1.PEOPLE WATCH IN A CAFE
The cafes in Paris are iconic, and enjoying them is a must. Don't simply go in to grab a rushed lunch. Stay for a while, take your time, enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of Paris. Get a seat outside, a café late, and enjoy yourself. Practice your French. Wear black. Be a (pretend) Parisian.
2. EXPLORE VERSAILLES
Versailles is not technically in Paris, but as it is perhaps the world’s most famous palace, I am including it anyway. The main palace is, of course, worth a visit, but the gardens cannot be overlooked. They span for 800 hectares, have over 200,000 trees, and included countless hidden gems. Get out of the city and frolic in the wildflowers as Marie Antoinette would have wanted you to.
3. PICNIC UNDER THE EIFFEL TOWER
While most peoples first instinct is to take the trip to the top of the famous landmark, I would advice against it. Sure you get great views of Paris, but what are Paris views without the Eiffel Tower in them? Battling the crowds isn't really worth it. Instead, get a bottle of wine, a baguette, some dessert (obviously) and have a seat in the Jardins du Trocadéro. Go as it gets dark so you can see the Eiffel Tower sparkle in the night.
4. CLIMB THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE
As I said, what are Paris views without the Eiffel Tower? After climbing around 300 stairs to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, you will get a birds eye view of Paris similar to the one at the top of the Eiffel Tower, only the tower will actually be in part of the view. More importantly, the Arc de Triomphe itself, and the trek to the top, are an experience all their own.
5. GET LOST
The real Paris is not on the touristy streets. Take a few wrong turns, and find something unique and authentically Parisian. There are secret bits of magic hidden all over the city, and finding them by complete accident is half the fun. Get lost and find your own part of Paris, your own secret spot. At the very least, find a boulangerie.
6. TREAT YOUR SELF
Paris is the style capital of the world. So, instead of spending money on souvenirs you will never look at again, treat yourself to something special. Buy something you wouldn't normally get. A dress, a bag, a perfume. There is no better feeling that answering the question “Where did you get that?” with Paris. Just make sure whatever you get is in fact French, and not just a pricier version of something from your home country.
Paris is famous for its food, so bust out your big pants, wave goodbye to that diet, and EAT. See that croissant? Eat it. See that macaroon? Eat it! See that croque monsieur? Please don't eat it, save it for me. (just kidding, EAT IT). Don’t overly worry yourself with translations and finding out exactly what something is, just be adventurous and try everything you can. The gym will be there when you get home.
8. ENJOY SOME ART
A trip to Paris is not complete without a museum or two. Don't be intimidated if you know nothing about art. You don't need to. Just have an open mind, and go look at some beautiful paintings. While Paris is mostly famous for the Louvre, I say leave the crowds behind and instead see some real French Impressionism at the Musée de l'Orangerie or Musee d'Orsay.
9. TAKE A STROLL IN MONTMARTREMontmartre was once home to some of the worlds greatest creative minds (think Hemingway and Picasso). Walking through this part of town, it is hard not to feel as inspired as they did. The stores, resturants, and views are unique to this part of town, so take your time and explore. The views here also make it worth your while.
10. VISIT THE OPERA GARNIER
The Opera is one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris, and that is saying a lot. It is often overlooked by tourists, which means the crowds are significantly smaller than other parts of the city. It has all the splendor of Versailles with half the people, and an added air of mystery, as this building inspired the story The Phantom of the Opera. Go walk around, or see an actual opera if you are lucky enough to score tickets.