Paris Guide 2024: What to see and do in Paris

I welcome you to the definitive guide to Paris, a city that makes the whole world fall in love with its beauty, culture, and gastronomy.

Sometimes the language barrier, culture, and ignorance can make your trip not be as you dreamed. I am here so that does NOT happen to you.

I assure you that after reading this guide, you will have everything you need to explore and enjoy Paris to the fullest, without missing out on anything this city has to offer.

What to see in Paris: The best Tourist attractions in Paris

The Eiffel tower

Those of us who know Paris agree: the Paris skyline is missing something without the Eiffel Tower. Although there is something that we do not all agree on and in fact divides opinions: The tower is ugly and does not match Paris.

La torre Eiffel Guía

Believe it or not, this is a prevalent idea, especially among Parisians. In reality, the Eiffel Tower is owned not by locals but by curious travelers.

So that you can visit it too, I leave you all the practical information in this post dedicated 100% to the history and secrets of the Iron Lady:

Complete Guide to Visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris

The Louvre museum

Here, contrary to the Tower, Parisians are also attracted. Whenever I am asked what to do as a local I always say “visit the Louvre”. The French love it. It is national pride.

Louvre Museum Paris Guide

There are, that I have counted, some 70 masterpieces in this museum (and I am skipping a few, the museum has 35,000 pieces on display). There is much more to see, besides the Mona Lisa.

Do you plan to take a tour of its rooms? Here is a guide for you to organize your visit and some practical information.

The Ultimate Louvre Guide: Louvre Must-see & Tips

Do you want to discover the Louvre with me? Don’t miss my private guided tour of the Louvre:

Guided tour in the Louvre Museum

Notre Dame Cathedral

Did you know that until the 19th century, Notre Dame was one of the bunch? The kings of France were crowned in Reims and buried in Saint-Denis, the first Gothic cathedral in history.

Notre Dame Guide

But although the kings did not like the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, tourists love it and that is why it is considered worldwide as one of the indisputable icons of the city and one of the main attractions. Although it has been closed to the public since April 2019 (an opening is planned for 2025), it is a visit that cannot be missed.

Tip: the choir of Notre Dame faces east, so the photos on the main façade (facing west) come out better in the afternoon when the sun hits the towers.

Don’t miss our detailed guide to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris:

How to Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Notre Dame is part of my private tour of the historic center of Paris. Would you like to know what else is included? Here I tell you everything:

Guided tour in the Historical District of Paris

The Luxembourg Gardens

It doesn’t matter if you come in winter or summer, these gardens are a spectacle. The lands belonged to the Duke of Luxembourg, hence the name. They were bought by Queen Marie de’ Medici (a good friend of the Duke) and she built a palace and an Italian-style garden there.

Luxembourg Gardens Guide Paris

You can only visit the gardens -which by the way today are French style and not Italian, as they were originally- because the palace today is the Senate of the Nation and is not open to visitors.

Do not miss my guide on the Luxembourg Gardens.

The Luxembourg Gardens are one of the main attractions in Paris and are of course included in my tours. We visited them on the Latin Quarter tour. You want to know more? Here I leave you the details:

Guided tour in the Latin Quarter

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Paris is not Paris without the Eiffel and Montmartre is not Montmartre without its Basilica of the Sacred Heart. It is a super colorful church that you cannot miss on your trip to Paris.

Sacre Coeur Paris Guide

It is much younger than it appears: it was inaugurated in 1919, in honor of those who died in the war. For a change, Parisians didn’t like it at all. They nicknamed it “the Merengue” of the hill. Like it or not, today it is another undisputed icon and one of the main attractions of the city.

But what attracts the most about the Sacré-Coeur is not the church itself, but the views of Paris that can be seen from there. It is a photo that cannot be missing from the memories of your stay in Paris.

You cannot miss my guide to the Sacre Coeur Basilica!

Would you like to take a tour of Montmartre and see the Sacred Heart in the best way? More info here:

Montmartre Guided Tour

The Hotel des Invalides

First things first: it is NOT a hotel. In Old French, Hôtel meant Hospital. Literally, Hospital of the invalids. It is a hospital for war veterans created by Louis XIV in 1671.

In 1841 King Louis-Philippe decided to repatriate Napoleon’s ashes and install his tomb in the Church of the Dome of the Hotel des Invalides. Then, in 1872, they installed the war museum. Those are the two main attractions of this building: Napoleon’s tomb and the war museum.

Les Invalides Paris

It is located in a not-inconsiderable neighborhood: as soon as you walk out the main door you have the Seine River, the Alexander III Bridge, the Petit Palais, the Grand Palais and the Champs Elysees. I guarantee it: it will be an unforgettable ride.

If you have been wanting to know more details, visit our guide to the Hotel des Invalides.

Arch of Triumph

There are two of the main attractions in Paris that always surprise tourists: how small is the Monalisa and how big is the Arc de Triomphe.

The fact that the Mona Lisa is very small is debatable (and in fact, we see it on my tour of the Louvre) but that the Arc de Triomphe is big… it remains small. It’s huge. I expected no less from the quintessential Napoleonic monument. It is huge and beautiful. Arc Triumph Guide Paris

Many people don’t know it, but the arch is open to visitors and is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the city. Whether day or night, a climb to the Arc de Triomphe is the best way to end your visit to the Champs-Elysées Avenue.

If you want to know more about this majestic work, do not miss my complete guide to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Disneyland Paris

If you come with children, you probably think of going to Disney. It is not surprising that they have chosen Paris to install the European version of Disney, since it is the best-communicated city in Europe.

Disney Land Paris Guide

Also, Aurora, Cinderella, Belle, and Esmeralda are French! What better than a visit to Disneyland Paris to get into their world?

It is an hour away by train (RER A line). In Disney there are two parks that can be done in one day but their thing is to stay in the hotels and spend a day in each park.

Do you love Disney World? I have prepared the most complete guide to Disney Land Paris for you.

The Sainte-Chapelle

Since the fire that closed the doors of Notre Dame until 2025, the Sainte Chapelle has become a star. It used to be a hidden gem for attentive tourists but now its a must visit.

Guide Sainte-Chapelle

It is a medieval royal church located in the heart of the Palace of the Kings of France (known as the Palais de la Cité or Conciergerie). It has the largest and best-preserved medieval stained glass windows in the world. Going inside, whether it’s sunny or cloudy, is truly an unforgettable experience.

If you want to know more, do not miss my detailed guide to Sainte-Chapelle.

The Champs-Élysées

It is the most famous avenue in the world and, according to the French, the most beautiful. It is an important part of the historical axis so appreciated by all, since it begins in the Plaza de la Concordia and ends at the Arc de Triomphe, so it is very easy to end up walking through its streets.

By day and by night it’s like walking down two different avenues, and I won’t even tell you if you do it on the first Sunday of the month, which makes it pedestrian, or during the festivals, which set up different illuminations every year.

Campos Elíseos Guía

The Champs-Elysées is also an avenue full of stores of the best-known luxury brands, so if you want to spend a day shopping, it is a must-stop.

In our guide to the Champs-Élysées we tell you how to discover each of its most emblematic corners.

Paris’ history

We all have a favorite historical period and not all cities in the world present them equally. I am going to tell you a little about the history of Paris so that you know what types of buildings you are going to find and what is the personality of the city.

Thanks to Napoleon III, when you walk through Paris you have the feeling that the city is anchored in the 19th century, but its history begins in the 3rd century BC.

Roman Empire

The Celts founded the city in the 3rd century BC. During the Roman Empire, Paris was a small village called Lutetia that slowly grew into a major commercial and political center.

In the 4th century, Lutetia was sacked by barbarians and suffered a significant decline. However, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the city was reborn under Frankish rule and became the capital of the Kingdom of France. Here I leave you an article with the 5 places in Paris where you can see Roman Ruins.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, Paris became an important center of commerce and culture. The city expanded and was fortified with walls and towers of which traces can still be seen today. During the 12th century, the Notre Dame Cathedral was built, and in the 13th century the Sainte Chapelle.

Paris was also the scene of conflicts, such as the wars between the kings of France and the dukes of Normandy. In addition, the city suffered from various plagues and epidemics, including the Black Death.

Despite these challenges, Paris remained a major cultural and artistic center in Europe throughout the Middle Ages.

Renaissance

During the Renaissance, Paris experienced a great cultural and artistic development. With Francis I, Italian Renaissance art began to influence the city’s architecture and decorative arts, and notable buildings such as the Louvre’s Pavellon Lescot and the Palais des Tuileries were built.

In the 17th century, Louis XIV made Paris the cultural capital of Europe, creating the French Academy of Fine Arts and founding the Paris Opera.

French Revolution and 19th Century

The French Revolution was a period of intense political and social upheaval between 1789 and 1799 caused by a complex set of factors, including popular discontent with the political system and the economy.

It was characterized by the abolition of the monarchy, the execution of the kings Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in the Place de la Concorde, the creation of the First French Republic and the consolidation of the power of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The 19th century brought great changes as Paris experienced rapid industrialization and increasing urbanization, which led to the construction of new buildings. It was also a period of political turmoil, with riots and riots leading to the creation of the Second French Republic in 1848.

During the Second French Empire, Napoleon III restructured the city and Paris established itself as a cultural and artistic center, with the celebration of several universal exhibitions and, later, the construction of iconic monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and the Opera Garnier.

Twentieth century

In the 20th century, during World War I, the city was a major center of the French resistance and suffered extensive damage. During World War II, it was occupied by the Nazis but it was not destroyed or bombed.

After the war, Paris continued to establish itself as the Capital of fashion, elegance and culture, a status it retains to this day.

Popular guided tours of Paris

This is what I dedicate myself to: I want to show you a unique Paris, so that you can walk around and enjoy the city at your own pace, without rushing and with me, so that you can be sure of seeing the most typical things, but also details that tourists don’t know.

If you are looking for guidance you can contact me right now (FUNNEL) because I am sure that I have the right tour for you.

Here are some of the most popular guided tours in Paris:

Guided tour of the Louvre Museum

See how works of art come to life in front of your eyes. It is a two-hour guided tour that covers the history of the Palace (the kings of France lived in the Louvre for almost four centuries) and the most outstanding works of art. As we explore the palatial rooms, we’ll see well-known masterpieces -such as the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo- but also true hidden gems of art that only museum connoisseurs will recognize.

Would you like to see a free sample of this tour? Click here:

Guided tour of the Louvre Museum

Guided tour in the Palace of Versailles

You will discover the glories and miseries of the court of Louis XIV, the Sun King. We will visit the public and private apartments of the king, the gallery of mirrors, and the apartments of Queen Marie Antoinette. You will also be surprised by the Gardens, where the Sun King organized the most lavish parties in the history of European monarchies

Would you like to see a free sample of this tour? Click here:

Guided tour of the Versailles Museum

Guided tour in the Historic Center

This tour is a total journey back in time to the 12th century where you will explore the heart of Paris. We are going to walk for two hours through the “Île de la Cité”, also called “The Cradle” because Paris was founded there, learning about its origins and famous icons such as the Notre Dame Cathedral or the Holy Chapel.

Would you like to see a free sample of this tour? Click here:

Guided tour in the Historical District of Paris

Guided tour in the Latin Quarter

Get ready to see Paris through the centuries: from the ruins of the Roman Empire to the buildings and boulevards of Napoleon III. The Latin Quarter tour is perfect for appreciating the urban evolution of Paris while strolling through streets full of life and charm, between the Sorbonne University and the Luxembourg Gardens.

Would you like to see a free sample of this tour? Click here:

Guided tour in the Latin Quarter

Guided tour in the Musée d’Orsay

Find out about all the scandals of the pictorial revolution of the 19th century…impressionism tastes like gossip and on this tour I will tell you why. Orsay has the largest collection of impressionism in the world, but it is not the only one. We will also see classical paintings to understand where impressionism came from and what was special about it. The works of Monet, Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh are waiting for you…

Would you like to see a free sample of this tour? Click here:

Guided tour in the Musée d’Orsay

Where to eat in Paris

In Paris, food is quite an experience, and Parisians take time to enjoy it, so here are some guidelines so you can do the same.

Restaurants, brasseries and bistros

You may be wondering what is a brasserie, a bistro and what is the difference with an ordinary restaurant. I will tell you the most important ones:

  • Atmosphere: A restaurant is generally more formal and elegant, while a bistro is more informal and welcoming. A brasserie is something of a hybrid between the two, with a relaxed atmosphere but a little more sophisticated than a bistrot.
  • Menu: In a restaurant, the menu can be more elaborate and sophisticated, while a bistro and a brasserie offer simpler and more traditional French cuisine. In a brasserie, for example, it is common to find seafood and dishes with beer.
  • Hours: A restaurant typically has set hours for lunch and dinner, while a bistro and brasserie are often open all day. Also, brasseries are often popular places for a pre-dinner aperitif.

Here is a list of restaurants you could try:

  • At L’Ami Jean
  • Buds
  • The Relay Counter
  • The Front Counter
  • 6 Paul Bert

If you’re more into a brasserie or bistro, here are some interesting options:

  • Allard
  • Bistrot Paul Bert
  • Le Trumilou
  • Museum Cafe
  • Astier

Wherever you eat, know that sterling French cuisine is refined and uses good quality, fresh ingredients.

Cafes and pastry shops

French cuisine is also known for its desserts, such as macarons, crepes and croissants, so here are some cafes and pastry shops in Paris, for when you’re in the mood for something sweet 😉

  • The duration
  • Angelina
  • Pierre Hermé
  • Cafe of peace
  • Hugo & Victor

Vegetarian and vegan options

Options range from vegetarian fast food restaurants to vegan fine dining experiences. Some of the best vegan restaurants in Paris include:

  • Naked Burger
  • Wild & The Moon
  • Leisure
  • Rose Bakery
  • Soya

Despite the common belief that it is difficult to be vegetarian in France, Paris is very friendly with a large number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants, and many places offer gluten-free options. 

What to do in Paris: the best activities

Paris is a city full of activities and options for all tastes. In this section we will explain seven of the best activities to do in the city of light, from bike rides to excursions around Paris.

Walks through Paris

The best way to get to know a city is by walking, but as in any big city, not all neighborhoods are safe and not all neighborhoods are interesting. Here I tell you which neighborhoods you can visit and which ones to avoid.

The Latin Quarter

It is home to the Sorbonne, the most famous university in France, as well as its vibrant streets lined with restaurants and cafes. It is a popular place among students and young people, and its personality is lively and cultural.

If you would like to tour the Latin Quarter with me, do not hesitate to contact me. Here I leave the details of my tour.

Montmartre 

It’s an artsy, bohemian neighborhood known for its impressive Sacré-Cœur Basilica and its narrow cobbled streets filled with street artists and musicians.

Montmartre is a charming and picturesque route and that is why it is one of my favorite tours. Would you like to visit it with me? Here I leave you the information about my guided tour of Montmartre.

Le Marais

It is a historic and elegant neighborhood because it is home to some of the best fashion boutiques and designer shops in Paris while being full of historical buildings from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.

Saint Germain des Pres

It has been home to writers and artists for decades, and is filled with historic bookstores, art galleries, and cafes. It also has the oldest churches in Paris and even one of the locations where the Da Vinci Code was filmed.

The Opera Quarter

It is known for its beautiful Opera Garnier and its luxury department stores, such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. It is a popular place with shoppers and architecture lovers. His personality is elegant and sophisticated.

The Center of Paris

It is where the historic heart of the city is located, including the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Pompidou Center. It is a place steeped in history and culture, with a vibrant and exciting personality.

If you would like to tourthe Louvre or thehistoric helmet with me, do not hesitate to contact me.

The Champs Elysées

They are one of the most famous avenues in the world, known for their luxury shops, cinemas and restaurants. It is a popular place with tourists and Parisians alike. A must-see in Paris both for the avenue and for the monument that gives it a finishing touch: the Arc de Triomphe.

Covered Tickets

They are a series of covered passages and shopping arcades dating back to the early 19th century. They are known for their fashion boutiques, antique shops, and historic cafes. His personality is elegant and urban.

¿Would you like to do something atypical on your trip to Paris? Then you are going to love knowing these galleries with me. Contact me and start shaping your trip now.

Bike rides

Bike tours are a fun and exciting way to explore the most iconic places in Paris. There are two ways to get a bike in Paris:

  • Buy a Vélib’ pass, which are the government bikes.
  • Rent a bike from a private agency like Veligo, Lime and Jump

The city has more than 700 kilometers of bike lanes and numerous routes that will allow you to discover the city at your own pace.

Boat trips on the Seine

Another popular activity in Paris is a boat trip on the Seine. During this walk, visitors can admire some of the city’s most iconic monuments from a different perspective. The boats usually have a guide who explains the history and significance of each place, making the ride educational and fun. Some cruise companies on the Seine are:

  • Parisian boats
  • Tourist river boat
  • BatoBus

Shopping in the Marais

If you are looking for a unique shopping experience, the Marais district is the perfect place. Le Marais is known for being a chic and elegant place to go shopping in Paris.

With its cobbled streets and independent shops, this neighborhood is home to some of the best designers and artisans in the city.

Some of the best streets to find clothing stores, designers and jewelry stores are:

  • Rue des Francs-Bourgeois
  • Old Temple Street
  • Rue des Rosiers

These streets have a wide variety of fashion stores, boutiques and designer shops offering a wide selection of designer clothes and jewellery. In addition, the Le Marais district is a lively and picturesque place to walk around, enjoy Parisian architecture and culture, and discover small shops and boutiques hidden in the back streets.

Wine and food tasting

France is famous for its delicious cheeses, breads and wines, so there are many places to try them, and this is a must on your trip. Some of the most popular are:

  • Fromagerie Androuet: A cheese shop in the Le Marais neighborhood that offers cheese tastings with wines and bread.
  • La Dernière Goutte: A wine shop in Saint-Germain-des-Prés that also offers a wide selection of cheeses and breads to sample.
  • Bar à Fromage – A cheese bar in Montmartre offering local cheese tastings with a selection of wines and breads.
  • L’Avant Comptoir du Marché: A wine and tapas bar in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood that also offers a selection of cheeses to sample.
  • L’Affineur Affiné: A cheese and wine shop in the 17th arrondissement offering cheese tasting with wine and bread.

There are many places in Paris to taste cheese, bread and wine, and each neighborhood has its own hidden gems, so do not hesitate to enter every cheese shop you see and do not forget to take a deep breath when you enter 😉

How to get around in Paris

Paris’ public transport network is one of the most extensive and efficient in the world. It has 16 metro lines, 5 RER urban train lines, more than 60 bus and tram lines and a very complete taxi service.

The Paris metro is very easy to use and covers practically the entire city, making it an excellent option to move quickly from one place to another. Also, trains are frequent and waiting time is minimal.

The RER is an urban train service that connects the city with the suburbs and other nearby cities. It is an excellent option to reach places like the Palace of Versailles, the airports or Disneyland Paris.

On the other hand, the buses offer a panoramic view of the sights. In addition, there are night lines that operate throughout the night.

In general, the public transport network in Paris is very efficient and offers a large number of options for getting around the city. In addition, it is an economical and ecological way to explore the city and its surroundings.
If you want to know more about how the transport works, how much it costs and how to buy the tickets, here is a video in which I explain everything.

Popular tour packages in Paris

As you can see, Paris is an infinite city; there is always something to see, there is always something to do and with so many options it is sometimes difficult to choose and make the most of your time.

That’s why I created packages in which I propose a different guided tour program every day so that your trip is spectacular, that you see everything classic about Paris and do it at your own pace, carefree and enjoying every minute.

Paris in 1 day

A plan specially designed for you to discover the charms of Paris in a day full of cultural and architectural wonders. This pack of guided tours will take you to the most emblematic places in the city, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre-Dame. Enjoy a cruise on the Seine and a delicious lunch in a typical Parisian brasserie. An unforgettable experience in the City of Love.

In our post about what to see in a day in Paris you will be able to see in detail all the places that we can visit.

Paris in 2 days

Embark on an exciting two-day journey to explore the best of Paris. Our itinerary includes all the highlights of the day trip, plus visits to Montmartre and the Musée d’Orsay. Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the city while enjoying its delicious cuisine.

Paris in 3 days

Discover Paris through a three-day experience packed with discoveries. In addition to the visits of the previous days, you will discover the charms of neighborhoods such as Le Marais and Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Immerse yourself in the Parisian bohemia and let yourself be seduced by its elegance.

Paris in 4 days

Enjoy a complete four-day itinerary to immerse yourself in the most special corners of Paris. With visits to all the iconic sites, walks on the Champs Elysées and cruises on the Seine, this experience also includes the Palace of Versailles.

Paris in 5 days

If you come a second time to Paris after having spent these 5 days with me, it will cost find what to do because this experience goes from the classics to the lesser known. In addition, you will taste exquisite creations in renowned pastry shops and have free time to explore at your own pace. The perfect trip to Paris.

 

Dany

I’m a History & Art lover and I am very much in love with Paris…I studied Art History at the Louvre School and I became a professional tour guide of Paris because I want to share with you my passion and my love for this city. Get my FREE guide on «How to plan your trip to Paris»  now.

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