Things To Do In Paris

Things To Do In Paris: Be A Tourist! (Part 1)

April 20, 2013

Things To Do In Paris

It’s been a while since I last wrote a Paris related post.

And since my friends and family have been asking me to do one, and since my older brother is coming to visit me next week, I’ve been thinking about all the fun things you can do in this beautiful (but sometimes very maddening) city.

So! For everyone who’s been curious and asking me about what you can do when you come here for a visit, here is my list of the Top 10 Touristy Things To Do In Paris. 

And by touristy, I mean all the things that EVERYONE does when they come here. So if you are looking to join the “Paris Tourist Club”, then the following places and activities are A MUST!

1) Climb The Eiffel Tower. Duh.

Okay, not everyone actually does this. Parisians don’t do this. And I haven’t done this. Mainly because I’m averse to long lines and waiting around for hours. But I’ll finally do this when my brother comes to visit.

I’m sure the view from the top will be absolutely worth it.

You can pay a small fee to take the elevator or climb the stairs, but only up to the 2nd level. To get to the very top, you have to take the elevator all the way and pay €14,50. For more information, visit The Eiffel Tower’s Official Website.

eiffel-tower copy

2) Visit The Museums 

Paris itself is kind of like a big museum. Even if you do nothing but walk around, it’s already like getting a free history lesson. But if you’re really intent on getting the most out of your time here, then you can steamroll through some of the biggest and most visited museums.

There’s the Louvre of course, which houses the Mona Lisa and A BUNCH of other stuff. And then there’s the Pompidou, which is filled with contemporary art and A BUNCH of other stuff.

There’s also a long list of smaller museums to check off. Like the Musée D’Orsay, the Picasso Museum, the Rodin Museum, the Salvador Dali Museum, the Orangerie and so on and so on. Basically, you can spend all of your time in Paris walking through museums and still lack the time to see everything.

If you’re a museum lover, I suggest you look into getting the Paris Museum Pass.

Inside The Louvre

3) Visit The Notre Dame Cathedral

After the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral is the second most iconic structure in Paris. It is located in the heart of the city, sitting on a little island surrounded by the Seine river.

There is so much gothic detail to admire from the front that people often forget the back of the Cathedral is also magnificent to behold!

You can go into the main part of the Cathedral for free. There’s often a Catholic mass going on inside. I’ve even seen people go into confessional booths to talk to priests.

If you want to climb the towers, you have to get in line and then pay a small fee to climb a seriously long, steep flight of stairs.

The Notre Dame

4) Walk Through The Catacombs

Paris has many secrets. Beneath the charming buildings and cobbled streets, there are numerous dark underground passages filled with remnants from the past.

The Catacombs is an underground network filled with the bony remains of around 6 million people. These bones and skulls were relocated in the late 18th century from cemeteries in central Paris, after they became too crowded and caused unsanitary conditions.

Now the Catacombs are open for the public to explore. The tour will take you from one part of the city and you’ll come out in another part. In other words, it is a long sprawling network of creepy delight. Not for the squeamish, the faint of heart or people who suffer from claustrophobia.

Though there are people who go together here on their first date!

Paris Catacombs

 5) Take A Stroll In The Gardens

The French love Nature! As long as Nature follows a few certain rules…

In order to get some face time, Nature must be orderly, controlled, manicured, symmetrical, well-coiffed and well-behaved. I can think of no better example of this than the way French gardens are manicured.

Seriously though! French gardens are impressive displays of how humans have shaped and tamed their natural environment.

My favorite garden in Paris is the Tuileries, which extends from the Louvre. I love the Tuileries mainly because it’s my playground. But other people also really love the Jardin de Luxembourg. I don’t go to that one very often. That’s like, on the other side of the river.

Other gardens you must visit: the one in the Rodin Museum (for the amazing statues) and the Jardin de Plantes (for the tropical green house).

Me Standing In The Garden

To be continued!

I’ll write the 2nd part of the “Top 10 Touristy Things To Do In Paris” next week. And keep an eye out for other “Things To Do In Paris” posts.

You can also check out my “Paris My Love” series.

Hasta pronto!

14 thoughts on “Things To Do In Paris: Be A Tourist! (Part 1)

    1. Kareen

      Hi Julia! That’s so cool you’ve been to Paris so many times! What’s been your favorite thing to do here? And yeah, I’d also love to live in other parts of France! Not just Paris.

      1. Julia

        I just love to walk around and take it all in or sit at a cafe (preferably not in tourist areas!) and people watch.
        We used Velib quite a bit last summer, but after a SCARY close call very late one night I don’t think I’ll ever work up the courage to ride on the road again! Our last trip was nice because we got a lot of the touristy stuff out of the way and we could just blend in as much as possible. I’m so jealous of you btw!

        1. Kareen

          I think once you get the touristy stuff out of the way, you can really begin to take your time and see how people live in this city. Yeah, many people complain that riding the VELIB can be really dangerous! I’m really slow and careful when I’m on a velib, but I see so many Parisians flying by on velibs with no fear at all.

  1. Luchessa

    Wow i love this post idea. Thank you so much for writing it. Great pictures and interesting way to see the city.
    I might be doing something like this about Berlin. Should i?

    1. Kareen

      Yes!!! Please do!! I would love to read about Berlin from your perspective Luchessa!!! It can be about anything, your favorite place to drink coffee or go shopping or whatever!

  2. Sunny

    Hey Kareen, I’ve done everything here except for Catacombs!!! It’s a little creepy in a cool way! I hope you’ll have a great time with your bro!

  3. youngforgood

    Haha, brings back memories. Do they still do late night Thursdays at the Louvre? I remembered I loved going there when it was empty. I think it also used to be adults-only.

    1. Kareen

      I didn’t even know about late night Thursday at the Louvre!! “For adults only.” That sounds très risqué, haha. At least once a month, they have museum nights and let in people for free. So I wait for those free nights because I’m such a cheapo!!

  4. Mompreneur

    Great top! Specially loved the part about gardens as I’m also a nature lover and Jardin de Luxembourg is, probably, my most favorite place in Paris. It has such a Parisian feel – so relaxed and elegant. The only thing I would add to your top is to visit one of traditional Parisian brasseries. During my last trip to Paris I finally managed to find some really good ones (a bit off the bitten track) and was amazed by how tasty and affordable these places can be. Some really good ones are stated here: and here

    1. Kareen

      Hey there! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I didn’t even think to include brasseries on the list, but it’s a good idea! Although, there are so many of them, and each one has their strengths and charms that I wouldn’t really be able to name a specific one. Next time I’ll write about things that aren’t very touristy at all. The hidden gems 😉


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