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Paris is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. After having lived in France and visited Paris several times, I’ve got an incredible Paris bucket list that will ensure the most amazing trip to the city of lights!
From top sights to hidden gems, here are the top 25 unique things to do in Paris!
Paris Bucket List: 25 of the Most Unique Things to do in Paris
Whether this is your first or fiftieth visit to the city of lights, these are the most fun and unusual things to do in Paris that you must add to your Paris bucket list!
1. Take in the Views From Arc de Triomphe or a Rooftop Bar
I stand by my belief that the best views of Paris HAVE to include the Eiffel Tower. So while you could certainly go up into the Eiffel Tower and fight the crowds to get a good view and shot of the city, I recommend either going up the Arc de Triomphe or a rooftop bar instead!
We loved Bar Perruche, a rooftop bar and restaurant set on top of the Printemps shopping center. It boasts stunning views of the city, including the Eiffel Tower, and you can grab a spritz or glass of wine without hoards of other travelers.
2. Take a Food Tour of the Le Marais Neighborhood
Le Marias may be one of my favorite spots in Paris. If you are searching for fun things to do in Paris, I highly recommend taking a food tour of the Le Marais neighborhood.
Why Le Marais? This arrondissement is a melting pot of culture with Chinese, Jewish, and LGBTQI residents. This is reflected in the many art museums, bakeries, restaurants, and shops in the area.
As a place that is bursting with energy, the food here is absolutely incredible. We chose this Paris Food Tour that included stops at one of the best boulangeries in Paris, a covered market for a wine and cheese tasting, plus many other tastings of sweet and savory French treats.
Basically, if you want the most delicious food and unique, smaller shops and museums, this neighborhood is well worth exploring!
3. Stay in Saint Germain or Montmartre
A mistake you could make while visiting Paris is to stay next to the most touristy parts of town. While convenient, it can be incredibly expensive! So while you could fork over a lot of money to stay in the 1st arrondissement (where the Louvre is), I recommend either staying in Montmartre (18th arrondissement) or Saint Germain (6th arrondissement).
Nothing against the 1st district, but I love the more local feel and affordability of these two areas. Both also have historical ties to many famous artists and authors like Picasso, the Fitzgeralds, and Ernest Hemingway.
So if you are looking for dreamy sidewalk cafes and beautiful bakeries and shops, these two arrondissements are fantastic!
4. Explore the Famous Louvre and Musee D’Orsay
There are several museums all across Paris! But if you’ve never been to the city of lights, then adding the Louvre and Musee D’Orsay are a must for your Paris bucket list.
The Louvre is huge with many works of art ranging from the Renaissance to Ancient Egypt. Of course, you’ve got to go see the Mona Lisa, but you may be disappointed in how tiny she is! However, this museum is gorgeous with many wings. Spend a few hours here spotting famous works and enjoying the decor.
Then, head over to Musee D’Orsay, home to several famous French impressionist paintings. When you think of French art, you’re probably picturing the impressionists. So a stop in here is perfect to spot paintings by Degas, Monet, and Renoir.
These are great museums to add to your Paris 2 day itinerary!
5. Walk Along the Seine River for the Perfect Paris Bucket List Item
Nothing is better than a stroll along the Seine in the summer. The little green stands are up with souvenirs available for purchase, you can spot artists painting along the river, and from July-August, they even put in sand along the banks in some parts to feel like you’re at the beach in Paris!
Spending a quiet afternoon lazily strolling along the Seine is a beautiful bucket list item for Paris!
6. Explore the Stunning Churches in Paris
The churches across the city of Paris are divine, with gargoyles on the front, stained-glass windows inside, and gorgeous art that would make you think every cathedral is a museum on its own.
Of course, visiting Notre Dame, Sacre-Coeur, or Sainte Chappelle are on many bucket lists for Paris, which I totally recommend. However, my favorite is the Abbey de Saint Germain des Pres.
This small cathedral is a hidden gem tucked away in the Saint Germain neighborhood, across from one of my favorite cafes, Les Deux Magots. It is free to visit, and it is truly stunning!
The ceiling is covered with golden stars, the stained glass is a thing of beauty, and I particularly enjoyed the delightful garden next to it. We also loved being the only people inside the church during our visit!
Pick a couple of churches to visit during your time in Paris, as they are all works of art!
7. Take a Day Trip to the Loire Valley
If you plan to spend several days in Paris, I highly recommend taking a day trip. And while there are several day trips you could take from Paris, our favorite was visiting the Loire Valley!
With hundreds of chateaus and wineries, it was a fairytale come to life to visit the Loire Valley. It is only a couple of hours south of Paris, and well worth a trip to visit a few castles, enjoy a French country lunch, and sample the wine that the Loire Valley is known for!
This is the tour that we took and visited 3 castles: Château de Chambord, Chateau de Nitray, and Chateau de Chenonceau.
To get to visit more of France really helps give your time in Paris that much more excitement!
You could also spend a weekend here from Paris!
8. Visiting a Market is a Must on a Paris Bucket List
One of the more unusual things to do in Paris is to spot all of the exciting markets. With fresh food, charming stands, and lengthy histories, it is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon finding these beautiful gems across the city.
My personal favorite is the Marche des Enfants-Rouges, the oldest covered market in Paris that dates back to the 1600s. It hasn’t been running consistently since the 1600s, but since 2000, they have had stands selling fresh produce, cheese, and even small restaurants selling anything from crepes to Lebanese food.
If you are a foodie, definitely check out this beautiful market in the Le Marais neighborhood.
Other notable covered markets include Marche Aligre, which is popular for chefs and sells great coffee, oysters, and wine, Marche aux Fleurs, a colorful flower market, and Marche Dejean, a market in Montmartre selling fish, West African cuisine, and cosmetics.
9. Watch the Eiffel Tower Sparkle at Night
While I recommend spotting the Eiffel Tower during the day (it can be hard to miss), I also recommend staying up to see it at night. It lights up the sky and every hour there is a light show where it looks like the Eiffel Tower is sparkling.
It is a romantic sight to see and a must for a bucket list in Paris.
10. Visit Monet’s Water Lilies in Giverny
Want to see the awe-inspiring gardens that Monet is famous for painting in real life? Take a half-day trip or just take the train from Gare Saint-Lazare to Vernon and a taxi or bus up to Giverny to explore Monet’s home and gardens.
You may feel as inspired as the French painter himself! This is definitely a France bucket list item!
11. It Wouldn’t Be a Paris Bucket List Without a Picnic in a Park
This sounds incredibly simple, but a picnic in the park is one of the most romantic things to do in Paris! Head to a market as we mentioned above or to a few shops like the boulangerie for bread, fromagerie for cheese, and a wine shop for a delicious French wine, and find a delightful park to have it all in.
Luckily, Paris has both large and small parks and gardens everywhere! However, a favorite and less touristy park is Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. With a lovely lake, a cave, and plenty of walking paths, you’ll be able to get away from the crowds and find a perfect picnic spot with your love.
What makes for a better Paris bucket list than doing that?
I also recommend walking through the Jardin des Tuileries and Jardin du Luxembourg as they are popular and stunning gardens! But for a relaxing picnic, either a smaller garden or Parc des Buttes-Chaumont are perfect.
12. Wander Montmartre
The streets of Montmartre are lovely! There are windy roads climbing up steep hills, multiple staircases, and so many historical sights that show its artistic past. This neighborhood also has some of the best views of the city as it is so hilly.
It also features colorful cafes, a beautiful church (Sacre-Coeur), the famed Moulin Rouge, and even a museum dedicated to this place. The Musee de Montmartre was once home to many artists, including Renoir!
Wander this smaller museum to see the history of Montmartre, including the burlesque past, paintings from many artists that lived in the area, and even a beautiful garden and vineyard!
After the museum, I recommend exploring the many art galleries, Montmartre Cemetery, and Le Mur des Je t’aime, or the I Love You Wall, and snap a photo with your love!
13. Take a Cruise on the Seine
This Paris bucket list item is super romantic! Take a river cruise along the Seine, especially at sunset with a glass of champagne! Enjoy the sights of Paris from this river, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre!
Maybe you’ll get the chance to spot the Eiffel Tower lit up! Check out this sunset champagne cruise for one of the most romantic things to do in Paris.
14. Enjoy the Sales in January and June
If you enjoy shopping, then the times of year to visit Paris are in January and June. These two times of year are famous for their “soldes” or “sales” as companies are moving their inventory for the season.
I remember grabbing a great deal on a purse during the January soldes back in the day, but if you come in June you can enjoy the deals as well! You’ll spot signs everywhere, so it isn’t difficult to find a bargain.
Head near the Champs-Elysees and see which deals you can find!
15. Have Dinner at a Historic Restaurant
When it comes to dining in Paris, don’t just wander into any old bistro near the tourist attractions! Instead, check out a historic restaurant! We loved Le Procope in the Odeon area.
This is the oldest cafe in Paris, and they have plenty of memorabilia hanging around to prove it! But they have delicious food and a beautiful French wine list that make this place well worth a mention on a Paris bucket list!
16. Eating a Delicious Crepe for Dessert is a Fabulous Paris Bucket List Item
Ahh the crepe. One of the many delicious treats that France blessed the world with. You can’t go to Paris without trying one of these, and there is no better time to grab one than on the go before taking a stroll in the park or along the Seine.
I recommend Creperie des Artes. Just order a fantastic crepe at the window (or you can sit inside, but where is the fun in that?!) and continue exploring this charming part of town.
We loved the nutella-banana crepe (who wouldn’t?) but they also serve savory crepes and many other flavors!
17. Compare Which Place Has the Best Macarons
Is it Laduree? Is it Pierre-Herme? Or what about Jean-Paul Hevin? You be the judge!
Personally, I felt like the absolute best came from Edwart Chocolatier! Okay, the chocolate there is also AMAZING, but the macarons were top-notch. I always judge a macaron by how well their pistachio one is, and this one takes the cake (…or macaron?).
Either way, I highly recommend trying as many macarons as possible while you’re in Paris! After all, it is a tasty bucket list item for Paris.
18. Try Your Hand at Playing Petanque
Petanque: a French summertime favorite. This game is played by many elderly gentlemen in parks across Paris, but it is well worth it to try your hand at the game.
What is petanque? It is very similar to Bocce, but instead of bowling the ball, you throw it. For the ultimate bucket list Paris idea, nothing feels more local than striking up a game of petanque in the park (perhaps during that picnic?).
19. Having a Drink at a Bar Along the Seine Is One of the Top Things to do in Paris
If you happen to be walking along the Seine in the summer, I highly recommend stopping by one of the many bars along the banks for a drink! Many locals will stop by here after work for a glass of wine or beer and to meet up with friends.
Reward your long day of sightseeing the local way on this bucket list Paris tip!
20. Visit a Wine Bar for the Best French Wine
Let’s be real, you can get high-quality wine in a Paris grocery store! For real- we went to an ordinary grocery store and the wine aisle was not only massive but had high-quality wine that was a fraction of the price versus back home!
But to try some of the best wine in France, make a reservation at a lovely wine bar. It is the perfect place to relax and unwind while you connect with your traveling companions. It is a super romantic thing to do in Paris too! So whether you are searching for the perfect Bordeaux or summertime-necessary Provence Rose, a wine bar is perfect.
I recommend Juveniles! But make a reservation-it is small and fills up!
21. Take Insta-worthy Shots at Palais-Royale
I love the black and white columns at the Palais-Royale! They are really fun to take those Insta-worthy photos! So take the time after visiting the Louvre or if you’re in the area to see these posts and snap a few selfies!
22. Find Filming Spots for “Midnight in Paris”
Midnight in Paris is such a classic movie! And if you’re a big fan like we are, then spotting the sights from the movie is a great bucket list item for Paris!
Here are some key places from Midnight in Paris (some of which are also on this list):
- Monet’s gardens in Giverny
- Musee Rodin
- Palace of Versailles
- Musée L’Orangerie
- Le Grand Vefour
- Marché Aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (flea market)
- Shakespeare and Company Bookstore
- Steps of the Saint Etienne-du-Mont Church
- Pont Alexandre III
And so many more!
23. Visit Rue Cremieux is a Must for Your Paris List
The most colorful, and romantic, street in Paris has to be Rue Cremieux. This cobblestone street was once workers’ housing but is now a beautiful spot with colorful houses. It is popular among photographers and filmmakers alike.
Please be aware that while this is a top bucket list Paris item, it still is a residential street. Be respectful while visiting!
24. Paris Bucket List Pro-Tip: Dine at a Charming Cafe
Grabbing a meal or a drink at a charming sidewalk cafe is a must for any France bucket list! First of all, they are completely adorable. Second, many were popular haunts for famous writers and artists back in the day like Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Simone de Beauvoir.
Our favorite is Les Deux Magots. While you can grab a glass of wine here and a great dinner, our favorite time to visit is in the morning for delicious coffee and the most incredible ancient hot chocolate you’ll ever have!
Other great cafes include Cafe de Flore, Le Select, La Closerie des Lilas, and Le Train Bleu.
25. Admire the Smaller Art Museums During Your Trip to Paris, France
While you know all about Paris’s most popular museums like the Louvre and D’Orsay, I recommend spending some time at smaller museums too! There are so many, but the ones you should add to your Paris bucket list have to be Musee L’Orangerie and Musee Rodin.
Musee L’Orangerie is one of my favorite museums in Paris! With rooms designed by Monet himself to house his famed giant paintings of his water lilies, this smaller museum is one I visit on every trip to Paris.
I also love Musee Rodin for the gorgeous sculptures, including the sculpture garden! I also love wandering around the garden and enjoying the fountain and flowers. It is a dreamy escape from the hustle and bustle of the city just outside the walls.
We hope you enjoy this Paris bucket list with the absolute best things to do during your time in Paris!
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