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How To Get From London To Paris By Train

3 tourist sites in paris

Although many will choose an airline for their travel plans, it is not the only option for traveling from London to Paris. There is another option that provides a wonderful traveling experience while also supporting sustainable, green travel. Trains are notably the most practical way to travel between the two magnificent cities. Besides the comfortable seats and simple check-in procedures, traveling by train allows you to enjoy the lovely French and British countryside views. Your train trip also offers you a journey through the famous la Manche tunnel. A trip by train can create a memorable and appealing experience for your London to Paris journey. If you are looking for tips on how to travel from London to Paris by train, read on to learn how.

London to Paris by Train

The quickest and most direct connection between London to Paris by train is by Eurostar . On the fast, high-speed Eurostar, the train ride from the English capital to Paris often lasts approximately 2 hours and 22 minutes, moving at a 320km/hr speed.

There are over 12 departure times offered daily to allow for any traveler’s schedule. You will also enjoy excellent onboard amenities once you board the train. During your ride, you can enjoy the roomy seats and ample luggage space while enjoying your favorite snacks from the cafe.

How To Book Your Train Ticket

You can book your departure ticket right in the center of London at St. Pancras station. There is also an online version where you can download the Eurostar app or book on the online website . 

If you purchase it online or in the app, you will receive a notification and the link to ‘Get Your Ticket.’ Remember to include your contact details for communications. After obtaining your mobile ticket, you can store it in your digital wallet application. You can either print the ticket at home or at the Pancras station. 

All About the Train Ride

After checking in, you board a sleek e300 or e320 Eurostar train. The train offers comfort and excellent onboard features like Free Wi-Fi, power outlets, cozy seats, and a café bar. For an even better experience, you may also consider upgrading to Business Premier or Standard Premier. These upgrades provide additional benefits like complimentary beverages and food. 

Your train ride will take you through beautiful landscapes and scenery. However, the most notable attraction is the 31-mile underwater channel, famously known as La Manche Chunnel . The quick-speed Eurostar train takes about 35 minutes through the Chunnel at 160km/h.

The Eurostar train arrives right in the center of the French capital, where you can start your city excursion immediately. Metro and RER trains are available nearby to aid your Paris adventure.

All passport checks are completed in London before you commence your journey. So, you can get into your travel plans right away!

Cost of Traveling from London to Paris by Train

A one-way ticket on the Eurostar train cost approximately €30 and can go up to €300. These prices may fluctuate depending on the dates you book your journey, how far in advance you book them, your chosen seat, and the number of available seats.

There are three ticket classes to book: Standard Class, Standard Premier, and Business Premier. Higher-class seats typically provide more amenities during your travel and have a higher price tag. 

All classes provide cozy seats, access to food and drinks, and space for two luggage pieces per passenger. The Business Premier ticket allows up to 3 slots for your luggage.

If you are looking for the best prices when booking your train ticket, consider booking your travel plans well in advance and choosing less popular travel dates. 

Green Travel Tips: London to Paris by Train

Despite the many advantages, travel still contributes to the world’s carbon emissions , and it will increase yearly, given the surge in travel. Unmindful travel habits cause issues for neighborhood communities and businesses. As a result, green travel has emerged as a new kind of travel to help protect the environment and communities worldwide.

 So, what are the green tips for travel from London to Paris by train?

  • Use Public Transport More : The first step in eco-friendly travel is to avoid taking domestic flights altogether. Although flying is frequently the quickest and least expensive choice, it is an environmentally unfriendly mode of transportation. Taking the train if you are traveling inside Europe or locations the train can reach is advisable.
  • Use Digital Tickets Instead : You could reduce the amount of paper you use throughout your travel if they offer digital tickets for your route.
  • Invest in Travel Mugs : Buying a to-go coffee cup is another option to stop using pointless paper and plastic. While it’s true that you might prefer getting coffee to go, switching to a flask or travel cup is an excellent method to reduce waste.

Pros and Cons of Traveling from London to Paris by Train

Train travel has been increasing in popularity over recent years. Many people choose train travel over flying for various reasons. However, depending on your situation, train travel may not always be the best option. 

  • Trains are eco-friendly : Those concerned about environmentally responsible travel prefer trains as they emit less CO2 to the environment than planes and other modes of transportation from London to Paris. 
  • The Sights and Scenery : One of its most significant benefits is the incredible sights while traveling by train. Along the way, you’ll pass through verdant forests, pristine lakes, mountains, isolated settlements, and stunning natural features.
  • Travel Amenities: Eurostar offers many amenities to its travelers. The luxurious seating, food options, and other accommodations make traveling by train more pleasant than other options. 
  • The Heart of Paris: One of the greatest perks of traveling to Paris from London by train is that you will arrive right in the heart of Paris. This eliminates the need to get a ride from an airport to your destination. 
  • Length of Travel: Traveling London to Paris by train typically lasts about 2 and a half hours, while a flight will likely only take an hour of your time. A flight may be a better option for some individuals who prefer less travel time.
  • Expense: It is possible to find affordable rail travel. However, train travel can be costly when comparing a flight from London to Paris. Consider that prices may vary depending on the time of year and how early you book your travel plans. 


3 tourist sites in paris

Paris Discovery Guide

Top Paris Attractions

10 Famous Places to See & Visit

  • See & Do
  • Top Attractions

Top 10 Paris Attractions

Planning your first visit to Paris?   If so, start with these top 10 attractions and legendary sightseeing destinations.  

These are the historical, cultural, and famous places everyone associates with Paris - the top sites to see in Paris for many visitors.

Don't feel you need to see all of them in one visit, especially you are here for just a few days. 

Several of these top Paris attractions, such as the soaring Eiffel Tower, the gorgeous Seine River, the monumental Arc de Triomphe, and even the gleaming white Sacre Coeur set high on a hilltop, are part of the Paris skyline and easy to spot from many places in the city, whether or not you actually visit.

Consider a quick day trip to one of the famous destinations just beyond the city, such as the Palace of Versailles or Disneyland Paris.

But also take time to stroll through an iconic neighborhood such as the Latin Quarter or Montmartre.  Relax in the beautiful Luxembourg Garden.  Take sunset cruise along the Seine.

Spend a few moments admiring Notre Dame Cathedral.   Right now, you can now view only the exterior due to the tragic 2019 fire.  But thanks to the massive restoration underway, part of the magnificent cathedral may be open to the public by 2024. 

And plan a visit to at least one of the most famous Paris museums  and experience their masterpieces in person.  See the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo at the Louvre, Van Gogh's Starry Night at the Orsay, or cutting-edge contemporary art at Pompidou . 

Finally, save some time to see other less famous and even "hidden" attractions in Paris, even if it means skipping some of the places on this page.  You can always visit on your next trip to Paris, and meanwhile, you'll have a variety of wonderful memories.

Because as Ernest Hemingway famously said, " . . . wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."

Top photo:  Sacre-Coeur Basilica in Paris's Montmartre neighborhood, (c) Paris Discovery Guide

Paris Discovery Guide is a reader-supported publication.  When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission at no additional cost for you.  Learn more

1.  Eiffel Tower ( Tour Eiffel ) - The Number 1 Attraction in Paris

The Eiffel Tower seen from a Seine River cruise boat

Soaring high above the Paris landscape, the Eiffel Tower symbolizes Paris - and gives you spectacular city views from three levels.  For many visitors, going to the highest level of the Eiffel Tower tops their "essential sites to see in Paris, France" list, and for good reason.

Although you can see the famous landmark from many points in the city, nothing beats the thrill of going up to the observation platforms and watching Paris landmarks get smaller and smaller below you.

To capture a lifetime memory of your visit, book a professional photoshoot in front of the iconic monument.

Just want to view this famous Paris attraction?  A Seine River cruise or a guided bike tour of the city gives you the perfect way to see it plus lots of other famous monuments and museums located on the riverside.

More to Enjoy:  Restaurants and a champagne bar, a seasonal ice skating rink during some years, fascinating views through the transparent floor on the 1st level.

Paris Discovery Tip:  Crowds at the Eiffel Tower can be massive and waiting in line to get tickets can take up to 4 hours or more during peak months - get a skip-the-line priority entrance ticket:

More Ways to See the Eiffel Tower

2.  louvre museum ( musée du louvre ) - the most visited museum in the world.

Glass pyramid at the Louvre at night

The enormous Louvre Museum receives over 10 million visitors a year, making it the world's most visited museum and a top attraction in the part of the 1st arrondissement known as "Royal Paris."

Much of this popularity stems from the Louvre's three uber-famous masterworks, Leonardo di Vinci's Mona Lisa and two famous Greek statues, Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samot hrace (also known as the Winged Nike - yes, the inspiration for the popular athletic shoe brand!)

  • See popular Louvre guided tours and skip-the-line tickets from Get Your Guide
  • Find out what to expect on a guided tour of the Louvre

But the Louvre offers you so much more to see, including a magnificent Egyptian collection complete with mummies, gallery after gallery of European paintings from the Middle Ages to the mid-19th century, and dazzling rooms of exquisite furniture, tapestries, and ornamental objects.

Outside, 20th century glass pyramids by I M Pei and a reflecting pool contrast with the ornate Renaissance architecture of the former royal palace.

More to Enjoy:  At basement level, you can view excavations of the original 12th century fortress that once stood in the Louvre's Paris location.

Book a Louvre Museum guided tour with skip-the-line entrance:

3.  Versailles Palace - The Most Visited Royal Palace in France

Versaille Palace's Hall of Mirrors

With more than 700 rooms, Versailles Palace is one of the largest in the world.   Famous for its royal occupants  from King Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette, the glittering Hall of Mirrors, lavishly decorated rooms, and priceless art, Versailles Palace gives you an unforgettable glimpse of royal life when you visit. 

You can easily spend much or all of a day here.

More to Enjoy:   Magnificent gardens filled with statues, fountains, flowers, tree allées , and walking paths. 

  • Top things to see & do at the Palace of Versailles
  • Best guided walking and bike tours of Versailles from Paris
  • How to get to Versailles from Paris: 6 options
  • Where to stay near Versailles Palace

Paris Discovery Tip:  Versailles attracts huge numbers of visitors - in fact, the enormous chateau is the most-visited palace in France and one of the most famous in Europe.

Slow security check lines before you enter mean a 2-4 hour wait in line during most months of the year.  Although  skip-the-line tickets won't save you from every delay (you still have to go through security, although those lines ususally move quickly), they can certainly speed up your entry. 

But here's our "insiders" tip and strong recommendation:   Choose a guided tour if you want to save time and if your budget allows it.  Why?  Guided tours get to access a separate, much faster security line.

Choose one of these excellent guided tours and avoid the long wait in lines:

  • Versailles Skip-the-Line Half-Day Tour & Hotel Transfer  - Experience the lavish palace and gardens enjoyed by French kings and queens, including Marie Antoinette as an expert guide shows you the famous Hall of Mirrors, State Apartments, King's Bedroom, and more.  Find out more 
  • Versailles by Train Escorted Tour from Paris with Skip the Line Tickets - A guide meets you at a designated spot in Paris, escorts you on the RER train to Versailles, and takes you through the guided tour direct entrance to avoid the lines.   After lunch (on your own, or add on a gourmet 3-course lunch with wine when you book), you'll visit the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette's personal domain and her quaint country "village."  After your tour, you'll take the direct train back to Paris. 
  • Full-Day Guided Tour of Versailles with Lunch - You'll travel with a guide in an air-conditioned luxury coach from Paris to Versailles, where you'll quickly pass through the guided tour security.  In addition to giving you a tour of Versailles Palace and its most important rooms, your guide will also take you through the Grand and Petit Trianon, the two smaller castles the French royalty usually prefered to spend their time.  You'll have a wonderful lunch at an onsite restaurant, and will have plenty of time to stroll through the magnificent gardens.

Want to risk Versailles without a skip the line ticket?   For example, if you plan to come after most people have entered - for example, mid-afternoon - lines usually move much faster. 

In that case, you can save money by getting the Versailles Palace & Gardens Full Access Ticket, which comes with an audio guide.  "Full access" means you also get entrance to Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon palace and her "Hamlet" village, which are worth seeing.  

But if you're really short on time, you can save about 3 dollars with a Palace and Gardens-Only ticket.

Find more spectacular day trips from Paris

4.  Latin Quarter ( Quartier Latin )

Quiet street in the Latin Quarter in Paris

To experience an older Paris, spend some time discovering the charms of the Latin Quarter.

First settled by Romans in the 1st century, this famous Left Bank neighborhood has long attracted bohemians, scholars, and political protest.  Look closely, and you'll see traces of medieval Paris in the narrow, winding streets and older buildings.

Have a drink at the brasseries along Boulevard Saint Germain where Hemingway, Sartre, and Camus hung out during the 1920s, visit the tombs of French heroes and intellectuals at the Pantheon, and gaze at the timeless beauty of Lady and the Unicorn tapestries at the Cluny Museum.

More to Enjoy:  Explore the narrow winding side streets filled with old bookstores, tiny bistros, and quirky boutiques.   Visit the beautiful old churches filled with artistic treasures, including Saint Julien le Pauvre, dating back to the Middle Ages.  Go back even farther in time and visit a 1st century Roman arena, one of the Latin Quarter's "hidden treasures."

Paris Discovery Tip:  Unless you love huge crowds, avoid pedestrian-only Rue de la Huchette.

Find fun ways to explore the Latin Quarter

5.  Seine River - Beaches, Cruises, & More

Seine River and part of the Louvre, Paris

The Seine River flows through central Paris, defining the city's Right Bank to the north and the Left Bank on the south.  Île de la Cité, one of two small islands in the middle, is the historic heart of Paris with world-famous medieval masterpieces, hidden parks, and lovely 17th century enclaves.

You can enjoy the Seine in many different ways.  Walk along the banks and admire the beautiful bridges.  Check out les bouquinistes , the river-side booksellers along both sides of the Seine.  Explore the Parc Rives de Seine, the riverside pedestrian-only promenade from Place de la Bastille to the Eiffel Tower.

Cruise up and down the river on a tour boat to see Paris's most beautiful historic buildings and bridges from a unique perspective.  Dine and dance on a river-side barge.  Cool off in a floating swimming pool.

Visit Les Berges, the recreational area along the river on the Left Bank - it especially comes alive in the summer.

More to Enjoy:   From mid-July to mid-August, Paris Plages transforms the Right Bank plus other parts of the city into a sandy beach.

Paris Discovery Tip:   From the Seine, cruise up through the 15th century Canal Saint-Martin and Canal de l'Ourcq through the newly-trendy northeast part of the city.

Popular Seine River Cruises

Notre dame ( cathédrale notre-dame de paris ).

Notre Dame Cathedral viewed from the Left Bank of Paris before the fire

Built during the Middle Ages at the historic heart of Parison Île de la Cité , Notre Dame Cathedral embodies the splendors of Gothic architecture from its site overlooking the Seine River.

The devastating 2019 fire means you can no longer go inside to admire the hundreds of statues, sculptures, paintings, spectacular stained glass windows or climb up to the roof for closeup views of gorgoyles and sweeping city views. 

However, the ongoing repairs and restoration work is fascinating to see from the outside, plus you can also admire the high towers, flying buttresses, and other features from a safe distance.  

And there is good news:   The famous cathedral is now expected to partially reopen by December, 2024.

Best viewing location:  Left Bank of the Seine River.

6.  Montmartre and Sacré Coeur

Quiet lane in Montmartre, not far from Sacre Coeur Basilica

Once a separate village, Montmartre has been part of Paris since 1860 but its winding lanes, many trees, and picturesque hillsides still make it seem like a place apart.

You can stroll past the neighborhood's many cafes and cabarets, and imagine the artists, musicians, and writers who made it their home 100+ years ago when rents were cheap.

The most famous sight is the gleaming white Basilica of the Sacré Coeur, built in Italian Byzantine style and visible from most points in Paris.

Tourists often pack the areas around Sacré Coeur and the Moulin Rouge theater in Pigalle - but miss the most interesting parts of the neighborhood where you can find small art museums and parks, pedestrian-only lanes, and a couple of old-fashioned windmills.

More to Enjoy:   Go inside Sacré Coeur to see the beautiful mosaics.

Paris Discovery Tip:  If you're visiting in October, come to the harvest festival in Montmartre's still-producing vineyard

Discover the hidden gems of Montmartre

7.  Musée d'Orsay

Statues and golden clock at the Orsay Museum

Occupying a former train station, Musée d'Orsay contains a magnificent collection of world-famous Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art.  

Crowds pack the galleries holding the best-known masterpieces, especially those by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, whose Starry Night painting attracts the largest crowds of all.

More to Enjoy:  Sweeping views of Paris from the almost-hidden rooftop terrace.

Paris Discovery Tip:  Unless you are visiting during the slow months of the winter, join a guided tour if you want to get a look at the most famous paintings unobstructed by massive crowds.

What to see & do at the Orsay Museum

8.  Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe, Paris

The massive Arc de Triomphe is one of the most recognizable Paris attractions, commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon to honor his army's victories across Europe, although he was exiled and dead by the time of its completion 30 years later.

The Arc de Triomphe is surrounded by a busy traffic rotary where 12 major streets, including the western end of Champs Élysées, converge.  Although you can easily see it at a distance, you'll get the best views and experience when you're close to it.

Best Time to View:   On the first Sunday (a.k.a. "car-free Sundays) of each month when Champs Élysées bans cars and becomes pedestrian-only.

More to Enjoy:   Get a  ticket and climb the stairs to the observation deck at the top for 360 degree views of Paris.  At the base of the monument, visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and eternal flame to honor the unidentified French soldiers killed in World Wars I and II.  You can see its daily re-lighting every evening at 6:30pm.  Elaborate statues and bas relief carvings depicting Napoleon's battles cover large portions of the monument.

Get your skip-the-line Arc de Triomphe rooftop tickets now:

Paris Discovery Tip:   If you are in Paris on Armistice Day (November 11), Bastille Day (July 14), or New Year's Eve (December 31), don't miss the parades and celebrations on Champs Élysées that start at the Arc.  The Paris Marathon in April also starts and ends at the Arc, and the Tour de France also ends there in July.

Find out more about visiting the Arc de Triomphe

9.  Pompidou Center ( Centre Pompidou )

Exhibit in Pompidou Center, Paris

In a city filled with traditional architecture, Pompidou Center's edgy design featuring exterior walls of brightly colored tubes and exposed mechanical systems brought howls of derision when it first opened.  Half a century later, the building's design by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers still stands out in the cityscape.

But inside (get a skip the line ticket before you go to save time), revolving exhibitions of top-notch contemporary paintings, sculptures, and video and sound installations account for the museum's immense popularity.

More to Enjoy:   A wonderful rooftop deck, reflecting pool, and restaurant overlooking the city

Paris Discovery Tip:  After your visit, walk around to the back of Centre Pompidou's right side to see Stravinsky Fountain, named after the composer and filled with 16 water-spraying moving sculptures that represent his music.  You can also see it if you look straight down from the rooftop deck.

Some bad news:  Centre Pompidou's structure needs critical major repairs that will require closing to the public, and the work is expected to take about 5 years.   Estimated closure currently is expected during summer or fall of 2025. 

So if you want to visit this unique and wonderful contemporary art museum, go now!!! 

Buy your Pompidou skip the line entrance ticket

10.  Luxembourg Garden ( Jardin du Luxembourg )

Statue and spring flowers in Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris

Towering chestnut trees, a tranquil pool where children (and teens and adults) float toy sailboats, and many benches for sitting among lush flowers and beautiful statues make Luxembourg Garden Paris's most popular park. 

And with 448 other city parks and 2 great forests to choose from, that's quite a distinction! 

Despite its number of visitors, Luxembourg Garden seldom seems crowded because its 60 acres are divided into many distinctive areas.  You can even play tennis here.

More to Enjoy:   A drink or lunch at the open-air cafe.

Paris Discovery Tip:   If you are traveling with children, check out the pony rides and puppet theater.  If you're not, snag one of the green metal chairs next to the reflecting pool at the Medici Fountain and enjoy a few tranquil moments of total relaxation.

More Top Paris Attractions to See & Explore

Rodin museum (musée rodin).

Rodin's 'The Kiss' in the Musee Rodin - Photo (c) Patrick Tourneboeuf/OPPIC/Tendance Floue

Perhaps the most romantic museum in Paris and a top attraction because of its lush sculpture garden, location in a spectacular 18th century rococo mansion, and, of course, the sensual sculpture of two lovers in "The Kiss, the Rodin Museum gives you the opportunity to view the breadth and depth of French sculptor Auguste Rodin's boundary-breaking path from naturalism to modernism.

Plan to spend more time than you might expect in the beautifully designed garden, where where flowers bloom almost year-round, lime trees scent the air with their leaves, and masses of roses burst into a riot of color in May and June, with some continuing to bloom through fall.  

The garden is also where you'll see Rodin's most monumental and evocative creations:  "The Thinker," "Walking Man," "The Gates of Hell," to name only a few. 

More to enjoy:  The onsite cafe/restaurant.

Tickets:   Get your ticket in advance, or use your Paris Museum Pass for admission.

Monet's Garden at Giverny & Other Day Trips from Paris

Monet's house & garden at Giverny

In addition to the Palace of Versailles, Monet's famous water lily ponds and garden at Giverny, the medieval abby at Mont Saint-Michel, Disneyland Paris, Normandy D-Day beaches, special Champagne-tasting tours, and gorgeous castles and chateaux are just a few of the other top attractions you can see on day trips from Paris.

You can even leave Paris in the morning and spend the day enjoying famous sights in  London,  sampling delicious wines and food at a château surrounded by  vineyards  near the city of  Bordeaux , or cruising along the picturesque canals of  Bruges, Belgium  - and still return to Paris in time for a late dinner.

Find out more about the best day trips from Paris.

Paris Food Tours, Wine Tastings, & More Culinary Adventures

Monet's house & garden at Giverny

Want to combine enjoying Paris's food culture - without a doubt, one of the city's most popular attractions - while exploring an iconic neighborhood, cruising down the Seine River, learning how to make macarons, visiting a street market, or sampl ing wine and cheese? 

We highlight 15 of the best tours, cruises, and classes devoted to food and wine (and even one on Paris's thriving craft breweries).  Check them out!

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

Whether you're a huge Disney fan yourself or traveling to Paris with kids who are, a visit to Disneyland Paris can be hard to resist, especially since it's only about 45 minutes from the city and easy to get to. 

Especially if you have already visited Disneyland in the U.S., you may be wondering: "Is Disneyland Paris worth going to?"

Of course that's an individual decision, especially if you have a long list of things to do and see within Paris, but many people have gone would tell you, "Yes!"

It's lot of fun and even though the amusement park attractions may seem familiar, there's a certain "je ne sais quoi" that's distinctly Parisian.  So think of it as a cultural experience - and go!

Book your Disneyland Paris tickets:

Almost-Hidden Covered Passages

Skyline view of Notre Dame and its flying buttresses, spire, and towers before the 2019 fire

With spectacular glass roofs, elaborate Neoclassical, Art Nouveau, and even Art Deco decor , and luxury boutiques and cool cafes , Paris's 21 remaining late-18th and 19th-century covered passages give you a unique place to shop for artisan gifts, enjoy a casual meal, and soak up the historical details.

Each passage has its own personality, attractions, and ambiance - perfect for exploring on a rainy afternoon, or for discovering more about this fascinating layer of Paris urban history.

Find out more about the best covered passages remaining in Paris today

The Paris Skyline

Skyline view of Notre Dame and its flying buttresses, spire, and towers before the 2019 fire

Iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, and Notre Dame silhouetted against city rooftops and the sky make the Paris skyline one of the city's most memorable attractions.   But what are the best places to see it?

Some, such as the viewing platforms on the Eiffel Tower itself and the rooftop terrace at the Arc de Triomphe, will not surprise you.   But others fall squarely into the "insider secret" category - out-of-the-way places to view the Paris skyline that you may not discover on your own.

Find the best places to view the Paris skyline

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Cobblestone paths

Père Lachaise Cemetery ( Cimetière du Pere Lachaise ) in eastern Paris may not be quite as famous as the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe but its celebrity graves, haunting statues, and photo-worthy cobblestone lanes make it a top Paris attraction.

Part burial ground and part beautifully landscaped garden, this "City of the Dead" is also similar to an open-air museum, with funerary sculptures of every size and shape imaginable:  plump winged cherubs, macabre skulls flanked by what appear to be bat wings, scantily clad women sprawled across tombstones, disembodied heads of famous men.  

But if you're like most first-time visitors here, you may be most fascinated by the graves of famous people buried here. 

Pin Now, Read Again Later

Eiffel Tower viewed from Trocadero

More Fun Things to Do & See in Paris

Where to stay near top paris attractions.

First, check out our guide to where to stay on your first trip to Paris  to find the best neighborhoods and districts based on your interests and what you want to see and do.  We suggest hotels for each area at different price points:  luxury, mid-range, and budget.

To find even more hotels, use this handy  hotel map from Booking.com to find available accommodations near top attractions for your travel dates, see lowest rates, and make your reservations:

Check out the newest Paris hotels

Related Articles about Paris Attractions 

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Happening in Paris

January in Paris

January in Paris

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February in Paris

February in Paris

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March in Paris

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April in Paris

April in Paris

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May in Paris

May in Paris

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June in Paris

June in Paris

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July in Paris

July in Paris

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August in Paris

August in Paris

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September in Paris

September in Paris

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October in Paris

October in Paris

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November in Paris

November in Paris

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December in Paris

December in Paris

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Hanukkah in Paris

Hanukkuh in Paris

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A view of the city at night, including the Arc de Triomphe

50 unmissable attractions in Paris

From iconic architecture to artisan food markets, here's everything you need to see in Paris

Paris: the food, the fashion, the fromage, the fantasy. No matter how many times we visit the French capital, its charms never ever grow old. And we’re not alone in thinking that. Paris is a major tourist destination that attracts thousands upon thousands of enthusiastic travellers with heads filled with images of Breton jumpers, tiny dogs and posh chocolates. But how do you enjoy this gorgeous city without just succumbing to the age-old clich é s?

We’ve compiled a list of the 50 best attractions in Paris, from the big-name ‘must-visits’ to something a little bit more bespoke and authentically Parisian. So whether you’re looking for lesser-known museums , late-night live music or the best places for shopping , we’ve got ideas a-plenty - and they’re all as tasty as a Ladur é e macaron.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Paris RECOMMENDED: The best food tours in Paris RECOMMENDED:   The best tours in Paris

This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click  here .

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Best Paris attractions

Eiffel Tower

1.  Eiffel Tower

Well come on, you know what it is. Very probably the single most famous man-made structure in the entire world, the Eiffel Tower was originally erected as a temporary exhibit for the Exposition Universelle of 1889 (it was due to be taken down in 1909). From its summit, you can enjoy heart-stopping views over all of Paris – and conversely, its iconic form is visible from most vantage points in the city. Aside from the new glass floor that was installed in 2014 – which is a real trip if you’re brave enough to walk across it – there’s also a panoramic champagne bar on the third floor, a brasserie and a Michelin-starred restaurant. At night, the Eiffel’s girders sparkle like fairy lights on a Christmas tree (every hour, on the hour).

Don’t miss:  A meal at Alain Ducasse’s Michelin-starred Jules Verne on the second floor. 

Musée d’Orsay

2.  Musée d’Orsay

  • Art and design
  • 7e arrondissement
  • price 2 of 4

Before it became a world-leading art gallery, the Musée d’Orsay was a major train station (the first electrified train station in the world, actually). But despite being a lovely building it couldn’t accommodate the ever-increasing size of trains, leading the French government to the ingenious idea to fill it with art instead. This is where art fans go for a full-on dose of the biggest and best names in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Lap up all that colour, light and scenic views before also exploring the decorative art collections for Art Nouveau glamour. Lovely.

Don’t miss:   The superb coffee shop/café tucked behind the clock (designed by the Campana brothers). It’s submarine-themed, in homage to Jules Verne’s ‘Nautilus’.

Le Marais

3.  Le Marais

Once upon a time, the Marais was where you found the movers and shakers of the French aristocracy. Then the French Revolution happened and… yeah. Anyway, since then this Parisian district has found a new lease of life as one of the most trendy, go-to parts of the capital. Head here for LGBTQ+ friendly venues, vintage boutiques and the best collection of art galleries in the city.

Don’t miss:  The legendary falafel outlet  L’As du Fallafel , if you want to put a pitta something in your stomach.

Arc de Triomphe

4.  Arc de Triomphe

  • Attractions

Commissioned by Napoleon but not actually finished until 1836, the  Arc de Triomphe is the mother of all war memorials.  Give your legs a workout and climb the 284 steps to the top, where the views sweep in geometric splendour between the arc of La Défense and the Louvre. Although you may be more distracted by observing the remarkable Parisian driving techniques in evidence around the unmarked traffic island below: in fact, hire car drivers have to pay extra on the insurance if they’d like it to cover the roundabout. When you get back down to the ground, do spare a thought for the Unknown Soldier whose grave sits solemnly in the centre of the arch.

Don’t miss:  The bronze plaque that features a transcript of Charles de Gaulle’s famous 1940 radio broadcast from London: his rallying cry was seen as the beginning of the French Resistance against Nazi occupation. 

Les Catacombes

5.  Les Catacombes

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Denfert-Rochereau

Until you’ve actually been to them, it’s almost impossible to believe that ‘Les Catacombes' actually exist. This 300km (185-mile) network of tunnels runs under much of the city, and very publically contains the bones of some six million people, including many who perished during the Revolutionary Terror. In these claustrophobic corridors, you’ll find the bones of Marat, Robespierre and their comrades, packed in with wall upon wall of fellow citizens. It’s a remarkable and deeply macabre sight. And get your jackets at the ready – the Catacombes are chilly, both literally and spiritually. 

Don’t miss: The entrance to the ossuary, where there’s a sign which says: ‘Stop! This is the empire of death.’ Eek!

Canal Saint-Martin

6.  Canal Saint-Martin

  • Canal Saint-Martin

The Canal Saint-Martin was built between 1805 and 1825 during Napoleon’s day. It was initially intended to bring drinking water and merchandise to the Imperial capital; from the late nineteenth century it housed factories and industrial warehouses.

It’s all change now: many of those factories have become lofts for Paris’s ever-growing bobo (Bohemian-Bourgeois) population, and dozens of bars, restaurants and shops line its quayside. Its sturdy iron footbridges and picturesque locks are coveted spots for weekend picnics and hikes – especially on Sundays and public holidays when cars are banned and the roads are reserved solely for walkers and cyclists. 

Don’t miss:   The canal stalwarts,   Point Ephémère   and   Chez Prune .

Palais Garnier

7.  Palais Garnier

  • Music venues
  • Chaussée-d'Antin
  • price 3 of 4

Trips to the theatre don’t get more splendid than an evening spent at the Palais Garnier. Located at the Place de l'Opéra, this opulent-and-then-some theatre is luxury writ large. We come here to see the Paris Opera Ballet, but to be honest the building itself is (almost) as much an attraction as the dancers on stage. Check out the insane array of mirrors, marble, velvet and satin, and positively swoon at the Grand Escalier. The Palais Garnier is open to the public most days unless there’s a matinee performance. It’s best to check the schedule ahead of time and reserve tickets online.

Don’t miss:  The Paris Opera Ballet’s regular shows. 

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

8.  Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

  • Parks and gardens
  • Buttes-Chaumont

Centrepiece of the north-eastern Belleville neighbourhood, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is perhaps a little less formal than other green spaces in Paris. But it’s really worth the uphill stroll to get there, because this nineteenth arrondissement beauty is one of the city’s most magical spots, and often missed out by weekend visitors who don’t get off the usual tourist trail. The park, with its meandering paths, waterfalls, temples and cliffs, was designed by Adolphe Alphand for Haussmann, and was opened as part of the celebrations for the Exposition Universelle in 1867.  This park is where locals head to sunbathe, or find shade during a heat wave.

Don’t miss:  A  drink at either  Rosa Bonheur or Pavillon Puebla , the park’s two buzzing, eternall jam-packed bars. 

Château de Versailles

9.  Château de Versailles

  • Paris et sa banlieue

Once just a modest hunting lodge, the Château de Versailles can surely now lay claim to the title of the most sumptuous pad in France. It’s grown with each resident and now has an astonishing 2,300 rooms that have housed numerous members of the French royalty over the years. The majority of the lavish work was commissioned by Louis XIV in 1678. The Sun King is virtually synonymous with Versailles: he’s responsible for adding the wondrous Hall of Mirrors, as well as the elegant and expansive grounds. It can get busy at peak times, so book a skip-the-line ticket beforehand and arrive early.

Don’t miss:  If you’re visiting during summer, there are magnificent musical fountain shows on select days of the week .

Place des Vosges

10.  Place des Vosges

When it first opened in the early 1600s, Place des Vosges quickly became a place to see and be seen for the city’s burgeoning young, single and bourgeois class (think of them as the original hipsters). It was designed so all the buildings surrounding the park were uniform in style, and the iconic red brick facades haven’t changed in 400 years. The ground floor of the buildings, once storefronts for textile manufacturers, now host small art galleries and cafes. Today, the city’s oldest public park is filled with students on their lunch break and young families picnicking. It’s the perfect spot to eat a sandwich or read a book in the sun.

Don’t miss: A coffee or chocolat chaud at Carette , a chic cafe under the vaulted arcades bordering the park.

Galeries Lafayette

11.  Galeries Lafayette

  • Department stores

Modern malls of the world should look to Galeries Lafayette and shudder in shame. This majestically beautiful department store started life with the modest aim of being a small fashion haberdashery. It then expanded to become one of the world’s most breathtaking shopping destinations. The wrought iron ceiling domes and latticed glasswork are well worth seeing, but this is more than a museum piece. Along with excellent brands to shop from, Galeries Lafayette is also a mouthwatering destination for foodies and oenophiles.

Don’t miss:  The rooftop, which boasts one of the most splendid views of Paris you can imagine, looking out onto the Grand Palais and the Eiffel Tower. 

Jardin des Tuileries

12.  Jardin des Tuileries

  • 1er arrondissement

Every great city has a great city park. And Paris is no different with the Jardin des Tuileries, a manicured stretch of greenery just off the Place de la Concorde. The charm of the park lies in its quintessentially French approach to gardening. Expect perfectly maintained shrubs, walkways and flowers with none of the oh-so-English lackadaisical approach to nature. This urban oasis somehow always feels calm, despite how many people flock here. Added cultural points if you can identify all the artists who made the sculptures without having to google.

Don’t miss: Each summer, a funfair sets up along the Rue de Rivoli side of the gardens,  and every winter a Christmas market and carnival is set up along the park’s north side .

Sacré-Coeur Basilica

13.  Sacré-Coeur Basilica

  • price 1 of 4

Work on this enormous mock Romano-Byzantine edifice began in 1877: it was commissioned in response to defeat in the Franco-Prussian war, the logic being that God must have been cross with the French and needed appeasing, sharp. Paid for from the public purse and completed almost half a century later, in 1914, it was consecrated in 1919, by which time a jumble of architects had succeeded Paul Abadie, winner of the original competition. The results are impressive, especially given its prominent position atop the hill of Montmartre, and the interior is covered in lavish mosaics.

Don’t miss: The views of the city from the lawns outside. Just be very wary of the hawkers trying to sell you bracelets. Make sure they don’t put one on your wrist – because once it’s there, you’re paying for it!

Moulin Rouge

14.  Moulin Rouge

Surely the most famous nightclub on the planet, the Moulin Rouge has seen all manner of showbiz stars, musicians, actors and stately names pass through its doors (which first opened in 1889, interrupted for six years when the original building burned down in 1915). And, tourists aside, this cabaret venue also remains beloved by Parisians, who go more for the club scene at The Machine and rooftop Bar à Bulles that lie within. The birthplace of one of the twentieth century’s best-known dances, on stage 60 can-can dancers cavort with faultless synchronisation for two hours in the ‘Féerie’ show. Costumes are flamboyant, legs kick higher than you’d think possible and the ‘half-time’ acts are funny. Just add champagne and you’ve got the ultimate French night out. 

Don’t miss:   A trip to tapas joint  Le Bar à Bulles , which you’d be forgiven for missing since it’s on the roof.

The view from Montparnasse Tower

15.  The view from Montparnasse Tower

At 209 metres, this steel-and-glass colossus isn’t quite the height of the Eiffel Tower, but it boasts far better views – for starters, they actually include the Eiffel Tower! Built in 1974 on the site of the Metro station with the same name, you ascend to the top of the Tour Montparnasse via a super-fast lift that sends you soaring skyward to the fifty-sixth floor, where you’ll find a display filled with aerial pics of Paris, plus a café and souvenir shop. On a clear day, you can see up to 25 miles away. If you want to go all the way, a second lift will take you up to the building’s roof.

Don’t miss:  T he ice rink that’s installed near the tower in winter.

Musée de l’Orangerie

16.  Musée de l’Orangerie

If the words ‘French art’ immediately conjure up scenes of lily pads, then you’re probably already familiar with the Musée de l’Orangerie. This Monet-centric museum does feature other artists, but its big selling point is surely the eight super-sized paintings the impressionist master completed in his Giverny garden. Brave the queues at least once - we promise they are genuinely worth seeing in the flesh.

Don’t miss:  Okay, it’s not just Monet: don’t forget to seek out works by his French masters Cézanne, Renoir, Rousseau and Derain, as well as Picasso and Modigliani.

Marché des Enfants Rouges

17.  Marché des Enfants Rouges

  • Markets and fairs

For a city with a seriously gastronomic reputation, Paris rarely disappoints. Since 2000, the Marché des Enfants Rouges has been a charming (and delicious) urban food market that brings together a phenomenal array of international cuisines. Think fondly upon the poor orphans in their red coats who gave the market its name as you scoff your way through North African, Asian and European delicacies.

Don’t miss:  T he giant tagines at Le Traiteur Marocain. Simply fantastic.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

18.  Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

  • Ile de la Cité

If you want to take mass here, you’ve got a bit of a wait: as you’re doubtless aware, an inferno tore through this magnificent Gothic icon in April 2019, and you’ll be waiting until April 2024 for Notre-Dame to reopen (it may or may not be fully restored by then, but the government is determined to have it up and running in time for that summer’s Olympics regardless). Nonetheless, you can’t keep down a cathedral that almost lives in the popular imagination as much as the real world: after Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’ secured its iconic status, Disney’s plucky ’90s movie brought the wonderfully foreboding Gothic architecture of the historic icon to a whole new generation. On your next visit, look up at its timeless façade and imagine its future – just how will they rebuild this sacred beast?

Don’t miss: While the cathedral is being restored, it’s covered in scaffolding and surrounded by construction equipment, making for a bad view up close. The best spot to snap a photo with the facade is from Petit Pont, a bridge connecting Ile de la Cité and the Left Bank.

Musée National Rodin

19.  Musée National Rodin

You’ll find many of the legendary sculptor’s greatest works in this museum  based at the h ôtel particulier where the sculptor spent his final years until his death in 1917. Timeless highlights including ‘The Kiss’, ‘The Cathedral’, ‘The Walking Man’ and many other busts and terracottas. You’ll also find work on display by Camille Claudel, Rodin’s pupil and mistress. As a further bonus there are works by Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir and  Carrière here too. Don’t miss:  The gardens, a gallery space in themselves. Look out for the ‘ Burghers of Calais’, ‘The Gates of Hell’, and ‘The Thinker’.

The Louvre

20.  The Louvre

It would of course be ridiculous to visit Paris without at least dipping into the world’s largest museum. The Louvre’s maze of corridors, galleries and stairways constitute a city within a city – especially when you take into account the sheer numbers that visit (a record 10.2 million people back in 2018). It’s undeniably somewhat intimidating: with 35,000 works on public display, split across eight departments and three wings, there is zero chance you’re going to see it all in a single day. The best bet is to pick the parts you want to see beforehand, be patient and make your way steadily through the crowds. If you want a few starter tips, we recommend a trip to the impressive Islamic arts galleries, which opened in 2012. For the Mona Lisa –yes it’s a cliché, but why wouldn’t you want to see it? – head to the Salle de la Joconde.

Don’t miss:  If the crowds sound like too much to bear, try the Louvre’s extended-hour evenings on Fridays – open until 9.45pm, it’s significantly quieter.

La Coulée Verte

21.  La Coulée Verte

The old train tracks that join Bastille and Vincennes have now been reclaimed as La Coulée Verte: a verdant, picturesque five-kilometre trail of elevated gardens, the Jardin de Reuilly and tree-lined cycle paths. Kick off at the Bastille end and you can nip up one of the staircases on Avenue Daumesnil to get sweeping views of the city. It’s so scenic that doing the whole thing can easily take up a whole day. If you‘re going to do that, pack a picnic and stop in the Jardin de Reuilly, where there’s (we’re not kidding) Paris’s first sparkling water fountain (there are now around ten more). Then you can carry on to the glorious Bois de Vincennes, which has lakes and leafy, shaded parkland.

Don’t miss:   The police station on Rue Rambouillet which has striking art deco architecture.


22.  Sainte-Chapelle

  • Historic buildings and sites

In the 1240s, the fervently religious King Louis IX – who went on to become St Louis – acquired what he’d been led to believe was Christ’s Crown of Thorns. Naturally, he wanted somewhere appropriately magnificent to house it. The result was one heck of a monument: the magnificent, glittering Sainte-Chapelle. Its 15-metre windows are truly jaw-dropping: hundreds of scenes from the Bible are depicted, culminating in the Apocalypse in the rose window.

Don’t miss:  The occasional classical and gospel concerts that take place here. It makes for an eerily poignant venue.

Fondation Louis Vuitton

23.  Fondation Louis Vuitton

  • 16e arrondissement

The Fondation Louis Vuitton’s 11 ultra-sleek galleries opened in the Bois de Boulogne in 2014. Since then, Frank Gehry’s astonishing building has played host to a rotating programme of shows by high-profile modern and contemporary artists: expect to see works by the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat ,  Gilbert & George  and  Jeff Koons, as well as specially commissioned site-specific works. The museum is owned by Louis Vuitton’s parent company LVMH, but will be taken over by the city after 55 years.

Don’t miss:  The events that run alongside the exhibitions – there are frequent appearances by big-name artists and curators.

Les Passages Couverts

24.  Les Passages Couverts

  • Faubourg Montmartre

Elegant precursors to the modern-day shopping centre, in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Paris there were lots of glass-roofed shopping galleries in areas around the Grands Boulevards. These covered passages allowed you to take shortcuts, escape the elements or ( ooh la la! ) steal a forbidden kiss with your lover in relative privacy. Not that it was all elegant charm: most passages were also given a salon de décrottage : a room where the dog excrement you’d trodden through was scraped off your shoes. Sadly that service is long gone, but these days  passages couverts are perfect little hideaways for an afternoon’s retail therapy. 

Don’t miss:  Galerie Vivienne is the best known, appreciated above all for its ochre-coloured décor and mythology-themed mosaics. We love the tearoom there too.

The Centre Pompidou

25.  The Centre Pompidou

  • 4e arrondissement

The Pompidou’s ‘inside-out’ appearance – with pipes, air ducts and escalators proudly gracing the exterior – has made it one of the best-known sights in Paris. It’s so striking that when it opened in 1977, its success exceeded all expectations… which was kind of a problem, as in essence five times more people turned up than had been expected: in its early years it was a byword for excessive busyness.  

After a two-year revamp, completed in 2000, the building grew, with a larger museum, renewed performance spaces and vista-rich Georges restaurant added. Entrance to the forum is free, as is a ride on the external escalators to the top of the museum. The permanent collection is an eclectic and vibrant display of modern art..

Don’t miss: Even if modern art isn’t your thing, take the free escalator ride to the top for an incredible view of Paris.. Nothing beats the moment you rise above the rooftops.

Le Crazy Horse

26.  Le Crazy Horse

  • Champs-Elysées

Definitely one of the more risqué players on the Parisian cabaret scene, the art du nu  (it’s a nudie revue!) of Le Crazy Horse first opened its doors in 1951 under the steerage of the legendary  Alain Bernardin. Seventy years on, it  still pulls in punters aplenty. It remains dedicated to all things feminine and sexy, within certain parameters: lookalike dancers with curious stage names like Enny Gmatic and Hippy Bang Bang all bear the same bodily dimensions. (Girls are genuinely required to have nipples and hips at the same height). Expect lots of rainbow-hued light and artfully located strips of black tape. Old-school, self-respecting cabaret.

Don’t miss:  ‘Striptease Moi’ , a sensual gender-bending show with a daft ending. 

Musée Picasso

27.  Musée Picasso

The Musée Picasso isn’t quite as famous as Paris’s other major galleries, but it’s so absolutely worth a visit. Bang in the middle of the Marais, this attractive gallery is in a former 17th century mansion. The masterpieces on show here are endless and include ‘La Celestina’, ‘The Supplicant’ and ‘Portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter’. It’s the perfect sized gallery to spend a slow morning in before heading out for a leisurely lunch.

Don’t miss:  Head up to the top of the museum and you’ll find Ol’ Pablo’s very own art collection, which includes some gorgeous works by  Cézanne, Renoir, Mirò and his frenemy Matisse.

Shakespeare & Company

28.  Shakespeare & Company

  • Quartier latin

Shakespeare & Company is one of those iconic bookshops that nerdy intellectuals flock to simply to say they’ve been there (and got the tote bag). But this English-language bookshop on the Left Bank remains a genuinely excellent place to browse for literature - it’s beautiful, well-stocked and calming. Roam the corridors while inhaling the spirits of the many writers, artists and bohemians who have dwelt here over the years.

Don’t miss:   The busy events schedule, which includes readings from many high-profile authors.

Street art in Paris

29.  Street art in Paris

Paris has had a pretty serious street art scene from as long ago as the 1960s, and it’s only grown bigger since. There is plenty of wall space in the city’s suburbs, outer arrondissements and centre for local and international artists to get creative with their spray cans and transform whole areas into outdoor art galleries. By definition this stuff tends to be somewhat transient – if you can, take a look at the several dedicated blogs for up-to-date info.

Don’t miss:  We recommend the Rue Dénoyez in Belleville. Even during the day, there are always a couple of  graffeurs  at work.

Grande Mosquée de Paris

30.  Grande Mosquée de Paris

The Grande Mosquée is an active place of worship, but is open to visitors (except on Fridays and Muslim holidays). It opened in 1926 and remained the only mosque in the Paris metro area for a long time. Nearly 100 years later, the mosque’s geometric mosaics, white columns and intricately engraved archways make it a must-see. Walking through the tiled central courtyards and gardens will make you feel like you’re in Marrakesh, not Paris. Women can also enjoy a massage and a steam at the mosque’s on-site hammam, but no men are allowed.

Don’t miss: A cup of tea with baklava on the mosque’s peaceful patio.

Canal de l’Ourcq

31.  Canal de l’Ourcq

Commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte himself, the nineteenth-century Canal de l’Ourcq takes a 108km journey from the river Ourcq in Picardie before ending its journey  in front of the arty MK2 cinemas at   Place de la Bataille-de-Stalingrad’s Bassin de la Villette. Like the Canal Saint-Martin further south, the Canal de l’Ourcq draws a trendy crowd, from students to thirtysomethings with young families, who come to play boules on the sandy stretches, picnic on the water’s edge, and even play ping-pong in the playground areas. 

Don’t miss:  The   péniches  (canal boats) that double up as a bar, a theatre and a bookshop.

Marché d’Aligre

32.  Marché d’Aligre

  • Vintage shops
  • 12e arrondissement

The Marché d’Aligre has been a permanent fixture in an ever-evolving city since 1799. This much-used market sells everything from fresh veg to pre-loved clothes, fish and meat. There’s a lot on offer here, so plan ahead to decide what you are (literally) in the market for. If it’s a nice bit of poisson, go to the covered Beauvau part where you’ll find the better quality butchers and fishmongers.

Don’t miss:  The artisanal stalls in the main yard which sell books, African masks and other trinkets.


33.  Bateaux-Mouches

  • 8e arrondissement

Punctuated by landmarks, spanned by historical bridges and dotted with tree-lined quays, the Seine is bursting with picture-postcard moments: it’s surely one of the prettiest city rivers in the world. One of the best ways to absorb it all is by boat, ie one of Paris’s iconic Bateaux-Mouches. Sure, they are always rammed with tourists (we won’t lie: Parisians tend to avoid them like the plague), but if you don’t mind that, you’ll be in for a treat.  Bateaux-Mouches is the name of the largest and best-known boat operator, but there are smaller companies that provide the same service. Going with a smaller boat will leave you with a bit more peace.

Don’t miss: Stop off at the Île Saint-Louis for lunch at an old-time bistro. 

Musée de la Vie Romantique

34.  Musée de la Vie Romantique

  • Saint-Georges

Back in 1830, the 9th arrondissement teemed with composers, writers and artists. And it was this year that Dutch artist Ary Scheffer built this small villa. Guests at Scheffer’s soirées included Chopin, Liszt and – most important for our purposes – novelist George Sand. The museum is now mainly dedicated to Sand, who was enormously popular in her lifetime, but it also displays Scheffer’s paintings and other mementoes from the Romantic era. Renovated in 2013, the museum’s tree-lined courtyard café and greenhouse make for a perfect summertime retreat.

Don’t miss:  While you’re nearby, you should probably check out the Musée National Gustave Moreau . There’s a surprise waiting for you at the top. 

La Petite Ceinture

35.  La Petite Ceinture

  • 20e arrondissement

What is La Petite Ceinture? Basically, it’s an out-of-use railway that girdles Paris like, well, a little belt – hence the name. The track has been in disrepair since the last freight train went through in the ’80s (the final passenger train went through way back in 1934). Stretches of it have been transformed into an urban park, where flowers are growing over the rails and you take a walk away from the city ambience of honking cars. La Petite Ceinture can be accessed at entry points in the twelfth through twentieth arrondissements .

Don’t miss: A few of the old train stations along the former rails have a new life today as restaurants, brasseries and even one coworking space.

Palais de Tokyo

36.  Palais de Tokyo

When this modern and contemporary art building opened in 2002, many thought the Palais de Tokyo’s determinedly no-frills aesthetic amounted to a deliberate statement. In fact, it was purely for budgetary reasons. Happily, the venue has really flourished since then, especially after an extended 2012 overhaul of its open-plan space. Extended hours and a cool café bring in younger audiences, and the roll-call of artists is impressive (Roberto Braga, Wang Du, Theaster Gates and others). The name harks back to the 1937 Exposition Internationale, but is also a reminder of links with a new generation of artists from the Far East.

Don’t miss:  Everything else here. There’s Le Yoyo club, an excellent fashion and design bookshop, and two new restaurants. Oh, and don’t forget to head out to the terrace. The view of the Eiffel Tower really can’t be beaten. 

Philharmonie de Paris

37.  Philharmonie de Paris

  • La Villette

This grandiose venue in the North-East of Paris aims to make classical music accessible and non-elitist, with a remit to draw in novices as well as seasoned concert-goers. This all naturally hinges on the tickets being affordable: at a time when cultural activities are getting increasingly costly, the Philharmonie hopes to counter the trend much as the Opéra Bastille did for opera. Aesthetically impressive and large, this 2,400-seat concert hall frequently dazzles with season after season of eclectic concerts and events.

Don’t miss:  The  rooftop has spectacular views, open throughout the summer.

Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

38.  Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

  • Père-Lachaise

Pretty much anyone famous, French and dead is interred in Père-Lachaise. Indeed you don’t even have to be French: creed and nationality have never prevented entry; you just had to have lived or died in Paris or have an allotted space in a family tomb. From Balzac to Chopin to Oscar Wilde (the tomb worn away by kisses from visiting admirers, now with transparent barriers), the opportunities for posthumous talent-spotting are endless.

Don’t miss:   Oscar Wilde’s tomb: much like the man himself, it’s ostentatious and flamboyant. 

Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen

39.  Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen

  • 18e arrondissement

The Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen is widely held to be the biggest flea market in the entire world. While it seems quite likely that its rivals haven’t in fact been formally measured, with 3,000 traders and more than 5 million visitors a year, nobody is really arguing. Opening in 1885, it started life as a humble rag-and-bone set-up on the city’s edges.

Paris being Paris, it has, perhaps inevitably, turned into a more upscale affair, with lots of boutiques and antique stalls. At the other end of the spectrum, restaurants and takeaways are in danger of displacing the less fancy traders. But whatever sanitisation is sanding the edges of the Puces, it still makes for an exhilarating experience for a tourist.

Don’t miss: T here’s only a single ATM – so make sure you come with a bulging wallet or a willingness to queue.

Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac

40.  Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac

This museum is nothing like the others on your Parisian vacation itinerary. Musée du Quai Branly conserves 300,000 pieces of non-European art and artifacts. Stroll through the quiet gardens surrounding the museum before heading inside, where you’ll follow the building’s river-like design through cases of works from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. From samurai armor to hand-woven tapestries and intricate line drawings on tree bark, the engaging and beautifully designed museum has something for everyone. 

Don’t miss: A vertical garden forms a living green wall on the exterior of the museum.

Musée Carnavalet

41.  Musée Carnavalet

In the Musée Carnavalet – which recently reopened after a major refurbishment – a whopping 140 rooms tell the story of Paris in chronological order, from pre-Roman Gaul right up until the twentieth century. The building was built in 1548, transformed by Mansart in 1660 and turned into a museum in 1866, when the great city planner Haussmann persuaded the authorities to preserve its gorgeous interiors. Original sixteenth-century rooms contain magnificent Renaissance art collections heaving with portraits, furniture and other artefacts.    The museum is also free to visit.

Don’t miss:  Items belonging to Napoleon himself, a cradle given to Paris by his nephew Napoleon III, and a replica of author Marcel Proust’s cork-lined bedroom.

Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

42.  Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

  • Zoos and aquariums
  • 5e arrondissement

An unexpected side-effect of decapitating swathes of your wealthiest citizens? Working out what to do with their many ownerless pets. Proof that the instigators of the Terror were really just big softies, this ménagerie became the solution to the sudden influx of homeless animals in 1794. Nowadays the collection is sourced by less homicidal means: present-day inhabitants include vultures, monkeys, orang-utans, ostriches, flamingos, a century-old turtle, plus another one rescued from the sewers, a gorgeous red panda and lots of satisfyingly scary spiders and snakes. There’s also a petting zoo with farm animals for small kids, and older ones can zoom in on microscopic species in the Microzoo.

Don’t miss: A game of ‘who can spot the oldest tree?’ in the botanical gardens next door. The black acacia planted in 1636 is particularly striking. 

Shopping on the Champs-Élysées

43.  Shopping on the Champs-Élysées

Time has not withered the Champs-Élysées: despite having probably the stiffest local competition in the world, it remains  the   premiere   shopping destination in Paris. It’s no drab high street; rather it’s a world-famous boulevard of sublime consumer chic. The brands are high-end and the stores are filled with art installations, DJs and other things keeping the whole retail therapy thing as fresh and fun as possible. And the avenue itself is a wonder: deafening, overwhelming, but inimitably Parisian.

Don’t miss:  Come Christmas, the market and fairground at the foot of the Champs give it a truly magical feel.

Aquarium de Paris / Cinéaqua

44.  Aquarium de Paris / Cinéaqua

Trocadéro isn’t historically the most thrilling area of Paris, but it’s really been jolted into life by this  fantastic attraction, which combines an aquarium and two-screen cinema. Kids will go berserk for the shark tunnel and the petting pool, where you can fulfil the lifelong dream you never knew you had and stroke the friendly sturgeon who stick their long snouts above the surface. There’s also a section showing the various heroic species of fish that somehow manage to survive in the Seine despite the pollution. Some visitors might find the admission fee trop cher,  but it really is a brilliant way to spend a long afternoon.

Don’t miss: Special kids’ shows take place every day. Check the aquarium’s online schedule for times.

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

45.  Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Inside this grand old 1930s building you’ll find key works from the Cubists and Fauves, and artists like Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Georges Rouault, Chaim Soutine and Kees van Dongen. It’s a fine museum, albeit with such stiff local competition not as famous as some of Paris’ premium venues, which is why it’s unfortunate that the museum made international headlines back in May 2010 when five paintings, including a Picasso, were stolen.

Don’t miss:  Visiting even if you’re skint – this is one of the scant number of museums in Paris where it’s free to enter.

La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie

46.  La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie

  • Exhibitions

Europe’s biggest science museum pulls in five million visitors a year, and deservedly so. Its permanent exhibition  Explora occupies the top two floors, whisking visitors through 30,000-square-metre that looks at life, the universe and everything in all its complexity: highlights include scale models of satellites including the Ariane space shuttle, planes and robots, plus the chance to experience weightlessness. The hothouse garden investigates developments in agriculture and bio-technology. Don’t miss:  The Espace Images, where you can play around with a delayed camera, draw 3D images on a computer and even lend your voice to the Mona Lisa. 

Musée Grévin

47.  Musée Grévin

  • Grands Boulevards

Like a kitschier version of Madame Tussauds – yes, such a thing is possible – the Musée Grévin is a guaranteed winner with kids that need entertaining. It’s pretty much the same deal as  Tussauds only without the edgier bits: have your photo  taken alongside waxworks of showbiz stars and personalities like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, the Queen and Barack Obama. The ‘snapshots of the twentieth-century’ area also recreates great historical moments, such as Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. A small gallery at the top of a spiral staircase near the end shows how waxworks are made. 

Don’t miss:   The trippy hall of mirrors designed by American artist Krysle Lip.

Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle

48.  Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle

You know what you‘re getting with any major Natural History Museum, and you’ll rarely regret it. Inevitably they’re family-friendly places with admirable collections. Well Paris is no exception. At the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle’s Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, stuffed creatures parade majestically through their various habitats. Animals of all kinds teach children about the diversity of nature. In the endangered and vanished section – where a dodo takes pride of place – they inform you about the importance of protecting them. The museum contains the bony remains of fish, birds, monkeys, dinosaurs and humans. You won’t know where to look first.

Don’t miss:   Venturing into the Jardin des Plantes complex to find the small Ménagerie zoo, plus separate pavilions containing hunks of meteorites and crystals in the Galerie de Minéralogie et de Géologie. 

Parc de la Villette

49.  Parc de la Villette

Home to numerous theatres, concert halls and museums (including the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie), the Parc de la Villette is also no slouch as an actual park. With its giant climbing frames, burger bar and children’s art centre, the ’80s-built Parc de la Villette is a hub of outdoor fun. Kids shoot down a Chinese dragon slide, and an undulating suspended path follows the Canal de l’Ourcq. There are ten themed gardens bearing evocative names such as the Garden of Mirrors, of Mists, of Acrobatics and of Childhood Frights. 

Don’t miss:   The open-air film festival that takes place on the lawns every summer. 

Disneyland Paris

50.  Disneyland Paris

  • Theme parks

There are actually two parks to explore here: one is Parc Disneyland – aka the erstwhile EuroDisney – which has the big pink castle in it; and then there’s the SFX-oriented Parc Walt Disney Studios, which is more themed around Disney’s films. And then there’s Disney Entertainment Village, which is filled with places to eat, drink and party. Europe’s premiere themepark can seem rather vast and intimidating. But remember it’s all meant to be good fun, and it’s broken down into easy to digest zones: Fantasyland, Discoveryland, Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, et al. There’s absolutely no way you’re going to run out of stuff to keep you and the nippers occupied.

Don’t miss: Disney Premier Access. Sure, you’re paying more, but it gets you right past the queues for the most sought-after attractions.

Looking for somewhere amazing to stay?

The 87 best hotels in Paris

The 87 best hotels in Paris

Whether you want to splash the cash or save your pennies, you’ll find all your needs catered to with this wonderful selection of Paris stays. From boutique gems to palatial oases to trendy hostels, you’re sure to find the right fit for your dream Paris holiday.  

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31 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Paris

Written by Lisa Alexander Updated Aug 24, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Whether sunshine is sparkling on the café terraces of Boulevard Saint-Germain, or melancholy mists of the Seine River are shrouding Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris has a way of romancing visitors. The love affair might begin with a first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, then continue with strolls along the wide tree-lined avenues and in lavish formal gardens.

View over Paris

The city is seductively beautiful. Each neighborhood ( quartier ) reveals its unique personality. The Latin Quarter is a small cluster of pedestrian streets and narrow medieval alleyways where bookshops vie for space with university students' cafés and eateries. The fashionable Champs-Élysées buzzes with energy. Outside the city center, Montmartre still feels like a country village and flaunts its bohemian past.

After seeing the museums and monuments, you will want to seek out the small surprises, like family-run bistros with handwritten menus; cobblestone lanes full of quaint shops; secluded squares adorned with flowing fountains; and elegant tea salons, where dainty jewel-like desserts beckon from glass-covered pastry cases.

In every hidden corner and at all the famous sites, Paris casts a spell of enchantment. One visit may inspire a lifelong passion.

Discover what makes the City of Light so captivating and learn about the best places to explore with our list of the top tourist attractions in Paris.

1. Eiffel Tower

2. musée du louvre, 3. avenue des champs-élysées, 4. musée d'orsay, 5. palais garnier, opéra national de paris, 6. cathédrale notre-dame de paris, 7. place de la concorde, 8. arc de triomphe, 9. hôtel de la marine, 10. jardin des tuileries, 11. seine river cruises, 12. musical concerts at sainte-chapelle, 13. bustling boulevards and legendary cafés, 14. jardin du luxembourg, 15. sacré-coeur and quartier montmartre, 16. panthéon, 17. place des vosges, 18. musée rodin, 19. place vendôme, 20. centre pompidou, 21. hôtel national des invalides, 22. domaine national du palais-royal, 23. place de la bastille, 24. place du châtelet and tour saint-jacques, 25. la conciergerie, 26. fondation louis vuitton, 27. parc de la villette, 28. paris plages, 29. cimetière du père lachaise, 30. parc des buttes-chaumont, 31. grande arche de la défense, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to paris, paris, france - climate chart.

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower (la Tour Eiffel) ranks high on the list of places to visit in France and is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the world. So it's hard to believe that the structure was originally dismissed as a monstrosity. The innovative metal structure shocked Victorian-era audiences when it was unveiled by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel for the Paris Exhibition of 1889 .

Whether loved or hated, the Eiffel Tower has always impressed. Reaching a height of 324 meters, the tower is comprised of 18,000 sturdy iron sections held together by 2.5 million rivets. Although no longer the world's tallest building, the Eiffel Tower has achieved the status of an icon.

For first-time visitors, seeing the Eiffel Tower is an unforgettable experience. Upon arrival at the esplanade, the sight of the four massive pillars that support this 10,100-ton monument leaves many awestruck.

Author's Tip : Purchase your tickets to the Eiffel Tower in advance online. You first choose a specific date and during the online process, you will reserve a specific time slot for the visit. (You must arrive on time.) Tickets sell out during high season (July and August), so you should purchase your tickets as far in advance as possible.

Base of the Eiffel Tower

When you arrive at the Eiffel Tower, you will first walk through the esplanade gardens. Then you will look for the correct queue (which will be labeled "Visitors with tickets"). The recently renovated gardens feature leafy trees and pedestrian pathways with close-up views of the Iron Lady.

To arrive at the Eiffel Tower's 1st floor (at 57 meters) requires an elevator ride or a walk up the 360 steps. This level has public restrooms, a gift shop, a cafeteria, a brasserie restaurant, and an open-air terrace space for admiring the views.

View of Paris from the Eiffel Tower

The 2nd floor (at 125 meters) of the Eiffel Tower is reached from the 1st floor by a staircase of 344 more steps or an elevator ride. This level has similar amenities as the 1st floor, except the viewing platforms offer a perspective onto more of the Paris monuments (such as the Notre-Dame, the Louvre, and the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur).

A highlight of the 2nd floor, the Michelin-starred Le Jules Verne delivers exceptional haute cuisine in a dreamy setting. The restaurant's dining rooms feature expansive windows, which provide a peak of the Eiffel Tower's structural beams and glimpses of Paris cityscapes. You'll also find a buffet-style cafeteria and the Pierre Hermé macaron boutique.

To arrive at the top floor (276 meters in elevation) requires an exhilarating elevator ride from the 2nd floor. The staircases only go up to the 2nd floor, so climbing up to the top is not an option.

Visiting the top floor of the Eiffel Tower is one of the most thrilling things to do in Paris , but it's not for the faint of heart. When you walk out onto the compact viewing platform at this level, you are overwhelmed by the far-reaching views and strong gusts of wind. Up this high, it feels like another world, and you can no longer hear the noise of street traffic below.

View of Eiffel Tower from Jardins du Trocadéro

You definitely will want to spend some time taking photos of the Eiffel Tower. From either the Jardins du Trocadéro (a short walk across the Seine River) or the Parc du Champ de Mars (the lawns in front of the tower), there is just the right distance for picture-perfect photo-ops.

Address: La Tour Eiffel, Champ de Mars, 75007 Paris (Métro: Bir-Hakeim, Trocadéro, Iéna, or Passy station)

Louvre Museum at night

The Louvre is the most prestigious of Paris' museums and the crème de la crème of the city's cultural attractions. Besides its exceptional art collection, the building has a regal past: The Louvre was formerly the residential palace of France's kings.

Today, the Musée du Louvre displays thousands of artworks, many of which are considered masterpieces, from antiquities to European paintings of the 15th to 19th centuries.

It is impossible to see it all in one visit, but you can focus on a particular gallery, such as classical sculpture, Italian Renaissance art, or 17th-century French paintings, or take a self-guided tour to cover the Louvre Museum's highlights.

Of course, you will want to get a look at the Mona Lisa or La Gioconda (or La Joconde in French) painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1503-1505. Many tourists breeze through the museum just to glance at this one piece, but there are other must-see works of art to admire even if time is limited.

Other masterpieces of the Louvre include the ancient Vénus de Milo sculpture; the monumental Victoire de Samothrace of the Hellenistic period; the immense Wedding Feast at Cana painting by Veronese (1563); Sandro Botticelli's Venus and the Three Graces fresco; and Liberty Leading the People (1831) by Eugène Delacroix, depicting the Parisian uprising of July 1830.

To get the most out of a visit to the Louvre, join a guided tour. The museum offers tours in multiple languages. These focus on the highlights and provide information on the palace.

The Louvre Museum Skip-the-Line Tour is another option that also takes you straight to the museum's most famous artworks, including the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa . On this three-hour tour, a guide (who is an art historian) provides in-depth commentary about the masterpieces.

Author's Tips : Most visitors enter the museum in the courtyard of the palace at the Pyramid du Louvre , the glass pyramid designed by Ieoh Ming Pei in 1917. This entrance almost always has long lines. The wait is especially long without a timed entrance ticket. (See tips below for alternative entrances to the museum.)

Avoid the lines of the Pyramid entrance by going to one of the lesser-known entrances. If you already have a Louvre museum ticket or a Paris Museum Pass, head to the Carrousel entrance (99 Rue de Rivoli) where you likely can walk right in without waiting in line. You may save some time at this entrance if you haven't reserved a specific time slot for admission.

Purchase a museum pass : If you plan to visit multiple museums, you can save money and time by purchasing a Paris Museum Pass . The savings depends on how many museums you visit. The advantage is that you don't have to purchase a ticket at each museum. However, you still need to reserve a specific time slot (free of charge) to visit the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, and Château de Versailles (otherwise you may have to wait in line).

If you have not already purchased a ticket or Paris Museum Pass, you may use the Porte des Lions entrance on the 4 Quai François Mitterrand.

Address: Musée du Louvre, Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris (Métro: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre or Pyramides station)

Avenue des Champs-Élysées

Brimming with fancy boutiques and dining terraces, the Champs-Élysées epitomizes the fashionable panache of Paris.

You'd never guess that the most monumental boulevard in Paris used to be a desolate swamp. The marshland was converted into an avenue by renowned landscape designer André Le Nôtre in the 17th century. Two centuries later, the city planner Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann added the grey stone Mansard-roofed buildings that give the boulevard its classic Parisian look.

The Champs-Élysées is divided into two parts with the Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées as its intersection.

The lower part of the Champs-Élysées, bordering the Place de la Concorde , includes a spacious park, the Jardins des Champs-Élysées , and the Petit Palais fine arts museum. The upper part, extending to the Arc de Triomphe, is lined by luxury shops, hotels, restaurants, cafés, cinemas, and theaters. This bustling area draws many tourists and is a gathering place for Parisians.

The Champs-Élysées is famous for its prestigious establishments, such as Maison Ladurée (75 Avenue des Champs-Élysées), a pâtisserie boutique and tea salon that offers exquisite French pastries (macarons are the house specialty), and upscale designer boutiques like Tiffany & Co. (62 Avenue des Champs-Élysées), Louis-Vuitton (101 Avenue des Champs-Élysées), and Cartier (154 Avenue des Champs-Élysées).

For fine dining , the top choices are the legendary brasserie Fouquet's (99 Avenue des Champs-Élysées) and the swanky gastronomic restaurant L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Étoile (133 Avenue des Champs-Élysées), which has one Michelin star.

Although the Champs-Élysées has an image of refinement, there are many affordable places that cater to tourists and students on a budget, such as Starbucks, Quick, Burger King, and McDonald's.

Address: Avenue des Champs-Elysées, 75008 Paris (Métro: Champs-Élysées Clemenceau station to visit the Jardins des Champs-Élysées and Petit Palais, Franklin d. Roosevelt station for Ladurée, George V station for the main shopping area).

Musee d'Orsay

You haven't seen the best of French art until you visit the Musée d'Orsay . The Musée du Louvre may hold the most masterpieces of European painting, but the Musée d'Orsay focuses on works by celebrated French artists including Monet, Renoir, and Degas.

If you love Impressionist art , this is the place to go. The Musée d'Orsay displays a splendid collection of 19th- and 20th-century art (created from 1848 to 1914).

Although the museum's inventory begins with 19th-century Realist paintings and landscape paintings, the highlight of the museum is the Impressionism collection. Also on display are Post-Impressionist works by artists such as Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, and Vincent van Gogh, and bohemian artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Some of the museum's famous paintings include Claude Monet's The Magpie , Gare Saint-Lazare, Poppy Field , and Luncheon on the Grass ; Vincent van Gogh's self-portrait and Starry Night ; and Renoir's Dance at Moulin de la Galette, which depicts a festive party scene in Montmartre.

You may rent an audioguide to take a self-guided tour. The commentary (available in English and French) covers over 300 works.

The museum also has a bookstore/gift shop, two casual cafés, and a fine-dining restaurant, which is worth the splurge. Formerly the Hôtel d'Orsay (a luxury hotel within the original Gare d'Orsay) and listed as a Monument Historique , the Musée d'Orsay Restaurant features gilded ceilings and sparkling chandeliers.

On the square in front of the museum, there is a kiosk that sells sandwiches and falafel.

Address: Musée d'Orsay, Esplanade Valéry Giscard d'Estaing 75007 Paris (Métro: Musée d'Orsay, Assemblée Nationale, or Solférino station)

Palais Garnier Opera House & the Bibliotèchque-Musée de l'Opera

Commissioned by Napoleon III in 1860, the Palais Garnier Opera House was designed by Charles Garnier in an exuberant Baroque style. Garnier worked tirelessly on the project for over a decade, from 1862 to 1875. Today, this show-stopping landmark is a symbol of Napoleon's Imperial regime.

Upon entering the building, you are dazzled by the lavish 11,000-square-meter interior. Much of the building's space is dedicated to the main foyer with its fabulous Grand Escalier , marble entrance staircase, adorned by ornate gilded lamps, and the Salon du Glacier , a sumptuous Belle Époque hall decorated with mirrors, Corinthian columns painted gold, colorful mosaics, and music-themed ceiling paintings.

The horseshoe-shaped auditorium has an intimate feel, although it can accommodate 2,105 people in its plush velvet seats. Gilded balconies, an enormous crystal chandelier, and a Chagall ceiling painting add to the theater's marvelousness, creating the perfect dramatic backdrop for ballet, opera, and music performances.

The Opéra Garnier hosts a prestigious calendar of events in addition to galas. Attending a performance is one of the most exciting things to do in Paris at night. It's a wonderful way to see the building's interior while enjoying a glamorous evening. Another option is to visit (entry ticket required) on a self-guided tour or take a guided tour during the daytime.

Connoisseurs of fine dining will be delighted to discover CoCo, a chic restaurant within the Opera House (entrance is at 1 Place Jacques Rouché) that serves contemporary French cuisine prepared from seasonal ingredients. CoCo offers lunch and dinner daily, as well as weekend brunch (every Saturday and Sunday) featuring musical entertainment. The garden terrace is open Tuesday through Saturday during summertime. Reservations are recommended.

Address: Palais Garnier, Place de l'Opéra, 8 Rue Scribe (at Auber) 75009 Paris (Métro: Opéra, Chaussée d'Antin-La Fayette or Havre-Caumartin station)

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (Photo taken prior to the April 2019 fire)

Despite the damage done by the 2019 fire, it is still worth seeing the Notre-Dame Cathedral. This awe-inspiring medieval monument stands at the heart of Paris on the Île-de-la-Cité, an island in the Seine River. To get here from the Latin Quarter , simply cross the Petit Pont bridge.

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris was founded in 1163 by King Louis IX (Saint Louis) and Bishop Maurice de Sully, and the construction took more than 150 years. The cathedral was first created in the Early Gothic style, while later additions (the west front and the nave) show the transition to High Gothic style.

View of the cathedral's facade during renovations

Note: A large fire in April of 2019 caused considerable damage to the cathedral: The medieval roof and the 19th-century spire collapsed. However, the monument was partly saved thanks to the work of hundreds of firefighters.

A project to repair the structure is underway. The city plans to rebuild the cathedral and restore it to its previous state. Restoration work is ongoing.

Currently, the interior of the cathedral (including the towers) and the space immediately in front of the cathedral (on the Parvis Notre-Dame) are closed to the public. A few steps away from the cathedral's facade, a section of the Parvis Notre-Dame (square) is now used for educational exhibits about the cathedral.

The Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral anticipates reopening in December 2024. A project to redesign the landscaping around the cathedral is scheduled for completion in 2027.

Until the reopening, the Notre-Dame de Paris congregation will celebrate Mass at the Eglise Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois (2 Place du Louvre) in the 1st arrondissement.

Address: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, 6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Place Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris (Métro: Cité or Saint-Michel Notre-Dame station)

Place de la Concorde

The Place de la Concorde stands at the heart of Paris both literally and figuratively. The square was created in 1772 by the architect of King Louis XV. During the French Revolution, the Place de la Concorde was the scene of state-ordered executions , including Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, among other victims of the guillotine. The square was also part of Napoleon's triumphal route.

One of the largest and most central squares in the city, the Place de la Concorde offers a sensational perspective of the city's landmarks. In one direction, you can admire the Arc de Triomphe and in the other, the Louvre, while the Eiffel Tower can be seen in the distance.

Two ornately decorated fountains and an Egyptian obelisk are found in the middle of the square. However, it's a bit of a hassle to get up close because you have to walk through heavy traffic. The Place de la Concorde is one of the busiest intersections in Paris.

Tip for Pedestrians : You will notice cars circulating the square at high speeds. French drivers don't always pay attention to pedestrians. Make sure to get out of the way of oncoming cars!

During summertime , the Place de la Concorde adopts a fairground ambiance, with a Ferris wheel gracing the square from June through August. The neighboring Jardin des Tuileries also has amusement park rides and fairground treats during summertime.

To arrive at the Place de la Concorde, walk from the Louvre through the Jardin des Tuileries or the Rue de Rivoli, or follow the Quai des Tuileries along the Seine River. Alternatively, you may take the Métro to Concorde station.

Arc de Triomphe

Nothing says capital city grandeur quite like a triumphal arch. Paris' Arc de Triomphe is dedicated to the soldiers who fought in the French armies of the Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon I commissioned the building of this mighty structure in 1806 but did not live to see its completion in 1836.

The monument was modeled after the Arch of Titus in Rome. The massive 50-meter-high arch features bas-reliefs with larger-than-life-size figures, which depict the departure, victories, and glorious return of the French armies.

Particularly noteworthy is the bas-relief by François Rude on the Champs-Elysées-facing side: Departure of the Volunteers of 1792 , also known as La Marseillaise , illustrating the troops led by the winged spirit of Liberty. On the inner surface of the arch are the names of more than 660 generals and over a hundred battles.

The Arc de Triomphe stands at the end of the Champs-Élysées, presiding over a circular intersection (the Place de l'Étoile).

From the top of the monument, a viewing terrace affords a panoramic outlook onto the 12 avenues that radiate from the Place de l'Étoile, including the route from the Avenue des Champs-Elysées to the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. It's also possible to see all the way to La Défense, the hilltop neighborhood of Montmartre, and the Eiffel Tower.

At the foot of the Arc de Triomphe is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier , dedicated in 1921 as a memorial to an anonymous soldier (symbol of the many other unknown soldiers who valiantly died for their country during World War One without ever receiving recognition).

The Flame of Remembrance was ignited at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on November 11th, 1923, and since that date has not ever been extinguished. Every evening at 6:30pm , a ritual takes place to rekindle the memorial flame at the tomb.

Throughout the year, events to honor national holidays are held at the Arc de Triomphe, including the November 11th (anniversary of the Armistice of 1918) ceremony commemorating those who perished in the war; the May 8th Fête de la Victoire (Victory Day) celebrating the end of WWII, and the liberation from Nazi occupation; as well as festivities for July 14th (Bastille Day).

Admission requires an entrance ticket. You may reserve a ticket in advance online. Free admission is included with the Paris Museum Pass (no reservations required). Guided tours are available.

For visitors with reduced mobility and young children, there is an elevator to reach the viewing terrace. Otherwise, you must take the stairs (284 steps).

Address: Arc de Triomphe, Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris (Métro: Charles de Gaulle-Étoile, Kléber or Argentine station)

Intendant's Apartments at Hôtel de la Marine

A fascinating glimpse of ancien régime (old regime) splendor awaits you at the Hôtel de la Marine . During the reign of Louis XV, this Neoclassical palace housed the apartments of the Intendants du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne (the King's Furniture Storage Intendants). The intendant had an important job: procuring and maintaining the furnishings for the king's elaborate palaces.

The Hôtel de la Marine opened to the public in 2021 after several years of painstaking restoration work. This monument is one of the newest tourist attractions in Paris.

You enter the Hôtel de la Marine through a cobblestone courtyard off the Place de la Concorde. Then walk up the massive marble staircase and into the reception rooms, where you feel like you have stepped back in time. The interior decor has been restored to a state of perfect preservation.

Chandeliers in the Salons d'Honneur

Adorned with gilded moldings and crystal chandeliers, the Salons d'Honneur salons resemble the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles . Other rooms in the Intendant's Apartments reveal the refinement of the Age of Enlightenment.

During this period, aristocratic residences were lavishly decorated with exquisite furnishings, wallpaper, curtains, and paintings. You'll also see precious antiques such as a desk created by Jean-Henri Riesener , a renowned 18th-century cabinetmaker.

The dining room of the Intendant's apartments at the Hôtel de la Marine

The dining room of the Intendant's Apartments, with its floral-patterned porcelain dinnerware, appears ready to welcome guests. On the guided tour, you will learn that the host placed servings of sugar (a precious commodity at the time) on the table to show off his wealth, along with bread, oysters, and bowls of fresh apricots, grapes, figs, and apples.

Be sure to step out onto the Hôtel de la Marine's Loggia , a colonnaded balcony that overlooks the Place de la Concorde. From this privileged spot, you can admire views of the Eiffel Tower, the gold-domed Hôtel National des Invalides, and the Jardins des Champs-Élysées.

Historical Notes : The Hôtel de la Marine is found on the Place de la Concorde, the square created in 1748 to display an equestrian statue of Louis XV and originally called Place Louis XV. During the French Revolution, the statue of the king was removed and the Crown jewels were stolen from the Hôtel de la Marine. In 1795, the square was renamed the "Place de la Concorde."

View over Jardin des Tuileries

Treat yourself to some time relaxing and wandering the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries. After visiting the Hôtel de la Marine, the Place de la Concorde, or the Louvre Museum, you should spend some time wandering the nearby Jardin des Tuileries. This French formal garden was designed by celebrated landscape architect André Le Nôtre in the 17th century.

Today the garden offers an escape from the hustle and bustle in central Paris, but the ambiance was not always so idyllic. This garden is the site of the Palais des Tuileries where Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were essentially imprisoned during the French Revolution. The palace was destroyed by a fire in the 19th century; all that remains is the gorgeous garden.

Jardin des Tuileries

The leafy grounds feature perfectly manicured trees, statues, and pathways. You can relax on the wooden park benches or on individual green chairs which may be moved around. Find the spot that appeals to you and lounge there for a bit, while listening to birds chirp. You'll see locals having a picnic lunch or reading a book in the sunshine.

For snacks and quick meals, head to La Terrasse de Pomone , a kiosk where you can order crepes and sandwiches to-go or for dining at the outdoor tables; the Petit Plisson kiosk that sells quiches and sandwiches for dining at shaded tables; or Petit Farmers , a purveyor of artisanal ice cream.

The park's two café-restaurants, Le Pavillon des Tuileries and the Café des Marronniers offer casual meals in a tranquil setting beneath the leafy chestnut trees.

Tips : Check the opening hours of the café-restaurants and food kiosks as the hours change during different seasons. You will only find the Petit Farmers ice cream truck & stand at the Jardin des Tuileries from April through October.

Seine river cruise at sunset

Soak up the scenery of Paris on a Seine River cruise. You'll have a chance to see the sights from a different perspective. The Seine River bridges, the Eiffel Tower, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre Museum look stunning from the viewpoint of a riverboat.

While a daytime cruise allows you to appreciate the glory of the monuments brightened by sunshine, the most romantic experience is an evening cruise. After sunset, the city's landmarks are illuminated, which creates a special effect, and somehow the city seems more magical.

For a cruise that includes dinner, try the Paris Seine River Dinner Cruise with Live Music by Bateaux Mouches. This luxurious riverboat cruise departs at the Pont de l'Alma (a short walk from the Eiffel Tower) and treats you to a romantic four-course meal. If you prefer a more casual boat ride, a good choice is the Seine River Direct Access Guided Cruise by Vedettes de Paris which includes commentary from a knowledgeable guide and breakfast or lunch.

Gourmands will be tempted by the Ducasse sur Seine restaurant boat, which departs from Port Debilly. This dining cruise offers a haute cuisine experience. Options include a lunch (two, three, or four-course meal) or dinner (four or five-course meal). Menus focus on contemporary-style French dishes prepared from seasonal ingredients.


Sainte-Chapelle is considered a rare jewel among medieval houses of worship and is certainly one of the most exquisite churches in Paris . The ravishing 13th-century chapel is tucked away on the Île-de-la-Cité , just a few blocks (about a 10-minute walk) from the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

This masterpiece of Rayonnant Gothic architecture was built from 1242 to 1248 for King Louis IX (Saint Louis) to house the precious relics he had acquired from the Byzantine Emperor. The altar displays a relic of the Crown of Thorns.

An expanse of 13th-century stained-glass windows sets this chapel apart from any other church in the world. The windows' beauty and brilliance are best appreciated on a sunny day and in the morning. If possible, try to schedule your visit accordingly.

The chapel's over 1,000 stained-glass windows (covering 600 square meters) depict scenes from the bible, both Old Testament and New Testament stories. The colors and light symbolize divinity and the Heavenly Jerusalem.

Only used for church services on rare occasions, Sainte-Chapelle is open to the public as a museum (entrance tickets are required). For an additional fee, audioguides (available in French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese) provide one hour of commentary to help visitors appreciate the art, architecture, and history of Sainte-Chapelle.

To truly experience the serene ambiance of Sainte-Chapelle, attend one of the classical music concerts held here. In the iridescent glow of the sanctuary, performances of Baroque chamber music, sacred music, or Vivaldi string quartets have a sublime quality. A regular program of concerts is held at Sainte-Chapelle year-round, with events scheduled several times a week.

Sainte-Chapelle is located in the Palais de la Cité. To find the chapel, enter the iron gate of the Palais de Justice and walk through the inner courtyard.

Another attraction nearby is La Conciergerie (tourists may purchase combined entry tickets), the prison where Marie-Antoinette was detained during the French Revolution.

Address: Sainte-Chapelle, 8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris (Métro: Cité, Saint-Michel Notre-Dame or Châtelet station)

Saint Chapelle - Floor plan map

A visit to the City of Light is not complete without spending time on the sidewalk terrace or bustling interior of a famous café. It's the ultimate Parisian people-watching scene and a chance to imagine the historic rendezvous that occurred here.

To discover the legendary Paris cafés, the best place to start is the Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement. This broad tree-lined boulevard features an enticing array of storefronts: designer fashion boutiques, prestigious cafés, and old-fashioned brasseries.

The most celebrated cafés are the Café de Flore (172 Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés), which was the meeting place of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and Les Deux Magots (6 Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés), once the haunt of poets, authors, and artists, including Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway.

Les Deux Magots cafe

Across from Les Deux Magots is the Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés , one of the most important churches in Paris .

At both Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots, you will get the classic Parisian café experience, complete with waiters wearing bow ties. Although the waiters have a reputation for their brusque service, their formality adds to the authentic ambiance.

The Saint-Germain-des-Prés area also has excellent pâtisserie boutiques, boulangeries, and chocolate shops such as the Ladurée tea salon (21 Rue Bonaparte), the Maison Le Roux Chocolatier & Caramélier (1 Rue de Bourbon le Château), and Debauve & Gallais (30 Rue des Saints-Pères), a boutique founded in 1779 that supplied Marie-Antoinette with chocolates.

Join the Paris Sweet Tooth Stroll small-group tour to sample the neighborhood's finest sweet treats.

The brasseries of Boulevard du Montparnasse were also frequented by artists and writers during the early 20th century. Le Dôme in Montparnasse is a Paris institution (108 Boulevard du Montparnasse) that has attracted luminaries including Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Picasso. In its glittering Art Deco dining room, the restaurant serves exceptional seafood.

Another atmospheric French brasserie with a mythical past, La Coupole (102 Boulevard du Montparnasse) has, since the 1920s, been visited by artists such as André Derain, Fernand Léger, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, and Marc Chagall as well as the novelist Albert Camus and the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.

La Rotonde Montparnasse (105 Boulevard du Montparnasse) has been a gathering place for painters and writers since 1911 and still attracts cinematographers and artists today.

Jardin du Luxembourg

The Jardin du Luxembourg is the best-known park in Paris after the Tuileries. The 25-hectare park features a formal French garden, similar to the Jardin des Tuileries, as well as an English garden with shady groves of overgrown trees.

On a nice day, it's fun to grab a baguette sandwich at a nearby bakery and then find a chair in front of the garden's duck pond. This is the Paris version of going to the beach when the weather is pleasant. You'll notice many local residents taking a lunch break or simply soaking up some sunshine at the park. It's an especially popular spot among students of the Latin Quarter.

You can also visit a rose garden, apiary, Orangerie (orangery), and greenhouses filled with exotic orchids, as well as an orchard where heirloom varieties of apples flourish.

Palais du Luxembourg

Artistic treasures are found throughout the gardens, such as the picturesque 17th-century Fontaine Médicis , a fountain basin nestled under trees opposite the east front of the Palais du Luxembourg , which today is used by the French state as the seat of the Senate.

Steps away from the Fontaine Médicis is La Terrasse de Madame , a little café-restaurant in a charming setting. You may dine at outdoor tables beneath the leafy chestnut trees. The menu includes coffee and croissants for breakfast and bistro meals for lunch, such as steak, Croque Monsieur (sandwiches), quiche, grilled fish, charcuterie, and salads. Also on the menu are traditional French desserts like profiteroles and crème brûlée .

La Terrasse de Madame

Children love the playground, which features swings, slides, a sandpit, a games area, and pony rides. A favorite activity for the youngest visitors at the Jardin du Luxembourg is steering miniature sailboats around in the octagonal pool (the boats can be hired at a kiosk by the pond).

For French-speaking kids, watching a puppet show at the Théâtre des Marionnettes is not to be missed. The Théâtre des Marionnettes is a modern venue, in the southwest area of the park near the tennis courts, that accommodates an audience of up to 275 children and adults (which makes it the largest puppet theater in France).

Address: Jardin du Luxembourg, Rue de Vaugirard/Rue de Médicis, 75006 Paris (Métro: Luxembourg or Odéon station)

Sacré-Coeur and Quartier Montmartre

Sitting at the highest point in Paris like an ornamental decoration, the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre has a special aura. Its alabaster facade blends Romanesque and Byzantine styles, and from far away, it looks like a wedding cake (which is its nickname).

If you walk to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica from the Métro station, you must walk up the Esplanade, a staircase of over 200 steps, to arrive at the Basilica.

Inside the Basilica, the striking mosaic of Christ with a flaming heart gives the sanctuary an emotional and spiritual intensity, fitting for a church that was created as a symbol of hope after the Franco-Prussian War. In keeping with the somber ambiance, the Basilica's sanctuary is quite dark except for a plethora of flickering candles.

The atmosphere outside the church is quite a contrast, with Parisian joie de vivre in full swing. Locals like to hang out on the grass lawns of the Esplanade while listening to street musicians. You'll see tourists taking selfies, couples embracing, and kids playing on the grass. Below the Esplanade is an old-fashioned carousel, adding to the sense of festivity.

You can spend time on the terrace in front of the Basilica admiring the views of Paris or climb (300 steps) up to the Basilica's Dome for an even higher perspective with unobstructed panoramas. Admission to the Dome requires an entrance fee, but you may visit the Basilica free of charge .

After visiting the Sacré-Coeur, be sure to explore the enchanting neighborhood of Montmartre . This medieval country village (once considered outside of the city) has been incorporated into the city of Paris as the 18th arrondissement.

Picturesque street in the Montmartre neighborhood

Montmartre exudes old-fashioned charm along with an avant-garde edge. Winding cobblestone streets and pedestrian staircases lead to small locally owned boutiques and restaurants, art galleries that evoke the quarter's bohemian past, and quiet squares filled with outdoor cafés .

During the Belle Époque, the village of Montmartre began to attract artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Edgar Degas. The bohemian creative spirit of Montmartre is still found here, especially around the Place du Tertre and the Carré Roland Dorgelès .

Montmartre has several excellent art museums, where you can admire the creations of artists who resided here in the late 19th and early 20th century (the Belle Époque). During that era, the quarter was famous for its cabarets and artists' studios.

The Musée de Montmartre (12 Rue Cortot) occupies a historic house where Auguste Renoir, Raoul Dufy, Suzanne Valadon, and other artists once lived and worked. Tucked away within the museum's gardens, you'll find the Café Renoir , which features outdoor seating in the delightful space where Renoir painted several masterpieces.

If you are intrigued by Surrealist art, be sure to visit the Dalí Paris museum (11 Rue Poulbot). This innovative museum displays more than 300 works created by Salvador Dalí. The exhibits are presented in a way that reveals the symbols and motifs used in his artworks.

Address: Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, 35 Rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre, 75018 Paris (Métro: Abbesses)


The Panthéon is the national mausoleum of France's greatest citizens. You get a sense of the important heritage just by glancing at this grand monument. The colonnaded facade and enormous dome were modeled after the ancient Pantheon in Rome.

The architecture of the Panthéon marks a clear break from the fanciful Rococo style of the Louis XV era and instead presents a simpler and more somber Neoclassical style. The inscription on the Panthéon's facade reads " Aux Grands Hommes La Patrie Reconnaissante " (" To the Great Men Recognized by Their Country ").

Dome of the Panthéon

Many famous men (75 in total) are buried here, including philosophers Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and René Descartes; and the writers Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Émile Zola, and André Malraux. Although the monument was originally dedicated exclusively to France's male citizens, this has changed recently.

Since 1995, several of France's most esteemed female citizens have been buried in the Panthéon including the physicist Marie Curie, a two-time winner of the Nobel Prize. Five other women are buried at the Panthéon. In November 2021, Josephine Baker (the famous Black American expatriate dancer and singer) became the sixth woman to receive the honor of being inducted into the Panthéon.

La Convention Nationale, Pantheon

When you step inside the Neoclassical sanctuary, you will be awed by the spacious domed interior, the floor-to-ceiling paintings that depict scenes of Christian saints, and the enormous sculpture that celebrates French Revolution deputies ( La Convention Nationale ).

Beneath the monumental rotunda is an unusual centerpiece: a science experiment rather than a work of art. Foucault's pendulum , created by French physicist Léon Foucault, was installed in 1851 to demonstrate his theory that the Earth rotates. The brass pendulum hangs from the dome on a steel wire and constantly oscillates in a circular trajectory.

To find the famous citizen's monuments and tombs, you will need a map (available on-site). The underground crypt is arranged in a geometric fashion, but it is easy to get lost.

Foucault's pendulum

Entrance to the Panthéon requires an admission fee, unless you have a Paris Museum Pass and except for the first Sunday of every month from November through March.

From April through September (for an additional entrance fee), you may ascend to the Panthéon's dome, where a colonnaded balcony provides a sensational view of the city's landmarks. You can see the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in the hilltop neighborhood of Montmartre.

Address: Panthéon, Place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris (Métro: Luxembourg station)

Place des Vosges

In the charming Marais district, the Place des Vosges is Paris' oldest public square. With its uniform red-brick architecture, this elegant square provided a model for other squares such as Place Vendôme and Place de la Concorde.

The Place des Vosges was constructed between 1605 and 1612 (called Place Royale at the time) for King Henri IV. The buildings originally housed aristocratic residences.

The Place Royale offered a splendid setting for festive occasions in the 17th century, such as tournaments, state receptions, and court weddings. It was also a favorite spot for duels, in spite of Cardinal Richelieu's ban on dueling. The celebrated courtesan of Louis XIII's reign lived at number 11, and the future Madame de Sévigné was born in 1626 at number 1 on the square.

Victor Hugo rented an apartment at number 6 on the Place Royale between 1832 and 1848. Today this apartment is a museum, the Maison de Victor Hugo (6 Place des Vosges) which is devoted to educating visitors about the life and work of Victor Hugo.

The Place des Vosges is at the heart of Le Marais, a medieval quarter with narrow cobblestone streets, grand Renaissance palaces, and hôtels particuliers (mansions) of the 16th and 17th centuries. Several of these stately old buildings have been converted into museums.

Musée des Archives Nationales in the Hôtel de Soubise

A fascinating glimpse of France's history awaits you at the Musée des Archives Nationales (Museum of the National Archives) in the 17th-century Hôtel de Soubise (60 Rue des Francs-Bourgeois). The museum presents historical exhibits including the Edict of Nantes, French Revolution objects, Marie-Antoinette's last testament, and a letter written to Napoleon.

The most important museum of the quarter is the Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris. This recently renovated museum illustrates the history of Paris from antiquity through the French Revolution and the Belle Époque until the present day.

In the Hôtel Salé (a 17th-century aristocratic mansion), the Musée National Picasso-Paris (5 Rue de Thorigny) wows you with its incredibly extensive collection (over 5,000 pieces) of Picasso's artwork, including some of his most iconic masterpieces.

Cafe in Le Marais

More than just an open-air museum filled with historic monuments, Le Marais has become a trendy quarter full of fashion boutiques, cute cafés, and unique shops. Spend some time wandering the Rue de Sévigné and its cross street, the Rue des Francs Bourgeois . This area brims with youthful energy and is a fun place to visit for a stroll or a coffee break.

Another interesting fact about Le Marais is that it has a significant Jewish community. The Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme (71 Rue du Temple) presents the 2,000-year history of France's Jewish communities, along with educational programs about Jewish culture and exhibitions of artwork by Jewish artists such as Chagall and Modigliani.

Nearby, the Jardin Anne Frank offers the tranquility of a secluded garden. This quiet, leafy green space features benches, shady trees, and an orchard. One of the chestnut trees in the garden was grafted from a tree that Anne Frank could see from the window of the annex where she lived in Amsterdam.

For those in search of a refined Parisian experience, the Mariage Frères (30 Rue du Bourg-Tibourg) is the place to go. This tea salon serves its aromatic tea with savory and sweet delicacies in a French colonial-style dining room; its adjoining shop sells a wide selection of scented teas in distinctive tins.

Many tourists wait in line to try the authentic falafel at L'As du Fallafel (34 Rue des Rosiers), considered one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in Paris. This area has several kosher restaurants and kosher bakeries.

Tip : Keep in mind that L'As du Fallafel and other Jewish-owned shops in the Marais are closed on Shabbat (Friday evening and Saturday during the daytime).

Address: Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris (Métro: Saint-Paul or Bastille station)

Garden at the Rodin Museum (Musee Rodin)

The Musée Rodin is a hidden gem in the posh 7th arrondissement. This peaceful haven of refinement occupies the Hôtel Biron , an 18th-century mansion where sculptor Auguste Rodin lived and worked for many years. The property includes a seven-acre Sculpture Garden that blooms with flowers throughout the year.

In 1908, Auguste Rodin began to rent several rooms on the ground floor of the Hôtel Biron to use as an atelier. Rodin later took over the entire Hôtel Biron, which became his place of residence for the rest of his life. In 1916, Rodin donated his artworks and collection of antiquities to the French state, and the museum was established soon thereafter.

The Musée Rodin displays a remarkable assortment of Rodin's sculptures, as well as the works of Camille Claudel. Rodin masterpieces presented in the Hôtel Biron include Danaïd , an expressive marble sculpture depicting a mythological character (created in 1890); The Age of Bronze (created in 1877); The Cathedral , a stone sculpture of two intertwined hands (created in 1908); and The Kiss , one of Rodin's most sensual works (created around 1882).

Several monumental Rodin sculptures preside over various corners of the Sculpture Garden. The Thinker , Rodin's most iconic work of art , sits on a pedestal overlooking the perfectly manicured formal garden. The expressive Monument to Balzac stands in a shady spot beneath leafy trees, while a bronze statue of Adam is sheltered behind dense shrubbery.

Adding to the romance of the garden are the park benches and the café-restaurant, L'Augustine , where you may relax on an outdoor terrace. The café-restaurant also has a casual indoor dining space. Here you can savor a classic French meal, complete with dessert supplied by the renowned Maison Lenôtre pâtisserie.

Place Vendome

This graceful 17th-century square was designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart , one of the leading architects of Le Grand Siècle (during the reign of Louis XIV). Originally, the square was called Place Louis le Grand and was intended to house royal establishments.

The charm of the Place Vendôme is that it has retained the consistency of the overall design, which combines regal ostentation with civic simplicity. Following careful restoration in the early '90s, it has been restored in all its splendor.

The square is known for its upscale jewelry boutiques including Boucheron, Chaumet, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Cartier. Another luxury establishment here is the Ritz Hotel , which was frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein.

Coco Chanel made the Ritz Paris her home for 34 years; she decorated her suite in her signature style with velvet-upholstered sofas, lacquered furniture, and gilded mirrors. The Ritz Paris still has a suite named after Coco Chanel that exemplifies her vision of Parisian chic.

At the center of the Place Vendôme stands a landmark of historic importance, the Colonne de la Grande Armée (replacing a statue of Louis XIV that was removed in 1792). Built between 1806 and 1810, the 42-meter-high column is dedicated to Napoleon and his Grande Armée (army) who fought heroically and victoriously in the Battle of Austerlitz (in December 1805).

The column's facade is crafted from bronze plaques embossed with 108 spiraling bas-relief friezes (similar to Trajan's Column in Rome), which tell the story of the glorious events that took place during Napoleon's campaign of 1805.

Address: Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris (Métro: Tuileries or Opéra station)

Centre Pompidou

In the charming Le Marais quarter, the Centre Pompidou is a cultural center devoted to modern art. The building itself features shocking modern architecture, sometimes described as an "inside out" design because the architectural details of staircases and elevators appear on the exterior.

The main attraction of the Centre Pompidou is the Musée National d'Art Moderne (National Museum of Modern Art), which displays iconic works of art chosen from an extensive collection of over 100,000 pieces. The collection focuses on contemporary art created from 1905 to the present.

The collection covers all the movements of modern art, beginning with the Post-Impressionist "Fauves" and "Les Nabis" movements (André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, and Marc Chagall) and continuing with the famous movement of Cubism (Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, and Robert Delaunay).

Each room highlights a specific time period or artistic movements such as Expressionism, Constructivism (Paul Klee and Piet Mondrian), Surrealism (Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte, and André Masson), Abstract Expressionism (Mark Rothko, Nicolas de Staël, Hans Hartung, and Serge Poliakoff), Informal Art (Jean Dubuffet), New Realism, and Pop Art (Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg).

Several masterpieces of the collection are not to be missed : Avec l'Arc Noir by Wassily Kandinsky, Manège de Cochons by Robert Delaunay, Portrait de la Journaliste Sylvia von Harden by Otto Dix, The Frame by Frida Kahlo, Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel by Marc Chagall, La Blouse Roumaine by Henri Matisse, New York City by Piet Mondrian, and Les Loisirs-Hommage à Louis David by Fernand Léger.

The center has two bookstores, a casual café, and a boutique that sells gift items inspired by contemporary art.

For a special dining experience, head to the Centre Pompidou's restaurant on the museum's top floor. Restaurant Georges features floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular panoramic views of the Paris cityscape. Tables on the terrace look out directly onto the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and Montmartre.

Address: Centre Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris (Métro: Rambuteau, Hôtel de Ville, Châtelet or Rambuteau station)

Hôtel National des Invalides

Louis XIV founded the Hôtel Royal des Invalides in the late 17th century as a home for disabled soldiers. The building was constructed between 1671 and 1676 under the direction of the architect Libéral Bruant and centered on the Eglise Saint-Louis-des-Invalides, which was later redesigned by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1706.

Today, the Hôtel National des Invalides still has a hospital (Institution Nationale des Invalides) that provides medical care for disabled veterans.

The monument also includes several tourist attractions: three museums and two historic churches. You could easily spend hours here, and luckily the site has excellent amenities: a café-restaurant, the Angelina tearoom (famous for its hot chocolate and pastries) in a tree-shaded courtyard, and a bookstore/gift shop.

Founded in 1794, the Musée de l'Armée (Army Museum) presents a large collection of military equipment and uniforms, weapons, prints, and armor from various historical periods. The museum covers the military history of France from the 13th century (the Crusades) to the 17th century. There are also paintings of Napoleon and well-known generals, as well as maps that depict the French campaigns.

The Musée de l'Ordre de la Libération honors the soldiers who fought for the liberation of France during the Second World War, from 1940 to 1945. This museum also educates visitors about the deportation of Jews from France, the Resistance, and life in France during the war.

The military strategy of the 17th century comes to life at the Musée des Plans-Reliefs (Museum of Relief Maps). The museum displays 97 detailed (1 to 600 scale) relief maps of France's fortified towns (citadels) and fortresses that date from 1668 to 1871. Louis XIV's Minister of War (and later ministers) used the maps for military planning purposes.

Cathédrale Saint-Louis des Invalides

A gold-domed Neoclassical church, the Eglise du Dôme des Invalides was built in 1677 as a royal chapel for Louis XIV but is most famous for being the site of Napoleon's Tomb , installed here in 1861 by the orders of King Louis-Philippe. The imperial tomb stands beneath a magnificent cupola, which was painted by Charles de la Fosse.

Designed for veterans to worship, the Cathédrale Saint-Louis des Invalides (constructed around 1676) connects with the Eglise du Dôme des Invalides. This chapel was built in keeping with the etiquette of the 17th century and has a separate entrance from the Eglise du Dôme. The Eglise Saint-Louis des Invalides still serves as the cathedral for the French army.

Address: Hôtel National des Invalides, Esplanade des Invalides, 129 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris

The Palais-Royal

Just steps away from the Louvre Museum, you will find a welcome retreat amid the bustle of Paris' 1st arrondissement. Visiting this secluded spot feels like a secret getaway, even though it's right in the center of the city.

The Palais-Royal was created as a residence for Cardinal Richelieu in 1633, during the reign of Louis XIII. Richelieu later bequeathed the palace to the royal family, and it became the childhood home of Louis XIV.

Exemplifying classical French architecture, the Domaine National du Palais-Royal is made up of 60 pavilions surrounding a courtyard and a garden, the Jardin du Palais-Royal . This peaceful enclosed space has the feeling of being its own little village within the city.

After wandering the busy streets of Paris, you will be delighted by the lush tree-shaded grounds. You might be surprised to see that the courtyard features a contemporary sculpture installation, a striking contrast to the historic architecture.

The buildings are connected by a colonnaded pathway and arcaded galleries (verandas) filled with high-end boutiques . There are fancy cafés with pleasant outdoor terraces and two gastronomic restaurants: the haute-cuisine Palais Royal Restaurant (two Michelin stars); and Le Grand Véfour in an 18th-century dining room featuring ornate " art décoratif " design motifs.

The Palais-Royal area has two theaters: the Théâtre du Palais-Royal (38 Rue de Montpensier), which dates back to 1783 and continues to present theater performances in French; and La Comédie-Française (1 Place Colette), a theater known as the " La Maison de Molière " because it has staged so many of the famous playwright's works. The Comédie-Française was inaugurated in 1790 and is still in use during its theater season.

A lovely place for a stroll, the Domaine National du Palais-Royal is open every day, free of charge. The Centre des Monuments Nationaux offers guided group tours.

Address: Domaine National du Palais-Royal, 8 Rue Montpensier, 75001 Paris (Métro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre or Pyramides station)

Colonne de Juillet, Place de la Bastille

Now, only the name of this square is a reminder that the notorious state prison known as the Bastille, the much-hated symbol of absolutist power, once stood here. After the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, the prison was completely demolished.

In the center of Place de la Bastille is the 51-meter-high Colonne de Juillet , topped by a graceful gilded figure of Liberty ( Génie de la Liberté ). The monument commemorates the July Revolution of 1830, which overthrew King Charles X and brought Louis-Philippe d'Orléans to power.

Four Gallic cocks and a lion relief on the base of the column symbolize the free people of France. A spiral staircase of 283 steps inside the column leads to a viewing platform.

On the site of the Bastille prison is the new Opera House, the Opéra Bastille , inaugurated by President Mitterrand on July 13, 1989. This immense modern theater has seating for 2,745 people. Both the view of the stage from the auditorium and the acoustics are superb.

The Opéra Bastille presents a calendar of events that includes opera and ballet performances by the Opéra National de Paris and the Corps de Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris.

For a memorable evening in Paris, attend one of the performances at the Opéra Bastille and then dine in the Bastille area. This trendy neighborhood is brimming with quirky boutiques, hip clothing shops, stylish restaurants, and happening cafés.

Address: Place de la Bastille, 75012 Paris (Métro: Bastille)

Pont au Change leading to the Place du Châtelet

The Place du Châtelet stands at the very center of Paris in the 1st arrondissement, overlooking the Seine River. The Pont au Change (bridge) provides access from the Île de la Cité to the Place du Châtelet.

Tip : It's just a short walk from Sainte-Chapelle and La Conciergerie on the Île-de-la-Cité to the Place du Châtelet, so it would make sense to visit these tourist attractions at the same time.

Two theaters grace the Place du Châtelet. The opulent Second Empire Théâtre du Châtelet (1 Place du Châtelet) presents a wide variety of music concerts, as well as dance and theater performances. A listed Monument Historique where Sarah Bernhardt once directed shows, the Théâtre de la Ville (2 Place du Châtelet) stages a diverse program of dance, music, and theater performances.

Tour Saint-Jacques

The area around Place du Châtelet is also worth exploring. Continue towards the Rue de Rivoli, past the Boulevard de Sébastopol, and wander through the small park to find the Tour Saint-Jacques . The 16th-century Flamboyant Gothic clock tower is all that remains of the Eglise Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie (the patron saint of butchers), the town's old parish church.

The Saint-Jacques Tower is also famous as the place where Blaise Pascal conducted one of his barometric experiments, which showed the effect of altitude on the height of a column of mercury.

La Conciergerie

Never mind the inviting name, this imposing medieval fortress was an infamous place of detention and a courthouse (from 1793 to 1795) during the French Revolution. Here, prisoners including Marie-Antoinette and Robespierre were kept in dank cells while awaiting their fate.

The Conciergerie is a remnant of the Palais de la Cité , the royal residence of France's kings in the 13th and 14th centuries until the royal residence was moved to the Louvre. During the Restoration (return of the Bourbon monarchs to the throne), the Conciergerie was no longer used as a prison and Marie-Antoinette's cell was converted into a commemorative chapel.

Today, the Conciergerie is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to the public as a museum. It's possible to purchase a combined entry ticket for the Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle. Admission to the Conciergerie is included with a Paris Museum Pass.

During your visit, you will have a chance to walk through the Prisoners' Corridor which includes a replica of French Revolution-era prison cells. An evocative exhibit, the Salle des Noms lists the names of more than 4,000 people who were put on trial by the Revolutionary Tribunal and includes their biographies.

Of course, you must visit the expiatory chapel of Marie-Antoinette (the commemorative chapel). Look for the motif of tears painted on the walls.

Other highlights of the visit include the Salle des Gardes which exhibits artifacts from the bloody Reign of Terror, including a guillotine blade, prison regulations, and a copy of Marie-Antoinette's last letter.

The Salle des Gens d'Armes is a 14th-century vaulted Gothic hall of awesome proportions. In this forbidding room, the condemned prisoners were handed over to the executioner.

For an exceptional view of the building's Neo-Gothic facade, stand on the opposite side of the Seine River on the Quai de la Mégisserie. From this distance, with its three round towers and the Tour de l'Horloge (Clock Tower), the fortress resembles a fairy-tale castle rather than a penitentiary.

Address: 2 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris (Métro: Cité or Saint-Michel Notre-Dame station)

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Formerly royal hunting grounds, the Bois de Boulogne is now home to a surprising modern landmark. Opened in 2014, the Fondation Louis Vuitton was commissioned by Bernard Arnault, chairman of the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy corporation.

Acclaimed American architect Frank Gehry designed the striking building, using 3,600 glass panels and more steel than the amount in the Eiffel Tower. The museum features 3,500 square meters of exhibition space with 11 different galleries illuminated by natural light.

In keeping with the museum's modern theme, the permanent collection focuses entirely on 20th-century and 21st-century art organized into four different categories: Expressionism, Contemplative Art, Pop Art, and Music & Sound.

The Fondation Louis Vuitton offers a year-round calendar of events and temporary exhibits. Cultural events and music performances are presented in a 1,000-seat auditorium.

Not to be missed are the four outdoor terraces on the rooftop, which afford sweeping views of the Bois de Boulogne, La Défense district, and the Eiffel Tower in the distance. You may also shop at the bookstore and enjoy a snack or meal at Le Frank Restaurant .

A tourist attraction in itself, the 850-hectare Bois de Boulogne has walking paths, gardens, bicycle rentals, picnic areas, and a lake for boating. Three upscale restaurants, including La Grande Cascade , the Auberge du Bonheur , and the three Michelin-starred restaurant Le Pré Catelan , offer traditional French fine dining. At the park's hippodrome used for horse races, La Brasserie Paris Longchamp serves casual sit-down meals.

Within the Bois de Boulogne is the Parc de Bagatelle with picnic tables, a snack bar, and a rose garden. The 18th-century Château de Bagatelle is open on Sundays and for temporary exhibitions. The Orangery of the Parc de Bagatelle hosts a Chopin Festival every year from mid-June until mid-July.

Address: 8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne, 75116 Paris (Métro: Pont de Neuilly or Avenue Foch)

La Géode IMAX theater

Covering 55 hectares, the Parc de La Villette is the largest landscaped green space in Paris. The park is brimming with attractions, including children's playgrounds and the Cité de la Music .

The park is also home to 400-seat La Géode IMAX theater; the Zénith Paris - La Villette concert hall; the Philharmonie de Paris performance venue; and Le Trabendo , which stages rock, rap, and hip-hop music concerts.

During summertime, Parisians (and a few tourists) enjoy attending cultural events at the Parc de La Villette. For several days at the end of May, the Villette Sonique festival draws huge crowds to outdoor music concerts. Other festivals include Jazz à La Villette held from late August through early September and an outdoor film festival ( Cinéma en Plein Air ), which takes place in the park from mid-July to mid-August.

The park features a variety of themed gardens with walking paths, footbridges, and bright red architectural "follies" designed by Bernard Tschumi. The area around the Canal de l'Ourcq is embellished with ponds and fountains.

Address: 211 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris (Métro: Porte de la Villette)

Seine River bank

Planning to visit Paris during summertime? Be sure to pack your swimsuit! Even though the city is far from the sea, you can still find "beaches" for sunbathing.

From early July through late August, the Seine River becomes a beach destination. The riverbanks along the Quai de Seine and Quai de Loire are transformed into little resorts, complete with lounge chairs, sun umbrellas, and palm trees. Recreational opportunities include table football, tai chi, and petanque.

Other summertime recreational opportunities (in July and August) include swimming at the Bassin de La Villette , which has three swimming pools with lifeguards, and sports activities at the Jardins du Trocadéro .

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Outside of central Paris, the Père Lachaise Cemetery in the 20th arrondissement is the city's most famous and most visited cemetery. This 44-hectare space is the final resting place of many famous men and women, including Honoré de Balzac, Frédéric Chopin, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, and Jim Morrison.

Some of the tombs and graves of the most admired personalities attract a cult following, with flowers and tributes left by visitors on a daily basis.

Address: Cimetière du Père Lachaise, 21 Boulevard de Ménilmontant, 75020 Paris (Métro: Père Lachaise or Philippe Auguste station)

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Locals escape to this peaceful oasis when they need a break from urban life. Among Parisians, this park is a favorite place to go for picnics and basking in the sunshine on warm days.

The 25-hectare park has the feeling of an untamed pastoral landscape, in contrast to the typical Parisian formal French gardens, with their orderly rows of flowerbeds and pollarded trees.

This romantic English-style garden features caves, waterfalls, and an artificial lake. Large shady trees and spacious grassy areas invite visitors to pull out a blanket and relax. Some areas of the park offer panoramic city views.

The convivial Rosa Bonheur café serves Mediterranean cuisine on an outdoor terrace. Rosa Bonheur is also known for its musical entertainment and evening dances.

For a gourmet lunch or brunch, Le Pavillon du Lac delights you with its lake views and garden patio. Le Pavillon du Lac is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday and for brunch on Sundays.

Address: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, 1 Rue Botzaris, 75019 Paris

Grand Arche of La Défense

The Grande Arche de la Défense is found in a business district at the end of Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle. This area just outside the city limits of Paris is named La Défense, which recalls the bitter resistance by French forces in this area during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871.

Designed by Johan Otto von Spreckelsen, the Grande Arche makes a striking impression. This huge 110-meter-high rectangular triumphal arch is faced with glass and granite.

The monument was inaugurated in 1989 on the bicentenary of the French Revolution, and the contemporary structure symbolizes France's national value of fraternity. The arch was originally called " La Grande Arche de la Fraternité ".

Address: La Grande Arche, 1 Parvis de la Défense, 92040 Paris (Métro: La Défense)

Paris Sightseeing Overview:

  • For first-time visitors, the Paris Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour is a good choice. You can decide which monuments you would like to see, such as the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs-Élysées, and the Musée d'Orsay. The tour provides commentary while you're on the bus and includes an entrance ticket to the Arc de Triomphe as well as a short Seine River Cruise.

Hop-on Hop-off Seine River Tour:

  • The Hop-on Hop-off Seine River Tour covers the city's highlights by cruising down the Seine River. This self-guided tour allows you to stop at eight different places on the Seine River over a one-day or two-day period. You will have a chance to see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Musee d'Orsay, the legendary Saint-Germain-des-Prés cafés, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Place de la Concorde, and the Hôtel National des Invalides.

Visit the Normandy Battlefields:

  • History buffs will want to see the famous World War II battlefields, about a three-hour drive from Paris. One recommended day trip is the Normandy D-Day Beaches Tour . Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, tourists will see the Omaha and Juno Beaches, and the American Cemetery. The tour also includes a visit to the Arromanches harbor.

Must-See Sights Outside of Paris :

  • Another popular outing from Paris is the Versailles and Giverny Day Trip . This full-day excursion explores the vibrant gardens of Giverny, which Monet depicted in many paintings, and the Château de Versailles, Louis XIV's extravagant palace. The tour includes a gourmet lunch at the Moulin de Fourges riverside restaurant, which is housed in an 18th-century mill inspired by Marie-Antoinette's hamlet at Versailles.

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Easy Paris Day Trips: There are many wonderful places to visit within easy reach from Paris . Just outside the Paris metropolitan area is a tranquil rural landscape that is rich in cultural treasures: lovely little villages, historic castles, splendid churches, and interesting medieval towns. A must-see destination is the Château de Versailles , the 17th-century palace of Louis XIV (the "Sun King").

For those who prefer cities to the countryside, several worthwhile destinations are just a one- to two-hour train ride away: the elegant and cultured city of Lille (one hour by TGV train) with its distinct Flemish character, the delightful town of Amiens (about one hour and 30 minutes by train), and Lyon (two hours by TGV train) known as the gastronomic heart of France.

Adored by tourists for its perfectly preserved medieval ambiance, picturesque canals, and enticing chocolate shops, atmospheric Bruges (two hours 30 minutes by train) is simple to visit even though the train crosses the border into Belgium.


Historic Sites in Normandy: The scenic Normandy region wows visitors with its natural beauty and fascinating history. Along its dramatic coastline are the Landing Beaches of World War Two, and nearby are military cemeteries and memorial museums. One of the top attractions of France and Normandy's most visited site is Mont Saint-Michel , a UNESCO-listed medieval pilgrimage site with a sublime 12th-century abbey church. Tourists will also enjoy discovering the historic town of Rouen , with its marvelous cathedral, handsome half-timbered houses, and abundance of Gothic churches.


Gorgeous Castles and Pastoral Landscapes: The fairy-tale Loire Valley landscape is home to the most magnificent Renaissance châteaux in France. With a lush natural environment of woodlands and rivers, this enchanting region is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The naturally beautiful region of Brittany boasts a wild, rugged coastline, with many idyllic fishing villages and an unspoiled countryside with medieval castles. The Burgundy region is dotted with historic towns such as Dijon , quaint villages, ancient abbeys, and Romanesque churches.

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Getting around paris, paris travel guide, paris miscellany, paris essentials, train travel, paris arrondissements, a quick guide to the top eight paris tourist attractions.

It's the greatest place in the world to visit, and there are a lot of Paris tourist attractions. So many attractions that it can be a challenge to decide what to see, and then figure out how to see them. That's why we've created this quick guide to the top attractions in Paris — the things that visitors really want to see. Take a few minutes to explore this guide and you won't have to regret missing any of them.

We suggest you don't try to fit in more than two Paris tourist attractions in a day. You'll want to leave time to catch a leisurely lunch or relax in a park or explore a neighborhood or walk along the river. Also remember that you'll have to travel between points and you'll probably get distracted, lost, or hungry in between. Getting distracted is part of the fun of being in Paris, and getting hungry… well, there's just not a better place for that.

Romantic Dinner Cruises In Paris

1. the eiffel tower – the pointed lady.

Eiffel Tower Tours

Eiffel Tower – How to Get There

The best view of the Eiffel Tower is from across the river, from the plaza at Palais de Chaillot at Trocadero. So that's where to start out, at Metro Trocadero , where you take in the magnificent sight and then walk down the steps, through the gardens of Chaillot, and across Pont d'Iléna to the Tower itself.

Another nice way to arrive is from Metro Alma Marceau . Walking across the bridge (Pont d'Alma) gives you another lovely view of the tower, and the walk along the river from there is very nice. (You can't get lost, just head for the tall pointy thing!)

We don't like arriving via RER Champs de Mars Tour Eiffel or Metro Bir Hakeim — neither is pretty enough for us — but we do love riding Metro Line 6 to Trocadero (from direction Montparnasse) for the fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower as the train crosses the river. Have your camera ready.

  • Metro Trocadero — Line 6 or 9
  • Metro Alma Marceau — Line 9

Eiffel Tower – How to Get Up!

We know from experience that the absolute best way to get up the Eiffel Tower is on a skip-the-line tour. We used to think we could do everything on our own, but once we were on a tour that bypassed the ticket lines and took us directly to the elevator, we were hooked. Look, if you stand in line you can expect to wait two hours or more, on virtually every day of the year. Do you want to wait in line, or do you want to have fun? Insiders Tip — these tours sell out, so you must book early.

Eiffel Tower – More Information

  • Summer Hours – Daily, 9:00 AM to 12:45 AM
  • Winter Hours – Daily, 9:30 AM to 11:45 PM
  • Book a tour online …
  • Interactive Metro Map …

Skip-the-Line at the Louvre Museum

2. the louvre museum.

The Louvre Museum

The Louvre – How to Get There

If you love art or if you love history or if you love stunning buildings, you're going to want to visit the Louvre. And so are another 9 million people every year. There are going to be lines, there are going to be crowds. You need a plan! First up — the transportation plan.

You can simply take Line 1 to Metro Palais-Royal-Musée-de-Louvre (that whole name is one Metro station), where you get direct underground access to the Carrousel de Louvre and the ticket booths. You can do that, but we don't. Instead, we make a journey of it. We recommend taking Line 1 to Metro Tuileries . From there stroll through the gardens, visit the lovely Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, and then enter the museum through the Insiders Secret stairs that go from the gardens into the "back door" of the Louvre. (See photo above.)

  • Metro Tuileries – Line 1
  • Metro Palais-Royal-Musée-de-Louvre – Line 1
  • Guide to the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel …

The Louvre – How to Get In

The Louvre is very popular, and the ticket lines are massive. Once again, guided tours are your friend. We recommend a small-group, skip-the-line tour that gets you into the Louvre as quickly as possible and takes you to the most famous works of art. Afterwards, you're free to explore on your own as long you want. Trust us, it's the best way to do it.

Another way to skip the ticket lines is by making sure you have a Paris Insiders Pass in your wallet. You can order the pass online before you leave home and use it to get into almost all of the Paris tourist attractions. (The Eiffel Tower is an exception.)

  • Guide to Louvre Museum Tours …
  • RECOMMENDED – The Top Louvre Skip-the-Line Tours …
  • Guide to the Paris Museum Pass …

The Louvre Museum – More Information

  • Read Our Guide to the Louvre …
  • Security Notice – It is strongly recommended not to bring luggage or backpacks to the Louvre.
  • Monday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday – 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday, Friday – 9:00 AM to 9:45 PM

Our Most Popular Day Trips from Paris

3. notre dame cathedral.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame – After the Fire

Following the tragic and spectacular fire of April 2019 the cathedral is closed for repair for an indefinite period. However, it's still an amazing sight and watching the work progress is fascinating.

Notre Dame – How to Get There

What's the most-visited attraction in Paris? According to some estimates it's Notre Dame. The cathedral is easy to find since its square, twin towers stick up above the surrounding buildings in central Paris. So, getting there is basically just getting to central Paris and heading for the bell towers.

Our recommended way of arriving from elsewhere in Paris is to take Metro Line 14 to Cité . This station is in the centre of Île de la Cité (one of the islands in the middle of Paris) and it's so deep beneath the Seine that you ride an elevator to get to the surface, where you arrive among the stalls of the flower and plant sellers. Follow the towers (or the crowds) to reach Notre Dame.

  • Metro Cité – Line 14
  • 10 Secrets of Île de la Cité …

Notre Dame – How to Get In

Notre Dame is a church and, as such, is free and open to the public . There are often lineups, but they move along fairly quickly. You enter by one set of doors, on the right, and exit by another set.

As beautiful and striking as the cathedral is, you don't want to miss a chance to climb the bell towers. (Which are "striking" in their own way!) They provide one of the most evocative views of the center of Paris, and you truly get a sense of what the medieval city was like. The towers are accessed from the north side of the building; only a limited number of visitors are allowed in at any time. There's an entrance fee for the towers, but the Paris Insiders Pass gets you in free.

  • RECOMMENDED – Skip-the-Line Guided Tour of Notre Dame Cathedral Towers …
  • Skip the Line Notre Dame Cathedral, Towers, and Île de la Cité Walking Tour …

Notre Dame Cathedral – More Information

  • Our Guide to Notre Dame Paris …
  • Opening Hours – Daily, 8:00 AM to 6:45 PM
  • Service Times …
  • Classical Music Concerts at Notre Dame Cathedral …

The Highest-Rated Paris Activities

4. arc de triomphe.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe – How to Get There

This triumphal arch was commissioned by Napoleon as an homage to the armies of France (and of himself, of course). It's located at the top of Champs Elysées in the center of the Place de l'Étoile — the world's first organized traffic circle. The fast way to get there from elsewhere in Paris is take the Metro to station Charles de Gaulle-Êtoile . Once there, choose one of the Champs Elysées exits and then take another stairway down to the underground passage that gets you safely to Place de l'Étoile . Don't try to cross the traffic circle!

Although we're not the biggest fans of Avenue des Champs Elysées , it is something you should experience once. So, an alternative way to reach the Arc de Triomphe is to get to Metro Franklin D. Roosevelt and walk up the avenue.

  • Metro Charles de Gaulle-Êtoile – Line 1, 2 or 6
  • Metro Franklin D. Roosevelt – Line 1 or 9

Arc de Triomphe – How to Get In

If you just want to get to the place and see the Arc from the outside, that's free, and it's certainly worthwhile. But it's much, much better to get inside so you can climb the stairs to the top. If you have your Paris Museum Pass you get in for free. But, you can also wait in line at the Arc and buy a ticket right on the spot. The view is another one of our favorites, with vistas across the roofs of Paris and straight sight lines to the Louvre in one direction and the Grande Arche in the other.

  • La Grande Arche & Other Paris Monuments …

Arc de Triomphe – More Information

  • Our Guide to the Arc de Triomphe …
  • Opening Hours – 10:00 AM to 10:30 PM
  • Closed – January 1, May 1, July 14, November 11, December 25

Experience Montmartre

5. sacre coeur.

Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur – How to Get There

Like the Eiffel Tower, the Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre is a Paris attraction that's easy to see from just about anywhere in the city. So, in a way, getting there is once again a matter of keeping it in sight and heading for it. Sacre Coeur is the big white church that dominates the skyline from its perch on top of the hill of Montmartre.

We recommend you go up to the church by one route and down by another. Take Metro Line 2 to Anvers station (on Boulevard de Rochechouart) and walk up Rue de Steinkerque to reach the funicular train that takes you up the hill. (Unfortunately, Steinkerque has become jammed with junky souvenir shops, but just keep your eyes focused on the church above you!) At the top, climb more steps to the basilica itself, but don't forget to linger for one of the most amazing panoramic views of Paris.

  • Metro Anvers – Line 2
  • Guide to the Paris Metro …

Sacre Coeur – How to Get In

Entrance to Sacre Coeur is free, but the highlight of the church is the view from the dome, and there is a small fee for that. For the most striking views visit and climb the dome at dusk or dawn. There are 300 steps to climb, so be prepared!

Plan to spend an hour at the basilica and then wander through Montmartre for a taste of village life. Head west from Sacre Coeur and you'll find Rue Lepic, which winds down the hill to turn into Rue des Abbesses. After passing shops, boulangeries, and restaurants you'll come to Place des Abbesses, where you'll find the Metro station the serves Montmartre.

  • Metro Abbesses – Line 12

Sacre Coeur – More Information

  • Our Guide to Sacre Coeur …
  • Opening Hours – Daily, 6:00 AM to 10:30 PM
  • Access to the Dome – Summer, 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM. Winter 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Basilica Website …

Top-Rated Paris Museum Tours

6. musée d'orsay – the impressionist museum.

Musée d'Orsay

Musée d'Orsay – How to Get There

We love the Impressionist painters, so it's no surprise that d'Orsay is our favorite major museum in Paris. The fact that it's housed in a stunning, Belle-Époque building (formerly a train station) only adds to its attraction.

Musée d'Orsay is on the Left Bank in the St Germain area, pretty much on the border between the 6th and 7th Arrondissements. You can get there on Metro Line 12, from either Solferino or Asssemblée Nationale . But a more scenic route is to take Line 1 to Metro Tuileries (we know, we know, that's on the Right Bank) and then walk across the Tuileries gardens towards the Seine to find Passarelle Solférino , the pedestrian bridge that takes you across the river to Musée d'Orsay. Pause on the bridge to admire the view of the two great museums — the Louvre on your left and d'Orsay on your right.

  • Metro Solferino & Asssemblée Nationale – Line 12
  • History of the Musée d'Orsay …

Musée d'Orsay – How to Get In

There is no better example of the benefit of the Paris Insiders Pass/Paris Museum Pass than d'Orsay. As you approach the museum from the passarelle you'll find entrance Door A, on the left side of the building, where you you can't help but notice there is a loooong line of people waiting to get in. With your Paris Museum Pass, though, you casually stroll over the Door C, on the right, where there is no line and the smiling guard waves you through. It's simply worth it.

As you know, we also like guided museum tours, and there's a good 2-hour tour of d'Orsay that also gets you past the ticket lines.

Musée d'Orsay – More Information

  • Opening Hours – 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM, Thursdays until 9:45 PM, closed Mondays.
  • Museum Website …

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7. place de la concorde & jardin des tuileries.

Place de la Concorde & Jardin des Tuileries

Place de la Concorde – How to Get There

We're going to get you to start at the grand Place de la Concorde and then walk through the lovely Jardin des Tuileries towards the Louvre at its eastern end. Metro Concorde is one of the transportation hubs of Paris and from there you can get… well, almost anywhere. Hop on Metro Line 1, 8, or 12 to get to Concorde. Above ground, you'll want to spend some time admiring the fountains and sculptures in the place , take in the view of the Eiffel Tower, maybe have a glass of champagne in the bar at the newly-renovated Hotel de Crillon (if it's open yet), and consider whether or not you have the courage to ride the ferris wheel.

  • Metro Concorde – Line 1, 8, or 12
  • Our Guide to Place de la Concorde …

Jardin des Tuileries – How to Get In

Getting into the gardens is a matter of walking through the magnificent gates that face Place de la Concorde . There are other entrances, of course, but this is the most grand. You can just imagine Catherine de Medicis passing through the gates in the mid-1500s, on her way to the Louvre palace.

  • Summer Hours – 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Spring & Fall Hours – 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM;
  • Winter Hours – 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM

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8. jardin du luxembourg.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg – How to Get There

Another Medici built this park, located on the other side of Paris. Marie de' Medici had Jardin du Luxembourg and its palace built in the early 17th century. Today the park and the palace are owned by the French Senate, but the park is open to the public. On any sunny day you will find hundreds of Parisians spread out in the park, lounging on the metal chairs, taking in the sunshine.

Luxembourg is huge — 56 acres — are there are a number of ways to access the park. Luxembourg station on RER Line C gets you to the eastern gates of the park. From there you also have a nice view up the hill to the Pantheon.

But we prefer to take Line 4 or Line 10 to Metro Odeon (on Boulevard St Germain) and then stroll south on the little streets that take you around Place de l'Odeon to find the entrance gate next to the Senate on Vaugirard. Opening hours vary, typically from 7:30 AM to sunset.

  • Metro Odeon – Line 4 or 10
  • RER Luxembourg – Line C
  • For Opening Hours – Visit the Senat Website …

Jardin du Luxembourg – How to Get Out!

After we've enjoyed the sun, watched some chess games, visited the Orangerie, and had lunch at the cafe, we stumble out of the park (depending on how much wine was served at lunch) either by the east gate to walk up the the Pantheon, or (and this is our preference) leave by the west gate to walk along Rue de Fleurus , passing by Gertrude Stein's apartment on the left (there's a plaque), turning right on Raspail, to finally arrive at Metro Sevres-Babylone . Before we grab a Metro, we spend time browsing the Bon Marché department store and its amazing (amazing!) food store, La Grande Epicerie de Paris .

  • Metro Sevres-Babylone – Line 10 or 12

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Top 10 tourist attractions in Paris: best places to visit

The best top 10 tourist attractions in Paris, France! Which famous places and attractions in Paris should you definitely not miss? What things to do in Paris and what are the best places to visit? It is one of the most frequently asked questions when visiting Paris for the first time. Paris is an open-air museum and has more than 10 sites and famous tourist attractions. There really is so much to experience. We also discover new fun things to do with every visit. The many sights in Paris, fun activities, famous monuments & museums, atmospheric streets and beautiful squares ensure that Paris is and remains a top destination for tourists. Paris has many attractions, spots and places that you should visit.

In this article our top 10 of the best things to do in Paris. The best highlights and attractions in Paris that you should not miss. By buying your tickets for the sights in Paris in advance, you can avoid the queue and enjoy your visit much faster. Also read our frequently asked questions about the sights, sites and highlights in Paris. Discover a map of the best tourist places in Paris, things to do in Paris in 2 or 3 days, the free attractions, etc…

TIP: still looking for a nice hotel in Paris? Discover our favorite hotels in the city of light .

What to do in Paris

1. Eiffel Tower: most famous tourist attraction in Paris

Undoubtedly the most famous tourist attraction, the Eiffel Tower in Paris . Designed by Gustav Eiffel for the 1889 World’s Fair. Consisting of 3 floors, the highest floor is 276 meters high. The first and second floors are accessible by stairs and elevator. Only an elevator goes to the 3rd floor. In total, the Eiffel Tower is 330 meters high, if you include the antenna on top.

There are often gigantic queues at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, but patience is rewarded. The magical view of Paris is truly breathtaking. Nice to know: many Parisians were initially not so charmed by the Eiffel Tower. Now the unmistakable symbol of the French capital.

Guided Tours & Tickets Eiffel Tower →

2. The Louvre museum: must-see and must-do highlight in Paris

You should not miss the Louvre in Paris , the most famous and largest museum in the world during your visit to Paris. The Louvre is, next to the Eiffel Tower, one of the most visited sights in Paris. Rightly so. The cultural symbol of Paris with a number of world famous works of art such as the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci or the Venus de Milo. The works of art cover a history period of no less than 5000 years.

It’s best to allocate a full day for it. Tip: be sure to buy your ticket in advance to avoid the queue.

Tickets Louvre + guided tours →

3 tourist sites in paris

Direct access Eiffel Tower including summit | Order your tickets →

3 tourist sites in paris

1-hour cruise on the Seine | Order your tickets →

3 tourist sites in paris

Hop-On Hop-Off tour with Big Bus | Order your tickets →

3. sacré-coeur: enjoy a beautiful view of paris.

The Sacré-Coeur is located on the Montmartre hill and is certainly one of the top 10 attractions in Paris. The Sacré-Coeur was built in 1871 to commemorate the victims of the Franco-German war. After the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Coeur has the highest vantage point in the city.

Entrance to the Sacré-Coeur is free. From the dome (which is payable) you have a beautiful view of Paris. To reach the Sacré-Coeur you first have to climb 237 steps or you take the funicular up. There is also an entrance fee for a visit to the crypt. Keep in mind that there is often a long queue here on busy days. Or book a ticket for a guided walk in the Sacré-Coeur and then enjoy a great walk through the Montmartre district.

Tickets Sacré-Coeur + guided tour →

4. Arc de Triomphe: climb to the top of this fun spot

The  Arc de Triomphe in Paris  is 50 meters high and is located in the 8th arrondissement, on the busy roundabout Place Charles de Gaulle. It was built by Napoleon in honor of his victory at the Battle of Austerlitz. The Arc de Triomphe was designed by Jean-François Chalgrin and took 30 years to build.

After climbing 284 steps you reach the panoramic terrace. The reward here is also a breathtaking view over the Champs-Élysées and the 12 (star-shaped) boulevards. One of top 10 spots in Paris that you should not miss.

Tickets Arc de Triomphe →

What to see in Paris

5. Notre-Dame: must-see highlight in Paris

Besides the Sacre-Coeur, Notre-Dame is the most famous church in Paris, located on the island of Île de la Cité. World famous because of the book “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”, which Victor Hugo wrote in 1831. The cathedral is 130 meters long, 69 meters wide and 35 meters high.

More than 13 million tourists visit the cathedral every year. This makes it one of the most visited attractions in the world. In the spring of 2019, part of Notre-Dame in Paris went up in flames in front of the whole world.

Notre-Dame is expected to be closed until 2024.

6. Jardin du Luxembourg: beautiful city park in Paris

Jardin du Luxembourg, one of the most beautiful and largest city parks in Paris. Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris is not to be missed during your visit to the City of Lights. Enjoy the beautiful pond in one of the typical green chairs or you can also have a nice picnic with a glass of wine and some French cheese. Or relax at the beautiful Medici fountain. You can also enjoy a lovely walk through the garden and Jardin du Luxembourg is also highly recommended with children.

Jardin du Luxembourg is freely accessible and one of the top attractions in Paris.

7. Père Lachaise: visit the famous cemetery

The famous Père-Lachaise cemetery, the largest cemetery in Paris. Without doubt also one of the top 10 sights in Paris. A quiet and dreamy place that attracts more than 3 million visitors every year. Especially during the autumn in Paris very beautiful because of the beautiful autumn colors.

It is a cemetery where many celebrities have their final resting place. Just think of Edith Piaf, Honoré de Balzac, Jim Morrison, Gilbert Bécaud, Frédéric Chopin or Oscar Wilde. Good to know: at the entrance you can obtain a map of Cimetière du Père-Lachaise so as not to miss any highlights.

Best Paris tourist attractions

8. Boat trip on the Seine: discover the tourist highlights

A river cruise on the Seine remains a unique experience and of course one of the highlights of Paris. You see Paris in a different way and the view of the beautiful historic buildings and bridges are truly beautiful. Very nice to do in Paris.

You usually depart from the Eiffel Tower and you sail past famous sights of Paris such as the Grand Palais, Notre Dame, Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Pont Alexandre-III and of course the Eiffel Tower.

Seine cruise tickets: view all packages →

9. Montmartre: a district not to be missed

Montmartre is one of the best neighborhoods in Paris that you should not miss. It was once a village outside Paris, but has been part of Paris since 1860. Many famous painters such as Vincent van Gogh and Picasso have lived and worked here. There are lots of fun things to do. Montmartre is touristy, but skip the Sacré-Cœur (if you haven’t visited it yet) and stroll through the small streets. You will get to know the real Montmartre.

The Montmartre district has many attractions such as Place du Tertre, Moulin Rouge , Cimetière de Montmartre or Musée de Montmartre, which is worth a visit just for its beautiful garden with terrace. There is even a vineyard in Montmartre (Clos Montmartre).

10. Château de Versailles: must-see and ideal as a day trip

The Palace of Versailles is a final must-see with over 10 million visitors per year. It is located about twenty kilometers from Paris and can therefore also be perfectly combined as a day trip from the center of Paris.

In addition to the castle itself, there is an extensive park with several smaller castles and pavilions. The entire estate is over 800 hectares. It is therefore best to allocate a full day and avoid the busiest moments of the day.

Tickets Château de Versailles →

These were the top 10 tourist attractions in Paris France. Highlights and famous places in Paris not to be missed. For most monuments, attractions and activities in Paris, it is best to buy your tickets in advance to avoid any queues. Enjoy the 10 most beautiful tourist spots and sites in Paris!

Faq about tourist attractions, sights and highlights in paris.

What to see in Paris? When visiting Paris for the first time, you should definitely see and do the following top 10 sights: Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Sacré-Coeur, Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame, Jardin du Luxembourg, Père-Lachaise, Boat trip on the Seine, Montmartre and Château the Versailles.

The best neighborhoods to stay in Paris are Saint-Germain-des-Prés (6th), Le Marais (3rd & 4th), Quartier Latin (5th) and Montmartre (18th). But Bastille (12th) and Montparnasse (14th) are also nice neighbourhoods. Discover the 5 best areas of Paris with hotel tips here!

For those who want to visit Paris but do not know the city very well, a map is very useful. On the map below you can find the best sights and sites of Paris. Discover the best tourist attractions to visit in Paris on the map.

3 tourist sites in paris

© GetYourGuide

Do you only have 2 or 3 days to visit Paris? Day 1: Eiffel Tower, Seine Cruise & Louvre Museum (+ Jardin des Tuileries) Day 2: walking and shopping in the nice district of Le Marais, visit of Notre-Dame, walk along the Seine & Jardin du Luxembourg Day 3: Arc de Triomphe, Avenue des Champs-Élysées & walk in Montmartre

Absolute. Here are some free sights & fun activities in Paris: take a walk along the Seine, beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro, visit the Sacré-Cœur (entrance is free), explore the famous cemetery Cimitière du Père-Lachaise or go shopping in Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen (largest flea market in Europe). The city museums of Paris are also always free to visit.

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The world-famous Museum d'Orsay in Paris is a must-see

Musée d’Orsay in Paris: hours, ticket prices & reservation

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5x Christmas in Paris 2023: lights, decorations & bus tour

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21 Best Paris Attractions & Amazing Things to Do

  • Post author: Lisa Garrett
  • Post last modified: November 10, 2023
  • Post category: Europe Getaways / Favorites / France

Disclaimer :  This page may contain affiliate links.  I earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links (at no additional cost to you).

Do you have a favorite travel destination?

Paris is mine! I can’t get enough of this magical city!

On each trip, we always find some incredible things to do in Paris that we hadn’t experienced before.

But we always go back to some of our favorite iconic Paris sights on each trip!  I, for one, happily visit the Eiffel Tower and the Jardin du Luxembourg on every visit to Paris.

Are you ready to book your trip to Paris?

Looking for the top picks for your trip to Paris ? Here are some of the best tours and hotels to help you plan the perfect vacation!

Top Tours and Experiences in Paris:

  • Seine River Dinner Cruise (Top seller!)
  • Versailles Palace & Gardens Guided Tour (A must-see cultural treasure!)
  • Louvre Museum Exclusive Guided Tour (Skip the line on this top-rated tour!)
  • Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line Summit (#1 attraction in Paris)
  • Moulin Rouge Cabaret Show (Best-selling iconic Paris experience)
  • Gourmet Paris Walking Food Tour (Top rated Paris food tour)

Top Hotels in Paris (Rue Cler):

  • Hotel du Champ de Mars (I’ve stayed here several times, charming small hotel!)
  • Hotel Relais Bosquet (I’ve stayed here and love the A/C and blackout curtains)
  • Hotel du Cadran (4-star wine-themed boutique hotel with spa area)

Visitors flock from around the world to see these famous Paris landmarks:  the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre –they’re at the top of every Paris bucket list!

Here is my guide to all the iconic Paris attractions that you’ll want to see on your trip to the City of Light.

Ready for some epic Paris sightseeing? Lace up your shoes and let’s go!

Table of Contents

21 Best Paris Attractions

Take a look at these statistics on the top tourist attractions in Paris — that’s a lot of sightseeing! (And it’s certainly one of the reasons that Paris is one of the best Europe getaways !)

Iconic Paris attractions infographic

1. Eiffel Tower

Looming large over the Parisian cityscape is the Eiffel Tower , or Tour Eiffel .  The tallest structure in Paris at 324 meters, it was built by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair).

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular Paris tourist attractions. And as one the most famous places in France, there are no shortage of quotes about the Eiffel Tower .

La Tour Eiffel has three levels for visitors.  The first two are accessible by stairs if you’re up to it, or you can take an elevator.  You can also take the elevator all the way to the topmost observation deck . 

The iconic Eiffel Tower at sunrise from the Trocadero

On my first, solo, visit to Paris, I climbed up the stairs all the way to second floor.  It was definitely easier to get tickets to just use the stairs, than to get tickets for the elevators.

My second visit was with my spouse, and we climbed the first level then took an elevator to the second.  We descended by way of stairs. 

My third visit was with my mom, and we took the elevator all the way up to the observation platform at the top. 

The views from all the levels of the tower are incredible! Take your time and enjoy the gorgeous panoramic views of Paris (and to catch your breath, if you took the stairs).

Avoid the long lines with this Eiffel Tower skip-the-line summit tour . You’ll love the unparalleled views from the top!

Eiffel Tower Lights Display

Tip:  Every evening the Eiffel Tower lights up at dusk, until 1 AM.   On the hour, light sparkles dance up and down the Tower for five minutes.  You’ll want to be sure to watch this beautiful show at least once on your trip to Paris.

My favorite place is to watch the Eiffel Tower light show is from one of the many bridges across the Seine. 

You can also get an outstanding view from the Trocadéro, located across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. In my opinion, the view from the Trocadéro is one of the best sights Paris has to offer.

“I ought to be jealous of the tower. She is more famous than I am.” A famous Paris quote by the creator of the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel

2. Luxembourg Gardens

The Luxembourg Gardens , (or Jardin du Luxembourg ) are the extensive grounds of the Luxembourg Palace (Palais du Luxembourg).  Once the home of royalty, the Palace is now occupied by the French Senate.

The Luxembourg Gardens, inspired by the famous Boboli Gardens in Florence, are one of the most beautiful places to visit in Paris . 

You will find traditional elements such as statuary, a gorgeous fountain, and a rose garden.   But there is a lot more to explore here!

The beautiful Luxembourg Gardens are one of the best things to see in Paris France

There are activities for the young (and young at heart) – areas to play boules, a puppet stage , pony rides, and a large pond for sailing miniature boats. 

There is also a bandstand, and on one visit while we were enjoying our pique-nique lunch in the Gardens, we heard a lovely musical performance. 

In my opinion, the Luxembourg Gardens are the best gardens in Paris! You can spend a whole afternoon enjoying all the highlights of the Jardin du Luxembourg !

Even when Paris is crowded with tourists, these gardens are peaceful since they’re used more by locals.  You will see people jogging through the gardens along the paths or playing with their children.

Be sure to explore the gardens and check out all the fantastic statuary. The Medici Fountain (Fontaine Médicis) is in a hidden grotto on the northeast end of the gardens and is definitely worth a look!

The stunning Fontaine Médicis in Paris' Luxembourg Gardens

3. Musée d’Orsay

The Musée d’Orsay is famous for both the art it contains and the artistic stylings of the building that contains it.   The museum is housed in what used to be a train station, the Beaux-Arts styled Gare D’Orsay. 

This magnificent building is located on the left bank of the Seine and features vast arched windows, intricate decor, tons of natural light, and its signature clock .

The Musée d’Orsay is one of the best Paris museums

The Musée d’Orsay is home to the world’s largest collection of Impressionist art , so if you’re a fan of Degas, Monet, or Renoir, you’ll want to put this museum on your list.  It also has a large collection of classical sculptures displayed in the expanse of the main hall.

Though it is not nearly as large as the Louvre, I prefer the Musée d’Orsay. 

This is partly since its’ main collections are the types of art that I most enjoy.  But I think it is also because this museum is much more manageable to visit – you don’t feel overwhelmed by its scope.

Enjoy skip-the-line access to the Musée d’Orsay on this semi-private museum tour and admire the stunning Impressionist artwork!

4. Cathedral of Notre-Dame

Ah, this one tugs at my heart.  The medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is one of my favorite must-see Paris attractions, and another one that I visit on each trip.

I even have its picture decorating my living room wall.  Its classic French Gothic architecture complete with flying buttresses and gargoyles is instantly recognizable.  It’s truly one of the best sights in Paris!

Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris

As is typical with historic sites, there is no elevator to take to the top of Notre-Dame’s bell towers.  If you want to get a closer look at the carved mythical creatures gracing the roof (like this strix), you’ll have to climb up the stairs.

Statue of strix on Notre-Dame in Paris, France

People commonly refer to these creatures as gargoyles, but that is a misnomer. 

Gargoyles are actually the decorative rainspouts on the cathedral.   They serve the very useful purpose of directing the rainwater away from the building to prevent erosion of the stone.

We, along with so many around the world, we heartbroken when we heard about the fire that consumed Notre-Dame in April of 2019. 

Reconstruction is now underway and we plan to revisit Notre-Dame when it reopens to the public (planned for April 2024).

I must say that Notre-Dame looks a bit naked without her spire. I can’t wait until the reconstruction completes and her beauty is fully restored.

Look at how beautifully illuminated the cathedral is at night!

“I can never decide whether Paris is more beautiful by day or by night.” Midnight in Paris (one of the best Paris quotes !)

Even after a long day of sightseeing in Paris France, you should definitely make the effort to go back out in the evening to see the illuminated monuments. Why not take an incredible night tour of Paris ?

Read about all the best Paris night tours in this post!

The Notre-Dame Cathedral is beautifully illuminated at night

5. Versailles

The Palace of Versailles , while not in Paris, is an easy day trip from Paris by train . 

You can get from Paris to Versailles in about an hour via the regional train system, the RER.  So don’t let a short train ride deter you from seeing this famous Paris attraction!

Versailles started as a modest royal hunting lodge. Over the years it expanded into a château and then into a palace.  It’s a great way to see a French château if you don’t have time to see the châteaux in the Loire Valley !

For a time, it was the seat of the French government when the king relocated his court there.  Today, it has the honor of being a UNESCO World Heritage site .

Visiting the Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is a grand example of the ornate French Baroque style of architecture.  Since there is so much to see at Versailles, you’ll want to join a tour of Versailles to get the most out of your visit.

Inside the palace, stroll through rooms in lavish period décor and walk through the grand hall of mirrors .

Opulent French Baroque interior of the Palace of Versailles

On the grounds of Versailles, you will also find the Grand Trianon , a smaller palace with more classical lines influenced by Italian architecture, and the Petit Trianon, favored by Marie Antoinette. 

(I personally prefer the Trianon over the larger Palace of Versailles.)  

The gardens of Versailles are masterworks in themselves and are definitely worth the visit.  You will find lush greenery, classical statuary, and marvelous fountains around every corner. 

Visiting the gardens is free (except on the days when the gardens feature the musical fountain shows).

Gorgeous manicured gardens of Versailles

When visiting Versailles, plan to spend the whole day there.  You won’t want to be rushed and miss out on any of the palaces or gardens.

Check out these amazing tours of Versailles :

6. Musée Rodin

The Musée Rodin is one of my favorite Paris museums.  It is not as popular as its larger sisters, but it is certainly worth a visit if you appreciate statuary. 

It’s located in the 7 th Arrondissement of Paris, hidden just around the corner from Les Invalides and Napoleon’s tomb.

Rodin created classical statues as ‘ The Thinker ’ and ‘The Kiss’.  The inside of the Musée Rodin follows a rough chronological order of the artist’s life and works. 

'The Thinker', one of the masterpieces at the Rodin Museum

Your exploration of the museum takes you on a walk through his creative process – you’ll see Rodin’s sketches and studies for his finished works. 

But the best part of the Musée Rodin is the seven-acre sculpture garden , where his famous statues are displayed amongst plantings and a fountain.  

Here you’ll find large-scale complex statues such as ‘La Porte de L’Enfer’ (‘The Gates of Hell’) and ‘Les Bourgeois de Calais’ (‘The Burghers of Calais’).  Feel free to grab a bench in the shade and enjoy the views!

Get your tickets to the Musée Rodin

7. Pont Alexandre III and the bridges of Paris

The Seine cuts right though the heart of Paris, making its way around the Île de la Cité (home to Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle). 

You will commonly hear the terms ‘ Rive Gauche ’ (‘Left Bank’) and ‘ Rive Droite ’ (‘Right Bank’) used to describe where things are located in Paris. 

The term ‘Rive Gauche’ refers to anything south of the Seine, and the term ‘Rive Droite’ refers to anything north of the Seine (and also lays claim to the islands in the Seine). 

If, like me, you suffer from being directionally challenged, this might not help too much.  However, you can think of it in terms of which way the water is flowing – the ‘left’ and ‘right’ refer to the sides of the river if you were traveling in the direction of water flow.

There are many bridges crossing the Seine.  There are a handful of pedestrian-only bridges, called passerelles .

The most famous bridges in Paris

The oldest bridge in Paris is the Pont Neuf , which connects Quartier Saint-Germain-des-Prés to the Île de la Cité, one of the islands in the middle of the Seine.

The most spectacular bridge in Paris is the Pont Alexandre III .  Built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair), this bridge is an artistic Beaux-Arts marvel in itself.  

You can’t miss the impressive pillars on each of its’ corners, topped by gilded statues.  

Pont Alexandre III with the Grand Palais in the background

Pont Alexandre III is like an outdoor museum – one that also boasts a fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower! Be sure to pay attention as you walk across this bridge so that you don’t miss the elaborate statuary and gilding!

Elaborate statues decorate the Pont Alexandre III

8. Les Invalides

As you cross the Pont Alexandre III heading south, you can’t help but notice Les Invalides (also referred to as Hôtel des Invalides ).    It’s the gorgeous building with the gilded dome and spire, fronted by a huge expanse of lush green lawn making up the Esplanade des Invalides.

Les Invalides was constructed in the 17 th century and its initial purpose was for the care of disabled veterans (hence the name).

Today Les Invalides contains a series of museums, including the Army Museum ( Musée de l’Armée ).  Here you’ll find a collection of weaponry and uniforms from various French military conflicts. 

The view of Paris attraction Les Invalides is even better from the rear!

What we liked most was the Musée des Plans-Reliefs , which boasted an extensive series of miniatures of fortified cities (about 100 models).

Les Invalides houses the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte in an impressive sarcophagus of red porphyry and five nesting coffins.

The Royal Chapel, called the Dome Church, was designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, who also designed the Palace of Versailles. The outside of the dome is decorated with gold leaf, giving Les Invalides its striking appearance.

On my last trip to Paris, I discovered that the best view of the dome is from behind. Even though this was my 8th trip, I always find something new to love about Paris!

Are you a military history buff? Get answers to all your questions on this exclusive guided tour of Les Invalides .

9. Seine River cruise

One of the top things to do in Paris France is taking a cruise on the River Seine .  These boats, commonly known as bateaux mouches (which means fly boats), zip up and down the river all day. 

There are many different companies providing cruises of the Seine, including Bateaux-Mouches, Bateaux Parisiens, and Vedettes de Paris.

I think that Seine River cruises are a fantastic way to get an introduction to the Paris sights and get a feel for the layout of the city.  You can see a surprising number of the best attractions in Paris from the river!

My river cruise followed the Seine past the Eiffel Tower past a narrow island called L’île aux Cygnes (Swan Island). 

At the southwestern tip of the island is a small-scale version of the Statue of Liberty .  (This one is only 38 feet tall, whereas the version gifted to the United States from France is 305 feet tall!)

The boat then made a u-turn around the island and headed upstream towards the Seine’s larger islands, Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis.  The cruise passes by monuments such as the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, and the Hôtel de Ville, and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

A Seine river cruise is a great way to familiarize yourself with the Paris landmarks

So many of Paris’ famous attractions are along the banks of the Seine, that this area actually has its own UNESCO World Heritage Site designation!

Choose from daytime cruises, dinner cruises , and evening cruises where you can see the fantastic Paris landmarks illuminated.  Narration is provided in multiple languages.

Check out this video to see the amazing tourist attractions Paris has along the Seine River, which you can see from your cruise:

You can also take a water bus to get between different locations on the Seine.  Batobus acts like a hop-on hop-off bus, with stops from the Eiffel Tower to the Jardin des Plantes.  This will help save some wear and tear on your feet on a long day of sightseeing in Paris .

Take a look at these fantastic river cruise options:

10. Arc de Triomphe

This next batch of attractions are all in a line, so you can easily see many of Paris’ top landmarks without the risk of getting lost.  (With my poor sense of direction, that’s always a risk!)

We’re going to start off at the Arc de Triomphe , one of the most famous landmarks in Paris. It sits at the northwestern end of the Champs-Élysées at the Place Charles de Gaulle and is probably one of the top monuments on your bucket list for Paris!

This is also one of the most popular tourist sites in Paris for that classic Paris Instagram photo. You’ll have to wait your turn to get the shot of yourself with the Arc de Triomphe in the background.

You may hear this location referred to as étoile (meaning star) because of all the roads that intersect here, making a spoke or star pattern radiating from the Arc de Triomphe.

The Arc de Triomphe is a triumphal arch built to commemorate the victories of Napoleon (that’s just one of many interesting facts about the Arc de Triomphe ).  

Standing at nearly 50 meters tall, at the time of its completion it was the tallest triumphal arch.  Since then, others have taken that honor, but Paris’ Arc de Triomphe is still glorious.

The magnificent Arc de Triomphe sits at Place Charles de Gaulle and is one of the must see Paris attractions

Traffic around the Arc de Triomphe is crazy (so many lanes of traffic!).  So, please do not try to cross the road. 

There is an underground tunnel that will safely take you from the road to the Arc de Triomphe. 

At the base of the Arc de Triomphe is a commemoration to the unknown soldier , honoring those fallen in WWI and WWII.   If you’re visiting the Arc de Triomphe at 6:30pm, you can watch a ceremony in which the torch is rekindled.

Take some time to get a close look at all of the intricate carvings on the arch. 

The four featured sculpture groups are Le Départ de 1792 (La Marseillaise), Le Triomphe de 1810 (featuring the goddess of victory crowning Napoleon), La Résistance de 1814, and La Paix de 1815.

The interior of the Arc de Triomphe is a museum which covers the construction and history of this monument.   Tip:  Be sure to go up to the observation deck to get a bird’s-eye view of Paris.

Get your tickets to visit the rooftop observation deck of the Arc de Triomphe

11. Champs-Élysées

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is the most famous avenue in Paris, stretching from the Arc de Triomphe/Place Charles de Gaulle, to the Place de la Concorde.  The tree-lined Champs-Élysées is 1.9km long and a spacious 70 meters wide.

The Champs-Élysées is one of Paris’ top attractions and is sometimes called ‘ the world’s most beautiful avenue ’. 

To be sure, the Champs-Élysées contains a vast amount of spectacular architecture.  Many of these grand buildings have been repurposed, but they still retain their signature beauty.

This building embodies the quintessential Parisian Haussmann architectural style .  This is characterized by an imposing building (check) with wrought iron window grills and balconies (checks) and a zinc roof. 

This magnificent building on the Champs-Élysées was home to Thomas Jefferson

As we walked past this building, we noticed a small placard indicating that it was a former residence of Thomas Jefferson .  Thomas Jefferson acted as the Minister of the United States to France in 1785-1789 and then of course was the President of the United States in 1801-1809.

You’ll find all kinds of entertainment and shopping opportunities on the Champs-Élysées!

There are cafés, nightclubs, theaters, and hotels lining this wide avenue.  Dining opportunities abound including Michelin-starred restaurants and Ladurée, famous for its macarons.

The Champs-Élysées is a famous shopping area with many high-end and luxury retailers.  I’m not a big shopper myself, but I did appreciate the festive décor of the legendary perfumier, Guerlain.

The Champs-Élysées boasts many high end shops

12. Place de la Concorde

The Place de la Concorde is Paris’ largest public square and is one of the top sights in Paris . 

The Place de la Concorde links the gardens of the Tuileries with the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and its design was part of an architectural competition yielding 150 submissions.

Completed in 1772, the square was initially called Place Louis XV.  During the French Revolution it became Place de la Révolution and was the gruesome location of the guillotine .  

After the Reign of Terror ended, it was named Place de la Concorde to indicate concord and unity. Its name briefly changed to Place Louis XVI but then reverted to Place de la Concorde.

Magnificent fountains and the Luxor Obelisk in the Place de la Concorde.

The Place de la Concorde features two impressive fountains.  The Fontaine des Mers represents the sea and fishing, and the Fontaine des Fleuves represents rivers and the harvest. 

Statues decorating the corners of the square symbolize eight of France’s cities:  Brest, Rouen, Lille, Strasbourg, Lyon , Marseille , Bordeaux and Nantes.

One of the most notable features of the Place de la Concorde is the Luxor Obelisk .  At 23 meters in height, the Luxor Obelisk can be seen from quite a distance.   The obelisk is also a sundial—look for the Roman numerals surrounding it.

This obelisk was a gift from Egypt to Paris and is over 2000 years old.  (Looks good for its age, doesn’t it?)

It initially graced the entrance to the Luxor Temple, where its counterpart remains today. France added the gold cap to the obelisk which makes it especially eye-catching in the sun. 

13. Jardin des Tuileries

The Jardin des Tuileries sits nestled between the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre and is one of the most famous places in Paris .  Besides having a great location, there are also plenty of great things to do in the Jardin des Tuileries.

The Jardin des Tuileries dates from the 17 th century and spans an area of 28 hectares.  You’ll enjoy viewing the classical statuary scattered through the park, including eighteen sculptures by Aristide Maillol, a French sculptor.

Classical statuary adorns the Jardin des Tuileries

If you’re hungry, visit one of the cafés sprinkled throughout the gardens.  Enjoy a beautiful view of the flowers and tree-lined avenues of the park while you dine.

Spend some time relaxing in one of the iconic green chairs common to Paris’ gardens.  You’ll find three styles of chairs, listed here in order of my preference:

First is the straight-backed chair with no arms.  Choose this one if there are no better options, although they do make a good footrest if there are spare chairs to be had. 

Second is the straight-backed chair with arms. 

The best (and hardest to find) is the ‘reclining’ chair, which features a sloped back and arms.

The Jardin des Tuileries contains two large ponds, the Bassin Octagonal and the Grand Bassin Rond. 

The young and the young at heart can enjoy sailing small boats on these ponds.  These petits bateaux are available for rent and come with small sticks to use to push them to and fro.

Rent a petit bateaux to sail on the Grand Bassin in the Tuileries

Museums in the Jardin des Tuileries

One hidden gem in the Tuileries is the Musée de l’Orangerie . 

This small museum has an amazing collection of Monet’s water lilies paintings .  The museum actually built a special oval room so that you can have an immersive panoramic experience of these grand murals. 

(There is more art here as well, but the water lilies murals are the star!)

The Jeu de Paume is another museum located within the Tuileries.  This museum focuses on photography and video works of art and is in the northernmost corner of the gardens.

14. The Louvre

The Grande Dame of Paris’ museums, and one of the top Paris bucket list attractions, has to be the Louvre .  

Its iconic architecture makes it one of the most famous buildings in Paris. The Louvre is not only one of the best museums in Europe , but also the most visited museum in the world!

The main entrance to the Louvre Museum is in the center courtyard, featuring the iconic glass pyramid designed by I.M. Pei.  The pyramid is embraced by the imposing architecture of the museum’s three wings: Richelieu, Sully, and Denon. 

It’s a rather striking contrast between classical French architecture and the modernistic glass pyramid.  On our visit in early November, the glass pyramid was decorated for the holidays, with a display of huge tower of ornaments within the pyramid.

The glass pyramid of the Louvre Museum, the most popular Paris musuem

If you have a pass to skip the line at museums, that really pays off at the Louvre, where the lines are always long.  In addition to long lines to buy tickets, there are additional lines for security checks.

There are secondary entrances to the Louvre which typically have shorter lines, such as the entrance at the Carrousel du Louvre or the Porte des Lions.  Be sure to check times as the Porte des Lions entrance is not open every day.

Plan your visit to the Louvre

The Louvre contains nearly a half-million pieces of art —and about 35,000 works of art are on display at any given time.  So just face it, you’re NOT going to see everything when you visit the Louvre!  C’est impossible!

My advice is to do a little homework in advance and prioritize a few types of collections that resonate the most with you.  If you don’t plan ahead, you may be exhausted before you even get to the artworks that you most wanted to see!

Personally, I am a big fan of classical Greek and Roman statuary, so I wanted to see those classical works such as Nike of Samothrace, the Venus de Milo , and the amazing classical statues in La Salle des Cariatides.  

The most famous piece of art in the Louvre is the Mona Lisa (La Joconde).  I’ve got to be honest with you—I wasn’t that impressed.  Maybe it was because of the hordes of tourists swarming the painting trying to get their selfie with this iconic masterpiece. 

“You should definitely visit the Louvre, a world-famous art museum where you can view, at close range, the backs of thousands of other tourists trying to see the Mona Lisa.” Dave Barry

Fun fact:  In the metro stop beneath the Louvre, there are some pieces of art on display.  So, as you pass through this station on your metro ride, you can catch a brief glimpse.

Save time and skip the huge lines with this small group tour of the Louvre ! See the Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa, and more while enjoying commentary from your English-speaking guide.

15. Sacré-Cœur

La Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre (Basilica of the Sacred Heart) is more commonly called Sacré-Cœur .  Consecrated in 1919, Sacré-Cœur is a Roman Catholic church and basilica and sits atop the hill of Montmartre.

This stunning basilica is one of the most famous sights in Paris!

Since Montmartre is the highest point in Paris, don’t be surprised at how many stairs you have to climb to get to Sacré-Cœur!  (Hint:  It’s more than 200.)  But your work will be rewarded by phenomenal views of Paris.

Be sure to stay hydrated during your climb, especially in the summer. You’ll find vendors selling water bottles or bring your own and refill it with Paris tap water from one of the city’s fountains!

Once you reach the top, you won’t be the only one enjoying those views. Sacré-Cœur is one of the top Paris attractions . And it’s actually the second most visited church in France, coming in second to my favorite, Notre Dame. 

The gorgeous basilica of Sacré-Cœur is an iconic Paris landmark.

Take in the stunning Neo-Byzantine-Romanesque architecture of the basilica and the amazing art decorating the interior. 

Don’t miss the incredible apse mosaic, one of the largest in the world.  Another record held by Sacré-Cœur is that it houses the largest bell in France , the 19-ton Savoyarde .

You can tour Sacré-Cœur for free, but if you want to visit the dome or the crypt, you’ll have to pay an entry fee.   (And yes, there are 300 more stairs to climb if you want to see the dome.  Sorry, no elevator!)

Be sure to dress appropriately – you may not be allowed into Sacré-Cœur if you’re wearing shorts.

Explore Montmartre and the basilica of Sacré-Cœur on this exclusive guided walking tour . Hungry? Savor the flavors while enjoying the iconic sights on this Montmartre walking food tour!

16. Palais Garnier

Palais Garnier , or the Opéra Garnier , was built for the Paris Opera at the direction of Emperor Napoleon III.  This 19 th century Italian-style opera house was designed by architect Charles Garnier. 

The Opéra Garnier became even more famous as the setting of ‘ The Phantom of the Opera ’, a 1910 novel by Gaston Leroux which was turned into a sensational musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The Palais Garnier, or Opéra Garnier, is the setting of 'The Phantom of the Opera'

Marvel at the grand double staircase, made of white marble with balustrades of red and green marble. 

Admire the horseshoe-shaped auditorium resplendent with velvet, gilding, and an 8-ton chandelier.  Don’t forget to look up – the ceiling was painted by famous artist Marc Chagall.

The Grand Foyer is flooded with light from the windows and mirrors, and will remind you of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

Take a self-guided tour of this iconic Paris landmark and its splendid architecture, or a join a guided tour to learn more about its history and architecture.   Splurge and treat yourself to an unforgettable opera, concert, or ballet performance.  

Get your tickets for the iconic Opéra Garnier

17. Sainte-Chapelle

The iconic Paris landmark of Sainte-Chapelle sits on the Île de la Cité, one of Paris’ large islands in the Seine. 

Save some wear and tear on your feet and visit Notre Dame in the same Paris sight seeing trip, as they’re only a couple of blocks from each other.

The holy chapel of Sainte-Chapelle dates all the way from the 13 th century.  This Gothic chapel is part of the medieval Palais de la Cité, where the illustrious Kings of France resided until the 14 th century. 

Originally commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his holy relics (including the crown of thorns), Sainte-Chapelle is now a museum. 

The chapel itself is an intricately decorated jewel box, and a jewel itself.

The famous Paris landmark of Sainte-Chapelle illuminated at night

Sainte-Chapelle’s most amazing feature is its stunning stained-glass windows . The fifteen windows reach an incredible 15 meters high and depict over 1000 biblical scenes.  

The stained glass was actually removed during WWII to protect it (good thinking). 

A huge conservation and restoration project for the stained glass began in 2008 and completed in 2015.  Thus, the extraordinary rose window was restored to its full glory in time for the 800 th anniversary of the birth of St. Louis.

Be sure to tour Paris’ landmarks at night to see the incredible illuminations of these famous Paris attractions . Sainte-Chapelle is quite dramatic at night, with her 108’ spire reaching up to the sky.

Get your tickets to Sainte-Chapelle and marvel at the fabulous stained-glass windows!

18. Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge is another famous Paris landmark made even more famous by pop culture – in this case, the 2001 movie of the same name starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

The Moulin Rouge cabaret is one of the top Paris France tourist attractions. The area is pretty tame during the day, but things really heat up at night!

You’ll find many cabarets in the Pigalle (‘red light’) district of Paris, but none so famous as the Moulin Rouge.  French for ‘Red Mill’, you’ll be able to identify the Moulin Rouge by its large red windmill.          

The Moulin Rouge, an iconic 19th century cabaret

This cabaret dates from the 19 th century and is known for its Belle Epoque décor and dancers.  Artist Toulouse-Lautrec was enthralled with the Moulin Rouge and many of his artworks feature this iconic cabaret’s dancers.

Of course, you can’t think about the Moulin Rouge without picturing a line of women in ruffled skirts kicking their legs to the can-can !

The Moulin Rouge’s current show is ‘Féerie’, a fantastic showcase of music and dance with lavish costumes of feathers, rhinestones, and sequins.  Think of it as a French version of Las Vegas showgirls.

Fun fact:  the room inside of the windmill is now an Airbnb!

Cap off your day of sightseeing with a fabulous Moulin Rouge Cabaret show — an experience you’ll never forget!

19. Panthéon

You’ll find the Panthéon in the Latin Quarter of Paris, just a short walk from the Luxembourg Gardens. 

It’s less than a 10-minute walk, straight down Rue Soufflot (named for the Panthéon’s architect, Jacques-Germain Soufflot.

The Panthéon was originally intended to be a church to Sainte Geneviève, the patroness saint of Paris.  The plan was changed during the French Revolution, and the Panthéon became dedicated to honoring those who have made notable contributions to France.

Many famous French men and women have been given the honor of being interred in the Panthéon’s crypts.  You’ll recognize names such as Voltaire, Marie Curie, René Descartes, and Victor Hugo, to name just a few.

The Panthéon is a gorgeous 19 th century Neoclassical building with a grand colonnaded entrance reminiscent of a Roman temple.  That’s not a surprise, since it was modeled after the Pantheon in Rome.  (Note:  the word ‘pantheon’ means ‘all the gods’.)

The dome of the Panthéon is visible from the Luxembourg Gardens

This monument is stunning from head to toe – look upwards to view the paintings in the cupola, and look down to see the intricately patterned floors.  The art in the Panthéon is a curious mix of religious art and scenes from French history. 

You’ll be surprised to find Foucault’s Pendulum located in the Panthéon.  This consists of a large weight suspended by a long steel wire from the Panthéon’s ceiling. 

The pendulum inscribes a circle with its back-and-forth movement due to the relative movement of the Earth.  Foucault’s Pendulum was one of the earliest scientific demonstrations of rotation of the Earth.

The Panthéon’s dome is actually a series of three domes nesting within each other.  To earn some excellent views of Paris , climb to the top of the dome.  Note that you can only access the dome of the Panthéon from April through September.   

Book your tickets to visit the Panthéon

20. Père Lachaise Cemetery

The Père Lachaise Cemetery is not only the largest cemetery in Paris, but this famous cemetery is the most visited necropolis in the entire world!  That’s a lot of people paying their respects to the dead.

Many visitors seek out the burial sites of celebrities such as Jim Morrison and notable figures such as Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Édith Piaf, and Marcel Marceau.  You’ll also find monuments dedicated to foreign soldiers who died for France in WW1 and WWII.

Statue in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

New burials still occur in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

There are many restrictions on who is eligible to be buried here (you must have been a Paris resident, or die in Paris). Understandably, the waiting list is long as there are not many plots available. 

I find it a bit morbid that the cemetery has a 30-year lease on gravesites.  If the family does not renew the lease, then the remains are moved to the Aux Morts ossuary (still within Père Lachaise) and — voila! — another space is available.

You’ll find gorgeous statuary and carved tombstones throughout the cemetery.  Even if you’re not looking for a specific grave, it is interesting to walk through the grounds and have a quiet, reflective moment.

Take this guided tour of the Père Lachaise Cemetery to visit its most famous graves

21. Jardin des Plantes

The Jardin des Plantes is the main botanical garden in Paris, and one of the most popular Parisian attractions! 

These gardens date back to the 17 th century, when they were created as the Jardin royal des plantes médicinales (Royal Garden of the medicinal plants).

You could spend the better part of a day at the Jardin des Plantes.  Walk through the labyrinth , view the formal gardens, and explore the greenhouses.  

There is even a small zoo, La Ménagerie , in the middle of the garden. (Note this is not the main Paris zoo; that’s located further away in the Bois de Vincennes.)

You’ll find four museums within the Jardin des Plants. 

The most impressive is the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution , a natural history museum with over 7000 specimens.  This grand museum is located in an equally impressive 19 th century multistory exhibit hall. 

In front of the museum, you’ll find an esplanade leading to the formal garden area of the Jardin des Plantes.

Beautiful rose with pink petals, changing tone to yellow at the center

Fans of geology (I know, that may be a small group) will want to visit the Galerie de Géologie et de Minéralogie.  This building looks like a Roman temple with its columns and portico.

As you head further east, you’ll find the Galerie de Botanique.  This is where the French Muséum’s National Herbarium is located.  At nearly 8 million plant samples, its collection is the largest in the world!  There is also a small botany museum here.

At the other end of the garden, near the banks of the Seine, you’ll find the Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie Comparée.  This natural history museum’s collections focus on dinosaur fossils and skeletons.

We visited on a beautiful day and spent a couple hours wandering through the labyrinth and the gardens, including the lovely rose garden (the Roseraie).

Paris Attractions Map

Paris attractions map

Paris Travel Tips and Resource Guide

Where to stay in paris.

As longtime fans of Rick Steves, on our first trip to Paris we followed his recommendation and stayed at a small hotel off of Rue Cler.

We loved everything about Rue Cler! It checks all the boxes for us: all kinds of great markets, a killer pastry shop (hello, breakfast!), plenty of cafés and restaurants, and it’s only a couple blocks from a metro station.

Oh, and did I mention you can see the Eiffel Tower from your window in some of the rooms?

We usually fly in and out of Paris even if we’re visiting other cities in France. We always stay in one of the Rue Cler hotels for our arrival, since it is comfortable and we don’t have to stress about figuring out a new area when we’re jet-lagged.

On our night before departure, we’ll try another area in Paris to see if we can find something better. We’ve stayed near the Luxembourg Gardens, in the Marais, and most recently near the Gare du Nord.

To be honest, none of these other areas has had the same charm and amenities as Rue Cler. Of course, everyone has their own preferences and priorities, but Rue Cler is the hands-down winner for us.

Fantastic Rue Cler Hotels

If Rue Cler checks all of your boxes, here are some of my favorite hotels to consider:

  • Hotel du Champ de Mars : This was our first Paris hotel. It’s a charming family-run 3-star hotel, and the most budget-friendly of our picks. Our room had views of the Eiffel Tower, so we were able to see the nightly lights show from our room! Since we’re dog people, we always were on the lookout for the owners’ spaniel who sometimes snoozed in the lobby.
  • Hotel Relais Bosquet : This 3-star hotel is another excellent option close to Rue Cler. We really enjoyed the blackout curtains which allowed us to catch a couple hours of sleep on our arrival day to combat our jet lag. (And yes, we did set an alarm so that we wouldn’t sleep the whole day away in those comfortable beds!)
  • Hotel du Cadran : This 4-star, wine-themed boutique hotel is on my wish list for a future trip. The Hotel du Cadran even has a relaxation area with a jacuzzi and a sauna. Sometimes you can score a really good deal on this upscale hotel.

Or, check prices and availability on other Paris hotels here:

The Paris Explorer Pass and the Paris All-Inclusive Pass by Go City

Are you the kind of person that wants to see everything when you’re visiting a new city? With Go City, you can choose between two options:

The Go City: Paris All-Inclusive Pass allows you to see as much as you want within the number of days you have selected for your pass. With the Go City: Paris Explorer Pass , you select how many attractions you want to see from within the list.

Be sure to do your due diligence on pricing — if you buy an Explorer Pass for 3 attractions, don’t use the pass for the cheapest attractions on the list. Make sure the pass is the best choice for you based on which attractions of Paris you want to see.

We purchased Go City’s Chicago Explorer Pass for our recent visit to Chicago. I did my homework on which attractions we wanted to see and there was a significant savings using Go City’s Chicago Explorer Pass instead of buying tickets individually.

And using Go City’s Explorer Pass couldn’t be easier. Just download the app on your phone and show your code when you arrive. The app also lets you know which attractions require reservations in advance. Easy peasy!

Make the most out of your trip to Paris! See more and spend less with Go City. Go on an epic Paris sightseeing spree with the All-Inclusive Pass  or choose your favorite attractions with the  Explorer Pass .

Getting from the airport to your hotel

There are two major airports serving Paris: CDG (Charles de Gaulle) and Orly.

All of our travels to date have been through Charles de Gaulle. Since we travel light (only carry-on), we save some money in France by taking the RER (a regional train network) from the CDG airport to the Gare du Nord station. This station is a hub for the metro, so we hop onto the metro from there and work our way to our hotel.

However, if you’re traveling with full-sized luggage, this is probably not the best option. The RER and the metro can be quite busy and it would certainly be a challenge to wrestle large bags through the station and to find space on the metro.

Save yourself time, money, and headaches! Pre-book transportation from the airport to your hotel with Welcome Pickups. You’ll get an English-speaking driver who will monitor your flight for delays. Book your airport transfer in advance here!

Plan on spending 3 days in Paris at a minimum, this will give you time to see many of the top sights in the city (such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre) and cross many things off of your travel bucket list in Paris. You could certainly spend a week in Paris to more thoroughly explore the famous landmarks of Paris as well as its fantastic museums and gorgeous gardens.

Paris is one of the most beautiful cities and top tourist destinations in the world. Paris is known for its food, culture, and romantic atmosphere . The three most famous attractions in Paris are the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

The best times to visit Paris are during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall . The weather is generally pleasant, and there will be less crowds. In the spring you can enjoy the spring flowers in the gardens of Paris, and in autumn you can see the colorful fall foliage. Summer is a very popular time to visit Paris, but it is very crowded with tourists. Additionally, the weather can be quite hot (so be sure your hotel has air conditioning if you’re planning a summer trip to Paris!).

The most famous museum in Paris is the Louvre. The Louvre is home to (nearly) countless artistic treasures such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo .

The number 1 attraction in Paris is the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is a symbol of Paris! Even if you don’t go to the top, you will of course want to see the Eiffel Tower in person to check it off of your Paris bucket list !

One of the most famous quotes about Paris is: “Paris is always a good idea” – Audrey Hepburn

The Seine is the river that runs through the heart of Paris. One of the best things to do in Paris is to take a Seine River cruise to see the city from a unique perspective!

The latitude of Paris France is 48.86 degrees North of the equator.   Read more about how the latitude of Paris impacts the hours of daylight in the City of Love.

Whew!  You can see there is a lot to love about all of these famous Parisian attractions. With so many fantastic things to do in Paris , I find new things to love on every visit.

I hope now have some brilliant itinerary ideas from this Paris travel guide highlighting the best attractions in Paris France! And you know the answer to the question, ‘ what is Paris known for ?’

Planning a trip to Paris? Pin this for later so you don’t miss out on these iconic Paris landmarks!

Best things to see and do in Paris, France

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25 Top Tourist Attractions in Paris

Last updated on November 17, 2023 by Kay Pierce - 11 Comments

As the capital city of France, Paris has endured as an important city for more than 2,000 years. Often called by nicknames like the “city of love” and “city of lights,” Paris is today one of the world’s leading centers for business, fashion, entertainment, art and culture. Just the mere mention of Paris conjures up images of the city’s world famous landmarks, museums and cathedrals.

Also called the Capital of Fashion, Paris is home to some of the world’s finest designer names including Yves Saint-Laurent, Lancôme, L’Oréal and Christian Dior. The city’s shopping scene ranges from shopping centers to open-air markets, boutiques and flea markets. An overview of the top tourist attractions in Paris :

In this post, we'll cover:

25. Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges

The Place des Vosges, formerly called Place Royale, was the prototype for all residential squares in Europe. All houses were built using the same design: red brick with steep pitched blue slate roofs.

Not only is it shaped like a true square, it is the first city square that was planned by a monarch (Henry IV in the early 17th century). Third, it turned the Marais into a fashionable spot for French nobility in the decades before the French Revolution.

24. Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

The year 1889 is known as the year when France’s most famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower, was constructed. It’s also the year the Moulin Rouge opened its doors as an entertainment venue. When it opened, it catered to the rich who wanted to “slum” it.

Courtesans worked there and were responsible for inventing the can-can, a dance considered racy for the era. The Moulin Rouge is still considered Paris’s premier entertainment venue and has been the subject of numerous films.

23. Conciergerie


The Conciergerie was built in the 10th century to be the main palace for French kings who, over the centuries, enlarged it. Its Great Hall was one of the largest in Europe; another hall was where the palace’s 2,000 workers ate. Some buildings were converted into a prison in the 14th century.

The palace later became a revolutionary tribunal and prison during the Reign of Terror, with famous prisoners including Marie Antoinette and Madame du Barry. Today the Conciergerie is a popular tourist attraction in Paris but also still serves as courts.

22. Pantheon


The Pantheon is where famous French citizens are buried. Modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, it was originally a church dedicated to St. Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, and her relics.

The church was rebuilt in the neoclassical style by King Louis XV to thank God for his recovery from serious illness. It was changed to a mausoleum during the French Revolution to honor revolutionary martyrs. Famous people buried here include Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Marie Curie.

21. Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

The world’s most visited cemetery, Pere Lachaise became a municipal cemetery in 1804 under Napoleon. It is the final resting place for many famous people, including the Doors’ Jim Morrison, author Oscar Wilde and chanteuse Edith Piaf.

The cemetery contains many sculptures, as each family of the deceased tried to out-do the monuments placed by the other wealthy families. The result is many spectacular works of art that are equally as interesting as the various gravesites of famous individuals.

20. Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

When Europeans can’t get to Los Angeles to see the original Disneyland, they head to Disneyland Paris, the most visited theme park in Europe. Just like its namesake, Disneyland Paris is more than just a theme park with spectacular rides.

It’s a resort with hotels, shopping and golf among its varied activities. In 1992, it became the second Disney park to open outside of the United States. It’s located about 30 km (20 miles) from central Paris. A companion park, Walt Disney Studios Park, opened in 2002.

19. Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l'Orangerie

Travelers who appreciate impressionist and post-impressionist art need to check out the Musee de l’Orangerie. The museum, located in a corner of the Tuilries Garden, is home to eight Water Lilies murals by Claude Monet; these murals are considered the museum’s centerpiece.

It also contains works by other impressionist artists, including Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse and Modigliani. The orangerie was originally built in 1852 to protect the Tuileries Palace’s orange trees.

18. Palais Garnier

Palais Garnier

Architect Charles Garnier spared no ornate detail when he designed the Palais Garnier in the 19th century. Perhaps this is why the building was the most expensive of its era. Seating nearly 2,000 people, the Palais Garnier is home to the National Opera of Paris.

It is the star of the novel and subsequent films, Phantom of the Opera. The Palais Garnier is still in use today though mainly for ballet and also is home to the opera library museum.

17. Les Invalides

Les Invalides

Les Invalides is a complex of buildings that honors the French military. It was built in 1670 as a hospital and retirement home for vets. It still serves that function today as well as many more.

Les Invalides is home to military museums and a church that is the burial site of its war heroes, including Napoleon Bonaparte. Les Invalides is where rioters obtained the cannons and muskets they used later that day to storm the Bastille, thus kicking off the French Revolution.

16. Seine Cruise

Seine Cruise

The River Seine runs nearly 800 km (500 miles) through France on its way to the English Channel. Cruising the river as it winds through Paris is one of the most romantic things visitors can do.

Seine cruises pass under numerous bridges in Paris, going by such sights as the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower. A Seine cruise lasts about an hour, but what a magic hour it is! A Seine cruise also is a good way to experience Paris at night.

15. Musee Rodin

Musee Rodin

Travelers who’ve seen copies of the famous sculpture The Thinker can visit the real thing when they’re in Paris. The statue was sculpted by Auguste Rodin, a famous early 20th century French artist.

The Thinker as well as 6,600 other sculptures can be found at the Musee Rodin, established in 1919 in his former studio, the Hotel Biron in central Paris. Many of his famous sculptures can be found in gardens that surround the museum.

14. Les Catacombes

Les Catacombes

In contrast with the City of Lights, Les Catacombes represents the dark side of Paris. Just under a mile long beneath the streets of Paris, this tourist attraction presents a gruesome side: the remains of millions of Parisians who were

Bones are arranged artistically; poems and other passages can be found throughout. Some bodies, such as those killed in the French Revolution, came directly here, bypassing the cemeteries.

13. Champs-Elysees


The tree-lined Avenue des Champs-Elysees is Paris’s most famous street and has even been described as the most beautiful avenue in the world. Just over a mile long, the boulevard connects the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde. Life in Paris centers around the Champs-Elysees.

It’s an avenue lined with restaurants, upscale boutiques, museums and night clubs. It’s home to the Bastille Day military parade and the end of the Tour de France.

12. Pont Alexandre III

Pont Alexandre III

In a city where romance reigns, what could be more romantic than the Pont Alexandre III, a bridge that is deemed to be the most extravagant and ornate in Paris. Named for the Russian tsar, this steel single arch bridge spans the Seine, connecting the districts of Champs-Elysees, Les Invalides and Eiffel Tower.

Seeing the bridge is almost like going to an art gallery, since numerous French sculptors made the statues, including winged horses, nymphs and cherubs that adorn the top.

11. Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles started out life as a royal hunting lodge, but later became a palace housing the king’s court. The mammoth structure is ornate, opulent and over the top in its richness.

It is one of Paris’s most visited landmarks, with visitors coming to see its magnificent gardens and the Hall of Mirrors with its 357 mirrors decorating 17 arches. The Palace of Versailles ceased being a royal residence during the French Revolution and today houses a museum of French history.

10. Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde

At the east end of the Champs-Elysées is Place de la Concorde, the largest square in Paris with fantastic vistas in every direction. It was in this square that the French King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and many others were guillotined during the French revolution.

The large 3200 years old Egyptian obelisk in the center of the Place de la Concorde was brought from the Temple of Luxor in the 19th century.

9. Sainte-Chapelle


Begun sometime after 1239, the Sainte-Chapelle is considered among the highest achievements of Gothic architecture. Its construction was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including Christ’s Crown of Thorns, one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom.

Although damaged during the French revolution, and restored in the 19th century, it retains one of the most extensive in-situ collections of 13th-century stained glass anywhere in the world.

8. Centre Pompidou

Centre Pompidou

Designed in the style of high-tech architecture, Centre Pompidou is a cultural institution in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement. It houses a vast public library, the Musée National d’Art Moderne which is the largest museum for modern art in Europe, a bookshop, a movie theater and a panoramic terrace. The library occupies the first three floors of the building, while the museum’s permanent collection is located on floors 4 and 5.

The first and top floor are used for large expositions. The Centre is named after Georges Pompidou, the President of France from 1969 to 1974 who commissioned the building.

7. Musee d’Orsay

Musee d'Orsay

A must-do for art lovers, the Musee d’Orsay is known for housing the world’s premier collection of impressionist paintings. Located in a former railway station, this grand museum showcases thousands of art works and objects that cover a period between the mid-1800s and the early 1900s.

Visitors can walk through several rooms to view amazing art works by many famous artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, Cezane, Degas, Pissarro, Renoir and Jean-Francois Millet.

6. Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg

Known in English as the Luxembourg Gardens, this public park is the second largest in Paris. Visitors here can picnic or stroll leisurely among beautiful lawns, formal gardens and fruit orchards that feature many artistic statues and fountains.

For fun and sport, there are jogging paths, tennis courts and fitness equipment. Children can play in the huge playground, ride ponies, watch a puppet show and sail model boats in a pond.

5. Sacre-Coeur


One of the most noticeable landmarks in Paris is the striking white-domed basilica of the Sacre-Coeur. Situated at the city’s highest point on Montmartre hill, this stunning basilica draws many tourists every year to see its marble architecture and gorgeous interior.

A tour awards visitors with views of gold mosaics, stained-glass windows and one of the world’s largest clocks.

4. Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris

No trip to Paris could be complete without a visit to the world famous Notre Dame cathedral. Standing more than 400 feet (120 meters) high with two lofty towers and a spire, this marvelous church is considered a supreme example of French Gothic architecture.

A tour of this 13th century masterpiece allows visitors to admire the awe-inspiring rose windows, Gothic carvings, beautiful sculptures and a collection of relics.

3. Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris, the Arc de Triomphe was constructed in 1806 to memorialize the triumphal battles of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Standing 164 feet high and 148 feet (50 by 45 meters) wide, the arch features intricate reliefs depicting victorious battles and engraved names of many who died fighting for the emperor. Beneath the arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the first world war.


Topping the list of the world’s most visited museums, the Louvre Museum is located in the Louvre Palace with its signature glass pyramid marking its entrance. Housing a collection of more than 1 million objects, the Louvre boasts some of the world’s most famous art works such as Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” Michelangelo’s “Dying Slave” and the Greek statue, “Venus of Milo.”

Other popular exhibits include the extravagant apartments of Napoleon III, the ancient Code of Hammurabi, Egyptian antiquities and paintings by masters like Rembrandt and Rubens.

1. Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Visiting the iconic symbol of Paris usually ranks as the number one thing to do for most tourists. Towering more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) high in the Champ de Mars park, this iron structure was constructed for the 1889 World Exposition.

One of the world’s most photographed tourist attractions, the Eiffel Tower presents an excellent photography opportunity for both day and night times. Visitors can ride the elevator to see incredible views of the city or dine in one of the two fine restaurants that are situated within the tower.

Map of Tourist Attractions in Paris

Map of Tourist Attractions in Paris

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Reader interactions.

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September 10, 2020 at 9:11 am

Paris is my favorite place to travel. I’ve been there 3x , but still eager to go back someday. You can’t be bored with the place, it is amazing! If you love history and arts, this is where you belong.

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September 7, 2018 at 8:26 pm

I wait for 45m to go up Eiffel tower , not bad. Need at least 10 days in Paris otherwise you don’t have enough time. Disney Land Paris is cool, especially if you have children. I like Arc de Triomphe , but it depends on every one’s taste

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August 28, 2018 at 4:02 am

The best view of Eiffel i think is at night with the wonderful lights, seen from trocadero park. It was magnificent.

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November 1, 2016 at 11:34 am

I was in love when I went to paris it is so amazing!!!

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September 20, 2016 at 10:44 am

I visited Paris and it was lovely …the wait for the Eiffel Tower tour was not long but we had a fast pass…we waited maybe 15 minutes. It was worth the wait though..

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August 21, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Wow….paris is really amazing…. its so wonderful i wish i could visit the place someday

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September 27, 2015 at 3:14 am

Wow…. Paris is really amazing….. Its so wonderful, I wish i could visit this place someday.

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August 29, 2013 at 9:44 pm

I loved how you had the pictures of all the tourist attractions so we veiwers had an Idea of what they looked like

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March 27, 2013 at 1:49 am

List is full but missing for me is…underground city under Paris downtown!!! A lots of tunels and secret gates/rooms etc – mysterous and very very old The Catacombs of Paris are welcome!

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February 26, 2013 at 11:34 am

I’ve always wanted to go to the Eiffel tower but I hear the wait times, to go up it, are really long. Anyone experience short wait times and are there any good times to go, where one doesn’t have to wait too long?

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February 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Paris is truly magnificent and a dream place for travelers. Your photos really captured the loveliness of Paris especially the Louvre and the Eiffel tower. Excellent!

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Top 5 Tourist Attractions in Paris

Planning a break to Paris? View a list of the top 5 things to see and how to do them right from our featured travel writer Laura R Murgatroyd...

1. The Louve

Located centrally in Paris The Louvre is one of the largest museum and historic monument, visited by more than 8million people per year it is the world’s most visited museum.  

Established in 1793 The Louvre hold some of the most famous painting and art pieces in the world, including the very famous Mona Lisa which gathers quite a crowd. The Louvre is a must see for any Paris tourist, even if you’re not into art, paying a visit to simple just see the architecture of the outer pyramid shape is a must.

The Louvre is free to those under 18 years of age (plus others that fit under certain categories- check the website for details) and for full day access to The Louvre it is around 12Euros per adult.  There is no need for pre-booking tickets as getting into the museum as it is pretty fast and easy.

2. Eiffel Tower

No trip to Paris is complete until you’ve been up to the third floor of the Eiffel Tower and seen it light up the city at night. Opened March 31st 1889 millions of visitors are attracted to Paris’ most iconic attraction year round. Standing 324 metres high it attract many people due to its unique structure and seasonal events such as; every winter the Eiffel Tower hosts an ice skating ring on the first floor. You can dine at one of the two restaurants located in the Eiffel Tower one of the first and one on the second floor.

Before visiting the Eiffel Tower buying tickets online can be very useful so you can skip the crowded queues that assemble below the tower itself and especially can be very crowded in summer and winter; you can buy your tickets and book your times on the Eiffel Tower website. It’s important to get the views of the city from the Eiffel Tower at both in the day light and night, so with only taking one trip going up just before dusk you will get the day views going up and the night views seeing the city all covered with light on your way down!

3. Arc de Triomphe

Located on the Champs-Élysées the Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous Paris monuments, standing 50 metres high the Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the Napoleonic Wars and in the French Revolutionary. Opened on July 29th 1836 it has since been visited by millions of visitors year round, with children and students up to 17 entering for free. The top of the Arc de Triomphe can be accessed by climbing the 50 stairs that lead up to the top where then you can see the many views of Paris.

Being located on the most famous avenue in Paris the monument itself can be very hard to access with the chaotic traffic surrounding it so you have to wait for the best time to cross the roads. While visiting the Arc walking the Champs-Élysées is a must! You can shop in some of Paris’ most luxury stores or maybe see a movie and get a spot of lunch in one of the many cafés! Though pre-booking tickets is not needed as up to 17 is free choosing the right time of day can be a struggle as in the day light many things can be seen that will just be lights at night even though the city looks beautiful lit up, like the Eiffel tower it is recommended to travel up at dusk then getting a view of both day and night; while not forgetting to be there at 6:30pm when the ‘Eternal Flame’ is lit every evening!

4. The Notre-Dame Cathedral

The Notre-Dame Cathedral is the most cultural and religiously visited place in Paris, standing up to 226ft high it is among one of the largest and well known church building in the world visited by millions annually. The cathedral holds many services and masses including the Christmas Eve mass which is one of the most popular activities while in Paris around Christmas.

The Notre-Dame is free to enter to all the public however the cathedral towers and treasury have an entrance fee.  Leading up to the south tower of the cathedral there are 387 steps in which you will climb if you are interested in going up it as no elevators have been added so the Church would remain intact. Pre-booking tickets is not needed. Getting in to the cathedral is pretty fast and simple however they may be a small wait around busy seasons such as Christmas and summer so check opening times before you go and have a back-up plan if it’s too busy, there is always something else to do around, including many cafés and restaurants too!

5. Pont Des Arts

Finally, the Pont Des Arts; though not normally on many Paris tourists itinerary, it should be! The beautiful pedestrian arch bridge that crosses The Seine River is a must see, the 155metre long bridge is covered with padlocks along either side of the steel netting, this is because those who love another can put a padlock on the bridge and there it will remain, it is a symbol of people’s love for one another.

Many tourist couples engrave their names into the padlock before locking it onto the bridge and then taken to throwing their keys into the river Seine down below as a romantic gesture to one another however now police are known to patrol the bride stopping those who want to do so. The bridge is seen in many .T.V. and movie appearances and is also the location of some art exhibitions year round. The bridge is for pedestrian use so there is no entrance fee and can be crowded but usually moves fast.

Bon voyage!

By Laura R Murgatroyd

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