Paris travel guide

A Complete Guide to the French Capital that Shaped Cuisine, Art and Fashion

The French capital attracts visitors to its legendary landmarks and streets brimming with history. It’s a city you can stroll through hundreds of times and keep coming across something new. Just look up and you’ll see tucked-away terraces, street art, mosaics, and Gothic-style pointed arches and stain-glass windows. Architecture is one of the many draws to the French capital, and each neighborhood offers something different to discover. Cultural institutions and the city’s history as a hub for everything from fashion to art help Paris preserve its past while still modernizing and moving toward the future. Undergoing a green renaissance, the city is transforming more areas into pedestrian- and bike-friendly zones, giving travelers even more reason to indulge in the city’s charm like a true flâneur. Paris has plenty of different sides to see depending on where you stay and what your interests are. Read on to learn how Paris developed into the iconic destination that it is today.

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Table of contents

Must-see in Paris

Things you can’t miss while visiting Paris


Musée d’Orsay

The former Beaux-Arts railway station houses the world’s largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings by masters like Monet and Van Gogh.


Père Lachaise Cemetery

The largest cemetery in Paris, Père Lachaise, features thousands of famous burial sites, including the graves of Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf.


Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is one of the largest green spaces in the city and a popular place to picnic in summer.


Eiffel Tower

A must-do in Paris, soak up 360-degree views over the city from the landmark Eiffel Tower’s top floor.


Centre Pompidou

At the Centre Pompidou, the expansive collection of modern and contemporary art covers all the greats, from Matisse to Miro.


Musée du Louvre

Spanning more than 10,000 years of history, the Louvre features more than 35,000 pieces of art—and is a bucket list attraction in Paris.


Fondation Louis Vuitton

The Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton, in the Bois de Boulogne, features 11 galleries showcasing collections of modern and contemporary artwork.


Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson displays a rare selection of photos and items from the archive of the legendary French photojournalist and his wife, Martine Franck.


Bateaux Mouches

The hour-long Bateaux Mouches river cruises allow you to check off all the landmarks on your list, from the Eiffel Tower to the Notre Dame Cathedral.


Musée National Picasso-Paris

Located in the Marais, the Musée National Picasso-Paris houses the largest collection of work by Pablo Picasso in the world.


Palais Garnier

Catch a ballet or musical performance or take a tour of the gilded opera house with its Marc Chagall-painted ceiling.


Jardin du Luxembourg

Created by Queen Marie de Medici in the early1600s, the expansive Luxembourg Gardens offer plenty to keep both kids and adults entertained.


Les Catacombs de Paris

Paris’s ancient stone quarries house the remains of more than six million people in the underground tunnel network.


Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac

Located on the bank of the Seine, the Jean Nouvel-designed Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac showcases a collection of artwork from non-Western cultures.


Place des Vosges

One of the oldest squares in Paris, Place des Vosges, is the perfect place to break from a day of strolling and shopping in the Marais.


Crazy Horse Paris

The couture-clad cabaret has been one of the most fashionable in Paris for the last 70 years.


Moulin Rouge

The iconic cabaret serves up a feather-filled French cancan dinner and a show each evening.


Musée Yves Saint Laurent

The iconic French designer’s old atelier and couture house are on prime display in the Yves Saint Laurent-dedicated museum, which focuses on the extensive archives of the artist’s work.


Coulée Verte René-Dumont

Stroll along Paris’s version of New York City’s High Line for city views and gorgeous gardens in one of the lesser-visited parts of town.


Canal Saint-Martin

In the neighborhood that goes by the same name, the Canal Saint-Martin is a favorite for flâneurs for strolling and people-watching.


Montparnasse Tower

The 56th-floor Observation Deck of the Montparnasse Tower shows off 360-degree views of Paris and its landmark monuments.



Shop and stroll along “the world’s most beautiful avenue,” which runs through the city from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe.

Seasonal events in Paris

From summer soirée to winter wonderland, Paris is a city to be savored all seasons


Musical Fountains Show at Versailles (April to October)

Versailles' mythical fountains put on musical performances during the annual shows.


Roland-Garros (May-June)

One of four important tennis tournaments, the French Open brings together the world's best players during the two-week championship tournament.


Nuit Blanche (early June)

The free contemporary art event unfolds across the entire city for one day in early June.


We Love Green (early June)

The sustainability-focused music festival brings top acts in electronic, pop, R&B, and more to the Bois de Vincennes for three days of concerts.


Fête de la Musique (June 21)

The summer solstice also marks the annual Fête de la Musique, when the entire city turns into a live music stage.


Paris+ par Art Basel (October)

The modern and contemporary art festival brings together more than 150 galleries from around the world to the main fair at the Grand Palais Éphémère.


Christmas Markets (November-January)

Get in the holiday spirit strolling the wooden chalets at the many Christmas markets around Paris.

Once you're in Paris

Getting around Paris

The capital city is practically designed for public transit - and it’s easy to get almost anywhere in under 30 minutes. Whether you’re going to the airport or the surrounding suburbs, Paris’ efficient transportation network - which includes métros, buses, trains, trams, and ride and bike share options - will quickly whisk you to your next destination.

The Best of the Country’s Cuisine Comes Together in the Culinary Capital.

The definition of a moveable feast, Paris is a place where all five senses come together and are constantly satisfied. Dine on French fare that’s been around for centuries or sample more modernized takes on dishes that have made the food here something everyone tries to replicate. The French strive to perfect techniques and flavors that have become the backbone of one of the most cherished styles of cuisine on the globe.

Renting a car and driving in Paris

Whether you’re planning to cruise around the capital’s landmarks, a day-trip to a nearby wine region like Champagne or the Loire Valley or set off on a road trip across the country to the South of France, there are plenty of options for car rentals in Paris. You can even pick up a car in Paris and drop it off at your destination, so no need to backtrack. And if you’re planning an extensive trip throughout France, you may even snag better deals on longer-term rentals.

Things to do

Paris: A Family-Friendly City with Something for All Ages

The capital’s rich culture of art, music, cuisine and fashion is one that everyone in the family can enjoy since there are plenty of attractions designed just for kids or teens.

Where to Drink and Dance Like a Local in Paris



The sister to Michelin-starred Rigmarole, the natural wine bar, and ice cream parlor have become a neighborhood favorite.



The Mexican-inspired speakeasy cocktail lounge serves up some of the most sophisticated libations in the city.


Dirty Dick

One of the top cocktail bars in town, Dirty Dick is known for its Polynesian vibes and twists on traditional tiki drinks.


Little Red Door

The speakeasy-style craft cocktail bar serves up farm-to-glass libations and mocktail versions.


Le Syndicat

One of the top craft cocktail bars in the city, Le Syndicat focuses solely on French producers for its spirits selection.



The North Pigalle music venue features live music Thursday through Saturday, plus shareable plates and cocktails.


Sister Midnight

The craft cocktail bar is known for lively weekend drag, burlesque, and cabaret shows, plus drinks that switch with the seasons.


Le Mary Celeste

Le Mary Celeste, in the Marais, is a wine bar and casual restaurant with all-day dining on the weekend.


Bar Hemingway

Named after legendary guest Ernest Hemingway, the namesake bar in the Ritz has a members' club-meets-cigar lounge feel.


Chez Stina

The natural wine bar and cellar serve small plates and raclette, plus Bloody Marys all Sunday.

Shopping in Paris: From Haute Couture to Charming Markets, Paris Has Something for Everyone

There’s a reason Paris has earned - and kept - its reign as a global fashion capital. Home to decades-old designer brands like Dior and Chanel, as well as hot new up-and-comers shaking up the city’s fashion scene, Paris is one of the most exciting cities in the world for style and shopping.

Want to Explore More? There’s Plenty to See in a Short Drive or Train Ride from Paris.

Lavish palaces, maze-like gardens, endless hills of vines—there’s a lot to explore around Paris, and the best part is that you don’t even need a car for a day trip from the city. With an efficient network of trains, buses, and dedicated shuttles, you can jet over to wine country, Normandy, or one of the most famous theme parks in the world, Disneyland. All of these trips are easy to do in a day, but if you get swept away by the scenery and want the experience to last longer, you can turn it into an overnight excursion at one of the many hotels, guest houses, and charming countryside inns in each area.

What to pack for Paris

With its cobblestone streets and unpredictable weather, packing for Paris is more than just throwing on a beret and striped ensemble à la Emily in Paris. To help steer you in the right direction, we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks on what to pack - and some things that are better to leave at home.