A trip to Paris is usually near the top of every wanderluster’s list, and for good reason! The city is vibrant, full of romance, and definitely not lacking in tasty treats. Visiting the city of lights was near the top of my bucket list as well so my first trip to Paris in 2015 had me giddy with excitement. I can’t wait to return one day, but in the meantime, I thought I could pass along some advice on what others should do on their first trip to Paris. There are many wonderful sights and experiences around the city, but if you want to get a full experience from your visit, you should try to cross all of these things off your bucket list.
1. Stroll the streets of Montmartre
Make sure you take a walk through some of the back streets and not just the touristy area.
2. Visit the Sacre Coeur
While you’re in Montmartre, you’ll be able to swing by the Sacre Coeur, a beautiful structure with fantastic views of the city.
3. See the Moulin Rouge
Another stop while you’re in the Montmartre area, Moulin Rouge is a must-see. To prepare for your trip, make sure you watch the film.
4. Order the plat du jour
Feel like a local when you order the plat du jour, plus you’ll save some money!
5. Take a day trip to the Versailles Palace
You’ll feel like royalty for a day and your mind will be blown by the costs that went into adorning the chateau.
6. Watch a painter at work in the street
Paris is an artist’s dream and strolling around the streets you’re sure to run into a talented painter or two.
7. Oogle at the decadent desserts in a French bakery
Because somehow even the desserts in Paris are more beautiful (and tasty, too).
8. Eat at a sidewalk cafe
They’re everywhere so it shouldn’t be hard to find one. The people watching is prime from a table in a cafe.
9. Eat escargot
Snails? Yes, snails. What better place to check this one off your bucket list than Paris?
10. Check out the locks left by lovers all over the city
It’s become almost like a rite of passage; couples clip a lock to one of the many bridges of the city and throw away the key to symbolize their love lasting forever.
11. Have a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower
Wine or champagne necessary, of course.
12. Visit the flower market
Buy a bouquet or twenty…
13. Indulge in a few macarons at Laduree
These colorful melt-in-your-mouth treats are NOT to be missed. While you can find great macarons throughout the city, Laduree is the hot place for these delicate desserts.
14. See the Mona Lisa at the Louvre
While the Louvre is mind-blowingly crowded, it’s great to be able to see this famous piece in person. Bonus points if you take a picture looking like you’re holding the point of the pyramid.
15. Finish every meal with a cup of coffee
When in.. Paris?.. do as the Parisian’s do. Every meal should be finished with espresso or some form of caffeine.
16. Eat a meal made entirely of soufflé
It’s not enough simply to try a chocolate soufflé. Why not make an entire meal out of this fluffy food? A meal at Le Soufflé will do just the trick.
17. Eat a crepe from a street vendor
It’s mindblowing just to watch the crepe being made, but even more amazing when you get your first bite of a fresh crepe.
18. Eat a French croissant for breakfast
It’s one of those quintessential Paris moments. Bonus points if it’s eaten at a sidewalk cafe.
19. Visit Notre Dame
Take in the view of this 18th-century church from all angles: inside, out front, from the back. It’s beautiful no matter where you’re looking from.
20. Window shop on the Champs-Élysées
You could spend all day going in and out of the shops on this 1.2-mile strip.
21. View the Arc de Triomphe
At the end of the Champs Élysées you’ll be able to view the historic Arc de Triomphe. This monument honors those who lost their lives in the French Revolutionary War and Napoleonic War.
22. Go underground for a tour of the catacombs
One of the strangest sites you’ll ever see, the catacombs have literally millions of bones dating back to the 1700s and arranged in patterns that will blow your mind.
23. Try a croque-monsieur
Take it from someone who was skeptical, these simple little sandwiches are something you must try. You know that afore-mentioned picnic? These make a great picnic menu item.
24. Go for a riverboat cruise
A great way to take in the many areas of the city. Don’t forget to drink some French wine while easing down the Seine.
25. See the Eiffel Tower lit up at night
This landmark is so important that you must be sure to visit in daylight and at night. When the tower lights up and sparkles, you’ll be so glad you did.
26. Take a break at Jardin du Luxembourg
People watch, go for a stroll, or have another picnic.
27. Enjoy a hot bowl of French onion soup
It will warm your soul. Whoever decided to top a bowl of rich soup with fresh bread and loads of cheese is my hero.
28. Stay in a Parisian apartment
Nothing will make you feel more French.
29. Order steak au poivre
Another local French dish, this is a steak-lovers dream come true.
30. Stroll through the Place des Vosges
As the oldest square in the city, the Place de Vosges offers beautiful architecture, fantastic art galleries, and delicious restaurants.
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