What to do in Paris? Discover the city of love

The Parisian Bucket List

Get lost in the Louvre

A behemoth of a museum, the Louvre has galleries and wings so vast you could easily spend a day feasting your eyes on treasures like the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and Egyptian mummies – not to mention on the building itself, which sports sumptuous architecture erected and remodelled over the centuries by the rulers of France. When cultural overload sets in, take a breather in the Café Mollien at the top of the grand Mollien staircase.

Take a picture in front of the Louvre's pyramid

Scale the Eiffel Tower

The most famous edifice in the world, the Eiffel Tower, was originally erected as a temporary exhibit for a World Fair. It provides heart-stopping views over Paris and is visible from most vantage points across the city. Apart from the new glass floor installed in 2014, there’s also a panoramic champagne bar on the third floor, a brasserie, and the Michelin-starred Jules Verne restaurant. At night, the Eiffel’s girders sparkle like fairy lights on a Christmas tree (every hour, on the hour).

Eat global at the Marché des Enfants Rouges

This historical market takes its name from the 16th-century orphanage that used to occupy the site; the red of the children’s clothes indicated that they had been donated by Christian charities. Although the orphanage closed before the revolution, the imposing wooden edifice remained, and was reopened as a deluxe food market in 2000 after extensive campaigning from locals. Now something of a touristic hotspot, the market is equipped to fill the emptiest of stomachs with its impressive range of Italian, Lebanese, African, Japanese and other stalls.

Be impressed by the Musée d'Orsay

The old Belle Époque Orsay train station was converted into the Musée D’Orsay in 1986 to house one of the world’s largest collections of Impressionist and Post-impressionist art. Aside from works by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec, you'll find a dapper collection of decorative arts from the Art Nouveau era and a wide range of 19th-century sculpture. Digest it over coffee in the café behind the museum’s giant transparent clock.

Climb the Arc de Triomphe

Give your legs a workout and climb the 284 steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. The views sweep in geometric splendour between the arc of La Defense and the Louvre. It’s also a plum spot for observing Parisian driving techniques: the unmarked traffic island creates speedy anarchy – in fact, have an accident here and it’s automatically 50/50 on the insurance claim, no matter whose fault it is. Back on solid ground, spare a thought for the Unknown Soldier whose grave sits solemnly in the centre of the arch.

Take a trip to the Château de Versailles

Centuries of makeovers have made Versailles the most sumptuously clad château in the world – a brilliant, unmissable cocktail of extravagance. Architect Louis Le Vau first embellished the original building – a hunting lodge built during Louis XIII's reign – after Louis XIV saw Vaux-Le-Vicomte, the impressive residence of his finance minister Nicolas Fouquet. André Le Nôtre turned the boggy marshland into terraces, parterres, lush groves and a spectacular series of fountains.

Scarf a classic millefeuille at Pierre Hermé

Picture this: sweet crunchy layers of caramelised pastry, sandwiched with unctuous blobs of mascarpone, flavoured with Pierre Hermé’s magic concoction of vanilla from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico. This heavenly pud – without doubt the best vanilla slice in Paris – is but one of the delights awaiting your taste buds at the cake chef’s boutiques. Pierre Hermé’s macarons (which come in flavours like caramel butter, rose, pistachio and liquorice), may well make it into your book of ‘best ever’ treats too, along with his fruit jellies and nougat.

Explore Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter

Peruse the former haunts of Hemingway, Stein, Picasso, Giacometti, Camus, Prévert and, bien sûr, the Bonnie and Clyde of French philosophy, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Check out the hotspot of the post-World War II Paris jazz boom and the heart of the Paris book trade. This is where the cliché of café terrace intellectualising was coined, but nowadays most of the local patrons of the Flore and the Deux Magots are in the fashion business, and couturiers have largely replaced publishers. Never mind: it's a smart and attractive part of the city.

Check out the Fondation Louis Vuitton

The Fondation Louis Vuitton modern art gallery opened in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris’s second largest public park, in October 2014. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the impressive new space plays host to Louis Vuitton Group CEO Bernard Arnault’s art collection. Visually stunning, the FLV is shell-shaped and made up of twelve glass sails that soar above the park's greenery. Inside is a huge auditorium and 3,850m2 of exhibition space divided into eleven galleries.

Be a flâneur in Montmartre

Gone are the days when Montmartre was a tranquil village packed with vines and windmills, although two 'moulins' (windmills) and a small patch of vines do still exist. Today, perched high on the 'Butte' (Paris's highest and most northerly hill), the area is tightly packed with houses, spiralling round the mound below the sugary-white dome of the Sacré-Coeur. Despite the thronging tourists (chiefly around Place du Tertre) it remains the most unabashedly romantic part of Paris.

Visit the Sacré Coeur and take pictures from one of the most beautiful Paris's point of view

Have a street artist do your portrait

Warm up with a hot chocolate at Angelina

Angelina is home to Paris's most lip-smackingly scrumptious desserts - all served in the faded grandeur of a belle époque salon just steps from the Louvre. The hot chocolate is pure decadence; order the 'African', a velvety potion so thick that you need a spoon to consume it. And since you've lasted through the queue, it would be rude not to sample one of their desserts too: try the Mont Blanc, a ball of meringue covered in whipped cream and sweet chestnut. Pure saccharine heaven.

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