Paris Bucket List -Top Things to Do by a Local (Hometown Series)
The hometown series has taken us around the world, to small towns and big cities, as travel bloggers highlight the many unique things to do and food to try. This series is designed to highlight amazing destinations around the world while also encouraging you to appreciate what is right in front of you! In past articles we visited Prague in the Czech Republic, Leeuwarden in the Netherlands, the Spanish City of Valencia, the U.S. city of Boston, the German city of Berlin, San Jose in California, and more! Now, we will head over to France to discover all the things that should be on your Paris bucket list with Lena of Salut from Paris.
It doesn’t require many words to introduce Paris. It’s the capital of France and one of the most visited cities in the world. Since 2006, this magical metropole also happens to be my hometown. Even though I was never really a Francophile, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with Paris. And 16 years later, I am still here and still in awe.
Salut, I am Lena. I am running the travel website Salut from Paris, and I am excited to share with you the best things to add to your Paris Bucket List. From absolute must-sees to little gems, but also some ideas on where to stay and most important: what and where to eat.
Things to Add to Your Paris Bucket List
1. Visit the Louvre: A Must on Your Paris Bucket List
Art buff or not, the Louvre is a place you shouldn’t miss when in Paris. And although you could spend days in this famous museum, you also have the possibility to make it a brief visit without missing the highlights.
With the free self-guided masterpieces tour, you can see the most famous paintings of the Louvre in as little as 1.5h. Just grab one of the free paper guides that are available at the entrance and explore the history of art.
While the main entrance to the Louvre is through the well-known glass pyramid, you often find smaller queues at the underground entrance that is located in the Carrousel du Louvre. It’s a little shopping mall with pretty boutiques and a few eateries.
2. See the sunset from the Sacré Cœur
Taking a seat on the stairs of the famous white basilica Sacré Cœur is the perfect way to end an afternoon exploring Montmartre. The well-known artist district in the north of Paris is known for its little alleys and quaint houses. It’s here where you find the Maison Rose, which is great for Lunch or an afternoon snack by the way, and Paris’s prettiest street: Rue de l’Abreuvoir.
3. Visit one of Paris best viewpoints: The Arc de Triomphe
One of the loveliest aspects about Paris are the views, and you can hardly get a better one than from the rooftop of the Arc de Triomphe. The massive arc sits on top of the Champs-Élysées and was built by Napoleon as a monument for his victories. The best time to visit is just before sunset. But be aware: there are no elevators, just a spiral staircase with 284 steps.
4. Have a drink in a Parisian street café
Paris is for wandering and strolling, but also for sitting in a café and seeing the world go by. The Parisian café culture is an essential part of the famous savoir-vivre, something you need to set a bit of time aside for.
If you don’t know what to drink, what about a café crème, an espresso with milk? Or a diabolo fraise if you are looking into non-alcoholic options. It’s the favorite drink of French kids: lemonade with strawberry syrup.
5. Visit the Eiffel Tower: A Must on Your Paris Bucket List
When traveling to Paris, it goes without saying that the Eiffel Tower is an absolute must-visit location. You can opt in to take the lift to the summit or only the 2nd floor, but you can also just enjoy the view from ground level. No matter what’s on your agenda, you are surely in for making memories.
For an especially lovely view, head over to the Bir-Hakeim Bridge to see the iron lady sparkle at every full hour after sunset.
6. Learn about Paris history in the Musée Carnavalet
The Musée Carnavalet is my favorite museum in Paris. It’s not only located in an old palace in the beautiful Marais district but is also free. The museum is a wonderful place to learn about Paris city history, making it a top Paris Bucket List destination. The exhibition covers findings from prehistory, roman ruins and, of course, the French Revolution.
If you want to extend your stay a bit and indulge in French cuisine, try and get a table at restaurant Fabula. It’s a gastronomic restaurant in the inner courtyard of the Musée Carnavalet, that hosts every year a different chef.
7. Take a Cruise on the Seine
If you’d ask me about the nicest thing to do while in Paris, I will always say a Cruise on the Seine. While it’s of course a tourist attraction, the panorama you get whilst on board is just not from this world. Plus, it is a pretty affordable activity that sits even with smaller budgets.
From aboard one of the iconic bateaux mouches, that’s how the boats on the Seine are called, you see some of Paris’ finest attractions. Among others, the Eiffel Tower, the Pont-Neuf, and the Notre Dame Cathedral are some of the highlights, making a cruise on the Seine a must-do Paris Bucket List item.
8. Get lost in the Jardin d’Albert Kahn
The garden of Albert Kahn is a hidden gem on the outskirts of Paris that most visitors never even heard of. It’s an absolutely magical place. Albert Kahn was a philanthrope, banker and world traveler in the 19th century who created this gem of a garden to express his travel impressions.
The result is a garden that has a Japanese wood bridge and cherry trees, English rose gardens and French orchards, and even a complete forest with trees from different regions in France.
It’s just a few Metro stops outside town, and you surely won’t regret this little side trip.
9. Eat the most delicious treats in China Town
Did you know that the biggest China Town in Europe lies in Paris? That’s right, and so it’s not a surprise that Paris is a place where you will find some of the best Asian restaurants. Especially if you are looking for Thai and Vietnamese eateries, but also the choice of Chinese restaurants is wonderful.
If you are suffering from decision paralysis, simply secure a table at Lao Lane Xang. It’s a restaurant with plenty of Thai and Vietnamese specialties that even made it into the Guide Michelin.
Voilà, that’s my short guide to Paris, my home. If you are unsure where to stay in Paris, I suggest staying either near the Louvre or on the other side of the Seine, in the Quartier Latin. Both areas are very central, with plenty of Paris vibes. You are close to most sights and won’t run into issues finding great restaurants and cafés to spend a lovely time.
About the Author
Lena fell in love with Paris 16 years ago and is eager to show you her adopted home beyond the Eiffel Tower. On her website Salut from Paris she provides you with many valuable local Paris insider knowledge and essential Paris tips, but also hotel recommendations, itineraries, neighborhood info and things to know and to avoid.
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