what to do during your first time in Paris

What to Do During Your First Time in Paris

Paris, the City of Light, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It’s known for its beautiful architecture, rich history, and vibrant culture. For first-time visitors to Paris, it can be overwhelming to decide what to see and do in this amazing city. Even on your first trip, you won’t be able to do everything that you want. That being said, don’t be afraid to do the touristy things. Their iconic and popular for a reason.

First time in Paris must-dos

Eiffel Tower in sepia. One of the most popular things to do during a first time in Paris.


  • The Eiffel Tower: This iconic landmark is a must-see for any first-time visitor to Paris. You can take the elevator to the top for a breathtaking view of the city. Be sure to book your reservation in advance especially if you are looking to go all the way to the top. Even a month in advance the tickets to the top were sold out. We ended up buying tickets to the Summit through another route but it was much more expensive.
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral: This beautiful gothic cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris. Although it was damaged in a fire in 2019, you can still admire its stunning architecture from the outside.
  • Sainte-Chapelle: This beautiful chapel is known for its stunning stained glass windows, which are some of the most beautiful in the world.
  • Arc du Triomphe: This historic monument is known for its iconic arch design and commemoration of French military victories. It stands at the western end of the Champs-Élysées and serves as a symbol of national pride and heritage. Although it is in the middle of a pretty busy roundabout, the views from the top rival the Eiffel Tower.
  • Statue de la Liberté Paris: If you didn’t know, now you do – yes, Paris has a Statue of Liberty. In fact, the French are the ones that gave us ours! You can see this historic landmark just outside of the limits of the Eiffel Tower on a little island in the Seine. Although you can walk up to it, you can also get a great view of it during a lunch or dinner cruise.
Beautiful altar in the Cathédrale Saint Louis des Invalides


  • The Louvre: The Louvre is one of the world’s largest museums and home to some of the most famous works of art, including the Mona Lisa. It’s a must-visit for art lovers and history buffs alike. But just keep in mind that this is an extremely large museum! It make take a couple of days to see it all.
  • Hôtel des Invalides: No it’s not a hotel. It’s a historic complex known for its stunning architecture and rich military history. It houses several museums, including the famous Musee de l’Armee.
  • Cathédrale Saint Louis des Invalides: This is a continuation of the Hotel des Invalides. The inside is breathtaking beautiful and serves as the final resting place of several French military leaders, including Napoleon Bonaparte. (pictured above)
  • Château de Versailles: Located about 30 minutes outside of the Paris city center, this palace is an iconic symbol of absolute monarchy and opulence. Its grand architecture, expansive gardens, and rich history showcase the splendor and extravagance of the French monarchy.
Jardin du Palais Royal is not to be missed during your first time in Paris. Especially in spring when the cherry blossoms bloom!


  • Luxembourg Gardens: This beautiful park is a great place to relax and enjoy a picnic. You can also rent a sailboat to float around the pond.
  • Jardin du Palais Royal: If you weren’t looking for this garden, odds are you won’t find it. The street that it’s on is known for all of its designer shopping. And if you end up going in March, you can even watch as the cherry blossoms start to bloom! It’s a fantastic spot for pictures. (pictured above)
  • Jardin des Tuileries: This garden is located just outside of the Louvre. It is a very popular spot for tourists and locals. There are plenty of ponds, statues, and chairs to enjoy a perfect day in Paris. You’ll often see families having picnics, people running in groups, and others just taking the day in with a good book or great conversations.

Places to wander

  • Montmartre: This historic neighborhood is known for its bohemian atmosphere, quaint streets, and stunning views of the city. Climb up the steps to the top of the hill to see the beautiful Sacré-Cœur Basilica. It’s also where a few iconic scenes from Emily in Paris have taken place!
  • Île Saint-Louis: This island is located in the middle of the Seine River and is a great place to wander around and discover hidden gems like small shops, restaurants, and galleries.
  • The Catacombs of Paris: This underground network of tunnels and chambers is home to the remains of over six million people. It’s a unique and somewhat eerie experience that you won’t forget.
  • Canal Saint-Martin: This beautiful canal is a popular spot for picnics and boat rides. You can also explore the trendy boutiques and cafes that line the canal.
  • Rue Cler: This charming street is known for its open-air markets, bakeries, and cafes. It’s a great place to pick up some authentic French delicacies like cheese, wine, and pastries.

While you definitely don’t want to miss the top tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre-Dame, there are also some hidden gems that will make your first time in Paris unforgettable.

There are so many beautiful café storefronts to look out for during your first time in Paris. Le Recrutement is one of the most picturesque.

Hidden gems in Paris

Like any incredible destination, there are also some unique experiences that not everyone knows about. Here are a few hidden gems to add to your itinerary:

  • Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature: This quirky museum is dedicated to hunting and nature and features some unusual exhibits, including a collection of taxidermy animals and antique hunting equipment.
  • The Père Lachaise Cemetery: This famous cemetery is the final resting place of many famous people, including Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, and Édith Piaf.
  • The Paris Sewer Museum: This unusual museum takes you underground to explore the city’s sewer system, which played a major role in the city’s history.
  • The Musée des Arts et Métiers: This museum is dedicated to science and technology and features exhibits on everything from airplanes to clocks to robots.
  • The Palais de Tokyo: This contemporary art museum features cutting-edge exhibitions and installations. It’s a great place to discover new and emerging artists.
Try as many street side cafes during your first time in Paris

Best recommendations for your first time in Paris

  1. Buy a museum pass. There are so many museums that are door to door to one another. And if you prefer wandering versus a solidified itinerary, this will help you. While you walk around, if you stumble upon a museum, with your pass you can just walk right in. No need to worry about paying extra!
  2. Walk to your destinations. Many things are right next to each other. Plus traffic in Paris can get a little crazy. If your destination is within a three mile radius, I suggest walking. During my honeymoon, my husband and I walked a total of 53 miles during our one week there!
  3. Bring comfy shoes. I get it – Paris is one of the fashion capitals of the world. But fashion and walking everywhere do not mix. Wear comfortable shoes so that you can stay out all day enjoying the city.
  4. Use the metro. This is another great and cheap option to get around the city. When coming back from Disneyland Paris, my husband and I took the 45 minute metro ride back in to the city. For both of us to ride was 10 euros.
  5. Try as many street-side cafes as possible. The food in Paris is incredible. My husband and I ate like royalty and our bill was nowhere near how much it would have cost in the US. Not to mention that my husband had the best burger of his life at one of these cafes. I had a bite and I can confirm – it was the best burger ever.
Woman enjoying the Palace of Versailles gardens in spring

Final thoughts for a first time in Paris

These are just a few suggestions for things to do during your first time in Paris. With so much to see and do, you’ll want to plan your trip carefully to make the most of your time in this amazing city. I will say for our honeymoon though, we only planned to go to one place per day, and then the rest of the day was spent just finding things to do and see while we were out and about. Whether you stick to the top tourist attractions or venture off the beaten path to discover some hidden gems, your first-time experience in Paris is sure to be unforgettable!

How to Develop Your Taste in Art

Like wine, art is an acquired taste. Sure anyone can appreciate a great picture of the ocean or a painting of a Disney character. But how do you develop your taste in art when it’s something deeper? Art is an expressive form with the ability to transcend cultures and languages. Whether it be through paintings, sculptures, or photography. Although many appreciate art equally, others may remain indifferent or find it hard to comprehend. So let’s learn how one can broaden their tastes for creativity and appreciation through art!

Understanding the basics

In order to appreciate art, you have to learn its foundational elements. Understanding what makes an artwork great or a particular style or movement valuable can deepen your appreciation of them. You can easily do this just be learning more about a particular piece. What was the intent of the artist? Is it conveying a specific historical event? Are the colors or shapes symbolic? Start with color, shape, perspective, and composition before enrolling in an introductory art history course or reading books about art history. Once you comprehend these fundamental components, you will be able to appreciate even small details in any piece you see!

Tour museums and galleries

Exposing yourself to different art forms is key to expanding your palate, and visiting museums and galleries provides the ideal environment for this development. When attending exhibitions, take your time observing each work of art while reading up on its creator’s inspirations and intentions – seeing art in person brings it alive, sparking emotions you wouldn’t otherwise experience just seeing it online or in print form.

Discuss art with others

Art is subjective, and everyone perceives it differently. I know, what you’re thinking though. “I don’t want to be that art snob that wears fake glasses and a scarf.” Movies and TV shows definitely show a certain perception of the type of person who enjoys art. While some choose to really dive deep into the culture of art, you don’t have it. You could even just go to an art gallery with some friends and talk about which ones you like the most. Which ones you find the funnest, the most colorful, or the ones you would hang in your house. It doesn’t have to be all about discussing the “deeper meaning”. Furthermore, discussing it with others can broaden your horizons and help you see its value from various angles. You would be surprised by how you may start to perceive different pieces.

Develop your unique eye

The goal to develop your taste in art should be finding pieces that resonate with you. Whether that’s on an emotional level or just something that catches your eye visually. A key step toward this is to experiment with various styles, techniques, and themes until you discover your preferences. Even if these differ from what most consider as “good art.” Your personal preferences doesn’t have to be bound by popular opinion. And you shouldn’t have to explain yourself for liking certain things! Love what you love, take risks, and explore your style! Try different media, colors, and textures before investing in more expensive works of art. You can also buy wall art which provides the ideal platform to try pieces before investing in more expensive pieces!

Work on your own interior décor

Nothing will help train your eye and lock in your personal style than decorating your space! Whether that be a whole house or just your office area. Finding what you like can be daunting and possibly expensive. The goal here isn’t to buy a pricey piece right out the gate. Instead go to places like Target, Marshalls, Wayfair, or Amazon to shop. Start by buying things that aren’t expensive or large. From there you will be able to work your way up to more expensive or larger pieces. But nothing is worse than committing to a large piece that you end up having no place for. Or worse – nothing that compliments it. It will also help to bring reference pictures of the space you are decorating along with room measurements. This will not only help you stay within style criteria but also scale criteria.

Create your own art

Making art yourself is one of the best ways to expand your art appreciation. Even if you don’t consider yourself creative, taking some time out of your day to make something will deepen your appreciation of art. By understanding the process of creation, you’ll appreciate all of the efforts an artist puts into their artwork while understanding from their perspective and appreciating art from both perspectives. You can even create art to give to others as a gift. It’s thoughtful as well as personal!

Establishing your taste in art can be an enriching journey. By understanding its fundamentals, visiting museums, discussing it with others, and creating your own work of art, you will open new avenues of creativity and appreciation when it comes to art. Remember, there are no right answers or styles- it all comes down to personal taste! Pablo Picasso said, “Art was made for soul cleansing.” So as you explore it, keep in mind the basic elements while letting your perspective guide your appreciation.