“Whenever you are in Paris at twilight in the early summer, return to the Seine and watch the evening sky close slowly on a last strand of daylight fading quietly, like a sigh.” – Kate Simon
Paris, the eternal city of love and light. With countless things to do, I’ve narrowed down a list of my favorite experiences not to miss for an unforgettable, authentic Parisian trip!
Spend time reading at Shakespeare & Co.
A wonderfully rustic bookstore on Paris’s left bank, this is one of my absolute favorite places in Paris to sit and read. It was frequented by many Beat Generation writers including William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, and looks like it plopped right out of the Harry Potter set! The top floor has couches in reading areas, a piano, and a small nook taped with many visitors’ notes and a cute blue typewriter. Absolutely perfect for a rainy day.
Get your portrait drawn or silhouette cut at Montmartre
Center for artists, Montmartre is charming and mesmerizing. Spend hours watching local artists paint original work, and get your portrait drawn or silhouette cut for a souvenir back home. My tip? Be sure to haggle!
People watch at a Parisian cafe
Overbrimming with cute cafes with fascinating histories, Paris is the perfect city to sit down with a pastry and a cup of coffee and people watch. Follow Hemingway’s footsteps to places he visited with my list of favorite cafes in Paris!
Hang a lock (or not) on the Pont des Arts
This bridge across the Seine is a famous site for hundreds of thousands of love locks – so many that the city has started removing up to 45 tons of the locks! To help out, perhaps prevent the temptation to attach a lock, but admire the preexisting ones.
Swing dance by the Seine
Have feet that can’t stop moving? Locals (or Google) will tell you where swing dancing takes place around the Seine. Pack a few snacks and a bottle of wine, and head over for an evening of food and dancing.
Try authentic absinthe
Associated with the green fairy and the Belle Epoque era, this drink is infamous for supposedly inducing hallucinations and creative sparks. Why try it in Paris? To put simply, absinthe in the US isn’t the real deal. Regulations and laws mean that the beverage you get stateside isn’t nearly close to the drink you get in Europe. For a true experience, visit Vert d’Absinthe, La Fee Verte, or the other absinthe bars in the city to dance with the green fairy!
Watch fireworks during Bastille Day
If you happen to be in Paris on July 14th, you’ll definitely catch the major festivities for Bastille Day, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille. Often thought of as France’s Independence Day, it’s more accurately the country’s National Day marking the beginning of the French revolution. Hundreds of fireworks go off around the Eiffel tower, so be sure to secure a good viewing spot for the celebrations!
Buy new flats at Repetto
Parisian women are known for their fashion and style. Unlike in Italy, high heels are a rarity and most women opt for flats for comfort on the cobblestone streets. Originally a ballet shoe brand, Repetto specializes in the most comfortable, stylish flats around with lots of variety to choose from.
Discover hidden shopping passages
Stroll through a labyrinth of passages with secret shops and hole-in-the-wall places! Paris has numerous hidden passages that are easily looked over in a glance, but upon further inspection can open doors to eras bygone.
Want more? See the full Paris series:
- Landmarks, Monuments, and Museums to See in Paris
- The Best Experiences Not to Miss in Paris
- Following Hemingway’s Footsteps: Top Cafes in Paris
- High End Eats in Paris
- Best Desserts To Eat in Paris
- Day Trip & Weekend Excursions To Take Outside Paris