Paris was a fantastic city to explore. Fantastic food, fashion and masses of culture, there are tons of things to do for every budget. Getting around the city is easy via The Metro system, and doesn’t cost the earth. Here are our 10 Best things to do in Paris, both paid and free. In no particular order:
1. Visit a park
Grabbing a cake from a patisserie, we headed to a nearby park to sit and eat it. Sometimes there is nothing better than
being nosey watching the world go by whilst you sit and take everything in. Paris is such a bustling city and after a few days in the madness we really enjoyed just taking a step away from the busy streets and sitting in the cover of the trees.
Not a very big church, Sainte-Chapelle is maybe a 20/30 minute visit. What it lacks in visiting time, it more than makes up for in dramatic beauty. This is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. Try to visit on a sunny day so you can see the light sparkling through all 1,113 stained glass windows. Entry is €10 per ticket, unless you have a Paris museum pass.
It is recommended to pre-book your tickets, as typical waiting times are long. Get your tickets here.
3. 51 Rivoli
What an amazing place! An old building that was taken over by a bunch of artists in the 90s. Making your way up the multiple levels, you will find incredible pieces from resident artists and guest artists alike. There is a lot to feast your eyes upon, so you could spend as long or as little as you want here.
Entrance is free but leaving a small donation is much appreciated.
4. Père Lachaise Cemetery
Yes, it is a bit unusual to suggest a cemetery for a ’10 Best’ post, but Père Lachaise is a great place to visit.
Best reached via the metro, the cemetery grounds are free to enter. There are over 70,000 gothic tombs, mausoleums, monuments and small grave stones.
The final resting place for many great figures including The Doors frontman Jim Morrison and the great artist and gay icon Oscar Wild. Wild’s tomb is surrounded by loving notes, flowers and kisses left in brilliant rouge lipstick!
Further along the cemetery, you will find commemorative memorials dedicated to veterans and victims of the holocaust. This was quite
5. Notre-Dame Cathedral
Due to the devastating fire earlier this year, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is currently undergoing restoration works. Covered in scaffolding as a result, tourists are unable to venture inside of this iconic cathedral at present. If you find yourselves in Paris, I would still recommend a visit.
Instantly recognisable, this is one of the best examples of Gothic French architecture around. Be aware of your belongs whilst visiting. Pick pockets are known to operate in this area (we spoke to a lady who had been a victim of this when we were there). Also, do not be fooled by people with clip boards asking for money. We were overjoyed to see the home of Quasimodo, and was one to tick off our bucket list.
6. Food, glorious food
Where you even in Paris is you didn’t stuff your face all day long? Walking down most streets you will find amazing patisseries and bakeries offering the most mouth-watering treats you will ever see. We definitely put on a few pounds during our time here, as we found ourselves eating fresh pain au chocolat croissants for breakfast and warm baguettes for dinner every day. We found the food to be quite expensive as a whole, and the usual rule of going off the main streets didn’t quite seem to work as the restaurants just got more expensive! Our favourite place that we ate, was Chez Leveque, a very small and quirky restaurant with a small, changing menu. Averaging about €15 for our mains, it wasn’t as expensive as most places and the food was wonderful.
7. Centre Pompidou
When we visited, we were excited to see the René Magritte exhibition (I bet you know his painting of a man in a duffel coat, top hat a bright green apple over his face!)
Word of warning, the queues are looooong and quite confusing. I think we waited in line for around 1.5/2 hours before we actually got into the exhibition – thankfully it was well worth the wait!
The Centre Pompidou building is interesting in itself, with a hive of activity outside. It will probably take you all day to see everything it has to offer.
My absolute favourite thing we did whilst in Paris, was to visit The Louvre.
First up, buy your tickets online in advance. Entry costs €17 per ticket and I would recommend also getting the audio guide for an extra €5 each. The Nintendo 3DS style audio guide was worth every penny as it was packed with information and pointed you in the direction of important pieces.
This is an extremely busy museum. I would advise to book the earliest time slot possible. At 9am, it wasn’t so bad and we went straight to The Mona Lisa. The Louvre was beyond anything I had imagined – it is absolutely huge. We ended up staying for a full day, and could have happily stayed longer.
9. Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysées
Before we had visited Paris, we didn’t realise just how busy it would be at the Arc de Triomphe. Sitting in the middle of a 12-exit roundabout, there is chaos all around. We did not cross the road to walk up the steps, but there is an underground crossing if you wanted too. Simply viewing the Arc was impressive enough, as it its absolutely huge.
After gazing at the Arc, we slowly made our way down Champs-Elysèes. Most of the shops here are a bit out of our price range but being in all the hustle and bustle was exciting and we did treat ourselves to some goodies from Ladurée to celebrate Martyns 30th birthday!
10. Eiffel Tower
THE ultimate symbol of Paris.
Absolutely terrified of heights we were happy to just see the tower, but if you are feeling brave you are able to walk up and get a lift to the top. The view from the top of the tower is supposed to be incredible and we do regret not going up, but honestly I don’t think my stomach could take it!
We sat for a while in a park near the base of the tower, listening to a nearby musician play the accordion. Security around the tower is strict, but we were glad this was the case, as it made us feel very safe.