Paris is a vast sprawling city, and with so much to see, it can be overwhelming to plan a visit. Or, more like, where do you begin? Once you’ve decided where and what to visit, how do you fit it all in? Even harder when you have limited time or unpredictable weather to consider. There’s nothing worse than trying to cram a museum day on a sunny day or a walking tour in the rain. Trust me, it happens.
You can never have too many days in Paris…
So, If you’re planning a trip or arriving in Paris soon, here are a few of my favourites to visit. It’s a good combination for rain or shine 🙂
1. Marchè Bastille
This is the largest outdoor market in Paris, packed with rows upon rows of vendors selling delicious food, antiques, fresh flowers, leather accessories, linens and cashmere. It’s a feast for the eyes. Opened two days a week, Thursdays (the quieter of the two) and Sundays (with more vendors). Plan accordingly and get there early. The options are endless: pick up a picnic lunch, enjoy fresh oysters and wine, or whatever you crave.
2. Jardin du Luxembourg
Now that you’ve loaded up with delicious food from the market, why not head to the Jardin du Luxembourg for a leisurely picnic? This beautiful park and palace were commissioned in 1612 by Marie de Medici, who was homesick for her native Florence. It’s an idyllic setting to lay your blanket and enjoy the beautiful sprawling lawns, fountains, tree-lined promenades, flowerbeds, and the picturesque Medici Fountain; maybe even a nice bottle of rosé.
I like that the park is a little off the beaten path and has plenty of shade. However, the summer months can be busy.
3. La Galerie Dior
I happened to be visiting Paris in 2017 during Christian Dior’s 70th anniversary and for the Designer of Dreams retrospective exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. I was so excited and had no idea what to expect. It’s a stunning scenographic walk, taking you through 70 years of the fabulous creations designed by Dior and his successors, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and the current creative director, Maria Gracia Chiuri.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, there was more to delight your senses. It’s one of the best exhibits I’ve experienced.
Finally, the Designer of Dreams exhibit has found a permanent home at La Galerie Dior, 30 Avenue Montaigne.
4. Café de Flore & Les Deux Magots
These iconic cafés Café Flore and Les Deux Magots, are in the heart of Saint-Germain des Prés. They are distinctly separate but sit next door to each other. So, why all the fuss? Well, they’re two of the oldest cafés in Paris and have been attracting personalities from the world of art and literature, fashion and politics, and tourists from around the world since the late 1800s.
Admittedly, it’s a bit of a scene—attracting influencers and tourists alike. Selfies, anyone? However, it’s the perfect spot to sit and watch the world go by. So take a break from those steps you put in today. Instead, enjoy a coffee, a glass of wine or a delicious meal; you can’t go wrong.
A new Parisian experience…
Samaritaine started as a small boutique in 1870, then closed its doors in 2005 due to structural building concerns. In 2021, LVMH unveiled this exceptionally revived iconic Art Nouveau building, with a new contemporary structure on rue de Rivoli. It offers more than 20,000 square meters with over 600 iconic and avant-garde brands and has one of Europe’s most prominent beauty spaces. In addition to the beautifully curated retail spaces are a collection of unique and exclusive places to eat and drink.
6. Parc Monceau
A trip to the park is necessary when it’s a sunny blue sky day in Paris. It’s only recently having discovered Parc Monceau, the perfect rest stop. A few minutes walk and a quiet oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the Champs Elysee.
7. Musée de l’Orangerie
Short on time? The Musée de l’Orangerie may be small but packs a lot inside. The main attraction, filling two extensive galleries, is Monet’s fabulous Waterlillies. And if that’s all you can fit in, so be it! You have seen the best…
After you’ve soaked up Monet, head downstairs for more impressive art collections.
8. Pere Lachaise
Pere Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris. But, before you say, ewww, I promise, this isn’t any ordinary cemetery. On the contrary, this is home to many famous personalities, artists, musicians, singers (Frédéric Chopin, Rossini, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf…) and writers (Molière, Balzac, Colette, Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde…), politicians, soldiers and historians. It’s a real who’s who. You can wander among the tombstones at your own pace (map provided) or take a two-hour guided tour; you’ll get stories and a history lesson.
There’s a lot to cover in this 43 hectares open-air museum. Visit the famous and not-so-famous…
9. La Grande Épicerie de Paris
This landmark food hall may be the next best thing if time doesn’t allow a visit to a bustling outdoor market. La Grande Épicerie is enormous, offering some 30,000 items, many of which are available exclusively at the store or made on-site. Basically, if you can imagine it, they stock it. Including delicacies from around the world, you won’t find anywhere else. This is an unmissable destination for all food lovers. Also, don’t forget to check out the extensive wine cellars downstairs.
When you’re finished filling up with delicious food, visit Le Bon Marché next door, also a favourite.
10. Île de Saint Louis
An island, you say? Actually, it’s one of two islands in the Seine, connected to Paris by four bridges; you’ve probably crossed at least one. The other island is île de la Cité, where Notre Dame is located. While the rest of Paris is overrun with crowds, île de Saint Louis seems to have deflected them. Could this be one of Paris’ best-kept secrets?
While you won’t find beaches or palm trees on the island, this quaint neighbourhood is filled with cafés, a couple of Micheline star restaurants, shops, art galleries and a handful of boutique hotels.
That said, I’m pretty sure you can find a margarita somewhere 😉
Trust me when I say it was difficult to list only ten favourites. There are so many wonderful places to discover in Paris; honestly, there’s no shortage. So enjoy planning your next trip to Paris; it’s part of the fun. Let me know if this blog was helpful, and naturally, I would love to hear about your trip. Perhaps you have some great insider tips for me.