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

Our top recos to do Paris right.

By Camille Styles
things to do in Paris

“The definitive guide to Paris—the only list you’ll ever need for the best restaurants, museums, and things to do in Paris.” If any guide to Paris ever starts with a claim like that, my recommendation would be to click away immediately. Anyone who knows and loves the City of Lights would agree that such a feat would be impossible. When you’re looking for things to do in Paris, never expect to be able to encompass all of the city in a single guide or to see everything on a single trip. This is a city that evolves and shifts every moment—and that’s a bit of what makes it so beautiful.

Paris is an onion: you fall in love the first time you set foot on her streets, and each visit thereafter is a peeling back of her beautiful layers.

If you approach her with the same sense of curiosity, wit, and playfulness that the French hold dear, Paris will always surprise you. So let this list be a jumping-off point—then meander, discover, and add your own Paris spots that speak uniquely to your soul.

45 Things to Do in Paris for an Inspired Trip

Read on for my favorite restaurants, shops, cafés, museums, and things to do in Paris, then bookmark this post if you’d like to save my Google Map outlining all my favorite places. This is a city that’s all about the neighborhoods and knowing what’s within walking distance, so I always drop my pins and map out my plan before any trip to Paris. I’d love to hear your faves in the comments.

Storefront of Pizza Chic restaurant in Paris.
Image of Pizza Chic

The Best Restaurants in Paris

Paris has got to have more restaurants per capita than just about any other city, and I’ve learned from experience that if you don’t go in with a plan, you might accidentally end up eating mediocre pasta at the only tourist trap where you can score a table. That said, I’ve also found that going to the quote “Best Restaurants in Paris” can be a recipe for stuffy, white tablecloth experiences that are more about presentation than they are about fun vibes. My best experiences dining out in Paris have come as a result of an in-the-know friend’s recommendation, and now, I’m more than happy to be that friend for you. These are my faves:

A man sitting outside of Boot Café while a woman walks by in Paris.
Image of Boot Café

Paris Cafes for Breakfast and Lunch

Because really: is there anything better than a coffee and a pastry? Particularly in Paris: visiting one (or all) of these spots is a must.

Ten Belles Bread: Really good coffee, delicious pastries, and some of the best sourdough in Paris.

L’Avenue: L’Avenue is a stylish spot for a delicious lunch, especially if you’re taking a break from shopping on Avenue Montaigne. The outdoor terrace is where it’s at for epic people watching, though the inside is stunning as well. 

Boot Café: As quaint as can be, Boot is the perfect pit stop for a latte and slice of cake while exploring the Marais, shopping on the Boulevard Beaumarchais, or on your way to the Musée Picasso. Just don’t expect to get a table—the few tables indoors and outside are often occupied. Good thing the coffee is made for walking, as the sign on the door suggests.

Image of Coeur, Épicerie Saine

Coeur, Épicerie Saine: Situated near the charming Square Maurice-Gardette, this is the place to stop if you’re craving a quaint and cozy Wes Anderson-esque experience—and a treat that’s light but soul-satisfying.

Le Café Marly: A solid spot for coffee and breakfast pre-Louvre.

Miznon Marais: All you need to know: get the falafel. And be sure to marvel at how much whole-roasted cauliflower this kitchen can churn out.

Cafe Charlot: A classic brasserie in the Marais, Café Charlot is another fave people-watching spot if you want to feel like a Parisian.

Maame book and a glass of white wine on a blue table at La Fontaine de Belleville in Paris.
A glass of Sancerre and a good book at La Fontaine de Belleville

La Fontaine de Belleville: This café is a true all-day spot. Come for a coffee, and stay for French classics like croque monsieur, baguette sandwiches, and a great cheese plate.

Ober Mamma: Delicious and casual Italian spot for all of your pasta and pizza cravings. 

Les Deux Magots: It’s a classic for a reason. Sit six inches from the next table, order a coffee or glass of wine, and watch the city go by.

Berthillon: This famous ice cream shop is the perfect ending to any Paris meal. Grab a cone and stroll along the Seine.

best restaurants in Paris

Best Wine Bars in Paris

While the French have definitely gotten into the cocktail game, there’s nothing quite like enjoying un verre in Paris. Personally, I love Pouilly-Fumé or the slightly more vibrant Sancerre when I’m in the city. Both feel so chic.

La Buvette: The tiny, cozy natural wine bar of your dreams. Arrive early to grab one of the few tables–it’s walk-in only. 

Déviant: Fun spot for natural wine and inventive small plates around a cozy, sometimes raucous bar. 

Septime La Cave: This wine bar is ultra-cozy and walk-in only–and it’s the next best thing to scoring a table at Septime.

Vivant 2: Fun vibe and really great food.

Oysters, escargot, and wine at Clown Bar in Paris.
Image of Clown Bar

Paris Restaurants for Dinner

Clown Bar: I spent THE most fun evening at Clown Bar with friends sharing interesting small plates and trying natural wines recommended by their warm, friendly team. Make reservations for the terrace.

Pizza Chic: You all know how much I love pizza, and the food here is as good as the vibes that make you feel like you’re at an Italian trattoria. I love it for a delicious lunch or casual dinner–and it’s always a good sign when you see Italian families devouring pizza there.

Dining room at Dersou in Paris.
Image of Dersou

Dersou: You come to Dersou not expecting to find it. The beautifully rustic restaurant is tucked amongst shops on the Rue Saint-Nicolas in Paris’ 12th arrondissement. But once inside, you know you’re in for a treat. After a six-course meal with cocktail pairings, I was more than ready to confirm: this is the best dinner in Paris.

Le Servan: We actually went for lunch and Le Servan’s Asian-inflected tasting menu blew us away. The perfect balance of beauty and attention to detail, without being at all fussy.

Clamato menu with white wine in Paris.
Image of Clamato

Clamato: Owned by the same crew as Septime, this hip seafood restaurant always a win. It’s also walk-in only, which is a major perk if you forgot to make reservations.

L’Ami Jean: We spent Adam’s birthday here with a table full of friends, and it was a night that I’ll truly never forget. Our server brought us almost everything on the menu, and as we dug into the family-style feast, it felt like we were at a friend’s cozy Parisian apartment. Don’t miss the rice pudding. 

Candelaria: A hidden late-night spot, this taqueria and cocktail bar has a hidden door in the back that goes to a tequila bar. 

Gardens at the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris.
Image of the Jardin du Luxembourg

Best Museums in Paris 

Again, the “best museums in Paris” title is highly subjective since there are several Paris museums I haven’t yet been to. I keep visiting my old faves, but let me know if there’s a great museum I’m missing out on.

Musée d’Orsay: Fellow impressionist lovers: be transported to heaven in this gorgeous former railway station-turned museum on the banks of the Seine. Its permanent collection is bursting with works by Matisse, Degas Cezanne, Cassatt, Monet, Van Gogh, and the list goes on…

Rodin Museum: Home of the famous “The Thinker” sculpture, the Rodin Museum has gorgeous sculpture gardens and a beautiful mansion housing Rodin’s work. 

Louis Vuitton Foundation: A great modern and contemporary museum sponsored by the LVMH group. The building itself is a work of art.  

Maison Européenne de la Photographie: Filled with contemporary photography, this museum is in a gorgeous 18th-century mansion. The exhibitions are regularly changing, so even if you’ve already been, there’s always something new to see. 

The Centre Pompidou: This museum not only has a great collection of contemporary and modern art, but the building itself is an incredible glass and metal structure that is a must-see. It’s meant to resemble a heart being pumped by structural arteries in bright colors. 

Image of the Musée Picasso

Musée Picasso: This special building houses 5,000 pieces by Pablo Picasso, as well as his own personal art collection.

Louvre Museum: You can’t go to Paris without going to the Louvre. You can walk for miles through the royal palace and see some of the most famous pieces of art (think Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and more). It’s hands down one of the best things to do in Paris.

Street in Paris

Best Hotels in Paris

While there is no shortage of beautiful hotels in Paris, these are my must-stays.

Hôtel Costes: This is my favorite hotel and the best lunch spot for people watching. However, you definitely need a reservation for the restaurant, especially for late-night. 

Hotel Providence: Our friends stayed in this beautiful hotel. It’s cozy and in a fun, vibrant neighborhood.  

The Hoxton, Paris: I’ve stayed at many Hoxtons all around there world and have always been blown away. Their hotels are comfortable and cozy while still remaining design-forward—and their restaurants, bars, and lobbies can’t be beaten. Expect a Wes Anderson feel—the Hoxton is definitely a vibe.

Aerial view of classic Haussman buildings and Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Best Shopping in Paris 

Food Shops

Since Paris is all about the food, I always make sure to hit up a few shops where I can stock up on coffee, jam, pastries, and candy to bring back as souvenir gifts for friends and family.

Marché Raspail: One of the largest organic markets in Europe, Marché Raspail is a great place to wander around or pick out a few things for lunch. This is one of my personal picks for the best things to do in Paris. Warning: you’ll most likely get carried away with all the fantastic choices. 

Á la Mére de Famille: Craving chocolate? This artisan chocolate shop is the perfect indulgence. 

Stohrer: This elegant pastry shop has the best sweets and patisserie, plus a gorgeous interior. 

Klin d'oeil storefront in Paris.
Image of Klin d’oeil

Design Shops

Just like the fashion and food, Paris offers no shortage of design-forward storefronts. And while some certainly lean luxe, there’s definitely something for everyone in this vast and varied city.

Klin d’oeil: Part shop, part event space (with the cutest sister café next door), pay a visit for bright and colorful handmade home goods, jewelry, and art prints. The women who run it are so sweet and happy to share the stories of all the makers they carry. Guarantee you’ll walk away with a one-of-a-kind piece.

Studio 7L: This is Karl Lagerfeld’s bookstore and it’s as chic as you would imagine. 

Astier de Villatte: This Chinaware store has beautiful ceramics and glassware that you’ll keep and treasure forever. Regardless, it’s fun to browse for inspiration. 

Madeleine & Gustave – Siège Paris: This unique home goods store is so fun to walk through for little treasures and inspiration. Plus, they focus on local products that are responsibly made. 

Interior of the Used Book Café at Merci department store in Paris.
Image of The Used Book Café at Merci

Merci: I love browsing around this store to get inspired. Be sure to visit the adjoining Used Book Café for a quick bite and coffee.

Papier Tigre: This paper goods shop has the prettiest notebooks, stationery, and home accessories. It’s the perfect spot to pick up a little souvenir for someone back home. 

OFR Bookshop: This cozy bookshop/gallery is a great place to browse.

Image in the Jardin du Luxembourg

Clothing and Accessories

While I’m definitely one to stock up on food goods and edible treats to share with friends and family when I return home, there’s nothing like picking up that special piece and saying “I got this in Paris.”

L’Appartement Sézane Paris 2: While the beautiful women’s clothing store has a location in New York—and you can certainly order their designs online—there’s nothing like stopping in at one of the Paris locations. My personal favorite is the shop in the second arrondissement. It exudes French charm.

Celine Paris Montaigne: If you’re craving a treat-yourself moment, every bag, scarf, and pair of sunglasses is a forever piece.   

Tom Greyhound Paris: Tom Greyhound is a chic boutique with high-fashion clothing for both men and women.

What are your favorite things to do in Paris? Drop them in the comments so I can add them to my list for next time! And be sure to save my Google Map guide for your next visit.