What to do and what to see in Paris by Sandy
So I don't know where you are staying, left or right bank, we were on the left bank right next to the Sorbonne so that was our point of departure for our outings. Anyway the museum pass is great if you plan on seeing many museums in a few days, can be purchased online. It only starts the day you first use it. If you go to a lot of museums it will save you money, however, almost all museum passes can be bought directly online also now. The important part regardless of how you purchase tickets is to make a reservation for entry, especially the Louvre, Orsay and Versaille. Five museums that are smaller that we really liked were the L'Organerie, it has works by Renoir, Picasso, Monet and others. The reason we liked this one so much was that they have 2 large meditation rooms with 4 large format paintings of Monets Waterlilies. They are 2 oval rooms with wrap around continuous waterlily scenes. Hard to explain but quite beautiful, especially if you are a fan of Monet. We also liked the Modern art museum in the Pompidou Center. Paintings and sculptures from Picasso to Kansinsky, as well as frank other artists. The other museum we found was actually because it was one of the few open on Mondays. It is the Musee Jacquemart-Andre. It is on Blvd Haussman and is actually a family mansion from the 19th century that has one of the best collections of art by a private collector. hHowever it also has several rooms decorated as they would have been during the 1800's when it was occupied by the family. Also has a lovely little Cafe attached for a lite lunch or snack. Another museum we liked was the Cluny Museum. It has a sizeable collection of religious relics and tapestries. It is on the site of ancient Roman baths and surprisingly contains more than we expected. Some of the relics date back to the 600-700''s. We actually only went there because the entrance was literally across a driveway from the entrance to our apt Bldg. We were pleasantly surprised. Lastly if you go to the Monmarte area check out the Musee Monmarte. It is an old apt bldg that housed numerous artists such as Valdaron and Renoir in the late 1800's - early 1900's. It has one of the original artist studios from the time period so you get a feel for thw time. They also have many of the Chat Noir paintings used to advertise them which are quite interesting. As you probably already know Monmarte was a Bohemian area of Paris and was where the Chat Noir (cabaret style bars) started, this includes the Moulin Rouge. Check out Tertre Place with many local artists selling their paintings and Sacre Coeur. While we enjoyed museums such as the Orsay, the Orsay was packed with people, all five of these museums had much lighter crowds so you felt like you could take your time and really look at the exhibits.
As for restaurants, here are some that we found and really liked, they are at various price points.
Latin Qtr area on left bank-
Culture Crepes - savory & sweet crepes, several options for breakfast.
Bobo Crepes on Blvd Germaine, also good breakfast
Great American Breakfast Cafe near Monge Market. If you get hungry for a close to American big breakfast. This is a good place.
Le Paris Paris
8 Rue de Montfacon
Across the street from St Germain Market
Small Cafe with a great atmosphere. Great French onion soup and truffle small pasta with ham.
Le Prince Racine
22 Rue Monsieur Le Prince Racine
Small Cafe of mostly locals, ate there a couple of times good simple french food.
Cafe Le Bretbant
32 Bd Poissioniere
Little more upscale Bistro near the Covered Passages area.
A nice Brasserie, heavy on fish dishes. True French Belle Epoch decor, more locals than tourists. Definitely need a reservation.
Au Pied de Cochon
6 Rue Coquilliere
If you like pork this is a good restaurant, very heavy menu of pork.
Huguette, Bistro de Mar
Wonderful restaurant for steamed Mussels and fries and steamed shellfish (shrimp, langostein, lobster, welks, etc) and oysters on the half shell. Also a warm and friendly staff. One of our best during our stay.
Jules Verne Restaurant on the Eiffel Tower
3 star Michelin restaurant
This was a treat we hadn't done before. Amazing price fix menu, beautiful view and impeccable staff and service. VERY pricey but worth the splurge. If you are interested make your reservation as early in advance as possible. The earliest reservations get the best seats by the window. We had a great view but it was a couple of tables from the window because we only made our reservations a month before. Also we were only able to get lunch reservations because of the short timing.
Dinner Cruise on Bayeaux Mouches river cruise with dinner and live music.
Wasn't sure what to expect of this but really enjoyed it. Beautiful to see Paris lit up from the Seine at night. The meal was delicious and the music very good. Really enjoyed it.
Moulin Rouge show with dinner
Had never done this before and happy we did. The meal was ok, not bad, not great. You can also just catch the show with drinks not dinner. Again wasn't sure what to expect, the show is on scale with Las Vegas showgirl type show. Some singing, alot of dancing, with a bit of Cirque De Soleil thrown in. Not a family friendly part of Monmarte as the road it is on is lined with shops selling adult items. Didn't feel unsafe but wouldn't want to take my kids there and have all those questions. We took a taxi over (a nightmare due to traffic and the subway back, which was a breeze)
Le Duc des Lombardes
42 Rue des Lombardes
Great live jazz music, small club. Tons of places to eat nearby for dinner before the show.
For Moulin Rouge, Le Duc and the Bateaux Mooches, arrive approximately 20-30 minutes before your ticket time and line up for the best seating. Those first in line for that seating time get the best seats.
Lastly, transportation. Traffic has not gotten better in Paris. Aside from car and bus traffic, the roads are filled with electric scooters and ebike rentals along with motorcycles that make CA lane splitting look civilized. This culture has exploded there, and there doesn't seem to be any rules they abide by yet. Traffic on the roads around rush hour is insane. We took a cab Moulin Rouge, should have been 20-25 min, took almost an hour and cost $48. Took a 20 min subway back for $3.80. We aren't the scooter/bike folks so we either walked or use the subway/bus system. Aside from rush hour time it is pretty safe, easy, efficient and cost friendly. You can go anywhere on the Metro, Bus, or RER in central Paris for $1.90 one way. If you get a Navigo card at a Metro window you can load it with multiple tickets, however you will need a card for each person. We found it easier than dealing with paper tickets. Also the price per trip is I think $1.30 one way on Navigo, so a slight discount. Only time not to use the subway is from the Trochadero area if you decide to go on an evening boat trip. All the boat docks are near the Trocadero/Eiffel Tower. With so many folks checking it out at night the Metro was worse than packed Sardines.
I know Uber works in Paris as my son scheduled one for an early morning appt. If you want to catch a taxi hailing one of the street is close to impossible. You need to find the closest taxi stand and hope one is in queue or down load the G7 app . You can call a cab like on Uber including uploading your credit card so it charges the fair automatically. It also tracks the ones nearest to you. So works well.
Have fun and safe travels !