The Very Best of Paris
It’s impossible to sum up the best things to do in Paris on your gap year – there’s just too much. But we tried anyway, because we care. If you’re in a hurry, here are the Paris attractions you absolutely must see.
The Palaces of Versailles
This palace is one of the largest and most decadent in the world, complete with its world-famous, expansive, exhaustively landscaped gardens. It’s a great place to enjoy a picnic while admiring the architecture. This should be high on any list of things to do in Paris, whether you’re there for the long haul or just backpacking through.
The Louvre Museum
This is absolutely massive, and it’s pretty impossible to see it all in a day. Still, spend some time wandering around to soak up the culture, or plan carefully to see whichever masterpieces you desire, and you won’t be disappointed. Your IQ is bound to go up a few points.
Cathedral of Notre Dame
An obvious one, perhaps, but that’s for a reason. This is the crown jewel of French Gothic architecture, and it truly is a spectacular sight, especially when approached from the river. You can even pay to go up the towers for an incredible view over Paris.
The Eiffel Tower
Okay, so no surprises here, but you can hardly travel to Paris without seeing this. It’s amazing to look at, but obviously offers a gobsmacking sight from the top. Come back at night to see it lit up in all its splendour.
This is a beautiful part of Paris to take a romantic stroll, and is generally less crowded than elsewhere in the city, especially in the evenings. There’s lots of great shops and restaurants, and the atmosphere so close to the water captures the true essence of Paris.
Musee de l’Orangerie
This gallery is one of the most popular attractions in Paris, and for good reason. It feels big, allowing plenty of space for the art to breathe, and it’s the best place in the world to see the works of Monet, displayed exactly as he stipulated.
The surrounding neighbourhood is a little touristy these days (though still has a charm all its own), but wandering to Montmartre Cemetery is well worth it, and making the climb to the beautiful Sacre-Coeur is rewarded with incredible views.
This fascinating oddity brings together a huge collection of preserved animal and insect specimens, from drawers full of butterflies, to towering giraffes and fearsome bears, there really isn’t anywhere quite so arrestingly bizarre in all of Paris.
Eat and drink all the things
This should be pretty self-explanatory! Food in Paris is amongst the best in the world. Drink as much French wine as you can, and if you’re not sure what to eat, check out our guide to France’s fine cuisine.