hot-chocolate-angelina

Paris is one of the most famous cities in the world mostly because it is so fabulous. It seems that anything beautiful and fashionable originates in Paris as well as all types of incredible pastries and desserts. Add to that the amazing art, architecture and bridges crossing the River Seine and planning a couple of days in the City of Lights can be downright overwhelming. It can be tough to know what things not to miss in Paris.

We recently spent 10 days in France, three of which were in Paris. I did a bit of research before arriving and then had the luxury of our own private tour guide, a friend who had lived in Paris one summer, but even then we had to miss out on things we would have liked to see or experience.

After careful consideration, if you are going to Paris, these are the six things you absolutely cannot miss while you are there:

1. Macaroons

These tasty little French cookies are uniquely French and uniquely delicious. There are many roadside cafes that offer macaroons but if you can, try them from Ladurée on the Champs-Élysées. Ladurée is the fancy, decadent dessert spot you would expect from France and the upscale shopping street of Champs-Élysées is not to be missed.

2. The Louvre

Things not to miss in Paris

Photo by Benh LIEU SONG via Wikimedia Commons

What can I say, The Louvre is the most famous museum in the world for good reason. It is home to everything from the Mona Lisa to incredible statutes to a vast collection of the Egyptian pyramids and tombs. We weren’t sure if we were going to have enough time to visit the Louvre–I’d heard it takes two full days–but I can assure you whatever time you have to spend there, do it! It is unbelievable and is also close to my next place not to miss.

3. Hot Chocolate at Café Angelina

Hot chocolate from Angelina is a sublime gastronomic experience. The hot chocolate comes in its own silver pitcher along with a side of the real deal whipped cream. The hot chocolate itself is dark and creamy and if it were any more rich, it would be too much, but it’s not, it’s simply perfect…heaven in the form of liquid chocolate. This was literally our first stop after we checked into our hotel and it will be again next time I find myself in Paris.

4. A fancy multi-course dinner with wine pairing

wineglassesIf you are traveling with your kids, this is going to be a bit challenging but in our case, this was a trip when we left our kids home.  My husband surprised me by planning a fancy dinner at a restaurant recommended by a local. It was five courses full of food and wine pairings that I would never have come up with on my own and were uniquely French and of course, delicious.

5. Musée d’Orsay

Housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a railway station, this museum full of mostly French art houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world by painters including Monet, Van Gough, Manet, Degas, Cézanne, Gaugin and more. Most museums are lucky to have one piece of art from these artists and the Musée d’Orsay is packed full of them.

6. Street Crepes

Hot fresh, French Crepe + Nutella + Banana + Whipped Cream…need I say more?

There are so many other things we saw that you should see in Paris: The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomph, Notre Dame Cathedral, etc. but life would go on with little regret if you didn’t get to see them before returning home. As for macaroons, the Louvre, hot chocolate at Cafe Angelina, a fancy dinner, the Musée d’Orsay and street crepes, you would absolutely kick yourself later if you didn’t find time to indulge in these fabulous plays that make Paris so wonderful.

Want more? Read these stories on visiting Paris with a baby or with tweens.

What’s on your list of things you must do in Paris?

Do you have anything to add to this list?