Twenty Things You Must Do In Paris

Dr Vernon Coleman

If you ever manage to get to Paris, here are 20 things you really should do:

1. Visit Père Lachaise. Just walk around aimlessly. The Père Lachaise cemetery gives real meaning to the word `gothic'.

2. Walk around the place des Vosges. Visit on a Sunday when there are most likely to be musicians playing in the cloisters.

3. Admire the Eiffel Tower. Take the lift to the second floor. Afterwards walk in the Champs de Mars and take photographs of the tower. However naff you may think it is you cannot possibly visit Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower.

4. Have a picnic in the Palais Royale. Buy a baguette, a bottle of wine and other bits and pieces from a local shop and have a picnic there.

5. Walk up through Montmartre to Sacre Coeur. Visit the place du Tetre. Yes, it’s brash and garish and touristy. But Paris can be. Then walk back down again.

6. Walk along the banks of the Seine and browse among the bookstalls for old books, old prints and old postcards. Go down to the water's edge and stroll along right by the river.

7. Visit as many famous cafés as you can and have a hot chocolate or a ‘vin chaud’ in them all. In particular, you must order a ‘vin chaud’ or a cup of hot chocolate in Deux Magots or Café de Flore and watch the world go by for an hour.

8. Go to the Luxembourg Gardens to see the Parisians at play.

9. Go to rue Cler to see typically Parisian small shops.

10. Go to Versailles. Take the train from Gare St Lazare and walk to the Chateau from the station in Versailles.

11. Admire the glass Pyramid at the entrance to the Louvre.

12. Go on a bus tour. Sit on the top of one of the open topped buses. It sounds touristy and it is. But it's a brilliant way to see the city. Don't bother going downstairs or in a coach. You won't see half as much. (But if you're sitting on top do watch out for flailing tree branches.)

13. Go into the old Paris Opera building and look at the Marc Chagall ceiling. It's one of the modern wonders of Paris.

14. Visit the Beaubourg in the 4th Arrondisement. It’s one of the most remarkable modern buildings in the world and the area around it is certainly lively – if rather touristy.

15. Walk down the Passage Jouffroy and the Passage des Panoramas.

16. Walk from Notre Dame to St Germain des Prés, via the church of St Michel. Visit the Shakespeare and Co bookshop.

17. Go into Galeries Lafayette and admire the atrium.

18. Stroll along the rue de Rivoli.

19. Walk up and down the Champs-Elysées.

20. Visit the Hôtel de Invalides. See Napoleon’s tomb and walk around the upper level cloisters surrounding the main courtyard.

Taken from Secrets of Paris by Vernon Coleman. (`Secrets of Paris’ is available on Amazon).

Copyright Vernon Coleman July 2023