+33 649 323 649 (8AM to 8PM Paris Time)

Things to do in Paris

Blue Bike and Blue Fox Tours have put together some useful information in order to help you plan your visit to Paris and make the best use of your time!

When's the best time to visit Paris?

Anytime's a good time to visit Paris! There are advantages and disadvantages to every month of the year. Why? Because of the weather of course! Paris is on the same latitude line as Vancouver, Canada and Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Which is a good 600 miles (1000km) further north than New York. So you'd expect that Paris would have a mild summer and very cold winter, right? Except, because it is so close to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream affects it, the climate in Paris is classified as Mild Oceanic. Which means the weather in Paris is nothing like in Vancouver or Ulan Bator! Paris has four very distinct seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter and every one is awesome in some way.

What is spring like in Paris?
Spring, along with Autumn, is probably the best time of the year to be in Paris. March is usually a mix of cold winter days and super nice spring days. April is better than March, and May is usually awesome! Not too cold or warm and it has mostly blue skies. Bring a light jacket just in case, but expect to wear mostly short sleeve shirts and to pass your days appriciating all the flowers in the gardens. Spring in Paris compares pretty much to Spring in NYC or Melbourne.
What is summer like in Paris?

Summers are hot, especially in July and August. It doesn't get as hot as Texas or Ayer's Rock, but it's still hot and you'll need to be prepared for it. There's lots of sun to be had so if you want to work on your tan in front of the Eiffel Tower you can, just bring some sun screen so that you don't burn and remember to stay hydrated. Paris has the kind of heat that makes you drink the 2 liters of water per day that your doctor recommended and then some! But don't worry, fresh cold water is available all over the city, both in bottles that you can buy and in city drinking fountains.

Thanks to the Seine river running through the heart of Paris it gets pretty humid too, so don't expect too many perfect hair days. Paris usually has a couple good thunder storms and big heavy showers. This happens because the humidity builds up for 3-7 days and then needs to be released. Plan on wearing very light clothes in summer. Summer weather in Paris is very much like summer in Chicago.

Tip: It's pretty common for temperatures to reach above 30°C during the day, but the evenings are still slightly cool and nice, so dress light with shorts and skirts but bring a pullover or light jacket for the evening.

What is Fall like in Paris?

Autumn in Paris is very nice! Most of the trees turn red or yellow and most of the days have bright blue skies especially in October and November. The weather is mild and agreeable as the temperatures are still high enough to let you walk around without a coat, and not feel cold.

Autumn weather is a lot like Spring weather but even better as it is far less likely to rain in Autumn! Plan on bringing a jacket and at least one pull-over for the colder evenings but most of the time you'll be wearing your jeans and a light shirt.

Tip: In Paris the crowds start to thin out at the museums by mid October and that's a big plus as they can get really big in the summer months.

What is winter like in Paris?

Parisian winters are usually portrayed as grey and rainy, but that doesn't mean that you should avoid Paris at that time of the year! In fact winter offers many advantages over summer. For example since it is low season for other tourists it's the absolute best time of the year to visit The Louvre, the Chateau de Versailles, and any other museum that interests you. There won't be any crowds to worry about or lines to stand in so you'll be able to appreciate your time in Paris more like a local would.

Another great thing about winter in Paris is being able to see all the twinkle lights and explore the Christmas Markets for interesting and unique crafts and goods. Remember Paris is known as the City of Lights and seeing it with the extra lights right before Christmas only makes it more beautiful to behold.

It's quite rare to see snow in Paris. It might snow once or twice but when it does snow, it usually doesn't stick around for the whole day. So if you're lucky enough to see it make sure you take lots of pretty pictures!

Tip: January and February are definitly the coldest months of the year in Paris, and you should expect mostly grey skies, cold days and some rain too. So bring a warm coat, gloves and a hat in order to be the most comfortable while you're out and about.

Museums

With more that 150 museums within the city limits of Paris, it can be hard to decide where you should focus your time and attention. To make things easier for you we've listed some classic favorites below with a breif description in order to help you understand your options better.

Musée du Louvre

With around 10 million visitors every year, the Louvre Museum is undoubly the most famous and visited museum in the world, it hosts some of the best pieces of art such as the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. The Louvre is big, it has 35,000 works of art on display, which means that if you want to see it all and spend only 30 seconds in front of each piece, it would take you 13 full days to see everything.

To really appreaciate the Louvre you will have to spend at least an entire day in it. In the summer, come early to avoid the long lines. Or visit on Wednesday and Friday nights as the Louvre stays open longer (until 9:45pm), and it is usually less crowded at night.

The Louvre is divided into multiple sections such at Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquities, French, Italian and Dutch paintings, Islamic Arts and the appartments of Napoleon III.

Tip: Blue Bike Tours cycles through the vast courtyards of the Louvre and stops next to the big glass pyramids on both the “Paris Landmarks Bike Tour” and the “Evening Bike + Boat Tour” too!

Musée d'Orsay

The Musée d'Orsay is located, in an old train station, just across the river from his big brother the Louvre. In the Musée d'Orsay you'll find the finest impressionist in the world! Beautiful pieces of art created by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, and Van Gogh for example. It takes about 3hrs to see the best stuff inside but some people have been known to spend the whole day.

The Musée d'Orsay is one of the stops on our Paris Landmarks bike tour.

Pompidou Centre
The Pompidou Center is the largest Modern Art museum in Europe, if you're into modern art, this is definitly a place not to miss. It is also located in a great part of Paris for inexpensive shopping so bring your walking shoes for sure.
Hotel des Invalides – Tomb of Napoleon

Orignaly used as a hospital for Louis XIVth army, Invalides is now a beautiful complexe hosting the National Military Museum of France and the Tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. It has some the largest collection of Medieval Armor in the world on display and lots of other interesting weapons and war artifacts. (This is a stop on our Paris Landmarks and Evening Bike + Boat Tours.)

Musée de l'Orangerie

L'Orangerie is a very small museum located within the Garden of Tuileries. The main attractions here are the famous waterlilies by Claude Monet. If you've taken the time to see the Musée d'Orsay and loved it then you should walk across the river and see this little gem too!

Musée du Quai Branly (Indigenous Art Museum)
This new museum, designed by French starchitect Jean Nouvel, is filled with tribal artifacts from Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas. One of the best ethnographic collection in the world. Located one block from the Eiffel Tower it's a different type of museum and is more frequented by locals than tourists. One of the interesting things about this museum is the fact that it has a living wall on the street facade. Which means that in the spring and summer the whole wall is covered with flowers and beautiful plants.
Chateau of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is located just outside of Paris, it only takes 30min to reach by train from central Paris. Probably the most famous Chateau in the world, if you have more than 2 days in Paris then it should be on your list of things not-to-be-missed. It was the last home of the French King Louis and his infamous wife: Marie-Antoinette. It's gilded inside and out and has more sumptuous gardens and decorations than any other palace in Europe. It will amaze you so make sure you take the time to go see it!

Tip: Visit the local farmers market in Versailles first thing in the morning to get supplies for a picnic on the royal grounds and make sure to visit Marie-Antoinette's private domain with the adorable farm animals and thatched roof cottages. To make it easier on yourself, why not take our Versailles Bike Tour as we've planned everything out perfectly from transport costs to fast entrance into the Chateau.

Musée du Quai Branly (Indigenous Art Museum)
This new museum, designed by French starchitect Jean Nouvel, is filled with tribal artifacts from Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas. One of the best ethnographic collection in the world. Located one block from the Eiffel Tower it's a different type of museum and is more frequented by locals than tourists. One of the interesting things about this museum is the fact that it has a living wall on the street facade. Which means that in the spring and summer the whole wall is covered with flowers and beautiful plants.

Monuments and landmarks

Eiffel Tower
Undoubtedly the most recognized structure in the world, the Eiffel Tower is visited by 7 million people every year. Come early or buy skip-the-line tickets with Blue Fox Tours to avoid the legendary long lines. In the summer months they can get to more than 3hrs long so plan accordingly! (The Eiffel Tower is a stop on our Paris Landmarks Bike Tour.)
Notre-Dame de Paris
Paris largest and most celebrated Church, built in a true Gothic fashion it has the most beautiful Rose windows and flying buttresses. It's free to visit but make sure to avoid the hours of 11am-3pm as the lines are longest during this period. If you want to climb the bell towers and visit the gargoyles you can do that too for a small price. In order to do that without waiting in line you must be there before 10am. Learn about Notre-Dame on our Paris Landmarks & Evening Bike + Boat Tours.
Sacré Coeur basilica
Is a big white domed church, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It's a popular landmark, as it stands out like a beacon on top of the hill known as Montmartre. Built by the French as a penance for the excesses of the Second Empire and the socialist Commune of Paris in 1871. It's an embodiment of Catholic devotion. There are nuns that have been praying here 24hrs a day for more than 125 years without stop. It's beautiful inside and out and you can visit the inside for free as well as climb to the top of the highest dome for a small price. Learn more about the Sacré-Coeur on our Montmartre Walking Tour.
Arc de Triomphe
Built by Napoleon Bonaparte to celebrate his most famous military victory this is one of the icons of Paris. It's free to visit if you just want to walk around the base and see the flame and tomb of the unknown soldier, but if you want to climb it you have to pay about 10€ and wait in line a bit. It's wonderful to climb the winding stairs and experience the lovely view over the crazy round-a-bout below, the Champs-Elysées and all of Paris.
Champs-Elysées

Known to many as “The most beautiful avenue in the world” this avenue is lined with perfectly trimmed chestnut trees and leads you from the Place de la Concorde right to the famous Arc de Triomphe. Every year in July Parisians and people from all over the world gather here to watch the end of the “Tour de France” cycling race.

Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde, Paris' largest round-a-bout, is an island of harmony in the middle of chaos. It has a controversial 3300 years old Luxor obelisk at its center, and is also where Marie-Antoinette and a thousand other people lost their heads to the guillotine during the French Revolution! Learn more about Place de la Concorde on our Paris Landmark Bike Tour.
Opera

The Palais Garnier is exquisite, and a true “must see” in the evening hours when its splendid facade is flooded with golden lights. If possible you should take a guided tour inside with one of the official Opera House guides. They usually take no more than 2hrs and are well worth the 10€ or so that you spend. You'll learn about the fascinating history behind the ecclectic design of the building, hear a bit about Napoleon III, and discover who or what lives in and under the Opera today! (It's also a stop on our Evening Bike + Boat Tour.)

Sainte Chapelle

Built by Saint Louis to house the crown of thorns which he brought back from Jerusalem after the crusades. For hundreds of years this lovely church served as the private royal chapel for the Kings and Queens of France. Confiscated and unconsecrated during the French Revolution today it's owned by the French Republic. It's one of the best places to see the fabulous craftmanship of French stained glass workers. Make sure you visit on a sunny day when the light shines through the windows the best! There is an entrance fee of about 8€, and it's worth it because once inside you'll feel like your in a jewelry box.

Neighborhoods

Latin Quarter
Known for its student life, lively atmosphere and bistros, the Latin Quarter is the oldest neighborhood of Paris. Located on the left bank of the Seine River, close to Notre-Dame, you will find there some of the best attractions in Paris such as Saint-Germain, the Pantheon, La Sorbonne University, the Roman Arenas and Saint-Sulpice Church. (Join our Paris Off The Beaten Path Bike Tour to discover the Latin Quarter.)
Montmartre
One of the most famous district in Paris is also one of the most recognizable: Montmartre with its Sacré-Cœur Basilica can be seen rising high above the Paris rooftops from across the city. The 130 meters (426 feet) high hill is famous not only for its remarkable church, but also for its bohemian past. This village within a city was once home to artists such as Dalí, Renoir, Picasso and Van Gogh. (Blue Fox Tours offer 2hrs walking tours of all the highlights of Montmartre.)
Le Marais

One of Paris' unchanged neighborhoods, here you'll find only little streets and cute boutique stores. Most of the building are older than the 1700's and some even date back to the 1500's. The eastern part of le Marais is the historical Jewish neiborhood of Paris and the western part is nowadays the gay district. Just get lost as you wander the little streets of Le Marais and enjoy!

Opera & Grand Boulevards
The neighborhood centered around the Opera Garnier is fantastic, especially if you're a fan of architecture or a shopping addict! This whole area of Paris was completely transformed during the 1870s thanks to Napoleon III and is now full of beautiful Hausmanian buildings, such as the Garnier Opera House or the Printemps Department store. Don't miss out on the Galeries Lafayette stunning stained glass ceiling and their free rooftop terrace with a beautiful view over the Opera House.

What to do during a layover in Paris?

A long layover can give you the opportunity to get a real taste of what Paris is like. It's best to plan your time out well so that you don't waste a minute of it. The first thing you want to decide is if you're going to wing it alone or if you want to hire a guide to help you see more and understand what you're seeing better.

Cycling in Paris is a great way to get around quickly, avoid being stuck in traffic jams, and actually experience the city and it's charms. If you have at least 6 hrs in Paris then you should sign up on Blue Bike Tours : Paris Landmarks Tour. That way you can see ALL of the top monuments and museums in Paris for only 29€.

If you're more of a solo traveller or if none of the tour times fit you then here are 3 neighborhoods that you can explore easily by foot during your layover.

Notre-Dame and the Latin Quarter
Located right in the center of Paris, Notre-Dame and the Latin Quarter are easily accessible from both CDG and Orly Airport with the train line RER B.
Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysées
Easily Paris' most touristic avenue, the Avenue of the Champs-Elysées is a Paris must see. Walk up the Champs-Elysées from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, then walk down Avenue Kleber to the Trocadero to enjoy an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower.
Montmartre
One of the most famous district in Paris is also one of the most recognizable: Montmartre with its Sacré-Cœur Basilica can be seen rising high above the Paris rooftops from across the city. The 130 meters (426 feet) high hill is famous not only for its remarkable church, but also for its bohemian past. This village within a city was once home to artists such as Dalí, Renoir, Picasso and Van Gogh. Blue Fox Tours offer 2hrs walking tours of all the highlights of Montmartre.

Tip: Know that getting into central Paris from CDG airport takes about 1hr by train, or 45 minutes by taxi. So don't plan your activities to start in Paris within the first hour of your arrival or you'll be late for sure!

1 Day in Paris.

You're in Paris for only 1 Day and want to get the most out of it? Here is your best itinirary:

  • Start your day by visiting Notre-Dame. Notre-Dame is right in the center of the city, actually the official center of Paris is marked on the ground just in front of the church. If you get there early enough (before 9AM) you should be able to get inside pretty quickly.
  • Then walk along the left bank of the Seine river to the Pont des Arts, a beautiful pedestrian bridge famous for all the locks left by millions of romantic couples throughout the years.
  • Cross the Pont des Arts and walk right into the Louvre courtyard, if the lines are not too long that day, why not pop inside to check out the most famous painting in the World, the Mona Lisa? If the lines are too long then just take some cool selfies next to the big glass pyramid!
  • Continue your journey by walking the Historical Axis of Paris, streching from the Louvre to the famous Arc de Triomphe. Stroll through the Garden of Tuileries, cross the Place de la Concorde and walk up the Avenue of the Champs-Elysées.
  • From the Arc de Triomphe, walk down the Avenue Kleber to Place of Trocadero where you can enjoy the most beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Keep going until you get all the way to the Eiffel Tower and get yourself all the way to the top for a great view over Paris.
  • Then grab a taxi back to your hotel and pass out in exhaustion and dream of macarons and nutella crepes.

If you walk this way you will spend about 8hrs on your feet. If you take our Paris Landmarks Bike Tour you will see and learn about all of these places and more in under 4hrs leaving you enough time to go back inside a couple of them in the afternoon.

2 Days in Paris.

Your first day should be spent sightseeing around the famous landmarks of Paris, please have a look at the previous section 1 Day in Paris.

Depending on your tastes and the weather, your second day in Paris should be spent either walking around some charmingly typical Parisian neighborhoods or inside some famous museums.

If you decide to spend the day outside, you should start in the morning by walking around Le Marais.

  • Le Marais is one of Paris' unchanged neighborhoods where you'll find only little streets and cute boutique shops. Most of the buildings are older than the 1700's and some even date back to the 1500's. The eastern part of le Marais is the historical Jewish neiborhood of Paris and the western part is nowadays the gay district. Just get lost as you wander the little streets of Le Marais and enjoy!
  • Then cross the Seine River and spend your afternoon on the other bank of the river, walking around the Latin Quarter, don't miss La Sorbonne Univeristy, the Pantheon and the Roman Arenas. You might also try to find Shakespeare and Co. Book store and see what the old buildings are like on their insides.
  • Enjoy your evening on top of Montmartre, walking your way up the famous hill from the Moulin Rouge all the way to the Sacré-Coeur basilica and make sure you stop to explore the local artists work in Place du Tertre.

Le Marais and the Latin Quarter are both featured on our Paris Off The Beaten Path Bike tour, and Montmartre on our Montmartre Walking Tour so if you want a guide to explain what makes these, just sign up with us.

If you wish to spend your day visiting some of the world famous parisian museums, we suggest spending the morning at Orsay, and the rest of the day at the Louvre. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the Louvre is open longer at night (until 9:45PM).

3 Days in Paris.

If you're in Paris for 3 days, we suggest spending your first two days as described in the previous section : 2 days in Paris.

If you're in Paris for a whole 3days then we suggest spending your 3rd day in Versailles!

The Palace of Versailles is located just outside of Paris, it only takes 30min to reach by train. Probably the most famous Chateau in the world, because of it's extraordinary beauty and tragic history.

It was the last home of the French King Louis and his infamous wife: Marie-Antoinette. It's gilded inside and out and has more sumptuous gardens and decorations than any other palace in Europe. It will amaze you so make sure you take the time to go see it!

Tip: check out the local farmers market in Versailles first thing in the morning to get supplies for a picnic on the royal grounds and make sure to visit Marie-Antoinette's private domain with the adorable farm animals and thatched roof cottages. To make it easier on yourself, why not take our Versailles Bike Tour as we've planned everything out the from transport tickets to fast entrances into all of the special spots and Chateau itself.

If you don't want to spend your 3rd day at Versailles, you might consider spending some time walking around Paris' Opera Garnier and the famous Parisian Grand Magasins (department stores). That way you can get all of your stylish Parisian shopping done and find cool souvenir gifts for your friends and family back home.

The neighborhood centered around the Opera Garnier is fantastic, especially if you're a fan of architecture and or shopping! This whole area of was completely transformed during the 1870s thanks to Napoleon III and is now full of beautiful Hausmanian buildings, such as the Garnier Opera House and the Printemps Department store. Don't miss out on the Galeries Lafayette with its stunning stained glass ceiling and their free rooftop terrace with it's beautiful view over the Opera House.