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  • Seeing the city from above: Whether it’s from the top of the Eiffel Tower, in front of Sacré-Coeur, or next to a gargoyle on Notre-Dame, seeing the city from aloft will make your heart sing. Paris' only city-center skyscraper is the Tour Montparnasse, but even that has a 56th-floor observation deck, from which you can scan the cityscape and see many of the most famous monuments poking out above the elegant Haussmannian buildings.

  • Strolling across the Pont Neuf: The view from here is dramatic. To one side, you’ll see the Ile de la Cité, to the other, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. It’s a little like standing in the navel of the Parisian universe, and in fact, you are: The island that this bridge straddles dates back to the city’s earliest beginnings.

  • Walking along the Seine at night: Paris is beautiful in the daytime, but at night, when many of the monuments are lit up, it’s positively bewitching. An evening stroll along the banks of the Seine is about as romantic as it gets. A nighttime boat cruise is another great way to enjoy the magic.

  • Sipping an apéro at a sidewalk cafe at sunset: After work or before play, Parisians love to meet up to have an apéritif, usually a light alcoholic drink like a glass of wine, a French beer, or—the latest trend—a Spritz (a sparkling wine cocktail made with Italian bitter orange Aperol) on a cafe terrace. Join the locals in this early-evening ritual and feel like a real Parisian.

  • Soaking up the atmosphere at a farmer’s market: All kinds of Parisians frequent the city’s many covered and open-air markets, which sell fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and other goodies. Don’t be afraid to plunge into these noisy places; you’ll be participating in a tradition that goes back centuries. Just ask before you touch the merchandise; the vendors do the selecting and the bagging here.

  • Riding a bike: Ever since the advent of the Velib’ low-cost bike-rental program in 2007, Paris has been evolving into a two-wheeler city. Sign up online for a day’s or a week’s worth of bike access and buzz around like a local—the city is small enough and flat enough that riding is a snap. Since many of today’s Velibs are electric, you hardly have to pedal at all. Helmets aren’t obligatory yet, but you might choose to wear one, because traffic can be hairy.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.