2017 is set to be a bumper year in the French capital. After a rough past couple of years, Paris is more determined than ever to uphold its status as a place tourists simply can't resist. It's also becoming increasingly edgy and experimental, with younger generations of restaurateurs, artists, wine and coffee bar owners, and event planners turning what had become a rather staid city of tradition back into a place where innovation takes center stage. From compelling exhibits to new pedestrian-only areas and bold new culinary concepts to try out, here are our picks for 10 fantastic things to see, do and enjoy in a city that's as resilient as it is mesmerizing.
Go see a good show or exhibit.
There are plenty of first-rate shows and exhibits worth reserving time for in 2017. High on our list is the "Masterpieces from the Bridgestone Museum of Art of Tokyo" show at the Musée de l'Orangerie near the Tuileries Gardens: an unusually eclectic collection featuring everything from impressionist masterpieces (like Gustave Caillebotte's, at right) to abstract expressionism and surrealism.
When: April 5th-August 21st, 2017
Read Related: When is the Best Time to Visit Paris?
Other shows to book this year:
We're also especially looking forward to the Chtchoukine collection at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the French Counterculture Retrospective at the Maison Rouge, Cy Twombly at the Centre Pompidou, and Vermeer (of "Girl With the Pearl Earring" fame) at the Louvre.
Go check out one of these new restaurants.
Restaurant openings are a constant in Paris, and contrary to what many tourists believe, some are simply terrible, and others too mediocre to worth spending the money on. How to avoid disappointment and wasted Euros, then?
We especially like Thrillist's "Eat Seeker" tool, featuring an animated, mapped list of the best new places to eat in Paris, district by district.
Read related: Our Complete Paris Food & Dining Guide
For those of you who can read some French, Le Figaro magazine has an intriguing list of the most-anticipated new tables set to open this year in the capital. And finally, we love Paris by Mouth's always-excellent reviews of the best and most innovative new places to eat and drink in Paris.
There's a French word, la flânerie, that uniquely describes the joy, boundless sense of freedom and anonymity afforded by aimless strolling in a big city. And Paris is built for just that: it's arguably the most aesthetically pleasing global metropolis, and it's hard to imagine getting tired of exploring its endlessly fascinating streets, passages and alleyways.
Some good news if you're an aspiring flaneur or flaneuse: in 2017, Paris is pursuing its ongoing project of making more areas of the city pedestrian-only. Under Mayor Anne Hidalgo, more and more re-imagined "green spaces", including along the right bank of the Seine River, are opening. So go take a stroll-- and take advantage of a Paris that hasn't been this forgiving to pedestrians since the pre-automobile era.
Following on from suggestion #3, there are few traditions more cherished (and utterly charming) in the French capital than taking a whirl through a city food market.
Along with well-loved, established food markets like the gorgeous Marché d'Aligre (see our visual tour of the market here), newer concepts such as "Le Food Market" (pictured at left) are bringing a younger, more experimental flavor to the street-market scene in the capital. The pop-up street food event takes place two Thursdays per month in the cosmopolitan-cool district of Belleville. For more information, visit this page.
Meanwhile, the city's first-ever all-organic permanent market is set to open early this year in the 10th arrondissement, at 9-11 Rue Bichat. The prices are expected to be moderate, too-- so stock up on organic fruit and veggies here before staging at picnic at the nearby Canal St-Martin.
Whether you're a music lover, an architecture fan, or both, there are plenty of good reasons to book a show at Paris' new Philharmonic, designed by the ever-prolific French architect Jean Nouvel. And if you're not much of a fan of classical, not to worry: there are plenty of other genres represented in the venue's varied programming, from rock to jazz. Also make sure to check out the adjoining Cité de la Musique and its fascinating permanent exhibit on the history of music.
Read related: Paris for Music Lovers
Go on a bike tour: It's never been safer or easier.
Cyclists haven't generally had it very easy in the capital: as I detail in my piece on whether tourists should attempt to use Velib', the city bike rental scheme, trying to bike in Paris can be pretty risky.
Read Related: How to Stay Safe in Paris
Luckily, though, things are rapidly improving for cyclists at the same time that they're getting better for pedestrians (see #2). the city is installing an increasing number of bike paths in areas that would have been very unadvisable for cyclists to attempt in the past. That includes a new path along Rue de Rivoli, one of the city's main arteries running past major attractions such as the Louvre, the Tuileries Gardens, and, further east, the Centre Georges Pompidou.
Experienced urban cyclists can give the Velib' scheme a try (but always do wear a helmet). If you're a beginner or don't have much experience biking in a city setting, though, I highly recommend you take a bike tour. It's a refreshing way to see the capital at a relaxed yet invigorating pace-- and get some exercise. We especially like, and recommend, Fat Tire Bike Tours.
When spring and summer come around, make sure to reserve some time for a day trip outside the city limits. Whether you go poke around the gorgeous medieval town of Provins and its preserved ramparts, visit the under-appreciated Vaux-de-Vicompte palace, or frolic through Monet's gardens at Giverny, there's always an occasion for some fresh, extra-urban air and perspective.
Chocolate lovers, you're in luck: the cocoa maestro Pierre Marcolini is opening a pop-up chocolate tasting bar at the Printemps Haussmann department store in January, and it's set to stay open until May 6th. Menu items include an herbal infusion laced with chocolate nibs and jasmine, iced or hot chocolate with fresh raspberry and Madagascar vanilla, as well as delicious cakes, ganaches, financiers and macarons. Perfect for sipping and nibbling over a good book.
Related: The Best Chocolate Shops in Paris
Pierre Marcolini Chocolate Bar at Printemps Haussmann (in the atrium)
Dates: January 12th-May 6th, 2017
64, boulevard Haussmann, 9th arrondissement
Go enjoy some nightlife at these lauded new watering holes.
From speakeasy-style new cocktail joints like the Castor Club (pictured) to unpretentious, solid new brasseries, there are plenty of new addresses to try after dark. Time Out has a good list of their own picks here, and this mapped list from Thrillist is also a good bet.
Related: Our Complete Paris Nightlife Guide
Even great places need a shaking up of routine to stay fresh and interesting, and that's true of Paris, a city so cemented in popular imagination that it starts to feel a whole lot like a big, cartoon caricature of itself. So take a break from standard top-10 attractions lists to see something a little unexpected in the capital. Go hang out in an urban garden-- places that feel a million miles away from the post-card version of Paris you've come to imagine.
Go admire (or hate) some local street art, explore remote neighborhoods you've likely never heard of, or check out bizarre artifacts at some of the city's weirder shops and boutiques. Go on a tasting tour of Paris-- this is one we've personally vetted and promise is good and unintimidating, and these ones are no doubt worth it. Whatever you do, break up the monotony of expectation.