Sightseeing in Paris: where to go for awesomeness

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When’s the last time you were in Paris? If it’s longer than you’d like to admit, then perhaps you should brush up with what’s le super cool right now in the French capital.

Below we’ve listed the perfect selection for a mix of touristy fun and cultural sophistication… We hope, anyway.



Canal Saint Martin

Canal St Martin in the 20th Arrondissement is the area where all the young street artists like to dawdle and start up hand-crafted tech companies specialising in bespoke microbrews. Yes, it’s the Williamsburg of Paris, and like its NYC cousin, Canal St Martin is full of great bars and cafes. It’s almost too easy to while a whole day away here, but some folk can’t help themselves – us included.  

La Promenade Plantee

New York’s High Line was seen as a hip and innovative use of public space back when it opened in 2009, but it wasn’t an original idea. It was based on La Promenade Plantee in Paris, a 4.7km stretch of overground rail that opened in 1993. Lovingly renovated to make use of the vistas and scenery it threads through, with tasteful plants, decking and benches, the promenade makes for a destination in itself as it snakes from Bastille to Bois de Vincennes.


Pere Lachaise Cemetery

This grand old cemetery in the 20th Arrondissement hosts many famous residents including Edith Piaf, Frederic Chopin, Jim Morrison, Honore de Balzac, Marcel Proust, and Oscar Wilde. Many of the stunning designs and crumbling tombs date back over 200 years, making for an enchanting place to explore.



Super fancy tea and cakes in Paris are synonymous with Laduree, a boutique tea room chain that began in 1862 with a locale in Rue Royale. They specialise in so-called macarons, which are essentially multi-coloured meringues, but you can get actual meals too. These exquisite eateries can get rather busy though at peak meal times so it’s best to try for brunch or a late lunch.

Brasserie Lipp

This Saint Germain institution has had so many important and influential people cross its threshold that it’d be silly to even begin to list them all. Having opened in 1880, Brasserie Lipp has rules about not using your phones to maintain the original Belle Epoque atmosphere while you have a drink or enjoy its Alsatian cuisine.



Located in the Marais, Merci at times feels more like a gallery than a shop, what with the ever-changing installations that hang about the place. But that just makes this fashionable concept store appealing even for those people who aren’t interested in buying things.


The massive Fleux in the 4th Arrondissement has everything you might possible want for the interior of your home, as long as you want only the hippest and most cutting-edge bric-a-brac in all of France.


Hotel Amour

Hotel Amour has gained notoriety over the years for its famous clientele, and if you fancy yourself as somebody a bit ooh la la then it might be the place for you too.

Generator Hostel

A cheaper option but no less impressive. Generator has possibly the chicest hostel dorms in the northern hemisphere, and you can even stay in a private room with a balcony if you prefer – there’s a massive 916 beds in total, so everybody’s catered for. It’s a stone’s throw from the nightlife of Saint Martin, but there’s a bar and a nightclub on the premises if you don’t feel like stepping outside.


Shakespeare and Company

This curious second-hand bookshop specialising in English-language books has a proud tradition tied in with literary greats such as William S Burroughs and Henry Miller. Every Monday evening it hosts free readings from published authors. Shakespeare and Company’s unique atmosphere and history make it a popular haunt in the Latin Quarter, the student area of old on the Left Bank. It’s a short distance from other enlightened highlights such as the Sorbonne and the Pantheon, as well as Le Procope, a restaurant frequented by Voltaire and Rousseau in the 18th century.

The Espace Dali

The Espace Dali is an art museum in Montmartre dedicated to Salvador Dali. As well as its permanent collection of around 300 works and its temporary exhibitions, there are workshops for kids so they too can get to grips with the moustachioed egg-obsessed seer.

The Orangerie

The Louvre is just too massive and daunting to warrant anything other than several days’ dedication, so for a more concentrated dose of French artistry the Musee de L’Orangerie. Not only does it house some of the most famous French painters’ works, but it’s surrounded by the stunning and iconic Tuileries Garden. This lovely place:


Le Perchoir

Le Perchoir is a rooftop club that is open from 2pm on weekends, making it an ideal spot to relax. It helps that there are mattresses everywhere. You can stay on for the partying later in the evening, but then your view from 14 Rue Crespin du Gast won’t be quite as clear. This is a fifteen minute walk from Pere Lachaise Cemetery too.

Le Georges au Centre Pompidou

The Pompidou Centre’s high-tech edifice famously houses a top-notch collection of modern art behind all those exterior escalators. One of the best things about this Parisian institution though is the restaurant on the sixth floor, Le George, where you can relax with a tipple while looking out towards Notre Dame and the Marais.


Club Le Baron

Located in the 8th Arrondissement, Club Le Baron is considered to be one of the top party venues in Paris. Open daily from 11pm until 6am, it offers a cosy atmosphere drenched in the venue’s previous history as a brothel. Le Baron’s revelry can get raucous, especially when a band is playing.


Possibly the reddest club in Paris, Raspoutine is where the jet set party into the early hours. Its sultry décor and discerning clientele demand you dress to impress, but not necessarily in the style of the mad monk himself.


Sunset in Paris. Jardin des Tuileries, Paris. Photo: Vincent Anderlucci
Sunset in Paris. Jardin des Tuileries, Paris. Photo: Vincent Anderlucci

(Feature image: Didier Bonnette; Vincent Anderlucci)

Sightseeing in Paris: where to go for awesomeness was last modified: November 23rd, 2015 by Adam Zulawski
Author: Adam Zulawski (249 posts)

I'm a freelance writer and Polish-to-English translator. I blog about travel for Cheapflights and run Download my free e-book about Poland's capital after it was almost completely destroyed by the Nazis: 'In the Shadow of the Mechanised Apocalypse: Warsaw 1946'