Bucketlist Paris

PARIS BUCKETLIST: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PARIS

9th February 2016
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Come rain or shine (yes, even in the rain because it rains a lot in Paris), the city of love is one of the most beautiful cities in the World. When you think of Paris, you probably conjure up images of the Eiffel Tower and views over the Champs Élysées. However, there is more to Paris than croissants and caricatures. In fact, there’s a lot more (which is why I’ve come up with the Paris bucketlist):

So here’s the ultimate Paris bucketlist: the ultimate guide on where to eat, drink and shop and EVERYTHING you should see in the city of lights. 

paris bucket list

1. Read ‘How to be ‘Parisian wherever you are’

To prepare yourself for your Parisian adventure, make sure you check out the book that everyone’s talking about on Instagram! ‘How to be Parisian wherever you are’ will make you cry with laughter and teach you how to be a ‘true Parisienne’. After all, Parisians are not born, they’re made…

2. Visit Jardin des Tuileries

Jardin des Tuileries is Paris’ answer to New York’s Central Park. People often claim that Paris is completely lacking in green space in comparison with a city like London. However, this is just not the case! You just have to know where to look for the green spaces! In the summer, there is a fairground in the Jardin des Tuileries on the Louvre side of the gardens. There’s also a large Ferris wheel near Place de la Concorde throughout the rest of the year!

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3. Visit the Orangerie

Home to Monet’s Nymphéas (waterlilies), the Orangeries houses just some of the  250 oil paintings that Monet created in his flower garden at Giverny. Although you can see the images online, there’s nothing as moving as seeing an artwork in person for the first time.

4. Visit Place Vendôme

A quaint little square filled with designer boutiques and luxe hotels.

5. Visit Palais Royal

Home to the controversial Colonnes de Buren and located a short walk away from the Louvre, a great place for a picnic.

6. Visit the Louvre

Take a selfie with the Mona Lisa in the largest museum in the world. Here you can also find favourites such as the Winged Victory of Samathrace and the Venus di Milo.

7. Drink hot chocolate at Angelina

I hope that you have a sweet tooth because a visit to Paris is all about all the sweets on offer. From the macaron to the rich hot chocolate, to the endless croissants for breakfast, a trip to Paris is full of culinary delights!

8. Visit Notre Dame

Notre Dame sits right in the centre of the city in the middle of the Seine on Île de la Cité. From the 4th to the 14th centuries, the island was the hub of Paris. Most of the exterior was originally painted (including all of the gargoyles). The cathedral is free to visit and open every day of the year.

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9. Eat a crepe

and walk along the banks of the seine…

10. Visit the Flower Market, Île de la cité

and buy a bunch of flowers…

11. Visit Centre Pompidou

The largest collection of modern art in Paris, here you can find Picasso, Braques and a whole host of other famous names. (The Centre Pompidou’s central location in the heart of le Marais also means that the roof terrace provides the most amazing views over the city).

12. Wonder at Sainte Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle is home to one of the most extensive and impressive sets of stained glass windows in the World. Dating all the way back to the 13th Century, the gothic chapel was originally built to house Louis IX’s collection of relics of the Christ. One such relic was the Crown of Thorns (now held in Notre Dame). Shockingly, the Crown of Thorns actually cost more to purchase than it did to construct Sainte Chapelle.

13. See the Concierge

The largest gothic hall in Europe and where Marie Antoinette was kept prisoner during the French revolution.

14. Shop at BHV

Often hailed as one of the only stores in the center of Paris to sell everything from pillow covers to light fittings to vintage clothing, the BHV (Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville) department store has been open since 1856. On the 5th floor, there is a sushi bar, Starbuck’s café and cafeteria.

15. Visit Maison Victor Hugo

4e arrondissement, 6 Place des Vosges

Author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo lived at #6 from 1832-1849 before his exile to Jersey and Guernsey in 1851 (due to his staunch support for Napoleon I). Although temporary exhibitions are charged, the house museum itself is free.

16. Visit Place des Vosges

4e arrondissement

Built in the early 1600s, the earliest planned square in the city is enclosed by red brick houses and arcades of shops, bars, and restaurants. Many a famous French people have lived here; including Cardinal Richelieu and Victor Hugo.

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17. Have an espresso at one of the many cafés in the area

“Un expresso s’il vous plaît”. No Paris bucket list would be complete with at least a gentle nod to the coffee culture that the city is so famous for!

18. Visit Pantheon

Originally a church, the Paris Pantheon is now the resting place of many famous French men and women (notably Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Marie Curie). Over time, it has been the scene of many a controversy, including a rumour that Voltaire’s body had been stolen and a feminist criticism in 2012 that very few women were actually interred in the Pantheon.

19. Eat at Hank Burger

You won’t regret it…

20. Buy a book at Shakespeare and Co.

The first Shakespeare and Company was opened in 1919 and attracted writers such as Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce throughout the 20s. It was closed during WWII and never reopened. Originally called ‘le Mistral’, the second store was rebranded ‘Shakespeare and Company’ as a tribute to the founder of the original store, Sylvia Beach.

21. Visit St Sulpice

Saint-Sulpice is the second largest church in Paris (after Notre Dame). The current building, built in the 17th Century, was featured in Dan Brown’s novel, the Da Vinci Code.

22. Visit Jardin du Luxembourg

Especially pretty in the summer: here you’ll find cute handpainted boats floating around the pond and a huge assortment of pretty flowers.

23. Drink tea at Café de Flore

A must for any Gossip Girl fan! Sip on a glass of wine in this iconic café and watch the world go by…

24. Secure your love at Pont des Arts

If you and your lover inscribe your names on a padlock, lock it onto a bridge and throw away the key into the Seine, your love will last forever…

25. Visit Musée D’Orsay

Situated in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, the Musée d’Orsay is situated in a former railway station, Gare d’Orsay. Home to Starry Nights and an impressive collection of Rodin bronzes, it is also the site of a window clock that offers views over Paris all the way over to Sacré-Coeur. Musée d’Orsay also happened to feature quite heavily in the Gossip Girl TV Series. After all, it’s where Blair met Prince Louis!

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26. Visit Les Invalides

Commonly known as Hôtel National des Invalides, the complex of buildings that form Les Invalides (for short), are located in the 7e arrondissement. The courtyards, church, and gardens are all free to visit. Read more: Les Invalides

27. See the Eiffel Tower (at sunrise)

Okay, if there’s one thing you make a point of doing when you visit Paris and tick off your Paris bucket list, make it waking up early enough to see the sunrise. For the best place in the city to see the sunrise, I recommend heading to Trocadéro and watching the sunrise over Paris).

28. Walk along the Champs Elysees

With a name reminiscent of Ancient Greek mythology’s Mount Olympus, this is the place for luxury shopping. Famous the world over, where else could you find French brands residing in the shadows of the symbol of France, the Arc de Triomphe? The avenue is just under 2 km long and is completed by matching rows of impressive trees.

29. Go up the Arc de Triomphe

If you’re pressed for time, I don’t recommend going up the Eiffel Tower. Instead, I can’t praise the view from the Arc de Triomphe instead! Not only is the view fantastic, but the waiting time is about a third of that of the Eiffel Tower.

30. Eat a macaron at Ladurée

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31. Shop at Galeries Lafayette

No trip to Paris would be complete without visiting the World Famous department store, Galeries Lafayette. The best ‘window licking’ experience in town (the French phrase for window shopping ‘lèche vitrine’, literally means window licking). Also equipped with a roof terrace that offers incredible views over the city…

32. See Palais Garnier 

(The Opera building)

33. Visit Cemetery Pere Lachaise

From Oscar Wilde to Jim Morrison, many famous people are buried here. The Cemetery is also the final resting place of tragically star-crossed lovers Heloise and Abelard.

34. Walk along Canal St Martin

Canal Saint-Martin is over 4 km long and was commissioned by Napoleon I in the early 1800s.

35. Visit Bastille

Formerly the site of a fortress, now an area full of bars and cafés (and a great place to go on Friday night).

36. See Rue Cremieux

The prettiest street in Paris, situated in the 12e arrondissement, La Rue Crémieux lies close to Gare de Lyon. Opened in 1865, the road was renamed ‘Crémieux’ in 1897 in honour of Gaston Crémieux.

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37. Go down into the Catacombs

Head right down into Paris’ underbelly. The macarbre scene that greets you in the Paris Catacombs is like stepping right into the pages of history.

38. Visit Cemetery du Montparnasse

39. Go up Tour Montparnasse

Tour Montparnasse is the tallest building in Paris (that’s not the Eiffel Tower). From the top, everything looks like tiny doll’s house pieces. Head here at sunset for an amazing view over the city o lights! Read more: Going up Tour Montparnasse

Paris, you’re a dream 😍. Always more on solosophie.com

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40. Visit Palais de Tokyo

41. Stroll around Montmartre

Bring a camera, get up early and head to one of the quaintest districts that Paris has to offer!

42. See the Moulin Rouge

The iconic Moulin Rouge sits in the very heart of the infamous Pigalle District. Not far from Opera (the iconic Parisian opera house), this is one of those places that you must visit in Paris, if only to say “I’ve been there!”

43. Walk the steps at Montmartre

There’s nothing quite like seeing the amazing panoramic view over Paris from the first time! With a carousel at the bottom and the Sacré-Coeur at the top, this is one of those walks that will stay with you…

44. Visit Sacré Coeur

Over 11 million visitors visit the Sacré-Coeur every year. Completed at the beginning of the 20th Century, the stone comes from Château-Landon. During wet weather, the stone leaks calcite, re-bleaching the stone and maintaining the basilica’s chalky appearance. Read more: The Sacré Coeur and its Pagan origins

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45. Take a day trip to Fontainebleau

Napoleon called Château Fontainebleau ‘house of the centuries’ and gave his final salute at the bottom of this very staircase. Fontainebleau is one of those places that you could easily visit over and over again.

46. Visit Château de Chantilly

Situated to the North of Paris, the Château at Chantilly was home to French princes for almost two centuries.
The Château now houses the Musée Condé, one of the largest collections of paintings in France. Opened in 1898, the museum collection includes three paintings by Rafael and three by Tra Angelico.

47. Take a day trip to Château de Vincennes

The royal fortress began life as a hunting lodge in the middle of the 12th Century. In the 13th Century, a larger manor was constructed before the site was turned into an important royal castle during the following three centuries.

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48. Take a day trip to Versailles

Rich with history and brimming with fascinating tales of times long gone by, Versailles is famous the world over. Once home to one of the richest kings in history, Louis XIV commissioned the Palace that would have cost over $2 billion to build in today’s money.

Read more: Versailles

49. Take an afternoon out to visit Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen

St-Ouen (le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen) is the biggest flea market in the World. The flea market in Paris consists of 14 markets; all carrying goods of varying time periods and styles, it is possible to find everything from dishes, to armchairs, to vintage clothing.

50. Buy an Eiffel Tower keyring

And to end the Paris bucket list, and your time in the city of lights, make sure you buy a keyring so that you’re always reminded of your special time in Paris! Even if it is a little tacky…

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Did you enjoy the Paris bucketlist? Here’s an image to pin:

paris bucketlistparis bucketlist50 things you must see in paris, France- everything you should see, do, visit, eat and buy in the city of love!

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8 Comments

  • Reply Frederic 17th January 2017 at 12:59 pm

    The perfect list to tour the city of lights. All these are classic Parisian sites that are definitely a must see. Excellent picture of Château de Vincennes by the way!

  • Reply Jenny 16th February 2016 at 4:33 am

    Great post! We are (hopefully) FINALLY going to make it to France this Spring after having it on our ‘list’ for five years! I am bookmarking this for when we get to Paris, thank you!
    Jenny recently posted…What We’ve Learned After Five Years of TravelMy Profile

  • Reply Kenza 12th February 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Haha as a Parisian I can say it’s a really great list !! 🙂
    Thank you for sharing.

    (sorry for the link in my last comment, it was a mistake)
    Kenza recently posted…TOP 5 – BEST CHAIN BURGERS IN NORTH AMERICAMy Profile

  • Reply Kenza 12th February 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Haha as a Parisian I can say it’s a really great list !! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing.

    Kenza recently posted…TOP 5 – BEST CHAIN BURGERS IN NORTH AMERICAMy Profile

  • Reply Carly @ Let Us Wanderlust 10th February 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Amazing list! Love that you listed the lost by arrondissement – makes it a lot easier to do it all. I adore Paris – first fell in love when I was 14 and spent some time attending a school in Chaville on exchange from Australia! X

  • Reply Tanja (the Red phone box travels) 10th February 2016 at 11:08 am

    great list! Have done most of them:))
    Tanja (the Red phone box travels) recently posted…Wines & Roman templeMy Profile

  • Reply Emily 9th February 2016 at 7:29 pm

    There are actually so many of these I haven’t done. I think my favorite would be to visit Victor Hugo’s home and shop at BHV. Definitely two things I am bummed I missed on my first trip to Paris. But guess I’ll just have to go back! Thanks for this list. 🙂
    Emily recently posted…Matador Coffee – Flagstaff, AZMy Profile

  • Reply Darina 9th February 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Great list! The next time I would like to see Rue Cremieux! And enjoy a macaron at Laduree and a cup of tea at Cafe de Flore. Can’t wait 🙂
    Darina recently posted…Weekend Notes #42My Profile

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