Fun things to do in Paris

Photo by Michael Stein.
Photo by Michael Stein.

Paris is my hometown.  I was born there and lived there most of my youth until I graduated from high school and moved to the US.  Here’s a list of some of my favorite things to do in Paris, for my friends that are traveling there this year:

  1. Visit the Eiffel Tower. Yeah, it’s a tourist trap, but it’s irresistible and quite fun. If you want to avoid the long lines, then you to buy your tickets in advance.
  2. Wander around the Champs de Mars park which surrounds the Eiffel Tower.  For families with smaller kids, be sure to visit the historic merry-go-round which is still in operation.
  3. Take a ride on the Seine River on an open-air Bateau Mouche boat. Most affordable tourist attraction in Paris.
  4. Walk along the elevated Promenade Plantée in the 12th district.  Also known as the Coulée Verte, it’s an excellent way to see a little-visited part of the city – and from an unusual angle. This stretch of disused railway line, much of it along a viaduct, has been ingeniously converted into an elevated walkway and planted with a profusion of trees and flowers – cherry trees, maples, limes, roses and lavender.
  5. Climb to the very top of the Notre Dame Cathedral and see the famous gothic gargoyles and an amazing view.  You’ll have to wait in line, but it’s worth it, and try to arrive 30 minutes before it opens in the morning.
  6. One of my favorite restaurants is the reasonably priced is Le Montebello, which has a nice patio right across the Seine from the Notre Dame cathedral. Great for lunch or dinner.
  7. Treat yourself to the best ice cream in Paris on the île de la Cité at Berthillon.
  8. Ride the Metro underground and also the overground, which always offers great views of the City.
  9. Visit the serene Luxembourg Gardens for a snapshot into a past world that has never modernized.
  10. Pastries are great all over Paris, but my favorite patisserie is Poilane.  They have several locations, not to be missed.
  11. Quai d’Orsay Museum, the greatest museum in the world, and not nearly as crowded as the Louvre.
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