Top 25 UNIQUE Things to Do in Paris
The many wonderful things to do in Paris ensure an unforgettable city trip. The French capital attracts visitors with a wide range of attractions and exciting things to see. World-famous buildings such as the iconic Eiffel Tower, a chic lifestyle and romantic neighborhoods make the metropolis truly unique in the world. What is particularly fascinating is the mix of rich history, culinary experiences, hip fashion and the chic Parisian way of life that attracts well over 50 million visitors each year. The City of Love is also home to some of the world’s greatest museums, including the famous Louvre, home of the Mona Lisa. In addition, there are many other attractions in Paris that will make sure that your trip remains exciting.
In this comprehensive travel guide, you will find all the best things to do in Paris, including insider tips. We show you great pictures, give you exclusive Paris travel tips, reveal outstanding places to stay, and show you where to book cheap tickets.
A visit to the Eiffel Tower is undoubtedly one of the most famous things to do in Paris. This impressive attraction was built in 1889 and named after its architect, Gustave Eiffel. With 7 million visitors annually, the “Iron Lady” is one of the world’s most visited landmarks. Including the antennas, the Eiffel Tower is an incredible 324 meters high and weighs an impressive 10,100 tons. During a tour, you have the opportunity to visit 3 different platforms. There are a total of nine elevators, and if you prefer, you can even walk up the 704 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower. A visit to the Eiffel Tower at night when the lights are on is also truly recommended.
Tip: If you don’t want to stand in line for hours, be sure to buy your ticket to the famous Eiffel Tower online well in advance.
The Louvre, also known as the Musée du Louvre, is the third-largest museum in the world and a real highlight in Paris. Housed in the former French royal palace, the Palais du Louvre, the iconic glass pyramid forms the museum’s imposing entrance. The Louvre is an absolute must for all art enthusiasts. The museum houses 35,000 works of art, including the world-famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and the famous Venus de Milo sculpture. Allow plenty of time for a visit, as you can explore 403 rooms of Oriental, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Etruscan art on 73,000 square meters.
Tip: The Louvre is one of the most famous attractions in Paris. The number of visitors is always immense, so online ticket reservations are highly recommended.
One of the most famous tourist attractions in Paris is the Sacré-Cœur basilica. Located on Montmartre Hill, the highest point in the city, it was built between 1875 and 1914 in the “confectioner’s style”. It is notable for the bright white color of the Château-Landon stones used, but also for the breathtaking view of Paris that can be enjoyed from there. The interior of the Sacré-Cœur is also worth a visit and contains one of the largest mosaics in the world, the Christ mosaic by Luc-Olivier Merson. You can also visit the Crypt, and moreover, the climb up to the 55-meter-high dome is an unforgettable experience in Paris.
The famous Montmartre district is a must-see in Paris. Located on a hill in the 18th arrondissement, it boasts charming cobblestone streets and interesting sights such as the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and the Moulin Rouge. Montmartre is also characterized by its many street artists, who can be seen at work during a stroll through the district. This area was once a meeting place for artists such as Picasso, Modigliani and Van Gogh, and its vibrant art scene still amazes today. Thanks to its charming atmosphere, Montmartre has even been used as a location for a movie on a number of occasions.
Palace of Versailles
A visit to the world-famous Palace of Versailles is one of the best things to do near Paris. This attraction is located about 20 kilometers from the city center and with about 15 million visitors, this magnificent palace is the most popular in France. Originally built as a hunting lodge by Louis XIII, it became a magnificent building and the center of royal power under Louis XIV. Today, the Palace of Versailles is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include the nearly 75-meter-long Hall of Mirrors and the sprawling, romantic park, which is even free to visit.
Tip: The best way to get to Versailles is to take the RER local train. The journey takes about 45 minutes and the station is a short walk from the palace.
Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral
The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most fascinating buildings in Paris. Built at the end of the 11th century in the High Gothic style, the church boasts numerous details, majestic towers, high columns, huge windows and a large organ. Notre Dame holds about 9,000 people and is considered the last and largest gallery church in France. On the 15.04.2019, a serious fire broke out and caused considerable damage. Although the structure, the façade and the main towers were saved, the cathedral on the Ile de la Cité is temporarily closed. The reopening of the cathedral is on schedule for the end of 2024.
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triopmphe, also known as the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, is certainly one of the most famous sights in Paris. This imposing landmark is located at the end of the Champs-Élysées and is a popular photo spot in the French capital. The Arc de Triomphe was completed in 1836, 30 years after Napoleon I commissioned its construction in honor of the French army. It was inspired by the magnificent triumphal arches of antiquity. Under the Arc de Triomphe is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the First World War with the “Flamme du Souvenir”.
Tip: There is a viewing platform on top of the monument that can be visited for a fee. From the top, you can enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of Paris.
One of the best things to do in Paris is a visit to the Sainte-Chapelle, the former palace chapel on the Seine island of Île de la Cité. This impressive place of worship was built by Louis IX between 1244 and 1248 to house his collection of relics. It once housed highly valuable artifacts such as the “Crown of Thorns” and parts of the “True Cross”. On a city trip, don’t miss visiting the interior of the church. On a tour, you will be amazed by the imposing architecture of this 2-story chapel and there are numerous sights to see, including the absolutely fascinating, precious stained-glass windows.
Jardin du Luxembourg
The Jardin du Luxembourg is not only one of the most beautiful parks in Paris, it is also a popular thing to do in Paris for families with children. This palace park is located in the 6th arrondissement and covers an area of 26 hectares. It is part of the beautiful Palais du Luxembourg and was commissioned by Marie de Medici in 1611. Today, the park has many attractions worth seeing, such as the 17th century Medici Fountain and the old orangery. There is also a pond, a children’s adventure playground, a children’s carousel and a beekeeping school with a well-kept orchard.
Catacombs of Paris
The Catacombs are probably one of the most extraordinary places to see in Paris. They are the largest ossuary in the world and contain the bones of 6 million people. Every year, tens of thousands of tourists come here to take a bit creepy tour through this ancient tunnel system. The history of these catacombs goes back more than 2,000 years, when limestone was quarried in the tunnels to build houses. In the 18th century, epidemics and famines caused the cemeteries to become overcrowded. Because they needed space, the bones were moved to the huge tunnels.
Tip: To avoid the long wait, there are skip-the-line tickets that can be booked in advance. This can save you up to 2 hours waiting time in front of the Catacombs!
Opened in 1875, the Opéra Garnier is a truly stunning building in Paris and, certainly, one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. Located on the right bank of the Seine, it was built after a failed assassination attempt on Napoleon III. When it first opened, the Opéra Garnier was considered the largest theater in the world, and it still seats 1900 people. Furthermore, the Opéra Garnier is the original location of the “Phantom of the Opera”. A mysterious accident in 1896 and “eerie noises” in the underworld of the opera served as the real-life inspiration.
Tip: A visit to the inside of the Opera Garnier is one of the best unique things to do in Paris. During a tour, you will be amazed by the magnificent interior and the beautiful staircase.
The Musée d’Orsay is a fascinating art museum in Paris and an absolute must on any city trip. The unique location in the former Orsay train station, which was in operation until 1939 and opened as a museum in 1986, is spectacular in itself. The giant gilded clock and the grand halls are reminiscent of those days. The Musée d’Orsay is known as the “Impressionist Paradise” and you will have the opportunity to admire the true greats of 19th and early 20th century art. This museum houses more than 4,000 exhibits, including works by renowned artists such as Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Rembrandt.
Tip: A visit to the Musée d’Orsay can be combined with a boat trip on the Seine River. Check out GetYourGuide for great deals.
The beautiful Seine is the river that winds its way through the center of Paris. The romantic banks of the Seine are particularly charming, a popular meeting place for Parisians, and have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Along the promenade, cozy cafés invite you to relax, locals gather for picnics, and small beach clubs open in the summer. A boat trip on the Seine is highly recommended for tourists. You will be able to admire stunning attractions such as the famous Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Place de la Concorde from the water.
Tip: A real insider tip is to take a boat tour in the evening. Paris is almost at its most beautiful at night, as the glittering sea of lights makes the city particularly romantic.
The Centre Pompidou, also known as the Centre Beaubourg, is an extraordinary art and cultural center in Paris. It was founded with the aim of giving people from all walks of life free access to knowledge and contemporary art. The idea was finally implemented by Georges Pompidou and the museum opened in 1977. The extravagant architecture with countless pipes and ventilation shafts is unique, earning the cultural center nicknames such as “Notre Dame of the Pipes” or “Oil Refinery”. Inside is the largest museum of contemporary and modern art in Europe.
Tip: A ride on the futuristic escalator is a great experience. Another insider tip is the roof terrace, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of Paris.
Avenue des Champs Élysées
The Avenue des Champs Élysées, also known as the Champs Élysées or Les Champs, is the imposing boulevard of Paris. With a width of 70 meters and a length of 1910 meters, it stretches through the 8th arrondissement, starting at the Place de la Concorde and ending at the Place Charles-de-Gaulle. The famous Arc de Triomphe is also located at the top of this legendary street. Visitors can also enjoy a stroll through a true shopping paradise! Along the Avenue des Champs Élysées you will find high-end boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, Guerlain and Lacoste, as well as affordable stores such as Zara and H&M.
Tip: An insider tip for a stylish yet affordable vacation in Paris is the hip citizenM Paris Champs-Élysées just a few steps away from the boulevard.
Tour Montparnasse (Observation Deck)
One of the most spectacular viewpoints in Paris is located at the Tour Montparnasse, a highlight not to be missed on any sightseeing tour. The building is located in the trendy Montparnasse district in the 15th arrondissement and was the only skyscraper built in the city center between 1969 and 1973. An elevator takes you to the 56th floor in just a few seconds, where you will find an impressive viewing platform. From a height of 210 meters, you can enjoy a magnificent panorama and admire many sights such as the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Cœur, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and the Invalides.
Tip: Visiting at sunset or in the evening is wonderful and highly recommended. The view of the glittering city center with the iconic Eiffel Tower is magical.
A visit to the Moulin Rouge is certainly one of the top 10 best things to do in Paris. This legendary cabaret with the red mill on the roof is located in Paris’ entertainment district of Pigalle on Montmartre and opened in 1889. The iconic building is one of the most popular photo spots in Paris, but the show itself is well worth a visit. A typical evening at the Moulin Rouge begins with dinner at 7:00 pm, followed by revue performances at 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm. An exquisite three-course menu is served, champagne flows freely and a changing show program provides colorful, dazzling varieté entertainment.
Tip: An evening at the Moulin Rouge is one of the most memorable experiences in Paris. Tickets for these unique shows can also be ordered online.
Jardin des Tuileries
One of the most beautiful parks in Paris is the picturesque Jardin des Tuileries. This former baroque palace park stretches from the Place de la Concorde in the west to the Louvre in the east. The park has been redesigned several times in its history, and was restored to its original 17th century state during the renovation of the Louvre in the 1980s. In addition to the park, the well-preserved Orangerie with the Musée de l’Orangerie, where you can see works by Monet, and the Jeu de Paume ballroom with the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume are also worth a visit.
The Panthéon is an impressive landmark in the center of Paris. Built between 1764 and 1790 as the church of the Abbey of Sainte-Geneviève by order of Louis XV, it served as the national memorial after the French Revolution. Famous personalities such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile Zola, Marie Curie, Jean Moulin, Victor Hugo, Jean Jaurès and Voltaire are buried here. With its imposing columns, the building is a real highlight from the outside. Once inside, you can admire the beautiful paintings and the mighty dome from which the famous Foucault pendulum is hanging.
Tip: Climbing the dome of the Pantheon is a real insider’s tip! Once at the top, take the 360-degree panoramic walkway for one of the best views of Paris.
The Paris Conciergerie is a magnificent building in the 1st arrondissement on the Île de la Cité. Open to the public since 1914, it now houses a fascinating museum. During the French Revolution, the Conciergerie was used as a prison and housed up to 1,200 prisoners. Many people were sentenced to death there, including prominent personalities such as Marie-Antoinette, the daughter of the Austrian Empress Maria-Theresia. A room in the Conciergerie commemorates the names of 2780 people sentenced to death in Paris during the Revolution.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
The Père Lachaise Cemetery is well worth a visit. With an area of 44 hectares, it is the largest cemetery in the city and the most visited cemetery in France, with over 3 million visitors per year. The variety of tombs is definitely a special feature. Some of them are huge, artistically designed with fascinating details. Famous people have been laid to rest in the Père-Lachaise cemetery, including The Doors singer Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. Of particular interest is the “Zone romantique” with its artistic statues, some of which are listed as historical monuments.
Paris: Walking-Tours, Tickets & Excursions
If you don’t feel like exploring Paris on your own, you can take a guided tour. The online portal GetYourGuide not only offers recommended tours, but also cheap, time-saving entrance tickets, cool activities like boat trips or hop-on, hop-off bus tours, and exciting excursions in the surrounding area.
The reviews are also fantastic, and you can compare them before you book.
Where to Stay in Paris
There is a fantastic range of accommodation in Paris. From budget backpacker hostels to cozy city hotels, chic boutique hotels and luxury hotels, there is something for everyone. If you are still looking for a place to stay in Paris, we can give you these insider tips… It’s worth a look!
- 5-Star Luxury Hotel: The Le Meurice – Dorchester Collection is a fabulous choice for a special vacation in Paris. The view of the city is a highlight!
- 4-Star Boutique Hotel: The romantic Bonsoir Madame is a cute boutique hotel. Guests love the chic ambiance and proximity to the Jardin du Luxembourg.
- Hip City Hotel: The citizenM Paris Champs-Élysées is a wonderful hotel with excellent value. Its central location is also great!
- Chic Apartment: The popular Edgar Suites Montmartre offers beautiful studios and larger apartments in the famous Montmartre district.
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