Let’s talk about awesome, cool and fun things to do Paris! And what else would be more handy than a big list of +28 entertaining way to spend your time in Paris?
Paris is known as the city of love, but it has much more to offer! There is so much more to experience apart from the famous Eiffel tower, Montmartre, and the Louvre. You already know that, that’s why you are here, right?!
Our friend Emily knows the french capital like the back of her hand. Instead of giving you an overloaded list of 100 things to do in Paris, we picked the really unique ones. Together with her we are keen to share with you 28 FUN things to do in Paris.
(We updated this guide in June, 2021)
Those recommendations are partially surprising, funny, and unique. If you are wondering what not to miss in Paris, you’ve come to the right place.
Go underground and experience the dark side of the French capital.
There are also night tours available.
One of the perfect things to do in Paris at night!
The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries in the french capital. Here they hold the remains of more than 6 million people in just a small part of a tunnel network built to consolidate Paris’ ancient stone mines.
Extending south from the Barrière d’Enfer (Gate of Hell) former city gate, this ossuary was created as part of the effort to eliminate the city’s overflowing cemeteries.
The Paris Catacombs are just as much a symbol of city at the Notre Dame or Eiffel Tower.
They contain bones representing some 2,000 years of history, and their construction was a unique civil engineering project that helped give rise to the modern-day city.
See a different and completely surprising side to the “City of Lights” on a unique adventure beneath its streets!
Good to know: I highly recommend to join a tour around the Catacombs.
Update: You can only join tours now! You have to pre-book a tour!
If you happen to be in Paris during summer (usually before end of September), you can also climb to the top of the Saint Jacques Tower in the city center. The climbs leave every hour and cost 10€ (or 8€ if you’re an EU citizen/resident). Happy climbing!
Quick note: Looking for places to visit in 2 days? Climbing the Montmartre and Eiffel Tower has to be on your list.
6. Oh la la, Take a river cruise…
How about some romantic things to do in Paris?
During the summer season, there’s a free river cruise every Saturday organized by a group who, on Facebook, goes by J’Peux Pas, J’ai Peniche! (loosely translated: I Can’t, I’m On a Boat).
There are tables on deck that you can sit at if you buy a bottle of wine or liquor, and a band plays right through the boat cruise.
The cruise leaves at 10PM, so you can also experience Paris by night from the river. They create an event for each cruise so you can make reservations, simple as that!
This unique collection about fun things to do in Paris would not complete without RENTING A BOAT!
Up on Canal de l’Ourcq, which is an extension of the Canal Saint Martin, itself feeding from the Seine, you can rent an electric boat from Marin d’Eau Douce and spend a few hours with friends exploring the waterways of the northeastern part of the city.
That is a serious super cool thing to do in Paris!
Boats can accommodate 5-11 people depending on which one you rent, and the larger sizes have removable tables so you can even have a picnic on the boat!
Enjoy Paris like never before under its evening illuminations, and cruise the city streets in a vintage French convertible; a Citroen 2CV! Drive down the famous Champs Elysees and see the Eiffel Tower’s glittering lights.
Your personal driver will collect you from your hotel, or any other central Paris location, and drive down the Champs Elysees, to the beautiful Arc de Triomphe. Gaze at the marvelous Eiffel Tower, even more impressive at night when it is completely lit-up in a rainbow of illuminations.
Pass the Louvre, continue to Notre Dame Cathedral, Opera Garnier, Ile de la Cité, Petit et Grand Palais, and more.
Basically, you have an awesome unique experience driving around the city. PROMISED!
Obviously Paris has a vibrant nightlife, full of cool pubs, club sand places you may not even remember the next day.
Join more hostel travelers, locals, nightlifer’s and party people at the best pub crawl in Paris including free shots and free club entry.
Usually it is a wide mix of nationalities, travelers and locals, and depending on the night more women than men. What is pretty much guaranteed, you will end up making new friends and having a good time.
11. Eat a delicious brunch (who wouldn’t love that?)
Good brunches are becoming a thing in Paris, and the places that offer them are more numerous by the week, it seems. And this list would not be complete without food; after all eating great food is fun too!
So, here we go.
For the weekends brunch:
Le Poutch, and
Hardware Societe are three of the best.
Good to know: Brunch is always popular on the weekends. In some places we would recommend making a reservation beforehand.
If you’re only around on a weekday:
try the avocado toast at Ob-La-Di,
the shakshuka at Cafe Oberkampf, and absolutely
don’t miss the pancakes at local favorite Holybelly.
Just be sure to get an early start- they all fill up very quickly!
12. Visit a chateau (as day trips)
If you feel the need to escape the city, there are several small castles within the near Paris area- Yes, there are other ones besides Versailles!
They’re all accessible by public train (check Omio.com for schedules) that runs out of Paris. Getting there is easy. All chateaus are outside the city and require some transport and time. These are at least half-day trips.
Here is a list of gorgeous Chateaus near Paris to visit with a trip:
14. Stroll through the Paris version of NYC’s Skyline
The Promenade Plantee is a walkway built on an old overground railroad line that runs from close to Place de la Bastille through the 12th arrondissement of Paris.
As its name suggests, it’s lined with plants and is absolutely beautiful in the spring when the flowers are blooming.
You can stroll for approximately 4.5 kilometers along the path, which isn’t all built on the overground railroad- after that portion ends, it becomes a path called the Coulee Verte and can be followed almost all the way to the Bois de Vincennes.
This second part is great for biking.
But you’ll annoy everyone if you continue onto the Promenade Plantee on your bike.
While the Seine and the big gardens are the most famous places to picnic, if you want to really sprawl out and spend your afternoon lying on the grass in the sun, head towards the outskirts of the city – specifically, Parcs Monceau, Montsouris, and Buttes Chaumont.
Monceau is located between the 8th and 17th arrondissements and is the easiest to access; Montsouris is the biggest and has tons of grassy space to spread out; and you get Paris bonus points if you can find the waterfall in Buttes Chaumont– many Parisians don’t even know it’s there!
Do you want to do something really Paris-like, something unique and different?
Alright, get ready!
Take your seats at one of the world’s most famous cabarets at a performance of the Moulin Rouge show “Féerie,” created by Doris Haug and Ruggero Angeletti, and choreographed by Bill Goodson.
100 artistes, including 60 Doris Girls, parade in 1,000 flamboyant costumes of feathers, rhinestones and sequins.
To make it even better: During the show you will enjoy half a bottle of Champagne as you relish an extravagant delight. This is an awesome activity for a girls night out, a hen or stag party and even as a coupe thing to do!
No kidding, the Centre Pompidou is known to be the richest national modern art museum in all of Europe. And that tells you quite something.
Discover one of the most surprising architectural pieces of the 20th century, built inside out. Admire one of the most important collections of modern and contemporary art in Europe and marvel at the stunning rooftop view, from where you can see iconic Parisian landmarks.
This is especially interesting for the design and art lover.
Since I am personally interested in this topic, I consider the Pompideou and Louvre Musem the best museums in Paris.
BTW: The building itself is also beautiful with its outside-tube, worth it to walk by at least!
Similar to the craft coffee revolution, craft cocktails are becoming increasingly popular among foodies and visitors alike.
While the general online recommendations are good, check out the up-and-coming bar la Resistance in the Marais neighborhood.
The philosophy behind French cocktails is balance- you should never taste a drink and think, “oh, that has vodka/ whiskey/ lime” in it, and the head barman’s carefully curated menu ensures that you’ll be drinking something you’ve never tasted before.
The barman at la Resistance was recently nominated for best bartender in France, so you know you’re getting some amazing cocktails.
And it’s a great atmosphere, with the front windows opening entirely to let people and chairs spill a bit into the street.
Plus, its central Marais location puts you in a great position to try some of the food in our next suggestion!
20. Eat non-Parisian food
We told you, there will be more best places to eat.
The interesting thing about France is that food comes from all of its different french regions- crepes from Bretagne, Camembert from Normandy, choucroute from Alsace, bouillabaisse from Marseille- and while you can get them all in Paris, it’s fun as well to try the different iterations on foreign dishes.
Try the rue Sainte Anne for Japanese cuisine, rue des Rosiers for amazing falafel (the lamb kebab from Miznon is hard to beat), Schwartz’s Deli or Hamler’s for amazing burgers, and Chinatown in the 13th for a delicious variety of southeast Asian options.
21. Shopping in the Marais
Far from the glitz and glamour and crazy, touristy crowds of the Champs Elysees or the Grands Magasins (Galeries Lafayette and Printemps), the Marais is a much more interesting place to shop. Maybe veen the best place to shop your souvenirs from Paris.
BTW: You can go the way up to the La Fayette Gallery. The roof top terrace is free to visit and comes with an awesome panoramic view.
This is one of my favorite free things to do in Paris!
Its streets are lined with little boutiques, some of whose names you may recognize, but are equally likely to be a new brand’s pop-up store, a small boutique whose owner is behind the counter, or a cool concept store.
Merci is a local favorite, with the famous car in the courtyard, but Fleux is equally cool, with four different physical stores on the same block and a wide range of items and prices.
22. Wander through the street markets
Is there anything more French than a classic street market to buy fresh produce, meats and cheeses?
The Marché Bastille is one of the largest in the city and takes place on Thursday and Sunday mornings, but the city’s market streets are also great to stroll through on a random afternoon.
Rue Montorgueil in the 2nd arrondissement, Rue Mouffetard in the 5th, Rue Poncelet in the 17th, and Rue des Levis in the 17th are all more informal market streets where one can get delicious pâté, berries, and a freshly baked baguette for a picnic in one of the parks mentioned before!
23. Notre Dame (but with an Audio Guide)
Be smart when booking activities in Paris.
Make your own way to the entrance of the Notre-Dame de Paris and skip the line here easily.
In front of the Notre-Dame, you will find a queue on the right hand for all the people who would like to enter the cathedral. Just beside the line, you will find a short line on the left side separated by blue cordons. This is the skip-the-line entrance for you.
Update: Regarding the tragic fire on April 15 in 2019, all tours to Notre Dame were currently cancelled.
Most people go to the Ile de la Cité to see Notre Dame, but some say it is not even the prettiest church on the island!
The Sainte-Chapelle was built by King Louis IX to house the relics of Christ’s Passion, including the Crown of Thorns, and has one of the most beautiful collections of stained glass in the world.
Go on a sunny day to really get the full effect of the refracting colors.
25. Learn how to become Parisian in one hour
The English-language hit comedy show “How to Become Parisian In One Hour” has been entertaining expats and tourists since 2009 with a Frenchman’s take on the cultural differences between French and Americans.
This show is super funny!!! Have a look at the official trailer I included below. It shares the hilarious story on how to dress and how to do your shopping as a Parisian.
A great recommendation for a fun night out with friends and as couples. Also good for surprises and birthdays!
Paris was the city that originated the “hire bike” system.
In Paris it’s called Velib, and it’s free for the first 30 minutes! Just pop in your credit card, grab a bike and go!
A few tips: find another station to switch out the bike every 30 minutes (time resets after you return the bike) and beware of backwards seats – that’s the Parisian signal for “this bike has problems”!
Alright, let’s add something REALLY SPECIAL to this list.
Dine at the chic 58 Tour Eiffel located on the first floor of Paris’s most iconic monument. Enjoy panoramic views of the city while you feast on your choice of a 3 or 4 course meal. Sip Champagne in the romantic ambiance of the restaurant’s soft lighting.
No, this is not a joke.
You can actually have a romantic meal in the Eiffel Tower!
This is a perfect romantic thing to do in Paris for couples and dates! Maybe it’s even an awesome place to ask the big question?
The Allee des Cygnes, or Swan’s Alley, is a man-made island that runs between the Pont de Bir-Hakeim (better known as the Inception bridge) and the Pont de Grenelle, with the smaller Statue of Liberty gracing its western end.
It’s a beautiful spot for a stroll or even a bike ride on a warm evening, and offers great views of the Eiffel Tower between the breaks in the trees.
Psssst: The photo below was taken along Allee des Cygnes.
If you ask me for a list of fun places in Paris, I would put Lucha Libre on it.
In fact, it would be the number 1!
This is a unique activity for friends…and maybe some couples?! Up to you…
Their motto is:
FIGHT?!?! – you may wonder
Wanna guess why?
You can dress up as Mexican wrestler and beat up your buddy with a suit inflatable sumo.
Sounds pretty hilarious, right?! It is!! So even if you are not up for a fight, this is something unique thing to do in Paris at night.
You know what…a photo does not do justice to this, let’s call it interesting fight.
Here’s a video:
39. Impressionist Art with Monet and Renoir
Paris and Art, that goes hand in hand!
Discover one of the finest collections of Impressionist art in the world with masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, Degas and Cézanne
The Musée d’Orsay is housed in the stunning Beaux-Arts style Gare d’Orsay railway station on the left bank of Paris’s River Seine.
It’s rich in history, both in the works that are hung on its walls, and through the grandeur of the building itself. A recent renovation has given the museum more exhibition space and vibrantly colored gallery walls, to match the works on display.
That could be convenient if you forgot to pack them or travel with low-cost no-luggage solutions…
Get in touch directly with the shop about opening times and rental conditions (deposit, etc…)
41. Walk through the forests
This list would not be complete without some free things to do in Paris.
Just outside the city on the eastern and western ends, the Bois de Vincennes and the Bois de Boulogne, respectively, provide plenty of tree-covered walking paths which change into stunning shades of yellow and orange during the autumn months.
It’s a perfect escape from the city to get back in touch with nature!
Paris in 2 days?
What to do in Paris in 2 days only?
You really have to focus on the main sights while enjoying it at the maximum.
This also includes to get all your skip the line tickets before. The lines in Paris can be super long. You can easily wait 3 hours before going up the Eiffel Tower.
We love to buy our tickets with Get Your Guide. It is super easy, safe and all you need is your phone to show the voucher.
The sights and tours we recommend for 48 hours only are:
Prefer an AirBnb? I found this apartment near the Eiffel Tower is the Parisian typical flat you want to experience. It is good for up to 4 guest and it is near the RER Train station, the metro and plenty of bus station.
The Eiffel tower is just 200 meters and you will also be able to walk to plenty of other main sites, such as:
Note: this apartment gets booked very fast but there are more stunning apartments on Airbnb.
How to get around Paris?
A very convenient way to get around is the Hop On Hop Off Bus. It is the best way to save time and get to the sights.
The bus and metro is also another more budget option. When buying the ticket for the public transport, have a look for the 2-days tickets. This is usually the best rate. You pay a fix price and can use the metro and bus as often as you want.
My preferred way is still the bike. Paris is quite bike-friendly.
Skip The Line Tickets in Paris, France
As mentioned before you can wait a long time in the queues. And again, this is important for everyone looking for places to visit in Paris in only 2 days.
There are a few things that you have to buy your tickets beforehand.
This can be because there is simply limited entrance or it is just to skip huge lines. For the Louvre Museum you can easily wait up to 2 hours in line.
Every minute waiting in a line is too much precious time you can spend in a better way.
So, let us have a look on the skip the line tickets you should get as soon as possible.
In fact, your comment and question helps us to improve the article. It will help you, it will help us andit will help all fellow travelers looking for the coolest things to do in Paris. Therefore, do not be shy. Just leave us a comment below.
Enjoy and have fun in Paris, The Hostelgeeks
– – –
pin it now, read it later
Smart and Simple Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality accommodation, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.