The Handy Guide To Activities In Paris For The Infrequent Visitor

You already know that there are a lot of activities in Paris to choose from. That's a given. The thing is, though, as an occasional visitor, what do you choose? Where do you start? Don't worry, we're here to help. Our mission is to see that you have the best trip to Paris ever, with the least amount of stress, of standing in lines, and time-wasting planning.

In fact, that's why we started Paris Insiders Guide — to share our decades of combined experience in living in and visiting the City of Light. But, this article is for infrequent visitors. So, we're going to start with some basic things that you're going to want to do and see. Don't worry if some of the suggestions seem "touristy" — after all, you are a tourist, so have all the fun you can while you're there. Let's get started. Bon voyage !

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The Best Seine River Dinner Cruises

VIP Dinner Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens
This romantic dinner cruise includes champagne, wine & a classic meal. Choose the Service Privilege option for the best seating, best meal, and the ultimate experience.
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Bateaux Mouches Dinner Cruise with Live Music
At your private table enjoy a classic 4-course French dinner, with live music. Your bateau lazily floats past illuminated landmarks like the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower.
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7 Top Recommendations for First-Time Visitors

1. Hop-On, Then Hop-Off an Open-Top Bus

Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus

This is one of those things that may seem a bit touristy at first glance. But really there's no better way to get an overview of the city and see a lot in a short time. (And for not much money!)

Hop-on-hop-off buses explore all the popular neighborhoods of the city. The entire route takes one hour but you're free to hop off anywhere to explore and then hop on when you're ready to check out another neighborhood. And with the open top, it's easy to see everything and understand where the sights are in relation to each other.

2. Taste French Wines in Paris

French Wine Tasting in Paris

"France" + "Wine"… pretty inseparable, no? So it makes sense while you're in Paris that you take an hour or two to learn about French wines. This popular wine tasting class is a good one to choose — it introduces you to the major wine-growing regions of France.

You'll learn how to pair the wines with the best French cheeses and charcuterie. Nicely centrally located, the class is held in a popular wine bar near the Louvre. You can book the wine tasting directly, but it is also included free with the Paris Insiders Pass.

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The Most Popular Ways to Visit Versailles

Your Own Private Versailles – Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick-up
Experience Versailles on an exclusive private tour with access to areas seen only by dignitaries. See the Hall of Mirrors, the king and queen's private residences, as well as the magnificent gardens.
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Best of Versailles with Skip-the-Line Access + Grand Canal Lunch
Skip the long lines to experience the grandeur of Versailles on a guided tour. Stroll through the stunning gardens then meet up for lunch on the Grand Canal. Hotel pick-up is included.
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3. Champagne Cruise Along the Seine

Champagne Cruise Along the Seine

Here's a truism, at least according to our readers — when you're in Paris, you must take a Seine River cruise. Paris simply looks different as you glide past all the famous landmarks and get a panoramic view from the river.

There are a number of river cruises to choose from, including the very popular Bateaux Parisiens VIP Dinner Cruise. But when it comes down to choosing just one, we always recommend this champagne river cruise. What could be better that Paris, the romantic river, and all those famous sights while drinking bubbly?

4. Visit the Eiffel Tower – The Easy Way

Visit the Eiffel Tower

Here's one of our best pieces of advice and one we've written about more than once — book skip-the-line tours whenever you can. Paris is a busy place and the top attractions always have line-ups. If you just show up without a plan, you're either going to be disappointed or you're going to wait in line a long time.

We used to think we could do it all on our own, but we've learned our lesson over the years. Now, we always opt for a guided, skip-the-line tour whenever one is available. That particularly applies to the most popular monument in the world, the Eiffel Tower. So, take a tip from us and our readers and get to the top without the hassles of waiting in the long line ups. It's easy, and, honestly, it's the only way to do it.

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Find Hotel Deals for Your Dates in Paris

Check with Booking.com to find today's sale prices on hotel rooms in every arrondissement of Paris. Save 20% to 30%… or even more!

Booking.Com Paris Hotel Deals
Find hotels in the Latin Quarter, Saint Germain, the Right Bank, the Marais, near the Eiffel Tower.
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5. Musée d'Orsay

Musée d'Orsay

To our way of thinking, the best of the bigger museums in Paris is Musée d'Orsay on the Left Bank, just across the river footbridge from the Tuileries Garden. This museum is dedicated to Impressionism and other 19th-century art, and there's some great stuff here. The best of Manet, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh. In recent years the Orsay Museum has seen a renovation which dedicated even more area to the Impressionists.

Not only is the artwork phenomenal, the building itself is something you don't want to miss. It started life as a Belle Epoque train station, and it's a large, beautifully decorated space, filled with natural light and is the perfect place to view all these great 19th-century works of art.

But once again, you want to avoid the line-ups. To that we recommend this popular, five-star guided tour of Musée d'Orsay that concentrates on the best of the Impressionist masters.

6. The Louvre

Louvre Art Museum

It's the biggie, the one that rules over all other museums, at least in size and the amount of art. The Louvre is so huge and packed with so many amazing works of art that you can't see it all one trip. You won't be surprised to hear that our recommendation is to book a tour that gets you past the long lines and directly to the Mona Lisa. Here's the link to the most popular skip-the-line Louvre guided tour.

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The Most Popular Food Tours in Paris

Discover the Food & Wine of the Marais
Visit the top food & wine shops in the historic Marais, tasting the best of French foods. There's plenty of sampling on this small-group tour.
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Cheese & Wine Tasting in a Paris Cellar
In the cheese-aging cellar of a Paris fromagerie you discover 7 classic French cheeses and the wines that pair with them. Lots of sampling!
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7. Walk, Gawk & Dine

Walk, Gawk & Dine

No, this isn't the name of a new Paris tour. It's our last bit of advice. To wit, don't miss the beauty of just being in Paris. Make sure you set aside time to walk the quartiers, to stand on a bridge or two admiring the Seine, the explore the bustling streets of the Marais or Montmartre, to gaze up at the architecture and monuments, and to dine every single night in one of the best restaurants in the world.

If, as we claim, visiting Paris is all about creating memories, we can't think of a better way to do it.

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