Paris is a city where you can spend a whole year and still not run out of things to do and see. Among these innumerable options, I asked my fellow travel bloggers to pick some of the best things to see in Paris. Here’s what they suggest.
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower, standing at 1,063 feet tall, is one of the most iconic structures in the world. Almost 7 million people flock here each year to ride the elevator to the top for sweeping views of Paris. After dark you can even watch its famous lights glitter on the hour, making it truly one of the most romantic places in the world.
The Tower, located in the 7th arrondissement, has three floors open to visitors. You can reach the first and second floors via the stairs or elevator, but you must take the elevator to the third floor.
The Tower is open to visitors every day, with opening hours usually ranging from 9:30 a.m. to 23:45 p.m.
Eiffel Tower tickets range from €10.20 to €25.50, with the cheapest option being the stairs and most expensive being the elevator to the top.
Buy your tickets online in advance for a ride to the second or third floor, especially in high season, as the best times will sell out. You can generally buy stairs tickets the same day, although it’s still best to purchase them online to avoid long waits. Skip the long lines with priority access tickets here.
The closest Metro stations include Champ de Mars on Line RER C, Ecole Militaire on Line 8, and Bir-Hakeim on Line 6.
The Louvre is one of the most iconic attractions in Paris, and deservedly so! It is the largest museum in the world and a historic monument of Paris and houses the most revered works of art known to man. The Louvre is definitely a must-see on a visit to Paris.
The Louvre is home to 380,000 individual objects, ranging from archaeological finds to Egyptian antiquities to decorative arts. As the most visited museum in the world, the Louvre is famous for being the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait for as much as an hour or two to see this famous painting!
The Louvre was originally a defensive fortress in the 12th century and was a home and main residence to French kings until the 1600s. The Louvre became a public gallery following the French Revolution.
The Louvre is open daily (except Tuesdays) from 9 am to 6 pm, with later open hours on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Located in the 1st arr. on the right bank of the Seine, the Louvre is easy to identify by its beautiful glass pyramid marking the entrance. Buy your tickets in advance to avoid waiting in the long lines to get in. Ticket prices are 17,00 € and are valid for the time period you select. Skip the line with a timed-entrance ticket here or buy the Paris Museum Pass which gives you access to more than 60 museums in Paris.
The metro stations closest to the Louvre are Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7) and Pyramides (line 14).
Arc de Triomphe
You can’t go to Paris without visiting the Arc de Triomphe. I mean, technically you can, but you’d be missing out on such an iconic Paris attraction.
It’s located down the street from the Eiffel Tower on one of the busiest intersections in Paris. While you can take photos and admire the Arc de Triomphe from the street, it’s much cooler to climb up to the top. There are 284 steps to get from the base to the viewing platform and it’s totally worth it.
From the terrace, you can see the Eiffel Tower and the famous Champs Elysees. They even have a cool selfie spot and telescopes set up. It only takes about an hour to explore, so you can easily fit it in your Paris itinerary. And families will love knowing this is a kid-friendly Paris attraction.
Open from 10 am to 10 pm daily
Free for people younger than 18 years old. 12 Euro for people 18 years old and older. There are some free days throughout the year.
By subway, take lines 1, 2 et 6, stop Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile. By RER, take line A, stop Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile.
The Seine River is Paris’ most beautiful avenue. The river crosses the French capital from east to west. On its way to the ocean, the Seine River sees Paris’ most beautiful monuments like Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum (French Kings’ former palace until they moved to Versailles), the Orsay Museum, or the Eiffel Tower just to name a few. But the Seine has also its own highlights in Paris. Indeed, there are the bridges of the Seine, each one with its own character, and the river islands (Îlle de la Cité, Île Saint Louis, Île aux Cygnes, and Île Louviers) are really cool places to go for a stroll. Île de la Cité hosted during medieval times the royal and religious powers and it is full of historical monuments while Île Saint Louis is well-known for its romantic atmosphere.
There are many ways to enjoy the River Seine, from walks along its banks, to picnics in the summer. One of the most popular activities amongst visitors is to sail the river on a boat tour and there are many kinds of boat tours, some of them with lunch or dinner included.
Paris’ bridges are definitely among the best things to see in Paris: Pont Alexandre III, Pont des Arts, Bir Hakeim… There are many of them all over the city, and each of them is very unique because of the location, the view or the decorations they can have. Plus, visiting bridges is free! But did you know about the oldest bridge standing in Paris? It is the Pont Neuf, located at the very center of Paris.
The Pont Neuf is an important piece of Paris history as it spans over the Seine river since 1607 – more than 400 years! The bridge also has the first crosswalks of Paris, a huge statue of King Henri IV and more than 800 sculpted masks on its sides. Classified as a Historical Monument since 1889, you can reach the Pont Neuf after visiting the famous cathedral Notre Dame de Paris or the amazing Sainte Chapelle.
Discover more fun facts and photos about the Pont Neuf in this article.
If you’re planning to visit Paris and want to get a good look at a castle, this is a great option. While it’s not one of the more famous attractions of Paris, Chateau de Vincennes is a fascinating place to visit. It’s a place full of history and secrets dating back to the 14th century. It’s a full castle completely equipped with a bridge, moat (since dried out) and towers.
The entire complex is really a series of buildings completely surrounded by a massive protective wall. The castle is an excellent place to explore as many parts of it are really well preserved. It’s an excellent place for kids to visit as well. So much of Paris is usually crowded with fellow travelers, so this is a nice change of pace. This place is unique in that it is not furnished at all. It is completely empty, so no worries about breaking anything. But it gives a unique perspective in comparison to other sites like it that you may visit.
On the grounds of the castle, there is also a chapel which was modeled after the Sainte Chapelle on the Ile de la Cite whose gothic architecture is pretty stunning.
For opening times of Chateau Vincennes, please see the linked website.
Tickets for adults cost 9 EU and those under 18 and EU citizens between 18 and 25 enter for free. You can also enter with the Paris Pass and the Paris Museum Pass.You can purchase tickets here.
Using the metro from Paris you can take the 1 Train and get off on the Chateau de Vincennes stop which is the last stop. Once you emerge from the Metro you will be about a 5-minute walk from the castle.
Pont Alexandre III
Built way back in the early 1900s, Pont Alexander III is one of the most important bridges in Paris due to its grandeur, architecture, and location. Classed as a historic monument, it connects the Invalides on the Left Bank to the Grand Palais and Petit Palais on the Right Bank and makes for a convenient crossing over the Seine.
The bridge is lavishly decorated with lampposts and sculptures that include huge pillars crowned with bronze winged horse sculptures on each corner. It has become a popular location for wedding photoshoots and you will also find plenty of tourists no matter the time of the day. From here you get sweeping vistas across the river and of the Eiffel Tower, making it a great spot to find some of the best views in Paris.
The Church of Saint-Séverin
The Church of Saint-Séverin is one of the finest Gothic churches in Paris and offers a quiet respite in the heart of the Latin Quarter, a bohemian area filled with students and veg-friendly cafés. The church was first built in the early 13th century, then rebuilt in the 15th century after being damaged by a fire. Since then, it has undergone several restorations, but it still retains many of its Gothic architectural features, such as the distinctive gargoyles that jut out the sides.
One of its most notable features is the beautifully twisted pillar in the ambulatory, which resembles the shape of a palm tree. Its stained glass windows represent a range of different eras, from the 15th-century windows of the chancel to the contemporary ones created by Jean Bazaine in 1970.
Saint-Séverin is one of the oldest churches still standing on the Left Bank of the Seine and should not be missed. Be sure to take a peek at the lovely walled garden in the back while you’re here.
Saint Séverin is open Monday to Saturday from 11 am to 7.30 pm and on Sundays from 9.00 am to 8.30 pm. It’s located at the intersection of Rue Saint-Jacques and Rue Saint-Séverin in the Latin Quarter.
Saint Séverin is free to enter
The easiest way to get there is by metro, as the church lies within easy walking distance of both the Saint-Michel Notre-Dame and Cluny-La Sorbonne metro stops.
Paris’ Palais Garnier (also known as the Opera Garnier or Paris Opera House) is an absolutely delightful example of the opulent and grand architecture that Paris is known for–and it has an incredible history to boot.
Holding nearly 2,000 people and dating to the 19th century, the Palais Garnier is nestled in Paris’ 9th arrondissement and is absolutely one of the best things to see in Paris.
During the day, you can tour the interior of the opera house, including the theatre itself, its opulent grand staircase, the beautiful second-floor terrace, and the phenomenal Hall of Mirrors that just may make you think that you’ve stepped into the Palace of Versailles… without leaving the heart of Paris.
Today, the Palais Garnier is shrouded in mystery around the world, inspired in large part by the famous Phantom of the Opera novel by Gaston Leroux (and later Broadway play).
While there’s no actual phantom living underneath the opera house, there is a large tank of water beneath the Palais Garnier, and a few choice incidents–including a tragic incident of the chandelier falling and killing a man in 1896–were woven into the novel and give it an eerie hint of reality.
The opera house is open daily to visitors from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, with the exception of days when it is closed for performances.
Palais Garnier can be accessed by Metro: Opéra station (lines 3, 7 and 8), RER: Auber station (line A), and by Bus: lines 20, 21, 27, 29, 32, 45, 52, 66, 68, 95
Tickets to visit the Palais Garnier cost 14 Euro for a self-guided tour, and guided options are available for an additional fee. And, of course, if you’d like a very different kind of visit to the Palais Garnier, you can always simply buy a ticket to a show–the building is still very much a functional opera house!
Located on the Rive Gauche, the Luxembourg gardens are a must-do when visiting the city of lights. Rivaling the slightly more famous Jardin des Tuileries in the Rive Droite, they’re unmatched in terms of natural and man-made attractions. In the center of the park, you’ll find the grand Luxembourg Palace, which dates back to the 17th century & makes a stunning backdrop to the Grand Bassin duck pond. If visiting Paris with kids, it’s also the perfect place to while away an afternoon. There’s a nature-inspired playground that will entertain little ones for hours (a small entry fee applies), and a traditional puppet theatre that puts on shows on Wednesdays, weekends and public holidays. Partake in the tradition of pushing handmade wooden sailboats around the pond, take a stroll beneath the leafy alleyways, play a game of pétanque, or just sit back in one of the iconic green garden chairs and take in the atmosphere – whichever way you choose to enjoy this garden, you won’t regret a visit.
Opens between 7.30 am and 8.15 am and closes between 4.30 pm and 9.30 pm depending on the season.
Entry to the gardens is free but the playground costs €3 for children and €1 for adults.
Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel) is a Gothic wonder that hails back to the 13th century. It is located in the courtyard of the medieval Palais de la Cité, where kings once lived, on the River Seine. Most of the structure is now the Palais de Justice.
Be sure to visit on a sunny day to get the full impact of the massive stained glass windows with intricate detailing. It is simply breathtaking to walk through the doors to see the stunning array of beautiful colors glistening everywhere you look. You will notice everyone else also looking up in wonder and appreciation of this masterpiece.
Near Sainte-Chapelle is the Conciergerie, the medieval prison where Marie Antoinette was held and tried during the French Revolution. You can purchase a joint entrance ticket for both and can easily see them and the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in a half day.
Since this is a religious place, please remember to dress modestly (cover knees and shoulders).
Sainte-Chapelle is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for most of the year, and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from April through September.
The entrance cost is 10€ and the joint ticket with the Conciergerie costs 15€. Entrance to both, as well as to Notre Dame and more than 50 other museums and attractions, is also included in the Paris Museum Pass which sells for 48€ for 2 days, 62€ for 4 days, and 74€ for 6 days.
The easiest way to get to Sainte-Chapelle is to take the Métro Line 4 to the Cité stop and walk to the Palais de Justice, one block up on Rue de Lutèce. The entrance is on the left of the Palais de Justice and the gilded iron gates.
Strolling along the Champs-Élysées is a quintessential Paris experience!
“The most beautiful avenue in the world”, as the French call it, has something for everyone, from luxury brands and high-end boutiques, to fast fashion stores, theatres, cinemas, award-winning restaurants, and iconic cafés.
Start at the Place Charles de Gaulle square and walk down the avenue admiring the beautiful architecture or indulging in some shopping.
Another mandatory thing to do at the Champs-Élysées is, of course, trying the delicious French macarons at Ladurée.
At the opposite end of this celebrated avenue, near the Place de la Concorde, you’ll find the Champs-Élysées Gardens, as well as the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais art museums.
After dark, the Champs-Élysées is also one of the most glamorous nightlife spots in Paris.
For a perfect evening, sip a cocktail at one of the many bars and cafés along the avenue, have dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, watch a show at the famous Lido cabaret, or dance the night away at some of the most exclusive Parisian clubs.
How to get there: The best way to get to the Champs-Élysées is by metro. Take Line 1 and get out at Charles de Gaulle-Étoile, George V, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Champs-Élysées-Clemenceau, or Concorde.
If in Paris make sure to see Montmartre – the lovely artist neighborhood with the famous Roman-Catholic church Sacré-Coeur Basilica. Sacré-Coeur Basilica which sits on a hill is probably the most famous attraction in the area. It offers lovely views and, of course, it looks absolutely beautiful inside as well.
But of course, there is so much more to see in this Parisian neighborhood (or arrondissement, as it is called here). You’ll find many artists, shops, cafes & restaurants including the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. But there are also many cobblestone lanes, and cute buildings which make this area very charming and so it does not surprise that it is one of the most photogenic and most photographed neighborhoods in Paris.
Opening hours for Sacré-Coeur Open every day from 6 a.m. to 10.30 p.m.
No entrance fees.
It is very easy to get to Montmartre: take the metro and get out at Abbesses -and you are almost at Sacré-Coeur You can stroll the streets of Montmartre at any time of the day, but shops close in the evening and Sacré-Coeur is still used as s church.
Le Pantheon, like many buildings in Paris, has a long and complicated history. It was designed to look like the Pantheon in Rome. The building used to be a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve but after the French Revolution, the church was turned into a monument to liberty.
Many famous French people are buried in Le Pantheon, including the writer Voltaire and the philosopher Rousseau. Apparently it’s possible to be evicted from Le Pantheon if the French people decide that you’re no longer worthy of being buried in such a place of honor. Jean-Paul Marat, the politician, was initially buried here, then removed after his reputation declined. When you visit, you can descend into the crypt and learn more about the famous French who are fortunate enough to rest here.
Le Pantheon is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm, but in the summer months it stays open until 6:30 pm.
Admission to Le Pantheon is 9 EU.
It is easy to get there by metro, and the closest station is the RER station Luxembourg.
Compared to the sophisticated center of Paris, Belleville is a down to earth and authentic neighborhood. Located in the far east, it’s way off the touristic center and a real gem. It could remain under the radar of many and preserve its unique charm. Don’t expect a hidden fancy village, though. Belleville appears rough around the edges – it’s a busy quarter, a melting pot of different lifestyles and cultures, and also one of the most important street art sectors of Paris!
The most important and known place to witness urban art is at Rue Denoyez – changing graffitis are decorating the walls but don’t stop just there! Belleville is blotched in art of all sizes and genres – keep your exes open!
The centerpiece of Belleville is the Parc de Belleville. Its ground is stretching along a hill and it’s a steep march up – but you’re granted with one of the nicest views over Paris – The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Centre Pompidou.. you’ll see it all!
To reach Belleville, just hop on Metro line 2 or 11, get out at the Station Belleville and set off to explore the neighborhood!
56-floored Montparnasse Tower is the first skyscraper of Paris. It has the fastest elevator in the world that takes you to the rooftop in no time. The rooftop has a viewing gallery bound by glass walls that offers you a 360-degree panoramic view of the entire. This according to me is the best aerial view of Paris at night. Despite that remains a lesser-known gem of Paris.
We went to this place around 11 pm and experienced the mesmerizing view of the city illuminated at night with its famous landmarks – the Sacre Coir at Montmartre, Arc De Triomphe, the BigWheel among others. It is at the same elevation as that of Eiffel Tower summit from where you get to see Paris with the sparkling Eiffel itself! The access to the roof is open till 11:30 pm and it is free with the Paris Museum Pass. You can also enjoy romantic dining here while watching the city of lights at night.
9:30 am to 11:30 pm
If you want one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower, the Trocadero will give you some of the most Instagramable views of Paris’ most famous structure. The Trocadero area is in the 16th arrondissement and located very centrally. This makes it a great spot for your home base in the city.
A must for your time in Paris is to watch the mesmerizing light show of the Eiffel Tower. And the best place to view it from Place du Trocadéro. The light show happens every hour on the hour and it gets quite crowded, so I recommend getting there at least 30 minutes before. Also, make sure to watch your belongings. Thieves like to take advantage of tourists paying attention to the 20000 flickering lights and the stunning show, not their backpacks.
Trocadéro also has lots of nice restaurants and cafés. You might enjoy the Café du Trocadéro, overlooking the Place du Trocadéro. It is a little fancier, but the food is outstanding. Have an early dinner, watch the sunset and then walk over to see the light show. It doesn’t get more romantic than that!
The most central metro stop is Trocadéro and you will exit right at the Place du Trocadéro.
Arc de la Defense District
The modern La Defense district in Paris is a gorgeous and unique part of the city. The high-rise office buildings give the neighborhood a unique architectural flair that’s considerably different from any other area in Paris.
The business district dominates the skyline in a way that makes it easily visible from the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Pyramid, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, and other famous attractions.
The star attraction in the area is La Grande Arche, a giant modern-looking hollow square building that happens to be on the same road as Paris’ top attractions: the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde and the Louvre Museum. Named the “Triumphal Way”, one can start at La Grande Arche and continue on the same trajectory all the way to the Louvre, an infamous walk peppered with Paris’ most beautiful and legendary attractions. The Arche has recently been opened again so you can take the elevator to the very top for one of the best views of Paris.
You can easily spend at least half a day in the area, as it is filled with shops, attractions, and cafes.
Notre Dame de Paris is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world, not least because of the tragic fire in April 2019 that left the building with serious damage to its roof, spire, and windows. Originally built between 1160 and 1260, Notre Dame is a medieval Catholic church that is the epitome of French Gothic architecture. The grand twin towers of at the front of the building stood above a large, intricate stained-glass window and a delicately statued facade. On the inside, the church features vast, arched ceilings, a huge organ and church bells that chime out proudly throughout the streets of Paris.
While there was some debate about modernizing the design of Notre Dame after the devastating fire, the French government has requested that the church be rebuilt in exactly the same way as before. It is unsure as to when this masterpiece will be reopened but at least we know that future generations will be able to admire Notre Dame once again.
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