4 July 2024


As the world turns its gaze towards Paris in anticipation of the upcoming Olympic Games, it is the perfect time to delve into the allure of this magical city. Known as the "City of Light", Paris dazzles with its boulevards, charming cafes, and the Seine River, while the Eiffel Tower stands as a beacon of elegance and innovation. 

Whether you are strolling along the Champs-Élysées, admiring the masterpieces in the Louvre, or savouring a croissant in a quaint Montmartre café, Paris ensures a wealth of experiences that cater to every taste and interest. In this article, we will highlight the 15 best things to do in Paris, showcasing the timeless beauty and endless possibilities that make this city a must-visit destination!


1. Get to know the heart of Old Paris at Le Marais

Get to know the heart of Old Paris at Le Marais

Le Marais is a neighbourhood that offers an enchanting blend of old-world charm and modern vibrancy. But Le Marais, which means "The Marsh", was once a swampy area that was radically transformed in the 12th century into a prestigious residential district. Nowadays, it is dotted with stunning examples of Renaissance architecture, such as the Hôtel de Sens and the Hôtel de Sully.

Le Marais is also a cultural hub, home to some of Paris’s most renowned museums. The Musée Carnavalet, dedicated to the history of Paris, offers an extensive collection of artifacts, paintings, and photographs that chronicle the city’s evolution from ancient times to the present day. The Musée Picasso, housed in the beautifully restored Hôtel Salé, showcases an impressive collection of works by the legendary artist.


2. Marvel at Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle

Marvel at Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle

The Île de la Cité, the historic heart of Paris, is a small island in the Seine River that holds some of the most iconic landmarks. Notre Dame Cathedral and Sainte-Chapelle stand out as two of the most awe-inspiring, drawing visitors from all over the world.

Notre Dame de Paris is one of the most beloved cathedrals in the world. As you approach the cathedral, its imposing façade, adorned with intricately carved statues and gargoyles, will immediately capture your attention. The interior of Notre Dame is equally spectacular. The famous South Rose Window is a stunning display of medieval stained-glass art and climbing to the top of the cathedral offers panoramic views of Paris and a close-up look at the gargoyles and chimera.


Marvel at Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle - 2-1


A short walk from Notre Dame, tucked within the Palais de la Cité, is Sainte-Chapelle, a Gothic chapel renowned for its stunning stained-glass windows. Built in the mid-13th century by King Louis IX to house his collection of Passion relics, including the Crown of Thorns, Sainte-Chapelle is a marvel of medieval engineering and artistry.


3. Admire the exquisite Opéra de Paris

Admire the exquisite Opéra de Paris

The Opéra Garnier, also known as the Palais Garnier, can be found in the 9th arrondissement and stands as a monumental testament to Paris's cultural and artistic heritage. Designed by Charles Garnier and completed in 1875, this grand opera house is an architectural marvel and a beacon of opulence. The first thing that strikes you is its imposing façade, with a harmonious blend of Neo-Baroque and Beaux-Arts styles.

The grand staircase of Opéra Garnier, known as the "Grand Escalier", is a wonder of marble and gilt with an air of dramatic flair. The highlight is undoubtedly the auditorium, designed to provide an intimate yet grandiose experience for the audience. The majestic chandelier casts a warm glow over the entire space. Another captivating feature is the ceiling, painted by Marc Chagall in 1964. A modern addition that contrasts beautifully with the classical décor, with Chagall’s whimsical style.


4. Climb up to Sacré-Coeur and visit this iconic Basilica 

Climb up to Sacré-Coeur and visit this iconic Basilica

Perched atop the highest point in Paris, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, commonly known as Sacré-Coeur, is a beacon of spirituality and architectural splendour. Located in the charming district of Montmartre, this basilica offers not only a place of worship but also spectacular panoramic views of the city. 

The grand entrance is marked by three arches and a majestic stairway, leading you to the intricately decorated façade. Statues of Joan of Arc and King Saint Louis IX flank the entrance, welcoming you with their solemn grace. The interior of Sacré-Coeur is as captivating as its exterior. The basilica's main attraction is the massive mosaic in the apse, one of the largest in the world, depicting Christ in Majesty with a golden heart. 


Climb up to Sacré-Coeur and visit this iconic Basilica - 2


The challenge most visitors face is ascending the narrow spiral staircase of approximately 300 steps that will take you to the top of the Basilica. We know 300 steps is a lot, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Your efforts will be worth it when you get to appreciate an unparalleled 360-degree view of Paris. What a dream!

But do not worry, if you feel like the stairs are really not a good idea - there is a funicular railway that offers a quick and scenic ride up the hill! From this vantage point, you can see landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the sprawling urban landscape stretching out to the horizon. The view from the dome is particularly stunning at sunrise or sunset when the city is bathed in a golden glow.


5. Embark on a river cruise along the Seine

Embark on a river cruise along the seine-1

A river cruise along the Seine has never sounded better! It is an enchanting way of exploring Paris’s as we believe the Seine offers a unique perspective. Just sit back and let the timeless beauty of the City of Lights unfold before your eyes as you cruise along this magnificent river. The Louvre Museum, with its grand Louvre Pyramid, and the Musée d’Orsay, housed in a former railway station, are just a couple of the cultural gems you will encounter along the way. You will also pass under graceful bridges such as Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge across the Seine, and Pont Alexandre III, renowned for its ornate Art Nouveau lamps and gilded statues.

For a truly magical experience, consider taking an evening cruise. As dusk settles over the city, Paris’s monuments are bathed in a golden glow, and their reflections shimmer on the river’s surface. The Eiffel Tower’s nightly sparkle adds an extra touch of romance to the atmosphere, making it a perfect setting for a memorable evening with a loved one!


6. Step into the Trocadéro Gardens for beautiful pictures of the Eiffel Tower

Step in the Trocadéro gardens for beautiful pictures of the Eiffel Tower

The Trocadéro Gardens have become very popular because they provide a stunning vantage point for photography enthusiasts. This expansive garden complex is strategically positioned on the elevated Chaillot Hill, directly opposite where the Eiffel Tower stands tall. From here, you can capture the Eiffel Tower in its entirety, framed against the Parisian skyline with the Seine River gracefully flowing below.

The gardens themselves are meticulously landscaped with symmetrical lawns, geometrically arranged flower beds and tranquil fountains, creating a serene environment that complements the tower’s architectural elegance. 


7. Explore the artistic Montmartre Quarter

Explore the artistic Montmartre Quarter

As mentioned, the Montmartre Quarter holds the Sacré-Coeur Basilica that dominates the skyline. However, this neighbourhood has a lot more to offer than all those stairs, with bohemian charm, artistic legacy, and panoramic views of the city below. It has long been a haven for artists, writers, and musicians, drawn to its winding cobblestone streets, quaint cafes, and cultural scene.

Montmartre's artistic heritage dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries when painters such as Picasso, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec went to its studios and cafes. Today, art galleries and studios showcase contemporary works alongside traditional pieces. At the heart of this quarter lies the Place du Tertre, a bustling square where artists set up their easels to paint and sketch. Feel free to walk around and watch painters at work, commission a portrait, or browse the diverse range of artworks on display!


8. Take in the art at Musée D'Orsay

Take in the art at Musée DOrsay-1

Housed in a beautifully repurposed Beaux-Arts railway station, the Musée d'Orsay is a cultural gem that offers an extraordinary journey through the world of 19th and early 20th-century art. This museum is renowned for its extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces. The Musée d'Orsay itself is a work of art. Originally built as the Gare d'Orsay train station its grandiose design features a stunning glass canopy, an ornate façade, and a spacious, light-filled interior, creating a unique and inspiring environment to view the art.

The museum's collection spans from 1848 to 1914. Here, you can explore a range of artistic movements, from Realism and Symbolism to Art Nouveau and Impressionism. The highlights include Monet's serene "Water Lilies", Degas' dynamic "Ballet Rehearsal", and Renoir's joyful "Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette". The museum also boasts an impressive collection of works by Vincent van Gogh, including the evocative "Starry Night Over the Rhône" and the hauntingly beautiful "Portrait of Dr. Gachet".


9. Have the best view over Paris at Montparnasse Tower

Have the best view over Paris at Montparnasse Tower

If you are seeking the most breath-taking panoramic views of Paris, a visit to the Montparnasse Tower is an absolute must! Unlike other viewing points, the Montparnasse Tower offers a full, unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower, which stands out brilliantly against the cityscape.

Your journey to the top will begin with a swift and smooth ride in Europe’s fastest elevator (no stairs!), which will whisk you up to the observation deck in just 38 seconds. As the doors open, you will be greeted by floor-to-ceiling windows with Paris unfolding, and the Seine River winding gracefully. For an even more exhilarating experience, head up to the open-air rooftop terrace. This is an ideal spot for photographers and romantics alike, offering the perfect backdrop for unforgettable photos and moments!


10. Embrace the café culture

Embrace the Café culture-1

One of the quintessential experiences of Paris is to embrace its café culture, a tradition that has been integral to the city's social and cultural life for centuries. The origins of Paris’s café culture date back to the 17th century when the first coffeehouses began to appear. These establishments quickly became the epicentres of intellectual and artistic life, frequented by philosophers, writers and artists who gathered to exchange ideas and debate.

Cafés like Le Procope, founded in 1686, have hosted notable figures such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin, establishing a legacy that continues to this day. 


11. Go fashion shopping at Champs-Élysées

Go fashion shopping at Champs-Élysées

The Champs-Élysées, often referred to as "the most beautiful avenue in the world", is a premier destination for fashion enthusiasts from around the globe. Stretching from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde, this iconic avenue in the heart of Paris offers a shopping experience that combines luxury, style, and Parisian charm!

Most stores present their collections in lavish settings that deserve appreciation for their exquisite collections but especially for their architectural grandeur, like Galeries Lafayette, one of Paris’s most prestigious department stores. Its innovative design, interactive displays, and rooftop terrace with views over the avenue make it a unique shopping destination. The experience of shopping in these boutiques is akin to a journey through the history and evolution of French fashion.


12. Relax at Luxembourg gardens

Relax at Luxembourg Gardens

Situated in the 6th arrondissement, this historic park, known as Jardin du Luxembourg in French, is a delightful blend of meticulously landscaped gardens, picturesque pathways, and cultural landmarks, making it an ideal retreat to relax and soak in the beauty of Paris. 

Covering over 23 hectares (56 acres), the Luxembourg Gardens are renowned for their exquisite landscaping. The central parterre, adorned with bright seasonal flowers and meticulously trimmed hedges, is a visual delight. 


13. Discover the food and cultural hubs in Sant-Germain-des-Prés and Quartier Latin

Discover the food and cultural hubs in Saint-Germain-des-Près and Quartier Latin

The neighbourhoods of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter have long been centres of intellectual and artistic life, which makes them ideal destinations for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Parisian culture.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés, renowned for its bohemian past and literary heritage, is a paradise for food lovers. The area is dotted with traditional brasseries, gourmet food shops and charming cafes. Just a short walk from Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Latin Quarter is a lively and historic district known for its academic institutions and vibrant cultural scene. It is also filled with bistros and eateries. Rue Mouffetard, one of the oldest streets in Paris, is lined with an array of cafes, creperies, and restaurants.


14. Go to a jazz club or a show at the Moulin Rouge

Go to a Jazz Club or a show at the Moulin Rouge

Paris, in addition to all its famed landmarks and cultural treasures, also boasts an exciting nightlife! For an unforgettable evening, consider immersing yourself in the city's rich musical heritage by visiting a jazz club. Paris has a rich history with jazz, dating back to the 1920s when the city became a haven for American jazz musicians. Nowadays, the legacy continues, with numerous jazz clubs offering intimate settings where you can enjoy world-class performances.

If you prefer a night of glamour and extravagance, a show at the Moulin Rouge is mandatory! Located in the lively Pigalle district, the Moulin Rouge is synonymous with Parisian cabaret and has been dazzling audiences since it opened in 1889. Famous for its can-can dance and elaborate productions, the Moulin Rouge provides an iconic theatrical experience. The venue's red windmill and Belle Époque décor evoke the spirit of late 19th-century Paris. 


15. Detour to Versailles and admire the Sun-king's Palace

Detour to Versailles and admire the Sun-Kings Palace

A visit to Paris would be incomplete without a detour to the nearby town of Versailles, home to the opulent Palace of Versailles. Known as the Sun King's Palace, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a testament to the grandeur and extravagance of the French monarchy. The Palace was transformed and expanded by Louis XIV, the Sun King, into one of the most glorious palaces in the world. 

The Palace’s beauty extends to the outdoors. The sprawling Gardens of Versailles are a masterpiece of formal French garden design. Covering nearly 800 hectares (2,000 acres), the gardens feature meticulously manicured lawns, geometric flower beds, and a network of paths and fountains. As you can imagine, the details about this monumental palace are endless!


Let’s unveil the charm of France

And there you have it! Fifteen amazing things you can do in Paris. And the best part is… now we can help you plan this unforgettable trip to the heart of France!

We are thrilled to announce that France is now one of our featured destinations! Check our new tour ideas for France here. Begin your journey in Paris, the City of Light, and join us on a quest to explore a country renowned for its exquisite cuisine, world-class wines and, of course, romantic charm. You can schedule a meeting with our local travel consultants to personalize your trip, call us directly, or request a quote - just click here. Let us guide you through the enchanting landscapes and vibrant culture of this beautiful land!



Topics: portuguese travel agency, travelagency, history, gastronomy, culture, vacations, holiday, tourtailors, Monuments, self-guided travel, tourism travel, Paris, Montmartre, France, Visit France, Eiffel Tower, Versailles

We are a local tour operator specialized in custom Self-Guided Tours in Portugal, Spain, Italy & France.

Our local team will craft a tailor-made trip plan with an itinerary and a selection of hotels, activities and transportation based on your interests and budget. We offer a turnkey package and take care of all the logistics. While you are travelling, our local team is available by phone 24/7, so that we make sure you have a hassle-free vacation.


We also want to guarantee you have all you need when you are on tour. You will get a personalized roadbook with your day-to-day planning designed especially for you and an exclusive guidebook with additional information written by our team. This information will also be featured on our exclusive mobile app, which also have maps connecting to your phone’s navigation apps. To ease the driving, you will receive a pre-programmed GPS with preloaded coordinates for all of the above.


We know sometimes life gets in the way, so all our tours are fully-refundable until 5 working days prior to your arrival – money back guarantee, no questions asked.


After we receive your enquiry, we will send you a free proposal, that can be changed as many times as necessary until meeting your expectations. Start planning your trip today!


Join our mailing list to receive the latest updates and travel inspiration​