I don’t know about you, but the Ultimate Paris Bucket list for me is one I can easily navigate through. No one has hours on end to spend researching the must-see sights, and although there is plenty of valuable information out there, it’s a lot to digest and scroll through.
I’m pretty sure we’re all familiar with many of the top attractions in Paris which is why I am putting a spin on things. Think icon sites, activities, museum exhibitions, attractions, experiences, entertainment mixed with French flair, a bit of tacky fun and plenty of shenanigans. There's a little something for everyone! If you’re a movie buff, heavy into music, or part of the pop culture crowd, I’ve slipped some gems in for you too.
Other than the bucket list items themselves, the best comes at the end. The handy Paris map I’ll share will help you navigate to all the places I’ve listed here.
Paris Bucket List
Are you short on time and need to skim through the list of things to see in Paris
? Here’s a snapshot of where you can find the best of what to do in Paris.
- French Food, Patisseries, and more! (#1 - #5)
- Unusual Activities (#6 - #8)
- Typical Treasures (#9 - #18)
- Strolling Paris (#19 - #24)
- Movies, Music, and Pop Culture (#25 - #30)
French Food, Patisseries, and more!
I can’t help but start where all my journeys do. No sooner do I arrive at my destination, and I’m already eating my weight in local fare. No true Paris bucket list could be given the title, ‘Ultimate’ without mentioning all local gastronomy.
1. Eat a Crepe
It’s difficult picking one particular spot to call my favorite when it comes to crepes in Paris, there are too many tasty options. My advice is to try the crepes from the street stands. Cheap, delicious, and satisfyingly sweet; you can’t go wrong.
2. Indulge in a Macaroon
Enjoy one of the best macaroons (according to countless Parisians) at Gerard Mulot, or try Pierre Hermé’s unique flavor combinations. If you’re not a fan of wacky flavors, Ladurée is a safe bet! It’s also the largest macaroon house in the world.
Another must visit street for gastronomical delights is, Rue Cler. You can find all the best boulangeries (bakeries), patisseries (pastry shops), and fromageries (cheese shops) here.
3. Taste the coffee culture
Paris is full of trendy cafes serving up a good brew. On the small island in Paris’ center (Ile de la Cite) you can find Au Vieux Paris, one of the prettiest cafes in Paris. They serve up a wide selection of goodies, but what makes this gem special is its cozy feel. It’s also one of Paris’ original cafes!
4. Grab a croissant or pain au chocolat
Put on your tacky striped shirt and head out for some typical French pastries. One of the most popular spots to indulge is at Angelina (touristy but worth it). The famous cafe is a favorite among many for its hot chocolate; visiting this spot is a must do in Paris.
5. Dress up for some lavish Michelin star dining
Fine dining doesn’t have to leave you broke. Take L'Agapé for example, in the 17th arrondissement. For an even more affordable option to a lavish dinner, dine for lunch and enjoy all the excellent flavors at a fraction of the price. Check out the Paris map at the end to find out exactly where is L'Agapé.
Before you fill your schedule with all the typical treasures in Paris, it’s worth going a bit off the beaten path to explore the unknown sites in our Paris Bucket List.
6. Take Metro Line 6
Hop on the metro line heading in the direction of the Eiffel Tower for a prime view of the iconic site. You may recognize the bridge Bir Hakeim, as you’re crossing. The beautifully constructed bridge is featured in the movies Inception and Last Tango in Paris.
7. Join an old timer’s game of pétanque
‘Excusez-moi monsieur, puis-je rejoindre le match’ (Excuse me, sir, may I join the match) may be a good phrase to master if you want in on a traditional game of pétanque, France’s version of bocce ball.
8. Paris Catacombs
Enjoy a little morbid entertainment through the labyrinth lying below the streets of Paris. The resting place of millions of Parisians is now a popular attraction. If dead bodies don’t give you the chills, a trip to Père Lachaise is sure to please. You may just run into some famous blokes. Unfortunately, the conversation will be one-sided; they’re resting 6 feet under the ground.
There are no surprises here, take a look at the typical treasures in Paris. Pay particular attention to the tips that let you in on a unique experience of the most popular attractions.
9. Eiffel tower
Visiting the Eiffel tower
is a must, but once you’ve checked this off your list, head over to Trocadero
for the best view from afar. On a chilly day, you can opt for a visit to the tower of Montparnasse observation deck
and enjoy panoramic views over the city.
10. Arc de Triomphe
Depending on the time of year, it may be possible to climb to the top of the iconic monument. If you have the chance, don’t pass it up, especially at night. The twinkling lights over Paris are breathtaking.
11. Notre Dame Cathedral
Visit one of Paris’ few, free to enter historical buildings. Stand on the Point Zero des Routes de France (the plaque marking the historic center of the city) and snap a selfie before you enter. If you’re lucky, you may have the chance to hear the Cathedral’s mighty pipes during an organ concert.
12. Louvre Museum
To make the most of your time when you visit the Louvre
, take a guided tour, that way you won’t miss a thing (including the Mona Lisa). Learn about the conspiracy theories around the inverted pyramid too! Tip for 2019; if you visit on the first Saturday of the month during the evening, entrance is free to select individuals
1 Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus with Louvre Museum and a Cruise
Located in the lively student neighborhood of the Latin Quarter. The 360° views of Paris from the Pantheon are stunning. Commonly referred to as the “Balcony of Paris” it’s one of the best vantage points in the city.
14. Boat Trip along the Seine
There’s no better way to soak in Paris than by drifting along the river Seine. Combine dinner with a Paris river cruise
for the real deal experience, and enjoy the City of Lights in the most romantic way!
Eiffel Tower 2nd Floor Priority Access and Seine River Cruise
15. Les Invalides
When it was built, Hôtel des Invalides acted as an accommodation for disabled war veterans. The complex is now home to the National War Museum and holds the remains of many military leaders, including Napoléon.
16. Opera Garnier
Who doesn’t like to dress up? Put on your finest wear and enjoy a luxurious night out at the opera or ballet. Visit Paris’ famous ornate opera house, the Palais Garnier. One of my favorite shows to see is “The Phantom of the Opera.”
17. See a Cabaret
While in Paris, hit up the world-famous Moulin Rouge cabaret and watch the can-can dancers liven up the stage. Watching a stage show is also a great Valentine’s day in Paris activity
18. Palace of Versaille
Take a short day trip from the city and visit the opulent royal chateau. Tours from Paris to Versaille
run throughout the year, and are well worth it! The gardens and palace are far too expansive and overwhelming to cover on foot. It’s best to book a guided tour for your visit to Versaille.
Versailles: Guided Tour from Paris with Skip the Line Access (Morning)
Best Place to Stroll in Paris
Find the paradise within Paris by strolling the city’s glorious green parks. Or, if you prefer strutting in style down some of Paris’ most famous walkways, there’s a bit of that too!
19. Jardin des Tuileries
You won’t want to miss this green paradise within the city. Best of all, it’s right between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde. From Fall to Spring, ride the Ferris wheel, and enjoy the prime views. If you’re a Monet fan, while you’re in the area you can admire his works at the Musée de l’Orangerie. Don’t miss the Water Lily murals!
20. Champs Elysees
There’s no better place to stroll in Paris than down the picture perfect avenue, claimed to be one of the world’s most beautiful walkways.
21. Canal St.Martin
Are you sick of the tourist crowds? The path lining the canal, popular with locals, is full of trendy cafes and specialty boutique shops. If you’re wondering what to do in Paris, a stroll along Canal St.Martin is your answer.
22. Bastille Market
By far one of the largest market in Paris, Marché Bastille, goes on for roughly a kilometer. No matter what you’re looking for, you can find it here. Everything from fresh produce, local cheeses, meats, spices, wines and plenty more are found here. Of all the flea markets in Paris, this one is my favorite.
Winding streets, lively squares, classic architecture, and stone walls covered in ivy characterize this artistic area. In the heart of the Montmartre neighborhood you can stroll past #27 in my list; prepare to be serenaded. A stop by the Wall of Love ( “I love you” written in around 250 languages) is also a unique addition to your bucket list.
24. Jardin du Luxembourg
This is one of my favorite spots for finding tranquility within Paris. There’s a feeling of peace and relaxation from the second you enter. When the flowers are in bloom the park brightens up even more, making it the best time to visit.
Movies, Music, Art and Pop Culture
Yes, Paris is romantic and full of amazing sites and monuments to explore, but what about the arts?
25. Musee d'Orsay
Explore the most extensive collection of Impressionist art in the world, housed inside what once was an old train station. Even if you’re not a fan of art, I’d recommend adding this museum to your list; there’s beauty all around.
26. Center Pompidou
The National Museum of Modern Arts is found in the Pompidou Center and houses original works of Picasso, Andy Warhol, and many more influential artists. I’m not a huge fan of art, but this is by far one of the top spots to check out!
You can find the Roman Catholic Basilica Sacré-Cœur on top of Montmartre hill. Besides visiting the Parisian landmark, the area around the Basilica is typically scattered with street performers and musicians.
Watching the sunset from the Sacre Coeur Basilica needs to be on your Paris Bucket list; the vantage point over the city from the church is stunning.
28. Cafe des Deux Moulin
Made famous thanks to "Amélie," the popular Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film. If you visit the cafe today, it still remains with the look and feel as did in the 50s.
29. Pont Alexandre III
Featured in the movie James Bond: A View to Kill and Midnight. One walk across the ornate bridge and you’ll easily see its extravagance. Adorned with golden statues, cherubs, and nymphs; it’s a site to see.
30. Caveau de la Huchette
No visit to Paris is complete without a trip back in time for some Parisian jazz. Throw on your glittery skirt, whip out your Charleston and dance the night away at a jazz club.
Still not sure what to do in Paris? If you’ve checked everything off your Paris Bucket List, it’s time to explore the hidden sites in Paris!