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Photograph: MaxPixel

101 things to do in Paris

Where do you even start in this dizzying metropolis? Find out with our pick of the absolute best things to do in Paris

By Houssine Bouchama, Tina Meyer, Huw Oliver, Karim Merikhi and Rémi Morvan
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Even the locals would agree it’s impossible to see every sight, every piece of history, every glorious work of art in the City of Light in just one lifetime. Bof, they might say. Quel dommage. But don’t feel downbeat about it all. Our 101 best things to do in Paris should help you get a sense of this storied yet ever-changing city as it is right now – and have an excellent time while you’re at it. 

Sure, you won’t be able to tick off everything in this list in a single visit. Who has that sort of stamina? But whether you simply want to cover the basics – Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Montmartre, they’re all as good as everyone says – or instead discover the throbbing underside of Europe’s historic and cultural epicentre, pick and choose from our run-down of the city’s very best attractions and you’ll be raving about how perfect Paris is for months.

As we all know, this city is synonymous with its food and drink. That’s why, beyond the usual tourist traps and some quirkier propositions, we’ve also included a handful of the best bars and restaurants in Paris so you can fill up between all that sightseeing. We challenge you to name a more formidable foodie city – or classier tipplers’ haven – after sampling some of these. You may never live to see all there is to see in Paris, but on your next trip you’ll certainly be kept busy (and most likely full to bursting).

Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. You can also find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

Best things to do in Paris

Fondation Louis Vuitton
Photograph: Iwan Baan

1. Catch big-hitting art shows at Fondation Louis Vuitton

Art 16e arrondissement

What is it? One of Paris’s most recently built museums – and easily its most impressive.

Why go? spectacular building designed by starchitect Frank Gehry hosts the collection of LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault. Far out in the western suburbs of Paris, this brand-new stage for contemporary art showcases the biggest names of our time, from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Charlotte Perriand.

Don’t miss: Its prime location by the Bois de Boulogne makes for a convenient forest stroll. 

Photograph: F.Flohic

2. Eat at insanely stylish neo-bistro Septime

Restaurants French Roquette

What is it? Michelin-starred chef Bertrand Grébaut’s bistro of the future.

Why go? If you like to be surprised and transported to far-flung idylls with every bite, Septime’s your place. Expect sublime ingredients, perfectly cooked and seasoned.

Don’t miss: If you want another piece of Septime, head to Septime La Cave next door.

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Le Champo
Photograph: Time Out

3. Tour the Latin Quarter’s arthouse cinemas

Theatre

What is it? Storied picturehouses that put on obscure screenings at low prices. 

Why go? A historic flytrap for Parisian cinephiles, the 5th and 6th arrondissements are still full of independent cinemas, most notably Le Champo on Rue des Écoles, where many of the Nouvelle Vague directors hung about in the ’50s and ’60s. 

Don’t miss: Legend has it that on his travels to Paris, Quentin Tarantino would often make a pilgrimage to the Latin Quarter’s Filmothèque.

Ground Control
Photograph: Ground Control

4. Live the bobo dream at the Ground Control food hall

Things to do Cultural centres Bercy

What is it? A 6,000-square-metre food and shopping hub in a former train station a few minutes from the Gare de Lyon.

Why go? Comprising 4,500 square metres of indoor space and 1,500 square metres of open-air terrace, Ground Control offers a vision of sustainable consumption. Expect street food stalls, bars, grocery stores, shops, yoga workshops, pilates, Reiki... it’s every bobo’s dream.

Don’t miss: Eat at La Résidence, a training kitchen for refugee chefs run by the Refugee Food Festival. 

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Dehors Brut
Photograph: Romain Guede

5. Go large at outdoor club Dehors Brut

What is it? A new club from the team behind the late, pioneering Concrete.

Why go? Hardly a week after the closure of Concrete, Dehors Brut cropped up in a 5,000-square-metre former SNCF warehouse. Though they put up a marquee for winter, Dehors Brut is mostly outdoors and boasts a sound system worthy of Berlin’s biggest clubs. The line-ups are predictably massive.

Don’t miss: La Mess, their 4pm-12am Sunday parties that draw the cream of Paris’s electro scene.

Marché des Enfants Rouges in the Marais in Paris
Photograph: Connie Ma / Wikimedia Commons

6. Get stuck in at the Marché des Enfants Rouges

Shopping Markets and fairs Le Marais

What is it? A small food market that feels like – and is? – the real Paris.  

Why go? This historic Parisian market takes its name from the Enfants Rouges (Red Children) orphanage which was built in the 16th century and closed down just before the revolution. It’s also one of the Marais’s most iconic buildings. Saturdays are when the market is at its liveliest, but you’ll have a hard time choosing between the different stalls: Moroccan, Italian, Lebanese, or a refined blowout at the Enfants du Marché. Try it all if you can. 

Don’t miss: Before you go, take a look around cactus shop Aux Succulents. 

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Philharmonie de Paris
Photograph: Cabinet de Jean Nouvel

7. Check out a classical concert at the Philharmonie

Music Music venues La Villette

What is it? Paris’s ultra-modern temple to classical music, near the gently flourishing Pantin area.

Why go? The Philharmonie, which forms part of the Cité de la Musique, has a rich and abundant live music programme. In addition to its impressive concert hall, the Philharmonie has an exciting exhibition space and an educational centre like its neighbour the Cité des Sciences.

Don’t miss: The prices are super-accessible so you can experiment without breaking the bank.

Chez Aline
Photograph: Chez Aline

8. Try the city’s best jambon-beurre at Chez Aline

Restaurants Delis Roquette

What is it? A deli serving the best ham and cheese baguette in the city.

Why go? It may be a tight squeeze inside, but the interiors are charmingly retro, with old-fashioned kitchen scales, vintage enamel advertising signs and yellow tiles on the walls. Take your pick from the mouth-watering menu; think things like a classic Prince de Paris jambon-beurre, smoked chicken baguette and chorizo tortilla.

Don’t miss: The perfect way to eat on the run while rushing to catch a show at the Théâtre de la Bastille.

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Centre Pompidou
Photograph: Centre Pompidou

9. See modern art masterpieces at the Centre Pompidou

Museums Art and design 4e arrondissement

Why go? Because no visit to Paris is complete without a spin around Beaubourg.

Why go? Behind Richard Rogers’ and Renzo Piano’s piping and air ducts lies one of the richest collections of modern art in the world. Step inside the Centre Pompidou to fall under the spell of Picasso, Magritte, Duchamp, Pollock, Warhol and Tinguely.

Don’t miss: Head to the top floor for a truly eye-popping view.

Cinémathèque
Photograph: Cinémathèque

10. Indulge your inner cinephile at the Cinémathèque Française

Cinemas Independent Bercy

What is it? France’s foremost film institution, presided over by the good-natured ghost of film archivist Henri Langlois. 

Why go? For just a couple of euros, you can spend the day exploring hundreds of hidden cinematic treasures within the library, as well as network, attend talks, join cinema clubs inspired by the legendary Jean Douchet, or even visit the tongue-in-cheek exhibitions dedicated to filmmaking.

Don’t miss: After indulging your inner cinephile, catch a gig at the AccorHotels Arena

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Merci
Photograph: Merci

11. Stock up on souvenirs at concept mall Merci

Shopping Home decor Le Marais

What is it? The city’s best-looking concept store.

Why go? In a light-filled building at the end of a courtyard on the Rue Beaumarchais, Merci brings together a collection of major stylists and designers, from Isabel Marant to Stella McCartney. There’s also an array of luxury stationery, homeware and accessories. It’s hard to know where to look.

Don’t miss: Enter via the ‘literary’ cafe for a break, order a fresh OJ and let your eyes wander around the book-lined walls. Why not read one if you have time?

Atelier des Lumières
Photograph: Culturespaces / Nuit de Chine

12. Get trippy at digital art centre the Atelier des Lumières

What is it? A recently opened 300-square-metre studio space dedicated to digital art, bang in the middle of the 11th arrondissement.

Why go? A former iron foundry, this building remained empty for nearly two decades until Culturespaces decided to launch the city’s first digital art centre. Its goal? To give the works the attention they deserve by projecting them across the ten-metre-high walls using first-rate equipment including 140 film projectors with BARCO lasers, as well as 50 state-of-the-art Nexo speakers.

Don’t miss: Have a beer at the excellent Enkore next door. 

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Photograph: Alexandre Faraci

13. Salute an avant-garde pioneer at the Villa Savoye

What is it? One of Le Corbusier’s most celebrated structures.

Why go? The godfather of avant-garde architecture, Le Corbusier built this masterpiece on stilts in Poissy in 1931 to allow the Savoye family to park their cars. However, a few years later, problems ensued: there were leaks and the former Simca car company threatened to destroy it. But it survived, and even today retains all its original splendour (now deemed worthy of Unesco world heritage status). 

Don’t miss: The nearby Val De Seine leisure island, which has 260 hectares of forest and fields dotted with ponds and pools. 

La Station
Photograph: Otto Zinsou

14. Head to a dirt-cheap punk gig at La Station

Clubs House, disco and techno 18e arrondissement

What is it? A former coal station that’s become a musical hotspot.

Why go? Since June 2016, the MU collective have made the most of this old coal station’s architectural quirks, and turned it into an events space reminiscent of underground Berlin. Explore its three rooms, outdoor stage and two indoor stages, playing everything from hardcore punk to pure techno.

Don’t miss: An edgy atmosphere and budget-friendly prices.

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Le Louvre Paris
Photograph: Pixabay

15. Swerve the Mona Lisa and go on a feminist tour of the Louvre

Museums Art and design Louvre

What is it? Do you really need an introduction to the Louvre?

Why go? There’s hours and hours of art to be seen beneath the glass I.M. Pei pyramid, commissioned by Mitterrand in 1983. With treasures from civilisations ranging from the Egyptians to the Greeks and Romans, as well as the legendary ‘Mona Lisa’, the Louvre contains one of the world’s very best art and artefact collections. See it from another perspective on a dedicated ‘feminist tour’.

Don’t miss: You’d need several years to see everything displayed in the Louvre, so stick to a plan. 

Photograph: Louxor

16. Watch a French film at former gay disco the Louxor

Cinemas Independent SoPi (South Pigalle)

What is it? Opened in 1921 and once a temple of silent cinema, the Egyptian-inspired art-deco Louxor fell on hard times after the Second World War and became a drug den, club and gay disco before being abandoned for 25 years. It re-opened triumphantly as a cinema in April 2013.

Why go? The venue’s hedonistic past may be behind it, but its nightlife hasn’t died completely – you can still enjoy a glass of red from the more sanitised surroundings of its upstairs bar.

Don’t miss: The Salle Youssef Chahine is an Instagrammer’s dream.

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Dersou
Photograph: Dersou

17. Team a tasting menu with cocktails at Dersou

Restaurants Global Bastille

What is it? Japanese chef (and Instagram don) Taku Sekine’s experimental kitchen.

Why go? Concept restaurants are by their very definition faddish. But this one’s certainly worth your time. Sekine pairs each dish with insanely good cocktails mixed by yet another super-talented Experimental Group alum. Low-lit, and with an unobtrusive soundtrack, Dersou’s aptly pared-back menus start at €95 for five courses with five cocktails.

Don’t miss: The much more affordable Sunday brunch.

We Love Green
Photograph: We Love Green

18. Party and feel good while you’re at it at We Love Green

What is it? This eco-conscious festival is the most talked-about event in Paris’s spring calendar.

Why go? When it comes to top-tier festivals, all Paris had ten years ago was Rock en Seine and Solidays. Fast forward to today, and We Love Green has displaced the pair of them as the most eminent music event of the year. The line-up brings together Pitchfork-approved rap, indie rock and techno.

Don’t miss: The food is almost as much of a draw. The likes of Septime, Cheval d’Or and Les Enfants du Marché have all taken part.

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Photograph: Grande Mosquée

19. Sip a mint tea at the Grande Mosquée café

Attractions Religious buildings and sites 5e arrondissement

What is it? The quaint café at the city’s largest and most beautiful mosque.

Why go? Waiters hurry past with large trays of fresh mint tea, to be taken with North African pâtisserie, sorbet and fruit salad. Over in the restaurant, you can enjoy copious portions of couscous and tagine. 

Don’t miss: Bellies filled, take a look around the Grande Galerie d'Évolution.

Photograph; Broken Arm

20. Browse gorgeous garms (and cookies) at The Broken Arm

Shopping Designer Le Marais

What is it? The place to be for fashion lovers and foodies.

Why go? Thought up by three members from the ‘Young Modern People’ collective, this is a neat and tasteful boutique full of handpicked clothes, books, records, furniture and shoes. After satisfying your shopping itch, sit down at one of the lovely wooden tables for an excellent cup of coffee and a pastry (the cookies are better than perfect, as is the blueberry cheesecake).

Don’t miss: Pop by the neighbouring Carreau du Temple and check out its excellent programme of cultural events. 

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Musée d'Orsay visuel
Photograph: Kiev.Victor

21. Ogle Impressionist classics at the Musée d’Orsay

Museums Art and design 7e arrondissement

What is it? A mecca of impressionist art in a stunning former train station.

Why go? In the old Gare d’Orsay you’ll now find one of the finest collections of 19th-century art. It’s got Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Pointillism and all the other great ‘isms’ that appeared between 1848 and the beginning of the 20th century. Its 2011 facelift gave a much-needed boost to the Courbet, Millet, Manet, Degas, Monet, van Gogh and Gauguin collections.

Don’t miss: Savour a coffee in the superb coffee shop nestled behind the clock, designed by the Campana brothers in tribute to Jules Verne’s ‘Nautilus’.

Photograph: Christophe Meireis

22. Head to Belleville’s Combat for mixology with a punch

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars 19e arrondissement

What is it? A homey cocktail bar run by Elena Schmitt and Margot Lecarpentier (formerly of Experimental Cocktail Club).

Why go? Perched atop the Belleville hill, Combat’s cocktails are punchy and well balanced. We also like their bar snacks, especially the terrine (€8), prepared by Repaire de Cartouche chef Rodolphe Paquin and served with pickles and pain de campagne.

Don’t miss: The Parc de Belleville across the road. Those views are unbeatable.

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Château de Versailles
Photograph: Shutterstock

23. Live like a king at the Château de Versailles

Attractions Historic buildings and sites Paris et sa banlieue

What is it? Once the main residence of King Louis XIV, it’s now packed with priceless art.

Why go? Overdose on all things gold at the Château de Versailles: the hall of mirrors, the Royal Chapel, the Grand Trianon and Marie Antoinette’s boudoir. From Jeff Koons and Xavier Veilhan to Takashi Murakami and Joana Vasconcelos, big art names abound at the Sun King’s royal abode.

Don’t miss: The Château de Versailles is simply mind-blowing, so make the most of it.

Photograph: Mathieu Génon

24. Get your art on at former train station Hasard Ludique

Things to do 18e arrondissement

What is it? A former railway station in Saint-Ouen converted into a multi-disciplinary arts complex. 

Why go? Transformed by three young Parisians, Hasard Ludique brings to life a quiet, remote area between Saint-Ouen and Guy Môquet metro station. The venue is multi-purpose, with a bistro, a 300-capacity concert hall, an outdoor terrace and a studio space full of collaborative art. For evening downtime, this ticks all the boxes.

Don’t miss: The new 300-square-metre terrace opens out on to the railway tracks.

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Photograph: Passerini

25. Try Giovanni Passerini’s signature pasta all’amatriciana

Restaurants Italian 12e arrondissement

What is it? The best Italian restaurant outside Italy. (Yes, we went there.)

Why go? Ever since ex-Rino chef Giovanni Passerini opened this Italian restaurant in 2015, it’s been one of our go-tos for a simple, traditional Italian meal among friends. Nothing beats their cult pasta all’amatriciana.

Don’t miss: The top-notch menu of sulphite-free French and Italian wines.

Le Syndicat
Photograph: Le Syndicat / Remi Guenaire

26. Sample spot-on cocktails at Le Syndicat, Paris’s coolest bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Strasbourg-Saint-Denis

What is it? The best bar in Paris (and 24th best in the world), where all cocktails are made with 100 percent French booze. Santé!

Why go? A tumbledown façade and flaking posters conceal the enigmatic entrance to Le Syndicat, Strasbourg Saint-Denis’s best-kept secret. The soundtrack spits out hip-hop as the bar team whip up killer cocktails for an in-the-know crowd.

Don’t miss: Cross the street to soak it all up at Paris New York, the city’s best burger joint.

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Grand Palais
Photograph: Yann Caradec

27. Take in top-tier exhibitions at the Grand Palais

Museums Art and design Champs-Elysées

What is it? An enormous art gallery and exhibition space.

Why go? Built at the height of France’s artistic glory for the Exposition Universelle of 1900, the Grand Palais has been putting on exhibitions such as the FIAC International Contemporary Art Fair since 1990. Turn your attention away from the art for a moment, and you’ll notice several beehives on the Grand Palais roof – these have helped support urban biodiversity since 2009. 

Don’t miss: Make it a double with a trip to the Grand Palais’s sibling the Petit Palais across the road.  

Opéra
Photograph: Palais Garnier

28. Catch an opera at the Palais Garnier

Music Music venues Chaussée-d'Antin

What is it? Opera and ballet in styles old and new, performed across two spaces.

Why go? The Palais Garnier is one of the city’s pride and joys, and since its inauguration in the second half of the 19th century, the stage has played host to only the most refined ballet and opera productions.

Don’t miss: If you fancy an adrenaline rush after the show, try the Opéra Escape Game.

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Dizonord
Photograph: Dizonord

29. Rifle through the racks (and boogie) at Dizonord

What is it? A pan-genre record shop that hosts dangerously good DJ sets.

Why go? From New Orleans jazz to Japanese ambient, the racks overflow with deep cuts. And prices aren’t bad, either. Finally, north Paris has the record store it deserves.

Don’t miss: Grab a beer at one of the Friday-night DJ sets.

Pere Lachaise
Photograph: Time Out

30. Pay your respects at the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

Attractions Cemeteries Père-Lachaise

What is it? Undoubtedly the world’s best-known graveyard.

Why go? A favourite among both Parisians and tourists, the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise not only allows bookworms to enjoy an intimate moment with some of their literary heroes and learn about the Paris Commune, but is also beautifully picturesque: a large, shaded labyrinth with snaking hillside paths and pretty stone stairs. Careful not to get lost...

Don’t miss: Treat yourself to a spooky late-night grave walk with the park’s ‘vampire expert’.

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Press Conference - Explicite - new media - independent -journali
Photograph: Simon Guillemin

31. Eat, drink, dance and play pétanque at the Cité Fertile

What is it? A gargantuan 10,000-square-metre cultural complex in fast-gentrifying Pantin.

Why go? Following in the thriving footsteps of Ground Control and Grands Voisins, the Cité Fertile is the latest multidisciplinary cultural pop-up to pull in the summer crowds. Opened in a former train depot in August 2018, it’s got a three-year licence from national train firm SNCF and, like its predecessors, has a wide array of food offerings, a rich cultural programme, a huge 800-square-metre urban farming lab, and – perfect for families – a beach where you can play volleyball, pétanque and ping-pong.

Don’t miss: Canal de l’Ourcq institution the Paname Brewing Company brews on site. 

Cédric Grolet
Photograph: Cédric Grolet

32. See a master pâtissier at work (if you’re lucky)

What is it? The master pâtissier’s new boulangerie at Opéra.

Why go? To try the exquisite flower-shaped lemon desserts, and to admire the stupidly delicate handiwork evident in even the croissants and pains au chocolat.

Don’t miss: The salon de thé on the first floor.

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Photograph: Karim Merikhi

33. Drop by Little Red Door for cocktails done right

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Le Marais

What is it? For some of the capital’s tastiest cocktails.

Why go? Hidden away at 60 Rue Charlot, with no door sign, Little Red Door certainly doesn’t draw attention to itself. But with its heady atmosphere and quirky interior – oh, and stupidly good drinks – we promise you’ll be walking straight into heaven. Go for the Art Deco cocktail: Bulleit Rye whiskey, Merlet Cognac, fermented dates and violet tea, served in an incredible glass shaped like a diamond.

Don’t miss: While you’re there, pop round the corner to Bisou, another fantastic cocktail bar (this time with no menu).

Piscine Josephine Baker
Photograph: Piscine Joséphine Baker

34. Take the plunge at the Joséphine Baker pool

Sport and fitness 13e arrondissement

What is it? The only swimming pool in Paris on a barge.

Why go? This floating swimming pool is a true slice of paradise in an unbeatable setting. Flanked by the Seine on either side, facing Bercy and only minutes from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France-François Mitterrand, the Joséphine Baker barge is easily the best of the city’s bathing spots. There’s also a handsome pool complex covered by a majestic steel-and-glass structure by the architect Robert de Busni.

Don’t miss: Follow up your swim with a concert at the nearby Petit Bain.

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35. Catch the grandest of slams at Roland Garros

Things to do Sport events

What is it? One of the most important sporting events in the world.

Why go? Hot sun, commentary from Nelson Montfort and orange-bordered shoes: three signs you’re at the second grand slam of the year. This is always a highlight of the Parisian spring calendar – time to dust off your best summer hat and get yourself down to Porte d’Auteil.

Don’t miss: Start proceedings early with a pre-game picnic in the newly renovated Jardin d’Acclimatation

Photograph: Time Out

36. Dig into fuss-free French cuisine at Les Arlots

Restaurants Bistros SoPi (South Pigalle)

What is it? An elegant, old-school bistro serving fuss-free French cuisine.

Why go? At this excellent Right Bank spot, the charismatic maître d’ perches behind a bar and advises punters on the best red to enjoy with their confit beef cheeks (or indeed whatever else they order). It’s perfect for Sunday lunch, a boozy dinner with mates, or even a solo trip. However you do it, you’ll savour every single bite.

Don’t miss: You won’t find sausage and mash like this anywhere else, so loosen your top button and dig in.

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A leopard at the Ménagerie at the Jardin des Plantes
Photograph: pelican / Flickr

37. Get a dose of nature at the Jardin des Plantes

Attractions Parks and gardens 5e arrondissement

What is it? A green haven in the centre of Paris.

Why go? For an idyllic wander. You can choose between a small zoo with more than 1,200 animals, recently renovated greenhouses, and museums of mineralogy, geology, palaeontology, anatomy and botany.

Don’t miss: Take the perfect profile picture under those Japanese cherry trees.

Ulla von Brandenburg au Palais de Tokyo
Photograph: Time Out

38. Double up at the Palais de Tokyo and Musée d’Art Moderne

What is it? Two of the best museums near the Eiffel Tower.

Why go? A pair of museums with totally different vibes. The first, the Musée d’Art Moderne, pays tribute to the avant-gardistes, while the second, the Palais de Tokyo, combines installations, videos and new age icons, cementing its status as a temple of contemporary art.

Don’t miss: Grab a drink at Les Grands Verres, the Palais de Tokyo’s bar.

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Photograph: Molitor

39. Order cocktails from the poolside at Piscine Molitor

Sport and fitness 16e arrondissement

What is it? Put simply, the most beautiful swimming pool in Paris. 

Why go? This legendary establishment and listed building was bought by the AccorHotels group several years ago. The result? A luxury complex with a five-star hotel, a very good restaurant, a 48-metre spa and all-round architectural beauty.

Don’t miss: Order cocktails from the bar without leaving the pool.

Eiffel Tower Paris
Photograph: Jorge Royan

40. Climb up to the Eiffel Tower’s third floor

Attractions Tour Eiffel

What is it? A matchless view that’s worth every dizzying moment of the ascent. 

Why go? Is Paris the world’s most beautiful city? You only have to stand on the third floor of the Eiffel Tower – with its 360-degree views and a clear horizon of 65 kilometres in good weather – to find out the answer. Check out Gustave Eiffel’s office and treat yourself to a drink at the champagne bar.

Don’t miss: After getting your head back out of the clouds, head to the Musée du Quai Branly to visit its unbeatable collection of indigenous art. 

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Photograph: Montezuma Café

41. Catch a DJ set at chic wine bar Montezuma

What is it? A wine bar with an epic sound system.

Why go? This discreet spot feels rather out-of-place in the financial Bourse district. But with banging tunes, sumptuous small plates and natural wines like these, who even cares? The idea behind Montezuma was to create a place where analogue, uncompressed, impeccably mixed tunes are privileged above all. Thanks to a stonking sound system, it’s worked.

Don’t miss: The weekend DJ sets range take in everything from London jazz to New York indie rock.

La Gare in Paris
Photograph: La Gare

42. Swing by La Gare for a killer jazz night

Bars and pubs Café bars La Villette

What is it? A former train station-turned-jazz bar.

Why go? Every day at 9pm, this former train station foyer hosts free jazz concerts. The setting is perfect: the airy four-metre-high space enhances the warmth of the saxophones and trumpets.

Don’t miss: Make a beeline for the patio in summer.

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Extérieur de la Maison Européenne de la Photographie, 75004 Paris
Photograph: MEP

43. Get snap-happy at the Maison Européenne de la Photo

Museums Specialist interest Le Marais

What is it? The city’s temple of photography, which has just been refurbished.

Why go? The MEP showcases emerging photographers alongside whopper retrospectives of the big names: think Larry Clark, Joel Meyerowitz and Martin Parr.

Don’t miss: They regularly put on shows based on works from their extensive permanent collection (almost always superb).  

Ground Control
Photograph: Ground Control

44. Check out up-and-coming artists at Les Grands Voisins

What is it? A former hospital in the 14th that’s taken on a new role as a buzzy arts space.

Why go? Even if it only takes up a quarter of its original surface area, Les Grands Voisins still hosts an impressive 86 ‘artist spaces’. You won’t find anywhere like it, Paris or further afield.

Don’t miss: Go green-fingered with Mama Petula, the cutesy plant boutique.

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L’Avant-Comptoir du Marché
Photograph: L’Avant-Comptoir du Marché

45. Pig out at L’Avant Comptoir du Marché

Bars and pubs Tapas bars Odéon

What is it? A Saint-Germain bar run by chef Yves Camdeborde, who serves a totally pig-tastic menu. 

Why go? Each dish here is more indulgent than the last – think hay-baked new potatoes, anchovy butter and deliciously pink shoulder of lamb confit for €8.50, Bayonne ham croquettes for €3.50 and a sublime pork ravioli for €6.50. Don’t miss the pasta dishes and charcuterie (including melt-in-the-mouth pig trotters).

Don’t miss: If you’re not keen on pork, head to l’Avant Comptoir de la Mer, Camdeborde’s seafood joint.  

Cinéma en plein air à la Villette
Photograph: Cinéma en Plein Air à la Villette

46. See classic films en plein air at the Parc de la Villette

Attractions Parks and gardens La Villette

What is it? THE place to be during the summer months.

Why go? Spread out over 35 hectares, this is the largest of Paris’s parks, and from mid-July, it hosts the annual open-air cinema festival. There’s always a good vibe, and we’ve even witnessed a crowd of more than 2,000 get up and dance beneath the stars at the end of ‘Grease’.

Don’t miss: Round off the night at beach-style nightclub Plage du Glazart, which is kitted out with sand and deckchairs.

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Abbaye de Maubuisson
Photograph: Conseil général du Val d'Oise / Photo : Catherine Brossais

47. Go old-school at the Abbaye de Maubuisson

Art

What is it? A museum within a Cistercian abbey and convent.

Why go? Since owning the property in 1970, the General Council of Val-d’Oise has converted this abbey, nestled in the middle of ten acres of parkland, into a temple to the fine and visual arts. You may be at a suburban museum, but you’ll feel like you’re in the countryside.

Don’t miss: For a breath of unusually fresh banlieue air, explore the surrounding parkland. 

Le 104
Photograph: 104

48. Take in experimental art, hip-hop and dance at the 104

Museums Art and design 19e arrondissement

What is it? Former funeral homes transformed into a vibrant, multidisciplinary cultural hotspot.

Why go? The 104 (Centquatre) was a real trailblazer in the city’s north-eastern renewal. Expect festivals, live hip-hop, dance, performances, exhibitions, improv and artist residencies.

Don’t miss: Check out the nearby Emmaüs for bargains galore.

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Spa de la Réserve
Photograph: Spa de la Réserve

49. Kick back in style at the Spa de la Réserve

What is it? One of the world’s most luxurious spas.

Why go? You’ll be welcomed by smiling staff and can choose from a host of activities: the super-intimate 16-metre swimming pool with curtains for privacy, the personal training area, the hammam and three treatment rooms with massages and facials using Nescens products. 

Don’t miss: We’d highly recommend booking a room at the hotel while you’re at it. 

Photograph: Rosa Bonheur

50. Grab an apéro at Rosa Bonheur

Bars and pubs Wine bars Buttes-Chaumont

What is it? The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont’s bopping bar.

Why go? A bucolic drinking spot at the Buttes-Chaumont’s highest point. Enjoy an apéro beneath the towering trees and make the most of the superb views in the last evening sun. There’s an impressive selection of house wines and tapas.

Don’t miss: Come during the summer when the park stays open all night – you won’t want to leave.

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Photograph: Parc des Princes

51. Catch a glimpse of Neymar at the Parc des Princes

What is it? The capital’s flagship football stadium.

Why go? Since the arrival of the Qataris and Neymar in particular, the Parc des Princes has become a tourist hotspot. The club now offers a raft of activities around the site, including an escape room that will delight all football fans.

Don’t miss: After the match, everyone heads down to the Brasserie d’Auteuil for hearty Italian comfort food. 

Photograph: La Belle Hortense

52. Stay up late with a banging read at La Belle Hortense

Bars and pubs Wine bars Le Marais

What is it? A bookshop for insomniacs in the heart of the Marais.

Why go? If you’re looking for a quiet escape from the bustle of the Maris, La Belle Hortense is the hideaway of dreams. In this little book shop-bar with a charming blue front, you’ll find a gentle, tasteful soundtrack that won’t interrupt your reading, as well as plenty of good wine. It’s a genius concept that brings together students, intellectuals and hedonists in equal measure.

Don’t miss: The mini-exhibition in the back room.

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Photograph: Jill Cousin

53. Hark back to yesteryear Paris at Bouillon Pigalle

Restaurants Bistros Abbesses

What is it? A fun, thriving restaurant that harks back to yesteryear Paris.

Why go? Open seven days a week from midday to midnight, the old-style Bouillon Pigalle packs out its huge 300-seater space just south of Montmartre at pretty much any time of day. Staff are sweet, and food spans classics like beef entrecôte, salmon fillet in a sorrel sauce, and a top-notch cauliflower cheese.

Don’t miss: The profiteroles are next level.

Breizh Café
Photograph: Breizh Café

54. Sample the city’s best crêpes at Breizh Café

Restaurants Crêperies Le Marais

What is it? Hands down the French capital’s coolest crêperie.

Why go? Bertrand Larcher’s Breizh Café addresses do away with your overdone wood-panelling and red-and-white tablecloths, and go in for a subtler, more modern décor. The crêpes here are quite simply the city’s best, filled as they are with original, fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Don’t miss: Any of their 20 or so impeccably chosen wines.

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Photograph: Galeries Lafayette Champs-Elysées

55. Revamp your wardrobe at Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées

What is it? The legendary department store has just opened another outlet on Paris’s glitziest boulevard.

Why go? Open since March 2019 on the site of a former Virgin store, the Galeries have found an apt second home in this four-floor, 6,500-square-metre Art Deco building. Expect 650 big-name labels on the shelves, along with a ground-floor food court with stands from Marcolini, Ducasse and Cédric Grolet.

Don’t miss: The Citron salon de thé designed by Simon Porte Jacquemus.

Racines
Photograph: Emmanuel Chirache

56. Step back in time at historic trattoria Racines

Restaurants Italian Grands Boulevards

What is it? A Michelin-starred trattoria that’s steeped in history.

Why go? This charmingly done-out bistro on the Passage des Panoramas feels like something out of a nostalgic dream. Sardinian chef Simone Tondo’s dishes are punchy and generous. And the tiramisù really is to die for.

Don’t miss: Traipse down the magnificent Passage, one of the city’s most striking covered walkways.

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Musee de l'Orangerie, 'Les Nymphéas' de Monet
Photograph: Oliver Knight

57. Go round in circles at the Musée de l’Orangerie

Museums Art and design 1er arrondissement

What is it? An Impressionist (and post-Impressionist) wonderland in the Jardin des Tuileries. 

Why go? To marvel at Monet’s eight, tapestry-sized ‘Nymphéas’ (water lily) paintings housed in two plain oval rooms at the Musée de l’Orangerie. They provide a simple backdrop for the astonishing, ethereal romanticism of the works. Expect to feel deeply calmed, despite the crowds.

Don’t miss: If it’s cold, bring an Angelina hot chocolate to help you brave the queue. 

Giacometti
Photograph: Succession Giacometti (Fondation Giacometti + ADAGP)

58. See pioneering sculpture at the Fondation Giacometti

What is it? A new art space dedicated to the works of Alberto Giacometti.

Why go? The 350-square-metre Fondation Giacometti has several exhibition areas, with the most important being the remodelling of his famous studio. A little busier than Giacometti’s original, this studio brings together 70 of his works, including one of the ‘Busts of Lotar’ – the artist’s famous terracotta sculptures – which has been put on display for the very first time. Other previously unseen artefacts include the studio’s walls, previously located on the Rue Hippolyte-Maindron.

Don’t miss: If you’re coming all the way out to the 14th arrondissement for Giacometti, you may as well stop by the nearby Fondation Cartier.

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Photograph: Moncoeur Belleville

59. Escape the city-centre bustle at Moncoeur Belleville

What is it? High on the hills of Belleville, this is the most beautiful terrace in Paris.

Why go? Aptly called Moncœur (My Heart), this restaurant prides itself on its authenticity. While the area contains several tourist traps – a huge terrace bordered by cobbled streets, and sweeping city views that could rival any postcard – it’s the intimate, local vibe that keeps us coming back.

Don’t miss: You won’t find a better spot to watch the fireworks on Bastille Day.

60. Browse the bouquinistes along the banks of the Seine

Shopping Bookshops 5e arrondissement

What is it? One of Paris’s oldest cultural activities – browsing second-hand books. 

Why go? There are over 200 second-hand booksellers (bouquinistes) lining the banks of the Seine, continuing a tradition that dates back to the 16th century. We think the makeshift green bookshelves chained to the railings should be made a Unesco World Heritage site.

Don’t miss: Pack a picnic to enjoy on the banks of the Île de la Cité.

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The elevated folly and artificial lake at the Parc de Buttes-Chaumont
Photograph: Traktorminze / Wikimedia Commons

61. Take refuge in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont caves

Attractions Parks and gardens Buttes-Chaumont

What is it? A place so wild it could easily be the Gardens of Babylon.

Why go? To escape the cliché of burnt sunbathers piled on top of one another, take refuge in the empty cave of the Buttes-Chaumont. A journey through space and time guaranteed.

Don’t miss: Take a picture at the Pavillon Puebla. Its retro jungle design will look great on Instagram.

One of the caverns within the Catacombes in Paris
Photograph: Entheta / Wikimedia Commons

62. Head halfway to the Underworld at the Catacombes

Things to do Walks and tours Denfert-Rochereau

What is it? An atmospheric walk among tombs full of bones.

Why go? The original Paris Catacombes were built between the 17th and 18th century, right at the start of the city’s effort to begin building underground so as to support the construction of monuments, palaces and other religious buildings. These sinister tunnels 20 metres below the ground will never stop fascinating Parisians and tourists alike.

Don’t miss: There are plenty of unofficial walks and sometimes you can even go to secret raves in the tunnels. 

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Musée d'art et d'histoire du Judaïsme
Photograph: Sylvain Sonnet

63. Pore over Jewish history at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme

Museums History Le Marais

What is it? The Jewish quarter’s enlightening museums prove there’s far more to the Marais than chocolate and falafel. 

Why go? A nucleus for Jewish culture in Paris, this area boasts two important places dedicated to the religion’s history: Le Mémorial de la Shoah, which commemorates the Jews who were killed during the Second World War, and the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme, whose collections trace the complex spiritual and cultural heritage of Moses and his people.

Don’t miss: Walk around the area, and you’ll come face to face with the remains of the Philippe Auguste wall, one of Paris’s oldest surrounding walls dating back to the 12th century.

Paris Sacre Coeur
Photograph: Pixabay

64. Explore the non-touristy bits of Montmartre

Things to do

What is it? A tourist hotspot which you can do like a local. 

Why go? Once out from the dizzying maze that is Abbesses metro station, you’ll immediately get swept up in the area’s charming daily chaos.

Don’t miss: Spend a few blissful moments perusing the array of rugs and materials on offer at the Marché Saint Pierre.

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Le Panthéon
Photograph: Heloise Bergman / Time Out

65. Visit the tombs of Hugo and Voltaire at Le Panthéon

Attractions Quartier latin

What is it? The very heart of French patrimoine

Why go? This neoclassical megastructure commissioned by Louis XV was the great architectural success of its time. But many things have changed since then: in 1790, during the Revolution, the building was converted into a ‘temple to reason’ and welcomed the graves of the nation’s most revered men. On the front entrance you’ll see the well-known phrase: ‘To the great men, the grateful homeland.’ The austere vaulted crypt includes the tombs of Voltaire, Rousseau, Hugo, Zola, Veil and resistance fighter Jean Moulin.

Don’t miss: You’re in the 5th arrondissement, so choose between a drink on the Rue Mouffetard and a stroll in the Jardin du Luxembourg

Supersonic
Photograph: Supersonic

66. Stay up till 6am at Supersonic

What is it? A rock-focused venue in Bastille where every gig is free.

Why go? This 250-venue capacity, reminiscent of a New York loft, hosts up-and-coming talent from around the world. Rock nights run every weekend, and the bi-monthly Sunday Tributes event is not to be missed.

Don’t miss: The lengthy ones. The live rock nights and DJ sets run until 6am, so come energised.

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Photograph: Hôtel Particulier Montmartre

67. Take a date to Hôtel Particulier Montmartre

Hotels Boutique hotels Montmartre

What is it? A hotel garden sheltered from the chaos of Montmartre. 

Why go? Tourists, caricaturists, old-fashioned painters and, er, more tourists... when talking about Montmartre, it’s always the same story. So take a break from the crowds and relax in this hotel’s gardens, which are so secluded and bucolic that if you close your eyes you might whisk yourself far, far away. Total relaxation is guaranteed.

Don’t miss: Try your hand at a game of boules at CLAP, one of the city’s top-secret courts.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Photograph: Time Out

68. Gaze up at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Attractions Ile de la Cité

What is it? France’s most famous cathedral, recently closed following a devastating fire. 

Why go? Even after the inferno that tore through the roof in April 2019, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame still stands majestic on the Île de la Cité. On your next visit, look up at its timeless façade and imagine its future – just how will they rebuild this sacred beast? 

Don’t miss: For an equally mesmerising experience, check out the beautiful stained glass at nearby Sainte-Chapelle

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69. Join the queue at L’As du Fallafel

Restaurants Jewish Le Marais

What is it? You can spot the lengthy L’As du Fallafel queue as soon as you hit the Rue des Rosiers, with its army of staff running up and down scribbling orders. This traditional kosher falafel temple is, so its tagline goes, ‘often imitated, never equalled’, and few connoisseurs can argue with that. 

Why go? The falafel special: an explosion of crisp red cabbage, creamy tahini, roasted aubergine, and light, herby falafel, crammed into a pillowy pitta pocket. Trust us, it’s worth the wait (and getting your trousers dry-cleaned).

Don’t miss: It’s closed for Shabbat on Saturdays, so plan your visit accordingly. Eating in the dining room is a less casual experience than munching this messy sandwich on the street, but it’s worth paying a little extra for the atmosphere inside.

Comédie Française (Salle Richelieu)
Photograph: Heloise Bergman / Time Out

70. Practise your French at the Comédie-Française

Theatre Louvre

What is it? The most famous theatre in France.

Why go? You don’t need to be a thesp to appreciate the beautiful red and gold finery of the Comédie-Française, a bastion of French theatre in which you can shiver in horror at Phèdre or laugh at poor Orgon’s misfortunes.

Don’t miss: Bring your kids along (if they can hack it). Child tickets cost as little as €7.

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The park in the Place des Vosges in the Marais
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons / Zairon

71. Picnic in the Place des Vosges

Attractions Parks and gardens Le Marais

What is it? Paris’s first planned square, commissioned in 1605 by Henri IV and inaugurated by his son Louis XIII in 1612.

Why go? With its harmonious red-brick and stone arcaded façades and steeply pitched slate roofs surrounding a lush grassy square, it’s one of few manicured parks you can stretch out on in the city.

Don’t miss: Come here to rest your feet after shopping ’til you drop in the Marais. 

Monet's garden at Giverny
Photograph: Pixabay / Nadrog

72. Explore Monet’s gardens at Giverny

Attractions

What is it? It’s no secret painter Claude Monet was a gardener extraordinaire. The luxurious gardens surrounding the artist’s pink house in Giverny (where he lived for 40 years) are an ode to the painter’s green fingers, with lines of rose bushes, willow trees hanging over Japanese bridges, and lily pads floating on ponds as if waiting for the father of Impressionism to return home.

Why go? Giverny is one tourist attraction that rivals the beauty of the artist’s paintings themselves.

Don’t miss: Get breakfast near the train station and rent bikes to cycle to the Fondation. 

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Mamie Gâteaux
Photograph: Hervé Duplessis

73. Get bowled over by Mamie Gâteaux’s hot chocolate

Shopping Rennes-Sèvres

What is it? A proper old-fashioned hot chocolate stop.

Why go? The owner may be Japanese, but this little tea shop reminds us of being in our grandmother’s kitchen, with checked tablecloths, a cast iron oven and simple cakes temptingly arranged on the counter. The hot chocolate is served in a bowl – just as Grandma does it – and you can add as much chantilly cream as you like.

Don’t miss: Your inner child will want to order everything on the menu.

Institut du Monde Arabe, 75005 Paris
Photograph: Cardaf/Shutterstock.com

74. Travel through time at the Institut du Monde Arabe

Museums History Jussieu

What is it? A giant institute dedicated to the Arab world designed by Jean Nouvel.

Why go? Tackling the history and archaeology of the Arab world, the main permanent exhibition begins on the seventh floor with artefacts from the classical era, and the subsequent levels tackle the ensuing centuries, from the first Islamic dynasties to the present day. There’s also an excellent library dedicated to the Middle East, a splendid panoramic view from the rooftop (to which entry is free), and you can expect brilliant temporary exhibitions to run throughout the year.

Don’t miss: Finish your trip with a potter around the zoo in the Jardin des Plantes

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Bar Hemingway
Photograph: Vincent Leroux

75. Make like a literary legend at Bar Hemingway

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars 1er arrondissement

What is it? Tucked away at the back of the world-famous Ritz Hotel, this richly wood-panelled watering hole doubles up as a shrine to the American author. The walls are adorned with his photos, boxes of fly-tying paraphernalia and a framed pack of his Lucky Strike cigarettes.

Why go? From the Picasso Martini to the French 75, the cocktails are as old-school as it gets.

Don’t miss: If money’s no object, while away an evening in this luxurious leathery snug. Or treat yourself to just one and stumble back out on to the Place Vendôme, smug in the knowledge you’ve just quaffed a glass of literary history.

Customers and an antiques dealer at flea market the Marcheé aux Puces de St-Ouen
Photograph: Paris-Sharing / Flickr

76. Dig up a souvenir at the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen

Shopping Home decor 18e arrondissement

What is it? Billed as the world’s largest flea market.

Why go? The scale of the Puces de St-Ouen is astounding. You could get lost in these labyrinthine stalls for days. Around 1,000 traders sell artisan products, and new and second-hand clothes, while 2,500 traders sell antique goods. There’s a knick-knack to suit every taste. Just don’t forget to negotiate your price.

Don’t miss: Cool off with a drink at La Recyclerie.

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The abandoned railway tracks of the Petite Ceinture in Paris
Photograph: Flickr / Céline Harrand

77. Stroll along the abandoned Petite Ceinture

Things to do Walks and tours 20e arrondissement

What is it? An old network of railway lines that have been transformed into the perfect romantic walk.

Why go? Built 150 years ago, La Petite Ceinture is almost 32km long. A public transport network until 1934, it was then used to transport goods until the late 1970s. Left untouched for years, it’s now been cut up and transformed into various distinct sections, much like New York’s High Line. The Petite Ceinture’s most famous part begins in the 12th, a bucolic vision of plants and trees, but stretches across the 15th, 16th and 18th arrondissements, too.

Don’t miss: If you’re checking out the 15th arrondissement segment, why not head to the Parc André Citroën for a hot air balloon ride? 

Maison Souquet
Photograph: Maison Souquet

78. Host a private pool party at Maison Souquet

Hotels Saint-Georges

What is it? A design hotel and bar with a sordid past.

Why go? Inspired by the Parisian brothels from the Belle Époque period, Maison Souquet’s hidden frontage leads to a vision of orientalist splendour, designed by Jacques Garcia. Styled on Arabian Nights, it’s all pretty pleasing to the eye: from the 1895 Cordovan leather on the walls to the Moorish tiles, porcelain, copper and vintage furniture. 

Don’t miss: If you fancy a private pool party, you can rent theirs by the hour. 

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La Fontaine de Belleville
Photograph: La Fontaine de Belleville

79. Get your caffeine fix at La Fontaine de Belleville

Restaurants Cafés 10e arrondissement

What is it? Every Parisian café-goer’s dream, created by the team behind the Brûlerie de Belleville.

Why go? Thomas Lehoux and David Flynn decided to renovate the old Parisian café concept by keeping the original décor but switching up the offering. No more crap beer, instant coffee and sad sandwiches – expect artisanal, ethically produced products. Independence doesn’t hurt, even if it costs a little more.

Don’t miss: Nab a wicker chair overlooking the intersection of Rue de la Grange-aux-Belles and Rue Juliette-Dodu. It’s people-watching paradise. 

 Canal de l'Ourcq
Photograph: Amélie Dupont / Paris Tourist Office

80. Play pétanque by the Canal de l’Ourcq

Things to do Jaurès

What is it? The chance to play the much-loved summer game in one of the capital’s most popular spots.

Why go? Whatever your age, pétanque is a real joy to watch and play in Paris. As temperatures shoot up, watch as the whole city gets ready to aim and shoot. The sandy banks of the canal remain one of the city’s best playing spots. 

Don’t miss: If you haven’t got your own, borrow balls (and grab a drink) from Bar Ourcq.

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L'Astrance
Photograph: L’Astrance

81. Bag a Michelin-starred bargain at L’Astrance

Restaurants Haute cuisine 16e arrondissement

What is it? Magician-chef Pascal Barbot’s restaurant must be one of the best in the city. 

Why go? Barbot produces world-beating dishes that vary according to his mood (and the market) – they’re daring, dazzling and bursting with vim. Book now or regret it. 

Don’t miss: The €75 weekday lunch set menu, which is something of a bargain given this is a three-Michelin-starred address.

tour montparnasse
Photograph: Time Out

82. See the city from 56 floors up at the Tour Montparnasse

Attractions Necker

What is it? Built in 1974 on the site of the old station, this 209m (686ft) steel-and-glass monolith is actually shorter than the Eiffel Tower, but better placed for fabulous views of the city – including, of course, the Eiffel Tower itself.

Why go? A lift to the 56th floor whisks you up in 38 seconds. You’ll find stunning scenes of the streets below, an upgraded café-lounge, a souvenir shop – and lots and lots of sky.

Don’t miss: Take another lift all the way up to the roof and marvel at a Paris you've never seen before. On a clear day you can see up to 40km (25 miles).

Need some travel inspiration?

Uluru’s ‘Field of Light’
Photograph: Mark Pickthall, courtesy Field of Light, Uluru, Bruce Munro 2016

The 40 best things to do in the world right now

Things to do

Going out and doing things satisfies our need to explore, to learn and to grow (and then to brag about it on social media). Our hope is that the DO List becomes not just your bucket list, but your inspiration to experience and appreciate the corners of magic in the world.

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