The magical city of Paris is one of the world’s most exciting cities to visit. The capital city’s wide boulevards and narrow medieval streets hold a certain enchantment that’s hard to match. Rich in royal history and every facet of culture from art and architecture to food and fashion, the City of Lights truly has something for every traveler. You should, of course, hit all the iconic landmarks Paris has to offer. There’s the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, l’Arc de Triomphe, and many more not-to-be-missed sights.
After you’ve had your fill of the familiar, go beyond the scope to experience these five adventure-filled activities to do in Paris.
Stroll the Champs-Élysées
Yes, it’s crazy-crowded day and night every day of the year, but you simply can’t miss strolling along the Avenue Champs-Élysées. As the American-French singer-songwriter, Joe Dassin sang “Il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs-Élysées,” (“There’s everything you could want along the Champs-Élysées.”)
The Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in Paris and one of the best shopping streets in the world. And it’s a part of sightseeing in Paris since the nearby iconic Arc de Triomphe serves as a roundabout for the swarm of traffic in the city. It runs for over a mile from the glistening obelisk at Place de la Concorde to the base of the Arc de Triomphe. The wide tree-lined sidewalks in this shopping mecca are lined with upscale restaurants and stores filled with luxurious brands. It’s an adventure just to wander through the shops admiring merchandise the likes of Dior, Hermès, Yves Saint-Laurent, and Louis Vuitton. You’ll see the fashions that the rich and famous shop for and wear.
The price tags can be high at the stores along the Champs-Élysées, and there are swarms of shoppers crowded around the more affordable options like Adidas and Gap. But window shopping is free, and stopping in for a macaroon at the world-famous Laduree pastry shop is a must-do.
Take an Illuminations Cruise Along La Seine
Winding from the Left Bank to the Right Bank and slicing through the heart of the city, the beautiful blue La Seine (River Seine) is uniquely tied to the development of Paris. It’s one of the world’s most famous waterways, serves as an avenue through the city, and is one of its main attractions. In 1991, it was placed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites due to its cultural significance past and present. It is also one of the best places for photos in the whole city, so don’t forget your camera either!
Although the views are impressive during the daylight, what could be more adventurous than a romantic cruise to see the City of Lights against the night sky? You’ll sail past illuminated monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, and Les Invalides. You’ll pass by the Louvre’s imposing façade, and see the creepy gargoyles of Notre Dame, Grand Palais, Hotel de Ville, and many more sights.
You’ll be aboard a classic Bateaux Parisiens pleasure boat as you glide underneath illuminated bridges while an audio-guide commentary on your smartphone gives an informative narration about the attractions in Paris.
Explore the Spooky Catacombs
For a chilling and thrilling adventure, don’t shy away from the chance to take a spooky tour through the underground tunnels of Paris’ famous Catacombs. The ossuary houses the bones of around seven million past Parisians who were relocated here in the 18th century from cemeteries around the city to avoid public health issues. The growing city’s burial grounds ran out of space and graves started becoming exposed.
The solution was to relocate the bodies of the city’s deceased loved ones to these limestone quarries 65 feet below the ground. The process took 12 years to complete. Today, it’s one of the city’s most unique and popular attractions. The catacombs stretch for miles and miles underneath the city, but visitors can only access one mile of them for a 45-minute long tour. The section for touring is located at the Denfert-Rochereau (lines 4,6 and RER B) metro station.
Wear comfortable shoes; you’ll have to climb 131 stairsteps to get in and out. Remember to be respectful.
See How the Royals Lived at the Palace of Versailles
Learn the history of France and see how French royalty lived with a grand tour of the Palace of Versailles. Originally built as a modest hunting lodge and chateau for Louis XII in 1623, it was expanded into an extravagant palace by his successor, Louis XIV, and completed in 1710. The palace had a turbulent history after the French Revolution and was later used by many different French leaders. Today, it’s a historical monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited by travelers from around the world.
As you walk from room to room, you’ll be amazed at the stunning and regal decor. The massive landscaped gardens are full of sculptures and fountains. If you’re there at the right time, you’ll even see a musical fountain display.
Some of the not to be missed highlights include the Hall of Mirrors, the royal apartments of the King and Queen of France, Louis XIV, and Marie Antoinette. You’ll get to tour the various elaborately decorated drawing rooms, private studies, and bed chambers of the royal family.
The palace is only 30 minutes outside of Paris, and you can take a bus, the train, or book a tour group.
See The City of Lights with a Panoramic View
The spectacular 360-degree panoramic view from the Montparnasse Observation Deck is nothing less than an adventure. This exclusive viewpoint overlooking Paris is 200 meters high and offers 25 miles of stunning visibility on clear days. Go both day and night for unique views of the City of Lights.
The observation deck’s ideal location in the Montparnasse neighborhood provides a central viewpoint allowing you to see famous attractions and monuments such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe along with familiar rooftops and streets. There’s a covered viewing level on the 56th floor with displays and exhibitions, a food site with a souvenir shop, and a 210-meter high outdoor terrace. On summer nights, you can enjoy a romantic view from the Champagne Bar while sipping a glass of the bubbly.