What To Do In Paris – Everything You Need To Know
What to do in Paris – Everything you need to know
One of the most famous and universally-adored cities in the world, Paris is a must-see spot for anyone looking to expand their cultural horizons.
From the bustling central streets to the more subdued suburban areas of the city, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful metropolis. But what should you see first?
Some of the best things to in Paris include the likes of:
- A shopping tour. France is famed for its fashion, and Paris is unquestionably the cultural hub when it comes to the latest trends. You’ll be able to find stores of every variety strewn throughout the city – from high end to the high street.
- Architecture and art. Similarly, Paris is recognised the world over as one of the most architecturally astonishing places. With breathtaking landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Arc De Triomphe to check out, as well as hundreds of masterpieces spread across several galleries, you’re spoilt for choice.
- Soaking in the local culture. The French have earned a reputation for being somewhat surly with visitors. In reality, they’re just a little less open on first meeting. Sit in a French cafe and watch the world go by with a cup of coffee in your hand, and you’ll soon notice a warmer nature beneath the cold facades.
- Grab a bite to eat. From pastries to steak dinners, there’s something for everyone to chow down on. Modern palettes are also being catered for, with vegan and vegetarian options on the rise.
- Watch some sport. Paris plays host to a variety of world class sporting teams. Paris Saint-Germain Football Club are arguably the best known, but names like Stade Francais and Paris Basketball also hold their own.
This is a top level look at what there is to do in Paris. But where exactly should you spend your time?
Paris shopping guide
It’s not uncommon for people to head off Paris for a one-day shopping spree. There’s a reason for that. The French capital has thousands of stores to visit, with a wide range of styles and fashions to choose from.
Here’s a quick guide for making the most of splashing your cash:
- The best streets to visit. Which avenues to head down really depends on the type of adventure you find yourself on. If you’re after something chic, try a stroll down Rue Saint Honore. If you’re after something a little more modest, Rue de Rennes is the street for you.
And if you fancy stopping for a coffee along the way, the intersection between Saint Michel and Saint Germain boulevard is your best bet. The options are endless.
- Antique stores. Having a French antique in your home is an aspiration for some. If you’re one such person, there are a wealth of shops found in the heart of Paris which will please.
Yveline Antiquites, La Tortue Electrique, Zut! and Le Village Saint-Paul are all fantastic options, and are located within the same general area of the city, between the 8th and 11th arrondissement (boroughs).
- Souvenirs. While some might see them as a little tacky, souvenirs are a fun aspect of any trip away. For the best memories of your time in Paris, it’s hard to look past a trip to the Champs Elysee.
There’s a reason this iconic strip is known the world over. Visit the area of interest if you want to pick up something to remember your holiday by forever.
The best museums and galleries in Paris
With artists like Monet, Cezanne and Renoir all hailing from France, it’s perhaps no shock you’ll be able to find a plethora of amazing galleries strewn throughout the capital.
Some of those most worth a visit include:
- Centre Pompidou. This collection of contemporary art was ahead of its time when it was introduced to the public in 1977. Quite controversially so, in fact. Since then it’s become recognised as one of the leading promoters of modern art in the world.
Tickets aren’t expensive, usually around £10. Exhibitions tend to cost a little more, but are well worth the additional expense. In a city famed for its classic designs, the Pompidou is a fantastic contrast for those with more contemporary tastes.
- The Louvre. Arguably the most recognisable building in Paris, the Louvre plays host to some of the greatest art ever produced. The Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Raft of Medusa are just some of the incredible works located here.
Such is the iconic nature of the building, the Louvre has become a historic monument in and of itself. That’s little surprise, given its position as the largest art museum in the world.
- d’Orsay museum. Aside from the wide range of art on display, there are a host of other reasons why visiting the d’Orsay museum should be on your list of things to do in Paris.
With stunning internal and external architecture, views out over Paris unlike any other and the chance to double up your ticket with the nearby Orangerie museum, the d’Orsay is a must-see.
The best districts to visit
Paris is separated into 20 districts, or “arrondissements”. Surprisingly, each of these separate regions has its own mayor, with the largest, Vaugirard, housing as many as 232,400 inhabitants.
While all 20 of these locales are well worth seeing at some point, here are a handful of the best if you don’t have time to see them all:
- Hotel De Ville. Fans of the Hunchback of Notre Dame would be remiss for missing out on a trip to this district. Not only does it contain the titular cathedral, but also the home of its famous author, Victor Hugo. He’s not only responsible for this masterpiece, but also the now world-renowned Les Miserables (the book, not the West End show).
- Opera. The 9th region, perhaps unsurprisingly given its name, plays host to the famous Opera Garnier. But it’s far from the only reason to take a trip there. Sitting relatively untouched in terms of renovations across the past 30 years, it’s like taking a step into the past (in a good way) when you visit Opera.
- Pantheon. This district owes a lot of its heritage to the ancient Roman conquest of what was then Gaul. This was where Romans settled for the first time, and is therefore the oldest corner of the city. You’ll find the Pantheon, the Roman Arena and the Cluny Museum here. Well worth a visit for any fans of archaic times.
Eiffel Tower facts
Just how tall is the Eiffel Tower, anyway?
Let’s find out, as well as a number of other facts which people commonly ask about the most famous landmark in Paris.
- How tall is it? That depends on if you mean from the very tip of the tower, or from the point where people can stand. The highest viewing platform is 300m above the ground, but officially it stands 324m from top to bottom.
- Who built it? Gustave Eiffel’s construction company were the ones responsible for the building of the tower. Credit also has to go to Stephen Sauvestre, Emile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin, who all served as architects on the project.
- How old is it? Construction began on the tower in 1887, and would finish in 1889 in time for that year’s World Fair. While opinion on the landmark has been mixed in that time, it’s now one of the most iconic and recognisable attractions in the world.
- What is the tower made of? Cast iron and steel are the primary materials used in the construction of the tower. Most of this metal was sourced from Romania and was completed with the help of 250 workers.
- What do the French call it? Ever wondered what this world-famous monument is referred to as in the native tongue? The answer is “tour Eiffel”. Nothing groundbreaking, but still a nice thing to know.
- Where can it be found in Paris? The tower can be found in the seventh arrondissement of the city, Palais-Bourbon. The St. Louis Chapel and the French National Embassy can also be found in this region.
Excited about the prospect of a trip to Paris? Make sure to check out the exciting spots we’ve mentioned here to really make the most of a holiday to the French capital.