Paris, the capital of France, is one of the most populated and visited cities in the country. It was founded in the third century BC by Celts known as the Parisii and by the twelfth century, it was one of the largest cities in the world. To this day, it is still an important center for fashion, science, cuisine, and arts.
Since we have family in Paris, M and I go back almost every year to visit the City of Lights and we’ve explored quite a few fun things to do in and around Paris over the years. Here are 18 things to do in and around Paris that aren’t visiting the Eiffel Tower (plus a few vocab words in French for each of the activities).
Things to Do In & Around Paris
1 // Enjoy macarons at Ladurée
Established in 1862 on Rue Royale in Paris, Ladurée is definitely a must-visit for those craving the delicious taste of the double-decker macaron. We stopped in at the Champs Elysées location and while the line was long, the macarons were definitely worth the wait. Read more.
|faire la queue||to stand in line|
75, avenue des Champs Elysées
2 // Go champagne tasting at La Veuve Cliquot
A short drive out to Reims, France will take you into champagne country, but more notably, to the cellars and tasting room at Veuve Cliquot, the champagne maker established in 1772. The tour takes you through a small museum, the chalk mines where the champagnes are stored, and finally back up into the gift shop/tasting room for a glass of bubbly. Read more.
|dégustation de vins||wine tasting|
1 place des droits de l’homme
51100 Reims, France
3 // Eat both sweet and savory crêpes at Breizh Café
I love eating crêpes, and while I lean towards savory as my preferred choice, I won’t say no to a sugar crêpe. Breizh Café arguably has the best crêpes in Paris, and so it’s definitely worth stopping in. Just don’t forget to call ahead and make a reservation! Read more.
109 Rue Vieille du Temple
75003 Paris, France
4 // Check out one of the best views of Paris at Le Printemps
After a quick trip up the escalators in Le Printemps, you find yourself up on the roof with one of the best views in Paris. The Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur and Madeleine are all within sight, and while you admire the view, you can sip on a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. Read more.
|le toit||the roof|
|une vue||a view|
|une terrasse||a terrace|
64, BD Haussman
75009 Paris, France
5 // Stroll through La Galerie Vivienne
Les Galeries, or covered passages, are something that are tucked away all across Paris, and La Galerie Vivienne is one of my favorites. I love the old shop façades and window shopping in this center. Plus, there are quiet places to sit down and enjoy a bite to eat or to indulge in a coffee. Read more.
|promener||to stroll/to walk|
|flâner||to stroll/to saunter|
6 Rue Vivienne
75002 Paris, France
6 // Take a drive through the French countryside
You don’t have to go far to enjoy the countryside when visiting Paris. In fact, just 30 minutes to an hour by car will do! Read more.
|le paysage||the landscape|
|la campagne||the countryside|
Most directions about 30min-1hr outside of Paris
7 // Visit a Château in Chantilly
After an hour drive outside of Paris, you emerge from the coverings of the forest on the road through the French countryside in Chantilly, you are greeted with a beautiful château that sprawls across a green landscape. It snuggles up to a small lake and just beckons you to come and wander its grounds. Read more.
|un café chantilly||a coffee with whipped cream|
|un château||a castle|
9030F Le Château
60500 Chantilly, France
8 // Visit Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet
This is one that I haven’t yet personally made it to, but it has been on my list for quite some time! Located within Versaille, The Queen’s Hamlet has an entrancing, rustic appeal. Built in 1783 for Marie-Antoinette, the hamlet soon became a veritable farm, providing food to the palace’s kitchens.
|un hameau||a hamlet|
|une reine||a queen|
|un échapatoire||a getaway|
78000 Versailles, France
9 // Visit Alexandre Dumas’ Home
While Alexandre Dumas never lived in this home long (his fortune ran out and he was forced to sell the property), the Chateau de Monte Cristo is a fantastic visit for fans of the well-renowned author. Read more.
|un écrivain||a writer|
|un auteur||an author|
|perdre sa fortune||to lose his fortune|
Square des Ormes
78560 Le Port-Marly, France
10 // Enjoy a walk through the Marais
The Marais is a lovely place to take a stroll with its crooked streets and stone walkways. The Place des Vosges is definitely a stop to make if you head out to the Marais and it is also where you can get a glimpse of the former home of Victor Hugo.
|une cour||a courtyard|
|être caché(e)||to be hidden|
Place des Vosges
75004 Paris, France
11 // Take a self-guided tour down nearly any street to admire the beautiful doors in Paris
I love photographing doors and there’s just something about the character of doors in Paris that always captures my attention. Read more.
Most anywhere in Paris
12 // Eat in a 500-year old abbey
I’m not totally sure if this location is still open, but if it is, M and I enjoyed our meal there. The restaurant, while it doesn’t look like much from the outside, is actually an abbey built more than 500 years ago. Read more.
|une abbaye||an abbey|
|dîner||to eat dinner|
|sortir||to go out|
14 r Lombards
75004 Paris, France
13 // Enjoy any one of the beautiful gardens in Paris
Paris is filled with beautiful gardens, you won’t be hard-pressed to find one (either free or paid admission), within which you can take a pleasant walk. Read more.
|se détendre||to relax/to unwind|
Most anywhere in Paris
14 // Eat kouignettes at Maison Georges Larnicol
This location only needs one word to explain why it’s worth a visit: kouignettes. Read more.
|une patisserie||a pastry shop|
|un gourmand||a foodie|
132 boulevard Saint-Germain
A photo posted by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on Jun 2, 2015 at 10:38am PDT
15 // Enjoy cocktails on a boat at La Passerelle
La Passerelle is a dining experience popular amongst the 20-something crowd and is unique in the fact that the restaurant is located on a boat docked along the Seine. We went for an apéritif, indulging in a glass of wine and a cheese board.
|une brasserie||a bar|
|sur un bateau||on a boat|
|mettre à quai||to dock|
52 Quai du Point du Jour
A photo posted by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on Jan 16, 2016 at 11:10am PST
16 // Visit a boulangerie and indulge in pain au chocolat or chouquettes (or anything else really)
One of the things I miss most about Paris are the various boulangeries just a quick walk from most anywhere in the city. Each time I go back to Paris, I eat my fill of pastries and croissants to make up for the rest of the year I’m back in California.
|une boulangerie||a bakery|
|kouign amann||a delcious, buttery, Breton cake|
|clafoutis||a baked dessert with fruit|
|financier||a cookie-sized sponge cake|
Most anywhere in Paris
A photo posted by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on Apr 14, 2015 at 12:20pm PDT
17 // Enjoy dinner on a boat tour along the Seine
The first time M and I visited Paris together, he took me out to celebrate my birthday on a dinner cruise along the Seine. Seeing Paris lit up from the river at night is truly an incredible experience. Read more.
|les bateaux mouches||tourist river boats|
Port de la Bourdonnais,
75007 Paris, France
A photo posted by Shannon Kennedy (@eurolinguiste) on May 5, 2015 at 6:34am PDT
18 // Visit the Maille mustard boutique
When it comes to mustard, there’s nothing better than enjoying a jar of Maille poured freshly from the tap. Plus, it helps that you can taste a nice selection of mustards with small breadsticks within the store before taking home your selection! Read more.
|la vinaigrette||vinaigrette/salad dressing|
6 Place de la Madeleine
And, of course, you can always visit Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Pantheon, Sacre Coeur, the Louvre or any of the other famous monuments dispersed throughout the city.
What about you? Have you been to Paris? What are some of your favorite things to do while you’re there? If you haven’t been, where is somewhere in Paris that you’d love to visit? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below!