Ahhh, Paris. Known for its wide assortment of pastries, crepes and beautiful art, the city has much to offer to tourists and locals alike. While I feel like the “City of Love” doesn’t quite live up to the romantic expectations set in the movies, it does have a number of redeeming features that make it an amazing place to visit. On your next trip to the French city, make sure these 10 must-see attractions in Paris are at the top of your itinerary!
The Eiffel Tower
Naturally, the Eiffel Tower makes it to the top of the list. Not surprisingly, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most well-known and most-visited tourist attractions in the world. Over 7-million people visit the iconic location every year! It truly is a sight to see in person (especially at night!). If you’re not afraid of heights, the view of Paris from the tower’s 1st and 2nd floors is absolutely breathtaking. You can purchase tickets directly through the Eiffel Tower’s website for around €17.
One of the world’s most impressive museums, The Louvre is definitely a must-see when you visit Paris. Home to famous pieces such as the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo and The Virgin of the Rocks, you can easily find yourself spending half a day exploring the vast collection of art. If you want to have the best experience at the museum, I recommend getting there early as the lines can get pretty long. Visit the Louvre’s website for times and ticket information. You may want to note that the museum is not open on Tuesday, so plan your visit accordingly.
It may not be as well known as Notre Dame, but Sainte-Chapelle is equally as magnificent. The upper chapel of the cathedral is covered in beautiful stain glass windows that create a beautiful display at sunset. This cathedral is an impressive sight you won’t be able to see anywhere else.
Although getting to Versailles isn’t as easy as just hoping on the metro, the palace and gardens are quite a sight to see. After a short 1-hour train ride, you’ll be greeted by a magnificent palace and incredible gardens. While I thought the palace itself was very beautiful, although quite crowded, I felt like the 230 acres of gardens adorned with fountains, statues and The Queen’s Hamlet (looks like it came straight from Beauty and the Beast!) were much more impressive. If you don’t want to pay to see both, I would definitely choose to go to the gardens.
If you appreciate the masterpieces from some of the world’s most famous artists, then the Musee d’Orsay is another museum certainly worth your time. Housed in an old train station, the museum features work from van Gogh (Starry Night anyone?), Monet and Degas to name a few. If you are an art aficionado you need to spend a few hours in this museum.
Notre Dame Cathedral
If you visit any cathedral in Paris, you have to see Notre Dame. Adorned with an iconic rose window and the famous gargoyles, the architecture of Notre Dame is one of a kind. Climb the towers for not only an incredible view of the city, but for an up close and personal experience with the stone carved creatures.
Arc De Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe, standing majestically at the end of the Champs-Élysées, is the most famous and notable monument in Paris. The 162 foot monument was dedicated to French soldiers who were lost in the wars, and includes the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The structure offers an amazing panoramic view of central Paris, especially at sunset.
Take a step back in time in Montemarte – a part of Paris that is rich with history. At one point in time, Montemarte was home to many artists including Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. I highly recommend taking a free walking tour through Montemarte. The tour guides are very familiar with the area’s unique history. They’ll be able to point out the artists’ studios, as well as provide you with some interesting facts about the Moulin Rouge on the outskirts of Montemarte.
While in Montemarte, be sure to take some time to visit Sacre Couer. Walk the famous stairs of the basilica and explore the gorgeous interiors. The basilica is home to a beautiful mosaic of Christ, as well as the grand organ (the most remarkable in Europe!).
Not everyone may be fond of modern art, but the Pompidou has quite an amazing collection. Whether you decide to visit the museum or you just want to enjoy the street performers on the plaza, the Pompidou is a fascinating place to relax for a while. There is also an amazing gelato shop right across the street if you are in need of a pick me up!
The next time you visit Paris, make sure you add each of these attractions to your itinerary. Paris is an incredible city with a rich history. Visiting each of these places will allow you to take full advantage of everything the city has to offer.
Note: If you have plans to visit all or most of these locations, I highly recommend purchasing The Paris Pass. The pass allows you to get into a majority of these locations for a discounted rate and you can often skip to the front of the line. This pass can be huge money and time saver!