How many of these classic Paris experiences have you ticked off?
PUBLISHED: 12:15 14 May 2020
Revisit past memories and dream about future trips to Paris with the help of these 18 things to do
Climb the 222 steps to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica
Emblematic of the city, Sacré-Cœur Basilica sits atop the highest point in Paris, butte Montmartre. The steps leading up to it form Rue Foyatier, named after sculptor Denis Foyatier. Tackle them if you’re feeling energetic; if not, just hop on the funicular which runs alongside.
Enjoy an ice cream to remember from Berthillon Glacier
There’s ice cream, then there’s Berthillon ice cream; a little luxury to savour on a hot summer’s day. Their range of ice creams and sorbets will have you drooling; try the honey nougat or the passion fruit flavours.
Hire a Vélib’ to explore the city
Like London’s so-called Boris Bikes, Vélib’ is a bike-sharing scheme that enables riders to pick up and drop off some borrowed wheels at various stations throughout the city. Prices are reasonable and the flexibility makes it a great way of seeing the city and getting from A to B.
Take a photo next to the Louvre Pyramid
The contemporary companion to the historic Louvre, the glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei marks the museum’s entrance in style. If you’ve queued for hours to get in, or perhaps you’ve visited after-hours, it’s likely you’ll have got some great photos of this iconic landmark.
Lose track of time in Shakespeare and Company
Paris’ most famous English-language bookshop has a star-studded history. Once frequented by literati such as Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce, it’s now become a must-visit for any bibliophile visiting Paris.
Venture down a passage couvert
Paris is criss-crossed by covered arcades where you’ll find all manner of shops and cafes tucked away from the busy streets. Antique hunters love Galerie Véro-Dodat in the 1st arrondissement, while Passage des Princes in the 2nd is a mecca for toy enthusiasts.
People-watch at a pavement café
When winter bids farewell to the city and springtime brings its welcome warmth, Paris’ pavement cafes come to life once more. Try the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district for some authentic drinking and dining spots.
Marvel at the stained-glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle
Paris’ Gothic beauty is often missed in favour of its more famous peer, Notre-Dame, but anyone who skips it is missing a treat: 1,113 stained glass windows. Built in the mid-13th century, it’s truly a sight to behold.
Find a famous grave at Père Lachaise cemetery
Paris’ largest necropolis is the resting place of many French and international stars, including Édith Piaf, Jim Morrison and Maria Callas. Whether you visit independently or with a guided tour, it’s interesting to see another side of the multifaceted city.
Sample a pastel-shaded macaron from Ladurée
Founded in 1862, this iconic cake shop may now have outlets across the world, but there’s no better place to enjoy one of its famous creations than in its home city.
Enjoy a picnic by the Seine
Paris has no shortage of picnic spots, but some of the most popular have to be alongside the Seine. You could choose the ever-popular Tuileries or the river’s own quais; don’t forget a fresh, crusty baguette and some delicious cheese.
Browse the bouquinistes along the Seine
A staple of the riverside since the 16th century, the booksellers with their famous green boxes have a treasure trove of literature and souvenirs to discover.
Pick up a treat or two at the Marché des Enfants Rouges
Paris’ oldest food market is a treat for all the senses and a melting pot for cultures and cuisines from around the world.
See all that glitters at the enchanting Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles
It may be located just outside of the city centre, but it’s a quintessential Paris experience: a visit to the bewitching Château de Versailles makes for a holiday to remember. Get there as early as you can to experience this famous room in all its glory.
Admire The Thinker at the Musée Rodin
Taking pride of place in the garden of the museum dedicated to the French sculptor is one of his finest works: The Thinker. See this and many more sculptures, paintings and photographs at this fascinating spot.
Take a stroll along the Coulée Verte
This 5km-long trail, part of a former railway line, begins behind the Opéra Bastille and extends all the way to the Bois de Vincennes. With lots of beautiful vegetation lining the way, it’s a great way to see another perspective on Paris.
Ride the glass-enclosed escalators of the Centre Pompidou
The fantastic modern art gallery, famous for its extraordinary design, is framed by distinctive external escalators. For some, these are (almost) as much of a draw as the exhibits themselves!
See Paris from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower
For the ultimate vista of the City of Light, ascend to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. At almost 300m from the ground, you’ll feel like you’re among the clouds!
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