The Ultimate Paris Bucket List

Ah, Paris. Is there any city that evokes such a magical image? Glittering streetlights, a fluttering, rose-scented breeze. Street after street of Haussmann-style apartment buildings rising from the cobblestones. A winking peek of la tour Eiffel through the trees. Sultry nights spent wandering past the best of jazz clubs and wine bars. No wonder it’s considered one of the most romantic cities in the world.

Here, we’ve gathered our top bucket-list experiences in Paris — what we long to do in the city of light. Whether it’s your first trip or you’re a seasoned practically-Parisian, you’ll find something on this list to bookmark. Bon voyage! 

 

 

1. Treat yourself to a night at a luxury Parisian hotel

Nothing says luxury like Paris. Sip champagne, order room service, and wear a ridiculously fluffy robe every second you’re not out sightseeing. Not to mention the views.

 

 

2. Dine on a riverboat cruise and take in the city lit up at night

They don’t call Paris la ville de la lumière for nothing. Plan a riverboat cruise so you can gently glide past all those glittering lights — a truly magical evening for the books.

 

 

3. Take a French pastry or cooking class

What’s better than a croissant? A croissant that you made yourself — in Paris, no less. Learn the art of cooking the French way and delight your friends when you return.

We recommend classes at La Cuisine (which is actually run by a woman from Chicago who has lived in Paris the past ten years)! Both the market cooking class and croissant baking class are a treat (no pun intended). Classes are small and book up quickly, so be sure to book at least a month ahead!

 

4. Imbibe at a Parisian jazz club

Transport yourself to the 20s in Paris — imagine glittering castanet skirts, bright jazz trumpets, and whirling around the dance floor doing everything from the Charleston to the Lindy Hop. Good drinks, better atmosphere, best music? What are you waiting for?

 

 

5. Do the private tour of the Louvre

The Louvre is filled with so much history — it should be required to enter with an educated guide. The amount of information you’ll learn will exponentially increase your appreciation for everything around you.

 

 

6. Get yourself something you’ll have forever

A hat, a handbag, a piece of jewelry, or a vintage home good… find something classic that will outlast the trends and great quality that will last a long time.

 

 

7. Stroll the gardens and grounds at Versailles

Part of the experience of Paris is walking everywhere (good thing there’s all that bread, cheese, and wine to keep you fortified) and one of the best walks of your entire trip will be in Versailles. The opulence! The majesty! The landscaping!

If you want to catch the beauty of Versailles another way, Fat Tire Tours has the most AMAZING Versailles bike tour. The grounds are so expansive that sometimes it can get a little overwhelming on foot. See both the grounds and the town with this tour that ends in a picnic at the end of the Grand Canal.

 

 

 

8. Shop a morning market and picnic along the River

Grab your market tote and fill it with fresh cheese, a crumbly, hot-from-the-oven baguette, and a fabulous bottle of wine for an impromptu picnic along the Seine. Let the beauty of Paris be your brunch-mate.

 

 

9. Visit Monet’s Garden and House at Giverny

Experience the beauty that inspired some of Monet’s most classic and reverential work. Tour his home, stand on the Japanese bridge, and spot the hovering water lilies. A must for any bucket list.

 

 

10. Attend the Paris Opera

Don your finery and step out on the Parisian town for one of the most classically luxurious occasions: the opera. A memory you’ll never forget in a setting that will make your iPhone camera weep with joy.

 

 

11. Tour the Hilly Artist Neighborhood of Montmartre

Montmarte is everything your Parisian-loving heart has ever wanted. Spindly, winding streets full of vine-covered stone walls and classic buildings. Wander past Sacré-Cœur into the heart of the historic neighborhood, an artist favorite from Monet to Renoir.

 

 

12. Spend an Afternoon Cafe Hopping

Another simple one to cross off your list… but also difficult considering most people’s itineraries for such an expansive city are jam-packed from morning to night. But Paris, after all, is all about slowing down, enjoying life. So spend a few hours doing just that. Cafe hop. Sit in those picturesque chairs and sip cappuccinos or wine. People watch. Read or journal. And soak up that joie de vivre.

 

 

What’s on your Paris Bucket List? Tell us in the comments below!

  • Sylvia

    I went to Paris for the first time in January and missed out on so much because the weather was chilly and rainy. I did go to Versailles but all of the fountains were turned off and the walking paths were filled with mud lol. So if it is raining, I highly recommend that you skip Versailles and save it for a day with beautiful weather.

    I took a macaron cooking class at La Cuisine, and it was OK, but it was expensive for what you get. It was rushed because there is one instructor that has to help 8-10 people. You got to take home a box full of macarons, but mine got left in the oven too long and got burnt so I ended up having to throw them away. $90 down the drain. However, there were lots of Airbnb experiences where you can take a cooking/baking class with a local for much cheaper.

    My favorite things that I did in Paris: 1) Dinner at Le Petit Canard in Montmartre. AMAZING. Their orange duck was probably in my top 3 meals ever. 2) Go shopping in Le Marais. That is where all of the boutiques and trendy clothing stores are. The clothing quality in Paris was much better that when I typically see in the US. Even at H&M and Zara! 3) Eat a couple of croissants for breakfast every morning. It costs a couple of Euros and surprisingly, it can keep you filled up until lunch. 4) Ride the metro. Don’t be intimidated by it. It was really easy to use. Just make sure to hold onto your ticket. Sometimes they will make you show it to them during your train ride, so don’t throw it away! Otherwise you’ll have to pay a fine. 5) Going to the local grocery stores and pharmacies. Beauty products can be much cheaper in Paris. Also, they are a great place to get souvenirs. Their grocery stores have lots of soaps, candy, snacks, and home goods. 6) Airbnb Experiences. I did one where a chef cooked us dinner at their home, and it was PHENOMENAL. There were so many other ones I wanted to do like a private shopping trip with a personal stylist, but many of the experiences sell out quickly, so you have to plan ahead.

    Designer bags are MUCH cheaper in Paris. You can save additional money by filling out forms to get your tax back. I went during their January “Soldes” period, where each store has up to 70% off. I ended up getting a Longchamp tote for only $80!

    You can tell that I really enjoyed my trip by how long this comment was, lol. I can’t wait to visit again in the warm weather!

  • lulutastic

    Could you caption the pictures? Really, really want to know where some of those amazing shots were taken! Flights books and I’m off to Paris for the second time this September.

    I would definitely add wandering the Marais to this list, and spending some time idling away on a bench in Places des Vosges, just taking in the slice of everyday Parisian life.

    • michele

      I agree! I found it frustrating to see the photos and not know where they are!

  • Wow, what an incredible bucket list of things to do. I visited Paris a few years ago and absolutely loved it, however one thing I regret is never getting to the Louvre & these pictures make me desperate to go & take in all art!! Cafe hopping is definitely high on the list too, I better get looking for flights!

    Holly from The Art of Being Holly xo

  • I’ve honestly never had an interest in Paris or visiting any part of France, really. Nice actually sounds like a more interesting city to visit than Paris…

  • My favorite place in France is Le Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s “little” get away home on the grounds of Versailles. She was an extraordinary woman and her house is magnificent. I also recommend taking a private tour of Versailles. It’s more expensive, but you get to skip the lines to get in and you see rooms that are off-limits. You are up close and personal to 17th-18th century furniture and decorative arts (sigh). And being able to take photos without all those tourists in the shot!

  • michele

    I found your blog very distracting, and difficult to actually read and see the post due to all of the ads.

  • michele

    I found your post difficult to read due to the ads; very distracting and I would love to see the photos captioned; to hard to figure out what went with what, or where.

  • Natalie Redman

    So want to go back to Paris!

    http://www.upyourvlog.com

  • Rise Beyond

    We love Paris, thank you for this incredible bucket-list! If you need more ideas, check out this post: http://rise-beyond.com/5-days-in-paris-travel-blog-tips/. Reading this has inspired us to book another trip to Paris right now! Merci beaucoup!