we hope you find something new worth visiting on our list of the best things to do in Paris!

1. Look for Paris' first-ever patisserie

Rue montorgueil
Source: Photo by user Ralf.treinen used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Rue Montorgueil may not be well-known to tourists, but it’s a charming street you can’t help but fall in love with. As you stroll around, you’ll notice that it’s lined with many stores. From shops selling local produce to kitchen supply stores, your inner shopaholic can’t help but go crazy! And when you’re feeling peckish, pop into any of the many cafes present there. However, there’s one cafe that stands out more than others. Stohrer is the oldest patisserie in Paris, and is also home to arguably the best Baba Au Rhum in the city because it was created here!

Stohrer

Address: 51 Rue Montorgueil, 75002 Paris, France

Opening Hours: 7.30 am - 8.30 pm, daily.

2. Admire gorgeous art from famed artists

Musée d'Orsay, Paris 7th 008
Source: Photo by user Moonik used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Paris is home to many different museums, and while the Louvre is gorgeous, don’t overlook Musee d'Orsay. This world-renowned museum is famous for having a rich collection of Impressionist art and is even one of Europe’s largest art museums! Despite having a heavy focus on Impressionist art, other forms of art are represented here too. From sculptures to photography, everything in this museum will definitely inspire you! So, visit Musee d'Orsay and get up close and personal with art from famed artists like Monet and Van Gogh.

Musee d'Orsay

Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris, France

Price: from 12.90 USD (Adults), 9.70 USD (Young Adults not EU citizens, ages 18-25, for everyone from 4.30 pm (except Thursdays) and for everyone on Thursday evenings, from 6 pm, free-of-charge (Children, ages 18 and under)

Opening Hours: 9.30 am - 6 pm, but 9.45 pm on Thursday. Closed on Mondays.

Website: Musee d'Orsay

3. Discover the graves of celebrities (from USD 25.0)

Père Lachaise Cemetery 03
Source: Photo by user Aschaf used under CC BY 2.0

Cemeteries aren’t a common place to visit while you’re on vacation, however, you should definitely stop by the world’s most visited cemetery! Pere Lachaise is a large cemetery is the final resting place for many including some famous personalities such as Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. But, if you’re afraid to get lost in the cemetery, a walking tour is available. On this tour, you’ll surely be entertained by the hilarious anecdotes you’ll be told and will be completely immersed in the tour. This is certainly off the typical tourist path!

Paris' Pere Lachaise Gravestone Walking Tour

Duration: 2 hours

10 reviews

4. Drink a cup of Paris' best hot chocolate


Parisians have a love affair with chocolat chaud, or hot chocolate, so much so that many cafes serve it. With so many cafes to choose from, which one should you visit? Go big, or go home and grab the best hot chocolate in the whole of Paris! Angelina Paris serves a decadent cup of hot chocolate, which also comes with a side of freshly whipped cream. While there, visitors should give their sweet treats a shot including their signature Mont Blanc! A visit to Angelina is quintessential to any foodie visiting Paris. Just note, that they’re most crowded on the weekends.

Angelina Paris

Address: 226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France

Price: from 6.90 USD

Opening Hours: 7.30 am - 7 pm (Monday - Friday), 8.30 am - 7.30 pm (Saturday & Sunday)

Website: Angelina Paris

5. Explore the world through food

Lunch at le Marais, Paris (31990825322)
Source: Photo by user Jukka used under CC BY 2.0

Paris seems to ooze sophistication and charm, but how about trying something a little bit different with a visit to the oldest covered market in Paris, Marché des Enfants Rouges. It might not be the most fabulous looking location, but you’ll be treated to affordable buys and eats. It might get crowded at times, so if you don’t want to battle it out with the crowds, grab some food and head to a nearby park for a picnic (more about that later). However, if you’re hungry and don’t mind the crowds, pop into the eateries that feature cuisines from all over the world. Many recommend Le Traiteur Marocain, for plenty of Moroccan food or Chez Taeko for some tasty and authentic Japanese food!

Marché des Enfants Rouges

Address: Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris, France

Opening Hours: 8.30 am - 7.30 pm (Tuesday - Saturday), 8.30 am - 2 pm (Sunday). Closed on Mondays, and hours vary from store to store as well.

6. The not so little Petit Palace

France Paris Petit Palais renove Entree 02
Source: Photo by user Calips used under CC BY 2.5

The Petit Palace is not at all little! It’s a humongous and beautifully constructed building that was built for the 1900 Universal Exposition, and then two years later, it was converted into a museum. As you walk around the museum, you’ll be able to admire beautiful paintings by artists like Monet and Rembrandt. Besides paintings, jewelry and porcelain are on exhibit. The Petit Palace also features a beautiful courtyard garden, providing visitors with a quiet place to relax.

Petit Palais

Address: Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris

Price: from 10.60 USD (Adults), 7.42 USD (14 - 26 year olds), for temporary exhibitions. Admission to permanent collections is free-of-charge.

Opening Hours: 10 am to 6 pm (Tuesday - Sunday). Closed on Mondays and public holidays.

Duration: around 3 hours required.

Website: Petit Palais

7. Find out more about French royalty

Basilica di saint Denis vetrata 05
Source: Photo by user Sailko used under CC BY 2.5

Paris is well-known for attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, but how about heading to the overlooked Basilica of St. Denis? It’s a majestic building that’s fit for royalty, and that’s quite literal since many members of the French royal families were buried here. You can also view the heart of Louis XVIII or even some magnificent and historical funerary sculptures. Basilica of St. Denis is also home to many of the finest examples of medieval stained-glass in the world, so stand there admire the sunlight shining through the windows.

Basilica of St. Denis

Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 93200 Saint-Denis, France

Price: from 9.54 USD (Adults) and free-of-charge (Children, ages 18 and under, with their family).

Opening Hours: Opening hours are subject to change, check the website for more information.

Website: Basilica of St Denis

8. Have a look at the Eiffel Tower from afar

View from Printemps, south west towards the Eiffel Tower, Paris 5 September 2008
Source: Photo by user Chris Eason used under CC BY 2.0

If you love shopping, Printemps, a large, French department store, is a must-visit! However, if you’re looking for a fantastic and panoramic view of Paris, which also includes a view of the Eiffel Tower, the rooftop terrace is a great place to go to. After a long day out exploring Paris, you could ride the elevator all the way up to the top floor of Printemps and just relax and unwind. Grab a warm mug of coffee or tea, and just watch in amazement as the sun sets over Paris.

Printemps Rooftop Terrace

Address: 64 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris, France

Price: Free-of-charge

Opening Hours: 9.35 am - 8 pm (Monday - Saturday), open till 10 pm on Thursday.

9. Learn to bake your own macarons (from USD 185.0)

Have a hands-on baking experience
Source: Viator

With its brilliant pastries and desserts, Paris is a sweet tooth’s utopia. But once your vacation is over, it might be difficult to find authentic French pastries at home. So prevent that travesty by enrolling in the Pastry and Dessert cooking class. Have a hands-on learning experience and bake according to the instructions given to you by a professional chef. You can choose between five different classes: a choux pastry dessert class, a puff pastry dessert class, a macaron making class, a croissant making class, and a French pastry and dessert class. So, you’re sure to find a class that suits your taste, and with your new skills, you can whip up your favourite French desserts until your heart’s content.

Private French Dessert Classes with a Professional Chef

Duration: 2 hours

10 reviews

10. Dig through troves of hidden treasures

Les Puces de Saint Ouen by Paris-Sharing - 1
Source: Photo by user Carsten Sprotte used under CC BY 2.0

Paris is a wonderful city that just seems so put-together, but there are also some tangled, jumbled spots. If you have some time, head over to Paris’ largest flea market, Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen. There are different stores that focus on products like antique furniture or paintings, so just spend some time exploring all the different stores.

Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen

Address: 75018 Saint-Ouen, France

Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm (Saturday), 10 am - 6 pm (Sunday) and 11 am - 5 pm (Monday)

Website: Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen

11. Customise and produce your own unique scent (from USD 171.0)

Learn to identify scents in perfume
Source: Viator

Paris is also well-known for is its high-quality perfumes. Creating your own perfume at a Perfume Workshop can be an interesting way to spend an afternoon. In this two-hour class, you’ll be taught the history of perfume, how it was created, and how to identify and describe a perfume’s ingredients. The final part of the workshop is to create your own unique scent. Bring home the sent you created and whenever you use it, you’re sure to remember all your good memories of Paris!

Paris Create Your Own Perfume Workshop

Duration: 2 hours

10 reviews

12. Recline on the grass while watching a film

Rio Samba School statue @ Parc de La Villette @ Paris (28881779791)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Guilhem Vellut used under CC BY 2.0

If you’re a film lover who’s vacationing in Paris during the summer, you’re in luck! Lounge on the grass of one of Paris’ most beautiful parks while enjoying an engrossing film. This year, the festival will be celebrating its 27th event taking place in Paris. Each year, the films that are shown are based on an overarching theme, and this year, the theme is ‘cooking.’ If you want to pop by, you can bring a mat and some snacks to enjoy while watching the films.

Open-air cinema in Parc de la Villette

Address: 211 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris, France

Price: Free-of-charge.

Opening Hours: 12 July - 20 August.

Website: Open-air cinema in Parc de la Villette

13. Admire the city from Paris' highest hill

Paris view from Sacre Coeur DSC 0371
Source: Photo by user Pline used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Montmartre is the largest hill in Paris, and perched right on top is the outstanding Sacre-Coeur. As you walk to the entrance of the basilica, you’ll feel as though you’re heading right into heaven. Along the way, you can view a large mural that features Jesus Christ with outstretched arms, a golden heart, surrounded by Joan Arc and the Virgin Mary. It’s truly magnificent and will make your trip worthwhile. Additionally, if you’re willing to pay an additional fee, you can actually climb to the top of its 271-foot tall dome to enjoy the panoramic view of Paris that awaits you!

Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

Address: 5 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France

Price: Free-of-charge (Basilica). Various rates, ask for more information (Dome).

Opening Hours: 6 am - 10 pm, everyday (Basilica). 8.30 am - 8 pm (May - September) and 9 am - 5 pm (October - April). Open every day (Dome).

Website: Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

14. Do as the locals do and have a picnic

Campos de Marte
Source: Photo by user Francisco Rojas used under CC BY 2.0

Picnicking seems to be the must-do activity amongst locals and tourists alike, and we think it’s because they want to take advantage of the great weather and pristine gardens and parks. Which park should you picnic in and what food should you choose? Have no fear, because Secret Picnic Paris will deal with all of that for you! Just book a picnic that appeals to you most, and they’ll do the rest. With Secret Picnic Paris, visitors can even lay down on the provided mat at Champ de Mars and enjoy a tasty meal right in front of the ever iconic Eiffel Tower.

Secret Picnic Paris

Address: 2 Allée Adrienne Lecouvreur, 75007 Paris, France

Price: Depends on the picnic you choose, check website for more information.

Website: Secret Picnic Paris

15. Reminiscence about your childhood at funfairs

Musée des Arts Forains (2015-07-30 02.59.30 by Laika ac)
Source: Photo by user Laika ac used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Growing up, many of us create fond memories of going to funfairs, so how about reliving those good ol’ days and visit a museum that’s dedicated to amusement parks! The Musee des Arts Forains showcases a variety of amusement park memorabilia that was found in various parks from 1850-1950! Some examples of the memorabilia that are featured here are carousels, merry-go-rounds, swings, and so much more! And to top off this magical experience, you can play a carnival game or enjoy a ride on an old, yet glorious carousel. Take note, entrance to the museum is by appointment only, and you’ll be accompanied by an entertaining guide.

Musee des Arts Forains

Address: 53 Avenue des Terroirs de France, 75012 Paris, France

Price: from 17 USD (Adults), 8.50 USD (Children, ages 4 - 11), free-of-charge (Children, ages 4 and under), entrance is by appointment only.

Opening Hours: By appointment only.

Duration: around 1.5 hours required.

Website: Musee des Arts Forains

16. Explore Paris' only elevated linear park


We’ve all probably heard of New York City’s High Line Park, which is an elevated park that was built upon a section of a disused railway line. However, most of us would have never of heard of its predecessor and inspiration, the Coulee Verte Rene Dumont. Coulee Verte Rene Dumont or it was previously known as Promenade Plantée, is a linear park that was constructed on top of the obsolete railway infrastructure in the 12th arrondissement. It’s three storeys off the ground and is about 4.7 kilometres long, so you can explore what’s on the path while having a bird’s-eye view over the area around you. So for a quiet day to yourself, take some time strolling through the park.

Coulée verte René-Dumont

Address: 69 Rue de Lyon, 75012 Paris, France

Price: Free-of-charge.

Opening Hours: 8am - 5.30pm (winter) or 9.30pm (summer) (Monday - Friday). 9am - 5.30pm (winter) or 9.30pm (summer) (Saturday & Sunday).

17. Cycle into the night (from USD 54.0)

Cycle and watch the sunset
Source: Viator

On the flip side on the scary tour mentioned in the previous post, this is a night tour that celebrates Paris as The City of Light. Paris is a fairly flat city with many bike-friendly lanes and roads, making it easy to cycle around. On this tour, you’ll get to experience the sun setting over Paris in real-time. And as the skies get darker and darker, the lights of the attractions illuminate the night sky like stars. Anyone can take this tour, no matter their fitness level, as it’s not strenuous at all. You’ll also be given opportunities to dismount from the bike and take a photo at the various attractions. Before the tour ends, you’ll hop on a Seine River cruise where you can admire the Eiffel Tower from a unique vantage point with a complimentary glass of French wine to enhance the experience.

Paris Sightseeing Night Bike Tour with Seine River Cruise

Duration: 4 hours

10 reviews

18. Have dinner in complete darkness


Lastly, for a unique and humbling experience, how about having dinner in the dark at Dans Le Noir? Many of us are able-bodied individuals and cannot relate to people with visual impairment, so this dining experience will let you understand the luxury you have. You’ll pick a menu that consists of a surprise meal, leave your phones at the door (as they emit light), and then you’ll be guided into a completely darkened dining area. So, all that’s left to do is to consume your meal or have a drink without creating a mess. It might sound easy, but you’ll slowly come to realise how difficult it is just trying to poke at your food. Once you’re done with dinner, you’ll come to see how essential your vision is to your daily life, and hopefully, appreciate it even more.

Dans Le Noir?

Address: 51 Rue Quincampoix, 75004 Paris, France

Price: Differs from what menu you choose, check website for more information.

Opening Hours: 7.30 am - 10.30 pm. On the weekends, it is open for lunch from 12.30 pm - 2.30 pm.

Website: Dans Le Noir?

19. Discover the dark and sinister secrets of the City of Light (from USD 23.0)

Dead rats on display in the window of Aurouze, an exterminator in Paris
Source: Photo by user Doc Searls used under CC BY 2.0

Paris is often known as the City of Light and the Eiffel Tower, standing tall and proud seems to act as the city’s protector. However, something dark and sinister lurks beneath its cracks and you’ll get to experience all of that first-hand, while guided by a masterful storyteller. You’ll learn about the scary history and spine-tingling ghost stories that will make you shake in your boots. One of the scary locations you’ll be visiting is the Rat Trap Shop and you’re sure to feel a teensy bit freaked out when your eyes gaze upon the storefront that features several stuffed rats hanging from traps. This is a tour is a must for horror lovers.

Ghosts, Mysteries and Legends Night Walking Tour of Paris

Duration: 2 hours

10 reviews

20. Taste French wine and champagne (from USD 82.0)

Learn about wine from an experienced sommelier
Source: Viator

France is world-known for its amazing cuisine, and the drink that best complements the food is French wine! There are numerous types of wine, so you might want to learn more about different wines. Combat your confusion by joining this cool tour. You can choose between 3 tour types: wine tasting and lunch tour, French wine and champagne tour, and Grand Cru wine tasting. Depending on which tour you choose, you’ll be drinking several glasses of wine while being guided by an experienced sommelier. Visitors will also get to snack on a cheese and charcuterie platter. So if you love wine, or want to learn more, this tour will truly be an eye-opening experience.

Paris French Wine Tasting in Elegant Bar with Lunch & Champagne Options

Duration: 2 hours

10 reviews

Paris has plenty to do for everyone!

We can totally understand why so many tourists flock to Paris—there’s just so much to see and do! If you feel overwhelmed or would like to try something a bit different, you are sure to find something that catches your eye on this list with 20 great options of things to do.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Eunice is an introvert and is most comfortable snuggling in her bed and reading a book. However, mention travelling to her and she's always willing to jump out for a new adventure!

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