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Things to do in Paris

With so much to see and do in Paris it can be tough to decide where to begin. Here is a bit of information that may help. Here you’ll find a list detailing popular activities in Paris that can make your holiday planning that little bit easier. This guide to the city has separated the popular Paris activities into easy to follow info boxes and include fun things to do, explore and see in the city. The Paris Landmarks are some of the most stunning and historic examples of architecture in Europe. Paris is rich in culture and art, which is reflected in its many fine galleries. It is a romantic, unique city with many wonderful things to explore. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do in Paris, but be sure to plan ahead so you can fit in everything you want to.

Shopping in Paris

Paris is a mecca for fashionistas, and shopping in Paris cannot be matched by other cities. The capital of France offers excellent department stores, small designer shops as well as chic vintage shops. There are enough shops to keep you busy for more than just a few days and on the right hand side you will find our shopping guide to Paris so you know exactly where to go.

The department stores in Paris have become just as famous as important monuments like Louvre and Eiffel Tower and attract thousands of tourists every year. We recommend you to visit both the Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps where you will find a mix of premium and exclusive fashion brands. The shopping mall Forum des Halles is the largest shopping mall in Paris and is filled with high street fashion brands. If you prefer to stroll the streets of Paris and find small and unique shops as well as a mix of high street, premium and luxury fashion brands, visit for example the popular Rue de Rivoli, Avenue des Champs Elysées or Boulevard Haussmann.

Shopping districts in Paris


Avenue des Champs-Elysées When visiting Paris it is almost mandatory to take a walk down the Avenue des Champs-Elysèes in the 8. arondissement. It runs from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde and is probably the most famous boulevard in Europe. In the area around the avenue you will find a good mix of high street shops and exclusive shops such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Hermes.

Boulevard Haussmann The Boulevard Haussmann is mainly known due to the impressive department stores, Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayettes, located in the street. However, if the sun is out you would most likely prefer to stay outside. You can rest assured that there are plenty of small shops and international high street shops in the area. You will for example find Zara, H&M and the Gap here.

Montparnasse The district of Montparnasse houses a relatively boring shopping mall at the end of Rue de Rennes, but moving down the street towards the Seine River and Saint-Germain-des-Prés will turn the area into a shopping mecca. Every street has unique French boutiques, and you will also find tons of high street fashion and exclusive designer shops.

Rue de Rivoli Rue de Rivoli is one of the most famous streets of Paris and like a little piece of heaven if you are into shopping. The street runs from Place de la Concorde to the Saint-Paul metro station passing the Louvre museum and the Tuileries gardens on the way. There are loads of shops so do not expect to make it all in one day. The area around the Louvre museum houses many souvenir shops, but moving further down the street you will find a mix of French and international chain shops as well as cafes and restaurants.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés The 6th arrondissement of Paris is a perfect destination if you are into shopping. The district is home to the most stylish department store in Paris, Le Bon Marché, as well as loads of trendy designer shops, French boutiques, high street fashion shops, galeries and classy cafes. There are enough shops to keep you busy for more than just one day. Expect to find French labels such as Sandro, Maje, Zadig et Voltaire and the Kooples.

The Marais The Marais is a historic centre of Paris and famous for its hip boutiques and small alleys. You will find unique jewellery shops, trendy vintage shops, cool designer boutiques and French cafes. It is the most popular hangout place for young Frenchmen and a great place to go if you wish to experience the true Parisian atmosphere.

Department Stores in Paris


Galeries Lafayette The Galeries Lafayette department store is more than 100 years old and situated on the Boulevard Haussmann in the 9. arrondissement of Paris. It is a true temple of fashion devoted almost exclusively to French premium and luxury fashion brands. Spread over an area of 70 000 m² the store hosts more than 100,000 customers daily. While you are there remember to enjoy the spectacular architecture. Under one roof you will find men’s, women’s and kids’ fashion as well as beauty and home shops. There is everything you need to satisfy your shopping needs. If you need a break or snack there are plenty of excellent restaurants to choose between.

Au Printemps Au Printemps is a luxury department store located on Boulevard Hausmann in the 9. arrondissement of Paris. It focuses mainly on luxury fashion brands such as Chanel, Hermes and Christian Dior as well as lifestyle and beauty. There are often fantastic shows and exhibitions and it is decorated beautifully during Christmas time.
Fun fact: Le Printemps is reputed to be the undisputed leader in wedding lists.

Le Forum des Halles Le Forum des Halles is the largest shopping centre in Paris and situated on the site, which used to be Paris’ central marketplace. It is a semi-underground shopping centre and the train station Châtelet-Les Halles runs just below. It offers a great mix of men’s and women’s fashion, lifestyle, beauty, and convenience stores. You will also find a cinema, restaurants and bars as well as travel agencies. Everything you need you will find here.



Bike Tours in Paris

Exploring Paris by bike is one of the best ways to see the sights of the city. Whether you choose to spend the day having a relaxing cycle round the scenic parks of Paris, or would prefer a bike tour to learn about the sights of the city then there are options to meet every need. This page contains some great suggestions for bike hire in Paris and cycling options in the city. Cycling can make this a trip to remember and an opportunity to explore things that may have passed you by otherwise. By bike it is easy to see all the landmarks and attractions wherever your Paris holiday home is located.

With now more than 500 km of cycle paths, Paris has become a truly bike-friendly city. Whether you want to hire bikes for a day or the duration of your stay, or would prefer a guided cycle tour, there are many options to consider when planning to explore the city on bike. Whatever your preference, cycling is one of the best way to see the beauty of the city and puts you in the heart of the action.

A popular option is to take part in a city bike tour. There are many, great tours to choose from and the longer established tour operators have developed some wonderful routes. A tour is likely to take you to the major landmarks and areas of interest, but often have many other little surprises thrown in. Very often the guides are native Parisians and know the city like their back tire. They will be able to show you things that won’t be in regular tour guides, such as secret locations, favourite coffee shops and charming little bakeries, as well as interesting historical areas that tourists often miss. They are more than happy to answer questions, give advice and are often equipped with maps and many interesting facts to accompany you in your adventure.

Some of the best options for tours are ‘Bike About Tours’ and ‘Blue Bike Tours’. Interested in showcasing the beauty and history of Paris, they offer fun and relaxing tours, suitable for any age group and any level of fitness. There is often several tours to choose from, ranging from ‘off the beaten track’ routes, where you’ll discover the hidden treasures of Paris, to the more standard tours that will take you through the well known tourist spots. Both companies are very popular but will often limit numbers for the enjoyment of their guests. Be sure to book!

Another option is to simply hire bikes and plan your own tour. At ‘Paris Bike Tour’ for example, they set you up with everything you need, such as lights, helmets and maps. Then you are free to set off any direction you like. You can even get a discounted museum pass in the same package.

Lastly, there is the option of making use of Paris’ own Vélib Bike Scheme. Vélib is the biggest bike sharing system in the world, with over 20,000 bikes in locations all over the city. There are Vélib cycles stationed every 300 meters and within a short distance from all the main landmarks and stations. Visitors can choose from a number of hire options. With the bikes available all day and night, all year round, they offer an easy and alternative way to travel around Paris.



Holidays with Children in Paris

There are plenty of fun, family friendly things to see and do on a Paris holiday. Here we have a few suggestions that will make spending a Paris holiday with the kids a joy for the whole family. From a theme park adventure or a trip to the zoo, the region has a lot to offer. There are memorable things to do in Paris that include Disneyland, tours, parks, zoos and aquariums that all have a variety of children’s activities to enjoy.

Disneyland Paris

A trip to Disneyland Paris is a once in a lifetime adventure for the whole family. With such a wide variety of attractions, there is something for everybody at a Disney theme park. In Paris, this popular family resort is made up of two main theme parks, as well as a nearby entertainment district. Across the sites are more than fifty rides as well as great attractions where children and adults alike can experience the magic of Disney in the magical city of Paris.

Like any great theme park, Disneyland Park is home to an impressive number of rides, from the fun, family friendly ones, to something for the thrill seekers. But Disney resorts offer more than just rides. Popular attractions such as ‘It’s a Small World’ boat trip, the ‘Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast’ as well as an Alice in Wonderland ‘curious’ labyrinth, add to the variety of your day out. Children can also meet their heroes like Minnie and Mickey, who are always strolling round the site. There are magical nightly shows and regular parades through the park, both featuring characters from famous Disney stories. They are a delight to behold.

Next, there is Walt Disney Studios Park, where everybody can be the star of the show. Your favourite Disney characters take to the stage in a fun, interactive show, where the audience gets involved too! Here, visitors can explore the secrets and magic behind Disney’s television and cinema. There are also beautiful horse drawn street cars and exciting mini trains to take you between the parks.

Lastly, there is Disney village, where the magic doesn’t stop. In the entertainment district there is live dancing and singing shows. There are themed shops and restaurants, not to mention the Wild West show with Mickey and friends; th self proclaimed ‘greatest Disney Dinner Show ever made’. With so much to do you won’t want to go home!

Zoos in Paris

Jardin des Plantes Opened to the public in 1640, the Jardin des Plantes has been a popular family attraction for over 350 years. Its beautiful, expansive gardens provide a calming respite from the everyday rush of Paris. Created by Louis XIII in 1626 and spanning 28 hectares; the Jardin des Plantes is one of the oldest and biggest botanical garden in France.

This sprawling greenery in the heart of the city is home to thousands of beautifully arranged plants and flowers. Here you will find one of the world's most extensive collections of tropical and desert flora, as well as many rare and even unique plant species. Plant lovers won't want to miss the towering greenhouses and rose gardens. Take a relaxing stroll amongst this vast collection of plants and gardens, explore the labyrinth or enjoy a picnic on the grass when the sun is shining and the gardens are in full bloom.

The Jardin des Plantes is also home to several exciting museums, all housed in wonderful examples of 19th Century French architecture, where glass is blended with ornate ironwork. Here you will find the city's huge Museum of Natural History as well as the Galerie de Paléontologie, displaying dinosaur bones, skeletons and other artifacts, and the Galerie de Minéralogie, exhibiting rocks and minerals.

There is also a small zoo, home to birds, monkeys, red pandas, large cats, a wallaby enclosure and some rare, endangered species from across the world. The historic reptile house and exotic animal enclosures are sure to be family favourites, however the stars of the show is the family of Bornean orangutans. This Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes is the first and therefore the oldest civil zoological garden in the world. There is something for everybody in this unique and special place; a breath of fresh air in the heart of Paris.

Aquarium Tropical de la Porte Dorée The Palais de la Porte Dorée, famous for its wonderful architecture, historic significance, moving exhibitions and exquisite, carved façade, is home also to another popular attraction. Within the grounds of the Palais de la Porte Dorée is a beautiful, quaint and very old aquarium.

Since its opening in 1931, the Aquarium Tropical de la Porte Doree has showcased some of the world’s most beautiful, interesting and colourful sea creatures, as well as a range of rare and sometimes unique species. It has educated and excited visitors in equal measure continuously for over 80 years, having opened its doors to visitors every day since 1931, only closing on Mondays.

There today you will find a great variety of fish, from freshwater to seawater, tropical and marine species, all presented in various large and small aquariums. There is a terrarium and a reptile section home to turtles, crocodiles, and more. Its crocodile pit is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe. The collections are designed to educate visitors about the richness and diversity of the aquatic world. This historic and unique aquarium in Paris, which has changed little since the day it opened, has about 5,000 animals and 300 different species and was the only Parisian aquarium until 2006.

These days it has gained a reputation for being home to certain rare and strange species of fish that you wouldn’t normally expect to see in an aquarium. Many creatures here are closely related to primitive species dating back up to 300 million years. At around €5 to enter, your visit is sure to be time and money well spent, as you take in all this small but enthralling encounter with the deep has to offer.