Top 10 Essential Things to See & Do in Paris
We've highlighted the Paris attractions, museums and historic sites that simply must be experienced. From Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower, make sure these jaw-dropping spots are on your itinerary!
Full of monuments, museums, detectable eateries and fascinating neighborhoods, Paris has a lot to take in! Naturally, planning a trip to Paris can be a little overwhelming - especially if you’re visiting City of Light for the first time. To help you put together your perfect Parisian itinerary, we’ve come up with a list of what we think are the top 10 essential things to do and see in Paris.
1. Take a cruise down the Seine River
What better way to kick off a trip to Paris than with a cruise down the Seine River? Allowing you to unwind after a long flight and get your bearings at the same time, just sit back and relax as the landmarks of Paris float by. There are several different types of cruises available, including a sightseeing cruise, a daytime cruise with champagne and a romantic dinner cruise just to name a few. Take your pick of the perfect Seine River cruise for your trip.
2. Visit the Eiffel Tower
No vacation in Paris is complete without a trip to the city’s most iconic monument, the Eiffel tower! Spend more time at the summit and less time waiting in line (it can take hours!) with our Skip the Line Eiffel Tower Tour. Not only will you get a knowledgeable guide who will fill you in the history of this remarkable monument, but you’ll also be able to bypass the line and head straight up to the 2nd floor.
3. Tour the city in a classic car
Cute, quirky and quintessentially French, touring the city in a Citroën 2CV is an unforgettable, oh-so-Parisian experience! Guided by a local expert, the zippy 2CV can take you wherever you want to go - from the grand Avenue des Champs-Élysées to the tiny streets of le Marais. With over a dozen themed tours available and plenty of opportunities to stop for photo ops, these personalized tours are an absolute blast! Book your Classic Car Tour here.
4. Explore the beautiful 7th Arrondissement
Of all the arrondissements (districts) in Paris, few boast as many attractions and points of interest as the 7th Arrondissement. Don’t miss the beautiful Musée Rodin or Les Invalides, which is home to Napoleon’s tomb and the National Army Museum. Switching gears, head down to the lovely rue Cler market street and browse a series of mouthwatering shops offering the best in French gourmet ingredients. If you’re feeling inspired, consider taking one of our exclusive Gourmet Cooking Classes held in the area or book onto a Private Museum Tour for you and your family.
5. See the highlights of the Louvre
Whether you’re a long time art enthusiast or more of an art novice, a trip to the Louvre is an absolute must during your stay in Paris. The Louvre is, of course, the largest and most visited art museum in the world. The line for tickets is almost always long, so we recommend booking an Intimate Evening Tour which lets you enjoy a calmer moment of the Louvre, or grab your family and enjoy a Private Family Treasure Hunt - great fun for all ages covering centuries of amazing works of art from around the world. You can find more Fun Things To Do With The Family In Paris on our blog.
6. Take a Detour to Versailles
Situated 15 miles (25 km) from the city center, the opulent palace of Versailles is worth the detour. With its perfectly manicured gardens, extravagant interiors and prominent place in history, Versailles in among the most visited sites in all of France. Avoid the crowds with the Private Tour of Versailles, which lets you skip the ticket line and also gives you exclusive access to parts of the palace regular visitors never get to see. Imagine spending the morning touring the beautiful palace grounds before enjoying your lunch like a King!
7. Meander through Montmartre
With winding cobbled roads and a village-like atmosphere, the hilltop neighborhood of Montmartre shows off a different side of Paris. Once home to Matisse, Renoir, Picasso and other prominent painters, Montmartre maintains an artistic and bohemian flair. For the families, get to know this fabled slice of Paris on an in-depth Charms of Montmartre walking tour. Top off your day in Montmartre with a classic cabaret show at the world famous Moulin Rouge. Located at the foot of Montmartre, the iconic venue has been entertaining locals and visitors alike for over 110 years.
8. Step inside Notre Dame Cathedral
Sitting in the center of the city, Notre Dame Cathedral feels like the beating heart of Paris. The stunning example of Gothic architecture is over 850 years old and has stood witness to the most pivotal events in French history. Take a moment to admire the cathedral’s distinctive facade - complete with grimacing gargoyles - before entering the spectacular building itself. As you walk down the long nave, don’t forget to look up at the beautiful stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings. If you'd like to climb the towers to see the gargoyles face to face, forget about standing in the long line and book your Medieval Paris Skip the Line Notre Dame Tower and Sainte-Chapelle Tour.
9. Marvel at Impressionist Masterpieces at the Musée d'Orsay
Though it plays second fiddle to the Louvre in terms of popularity, don’t overlook the Musée d'Orsay. Housed in a converted Beaux-Arts rail station, the museum’s architecture and iconic clock are enough to warrant a visit. Avoid a lengthy wait at the ticket counter with a Musée d'Orsay tour, which lets you skip the long entrance lines. Once inside, you’ll learn about the historical context behind some of the museum’s most famous paintings and the development of the Impressionist art movement.
10. Get Lost in the Latin Quarter
Right across the bridge from Notre Dame Cathedral, the Latin Quarter is one of the oldest and most fascinating parts of Paris. From Roman chariot races to 20th century protests, uncover the history behind this neighborhood’s many historic writers on a Paris Literature Walking Tour and explore the twisting network of ancient cobbled streets strolling along the Seine and browsing for books at the classic bouquinistes and pop into the famous Shakespeare & Company bookstore for a literary souvenir.