I’ve been really lucky to spend a lot of time in Paris over the years while visiting my grandparents. I absolutely love just wandering the streets, spotting interesting things that you may miss if you just stick to the tourist traps. After one of my recent trips, I thought I should write down a few of my favourite things to do while I’m there (outside all the museums!).
Stroll through the Jardin du Luxembourg
Located between Saint-Germain-des-Prés (a favourite area of mine to go walking) and the Latin Quarter, the Jardin du Luxembourg is a lovely mix of art and horticulture. When I was younger, I’d only ever been through during the winter, but more recently I was lucky enough to walk through during spring and it was nothing short of divine. Gorgeous flowers everywhere, sculptures aplenty, people chilling out in the sun or going for a jog. There’s really something about having a tranquil spot in the middle of chaos.
Gyros in St Michel
I can’t remember who took me here the first time, but whenever I’m in Paris (and I have time), I always go to Maison de Gyros for lunch. It doesn’t look like much, but the gyros are tasty, cheap and very filling.
Maison de Gyros: 26 Rue de la Huchette, 75005 Paris
While you’re in the area, you can see the Fontaine Saint-Michel and I can highly recommend a visit to the Cluny Museum (National Museum of the Middle Ages) if you’re into cool old stuff.
Lemon meringue tart in Le Marais
One day, my cousin promised me the biggest lemon meringue tart I’d ever seen and took me to a funky little cafe called Le Loir dans La Théière (which translates to ‘the dormouse in the teapot’, cute huh!) in the Jewish Quarter (Le Marais) and I was not disappointed. Every time I’ve been it has been very busy and there is often a queue to get a table. Don’t let that put you off though; if you’re in a small party they usually get you seated pretty quickly and it’s so worth it for the tart!
They serve other things too, but I can’t comment because every time I go I order the same thing. So naughty of me!
Le Loir dans La Théière: 3 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, France
Window shopping in Les Halles
Les Halles has changed significantly since my first visit as a 17-year-old back in
There’s also plenty of food options, including brasseries, fast food and the all-important crêperies.
Explore the flower market on Île de la Cité
This is a bit random, but every time I pass through here I can’t help but poke my head into the various shops selling flowers and other greenery. It’s in between Les Halles and St Michel, so it’s an easy stop on your way. Not all the little shops are open during winter, but in spring, it was magical. Flowers of all types and colours make you want to buy, buy, buy!
Marché aux fleurs: Place Louis Lépine, Quai de la Corse, 75004 Paris
Browse the books at Shakespeare and Company
I’m not the only person to include this on my list, but I do love walking into the shop and breathing in the delicious smell of musty paper. It’s a popular spot, but worth a visit. I don’t really need to say anymore.
Shakespeare and Company: 37 rue de la Bûcherie 75005 Paris
Explore the unknown in the Paris Catacombs
I went on my own the first time. Music in my ears, I wandered quietly around the labyrinth of bones that were moved to their current position in the late 1700s from various graveyards in Paris. Despite it seeming impossible that the remains of millions of people have been stacked and positioned in the catacombs, when you get there you’ll believe it.
I recommend booking your tickets in advance as it seems to be getting increasingly busier.
If you’re into archaeology, the Crypte Archeologique du Parvis Notre Dame is also worth a visit.
Places you need to visit in Paris – Pin for later!
I recommend planning in advance where you’d like to go because not everything on this list will be open every day of the week and opening hours tend to be different depending on the season. Also, if you’re into castles, like me, you can take a look at my favourites here (some are in Paris, others are farther
What are your favourite spots to visit in Paris? Let me know in the comments below!