If you’re visiting Paris, how in the world do you decide what to do? Paris is renowned across the world and adults and children alike dream of one day visiting the magical city.
One of the most amazing things about Paris is the number of things to do (and eat & drink) in the city. We all know that Paris is renowned for Notre Dame, Champ Elysees, and the Eiffel Tower. But that’s not all there is to the City of Lights…there are so many unique activities to add to your Paris bucket list, that I put together a lovely guide for you.
While these aren’t “off-the-beaten-path” recommendations, they are unique ways to experience the city outside of the typical museum hopping and walking tours. These were some of my must-do Paris bucket list activities, so I hope they’ll help you to plan your trip!
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1 | Bring a Sunset Picnic the Eiffel Tower
Instead of taking the elevator up the Eiffel Tower, buy the picnic essentials—baguettes, cheese, and wine—and camp out on the lawn to watch the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower. I kicked off my first Parisian evening this way, and it actually gave me goosebumps. As cheesy as it sounds, it was when it truly hit me that I was in Paris. (Side note: it’s ok to laugh, I can be super corny sometimes very frequently.) This definitely belongs at the top of your Paris bucket list.
2 | Become a French Pastry Chef (for the day)
I attended a French Desserts class with Cook’n With Class and it was seriously out of this world amazing. During our three hour class, we made chocolate lava cake (my fave!), crème brulee, blackberry soufflé, madeleines, and a gorgeous strawberry cake.
In case you’re wondering, yes – you do get to use the torch to make your crème brulee, and yes—you get to eat all of your amazing creations when you’re finished! Chef Eric Fraudeau opened Cook’n with Class 10 years ago, so I can attest to the fact that they have perfected their recipes. Plus, while I was there, I learned of a second school they run –Cook’n With Class Uzès…anyone up for an adventure there with me?
3 | Have a Photo Shoot in Rue Cremieux
Rue Cremieux is one of the happiest, most colorful spots in Paris. A street of rainbow colored houses with pastel colors, Rue Cremieux is basically Instagram heaven. Even if you have to awkwardly approach strangers for photos, it’s definitely worth a stroll.
4 | Scour the city for the cutest cafes
Paris is known for their adorable cafes (and croissants)! Do yourself a favor, and keep a lookout for the most charming ones. Please report back to me! I found plenty, but am always on the lookout for more! Food plus charm will always win a spot on my Paris bucket list.
Checkered tablecloths just seemed so French to me…or maybe it was all the wine?
As mentioned, wine and cheese is kind of a must in France. I’m not ashamed to admit, but on a couple of my nights in France, I got a baguette, plenty of cheese, and some delicious wine and called it dinner!
5 | Eat a plate of escargot
Full disclosure: I never planned to ever eat a snail in my life. I typically stay away from gross, slimy things that crawl on the ground, but I decided to make an exception in Paris…and let me tell you, it was worth it. The snails mostly tasted like delightful clams with garlic. Also, it sounds very fancy when you say you’ve dined on escargot in Paris, so I’d go for it if I were you!
6 | Snap Polaroids of Paris
Next up on your Paris bucket list is to take a Polaroid tour of the city with Paris Polaroid Tours. I did the Classic Tour and saw the city’s most beautiful monuments while learning about Parisian history.
The guide was so knowledgeable—she told stories about the mixture of cultures, ancient revolutions, and rulers who shaped the history of France’s capital. The really cool thing about the tour is that you leave with Polaroid photos as souvenirs…and they won’t even clutter up your house!
7 | Wander through Montmartre
If you’re in Paris for more than a day, you have to spend time in Montmartre. It had some of the most adorable cafes in all of Paris. Plus, I ate dinner there one night and you basically had to force me to leave. I basically wanted to move into the restaurant and never leave…it was that good.
Ugh, even just looking at these photos has me thinking of Montmartre all over again. Also, note the spelling–I was definitely misspelling it for the longest time.
Make sure to check out Montmartre at night! It’s an experience not to be missed.
And once you climb ALL the way up, you can get views like this!
One last thing to note – Montmartre is filled with sooooo many hills, so wear some comfy walking shoes. Today is not the day to show off your newest heels. I absolutely fell head over heels in love with Montmartre, and it definitely belongs on your Paris bucket list.
8| Visit Sacre-Coeur at Night
While you’re in the Montmartre neighborhood, climb up to the Sacre-Couer and take in views of Paris at night. From the top of the hill, you can see why it’s called the city of lights! The night I visited, there was a spontaneous little concert…definitely one of the best things to add to your Paris bucket list.
It’s not so shabby to visit during the day either. However, it can definitely get crowded, so make sure you’re prepared.
9 | Splurge on Fine Dining
So maybe this isn’t so unique, but you still have to splurge on fine dining in Paris. Paris offers everything from escargot to duck confit to foie gras…plus many, many more. Try something new one night, and take your taste buds out of their comfort zone! Also, the typical croissants, baguettes, and cheese are world renowned for a reason…they may not be famous, but they’re oh so good.
Looking back, I may have eaten some combo of bread & cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner one day… If you’re interested, you can also take a private food tour of Paris.
10 | Catch the Eiffel Tower Light Show
After the sun goes down, the Eiffel Tower lights up on the hour and plays a light show. Honestly, a picture can’t capture the sparkling lights, so you should probably just go in person. If you want to see the whole city lit up at night, check out this 1 Hour Paris Illuminations Cruise. The lights were a spectacular experience that absolutely gave me goosebumps and are a highlight of a Paris bucket list.
11 | Find the Love Locks
The love locks used to live on the Pont des Arts Bridge, but started to create a problem as the weight of the locks grew. In 2015, the city removed them section by section, but you can still find love locks in the city (with a beautiful view).
12 | Get Lost in a Bookshop
I’m a (not so secret) book nerd, so I love finding cute little bookshops and wandering through. Let me tell you, Paris did not disappoint in that regard. Cafes, boutiques, and bookshops were all over the place, and I was in heaven!
13 | Drink too Much Wine
France is known for its wine, and I love wine (obviously), so I made sure to do this step to the fullest. Wine goes great with dinner, lunch, your afternoon baguette, you name it! Paris offers tons of options for wine tastings if you’re unsure where to start.
14 | Relax in Tuileries Gardens
Sometimes all that wine can make you sleepy, so invest in some relaxation in the beautiful Tuileries Gardens. The Gardens are also a beautiful spot to bring lunch or a book and relax all afternoon. They’re right in the middle of everything, so whenever you decide to rejoin the hustle and bustle, you’re right there. Also, there’s a goat that lives there (not sure if that sways you one way or another, but figured it would be good to mention).
What Else Should I Do?
If you’ve exhausted my Paris bucket list, no fear! I have plenty of other awesome recommendations for you.
- Seine River Cruise with Dinner –There’s no better way to see Paris that cruising along the river. Even better, it comes with dinner!
- Ghost Walking Tour – Visit the haunted streets of Paris on this spellbinding ghost tour. Learn about Dracula, the ghost of the Eiffel Tower, and Paris’s history with vampires!
- Segway Tour –Pressed for time? See highlights of Paris in two hours on this awesome Segway tour!
- Paris Catacombs –If you’re into spooky things, you have to check out the Paris Catacombs and learn about the fascinating ways the city has dealt with its deceased.
- Palace of Versailles –This ticket sets up your transfer and lets you skip the line…definitely worth checking out!
Flights to Paris
I’d recommend searching through eDreams.net. They scan tons of different travel discount sites and feature special flight deals. Fly into Paris, and it’s just a short metro ride into the city! This handy metro map is incredibly helpful – I used it to map out my route from the airport to Gare du Nord.
Where to Stay in Paris
Budget: Since I was traveling solo, I personally opted to stay in a hostel to make some friends! I absolutely loved St. Christopher’s Gare du Nord ; it has an awesome location by the train station, good prices, and a super fun hostel bar.
Mid-Range: Another cool option is to stay in the Latin Quarter of the city at the Familia Hotel. The 5th arrondissement is a great choice for travelers interested in food, history and art.
Higher-End: For families and couples that want the location, stay in the heart of Paris at the Hoxton. Not only do you get a top location, but you can enjoy a beautiful courtyard, and the hotel is a great value for your money.
Local Stay: If I could do it all again, I’d opt for this scenic apartment with epic views overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Not only do you enjoy stunning sights, but you can take full advantage of the luxurious marble and gold bathroom – nothing beats a lavish shower after a day of exploring all that Paris has to offer!
Another option for a local stay is this bohemian-chic apartment with killer views. Your location is fantastic in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and you can enjoy all the neighborhood has to offer – famous monuments, cocktail bars, art galleries, shopping, and delicious cafes.
- Top photo spots in Paris: Discover the most awesome spots to snap photos around Paris!
- 10 Female Solo Travel Mistakes to Avoid: If you’re flying solo like me, take a look at this little list of suggestions for solo travelers.
I hope you found this guide on unique things to do in Paris helpful. If you haven’t been, it should definitely be on your bucket list! Tell me—have you visited the City of Lights and loved it as much as me? What are some of your favorite things on your Paris bucket list? Let me know in the comments!