The Paris Bucket List: 45 Things to Do Before You Die

Unless you eat, like, a LOT of kale, then eventually you are unfortunately going to die. It sucks, we know. But the good part is that before all of that happens, you get to hang out in Paris, probably the most beautiful and cultured city in the world -- and to make sure you squeeze every last ounce of life out of this glorious place, here are the things you need to do before you leave: 

1. Go to the flea markets

You need to have at least one, ahem "treasure" to take home.  

2. Have a Bloody Mary at Harry’s Bar

It’s the bar that birthed the perfect hangover cure, so pay a visit. 

3. Listen to buskers at Sacré-Cœur

Beer, live music, and a view of the world’s most beautiful city are hard to find elsewhere.

Flickr/Chirag Shah

4. See the Mona Lisa and regret it

Those crowds won’t quit, but you have to pay your respects. 

5. Stroll Père Lachaise

Even death looks stunning in Paris. 

6. Wait in line for hot chocolate at Angelina

It may be touristy, but you need to know what the fuss is about. 

7. Take a Bateaux-Mouches boat cruise

Embrace your inner nautical tourist.

Flickr/Robert Occhialini

8. Eat a falafel in the Marais

It’s not French, but it’s so good that no one cares. 

9. Spend too much money on fancy chocolate

Put Patrick Roger’s kids through college with a few pieces of chocolate-covered ganache. 

10. Quietly judge people over a glass of wine at the Les Deux Magots or Café de Flore

Guidebooks say they are apparently the only two cafés in Paris, so you’d better try them.

Flickr/Ed Yourdon

11. Bike ride with a Parisian along the Seine

Preferably ride with a striped shirt and scarf waving in the breeze. Baguette in basket optional. 

12. Descend into the Catacombes

Millions of Parisians’ bones creepily on display for your morbid enjoyment. 

13. Picnic, picnic, picnic

By the Seine or in a park, just get some cheese and go.

Flickr/Pablo Monteagudo

14. Dine in the Eiffel Tower

It’s the height of cliché and fine dining. 

15. Stroll the Champs-Élysées

Bonus points for doing it at Christmas, when the lights make the crowds bearable. 

16. Ride the 3bis Metro line

You know you’re curious to find out what its deal is. Don’t leave without solving the mystery. 

17. Hear an organ concert at a church

You have your pick of the bunch, so visit Notre Dame or Sainte-Chapelle, among the many others, to hear what those pipes can do.

Flickr/Yann Caradec

18. Watch the fireworks from the Champ de Mars on July 14th

Huge crowds, sure, but there is no cooler way to see the show than directly in front of the Eiffel Tower. 

19. Eat at a fancy, Michelin-starred restaurant

It doesn't even have to be that expensive

20. Scale the Arc de Triomphe

Unique views of the Champs-Élysées from up above await you. And there’s a lift! 

21. Witness the chaos of the Galeries Lafayette during the sales

Save a few euros. Test your agoraphobia.

Flickr/Trey Ratcliff

22. See an opera or ballet at the Palais Garnier

Play dress-up and enjoy a show in arguably the world’s most beautiful theater. 

23. See a Monet somewhere (d'Orsay, l'Orangerie, Marmottan)

He’s at least once French painter worth checking out, though of course there are probably others... 

24. Have a street crepe

Cheese and ham wrapped in a crepe is street-food perfection.


25. Walk the stars up to Montmartre

After all that cheese, you’ll need one last workout. 

26. Pretend to shop on Avenue Montaigne

They don’t know what the sales are here, but it’s fun to pretend. 

27. See a football match at the Stade de France

Yes, the French do more than just eat cheese and baguettes. 

28. Ride on a scooter or motorbike

You need to have that quintessential Paris moment when you’re riding down a ridiculously gorgeous street, wind in your hair, life in your hands.

Flickr/Yuichi Sakuraba

29. Have a macaron taste-off

Ladurée vs. Pierre Hermé -- whichever loses, you win. 

30. Stroll by the prostitutes on rue Saint-Denis

It’s really, actually very historical. No, really. 

31. Take a day trip to Versailles

You may have been putting it off, but don’t insult Louis XIV by overlooking his legacy. 

32. Buy a kitschy Eiffel Tower keychain from a migrant vendor

This way your keys will remind you every day that you aren’t in Paris anymore.

Flickr/Neil Howard

33. See a cabaret show at the Moulin Rouge, Lido, or Crazy Horse

Paris was basically built by topless dancers. 

34. Pet the bunnies at one of the oldest flower and bird markets on Île de la Cité

Well, it’s better than eating them. 

35. Attend a jazz concert somewhere, anywhere

The '20s are still alive somewhere in Paris, right Owen Wilson? 

36. Have a swanky club night out somewhere, like Le Baron

Just be ready to take an Uber home.

Flickr/Steve Mohundro

This should be crossed off already. Come on, get with it. 

38. Dine or have drinks at Maxim’s

It’s Art Nouveau and it’s Maxim’s. It’s just what you do. 

39. Buy a book from Shakespeare and Co.

... and understand every English word gleefully. 

40. Go up the Montparnasse Tower

Get the bird’s eye view of Paris that actually includes the Eiffel Tower.


41. Play pétanque with some grumpy Parisians

Where else is it actually cool to play the French version of bocce ball? 

42. See an outdoor movie in the summer

It's where cinema was invented, don't ya know?

43. Have a drink/tea at a five-star hotel

Treat. Your. Self.

Flickr/Jimmy Flink

44. Dance the tango on the Seine on a summer evening

Because it will be your last.

45. Drink Champagne along the Seine

Pop a bottle of bubbly (the good stuff) and bid Paris adieu.

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