In this blog you will find a list of what I think are the best things to do in Paris on a weekend trip! The “City of Love” has endless cute cafes, Instagrammable city streets, delicious pastries, and iconic views. Can’t wait for you to experience my favorite things to do in Paris for yourself!
THINGS TO DO IN PARIS…
#1. THE EIFFEL TOWER
It’s no surprise that the Eiffel Tower is mine, and probably everyone’s, #1 of the things to do in Paris! There’s an endless places in Paris you can see the Eiffel Tower from but nothing beats getting right up close.
Not only can you admire the Eiffel Tower from the ground, you can go all the way to the top! You can book tickets in person or online here. There are 3 levels you can go to – 1st Floor, 2nd Floor, and the Top. You can take the stairs to the 1st and 2nd level but you have to take the elevator to get all the way to the top. The elevator is also available to take to the 2nd level.
If you’re looking for something nicer to enjoy, there’s a Michelin Star restaurant, Jules Verne, at the top of the Eiffel Tower you can enjoy dinner for a very pretty penny! I much prefer a sunset picnic on the lawn with local pastries and food from Rue Cler nearby.
Pro Tip: Every night from sundown to 1:00am the Eiffel Tower glitters with thousands of lights for 5 minutes every hour, on the hour. It is truly one of the most magical things I’ve experienced [my photo below doesn’t do it justice]! You must make sure you plan a time a night to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle!
The Avenue de Champs-Élysées is an avenue in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, France. If you start at one end you’ll be at the Arc de Triumphe and walk to the other end and you’ll be at the Louvre Museum.
Not only is it an iconic street to walk down with many lovely views, there’s tons of places to shop! From high end luxury brands to more normal street wear like ZARA. Champs-Élysées is known for it’s lively nightlife with endless options of restaurants, bars, and cafes with cocktails.
Pro Tip: The first Sunday of each month cars are now banned from the Champs-Élysées making it pedestrians only! Sadly I didn’t learn about this until after returning home.
#3. THE LOUVRE
The Louvre is the world’s most visited museum and is home to many world famous art pieces, such as the Mona Lisa. I won’t share too much about the Mona Lisa so I don’t ruin the surprise other than, if you want a photo with it up close, expect to wait in a long line! You can see the painting from the side without waiting in the line but you don’t get the straight on view point.
You could truly spend days walking around inside enjoying all the various types of art pieces from different time periods. I would suggest at least spending a few hours at the Louvre to get a taste for all the amazing beauty, inside and out!
The Louvre is open every day, expect Tuesday, from 9:00am – 6:00pm. I would highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance advance online. Tickets are €17 if you are not a resident of the EEA.
#4. JARDIN DES TUILERIES
The Jardin des Tuileries [Tuileries Garden] is a public garden located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. On a nice day, the Garden will be filled with people! It’s a beautiful places to walk around, enjoy a picnic on the grass, or take in the views from one of the many park benches.
This many not have originally been on your list but it’s so close to many of the other things to do in Paris, you have to at least pass through it!
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Watch our weekend in France travel vlog for more travel tips and locations you must add to your France bucket list!
#5. ARC DE TRIOMPHE
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. The historical significance behind this architectural beauty is that it honors those who fought and died for France during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. You’ll find the names of all the generals who fought engraved on the sides and top of the arch.
Climbing to the 40 steps to top of the Arc de Triomphe is one of the things to do in Paris that gives you incredible views of the city! You can get to the entrance monument by going through an underground tunnel on the Avenue de la Grande Armee side of the circle. The tunnel access is at the Wagram exit of the Metro. Do NOT try to cross the busy road of the traffic circle!
Below are the hours you can visit the Arc de Triomphe:
- From June 9 to July 1, 2021: 10 AM – 10:30 PM
- July 1, 2021 onwards: 10 AM – 11 PM
- Arc de Triomphe stays closed for visits on 1 January, 1 May, 8 May (morning), 14 July (morning), 20 September, 11 November (morning), and 25 December.
You can read lots more information about visiting the Arc de Triomphe here.
Notre-Dame is a medieval Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary. I was lucky enough to visit for the first time back in 2015 before the devastating Notre-Dame fire in 2019. Since the fire, the Cathedral has been closed due to repairs and restorations. While you cannot go inside or get up close, you can still view the Cathedral from a distance on your visit to Paris! The streets of the Ile de la Cité, the bridges over the Seine, and the left bank quays and the Ile Saint Louis offer picturesque views of the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
You can read more about the restoration and re-opening here.
#7. RUE CLER
Rue Cler is just a few blocks away from the Eiffel Tower and one of my favorite market streets in all of Paris! It has some of the cutest cafes, bakeries, floral shops, and lots more. You’ll see plenty of Parisians shopping for their weekly groceries, in addition to the tourists! Read more about all that Rue Cler has to offer here.
Pro Tip: shop here for all the best picnic items before heading over to the Eiffel Tower to enjoy your meal on a blanket while watching the sunset!
#8. SEINE RIVER
The Seine River runs through the heart of Paris making it a great way to see lots of the iconic Paris landmarks. You can walk along the rivers edge, picnic on one of the walls, or even take a cruise down the Seine River. I have done all 3 of those things and my favorite was the river cruise! Personally, I think the best time for a cruise down the Seine River is a sunset!
We took a 1 hour river cruise through Bateaux Parisiens and loved it! It was extremely fair priced. It’s a large boat filled with people but worth it for the price. You book the day and type of tour you want but you can go at any time during the day [you can’t reserve a specific time]. The boat leaves every hour on the hour from 11:00am to 9:20pm [varies slightly depending on the season so always double check upon booking]. They require you do arrive 10 minutes before departure but I’d recommend getting there at least 30 minutes before to guarantee a spot in line to get on the boat in general but also to choose a good seat!
#9. LE MARAIS
One of my favorite things to do in Paris is walk around cobblestone streets of the authentic Parisian neighborhood, Le Marais. It has lots of boutiques to shop in and adorable cafes on almost every corner. It’s a “must-see” thing to do in Paris!
You can read more about specific restaurants, cafes, and hotels to visit here.
Visiting more of France than just Paris? Check out my blog Visiting Mont St Michel – a hidden gem of France!
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