Paris the city of love, the city of lights and many awesome things to do! In this article I include the top things you really must do in Paris, even if it just for a short time.
The 10 Awesome things you must to do in Paris
#1 Visit the Eiffel Tower
The unmissable attraction in Paris that millions of people visit every year was initially criticized by most of the artists of that time but after a while became Paris most well-known structure all over the world.
The Eiffel Tower located in Champ de Mars was constructed between 1887-1889 and named after its creator, Gustavo Eiffel. The 324 metres tall make this structure the tallest structure in Paris.
To go up, you have to go through three levels. The observation deck at the top level stands at 276 m above the ground and the views of Paris are breath taking.
You can get a lift or stairs to the first and second levels. Bear in mind that the access by foot to the first levels is over 300 steps, same from the first level to the second. From these ones to the top level only by lift.
There are also restaurants in the tower: Le 58 Tour Eiffel on the first level, and Le Jules Verne, a gourmet restaurant on the second level.
For majestic views of the Eiffel Tower by day and night, go up to Trocadéro square. Loads of people gather there every day trying to catch a good shot, but at night, the lights from the tower make it very romantic.
#2 Stroll around Champs-Élysées to see Arc de Triomphe
Another world wide famous monument in Paris, the Arc the Triomphe is located in the equally famous Champs-Élysées. The monument honours the ones who fought and died for France in the French Revolution. In the middle of it lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from WWI with an eternal flame in memory of those people that died and where never identified.
It is possible to visit the top, where there is a small museum with history of the construction of the Arc and panoramic views of Paris. I have not personally visited myself but it’s on my list for another time.
Don’t miss the change of strolling around the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. There are numerous theatres, cafés, and luxury shops.
#3 Surprise yourself with the view from Notre Dame Cathedral
The medieval cathedral right in the middle of Paris is a perfect example of the beautiful French Gothic architecture amongst the largest and most well-known churches in the world. Completed by 1345 it’s very famous for the unique gargoyles that guard the top of the cathedral. It is said that they protect it from Evil but they were actually used as waterspout to drain the water from the roof off.
The entrance to the Cathedral is free but there is a fee of 10€ if you want to go up to the top. To do that you have to go through a narrow climb of 387 steps of several spiral staircases but I can tell you that it’s worth it. The view from Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the best ones in Paris and very inspiring.
#4 See the beautiful Place de La Concorde
The Place de la Concorde it’s the largest square in Paris and very unique because of its characteristic ornaments and history. During the French Revolution was the place for the executions. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed there.
Right in the middle of the square there is a giant Egyptian obelisk, a gift to France from Muhammad Ali, ruler of Egypt. There are also two beautiful fountains that symbolize the fountains in Paris and completed during the reign of Louis-Philippe.
#5 Escape to Montmartre to see Sacré-Coeur Basilica
Montmartre is a district full of authentic charm, famous for the Sacré-Coeur basilica and a magnificent view of Paris.
Walking around the streets of Montmartre is something you really should do because there is plenty entertainment, from caricaturists, musicians and trendy shops. Among the most characteristic streets to visit are the Place du Tertre, Place Pigalle, Paris “red-light” district, Place Emile-Goudeau and the Allée des Brouillards. At night it’s also a vibrant place with its many restaurants and the famous Moulin Rouge.
Although many opinions that I have read before about the area seem to say that it’s now very commercial and lacking of charism I disagree and I love to visit every time I am in Paris. I completely loose time just exploring every street and embracing the atmosphere!
The very popular Sacré-Cœur Basilica it’s also situated there and deserves a visit as well. Only this last time I decided to visit and did not regret my decision.
At the highest point in the city, the basilica was constructed between 1875 and 1914 and dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus but also in honour to the ones who lost their lives during the French Revolution and the Franco-Prussian war.
To visit there are 222 steps you have to endure but it’s quite easy because there is lots of entertainment on the way to the top. If you struggle with this, you can always get the funicular up.
Once there the basilica is free to visit inside, but to go up to the dome there is a fee of 8€. It’s worth to go up to the top because the panoramic view. If the day is clear you can even spot the Eiffel Tower from there.
#6 Take a River Seine Cruise
Walking around the Seine, either it’s day or night; it’s one of the most beautiful things to do in Paris. Taking a river cruise at sunset it’s even more beautiful and romantic and if it is your first time in Paris, please trust me and do it, you will love it!
During the cruise you also see some of the most famous bridges, such as Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge in the river Seine. It was designed with Roman influences and 381 stone masks decorate the sides of the bridge, representing divinities from ancient mythology.
It is also a historical Parisian symbol, as since it was constructed, people are seen there laughing, chatting and enjoying life around the Quartier Latin.
The Pont des Arts is another of the many famous bridges you will see. Constructed under the reign of Napoleon was the first metal bridge in Paris. In 1991 became part of Unesco World Heritage Site together with the entire Parisian riverfront. Around 2008, tourists started to put padlocks with their names engraved and throwing the keys into the Seine as a romantic gesture and commitment and the bridge became famous as the ‘Bridge of Love’. I still had the opportunity to do this in 2014. Unfortunately the number of locks was so heavy that the safety of the bridge was put to risk, so in 2015 they started to be remove them and the practice stopped.
#7 Be inspired by Art in the Louvre Museum
The Louvre, the world’s largest museum, deserves for sure a visit! With nearly 35,000 works of art from pre-history to the 21st century was initially used by Louis XIV as a place to display the royal collection, primarily Greek and Roman sculptures. Opened officially as a museum in 1793, including a vast collection, that was later increased by Napoleon, Louis XVIII and Charles X.
The present collection is divided in several departments distributed between 380,000 objects and displaying anything from sculptures, art objects, paintings, drawings, and archaeological objects. Some of the most famous paintings include the enigmatic Madonna of the Rocks and Mona Lisa from Leonardo da Vinci.
#8 Relax in the Tuileries Gardens
Located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde it has been for a long time where Parisians relax, walk around and enjoy life. It has also been used in the pass for parades and festivities.
#9 Be amazed by the Catacombs the Paris
I have not visited yet; but definitely will be the first on my next visit to Paris. I decided to include it on this list, because for me, is something that holds a lot of history and importance. The Catacombs of Paris are and underground ossuaries that holds the remains of 6 million people. It was founded when the city began to have overflowing in cemeteries, particularly Saint Innocents.
It has been open to the public since 1874 with access from a building at Place Denfert-Rochereau in the southern part of Paris. The rooms and walls have bones and skulls carefully arranged with some in a very impressive way.
#10 Go for a Night Show in Paris
There a lot of shows every night in Paris, but some of the most famous are the ones with cabaret. Moulin Rouge, Lido and Crazy Horse are amongst the most popular.
In 2014 I went to a Moulin Rouge show with dinner included. I knew it would be expensive but at the same time it would be once in a lifetime and I was very curious. You can see the recent ticket prices here.
The show did not disappoint and still today I remember it as being spectacular! The music together with brilliant dancers and amazing scenes made it one of the most brilliant shows of my life. There was even a giant aquarium and snakes.
Located in Montmartre it is known as the spiritual birthplace of the modern can-can dance. The decoration inside makes it very romantic and I really recommend it for a special night out.