Paris, the magical city of romance, culture, great food and spectacular architecture. This is one of those magnificent cities that you simply must visit. Whether it is your first time heading to Paris or you are returning for another trip filled with exploring and sightseeing, it will never cease to mesmerise you. The city has it all. It’s packed to the brim with world-renowned landmarks, buildings and museums – all rich in history, culture and enviable Parisian charm. Andrzej & Jolene Ejmont from Wanderlust Storytellers are here to provide you with the perfect guide for your day trip to Paris.
Best Time to Visit Paris
The best time to visit Paris is during the summer months, from June to August. The weather is idyllic and you will have lovely, long sunny days. Of course, the most popular season comes with the negatives of crowds and raised travel prices.
The fall months from September to October are also a popular option. Travel rates will be lower and your attractions queues will be shorter. Paris in fall is still beautiful and we much prefer to avoid the busy crowds whenever we can.
15 Things to Do on your Day Trip to Paris
Here is our ultimate list of 15 things to do on your day trip to Paris. It’s super ambitious to try and attempt to tick off every single one, so we recommend that you make a list of the sights and attractions that are ‘must-sees’ and start with those.
1. The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is the glistening beacon of Paris. Regardless of where you are in the city, this world-famous tower manages to catch your eye and steal the hearts of even the not-so-romantically-inclined visitors.
One of the world’s most popular and iconic man-made monuments, the tip of the spear-like peaks tower over the city, providing you with sensational 360-degree views. To avoid the crowds and to save yourself hours of waiting in long queues, we advise you to visit the tower first thing in the morning.
2. The Arc de Triomphe
For thrill-seekers that love driving around Paris, you will know the famous Arc de Triumph roundabout well. This is the busiest intersection in the city and the scariest place to drive for a lot of first-timers.
Luckily, there are underground passages leading you to the arch, where you can marvel on the grandeur and spectacular carvings. Here you can also climb to the top of the monument and enjoy sensational views over the Parisian traffic madness below and the beautiful city landscape all the way back to the Eiffel Tower.
3. The Palais-Royal Gardens
There’s more to Paris than the hustle and bustle of the city. The Palais-Royal Gardens are amongst the most tranquil settings in all of Paris. Also known as Remarkable Gardens, they are open for the public to enjoy throughout the day. Here you can retrace the footsteps of the famous Cardinal Richelieu and King Louis XIV, all whilst admiring the exquisite architecture of the 17th century grand palace.
4. The Cathédrale de Notre-Dame
Cathedrale de Notre Dame needs no introduction. It is one of the most important Gothic-style cathedrals ever built in France. Dating back to 11th century, Notre Dame was once considered the beating heart of Paris. Many important celebrations have taken place in the cathedral, including French royal weddings and even the crowning of Napoleon.
These days, Notre Dame attracts masses of tourists, hungry for selfies in front of the magnificent exterior façade and lining up in long queues to go inside or to go up the tower. Although the interior of the cathedral is quite stunning, we will warn you that the queues are amongst the longest in Paris.
5. The Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter is a haven for all food enthusiasts, as the narrow streets and vibrant shopfronts lead to an array of mouth-watering bistros and Parisian cafes. Opt to take a long, leisurely lunch before venturing out to walk off those Parisian pounds.
The Parisian Pantheon resembles striking similarities to its Roman counterpart; however the interior of this monument takes you on a slightly different architectural adventure. The sheer size of this building is staggering. The magnificent decorations, carvings and illustrations take you on a journey into the life of St. Genevieve and the beginnings of both Christianity and the French monarchy.
The Pantheon is also a final resting place for some of the French finest philosophers, historians and writers, such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Alexandre Dumas.
7. The “Le Marais” Neighbourhood
Le Marais is packed to the brim with a variety of beautiful private mansions, great museums, cafes and much more. Loose yourself in the dizzying array of hidden courtyards, narrow cobble-stone alleys and indulge in some of the rich, local delights. Le Marais is an upper-class and aristocratic, stylish district.
For those of you hungry for more architecture, here you will find plenty of significant historical buildings to see. However, if you are salivating for some more Parisian delicacies, this district is well known for its great selection of food walking tours. These of course include the infamous French cheese and wine tours.
8. Rue des Martyrs
The Rue des Martyrs are a maze of old market streets, not to be missed on your visit to Paris. Although this area is a little further from the centre of the city, it will not disappoint. A short trip will give you an authentic look into the charm and energetic atmosphere of some of Paris’s most vibrant streets.
The neighbourhood has a distinctly unique feel to the other districts of Paris. Here you will find upscale boutique-style shopping intertwined with quirky pastry shops, gourmet cafes, chocolatiers and much more.
9. La Fondation Louis Vuitton
Venture out of the city for a little bit, step into the mind of one of the artistic greats and check out the stunning ingenuity of Frank Gehry. The Frank Gehry’s Contemporary-Art Museum and Cultural Center is a whimsical facade in the Parisian skyline. In view, the building appears as a glorious ship rising out of the Bois de Boulogne with its blissful crystal sails. This building is referred to as the place of La Fondation Louis Vuitton, as it houses most of the designer’s private collections. Truly a magnificent sight to behold.
10. Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Wondering why you should include a cemetery on your Paris day trip list? Well, because this is one incredibly special cemetery where you can find the graves of celebrities such as Antonio de La Gandara, Honoré de Balzac, Sarah Bernhardt, Frédéric Chopin, Jim Morrison, Édith Piaf, Camille Pissarro, Gertrude Stein, and Oscar Wilde. The cemetery is a bit of a maze so don’t be afraid to annoy the passers-by with queries about which direction you should head in to see a specific grave.
11. Deyrolle Taxidermy
Deyrolle is a legendary taxidermy shop filled to the brim with a staggering selection of taxidermized (stuffed) animals, insects and treasures from the sea. It is all about science and anatomy of all living creatures here. The shop offers an extensive array of products to purchase, such as shells, stuffed animals and insects. Interested? I know you are!
12. Avenue des Champs-Elysées
Avenue des Champs-Elysees is a well-known destination for both locals and visitors alike. Welcome to undoubtedly the most expensive shopping street in whole of Paris. Comparable to London’s Regent Street or New York’s Fifth Avenue, Avenue des Champs-Elysees boasts luxury stores such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co and Chanel. Even if you can’t afford what’s in the shop windows, the avenue makes for a pleasant stroll and macaroon pit stop.
13. The Louvre
The Louvre is the world’s largest museum, spreading over 675,000 square feet and hosting art works from the deepest corners of the globe. Here you’ll find many centuries-old original pieces including Winged Victory, Venus de Milo and of course the one and only ‘’The Mona Lisa’’.
The Louvre, together with the Eiffel Tower, is one of the most recognized and iconic symbols within the city of Paris. If you are a museum lover, you could easily spend an entire day in this museum alone so plan out ahead of time what you have the most interest in seeing.
14. Ile Saint-Louis
Ile Saint-Louis is a peaceful oasis located in the centre of the city connected to both sides of the river Seine by four bridges. Quickly stroll over the pedestrian bridge and you will find yourself in the 17th century courtyards surrounded by mansions with majestic facades. Ile Saint-Louis is most popular for its ice crème parlours, vibrant restaurants and quirky cafes.
15. Bateau Mouche
Taking a ride on a Bateau Mouche is a wonderful way to finish off the day and to see the city’s landmarks from the river Seine. The 2-hour boat rides offer a selection of gourmet meals and champagne, all whilst listening to commentary from well-informed Parisian guides.
The boat trip is a great alternative to taxis or the metro. Bateau Mouche takes you to some of the most important landmarks as well; The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and The Louvre. It is much slower, but also a much more relaxing way, to travel around the city.
Paris draws you in with its promise of good food, extraordinary architecture and its romantic atmosphere, but it leaves you with much more. Whilst exploring our ultimate list of things to do in Paris, you will undoubtedly develop an even longer list of your own. That is what we love about Paris the most. The city engraves itself onto your heart and makes you want to come back for more!
Want to extend your trip? Check out the best hostels in Paris here.
This guest post is brought to you by Andrzej & Jolene Ejmont from Wanderlust Storytellers, a widely successful family travel blog. They love sharing their passion for travel with people all around the globe. On their blog you can find truly helpful travel tips, stories and inspiration. You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram & YouTube.