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Things to do in Paris

Things to do in  Paris

Welcome to Paris

Even first-time visitors experience a sense of familiarity when they arrive in Paris, with its instantly recognizable monuments, tightly packed bistro terraces, and chic boutiques. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Louvre Museum are three attractions rarely left off any itinerary—and for good reason. For more, add on a Seine River cruise, Montmartre walking tour, Moulin Rouge dinner show, and day trip to the Palace of Versailles. But for all its iconic scenery and artistic treasures, there’s something to be said for discovering the City of Light like a Parisian, with leisurely visits to cafés, boulangeries, and the narrow alleyways of ‘arrondissements’ (neighborhoods).

Top 15 attractions in Paris

Eiffel Tower

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The Eiffel Tower isn't just a symbol of Paris but a symbol for all of France. Erected by Gustave Eiffel to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution in 1889, the 1,050-foot (320-meter) tower once held the title of the world's tallest structure. Despite having been dwarfed by Dubai's Burj Khalifa and The Shard in London, the Eiffel Tower remains one of the most recognizable landmarks on the planet. View the architectural icon from afar, or stop in at the three observation levels for stellar city views.More

Louvre

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Primarily associated with the steady gaze of Leonardo Da Vinci's famous Mona Lisa, Paris' Louvre museum is home to a 35,000-strong collection of paintings and sculptures considered one of the greatest in the world. The contemporary glass Louvre Pyramid heralds the museum's entrance, which millions of tourists flock to every year to feast their eyes on masterpieces that span from antiquity to the 20th century.More

River Seine

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The lifeblood of Paris, the River Seine acts as a dividing line between Paris’ historically sophisticated and bohemian halves; it provides transportation via riverboat and plenty of opportunity for romantic strolls; and its riverbanks are a UNESCO World Heritage Site lined with the city’s top landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Musée d’Orsay, Jardin des Tuileries, and the Louvre.More

Notre Dame Cathedral

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Second only to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris) is one of Paris' most iconic attractions, a marvel of medieval architecture that was immortalized in Victor Hugo's classic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Today, the Gothic grandeur and stained-glass windows of the UNESCO World Heritage site continue to reign supreme from Ile de la Cite, an island in the middle of the Seine River.(UPDATE: Notre Dame Cathedral is currently off-limits due to fire damage.)More

Orsay Museum (Musée d'Orsay)

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Rivaling the Louvre as Paris' favorite art museum, the Orsay Museum (Musée d'Orsay) is known for its impressionist, post-impressionist, and art nouveau works from 1848 to 1914. Equally impressive as what’s inside the museum is its exterior: a former Beaux-Arts railway station with an enviable location on the banks of the Seine River. Both architecture and art buffs will want this museum on their Parisian itineraries.More

Moulin Rouge

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Expect bright lights, extravagant costumes, and raucous music at the world-famous Moulin Rouge. Opened in the Belle Epoque of 1889 to celebrate Paris' thriving creative scene and the end of the civil war, the windmill-cum-cabaret hall has never stopped basking in fun and frivolity. As a staple of Parisian nightlife, an unforgettable evening at the Moulin Rouge is a must on any traveler's France itinerary.More

Grand Palais

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The Grand Palais is one of Paris’ most beautiful and recognizable structures. Debuted in 1900 in time for the World’s Fair, the architectural marvel is famed for its colossal nave, Beaux-Arts architecture, and immense glass roof. Today, the Grand Palais houses several gallery areas and also hosts tournaments, Chanel fashion shows, and other major events.More

Latin Quarter (Quartier Latin)

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Paris’ Latin Quarter is a popular, historical area of the Left Bank. Home to the main Sorbonne campus, this dynamic, student-filled neighborhood was once frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and other revolutionaries. Today it’s distinguished for its buzzing cafés, lively restaurants, and must-see landmarks.More

Pont Alexandre III

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One of many bridges that cross the Seine, Pont Alexandre III was officially unveiled in 1900. Widely considered the city’s most beautiful and opulent bridge, it connects the Champs-Élysées and Grand Palais on the Right Bank with Invalides on the Left, making it a popular thoroughfare for tour groups and amblers.More

Place de la Concorde

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Situated on the right bank of the Seine River and flanked by the idyllic Tuileries Garden and the grand boulevard of Champs-Élysées, Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris. The infamous guillotines of the French Revolution were located here, but today the square is best known for striking monuments, elegant hotels, and elaborate fountains.More

Montmartre

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Crowned by the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, historic Montmartre in Paris’ 18th arrondissement is famed for its cobblestone streets, artsy past and present, and central hill. Visitors flock here to imagine what life was like during the Belle Epoque—when artists such as Dalí, Renoir, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Picasso lived and worked in Montmartre—as well as get their portrait sketched in Place du Tertre.More

Pont Neuf

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Though it translates to “New Bridge” in French, the Pont Neuf is in fact the oldest bridge in Paris, built in 1607 to connect the banks of the river Seine to Ile de la Cite. Known in the 18th and 19th centuries for its unsavory street vendors and pickpockets, Pont Neuf is now a tranquil pedestrian bridge and meeting place for visitors and locals alike.More

Avenue des Champs-Élysées

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The Arc de Triomphe looks down upon the grand tree-lined boulevard that is Avenue des Champs-Élysées: one of Paris’ most memorable sights and one of the world’s most famous avenues. It’s not just the striking architecture that captivates visitors—the shopping street is lined with designer boutiques, luxury hotels, and fine restaurants.More

Palais Garnier

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Home to the Opera de Paris, ballet performances, and the fictional Phantom of the Opera, the grand 19th-century Palais Garnier—also known as Opera Garnier—recalls the splendor of France’s Second Empire, an era synonymous with elegance and extravagance. Beyond its opulent exterior and foyer, the 2,000-seat auditorium is a riot of red velvet, gold, and bronze, with a massive chandelier and a colorful ceiling painting by modernist master Marc Chagall.More

Arc de Triomphe

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An instantly recognizable symbol of Paris, the colossal Arc de Triomphe stands at the epicenter of Place Charles de Gaulle, where 12 of the city’s busiest avenues converge. The Napoleon-commissioned monument, adorned with high-relief sculptures depicting sword-wielding soldiers and inscribed with the names of generals and battles, celebrates French military victories and remembers all those who have fought on behalf of France. The top of the arch, accessible via 284 steps, affords superb views over all of Paris.More

Trip ideas

The Do's and Don'ts of the Paris Catacombs

The Do's and Don'ts of the Paris Catacombs

Top activities in Paris

Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Dinner & Sightseeing Cruise
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Eiffel Tower Skip the Line Ticket Summit Priority Access with Host
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Louvre Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tour with Venus de Milo & Mona Lisa
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Big Bus Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Big Bus Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

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Disneyland® Paris Entrance Ticket

Disneyland® Paris Entrance Ticket

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Mont Saint Michel Guided Day Trip from Paris
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Louvre Museum Paris - Exclusive Guided Tour (Reserved Entry Included!)
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Eiffel Tower Skip the Line and Small Group Tour with Summit Access by Elevator
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Paris Crazy Horse Cabaret Show with Champagne or Drinks
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Versailles Palace Priority Access Guided Tour Optional Show - Pickup by Minivan
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Paris Montmartre walking tasting tour with Secret Food Tours
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Paris by Night with Seine River Cruise and Moulin Rouge Show with Champagne
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Paris

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Alexis was fabulous....
Jennifer_G, Nov 2022
Tour in Citroën 2CV Paris Secret - 2H
Great overview of the city that we would not have been able to see otherwise.
star-5
Great tour and guide
John_S, Nov 2022
Paris Your Perfect Day in the City Custom Private Tour
Got to see our main points of interest at a very manageable pace.
star-5
Something different you will always remember
dadster, Nov 2022
Workshop in Paris: Create your Own Perfume
Booked a trip to Paris for a few days and thought this would be an interesting thing to do it did not disappoint, we both really enjoyed the workshop and her knowledge of fragrance was immeasurable a really enjoyable departure from the normal tourist activities with this knowledgable lady you will both love it!
star-5
Visited Paris and got the pics to prove it!
CariLyn_B, Nov 2022
See 15+ Top Sights Paris Tour with Fun Guide, (Walking and Metro Tour)
This was not an in-depth history lesson but rather an enjoyable way to see many of the sights in Paris!
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Tour guide was on time...
Marie_S, Nov 2022
Eiffel Tower Skip the Line and Small Group Tour with Summit Access by Elevator
We had a 9pm tour and it was beautiful to see Paris from the summit.
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Good Service
Sue_C, Nov 2022
Big Bus Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
A great way to see Paris with the added bonus of tickets for a day time river cruise and The Arc De Triomphe .
star-5
Perfect dinner cruise
Blueboard_C, Nov 2022
Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Dinner & Sightseeing Cruise
The fact that you get to see some of best attractions in Paris while cruising along the river and having dinner is one of the best experiences.
star-5
Great value for Siene River Cruise
sbelle1993, Nov 2022
Seine River Cruise & French Crepe Tasting At The Foot of the Eiffel Tower
Tour was very efficient and was the appropriate amount of time to see some key sites in Paris.
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Do this!
Amy_B, Nov 2022
Bike Paris treasures with a live guide - Families & Friends
We saw so many of the places we wanted to visit in Paris.
star-4
Nice food tour in Marais
Douglas_K, Nov 2022
Le Marais Paris The Original District Food and Wine Tasting Tour
Due to being so popular it was hard to get around, and even make some places unable to visit.
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Amazing hat making!!!
Lawrence_D, Nov 2022
Craft a unique souvenir hat with Lady Gaga’s renowned hatmaker
My wife and I were in Paris for our 25th wedding anniversary and always try to find unique and fun things to do.
star-5
Fun and good way to see Paris
Rodney_A, Nov 2022
Tour en 2CV Paris! Paris! - 2H
Fun and unique way to see Paris.
star-4
Great way to see Paris.
Tanya_M, Nov 2022
One Hour Seine River Cruise with Recorded Commentary
Great way to see paris from a different perspective.
star-4
Great experience.
Tanya_M, Nov 2022
Palace of Versailles Self Guided Tour with Gardens Access & Transfers from Paris
Great way to see versailles on your own.
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Very informative tour
David_B, Nov 2022
Paris in a Day: Sacre Coeur, Eiffel Tower, Seine River Cruise & Louvre Museum
In spite of the rain, we managed to see so many places in Paris!
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Highly recommended
Oscar_C, Nov 2022
Night / Sunset Tour of Paris in Electric Bike
You get to see a lot of places and if you’re not sure what to do the next few days, this tour can give you a really good guide indication as to what to do.
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On board and on foot, the best way to see Paris.
Carolyn_Y, Nov 2022
Big Bus Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
This tour gives you the opportunity to see some of the best of Paris from two perspectives.
star-5
Very informative, highly recommend.
Nic_D, Nov 2022
Paris Half-Day City Tour with a Private Driver
Very comfortable way to see Paris.
star-5
Wonderful Water tour of Paris
Donnie_H, Nov 2022
Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Lunch & Sightseeing Cruise
Wonderful way to see Paris and relax with a gourmet meal
star-5
Fantastic
Juan_R, Nov 2022
Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Dinner & Sightseeing Cruise
We got to see all the sights that Paris had to offer along the river with live music.
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A local’s pocket guide to Paris

Jade Broggio

Jade worked in Paris’ La Défense neighborhood many moons ago and had an amazing time living in Ménilmontant, between the 11th and the 20th arrondissements (districts).

The first thing you should do in Paris is...

immerse yourself in the typical Parisian atmosphere. Order a coffee on the terrace of a bistro in Les Halles and contemplate the bustle of the city.

A perfect Saturday in Paris...

starts with brunch at Shouk, a Mediterranean restaurant in the 10th arrondissement. Then, follow Amélie’s footsteps down the Canal Saint-Martin, before meeting friends at Prune for a glass of wine (or two).

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Montmartre. Escape the crowds in the Place du Tertre and get lost a little further down the cobbled streets for a more local experience.

To discover the "real" Paris...

visit the 19th arrondissement. I like to stroll along the Buttes Chaumont and the Canal de l'Ourcq, before stopping by La Paname, an incredible brewery that overlooks the canal.

For the best view of the city...

go to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Montmartre or leave Paris for nearby Saint-Germain-en-Laye for a fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower and La Défense from the Saint-Germain Castle.

One thing people get wrong...

Parisians are not always on strike, but make sure to check the local news before planning your day.

People Also Ask

What should you not miss in Paris?

Paris is home to many unmissable attractions, from iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe to world-class museums including the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay. No visit is complete without strolling through atmospheric neighborhoods like the Marais and the Latin Quarter, or indulging in French baguettes, cheeses, and wine.

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What should I do on my first trip to Paris?

See Paris' top attractions on your first visit to the City of Light: Go on a Seine River cruise to admire many highlights, including the Eiffel Tower, and plan a visit to the Louvre. Ascend to Montmartre for impeccable city views, and visit the iconic Moulin Rouge for an unforgettable cabaret show.

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What are the local specialties in Paris?

Paris is known for its decadent culinary specialities, from croissants and freshly baked baguettes, to colorful macarons, hearty croque-monsieur sandwiches, and other timeless bistro fare. The best of French gastronomy is available in the City of Light, including hundreds of cheeses, exceptional wines (including Champagne), and cured meats.

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What entertainment is there in Paris?

Paris offers an enormous range of entertainment options, from rarified opera and ballet performances to racy cabaret revues at iconic venues such as the Moulin Rouge. Its theaters host a range of plays, comedy nights, and concerts throughout the year, while the Stade de France hosts soccer and rugby games.

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What do locals do for fun in Paris?

Paris locals often bypass touristy neighborhoods like the Latin Quarter in favor of the Canal Saint-Martin district, where they picnic along the water and share bottles of wine in trendy bars. Other locals-frequented destinations include the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, the hip Belleville district, and the boutiques of the Marais.

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Is Paris expensive?

Yes, Paris is expensive. It ranks among the world's most expensive cities, and luxury—from high-end department stores to Michelin-starred meals—is present at every turn. But there are cost-effective ways to explore the city: Enjoy panoramic views from Sacré-Coeur Basilica, window-shop on the Champs-Élysées, and see the cultural attractions of the Parc de la Villette.

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Frequently Asked Questions