The best things to do in Paris
by a local

Joe deSousa, the Seine River at sunset

In short

Paris, we have been living and working there for a little over 10 years with Sandrine. This article is not a travelogue, but rather a sharing of places that will make your visit more authentic.

Rue parisienne avec immeubles Haussmanniens Vue sur les toits de Paris

Best places to eat and sleep in Paris ?

Where to sleep in paris?

For starters, housing. Paris is quite an expensive city, but if you plan ahead, you should be able to find good deals. Whether you are more of a hotel, Airbnb or dormitory in a youth hostel, there is everything in Paris. The best is to be in the center (in the first 8 arrondissements). But if you have to go a little further, it's not a big deal because Paris is a relatively small city and in around 30 minutes you can cross it.

For small budgets, don't hesitate to cross the « périphérique » and stay in a neighboring town, prices will drop and you can travel quickly with RER trains.

The best restaurants in Paris

Where to eat ? This is one of the important questions I ask myself when I travel. It's difficult to answer you as there are so many different cuisines in Paris and I don't know your tastes or your budgets. Overall everything is good, I have rarely been disappointed even in tourist places. If you want to eat like a local, I suggest you follow my Mapstr map where I save all my good addresses. And to go further, I recommend this blog from 2foodtrippers which has really done an incredible job of ranking good addresses (in English).

There may be less street-food in Paris than in other major capitals, but you can try the Marché des Enfants Rouges, Food Society near Montparnasse or Ground Control near Gare de Lyons.

Les quais de Seine avec vue sur la Tour Eiffel Un restaurant parisien

What to do in Paris

The best museums in Paris

There are too many museums in Paris to name them all. The best known are the Louvre, Orsay, the Quai Branly, the Palais de Tokyo, Beaubourg... The Musée de l'Orangerie is a little less known but you will find Monets, Picassos and Cezannes there. If you want less conventional visits you can discover the catacombs, the cemetery of Père LaChaise or even the museum of the sewers of Paris.

If you like historical places do not miss the many churches of Paris, in particular the Notre-Dame cathedral, but also the Sainte-Chapelle, the church of the Madeleine, that of the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre. Slightly less known, but magnificent churches: Saint-Roch, Saint-Etienne-du-Mont, Saint-Eustache, Saint-Sulpice or the great mosque of Paris.

The most beautiful castles outside of Paris

The exterior of Paris is also magnificent. The most famous castle is of course Versailles, but I will advise you many other good addresses accessible by public transport. Do not miss to visit the castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte which itself inspired Versailles. I live next to the Parc de Sceaux and its small castle, it also deserves your visit. Still to the south of Paris, discover the Château de Fontainebleau and its forest. To the north of the capital, you will have the choice between the Château de Chantilly or that of Pierrefonds

Vue aerienne de Paris avec les Invalides et la Tour Eiffel Le pont Alexandre III à Paris

Cross Paris on foot and admire the Haussmann style

The most beautiful parks and gardens in Paris

If like me, you like to walk, start your day at the Jardin Des Plantes located in the 5ᵉ arrondissement of Paris. You can visit its zoo, its greenhouses or its various museums. Then go up the Seine passing by the Ile Saint-Louis and the Ile de la Cité where you will walk along the Notre Dame De Paris cathedral. Then take the quays of the Seine (right bank) which are pedestrianized, to the Louvre. From there, go into the courtyard of the museum and cross the Jardin des Tuileries. You will arrive at Place de la Concorde before going up the Champs Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe. You can continue to the Trocadéro to have one of the most beautiful views of the Eiffel Tower. This walk can keep you busy for a whole day.

Another great hike in Paris is to start from the Louvre to go to Place Vendôme, from there continue to the Opera Garnier which you can visit. Then take the rue de Montmartre and climb up to the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

One last idea for a walk in Paris, further south and about 9 km: you can start from Place de la Nation and go down to Bastille. From there, continue towards the Gare de Lyon to cross the Seine and then the Jardin des Plantes. Then visit the 5th arrondissement of Paris via the Pantheon. Then cross the Jardin du Luxembourg where the Senate is located. Now go through the 6th and 7th arrondissements where you can visit the Bon Marché then the Hôtel des Invalides (Napoleon's tomb) before reaching the Eiffel Tower via the Champ de Mars.

Don't forget to stop by Parc des Buttes-Chaumont or Jardin du Luxembourg at least once. If you want to play sports, or rent bikes, Paris has two large woods: Vincennes and Boulogne.

For a visit like a local, you can also skip the Seine and instead follow the Saint-Martin or Ourq canals.

And if you stay long enough, why not go to Disneyland?

The best views of Paris

For sunset or sunrise, there are several beautiful viewpoints in Paris. You can climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower or the Montparnasse Tower. You can also admire all of Paris from the heights of Montmartre or from the Saint-Jacques tower. There is also a very nice view from the Belvédère de Belleville.

I can also suggest this article if you like spending time on a roof top with a good drink.

What did you like in Paris? Tell us in the comments at the bottom of this page.