42 Things You MUST Do in Paris, From My Favorite Cafés to Museums and Shopping

“The ultimate guide to Paris—the only list you’ll ever need for the greatest restaurants, museums, and activities in the city.” If any guide to Paris begins with such a claim, my advice is to click away right away–anyone who knows and loves the City of Lights would agree that such a feat is impossible.

You fall in love with Paris the first moment you set foot on her streets, and each subsequent visit is a peeling back of her exquisite layers.

Paris will always surprise you if you approach her with the same spirit of wonder, wit, and humor that the French cherish. So take this list as a starting point, then roam, discover, and add your own Paris locations that speak to your heart.

Continue reading for my favorite restaurants, stores, cafés, museums, and things to do in Paris, and then bookmark this page to keep my Google Map of all my favorites. Because this is a city where knowing what’s within walking distance is crucial, I always drop my pins and lay out my itinerary before every trip to Paris. I’d love to know about your favorites in the comments section.

42 Things You MUST Do in Paris, From My Favorite Cafés to Museums and Shopping

Best Restaurants in Paris 

Paris must have more restaurants per capita than almost any other city, and I’ve learned the hard way that if you don’t prepare ahead, you can find yourself eating awful pasta at the one tourist trap where you can get a table. Going to the allegedly “Best Restaurants in Paris” might, however, be a recipe for stuffy, white tablecloth experiences that are more about appearance than good vibes. My finest eating experiences in Paris have always come as a result of a recommendation from a knowledgeable friend, and I’m more than pleased to be that friend for you. Here are a few of my favorites:

Paris Cafés for Breakfast and Lunch

La Fontaine is a real all-day café. Come for the coffee, but stay for the French classics like croque monsieur, baguette sandwiches, and a fantastic cheese platter.

Ten Belles Bread: Excellent coffee, delectable pastries, and some of Paris’s best sourdough.

L’Avenue: If you’re taking a break from shopping on Avenue Montaigne, L’Avenue is a chic destination for a tasty lunch. The outside patio is ideal for people-watching, however the interior is as impressive.

Le Café Marly is a good place to go for coffee and brunch before seeing the Louvre.

All you need to know, Miznon Marais, is to get the falafel.

Cafe Charlot: A historic brasserie in the Marais, Café Charlot is another great place to people watch and feel like a Parisian.

Ober Mamma: For all of your pasta and pizza desires, come to this delicious and easygoing Italian establishment.

It’s a classic for a reason, Les Deux Magots. Sit 6 inches apart from the next table, get a coffee or glass of wine, and gaze out the window at the city.

Berthillon Glacier: This legendary ice cream shop is the ideal way to cap off any dinner in Paris. Take a walk down the Seine with a cone.

Best Wine Bars in Paris

La Buvette is the tiniest, coziest natural wine bar you’ve ever imagined. Arrive early to get one of the few available tables–a it’s walk-in only situation.

Déviant: A fun venue for natural wine and imaginative small meals in the midst of a snug, sometimes rowdy bar.

Septime La Cave: This wine bar is super-cozy and only accepts walk-ins–the it’s next best thing to getting a table at Septime.

Vivant 2: Terrific cuisine and a great atmosphere.

Dinner in Paris Restaurants

Clown Bar: I had THE most enjoyable evening with friends at Clown Bar, enjoying fascinating small dishes and drinking natural wines suggested by their warm, helpful staff. Reserve a table on the patio.

Le Servan: We visited for lunch and were blown away by Le Servan’s Asian-inflected tasting menu. Without being fussy, the perfect combination of beauty and attention to detail has been achieved.

Pizza Chic: You all know how much I adore pizza, and the food here is just as amazing as the atmosphere, which transports you to an Italian trattoria. I adore it for a tasty lunch or a relaxed dinner–and seeing Italian families devouring pizza there is usually a good indication.

Balagan Paris is a fun, trendy restaurant with a mouthwatering Mediterranean food. Every night of the week, Balagan is a party, and it’s as much about the excitement and music as it is about the fantastic pita bread. Arrive early to get a spot in the adjoining bar’s snug banquette.

Clamato: This stylish seafood restaurant, which is owned by the same group as Septime, is always a winner. It’s also walk-in only, which is a huge advantage if you forget to make reservations.

L’Ami Jean: Adam’s birthday was spent here, with a table full of friends, and it was a night I’ll never forget. Our waitress brought us practically everything on the menu, and as we ate our way through the family-style meal, it seemed like we were at a friend’s charming Parisian apartment. The rice pudding is a must-try.

Candelaria: This late-night taqueria and cocktail bar has a back entrance that leads to a tequila bar.

Best Museums in Paris 

Again, the label of “best museums in Paris” is somewhat subjective because there are other museums in Paris that I have yet to visit. I’ll keep going to my old favorites, but if there’s a terrific museum I’m missing out on, please let me know in the comments.

Musée d’Orsay: Impressionist enthusiasts unite! In this beautiful former railway station-turned-museum on the banks of the Seine, you’ll be transported to heaven. Its permanent collection includes works by Matisse, Degas, Cezanne, Cassatt, Monet, Van Gogh, and a long list of other artists…

Rodin Museum: The Rodin Museum is home to the iconic “The Thinker” sculpture as well as exquisite sculpture gardens and a residence that houses Rodin’s art.

The Louis Vuitton Foundation is a wonderful modern and contemporary museum run by the LVMH corporation. The structure is a piece of art in itself.

Maison Européenne de la Photographie: Located in a beautiful 18th-century mansion, this museum is filled with modern photography. Even if you’ve gone before, there’s always something fresh to see.

The Centre Pompidou: This museum not only has a fantastic collection of current and modern art, but it also has an amazing glass and metal structure that is a must-see. It’s supposed to look like a heart that’s being pumped by brightly colored structural arteries.

The Musée National Picasso-Paris includes 5,000 works by Pablo Picasso, as well as his personal art collection.

The Louvre Museum is a must-see in Paris. You may stroll inside the royal palace for kilometers and witness some of the most famous works of art (think Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and more). It is, without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable things to do in Paris.

Best Hotels in Paris

Hôtel Costes: This is my favorite hotel and the ideal place to people-watch during lunch. You will, however, need to make a reservation for the restaurant, especially for late-night dining.

Our companions stayed at the Hotel Providence. It’s warm and inviting, and it’s in a lively, lively area.

Best Shopping in Paris 

grocers

Because, in my opinion, Paris is all about the food, I usually make a point of stopping by a few stores to fill up on coffee, jam, pastries, and candies to bring back as souvenirs for friends and family.

Marché Raspail: One of Europe’s largest organic markets, Marché Raspail is a terrific spot to browse around or have a bite to eat. This is one of my favorite things to do in Paris. Warning: you’ll most likely become enamored with all of the amazing options.

la Mére de Famille: Do you have a chocolate craving? This gourmet chocolate business is the ultimate treat.

Stohrer: This lovely pastry store features some of the greatest sweets and pastries, as well as a beautiful decor.

Studio 7L: This is Karl Lagerfeld’s bookshop, and it’s as posh as you’d expect.

Astier de Villatte: This Chinaware business features lovely ceramics and glassware that you’ll retain and cherish for a long time. Regardless, browsing for ideas is entertaining.

Siège – Madeleine & Gustave Paris: This one-of-a-kind home products store is a lot of fun to browse for tiny trinkets and ideas. Furthermore, they place a strong emphasis on locally produced, ethically produced goods.

Papier Tigre: This paper products store provides the cutest notebooks, stationery, and home decor. It’s the ideal place to pick up a memento for a loved one back home.

Au Petit Bonheur la Chance: I adore an antique shop, and this one might be my favorite. You never know what you’ll find, but it’s always fun to go for a walk.

OFR Bookshop: This little bookstore/gallery is a wonderful location to peruse.

Accessories and Clothing

CELINE PARIS MONTAIGNE: Every purse, scarf, and pair of sunglasses is a forever-piece if you’re looking for a treat-yourself moment.

Greyhound Tom Tom Greyhound is a trendy store in Paris that sells high-end apparel for both men and women.

Merci: I like perusing this shop for ideas.

What are your favorite Parisian activities? Please leave them in the comments so that I may add them to my list for the future! Also, save my Google Maps guidance for your future trip.