The City of Love and Light, Paris doesn’t really need an introduction for the modern traveler. Whether you’ve been there already a few times or it is still on your list, the French capital offers so much more to do, see, eat, and explore than the tourist circuits lead us to believe. Here’s a list of things to do in Paris before you die. The musts and the local tips, all together for your enjoyment. Amusez-vous bien!
PLAYING TOURIST IN PARIS
- Take some snaps of the some murals at the neighborhood of Butte-aux-Cailles, on the 13th arrondissement, full of street art.
- Enter the Pantheon. The dome is quite a stunner!
- Go to the Palais Garnier Opera House for a concert, ballet, or theatre evening. Admire the ceiling by Chagall.
- Take the escalator at the Pompidou Centre and admire the views.
- Choose between the more than 170 city museums and enjoy one afternoon or two strolling among culture.
- Visit famous characters like Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde in their new home, the Père-Lachaise cemetery.
- Pose against the light at the transparent clock of Orsay Museum, with the Sacre Coeur as background. An Instagram safe bet.
- Climb the towers and hang out with the gargoyles at Notre Dame cathedral.
- Take a boat ride on the Seine river. Drink a glass of champagne while you are at it.
- Explore an alternative underworld Paris at the Catacombs that gave shelter to the prosecuted many years ago.
- Marvel at the impossible architecture of Louis Vuitton Fundation, recently opened, by Frank Gehry.
- Head to the steps at the Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre for a great sunset experience.
- Climb up the 1,710 steps of Eiffel Tower right before sunset to see how the city gets ready for the night, all lit up. Alternatively, take the lift and enjoy the same view comfortably and without putting your heart on the verge of a stroke.
- Leave your comfy Paris hotel, get outside the city, and explore the region of Ile de France. There’s so much to do that you’ll never feel bored.
DOING AS THE PARISIANS
- Take a bike with the Velib rental scheme and ride along the Seine river, far from the noise and traffic.
- Alternatively, join the skaters that populate the streets at night once a week.
- Discuss art with the artists and painters at the Tertre square and along the Seine river.
- Attend the Fête de la Musique festival. And La Nuit Blanche! Get loose.
- Spend way too much on chocolate and macaroons and do not regret it later.
- Watch life pass (or people watch) by sitting at a local cafe’s terrace as the locals do. Alternatively, read a book or write something on your Moleskine. Say goodbye to the tourist in you for half an hour.
- Get lost in the underground passages at the Châtelet-les-Halles station.
- Enjoy the Luxembourg gardens, sitting in the grass with some company, a glass of wine, and food.
- Walk the couleé verte. This green area that goes along the Vincennes railway from the Bois des Vincennes to the Bastille is to Paris what the ‘High line’ is to New York.