5 best things to do in Paris this weekend

Esther Plant

Travel, Work & Play Guide

Ah, Paris! The City of Light never fails to enchant, and if you’re lucky enough to find yourself there this weekend, you’re in for a treat. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned Parisian explorer, there’s always something magical waiting around the corner. Here are the five best things to do in Paris this weekend.

1. Stroll Through the Marais

Duration: 2-3 hours

Start your weekend with a leisurely stroll through the Marais. This historic district is brimming with charm, from its narrow, cobbled streets to its hidden courtyards. Begin your walk at the Hôtel de Ville and make your way to the Place des Vosges, one of the oldest planned squares in Paris. Along the way, pop into quirky boutiques, explore trendy art galleries, and grab a coffee at a cosy café. Take your time to soak up the Parisian atmosphere, and don’t forget to visit the Musée Picasso if you have a bit more time.

2. Visit the Musée d’Orsay

Duration: 2-4 hours

Art lovers, this one’s for you! The Musée d’Orsay, housed in a stunning Beaux-Arts railway station, is a must-visit. Start your visit by admiring the magnificent architecture of the building itself before diving into the impressive collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces. Allocate at least two hours to see the highlights, including works by Monet, Van Gogh, and Degas. If you’re an art enthusiast, you might want to spend up to four hours to fully appreciate the extensive collection. After your museum visit, relax at the café with a view of the Seine or browse the museum shop for unique souvenirs.

View from a window designed to look like a clock in the Musée d'Orsay
View from the Musée d’Orsay, courtesy of Unsplash.

3. Picnic at the Luxembourg Gardens

Duration: 2-3 hours

Weather permitting, a picnic at the Luxembourg Gardens is an absolute delight. Pack some fresh baguettes, cheese, and a bottle of wine, and find a spot by the pond or under a shady tree. The gardens are beautifully manicured, and there’s plenty of space to relax and watch the world go by. Spend about two to three hours enjoying your picnic, strolling through the gardens, and exploring the gorgeous fountains and statues dotted around the park. If you’re travelling with children, they’ll love the playground and the puppet shows, and you can even rent a small sailboat to float on the pond.

4. Explore Montmartre

Duration: 3-4 hours

Montmartre is like stepping into a Parisian postcard. Begin your exploration at the base of the hill and wander up to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. The climb can take around 20-30 minutes, but you can also take the funicular if you prefer. Once at the top, spend some time inside the basilica before heading to the terrace for a panoramic view of the city that will leave you speechless. The area is known for its bohemian vibe, with artists sketching in the streets and charming bistros around every corner. Allocate about three to four hours to visit the Place du Tertre to see local artists at work, explore the quaint streets, and maybe even take home a unique souvenir. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Espace Dalí for a dose of surrealism.

Inside Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris, showing large columns and windows
The Sacré-Cœur Basilica, courtesy of Unsplash.

5. Cruise Along the Seine

Duration: 1-2 hours

End your weekend with a romantic cruise along the Seine. There are various options available, from one-hour sightseeing cruises to two-hour dinner cruises with champagne. Opt for a late evening cruise to see Paris’s iconic landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame, illuminated at night from the water. The gentle glide along the river offers a unique perspective of the city and captures the essence of Parisian romance. Book your tickets in advance to secure a good spot and consider pairing your cruise with a riverside dinner for the perfect end to your weekend.

So, there you have it – five fantastic things to do in Paris this weekend. Each activity offers a unique slice of Parisian life, from art and history to food and relaxation. Enjoy every moment, and let the city’s magic sweep you off your feet! Bon week-end!

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What’s the best way to get around Paris?

The Paris Metro is fast, efficient, and relatively easy to navigate. You can also use buses, trams, or the RER for longer distances. For a more leisurely experience, consider renting a bike or simply walking, especially in the central districts.

Do I need to speak French to get by in Paris?

While it’s always appreciated if you try to speak a bit of French, many Parisians speak English, especially in tourist areas. Basic phrases like “Bonjour” (Hello), “Merci” (Thank you), and “Parlez-vous anglais?” (Do you speak English?) can go a long way.

When is the best time to visit Paris?

Paris is beautiful year-round, but spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) are particularly pleasant with mild weather and fewer tourists. Summer can be busy and hot, while winter offers a magical atmosphere, especially around Christmas.

Are there any safety tips for visiting Paris?

Paris is generally safe, but it’s always wise to stay alert, especially in crowded areas and tourist spots where pickpocketing can occur. Keep your belongings secure, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid deserted areas at night.

What should I wear in Paris to blend in with the locals?

Parisians tend to dress stylishly yet comfortably. Opt for chic, well-fitted clothing in neutral colours. Comfortable shoes are a must for all the walking you’ll do, but try to avoid overly casual attire like sportswear if you want to blend in.