Paris, the city of light, is a destination of choice, whether for a short or long stay. It is one of the few cities in the world to offer so many monuments, museums and sites in such a small area. The banks of the Seine are classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Paris also has its trends which vary according to those who make and break the fashion. At the moment, crafts are making a comeback, breakfast outside the home is very popular, food street is a hit, beer and coffee are the top drinks, neo-bistros are on the rise and pop-up stores welcome designers looking for customers.
Visiting Paris is a journey as intense as it is rich in activities, monuments and events. Once you’ve seen the must-sees, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Grand Palais, the banks of the Seine, the Louvre Museum, the Tuileries Gardens, the bateaux-mouches, Luxembourg, Montmartre and the Place du Tertre, you’ll be able to discover the best addresses in the Latin Quarter, the Marais or the Place des Vosges, to dance in the new alternative places of the capital around Oberkampf, Jaurès, République, to go off the beaten track by trying less touristy and more immersive experiences, to shop in the finest grocery stores and to build up your dream library in the most specialized bookshops. A travel guide to Paris will help you navigate the constant supply and innovation.
Table of Contents
Exploring Paris neighbourhoods
Montmartre – This neighborhood, located on a hill in the north of Paris, is known for its artistic history and stunning views of the city. The famous Sacré-Cœur Basilica and Place du Tertre are must-see attractions, as well as the artist square Place du Tertre.
Les Halles – This neighborhood is known for its bustling atmosphere and its many shopping and dining options. It is home to the famous Les Halles market and the Saint-Eustache Church.
Latin Quarter – This neighborhood, located on the left bank of the Seine, is known for its lively atmosphere and its many educational institutions, including the Sorbonne University. The area is also home to the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Luxembourg Garden.
Champs-Élysées – This neighborhood is known for its famous avenue, the Champs-Élysées, which is lined with high-end shops, restaurants, and theaters. The area is also home to the famous Arc de Triomphe and the Grand Palais.
Belleville – This neighborhood, located in the northeastern part of Paris, is known for its multicultural atmosphere and its many Chinese, North African, and Jewish shops, restaurants, and markets. It has also a beautiful park, the Parc de Belleville and the beautiful view over Paris.
Le Marais – This neighbourhood is known for its beautiful architecture, including the Place des Vosges, the Hôtel de Sully, and the Carnavalet Museum. The area also features many trendy boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants, and it is a very popular spot for nightlife.
Le Canal Saint Martin – This neighborhood, located on the right bank of the Seine, is known for its picturesque streets and the Canal Saint-Martin. The area is also home to the famous Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, and many trendy bars and restaurants.
Paris in Seasons – when to travel to Paris
Paris, the capital of France, experiences four distinct seasons throughout the year. Each season offers its own unique charm and activities for tourists to enjoy.
Spring (March to May) is a popular time to visit Paris as the weather starts to warm up and the city comes to life with blooming flowers and trees. The famous cherry blossoms in the Luxembourg Gardens are a must-see during this time. Visitors can also enjoy outdoor activities such as boat rides on the Seine River and picnics in the parks.
Summer (June to August) is the peak tourist season in Paris, with warm weather and long days. The city is bustling with activities and events, such as the Fête de la Musique and the Tour de France. Visitors can also enjoy outdoor dining and drinks at the many terrace cafes and bars. However, it can also be quite crowded and hotel prices are typically at their highest.
Autumn (September to November) is a great time to visit Paris as the weather starts to cool down and the crowds begin to thin out. The city is adorned with beautiful fall colors and visitors can enjoy outdoor activities such as walking along the Seine River and visiting the many parks and gardens. It’s also a good time to visit the wine region of Burgundy, which is just 2 hours away by train.
Winter (December to February) is the least popular time to visit Paris as the weather can be cold and damp. However, the city is beautifully decorated for the holidays and the Christmas markets and ice-skating rinks are a must-see. Visitors can also enjoy indoor activities such as visiting the many museums and art galleries.
Paris is a city that can be enjoyed throughout the year, with each season offering its own unique charm and activities.
Best things to see and do in Paris
Some popular things to see and do in Paris include:
The Eiffel Tower: The Eiffel Tower is the iconic symbol of Paris and a must-see attraction. Visitors can take the elevator or climb the stairs to the top for a panoramic view of the city.
The Louvre: The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum and is home to many famous works of art including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
Notre-Dame Cathedral: This famous cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and is also known for its intricate sculptures and stained-glass windows. After having burnt, Notre Dame will very soon be open to the public again.
The Champs-Elysées: The Champs-Elysées is a famous avenue in Paris, lined with shops, cafes, and theaters. It is also a great place for a stroll.
The Seine River Cruise: Take a boat tour of the Seine River to see Paris from a different perspective and view famous landmarks such as Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre.
The Palace of Versailles: The Palace of Versailles is located outside of Paris but it is a must-see attraction. It was the residence of the French monarchy and is famous for its grand architecture and beautiful gardens.
Montmartre: Montmartre is a historic neighborhood known for its bohemian atmosphere, charming streets and stunning views of the city. it’s also famous for the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, one of the most iconic landmarks of Paris.
The Marais: This historic neighborhood is known for its charming streets, fashionable boutiques, and its famous Jewish quarter.
The Latin Quarter: The Latin Quarter is known for its historic universities, charming streets, and its famous cafés, such as the Café de Flore and the Brasserie Lipp.
The Arc de Triomphe: The Arc de Triomphe is a famous monument located at the end of the Champs-Elysées. Visitors can climb to the top for a panoramic view of the city.
Fun things to do in Paris
Take a boat tour on the Seine River: A boat tour on the Seine River is a great way to see the city from a different perspective and view famous landmarks such as Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre.
Visit the famous museums: Paris is home to many famous museums such as the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Pompidou Center, which are all must-sees for art lovers.
Take a stroll along the Champs-Elysées: The Champs-Elysées is a famous avenue in Paris, lined with shops, cafes, and theaters. It is also a great place for a stroll, and a perfect spot for people watching.
Explore the charming neighborhoods: Paris is divided into 20 districts, or arrondissements, each with its own unique character. Some popular neighborhoods to explore include Montmartre, the Marais, and the Latin Quarter.
Visit Disneyland Paris: If you’re traveling with kids, or just a big kid at heart, Disneyland Paris is a fun and exciting way to spend a day. The park offers a wide range of rides, shows, and attractions for all ages.
Take a cooking class: Paris is renowned for its culinary heritage, and taking a cooking class is a fun way to learn about the city’s traditional dishes and to bring a piece of Paris back home.
Go for a bike ride: Paris is a bike-friendly city and there are many bike rental shops around the city where you can rent a bike and explore the city’s parks, gardens, and scenic bike paths.
Take a day trip to Versailles: The Palace of Versailles is located outside of Paris but it is a must-see attraction. It was the residence of the French monarchy and is famous for its grand architecture and beautiful gardens.
Have a picnic in a park: Paris is home to many beautiful parks and gardens, such as the Luxembourg Gardens, the Tuileries Gardens, and the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. Pack a picnic and spend a relaxing afternoon in one of these beautiful green spaces.
Take a night cruise on the Seine: A night cruise on the Seine is a great way to see the city’s famous landmarks illuminated at night. It’s a great way to end a day, and to get a different view of the city.
Eating in Paris
Traditional dishes to try in Paris
Paris is renowned for its rich culinary heritage and the diversity of its traditional dishes. Here are some of the most famous traditional dishes of Paris and also of France:
Escargots à la bourguignonne: Escargots, or snails, are a classic French dish typically served in a garlic butter sauce. They are often served as an appetizer and are considered a delicacy in Paris.
Coq au vin: Coq au vin is a traditional French dish made with chicken cooked in red wine, bacon, and mushrooms. It is typically served with potatoes or rice.
Pot-au-feu: Pot-au-feu is a traditional French stew made with beef, vegetables, and spices. It is a hearty and comforting dish, perfect for cold winter days.
Bouillabaisse: Bouillabaisse is a traditional fish stew from the coastal region of Provence. It is made with fish, shellfish, and vegetables and is typically served with rouille, a garlicky mayonnaise.
Croque-monsieur: Croque-monsieur is a classic French sandwich made with ham and Gruyere cheese. It is typically grilled and can be served with a fried egg on top, known as a Croque-madame.
Quiche Lorraine: Quiche Lorraine is a savory tart made with eggs, cream, bacon and cheese. It is a traditional dish from the region of Lorraine and it’s perfect for lunch or brunch.
Crème brûlée: Crème brûlée is a classic French dessert made with custard and caramelized sugar. It is a creamy and rich dessert with a crunchy top.
Tarte Tatin: Tarte Tatin is a French tart made with caramelized apples and puff pastry. it’s a sweet and delicious dish, perfect to end a meal.
Crêpes: Crêpes are thin pancakes that can be filled with sweet or savory fillings such as Nutella, fruits, cheese, or ham and eggs. They are a traditional French street food and can be found at many crêperies in Paris.
French Onion Soup: French Onion Soup is a classic French soup made with caramelized onions, beef broth, and topped with bread and Gruyere cheese. it’s a comforting and satisfying dish, perfect for chilly evenings.
Paris iconic restaurants
Paris is known for its iconic restaurants, which offer a wide range of traditional French cuisine and exceptional dining experiences. Here are some of the most famous iconic restaurants in Paris:
Taillevent: Taillevent is a Michelin three-star restaurant located on the rue Lamennais in the 8th arrondissement. The restaurant is known for its classic French cuisine and its extensive wine list.
L’Ambroisie: L’Ambroisie is a Michelin three-star restaurant located on the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The restaurant is known for its traditional French cuisine and its stunning views of the cathedral.
Le Jules Verne: Le Jules Verne is a Michelin one-star restaurant located on the Eiffel Tower. The restaurant is known for its contemporary French cuisine and its breathtaking views of the city.
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is a Michelin two-star restaurant located on the rue de Montalembert in the 7th arrondissement. The restaurant is known for its contemporary French cuisine and its unique open kitchen.
Le Chateaubriand: Le Chateaubriand is a Michelin one-star restaurant located on the rue de Chateaubriand in the 11th arrondissement. The restaurant is known for its contemporary French cuisine and its cozy atmosphere.
Septime: Septime is a Michelin one-star restaurant located on the rue de Charonne in the 11th arrondissement. The restaurant is known for its contemporary French cuisine and its casual atmosphere.
Le Comptoir du Relais: Le Comptoir du Relais is a bistro located on the rue Saint-Dominique in the 7th arrondissement. The restaurant is known for its traditional French cuisine and its casual atmosphere.
Chez L’Ami Jean: Chez L’Ami Jean is a traditional bistro located on the rue des Plantes in the 14th arrondissement. The restaurant is known for its hearty traditional French cuisine and its cozy atmosphere.
Le Bouillon Chartier: Le Bouillon Chartier is a traditional brasserie located on the rue du Faubourg Montmartre in the 9th arrondissement. The restaurant is known for its traditional French cuisine and its historical atmosphere.
Le Pétrus: Le Pétrus is a bistro located on the rue Saint-Benoît in the 6th arrondissement. The restaurant is known for its traditional French cuisine and its cozy atmosphere.
The best rooftops in Paris
Here are some of the best rooftops in Paris:
Le Perchoir: Le Perchoir is a rooftop bar located on the rue de la Verrerie in the 4th arrondissement.
Le Georges: Le Georges is a rooftop terrace located on the 7th floor of the Centre Georges Pompidou in the 4th arrondissement.
Le Rooftop: Le Rooftop is a rooftop terrace located on the 9th floor of the Hotel Raphael in the 16th arrondissement.
Le Panoramic: Le Panoramic is a rooftop terrace located on the 33rd floor of the Montparnasse Tower in the 15th arrondissement.
Le Terrass: Le Terrass is a rooftop terrace located on the 7th floor of the Terrass Hotel in the 18th arrondissement.
Le Roof: Le Roof is a rooftop terrace located on the 6th floor of the Printemps department store in the 9th arrondissement.
Le Perchoir Marais: Le Perchoir Marais is a rooftop terrace located on the 11th floor of the BHV Marais department store in the 4th arrondissement.
Le Rooftop de la Cité de l’Architecture: Le Rooftop de la Cité de l’Architecture is a rooftop terrace located on the 8th floor of the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in the 16th arrondissement.
Le Skyroom: Le Skyroom is a rooftop terrace located on the 8th floor of the Novotel Paris Centre Tour Eiffel in the 15th arrondissement.
Le Rooftop de la Paix: Le Rooftop de la Paix is a rooftop terrace located on the 9th floor of the Hotel de la Paix in the 8th arrondissement.
Practical travel advice about travelling in Paris
Plan ahead: Paris is a popular tourist destination and many attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre-Dame Cathedral often have long lines. To avoid waiting in line, it’s best to book tickets in advance or plan to visit during off-peak hours.
Get a Paris Visite Pass: Paris Visite Pass is a travel card that gives you access to the city’s public transportation system and discounts on many attractions. It is available for one, two, three, or five days and can save you money in the long run.
Pack comfortable shoes: Paris is a walking city and you’ll be doing a lot of walking to see all the sights. Pack comfortable shoes to make the most of your trip.
Learn some basic French: Knowing some basic French will make your trip much more pleasant, as many locals speak little to no English.
Consider staying in a different neighborhood: Paris is divided into 20 districts, or arrondissements, each with its own unique character. While many tourists choose to stay in the popular areas like the 1st and 8th arrondissements, consider staying in a less touristy area like the 11th or 18th arrondissements for a more authentic experience.
Be aware of pickpockets: Paris, like any other major city, has its fair share of pickpockets. Be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables close to you.
Take advantage of the city’s bike-sharing program: Paris has an extensive bike-sharing program called Vélib’ that makes it easy to explore the city. Bikes are available for rent at various locations throughout the city.
Be aware of opening hours: many shops, museums, and restaurants close early on Sundays and public holidays, so it’s best to check the opening hours before you plan your trip.
Eating out in Paris can be quite expensive, but there are many good options for budget-friendly meals as well. You can find creperies, falafel stands, and street food options that are affordable and delicious.
Lastly, don’t try to see everything in one trip, Paris is a big city with a lot to offer and it’s impossible to see it all in one trip. Prioritize the things that you really want to see and enjoy the rest of your time in the city.
The best ways to get around Paris
Getting around the City of Light doesn’t have to be a hassle – there are plenty of options for getting from point A to point B. Here are some of the best ways to get around Paris:
The metro network is one of the most efficient ways to get around Paris. The system consists of 16 lines and serves over 300 stations spread across the city. Tickets can be bought at any station ticket window or kiosk.
RER (Regional Express Network)
RER trains run through both central and suburban parts of Paris. These express trains are faster than metro trains, but also more expensive.
Buses and Trams
Buses and trams offer another great way to explore the city, with several routes that cover popular sights and attractions outside of the main metro lines. Tickets can be purchased at any station or on board.
If you’re in a hurry or don’t feel like navigating public transportation, taxis or Uber services can provide an alternative means of transport. Be aware that fares can quickly add up if you do choose this option!