You’ve queued up at the Eiffel Tower, tried a macaron at Ladurée, been jostled by crowds in the Champs-Élysées, posed for photos at the Arc de Triomphe, and visited the Louvre. Now that you have all the first-timer must-dos out of the way, you can relax, put down the checklist, and enjoy Paris like a Parisian. Step out of your hotel in Paris, get a little lost, and discover the city’s lesser-known charms with this list of things to do on a perfect day in Paris.
Assuming that you’ve already visited the Louvre, stood among a crowd of snap-happy tourists looking at the Mona Lisa, and secretly asked yourself “Is this it?” it’s a good idea to seek out some equally impressive and lesser-known museums on your perfect day in Paris.
At the Musée de l’Orangerie, you’ll find collections such as Monet’s Water Lilies and the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume collection, one of Europe’s finest art collections, amassed by French art dealer Paul Guillaume. This collection has paintings from the 1860s to 1930s, featuring artists such as Gaugin, Matisse, Picasso, and Modigliani.
Spend a few hours at the Decorative Arts Museum, which houses rare historical documents, photographs, posters, decorative art collections in woodwork, and metalwork. This museum also features ceramics, glass, leather, and beads from the Middle Ages to contemporary times, costumes and textiles dating from the third century, and pieces by designers such as Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.
Other interesting museums are the Musée Rodin, home to a beautiful sculpture garden that makes for a romantic spot, and the Musée Marmottan Monet, perfect for Monet fans.
Eat Like a Local
What’s a perfect day without a little culinary indulgence? Go easy on your wallet and skip the fine restaurants; instead, dine as the locals do. Avoid bistros and restaurants near the tourist drags (or close to the Louvre or Eiffel Tower) that have English menus. Instead, head into smaller patisseries, cafés, and bistros in areas such as the Latin Quarter.
Sample the food from the many carts at a local marché (market) such as the Marché Biologique Raspail or the ones on Rue des Martyrs or Rue Montorgueil, where you’ll be in the company of locals shopping for groceries and talented Parisian chefs sourcing their ingredients. With plenty of gourmet cafés, pastry shops, and chocolatiers, there’s lots to keep you busy for a few hours.
Wander in Paris
If you’ve had enough of art and want to explore the city beyond the museums, then there are plenty of parks and open spaces for leisurely exploration. To see Paris from a completely different perspective, go on an urban trek at the La Promenade Plantee, a 4.5-kilometer route in east Paris on a walkway flanked by trees built on a former railway line.
If perfectly manicured gardens are more your thing, then head to the Palais-Royal gardens, a tranquil space of arcades and lawns behind the 17th-century Palais-Royal. Here you’ll also find plenty of opportunities to splurge on the likes of Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney, among others.
Join the locals as they bring their families to enjoy a beautiful Paris day at the Luxembourg Gardens, the second-largest gardens in the city. Settle down with a book on a bench along one of the tree-lined walkways, admire the spring blooms of daffodils and tulips, watch a puppet show, enjoy a summertime concert at the bandstand, or stretch your legs on the trail around the perimeter of the park.
If you’re willing to loosen the purse strings and are something of a fashion lover, head to designer boutiques in Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, or, for more exclusivity, to Avenue Montaigne. For unique finds from both well-known Parisian designers and those not as popular internationally, but equally gifted, head to Rue de Charonne.
At the Marché aux Puces, a 150-year-old haven for flea market lovers, you’ll find treasures ranging from the antique and vintage to the downright quirky. Fashion, textiles, collectibles, books, and furnishings — there’s something for everyone.
This post is presented by IHG.
Have you been to Paris? What would you add to this list?