What to Do in Paris - Local Expert Recommendations

Would you love to have a dream getaway to Paris, but you aren’t sure what sights to see or things to do? Find some insider tips by reading our recommendations supplied by Doni Belau of Girls' Guide to Paris.

You can find all kinds of advice, from the tastiest treats to must-see attractions. So, relax and take five minutes to discover what the locals think you should not miss when you’re in France’s capital.

Hi Doni - what local snack would you recommend to a friend?

You can't leave Paris without having a crepe or two! The best are found at Le Breizh in Le Marais. Most people head towards chocolate or Nutella, but I'm a fan of sugar and lemon.....yum!

Which city sight-seeing tour would you recommend?

People always recommend the hop-on hop-off bus, but I wouldn't be caught dead traipsing around on a bus full of tourists in Paris. For a bit of folly, I prefer to take visitors on a Segway tour that starts at the Eiffel Tower. It’s not only huge fun, you'll cover a lot more acreage in central Paris seeing the main sights than you ever could on foot.

I'd be remiss not recommending our own DIY downloadable walking tours that we sell on our site. You won't feel like a tourist, and you'll get to discover some of Paris' secrets with your own two feet.

Which cafe would you recommend to a friend and why?

One of the most beautiful cafés for its location and outside terrace is Cafe de Nemours near the Palais Royale. It makes a perfect stop to warm up or cool down after a visit to the Louvre.

A bit further afield, and more hipster than classic, is La Rotunde in the 19th, with its darling bar a vins and the garden, which in summer is the place to be.

Which museum would you recommend to visit and why?

I personally love the Musée Rodin best of all the many, many museums in Paris. It was just reopened after a much-needed reservation, but unlike some of the others, this is the actual studio where Rodin created some of his most famous works.

Walking around the exterior and viewing the Thinker and Balzac, among many other sculptures set in the formal garden, is nothing short of sublime. In nice weather, taking a coffee or lunch in the outdoor café makes a lovely visit even lovelier.

Which landmark would you recommend to visit and why?

You cannot leave Paris without going into Notre Dame and lighting a candle for a loved one. No matter how many hundreds of times I walk the streets of Paris, entering this 850-year-old church always moves me. It has the power to affect you even if you are not particularly religious.

Which local pub or bar would you recommend to a friend and why?

Paris has so many cool bars that it is really difficult to pick just one, so this is a tough one to answer, but... I love Rosebud for a retro night, or Baton Rouge for craft cocktail indulgences.

Which nightclub would you recommend to visit and why?

I'm a fan of La Bellevilloise in the 20th because there is so much variety available there – it’s a café, a bar, a cinema and a nightclub. But who can say no to a night at Le Titty Twister, just off the Champs Elysees? It’s an underground dance club and bar extraordinaire.

What souvenirs would you recommend to buy?

For simple souvenirs from Paris, you can buy different coloured berets or crystal Eiffel Tower models for children. I would recommend candles and tea from Mariage Frères or exquisite chocolates from Patrick Roger for gifts that are a little more special. My latest favourites are makeup bags from Les Toiles de Soleil and anything ceramic from Astier de Vilatte.

What local delicacy would you recommend to try?

Oysters are always on my to-do list when I'm in Paris...some of the best come from Brittany, just north of Paris, or the Arcachon basin near Bordeaux. Tasting them at the tiny but charming Cabane à Huitres in the 15th is a delightful and briny experience.

What is your personal recommendation for something to do in Paris? Something that not everyone knows?

I love to take a hammam (Turkish bath) to relieve jet lag. I prefer O'Kari's women-only hammam. You must do the scrub, which delivers you new baby-soft skin. Plus the owner serves you a refreshing orange flower water to cool you down in the cold pools after your steam....delightful!

Do you have any more special recommendations?

Yes. The most talked about place right now amongst Parisians is Dersou, which won the best restaurant in Paris in 2015 from Le Fooding. It serves a tasting menu paired with cocktails instead of wine - unique and delicious. Bon appétit!

If you need more information, my e-book EAT in Paris covers the best food trucks, gluten-free and vegan joints, the newest and most scrumptious gastropubs, and the trendiest restaurants and cafés.

Read some insider advice on accommodation choices with our expert hotel recommendations.

Ready to start planning your Paris city break itinerary? It’s easy – just combine these insider tips with even more activities and attractions in Paris

What to do in Paris
Girls Guid to Paris

By Doni Belau

Girls' Guide to Paris