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Paris Bucket List: Best Things to do in Paris

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Visiting Paris is a bucket list trip for many, but which activities and attractions should go on your Paris bucket list when there are so many to choose from?

If you’ve tried putting together an itinerary for a visit to Paris, chances are you’re feeling quite lost in the sea of things to do and see. Here’s where this article comes in. It will give you a quick overview of some things that you might need to put on your personal best things to do in Paris list.

Keep reading for your Paris bucket list!

Explore Montmartre

Historic basilica on the top of a hill

In short, there is no visiting Paris without Montmartre. The artist district of Paris is situated on a hill in Paris’ 8th arrondissement and has been the home of many big-name artists, such as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent van Gogh. 

On top of the hill sits the imposing Sacre Coeur basilica which offers magnificent views over Paris.

From the Basilica it’s just a short walk to the heart of Montmartre, Place du Tertre, known as a gathering place for artists and tourists alike.

From there, you should follow the streets of Montmartre and make sure not to miss Le Consulat, Le Maison Rose, the Wall of Love, and the Montmartre vineyard.

While strolling around and if you’re exploring by yourself, set the mood by putting your headphones in and listening to the Amelie soundtrack, get a crepe and lose yourself in this wonderful neighborhood.

Get crepes from a street creperie

person making a crepe

Sweet or savory, a crepe is always a good idea in Paris! There’s a creperie on almost every corner so if you’re feeling peckish, go for one.

Most often, savory options will include a combination of cheese, mushrooms, and ham toppings. They’ll differ in cheese selection; some will come with a variety of different cheeses, maybe eggs, your choice of cured meat product, like bacon and prosciutto, and sauteed greens.

The classic sweet options include the classic sugar and lemon juice combo, Nutella and banana, chantilly cream, almonds, hazelnuts, or a choice of jam. If you’re in for a classic, you absolutely cannot miss a sugar and lemon juice crepe or a Nutella one.

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Visit the Galeries Lafayette and its rooftop bar

large christmas tree in the middle of a grand building

Galeries Lafayette is an upscale department store on Boulevard Haussman in Paris’ 9th arrondissement near Opera Garnier. 

While this store is a sight to see at any time, it’s at its most wonderful during Christmastime when it’s lavishly decorated in Christmas ornaments, including a large suspended Christmas tree. 

Every Friday, visitors can enjoy a free fashion show at 3 pm, but only if you make reservations in advance. 

The rooftop has a bar, a restaurant, and a terrace that offers fantastic views of Paris including the Eiffel Tower, Invalides, and the Montparnasse Tower.

It’s not unusual for it to be absolutely swarmed with tourists trying to catch a glimpse of its splendor, so try to visit during the week. 

Take in the Eiffel Tower light show

view of the eiffel tower at night when it is lit up

A Paris bucket list entry for anyone is surely visiting the Eiffel Tower, and that is good by itself. But an even better activity is to watch the Eiffel Tower light show.

It happens every full hour after dusk until 1 am and lasts for 5 minutes, and it’s a wonderful way to end any day in Paris.

Visit a museum

large clock face on the front of an old building

Paris is a city of many museums, so visiting one should be on everybody’s Paris bucket list. If it’s your first time, then visiting one of the big three museums in Paris is probably a good idea. 

The Louvre doesn’t need any special introduction as one of the most famous museums in the world. It’s home to the Mona Lisa and many other famous works of art.

Another option is Musée d’Orsay, slightly less universally known but not any less important than the Louvre.

A bonus, the building of the museum is a former railway station, Gare d’Orsay, and it still features a grand clock. It houses the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art from painters such as Claude Monet, Cezanne, and Van Gogh, as well as sculptures, photography, and furniture.

The third option, a great choice for fans of modern art, is the Centre Pompidou. The Centre itself houses a public information library, a music and acoustic research center, and the National Museum of Modern Art.

In a city known for its art, visiting a museum and getting lost among the artwork is one of the best things to do in Paris.

Ride a golf cart around Versailles

gardens that are directly outside the palace of Versailles

While not technically in Paris, visiting Versailles should be on everyone’s Paris bucket list if only they’re staying long enough. While the Versailles Palace itself is well worth the ticket price, if that’s not your thing, just visit the Gardens.

Access to the large park around the Palace is free, and you can stroll around and discover every nook and secret path in the gardens. They cover a vast area, so if you want to save your legs and have some fun, rent a golf cart and ride it around, stopping wherever you want to explore more.

You can take the cart to all the most important sights of the gardens, like the Trianon palaces and Queen Antoinette’s Hamlet.

Explore, ride around and have a blast!

Enjoy a hot chocolate at Angelina

Situated in the heart of Paris, just a couple of steps from the Louvre and Place de la Concorde and right opposite the Jardin de Tuileries, Angelina is a 20th-century Paris establishment. 

It’s widely known for its hot chocolate, and if you’re visiting during the winter months, this should absolutely be on your Paris bucket list. The thick hot chocolate is not too sweet and served with a side of cream, a treat for the cold, dreary, Parisian winter.

If you’re not a fan of hot chocolate, Angelina has a wonderful selection of other pastries and macarons, with the most famous among them, the Mont Blanc. 

Explore the Canal Saint Martin neighborhood

small river with trees hanging over it

If you’re up for exploring outside of the city center, then the Canal Saint Martin neighborhood is just for you. The canal is 4.6 km long and is an oasis of peace; its two banks are mostly filled with benches, trees, and little tables perfect for picnics.

The neighborhood is filled with delicious ethnic restaurants, little shops, and cafes. Here you’ll find incredible dishes in the most unlikely places and little delis that offer everything you’d possibly need for a picnic by the canal.

A Paris bucket list activity if you like exploring interesting neighborhoods and hunting for unique souvenirs.

Explore the French cuisine

two meals and wine sitting on a small round table

There is so much to say about French cuisine you could write books about it. In fact, you could write books about separate parts of French cuisine. And when in Paris, the only thing that’s left for you to do is to try as much of it as you can.

If you are an enjoyer of savory food, try some French classics like a Croque Monsieur, French onion soup, foie gras, buckwheat galettes, and steak tartare. 

Don’t miss out on visiting some delis, where you can get some delicious cheeses and charcuterie, hop to the bakery for a baguette and make a picnic of it.

On the sweet side, the world of French pastry is vast. Try everything, from the classic croissant and brioche with various fillings to pain au chocolates, profiteroles, eclairs, madeleines, and macarons to little fruit-filled tarts and cakes. You will not be disappointed.

Watch the sunrise from Trocadero

view of the Eiffel Tower from across an empty plaza

This one is pretty straightforward. Place du Trocadero is one of the best places to watch the sunrise over Paris.

The sun’s rays will literally shine through the Eiffel Tower directly towards the Trocadero Gardens, and because the Trocadero is an open area, you will get an unobstructed view of the golden sky with the Eiffel Tower. 

An added bonus is that because most people are not up before sunrise, you’ll get the amazing view mostly to yourself, a luxury in a city as busy as Paris.

Have a picnic in a Parisian garden

red and white flowers surrounding a square grass field

Paris is a city of many beautiful gardens and squares that just call for a picnic. No matter which park you choose, go buy a tasty baguette and something sweet from a bakery, some delicious cheese, and some condiments and enjoy the green spaces the city has to offer. And don’t forget to bring some delicious French wine!

Choose between a central park, like the Champs du Mars with a view over the Eiffel Tower, or Jardin des Tuileries. Maybe you’d prefer something less central like the Jardin du Luxembourg or Jardin des Plantes or even one of the Parisians’ most loved parks, the Buttes Chaumont.

Never fear; whichever you choose you won’t be disappointed.

Paris has so much to offer; trying to fit things into a short bucket list is really hard. Besides the really big, popular sights, there’s a myriad of other, less popular but no less interesting activities that are well worth your attention and time.

Hopefully, you found some unique ideas and can now make your own exciting Paris bucket list.

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