Paris offers an abundance of sights and activities, and in my Top 10 Guide I’ve endeavoured to share a few that locals in Paris might enjoy—such as having a picnic along the Seine or catching the sunset from the Sacré-Cœur—coupled with some nightlife options that stray from the tourist-centric shows like Moulin Rouge. That’s not to say there’s anything amiss with the Moulin Rouge! I acknowledge its sheer splendour, but personally, I favour the more intimate ambience of the Crazy Horse.

Without further ado here are my Top 10 things to do in Paris.

1. Go to a museum or gallery

  • My number 1 recommendation to ALL visitors to Paris is the Musée Carnavalet dedicated to the history of Paris. If you are a fan of the art nouveau period and in particular the artist Alphonse Mucha, you can even walk into an installation of a boutique he designed for jeweller Fouquet.
  • Jeu de paume is a must for photography fans. The exhibitions are temporary so it depends what is on at the time, I however have had the good opportunity to see the works of two of my favourite photographers there I/e Diane Arbus and Claude Cahun.
  • Musee d’Orsay houses the controversial painting “The origin of the world” by Gustave Courbet – along with many other famous paintings and artists you probably learned about in high school.
  • Le Petit Palais is a fine art museum and has a continuous mix of temporary exhibitions covering all genres. The real reason to go there is for the mind-blowing architecture and gorgeous interior courtyard and gardens. Not to mention the impressive gold gate at the entrance. It is, in general, very Instagrammable. 

2. Sample the Nightlife

  • Le Crazy Horse de Paris Tres risqué, the Crazy Horse dancers are unapologetically sexy and provocative. I probably wouldn’t take my mum but I do enjoy watching my husband squirm, whereas I am there purely for the creative choreography 😉
  • Le 1905 If you dream of old-school Paris, art nouveau deco and laid-back sophistication then this is the bar for you. Cocktails are excellent with a seafood-influenced menu in the restaurant.
  • Opera at The Palais Garnier Whether opera, dance or recitals are your thing or not, the Palais Garnier is awe-inspiring and must be experienced
  • Chez Michou Old school drag cabaret at its finest and for something more contemporary I recommend Bar M’sieurs Dames for a warm welcome and guarantee of a good laugh. 

3. Eat at a Michelin Star Restaurant

If fine dining is your raison d’être then look no further than Restaurant Guy Savoy My mouth is watering as I type this. And yes, dress up darlings!

4. Get to Know Sweet Paris

5. Vintage and Antique Shopping

  • Les puces de St Ouen. If your idea of a good time is rummaging through old boxes of vintage postcards, admiring authentic Louis IV furnishing and shabby chic deco, then the St Ouen Flea markets will be a little corner of paradise. The area around here is a little deceiving so be prepared to search a little for the actual antique shops.
  • Alicija Kissa posts daily about her flea market finds and lists the locations of many Parisian local “vide grenier” Follow her on Instagram
Les Bouquinistes on the banks of the river Seine – Quai de Montebello to be precise – sell some classic vintage and antique books, postcards and posters. This is my idea of a souvenir!

6. Have a Picnic!

On a sunny day, there is nothing the local Parisians love more than picnic-ing aux bords de Seine. Grab a bottle of red wine, a stinky cheese, a fresh baguette (mais oui), and a picnic blanket and hit the ‘quais’ of the Seine with a group of friends.  Anywhere between ile Saint Louis and Pont des Arts will provide a picturesque, memorable moment. There is also a great picnic spot behind the Eiffel Tower called the “Champs de Mars”. Highly recommended in Spring!  Don’t forget your bottle opener.

7. Watch the Sunset from the Sacré-Cœur

Watching the sunset from Sacré-Cœur is popular with younger Parisians whilst watching the sunrise is popular with the ones old enough to go clubbing! Visit old Montmartre at the same time, famously known as the home to many late 19th century artists and ever so charming with its cobblestone streets. Make sure to walk past La Maison Rose, the Instagram-famous pink restaurant, and by all means, annoy the owner by taking a few selfies while you are there. Parisian dreams are made of this.

8. Go Shopping!

There are so many famous shopping districts in Paris however due to its location, I often find myself on rue Saint-Honoré which is worth a visit for window-shopping alone.  Don’t miss the Louboutin boutique, and the various other famous luxury brands like Dior, Miu Miu, and prêt-à-porter Alexander McQueen. Make your way up towards Place Vendome, and finish the day with a cocktail in the Ritz’s Bar Hemingway And for the love of old Paris, make sure to seek out La Gallerie Vivienne, a registered historical monument that was built in 1823 in the style of neoclassical architecture.

9. Track down Emily in Paris

Are you a fan of Netflix’s hit series? Me and my (French) hubby are! We have a good giggle at the stereotypes depicted and of course, we love to see Paris in all its beauty and splendour.  “Savoir” the agency where Emily works is located next to Passage de la Vérité in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, very close to the Louvre Museum and the Palais Royal. I wrote an entire blog post dedicated to Emily in Paris filming locations.

10. Have a photoshoot with a Pro…

I might not be encouraging you to go up the Eiffel Tower but being photographed with her in the background is another story! I will never grow bored of the “Iron Lady”. My breath is taken each time I catch sight of her and I am thrilled that I get to capture so many amazing women with her on their trips to Paris. I also adore photoshooting all around Paris – the hidden gems and architectural grandeur – and I invite you to browse my websites and particularly my blogs to inspire ideas of your own. If you are curious about your own bespoke VIP photoshoot in Paris, I welcome you to contact me – with no obligation to book.

Coming to Paris for the first time?

My blog post for Solo Travellers in Paris might be very useful for you.