1. Eat all of the croissants and pastries
Where? Du Pain et des Idées, 34 Rue Yves Toudic
Why go? Because pastry tourism is a thing in Paris. Or at least I’m pretty sure it is. You can find an amazing croissant in just about every café, but the ones at Du Pain et des Idées are extraordinary. Also, the pistachio escargots… if you’ve eaten a more exquisite pastry, I don’t believe you!
Cost? A few euro each, and worth every cent.
2. Go see the Eiffel Tower – and go up it for an unreal view
Where? Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France
Why go? You can’t very well go to Paris without seeing it, but while you’re there, you may as well take the ride up – the view out over Paris is incredible. You can also have a drink or even enjoy a fancy meal up there – just remember to book first.
How long will you need? Give yourself about two hours.
Cost? A ticket to the top will cost you €25.00 per person.
3. Then, go see the Eiffel Tower from Montparnasse Tower
Where? 33 Avenue du Maine
Why go? Now that you’ve seen things from the Eiffel Tower, it might be nice to check out the view with it in there. And you won’t get a better view than the one from Montparnasse Tower. You’ll take the super-fast lift up to the top where you’ll get an insane 360° view over Paris from 200 metres high. And you can relax at a café window seat and take it all in while drinking coffee and eating more croissants!
How long will you need? We were up there for about an hour.
Cost? €17.00 per person
4. Take a stroll through the Tuileries Gardens & grounds of the Louvre
Where? Rue de Rivoli
Why go? If you’re a classic art fan, you’ll of course want to visit the inside of the Louvre, but walking the grounds is like walking through a gallery in itself. Once you’ve taken it all in, spill out into the gardens, take a seat and do some people watching. It’s a really lovely break from the chaos of Paris.
5. Walk up the hill and see Sacré-Cœur Basilica at the top
Where? 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre
Why go? Sure, you can take the funicular, but the steps are so much more rewarding (and if you eat as much pastry as I did in Paris, kind of necessary). Sacré-Cœur is beautiful to see once you get to the top, but the view when you turn around is almost better, especially on a clear day.
Cost? Free to walk up that hill, free to enter the basilica
6. Do some shopping at the undercover passages
Where? Galerie Vivienne, 5 Rue de la Banque
Why go? Paris has a heap of gorgeous undercover walking passages that hark back to the 18th century when the city was a rabbit-warren of these passages. Most of them didn’t survive, but a few like Galerie Vivienne and Passage Jouffroy have become quite popular for a bit of coffee drinking and shopping.
How long will you need? You could easily (and we did) spend an entire day exploring the city’s undercover passages.
7. Have a fancy French dinner at P’Tit Troquet or Cafe du Commerce
Where? 28 Rue de l’Exposition
Why go? When in Paris… I always thought French food was completely overrated, until I ate at Le P’Tit Troquet. They have only a few items on the menu at any one time, all using fresh produce and prepared with the utmost care. One spoonful of the beef bourguignon and you’ll start to understand why the stuffy old ladies adore the cuisine so much.
How long will you need? A few hours. There’s the entrée, the main, the dessert, the wine…
Cost? Around €40 per person will get you a three course meal and generous glass of wine.
8. Get some kitchen inspo at E. Dehillerin
Where? 18-20 Rue Coquillière
Why go? Once you’ve tried some good food over there, you might be a little more inspired to hit the kitchen when you get back, and E.Dehillerin has absolutely everything you could possibly need. Even if you don’t like to cook, you can’t not want a giant wooden spoon the height of a small child.
Cost? Prices are actually pretty reasonable, so you may buy more than you expect.
9. Visit some Parisian residents of the past at the Père Lachaise Cemetery
Where? 16 Rue du Repos
Why go? One of the most beautiful cemeteries I’ve ever visited, the Père Lachaise is set on the most stunning garden grounds. If you can visit in autumn, you’ll be rewarded with golden and red leaves everywhere, and it makes it a lot more enchanting than creepy.
How long will you need? 2 – 3 hours
10. See the show at the Moulin Rouge
Where? 82 Boulevard de Clichy
Why go? Yes, it’s tacky and old, but you know what? It’s actually a really fun night. Especially if you purchase the tickets that include a bottle of champagne and find yourselves sharing a table with some other foreigners. We actually found the comedic/contortionist/random filler acts in between the main musical numbers to be the most entertaining, and it was kind of fun to get dressed up and pretend to be in the fancy Paris of yesteryear for the night.
How long will you need? A few hours
Cost? Prices vary depending on date and time, but start from around €70
11. Go to Disneyland!
Why go? If you need a reason, there’s just no helping you…
How long will you need? All day!
Cost? 1 day tickets are around USD$80.00 per person
12. Eat some Nutella crepes in Luxembourg Gardens
Why go? Have you even been to Paris if you haven’t stuffed yourself silly with crepes?! Grab a Nutella-smothered crepe in the gardens and walk your way around the part French/part English/Italian inspired gardens to work it off.
Cost? A few euro for one, but you’re probably not going to want only one.
13. Shop for books in English at Shakespeare and Company
Where? 37 Rue de la Bûcherie
Why go? This may be the most famous independent book store in the world, and for good reason. The perfect old building is full of English language books, and is worth seeing even if you’re not a reader. Also, a café on site in case you haven’t had your fill of French coffee and croissants yet.
How long will you need? If you’re a certified bookworm like me, an hour or two…
14. Visit Montmatre
Why go? This is artist-territory, and the classic Paris you imagine after seeing movies. Storybook old buildings covered in ivy, sweet little cafes run by equally sweet little old couples, and artists working on pieces on the streets.
How long will you need? If you have time, spend half a day there.
15. Sample your way through Rue Mouffetard market
Why go? This cobbled walking street fills with street stalls most mornings, selling everything from seafood to fresh bread. Head in on an empty stomach so you can eat your way through – bonus points if you’re staying in an Airbnb with a kitchen so you can buy ingredients to cook with later!
How long will you need? An hour or two