Whether you are spending a few days in Paris or are lucky enough for an extended stay in the City of Light, the best use of your time is to experience the city as if you live there. Don’t let a moment be wasted waiting in line at yet one more museum or on a cheesy tour bus—instead opt to explore it leisurely, alongside its residents. To truly understand the savoir-faire of Parisian life here, are five must-do activities for your vacation.
Rent a Bike
Hop on a Velib Bike and ride along the Seine River. Paris has an amazing bike-share system, the precursor to CitiBike in New York, and there is no better way to get a glimpse of the beautiful city than by renting one for a leisurely ride along the Seine. Start out by the Eiffel Tower and follow the path along the north side of the river as you pass historic sites like the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, and the Place de la Concorde. End your ride at the “lovers bridge” near the Ile de la Cite, where you can leave a lock to seal your love.
Picnic at the Eiffel Tower
Grab sandwiches and wine to enjoy an afternoon in front of one of the world’s most remarkable structures. The neighborhood of the 6th arrondissement surrounding the Eiffel Tower is filled with adorable artisanal shops. Take a quick walk around to pick up cheese, charcuterie, a fresh baguette, and, most important, wine for the perfect picnic, and then head to the Champ de Mars, the park that stretches out in front of the world-famous tower.
Enjoy a brunch of tea and desserts (and a glass of champagne, of course!) at the famed Laduree. No trip to Paris is complete without popping into Laduree to pick up a box of delectable macarons. Instead of a short trip spent standing at the patisserie’s counter, extend your time inside the beautiful interior of the shop by booking a table in the tearoom for a decadent champagne brunch.
See the Palace of Versailles
Marie Antoinette’s former residence is the epitome of Paris opulence, and it’s only a 40-minute train ride outside the city. Make sure to buy your tickets ahead of time and plan to spend the whole day there soaking in the impressive gilded palace and expansive gardens.
Sit at a Classic Paris Café
There is absolutely nothing more Parisian than camping out at an outdoor café table with the express intent to simply people-watch while enjoying an espresso or a half bottle of wine. Grab your sunnies and head over to Café Paris London across from the Place de la Madeleine located in the heart of one of the chicest shopping districts in the city.