21 Things To Do in Paris On Your First Trip

There’s something mystical about Paris. No doubt it is one of the prettiest cities in the world. But it’s more than that. If I had to put it in words, I’d say it makes you feel truly alive. The city has an infectious positivity. A feel-good factor that’s highly contagious.

You’ll never run out of things to do in Paris. Because of this, planning your itinerary might be a little challenging, especially if it’s your first time. Hence, I’ve curated this list of 21 things to do which can guide you on your first Paris trip.

1. Take a walking tour of Montmartre

Montmartre is one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Paris. So, it easily makes it to the list of top things to do in Paris. 

things to do in Paris - Montmartre walking tour

A walking tour is undoubtedly the best way to explore it. Discover Walks conducts some amazing free tours of various areas in Paris.

These are a great way to save some money in the otherwise expensive city of Paris. Also, you get to learn some amazing stories about these places from locals on such tours.

You’ll be surprised to know that Montmartre was a separate town at one point in time! Even today, the people of Montmartre have their own system and are quite independent of Paris. The place is home to many cabarets with Moulin Rouge being the most famous of them all.

things to do in Paris

It is not uncommon to see street artists working on their beautiful creations here. The area is quite cheap as compared to the rest of Paris. You can buy some of the cutest souvenirs here at great prices.

2. View the city from the steps of the Sacre Coeur

Another important reason for visiting Montmartre is the Sacre Coeur Basilica. It is one of the most beautiful architectural works you’ll ever see! Situated at the highest point in Paris, you get to see some spectacular views of the city from its steps. Certainly one of the best things to do in Paris.

things to do in Paris - Sacre Coeur

3. Marvel at the Place de la Concorde

The Place de la Concorde is a massive town square adorned with beautiful fountains and statues. It was built in honor of King Louis XV and was originally called Place Louis XV.

things to do in Paris

The place also housed a statue of the king which was demolished at the time of the French Revolution. At the time, the area was also renamed as Place de la Revolution.

things to do in Paris

The obelisk here is from the Luxor Temple in Egypt, which was given to the French by the Egyptian government in the 19th century. 

4. Ride a Tuk Tuk

Here’s one of the quirky things to do in Paris. If you’re tired from too much walking around Paris and want to try something fun, ride a Tuk Tuk. You’ll find these in most of the touristy parts of the city. They have fixed fares (not the cheapest) and there’s no bargaining to be done.

Our Tuk Tuk driver drove us to the Pont Alexandre III from Place de la Concorde for 10 Euros. We didn’t mind as our feet were killing us, and she played some funky middle-eastern music on the ride too!

5. Watch the sunset at Pont Alexandre III

The Parisians are capable of throwing in some art and making even the most mundane things beautiful. The Pont Alexandre III is a glaring example of it.

things to do in Paris

It is the most intricately designed bridge I’ve ever seen. Head over to the Pont Alexandre III in time to watch a gorgeous view of the sunset beyond the Seine. As the street lights start to glow, the bridge transforms into a magical place. This definitely is one of the top things to do in Paris. 

things to do in Paris

6. Grab a drink at Faust

After sunset, you can head over to Faust, right below the Pont Alexandre III and grab a drink. The open-air pub, by the banks of the Seine, provides an amazing ambiance for spending a nice evening in Paris. Definitely one of the top things to do in Paris, the city of lights.

things to do in Paris

7. Try as many local dishes as you can

One of the major Paris attractions is the food. When in Paris, never pass up a chance to try some local food. My personal favorite is the Croissant. Begin your day with this savory goodness and you’re bound to have an amazing day!

Related Post: You can read more about my favorite Parisian foods here.

things to do in Paris

8. Visit the Palais Garnier

A visit to the Palais Garnier or the Paris Opera is one of the best things to do in Paris.

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If you’re a lover of intricately designed architecture, you shouldn’t miss this. The Opera showcases some of the most amazing chandeliers, statues, and a gorgeous artwork on the ceiling.

The Paris Pass grants you entry to a guided tour of the Opera.

things to do in Paris

9. Go up to the Eiffel Tower Summit

If you’re looking for the best view of the Eiffel Tower, head to Trocadero station. However, for the best views of the city of Paris, definitely head over to the Eiffel Tower summit. Plan on reaching early to avoid crowds and stand behind a smaller queue.

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The Champ de Mars lies at the foot of the Tour Eiffel. It is a beautiful park where you can sit down for a picnic lunch or simply take photos of the tower up close. Needless to say, a visit to the Eiffel Tower summit and Champ de Mars are among the best things to do in Paris.

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10. Climb to the top of the Arc De Triomphe

Another beautiful monument in the heart of Paris where 8 of its main streets merge. If you climb to the top, you’ll get a stunning view of the 8 radiating streets and the houses in between. The beautiful monument was built in memory of those who fought and died for France. You can see their names inscribed on the walls of the Arc De Triomphe. 

The Paris Pass grants you entry to the top of the Arc De Triomphe.

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11. Walk around Latin Quarters and the Pantheon

The Pantheon is situated in another cute neighborhood of Paris. The Latin Quarters. Discover Walks conducts a nice tour of this neighborhood too. However, we couldn’t make it in time so we just took a walking tour just by ourselves. The Pantheon is a mausoleum that houses the remains of many distinguished citizens of France.

The Paris Pass grants you entry to The Pantheon.

things to do in Paris

12. Visit the Luxembourg Gardens

The Gardens of Luxembourg is a short walk from the Pantheon and is a beautiful place to spend your evening.

things to do in Paris

There’s a fountain at its center where you can see a multitude of ducks swimming by. The gardens are beautifully maintained and so is the mansion. It is the perfect place to have a romantic date or just enjoy some solitude.

things to do in Paris

 

13. Marvel at the painted glass windows of Sainte Chapelle

This is one of my favorite things to do in Paris. To be honest, I was a little skeptical about visiting the Sainte Chapelle at first. However, I thank my lucky stars that I actually paid a visit to this amazing Gothic architectural monument. The 15 tall, painted glass windows of Sainte Chapelle, depicting scenes from The Bible, are its specialty. It is truly amazing to see the intricately painted designs and storytelling on the glass. Incredible craftsmanship! 

The Paris Pass grants you entry to Sainte Chappelle.

things to do in Paris

14. Take a tour of the Palais de Justice

Right next to the Sainte Chapelle is another marvelous Gothic building, the Palais de Justice. Perhaps the most famous prisoner that its walls held was Queen Marie Antoinette. You can still see the words Liberty, Equality, Fraternity carved on its facade.

things to do in Paris

15. Spend some time at the Notre Dame Cathedral

When we talk about the top things to do in Paris, the Notre Dame Cathedral easily and rightfully makes it to the list. Not only is it one of the finest example of Gothic architecture, but also one of the largest and grandest churches in the world. Entry to the cathedral is free, while entry to the towers is chargeable.

The Paris Pass grants you entry to the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral.

things to do in Paris

16. Take a tour of the Catacombs

If you thought Paris is only about the grand and the beautiful, get ready for something starkly different. Hidden beneath the streets of Paris is its macabre history in the form of an ossuary. The tunnels of the Catacombs cover a huge area. However, only a part of it is open to the public. If it were not for the other tourists, I would have completely freaked out here. An amazing experience nonetheless, and one of the best things to do in Paris.

Book your tickets here.

things to do in Paris

17. Get a Photo Shoot done

Enough about the macabre stuff. Let’s get back to something more cheerful. How does the idea of a photo shoot in the lovely backdrop of Paris sound?

things to do in Paris

It’s an awesome way to make your trip even more memorable. I contacted Alex, an amazing photographer and a very friendly guy, who took us to some of his favorite spots around the Louvre and captured some great shots!

things to do in Paris

18. Visit the Jardin des Tuileries

Smaller than the Luxembourg gardens but no less beautiful, the gardens of Tuileries is a great spot for catching a quick break. It’s beautiful, quiet, and serene. A welcome break from the hordes of people and crowds you’ll find everywhere else.

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19. Take a tour of the Louvre

I’m not going to bore you with too much talk about the Louvre. Just a word of advice. Definitely, buy the tickets that allow you to skip the lines. We got ours at the tourist center in the airport. And don’t spend all your energy in the pursuit of the Mona Lisa. There are many more brilliant works of art and sculpture here.

Book your tickets to the Louvre here.

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20. Go on a River Cruise

I would highly recommend the Seine river cruise as it’s a very different way of experiencing the city. It’s best experienced after sundown as the city lights up and transforms into a magical fairytale like setting.

Book your cruise here.

things to do in Paris

21. Take the Metro

I know a lot of people will tell you walking is the best way to see the city. Unfortunately, it isn’t sustainable because there’s so much to see. So if you want to go a little easy on your feet and on your wallet, take the Metro.

Related Post: Check out the Paris Metro Travel Guide.

Can you think of any more interesting things to do in Paris? I’d love to hear them. So feel free to comment. And if you enjoyed reading this, please hit the “Like” button below 🙂

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things to do in Paris

 

42 Comments Add yours

  1. Ruth says:

    There is so much to do in Paris! Your post makes me want to visit once again. In all honesty, my time was limited the first time I visited. Therefore, I would like to go back and follow your recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Thanks so much Ruth!

      Like

  2. Sapna Kapoor says:

    Paris was my first international destination many many years back. You refreshed my memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Oh! That’s so nice to hear. Thank you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Page_Traveller says:

    Haha! I actually hate Paris – had a bad experience there when I visited 6/7 years ago. I’m considering giving it another chance soon though – I’ll keep this post in mind! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Oh dear! I’m so sorry to hear that. But I do hope you give Paris another chance 🙂

      Like

  4. Sheree says:

    Oh wow, I think I only managed about 5 of these the first time I was in Paris! Thank goodness I found this post, now there’s 16 more for my next trip! My only addition to your list would be the Musee Rodin – seeing The Thinker in person was the highlight of my trip (admittedly, it might not be for everyone, but I will definitely be heading back there every time I’m in the area). Thank you so much for sharing (and GORGEOUS photos!). x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Thank you so much! Indeed I’ve missed quite a few of the museums cos honestly we had only 4 days in Paris. Maybe next time 😊

      Like

  5. Thank you for these useful tips! I am going to Paris next year for the very first time, so I will save this post for later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      That’s awesome! Thanks 😊

      Like

  6. Laura says:

    Although most of these are very touristy things to do I agree for a first time visitor its probably worth braving the crowds! Perhaps for a return visit its nicer to get away from the main areas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Of course! I did them all on my first trip and hence I’ve shared my experience for first-timers predominantly. I’d love to explore some more of its gems on my next visit.

      Like

  7. So lovely! Definitely keen to do the walking tour next time ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Yeah I’d strongly recommend that 🙂

      Like

  8. mirela says:

    I have been to France for 3 times, but I have never seen Paris. It`s on my top list. I love your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Thank you so much 🙂

      Like

  9. I love this city. I’ve been to Paris many times trying to uncover more layers of the city on each visit. Visiting Paris is an experience that every traveler should have. I remember the first time I went there, I spent the day wandering among some of the main attractions, stopping for café lattes and macaroons, shopping in the boutique stores and generally loving every corner of this gorgeous city !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      I totally agree with you! It’s an experience every traveler should have.

      Like

  10. Amazing pictures. During my first trip to Paris, I covered almost 17 out of 21 things from your list.

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Wow! That’s awesome! And thank you for the appreciation 😊

      Like

  11. I remember my first time in Paris in 1990. We were just passing through and only had time for Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower. I’ve seen a bit more since then but would love to go back and take more time to do some of the things on your list – like climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe or touring the Louvre.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      You totally should. In fact, I’d like to go back again too 😊

      Like

  12. olyboly92 says:

    Went there in April and I thought I saw mosy things. I Guess I did not. Definitely going back to do the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      You totally should! Like they say – Paris is always a good idea 🙂

      Like

  13. Amazing pictures. I visited Paris a few months ago and absolutely loved it! I saw so much and I couldn’t get enough of the Parisian breakfasts! Sooooo good! I never visited Sainte Chapelle though, so this is definitely on my list for next time, looks so pretty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      I love French breakfast too! And yes Sainte Chapelle is beautiful 🙂

      Like

  14. ada says:

    Ive been to Paris about 8 years ago for one day and I remember I tried to see everything. Now I don’t even remember what I’ve seen! I live only 2 hours away from the city of love so I definitely have to go back there! I didn’t know they have Tuk Tuks there! Thats exciting because I love them 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Ah! The Tuk Tuk was a surprise for me too. They have them in a few of the tourist spots like Pont Alexandre III and Place de la Concorde

      Like

  15. sandigs says:

    Great post! Bookmarked for when I finally get to go back to Paris 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      That’s so awesome to hear 😊 Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Prajakta says:

    Hi.. amazing post. It’s so detailed. It’s a complete guide for first-time visitors to Paris. I have also pinned the post for future references 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Thank you Prajakta 😊

      Like

  17. Oh, I love Paris!! My favorite thing to do is sit at Trocadero and have a picnic, waiting for the Eiffel Tower lights to come on 🙂

    I’ve never been to Sainte Chapelle because like you, I’ve always thought eh, probably don’t need to. But it looks gorgeous!! Will go next time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Oh I did the same thing too. Waiting for the Eiffel Tower lights to come on 😊

      Like

  18. Completely agree with everything on this post! Sacré Cœur and the Catacombs were our Paris highlights

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Catacombs were definitely the highlight for us

      Liked by 1 person

  19. lifeofangela says:

    These pictures are all so beautiful! Paris is indeed magical, I’d love to visit one day 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Thank you so much Angela😊 I hope you get to visit soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. hleguilloux says:

    Great post! I was able to do most of these activities when I visited Paris. The Catacombs were so scary but so glad I had the experience to see it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chandrima says:

      Absolutely! I’m glad I went too 😊

      Like

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