31 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Paris

Written by Lisa Alexander Updated Mar 21, 2024 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.

See also: Where to Stay 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, where to stay in paris for sightseeing, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to paris, best time to visit paris, france.

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)

Deciding where to stay in Paris depends on your taste in hotels and travel preferences.

An abundance of quaint small hotels are scattered throughout the 5th, 6th, and 7th arrondissements, which is also known as the Rive Gauche (Left Bank). Tourists appreciate this area for its central location, excellent restaurants, and lively sidewalk cafés.

The Marais quarter (4th arrondissement) on the Right Bank rivals the Left Bank for old-world charm and trendy ambiance. This neighborhood is filled with magnificent historic palaces and mansions, while enticing boutiques, cozy restaurants, cafés, and tea salons line the quarter's cobblestone streets.

Many luxury hotels are found on the boulevards near the Louvre and the Champs-Élysées, in an area of the 8th arrondissement known as the Triangle d'Or (Golden Triangle) because of its designer fashion boutiques and upscale gourmet restaurants.

Montmartre is farther from most tourist attractions but has a special atmosphere thanks to its bohemian heritage, excellent art museums, and atmospheric pedestrian alleyways. Some of the hotels in this hilltop neighborhood offer sweeping city views.

Here are some highly-rated hotels in these areas of Paris:

Luxury Hotels:

  • In the fashionable 8th arrondissement near the Jardins des Champs-Élysées is the five-star Le Bristol Paris . This legendary hotel epitomizes Parisian elegance with sumptuous guest rooms featuring Louis XV or Louis XVI furnishings and tailor-made bed linens. Guests enjoy the courtyard garden, spa, rooftop swimming pool, tea time at Café Antonia, and fine dining at the hotel's Michelin-starred gastronomic restaurant or Michelin-starred brasserie.
  • La Réserve Paris - Hotel and Spa is another ultra-luxurious accommodation in the 8th arrondissement near the Champs-Élysées. The five-star hotel occupies a palatial 19th-century mansion decorated in a classical style, yet has the intimate ambiance of a private home. Guests appreciate the top-notch amenities: spa, fitness center, indoor swimming pool, and two gourmet restaurants including a dining room with two Michelin stars.
  • Art Deco interiors create an inviting feel at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in the 8th arrondissement. This opulent five-star hotel occupies a landmark building that dates to 1928 and has been beautifully maintained. Guests are pampered by the hotel's amenities: an upscale spa, swimming pool, and three fine-dining options including a vegetarian restaurant. The hotel's gastronomic restaurant, Le Cinq, boasts three Michelin stars.
  • The Hôtel Plaza Athénée graces the tree-lined Avenue Montaigne, a prestigious boulevard lined with haute couture boutiques. Housed in a stately Haussmann-style building near the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, this five-star hotel features plush guest rooms with Art Deco furnishings. Amenities include the Dior Spa, and three dining options, including a garden courtyard restaurant and La Galerie, a salon that serves afternoon tea.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • In the Latin Quarter steps away from the Panthéon, the impeccably maintained Hôtel Résidence Henri IV exudes old-fashioned Parisian charm with its traditional interior decor and balconies overlooking the street. The spacious guest rooms have flat-screen televisions and updated bathrooms; the apartments have kitchenettes. This four-star hotel has a hammam and offers spa treatments. The breakfast (available for an additional charge) includes artisanal and organic products.
  • The Relais Christine has a quiet and cozy ambiance, which makes it feel like a family home. This five-star hotel in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood is surrounded by cafés, bistros, and restaurants. The tastefully adorned guest rooms feature garden, courtyard, or street views and Nespresso coffee machines. Amenities include an upscale spa, fitness center, breakfast for an additional charge, and room service.
  • Near the legendary Boulevard Saint-Germain cafés and a short walk to the Jardin du Luxembourg, the boutique three-star Hôtel Left Bank Saint Germain des Prés occupies an 18th-century building on an ancient street where Molière had a residence. The hotel's suite has a living room with windows that look out onto Notre-Dame Cathedral. A continental breakfast with croissants, café au lait, and fresh-squeezed orange juice is available.
  • The charming Relais Médicis is tucked away on a quiet street near the Luxembourg Gardens. This four-star hotel is a welcome retreat from the busy streets of the Saint-Germain neighborhood. The guest rooms blend old-fashioned French country decor with modern amenities. Breakfast (available for an additional charge) includes yogurt, cheese, fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee, tea, and croissants from a neighborhood bakery.
  • Montmartre is considered Paris' most enchanting neighborhood, although it is a Métro ride to the main tourist attractions. A few steps away from the Métro station in the heart of the quarter's narrow, winding streets is Hôtel Le Relais Montmartre . This four-star hotel has quaint guest rooms with vintage-inspired decor. The hotel offers a breakfast buffet (generous for the price) that includes croissants, yogurt, charcuterie, cheese, and fruit.

Budget Hotels:

  • The Legend Hotel by Elegancia is conveniently located in the Montparnasse district of the 6th arrondissement (Rive Gauche) and about a 10-minute walk to the Luxembourg Gardens. This cozy three-star boutique hotel has chic contemporary-style rooms. The hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, buffet or continental breakfast (for an additional charge), and concierge services.
  • In the Latin Quarter (Rive Gauche) near the Panthéon, the family-run Hôtel Diana has stylish modern rooms with renovated bathrooms and courtyard or city views. Considering the central location and 24-hour front reception desk, this hotel provides excellent value for the price. A continental-style breakfast buffet is available for a small charge.

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.

Many seasoned travelers say the best months to visit Paris are in the spring (April, May, June), the summer (especially June and the first half of July), and early autumn (September and October) . As a general rule, this is also the best time to visit France.

April is in the off-season , and hotel prices are reduced. The drawback is that the weather is capricious and can be quite chilly or rainy . Average low temperatures are mid-40 degrees Fahrenheit. With some luck, the weather could be refreshingly crisp and sunny. Average highs are low-60 degrees. On the upside, April offers the chance to experience the magic of early spring. Trees begin to bud their first leaves in the parks and lining the avenues. Daffodils and tulips bloom in the gardens.

In May , the weather is still fickle , with a mix of sunny days and chilly or rainy days. The temperature averages range from high 60 degrees to low 50 degrees Fahrenheit. By early May, trees, burgeoning vegetation, and colorful flowers enliven the leafy grounds of the Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin des Champs-Élysées, Jardin des Plantes, Parc Monceau, Bois de Boulogne, and the Buttes-Chaumont. On warm days, café terraces come back to life.

June is a delightful time to visit Paris because of the balmy weather and long days . Daytime temperatures are comfortable, with high temperature averages in the low 70 degrees. Thanks to Paris' northern latitude, the sun sets at almost 10pm in June. It seems that the entire city is out and about to celebrate the beginning of summer. The sidewalk café scene bustles and there is a sense of joie de vivre in the air.

The first two weeks of July are the most exciting time to visit Paris, with Parisians' anticipation of vacation just around the corner. Plus, the weather starts to feel like summer. The entire month of July is a great time to visit because of warm days with average high temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

July and August are the hottest months of the year in Paris. August also has average high temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, travelers should keep in mind that many shops and restaurants close in August when Parisians leave for summer holidays after the Fête Nationale (Bastille Day) on July 14th.

September is a marvelous time to visit Paris because the weather is still pleasant , yet it is in the off-season , so hotels are more affordable, and tourist attractions are less crowded. Similar to the springtime, September promises a mix of weather, with some sunny days and some rain. The average high temperatures are low-70 degrees Fahrenheit and average low temperatures are mid-50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another good time to visit is October which is in the off-season . October weather can be chilly. The daytime high-temperature averages start to dip into the 60s Fahrenheit and the average low temperature is 48 degrees.

Tips for What to Wear : For a Paris vacation in April, May, September, or October, travelers should pack layers and bring sweaters, a jacket, raincoat, boots, and an umbrella. In June and July, the weather is warm enough for summer dresses and short-sleeve shirts. Packing requirements during the late fall and winter months (November through March) include heavy coats, scarves, wool hats, gloves, warm socks, and boots.

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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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32 Best Things to Do in Paris, France

If it's your first visit to Paris, you'll probably want to spend some time at the world-renowned  Eiffel Tower , the Louvre (home of the "Mona Lisa") and the Notre-Dame. Don't miss out on other notable city jewels either, such as the Musée

  • All Things To Do
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tourist attractions is paris

Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)

U.S. News Insider Tip:  For the best photo opportunities of the Eiffel Tower, head to Place du Trocadéro. (Just expect to contend with some crowds!) – Nicola Wood, Senior Editor

Designed and constructed for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (the World's Fair), the Eiffel Tower was always meant to be a temporary structure, but it has skirted demolition twice. The first time, in 1909, the tower was kept around because of its potential as a transmission tower (an antenna was installed atop the tower). Gustav Eiffel, chief architect of the Eiffel Tower, had a variety of scientific experiments tested on the tower with the hope that any discoveries would help prolong its lifespan. One of these included a wireless transmissions test, which the tower passed with flying colors. During World War I, the Eiffel Tower's transmission capabilities enabled it to intercept communications from enemies as well as relay intel to troops on the ground. The second time the Eiffel Tower was almost destroyed was during the German occupation of France during World War II. Hitler planned to get rid of the tower, but never ended up going through with his plan.

tourist attractions is paris

Musée du Louvre Musée du Louvre

U.S. News Insider Tip:  The Louvre is free for all visitors on the first Friday of the month after 6 p.m. (except in July and August), and all day on Bastille Day (July 14). – Laura French  

If you only had time to visit one museum in Paris, it should undoubtedly be the Musée du Louvre. That's because the Louvre is not only widely considered to be one of the best art museums in Europe, but one of the best in the world. The museum first opened its doors in 1793 and features more than 35,000 works of art on display. Here, you can get up close to a variety of art from different time periods and cultures. The Louvre features everything from Egyptian mummy tombs to ancient Grecian sculptures (including the renowned Winged Victory of Samothrace and curvaceous Venus de Milo). There are also thousands of paintings to peruse as well. Masterpieces such as "Liberty Leading the People" by Eugene Delacroix, "The Raft of the Medusa" by Théodore Géricault and Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," the museum's biggest star, can be found here.

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Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris) Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris) free

Note that the cathedral sustained significant damage as a result of a fire on April 15, 2019. Its wooden roof and spire collapsed during the fire. The interior of the cathedral remains closed to the public until further notice. It is set to reopen in December 2024. In the meantime, visitors can peruse a new exhibit that debuted in March 2023. It's located in an underground facility in front of the cathedral, the free exhibit highlights the ongoing construction work at the site, including the expertise of the workers, as well as some remains from the fire and works of art from the cathedral. There are also free, volunteer-led informational tours around the outside of the cathedral select days of the week. Consult this online calendar to see when English tours are offered.

Like the Eiffel Tower , the Notre-Dame Cathedral is seen as a Parisian icon. Located along the picturesque River Seine , the Notre-Dame Cathedral is considered a Gothic masterpiece and is often regarded as one of the best Gothic cathedrals of its kind in the world. Construction of the famous cathedral started in the late 12th century and final touches weren't made until nearly 200 years later. Once you get an eyeful of the cathedral yourself, you'll start to understand why it took so long.

tourist attractions is paris

Popular Tours

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Champs-Élysées Champs-Élysées free

Musician Joe Dassin once sang "Il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs-Élysées," which translates to "There's everything you could want along the Champs-Élysées." And he's right. Paris' most famous boulevard – stretching more than a mile from the glittering obelisk at Place de la Concorde to the foot of the Arc de Triomphe – is a shopper's mecca. Along its wide, tree-lined sidewalks, you'll find such luxury stores as Louis Vuitton and Chanel rubbing elbows with less-pricey establishments like Adidas and Zara.

While the Champs-Élysées is no doubt a shopping paradise, recent travelers noticed the price tags at most stores can be pretty high. And the more affordable options are constantly swamped with people. The Champs-Élysées itself is no different. Because this is such a famous street in Paris, expect there to be crowds galore, both during the day and the nighttime. Still, many travelers enjoyed taking in the Champs-Élysées' bustling atmosphere and observing both locals and tourists come and go. Some recent visitors said a trip to the Champs-Élysées is not complete without a stop at Ladurée, the city's famous macaron shop.

tourist attractions is paris

Arc de Triomphe Arc de Triomphe

Situated at the western end of the Champs-Élysées , the towering Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by Napoléon to honor the Grande Armee during the Napoleonic Wars. The arch, which is the largest of its kind in the world, is adorned with several impressive, intricately carved sculptures. Underneath the arch, travelers will find the names of the battles fought during the first French Republic and Napolean's Empire, as well as generals who fought in them. Travelers will also find the famous tomb of The Unknown Soldier. The unknown soldier currently buried there is meant to represent all the unidentified or unaccounted for soldiers who lost their lives during World War I. The flame that was lit when the soldier was laid to rest has not extinguished since it was initially lit in the 1920s, and is rekindled every night at 6:30 p.m. by a member of the armed services.

Aside from admiring the arch, visitors can climb to the top and take in the Parisian panorama. Most visitors are wowed by the immense size of the structure and recommend ascending to the top for the spectacular Paris views. Visitors caution that you'll have to wait in line to get to the top and the climb, which is made up of hundreds of stairs, can be a serious workout. Others strongly cautioned against trying to cross the roundabout to get to the Arc. Instead, take the underground tunnel near the metro that leads directly to the base of the structure.

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Latin Quarter Latin Quarter free

U.S. News Insider Tip: If you're in the area, check out the Grand Mosquée de Paris, next to the Jardin des Plantes. It's a beautiful mosque with a hidden-away courtyard, and there's an atmospheric tearoom attached that serves Middle Eastern sweet treats. – Laura French

Architecture lovers should not miss the Latin Quarter. Also known as the 5th arrondissement, the Latin Quarter is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Paris. Its narrow cobblestone streets, winding whimsically through the larger city grid, recall its medieval history. Why does this densely packed neighborhood of attractions, shops and restaurants retain this unique character? It escaped Baron Haussmann's planning reform of the city, thus retaining a more ancient ambience.

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Best Paris Tours

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Paris Tours

18 Best Paris Tours of 2024: Food, Versailles & More

Jan. 19, 2024

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Seine River Seine River free

You won’t have much trouble finding the Seine, as it flows directly through the heart of Paris. The river is perhaps one of the most famous waterways in the world and an attraction in itself. It's also useful for more practical reasons: It flows from east to west, dividing the city into the Left Bank and the Right Bank. Knowing where you are in relation to the Seine can help you find your way around during your trip.

For tourists, the waterway mostly serves as a photo backdrop, but it is a lifeline for locals. It's a reliable water supply, a major transportation route and vital for many kinds of commerce. It has also served as a source of sustenance for many fishermen dating back to the third century. In 1991, the Seine River was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its cultural significance in both the past and the present.

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Musée d'Orsay Musée d'Orsay

U.S. News Insider Tip: Visit on the first Sunday of the month for free entry (when it’s also free to enter the Centre Pompidou, Musée de l'Orangerie, Musée du Rodin, Musée Picasso and several other attractions). – Laura French

Although the extensive Louvre may appear to get most of the Parisian limelight, recent travelers seem to enjoy the Musée d'Orsay more. Travelers say the museum is much more manageable than the often-overwhelming Louvre and note that there are also significantly fewer crowds here. Many visitors confidently report that you can easily get through this museum in a few hours. As for the art, travelers loved the museum's colorful collection of paintings as well as the building itself, with many calling the Belle Epoque architecture of the d'Orsay a work of art on its own.

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Versailles Palace and Gardens Skip-the-Line Tour from Paris

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Louvre Museum Skip the Line Access or Guided Tour Option

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Paris Seine River Dinner Cruise with Live Music by Bateaux Mouches

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Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) free

U.S. News Insider Tip:  Pick up picnic provisions at a nearby farmer's market, such as Marché Raspail, to enjoy in the gardens. –  Ann Henson, Assistant Managing Editor

A warm-weather oasis that offers the simplest of pleasures, the Luxembourg Gardens provide ample green space (60 acres) for sun-soaking and people-watching, plus there are plenty of activities to keep kids entertained. When the city bustle becomes too overwhelming, meander around the paths and formal gardens, or just relax with a picnic. Kids can float sailboats at the Grand Basin, ride ponies, take a spin on the merry-go-round, or catch a puppet show at the on-site Theatre des Marionnettes. Adults might delight in the on-site Musée du Luxembourg, the first French museum that was opened to the public. Though with 106 sculptures to its name, including a replica of the Statue of Liberty, the Luxembourg Gardens could easily be considered an open-air museum itself.

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Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur) Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur) free

Rising high above Paris, the Sacré-Coeur (meaning "Sacred Heart") looks more like a white castle than a basilica. Towering over the eclectic neighborhood of Montmartre (once a hangout for Paris' bohemian crowd), this Roman-Byzantine, 19th-century masterpiece is easily recognized by its ornate ivory domes. As blanched as it may appear on the outside, the basilica's interior is a sight worth beholding: The ceilings glitter with France's largest mosaic, which depicts Jesus rising alongside the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc.

You'll also likely be left in awe with the panoramic views found from atop the Sacré-Coeur's outdoor staircase. But for an even better photo-op, climb all 300 steps to the top of the dome. The dome is accessible to visitors every day from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mass is held multiple times a day every day.

tourist attractions is paris

Centre Pompidou Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou is one of the most visited cultural sites in Paris. But keep this in mind – and recent travelers attest to this – if you're not a fan of modern art, you probably won't enjoy this museum. The Pompidou is all modern and contemporary art (think cubist, surrealist and pop art, among others). Even its exterior is a little "out there," with its insides (piping, plumbing, elevators, escalators, etc.) exposed on the outside.

Inside the inside-out museum, you'll find one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art in the world (more than 120,000 pieces of art are in its complete collection). The most notable attraction within is France's National Museum of Modern Art, which features works from 20th and 21st-century artists. Here, you can find big names such as Matisse, Picasso and even Andy Warhol. Also within the Centre Pompidou is additional exhibition and entertainment spaces as well as a library, rooftop restaurant and cinemas.

tourist attractions is paris

Jardin des Tuileries Jardin des Tuileries free

U.S. News Insider Tip: While you’re here, don’t miss Angelina, just across the street on Rue de Rivoli. This historic, belle epoque-style salon de thé opened in 1903 and serves excellent French delicacies and pastries alongside its famous, indulgently rich hot chocolate. – Laura French

Centrally located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, the Jardin des Tuileries is a free public garden that spans approximately 55 acres. Though it was initially designed solely for the use of the royal family and court, the park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1991 (as part of the Banks of the Seine) and has been open to the public since the 17th century.

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Sainte-Chapelle Sainte-Chapelle

Nowhere in Paris does stained-glass windows quite as well as Sainte-Chapelle. The panes – dating back to the chapel's construction in the 13th century – depict 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible in vivid color. Sainte-Chapelle, which took just seven years to build, is a treasured example of French Gothic architecture and originally held Christian artifacts acquired by Louis IX. The building underwent a rigorous restoration between 2008 and 2014 and now welcomes visitors every day of the year except Christmas Day, New Year's Day and May 1 (France's Labor Day). Admission costs 13 euros (about $14) per person ages 18 and older. Audio guides are available in English (among other languages) for an additional 3 euros (about $3.50). 

Recent travelers say the chapel is a true masterpiece and not to be missed, though some visitors did note it was smaller than they anticipated. Still, they say it's worth taking your time to have a closer look at each of the stained-glass windows, as they all tell a different story. Some travelers also recommended touring the Conciergerie next door, a palace turned prison that was erected in the 14th century. If you plan to tour both sites, consider purchasing a joint ticket for 20 euros (about $22).   

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Louvre Museum - Exclusive Guided Tour (Reserved Entry Included)

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Pantheon Pantheon

Situated in the Latin Quarter – or the 5th arrondissement – of Paris, the Panthéon is a large church and burial ground with a storied history. The structure was completed in 1790 at the start of the French Revolution, and it served as a mausoleum, a church and an art gallery throughout its early years. In 1851, scientist Leon Foucault installed the Foucault pendulum within the building to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. The pendulum was removed and replaced a number of times, and a replica was installed in 1995 and is still in operation today. The Panthéon also contains a crypt where a number of important historians, philosophers, scientists and writers are buried, including Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Marie Curie.

Most recent travelers loved seeing the museum's noteworthy gravesites and Foucault's pendulum. They also recommended taking a dome tour for exceptional views of Paris; you’ll see the Eiffel Tower from the top, as well as many other well-known landmarks. Still, some visitors said the admission fee is too high.

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Palais Garnier - Opera National de Paris Palais Garnier - Opera National de Paris

A masterpiece of architectural opulence, the Opéra Garnier – also known as the Palais Garnier – still exudes the opulence it radiated in the late 1800s. This palpable sense of intrigue and mystery that permeates the opera is due in part to its awe-inspiring Old-World interiors as well as Gaston Leroux, the author of "Phantom of the Opera," for which the Garnier served as his inspiration. Leroux claimed the phantom was indeed real, successfully incorporating real life opera occurrences (such as the chandelier falling and killing a bystander) into his fiction. The Garnier's lack of a robust historical record, as well as Leroux's writing talents, have left many wondering if there really was a dweller that lurked beneath the opera. Staff have claimed otherwise, but say with the opera's very real underground "lake" (water tank), it's easy to see how the story could be so convincing. Without Napoleon III, who was responsible for commissioning the opera, Leroux's tale may never have never come to fruition.

The best way to fully experience the Palais Garnier is by purchasing a ballet or opera ticket. Remember to book your tickets several months in advance, as performances are highly coveted. If you won't be in town for a performance or aren't up for forking over the oftentimes high price of a performance, you can explore the building's magnificent interiors on your own.

tourist attractions is paris

Le Marais Le Marais free

U.S. News Insider Tip: On Place des Vosges, Paris’s oldest square, you’ll find the former house of Victor Hugo, which is now a museum that’s free to enter. – Laura French

Straddling the 3rd and 4th arrondissements (districts), Le Marais is one of Paris' oldest and coolest districts – so cool, in fact, that French writer Victor Hugo (author of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Les Misérables") called it home. With all of its cobblestone streets, stately stone architecture and tucked away courtyards, it's easy to feel as if you're strolling through medieval Paris. Back in the day, Le Marais housed some notable French royalty. King Henry IV was the one responsible for the construction of the Place des Vosges, Paris' oldest square. And Louis XIV called this neighborhood home for a while until he decided to move his family and court to Versailles . Much of Le Marais also survived the destruction of the French Revolution.

tourist attractions is paris

Versailles Palace (Chateau de Versailles) Versailles Palace (Chateau de Versailles)

U.S. News Insider Tip: In summer, the palace hosts weekend fountain shows in the gardens, featuring music and special effects; come on a Saturday night to see the best, with grounds lit up to magical effect and a firework display at the end. – Laura French

The Château de Versailles, the sprawling palace and former seat of power, is located 10 miles southwest of Paris in Versailles. Every year, nearly 10 million travelers make the trek from Paris to bear witness to the chateau's world-famous grandeur in person. But between all of the gold figurines, dramatic frescoes and cascading crystal chandeliers you'll no doubt find in bulk throughout the chateau, you might be surprised to learn that King Louis XIV's extravagant former residence had pretty humble-ish beginnings.

tourist attractions is paris

Musée Rodin Musée Rodin

A hidden jewel in the city, the Musée Rodin is actually the former residence of famed 19th-century sculptor Auguste Rodin. But in the place of furniture and kitschy lawn ornaments are Rodin's emotive sculptures, including The Walking Man, The Kiss and The Thinker, among many more. In addition to the sculptures, the museum houses 8,000 of the artist's drawings in its collection – a fraction of those are on display –  as well as an area dedicated to the work of his muse and mistress, artist Camille Claudel. Visitors will also get to view pieces from the Rodin's personal art collection, including paintings by Van Gogh.

Recent travelers found Rodin's sculptures to be nothing short of stunning, and highly recommend a visit even if you don't consider yourself an art buff. Another big favorite, and for some visitors as much of a highlight as the art, were the beautiful on-site gardens. To travelers, the gardens, in combination with the museum's manageable size, created a serene and peaceful atmosphere not easily found at other top Parisian museums.

tourist attractions is paris

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Saint-Germain-des-Prés Saint-Germain-des-Prés free

The arts abound in Paris. Although visual art gets the most attention here, the city is also a historic literary center. Saint-Germain, in the 6th arrondissement, is known as a 19th- and 20th-century intellectual hub. Here, great writers, thinkers and artists mixed and mingled in their homes and nearby establishments. Anyone battling writer's block will want to spend an afternoon wandering its picturesque streets, stopping by famous literary cafes or enjoying one of the museums located in the neighborhood's borders.

After filling your mind at the Musée Delacroix, Musée du Luxembourg or Musée de Mineralogie, unwind at Les Deux Magots or Café de Flore. The former was visited by everyone from Ernest Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir, James Joyce, Jean-Paul Sartre, and more recently, Julia Child. Nearby Café de Flore opened in the 1800s as well, and claims visitors from Leon Trotsky to Albert Camus to Picasso. Sartre worked from here – using the space as a historical Starbucks – while New Wave celebrities like Bridget Bardot or fashionista Karl Lagerfeld graced its seats later on, in the 1960s. There are plenty of mouthwatering pastry shops and bridge views, too. Recent visitors noted that this is a perfect neighborhood for strolling, shopping or staying – there are plenty of upscale hotels . Many of the best Paris tours also include guided walks through the neighborhood.

tourist attractions is paris

Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann free

Whether or not you plan to shop, the Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann department store is a sight to be seen. What started as a small novelty shop in 1893 has since grown into an approximately 750,000-square-foot megastore containing hundreds of brands, from budget-friendly options like Levi's and Carhartt to high-end labels like Prada and Cartier. And while you might be dazzled by the unending collection of fashionable goods, don’t forget to look up. The pièce de résistance of the luxury bazaar is the stunning neo-Byzantine glass dome 141 feet above the ground. There's also a glass walkway on the top floor of the building that allows the bravest of visitors to stand above all the action below. 

Several recent visitors called Galeries Lafayette the most beautiful shopping center in the world, pointing out that even if you aren't there to buy luxury products, the stunning building is a destination in itself. They also recommend going up to the roof of the complex (accessible from the eighth floor), which is open to visitors free of charge, to take in breathtaking views of the city below. From the roof, you'll be able to spot the Eiffel Tower , Sacré Cœur and Notre Dame .

tourist attractions is paris

Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris) Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris)

Not every inch of Paris is as romantic as you think – in fact, the Catacombs are downright chilling. Prior to the creation of the Catacombs in the late 18th century, Parisians buried their dead in cemeteries. But as the city continued to grow, burial grounds ran out of space, graves started to become exposed and stunk up surrounding neighborhoods. The limestone quarries located 65 feet beneath Paris eventually became the solution, providing ample and safe space for the city's deceased loved ones. It took years to move millions of bodies from all the Parisian graves.

Today, the solemn, skull-and-boned lined tunnels weave beneath the heart of the City of Love, beckoning to visitors with an interest in the departed. The catacombs stretch for miles all over the city, but visitors are only allowed to access about a mile's worth for 45 minutes at the Denfert-Rochereau (lines 4,6 and RER B) metro station. Trying to access the catacombs at any other entrance throughout the city is illegal. You'll want to wear sturdy footwear as the paths inside are full of gravel, uneven and even slippery in some sections. What's more, you'll have to descend 131 steps and climb 112 steps back up. As such, the catacombs are not wheelchair-accessible. And because of the attraction's unique nature and popularity, expect a queue.

tourist attractions is paris

Pere-Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise) Pere-Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise) free

A cemetery as a tourist attraction? If any city can pull it off, it's Paris. Covering nearly 110 acres of the 20th arrondissement (district), the Père-Lachaise Cemetery is considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. It's also Paris' largest green space. Père-Lachaise is a maze of cobblestone pathways lined with leafy, cascading trees which perfectly shade the striking 19th-century burial chambers that permeate the grounds. Aesthetics aside, Père-Lachaise is one of the world's most famous burial grounds: Everyone from Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison to Edith Piaf and Gertrude Stein can be found here. Make sure to pick up a map before you venture in, there are more than 100,000 burial plots here (exact estimates vary dramatically).

Travelers admitted the main reason they made the trek to Père-Lachaise was to visit the famous faces buried here, though after discovering the enchanting grounds, they were happy to stay and wander. Visitors found the architecture of the individual tombstones and burial chambers to be stunning, especially with the many dramatic statues included with the plots. Others particularly appreciate the overall peaceful atmosphere of Père-Lachaise. Because the cemetery is so big, visitors say it's unlikely you'll be sharing lots of space with fellow visitors or tourists at any given time.

tourist attractions is paris

Bateaux Mouches Bateaux Mouches

For those who want to cruise down the Seine River , hopping on one of the six Bateaux-Mouches boats is a go-to option. Just about any meal you can think of is offered as you glide along the river – or as the company puts it, Paris's "most beautiful avenue." There are also hourlong cruise-only trips, for those who want to efficiently view some of the city's most iconic sights, including Notre Dame and the Musée d'Orsay . These cruises are among the best Paris tours . Combo tickets that include a bus tour or a cabaret show are also available.

Travelers who recently took a cruise loved the views from the boat and the informational nature of the tour. Many people took a night cruise, which was frequently lauded for its romantic atmosphere. However, a few visitors expressed disappointment with meal portions and the check-in process.

tourist attractions is paris

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Musee de l'Orangerie Musee de l'Orangerie

An extension of Musée d'Orsay , Musée de l'Orangerie features a wide selection of impressionist and post-impressionist art. It is best known for its enlarged "Water Lilies" paintings by Claude Monet. The eight massive paintings are divided across two oval rooms that are filled with natural light from a glass roof. Monet increased the size of these paintings with the intention of fully immersing viewers in their beauty, especially after the hardships of World War I. Beyond the "Water Lilies" series, Musée de l'Orangerie houses the Jean Walter-Paul Guillaume collection, which features works by artists like Renoir, Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse and more.  

Museum visitors – especially Monet fans – said this gallery is a must-see. They were pleased to discover it was a relatively small building, meaning it can be seen fairly quickly if you short on time. The smaller space also translates to less crowds, which many museumgoers appreciated.

tourist attractions is paris

Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck

U.S. News Insider Tip: Walk about 10 minutes around the corner and you’ll find the Montparnasse Cemetery – a fascinating alternative to Père Lachaise , home to the burial places of artists and intellectuals, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Samuel Beckett, Guy de Maupassant and Charles Baudelaire. – Laura French

The Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck claims to have the best views in Paris – and once you reach the top, it's easy to see why. The lower deck stands more than 650 feet high and overlooks major attractions, like the Eiffel Tower , through floor-to-ceiling windows. Travel another 32 feet upward to the rooftop terrace, and you'll find panoramic vistas of the City of Lights 365 days a year. On a clear day, you can see as far as 25 miles in every direction.

tourist attractions is paris

Moulin Rouge Moulin Rouge

If you're looking for the famed Parisian nightlife experience, Moulin Rouge will likely fit the bill. The legendary cabaret club opened in 1889, wowing crowds with dazzling dancers, free-flowing Champagne and outrageous elements like a gigantic model elephant in the garden. With its rich history and extravagant performances, Moulin Rouge has become an important staple in the City of Lights.

On a night at the Moulin Rouge, visitors can be wined and dined while watching talented burlesque dancers adorned in feathers, rhinestones and sequins. (The costumes are known to be a bit risqué, so travelers should note that the venue may not be the most suitable for children.) While many recent travelers felt that the show was a spectacular must-see while vacationing in Paris, others felt it was overhyped and overcrowded. However, those who opted for the dinner show said the food was fantastic with top-notch service to match.

tourist attractions is paris

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont Parc des Buttes-Chaumont free

Paris is home to many beautiful public parks, where visitors and locals alike relax in grassy squares during periods of pleasant weather. Parc de Buttes-Chaumont's 61 acres boasts this – plus a lake, a suspension bridge and walking paths – and a dark history. Its name comes from the bare hill once occupying the site. Stone was mined here, sewage dumped and even horse carcasses discarded. When Napoleon III renovated Paris in the 19th century, it was selected as a large park site, and the artificial lake created. That transformation also washed away its medieval reputation as a gallows. Known as Gibbet of Montfaucon at that time, the bodies of people executed in the city were sometimes displayed here for months on end.

If you can put that history behind you, cross the Gustave Eiffel-designed suspension bridge, or ascend the hill with the Temple de la Sybille for beautiful views of Montmartre. Inside the hillside, quarrying created a cavern. Napoleon's park builders took the opportunity to add a human-made waterfall to the 65-foot-tall space. Summer visitors will especially enjoy the misty reprieve from Paris's heat and humidity.

tourist attractions is paris

Conciergerie Conciergerie

Located next to Sainte-Chapelle , the Conciergerie was once a royal residence for various French leaders. At the end of the 14th century, King Charles V and the rest of the palace's inhabitants moved to new residences at the Louvre . The abandoned building was then turned into a new parliament and office space for the kingdom. However, during the French Revolution (and for many decades thereafter), the Conciergerie served as a prison compound to hold both political and common criminals. Most famously, it held Marie Antoinette, the fallen queen of France, in the weeks before she was executed by guillotine in October 1793. In the 19th century, Antoinette's cell was transformed into a chapel, and in 1914 the entire building was deemed a historic monument and opened to the public.

Recent travelers said the site is a delight for history buffs. Still, others noted that if you aren’t particularly interested in the French Revolution or Marie Antoinette, you may find the empty jail cells and barren halls a bit dull. All visitors are given a "HistoPad" (available in six languages) to help enhance their experience. The iPad allows visitors to see what the rooms would've looked like centuries ago with the help of augmented reality, 3D reconstructions and interactive functionalities.What everyone seemed to agree on was the medieval architecture, which is said to be stunning both inside and out.

tourist attractions is paris

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Rue de Rivoli Rue de Rivoli free

One of the most famous shopping streets in Paris, the elegant Rue de Rivoli is lined with neoclassical buildings housing designer boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants built into historic arcades. Named after Napoleon's victory at the Battle of Rivoli and stretching from Place de la Bastille in the east to Place de la Concorde, it's where you'll find the Louvre , the Jardin des Tuileries , Hôtel de Ville (Paris's elaborate city hall) and other attractions. It's also home to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville – an elaborate department store founded in 1856. Other shops range from affordable brands like Sephora, L'Occitane and Mango to high-end designer stores and local French boutiques.

Recent travelers highly recommended strolling along the street to browse its historic arcades and shops, and many were impressed by the elaborate architecture. They also enjoyed the quiet atmosphere; the street went car-free in 2020, with only pedestrians, cyclists, buses and taxis now allowed here (its former lanes have been turned into a wide bike path, so it provides a welcome respite from the city's at-times hectic traffic). Others said it was a great spot for people-watching, although some said the shops can feel a little commercial.

tourist attractions is paris

Bois de Vincennes Bois de Vincennes free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Come in the summer to catch the Paris Jazz Festival, when the Parc Floral hosts performers from Paris and beyond. – Laura French

Used as a royal hunting ground from the 12th century, this scenic, easterly refuge is Paris's biggest park, sprawling nearly 2,500 acres (making it nearly three times larger than New York's Central Park , and slightly bigger than its westerly sister, the Bois de Boulogne). It's home to verdant woodland as well as the Parc Floral, a botanical garden with its own mini golf course and various other family-friendly attractions. You'll also find four artificial lakes in the park – boats are available to rent on the Lac Daumesnil – alongside the Parc Zoologique de Paris, several cafes and restaurants and the Château de Vincennes, a lavish former royal residence built in the medieval era.

tourist attractions is paris

Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen free

Set on the northern edge of Paris and home to the highest concentration of antiques dealers in the world, this famous flea market is a must for anyone looking to browse and buy vintage treasures. Spread across twelve covered markets and five streets, the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen houses everything from 17th-century furnishings to vintage jewelry, designer clothes, art, books and beyond. When your feet need a break, there are also a handful of restaurants.

At its heart is the Marché Vernaison, an eclectic mishmash of nearly a million objects, spread across nearly 100,000 square feet and selling pretty much anything you can think of. Equally unmissable is the Marché Dauphine, which sells books, vintage records, clothes and more in a huge pavilion, and the Marché Paul Bert Serpette, an upmarket spot specializing in avant-garde interior design that's seen everyone from Julia Roberts to Mick Jagger grace its floors.

tourist attractions is paris

Louis Vuitton Foundation Louis Vuitton Foundation

Open to the public since October 2014, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is the brainchild of the LVMH Group (which owns luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton) and famed American architect Frank Gehry. In addition to the art gallery, Gehry also designed the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles , among other renowned museums, university buildings and residences. Outfitted with curved panels of glass and smooth concrete, the foundation's daring and modern design stands out among Paris' abundance of centuries-old buildings. Inside, you'll find collections of modern and contemporary art housed in both permanent and temporary exhibits. The museum's goal is to promote art and culture on the outskirts of Paris, and it succeeds by attracting more than 1 million visitors each year. 

Though the museum is a bit off the beaten path in the Bois de Boulogne in the 16th arrondissement, visitors loved taking in the architectural wonder and its surrounding gardens, as well as the unique exhibits inside. One common criticism was that the building was a bit far from the nearest metro station (about a 15-minute walk), so keep that in mind when planning your visit.

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Must-see attractions in Paris

Wide shot of Eiffel Tower with blue sky, Paris, France.

Eiffel Tower

There are different ways to experience the Eiffel Tower, from a daytime trip or an evening ascent amid twinkling lights, to a meal in one of its…

Paris, France - August 13, 2016: The Pompidou Centre is a complex building in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement. It houses the Public Information Library and the museum of Modern art.

Centre Pompidou

Home to Europe's largest collection of modern and contemporary art, Centre Pompidou has amazed and delighted visitors ever since it opened in 1977, not…

MARCH 16, 2017: a stained glass window inside the Sainte Chapelle church.


Visit Sainte-Chapelle on a sunny day when Paris’ oldest, finest stained glass (1242–48) is at its dazzling best. The chapel is famous for its stained…

September 2016 - Paris, France- Le Louvre museum in daytime

Musée du Louvre

It isn’t until you’re standing in the vast courtyard of the Louvre, with its glass pyramid and ornate façade, that you can truly say you’ve been to Paris.

Skulls and bones in Paris Catacombs

Les Catacombes

It’s gruesome, ghoulish and downright spooky, but it never fails to captivate visitors. In 1785, the subterranean tunnels of an abandoned quarry were…

Grounds of Rodin Museum sculpture garden.

Musée Rodin

St-Germain & Les Invalides

Even if you're not an art lover, it is worth visiting this high-profile art museum to lose yourself in its romantic gardens.

JULY 30, 2012: Model sailing boats in the pool in front of Luxembourg Palace in Luxembourg Gardens.

Jardin du Luxembourg

This famous inner-city oasis of formal terraces, chestnut groves and lush lawns has a special place in Parisians' hearts. 

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 08, 2016 : French Mausoleum of Great People of France - the Pantheon in Paris. France.; Shutterstock ID 573291478; Your name (First / Last): Daniel Fahey; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Online Editorial; Full Product or Project name including edition: Panthéon POI

Latin Quarter

Elegant and regal in equal measure, the massive neoclassical dome of the Left Bank's iconic Panthéon is an icon of the Parisian skyline. Louis XV…

France, Paris, Seine River banks listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, musee d'Orsay

Musée d’Orsay

Musée d’Orsay may not be quite as famous as the Louvre—though it’s located a mere 10-minute walk away—but this Left Bank museum holds its own in its…

The Jardin des Tuileries in Paris.

Jardin des Tuileries

Filled with fountains, ponds and sculptures, the formal 28-hectare Tuileries Garden, which begins just west of the Jardin du Carrousel, was laid out in…

Station F in the 13th arrondissement (district).

The world's largest start-up campus was unveiled by French president, Emmanuel Macron, in mid-2017. At any one time, some 3000 resident entrepreneurs from…

Coucher de l'Arc de Triomphe de l'étoile à Paris

Arc de Triomphe

If anything rivals the Eiffel Tower as the symbol of Paris, it’s this magnificent 1836 monument to Napoléon’s victory at Austerlitz (1805), which he…

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Cimetière du Père Lachaise

Le Marais, Ménilmontant & Belleville

Opened in 1804, Père Lachaise is the world's most visited cemetery. Its 70,000 ornate tombs of the rich and famous form a verdant, 44-hectare sculpture…

tourist attractions is paris

Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

Montmartre & Northern Paris

Begun in 1875 in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War and the chaos of the Paris Commune, Sacré-Cœur is a symbol of the former struggle between the…

Panoramic of Notre Dame at sunset, Paris

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris

While its interior is closed off to visitors following the devastating fire of April 2019, this masterpiece of French Gothic architecture remains the city…

tourist attractions is paris

Hôtel des Invalides

Flanked by the 500m-long Esplanade des Invalides lawns, Hôtel des Invalides was built in the 1670s by Louis XIV to house 4000 invalides (disabled war…

Musée National Picasso

One of Paris’ most treasured art collections is showcased inside the mid-17th-century Hôtel Salé, an exquisite private mansion owned by the city since…

Shoah Memorial at the Holocaust museum in Paris, France.

Mémorial de la Shoah

Established in 1956, the Memorial to the Unknown Jewish Martyr has metamorphosed into the Memorial of the Shoah – 'Shoah' is a Hebrew word meaning …

The "wall of love" in Paris.

Le Mur des je t'aime

Few visitors can resist a selfie in front of Montmartre's 'I Love You' wall, a public artwork created in a small park by artists Frédéric Baron and Claire…

Musée de Montmartre

This delightful 'village' museum showcases paintings, lithographs and documents illustrating Montmartre's bohemian, artistic and hedonistic past – one…

Église St-Eustache

Just north of the gardens adjoining the city’s old marketplace, now the Forum des Halles, is one of the most beautiful churches in Paris. Majestic,…

Musée Jacquemart-André

The home of art collectors Nélie Jacquemart and Édouard André, this opulent late-19th-century residence combines elements from different eras – seen here…

Église St-Germain des Prés

Paris’ oldest standing church, the Romanesque St Germanus of the Fields, was built in the 11th century on the site of a 6th-century abbey and was the main…

Institut du Monde Arabe

The Arab World Institute was jointly founded by France and 18 Middle Eastern and North African nations in 1980, with the aim of promoting cross-cultural…

La REcyclerie

An abandoned Petite Ceinture train station has been repurposed as an eco-hub with an urban farm along the old railway line, featuring community vegetable…

Palais Garnier

The fabled ‘phantom of the opera’ lurked in this opulent opera house, designed in 1860 by Charles Garnier (then an unknown 35-year-old architect). Reserve…

Musée Marmottan Monet

This museum showcases the world’s largest collection of works by impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840–1926) – about 100 – as well as paintings by…

Musée Guimet des Arts Asiatiques

Connoisseurs of Japanese ink paintings and Tibetan thangkas won't want to miss the Musée Guimet, the largest Asian art museum in France. Observe the…

Atelier des Lumières

A former foundry dating from 1835 that supplied iron for the French navy and railroads now houses Paris' first digital-art museum. The 1500-sq-metre La…

Cimetière du Montparnasse

This 19-hectare cemetery opened in 1824 and is Paris’ second largest after Père Lachaise. Famous residents include writer Guy de Maupassant, playwright…

Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac

A tribute to the diversity of human culture, this museum's highly inspiring overview of indigenous and folk art spans four main sections – Oceania, Asia,…

Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine

This mammoth 23,000-sq-metre space is an ode on three floors to French architecture. The highlight is the light-filled ground floor with a beautiful…

Basilica of St. Denis, Paris

Basilique de St-Denis

Once one of France's most sacred sites, this basilica was built atop the tomb of St Denis, the 3rd-century martyr and alleged first bishop of Paris who…

tourist attractions is paris

Promenade Plantée

The disused 19th-century Vincennes railway viaduct was reborn in 1993 as the world's first elevated park, planted with a fragrant profusion of cherry…

PARIS - JULY 13 : Palais-Royal (1639), originally called Palais-Cardinal, it was personal residence of Cardinal Richelieu in Paris, France on July 13,2012. Sculptures..; Shutterstock ID 110693474; Your name (First / Last): redownload; GL account no.: redownload; Netsuite department name: redownload; Full Product or Project name including edition: redownload

Jardin du Palais Royal

The Jardin du Palais Royal is a perfect spot to sit, contemplate and picnic between boxed hedges, or to shop in the trio of beautiful arcades that frame…

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 16, 2013: Detail from the Arts et Metiers metro station in Paris at September 15 2013.Station was redesigned in 1994 in a reminiscent of science fiction works of Jules Verne.; Shutterstock ID 407355013; Your name (First / Last): Lauren Gillmore; GL account no.: 56530; Netsuite department name: Online-Design; Full Product or Project name including edition: 65050/ Online Design /LaurenGillmore/POI

Musée des Arts et Métiers

The Arts and Crafts Museum, dating to 1794 and Europe's oldest science and technology museum, is a must for families – or anyone with an interest in how…

Tour Montparnasse in Paris, France.

Tour Montparnasse

Spectacular views unfold from this 210m-high smoked-glass-and-steel office block, built in 1973. A speedy elevator whisks visitors up in 38 seconds to the…

Canal Saint Martin, Republique.

Canal St-Martin

The tranquil, 4.5km-long Canal St-Martin was inaugurated in 1825 to provide a shipping link between the Seine and Paris' northeastern suburbs. Emerging…

Spire and sculptures on roof of Grand Palais.

Grand Palais

Erected for the 1900 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair), the Grand Palais is topped by a huge 8.5-tonne art nouveau glass roof. It hosts some of Paris’…

Parc Andre Citroen located on left bank of river Seine with a tethered hot air balloon, Ballon de Paris, allowing visitors to rise above the Paris skyline.

Ballon de Paris

Drift up and up but not away – this helium-filled balloon in Parc André Citroën remains tethered to the ground as it lifts you 150m into the air for…

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tourist attractions is paris

Paris Discovery Guide

Top Paris Attractions

  • 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.

Popular Ways to Visit the Eiffel Tower

  • Eiffel Tower Entry TIcket with Optional Summit Access - Skip the ticket line & use a faster "groups only" security line
  • Eiffel Tower Stairs Tickets - Skip the ticket line
  • Eiffel Tower Guided Tour by Elevator - Enjoy a wonderful lunch or dinner while enjoying views of the Paris skyline

Although you view 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 Paris attraction.

Much of this popularity stems from the Louvre's three 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!)

Popular Ways to Visit the Louvre

  • Louvre Masterpieces Tour with Reserved Tickets - Most popular choice 
  • Louvre Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tour - Small group tour
  • Louvre Museum Timed Entry Ticket - Ticket only; no tour

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.

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

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.

  • 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

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.

Where to Stay in Paris near Top Attractions

Wondering which neighborhood to choose as your "home base" for your Paris visit?  See our recommendations based on the attractions you want to visit.

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 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 a 45-minute train ride from the city and super-easy to reach. 

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

Best ways to get to Disneyland Paris from Paris

Of course that's an individual decision, especially if you have a long list of things to do and you have only a few days here, but many people have visited Disneyland Paris would tell you, "Yes!"

The Paris parks are 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.  Plus, the on-site food is much better.  So think of it as a cultural experience - and go! 

Pro Tip:   To get the most from your Disneyland Paris experience, consider spending a night or two at one of the fun nearby hotels with free shuttles to the Parks.  Many offer lower rates than comparable Paris hotels - so your savings may cover your Disney tickets plus meals.

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 to find available accommodations near top attractions for your travel dates, see lowest rates, and make your reservations:

Check out the newest Paris hotels

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Top Attractions & Tours

Eiffel Tower in Paris

  • Eiffel Tower - Enjoy sweeping views of Paris
  • Louvre Tour - Soak up art & see the Mona Lisa
  • Palace of Versailles - Best way to see the famous Chateau
  • Paris Museum Pass - Choose 2, 4, or 6 days
  • Paris Disneyland - Get express tickets & transport from Paris

Happening in Paris

January in Paris

January in Paris

  • The famous Paris winter sales, concerts, new museum exhibits

February in Paris

February in Paris

  • Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year Parades

March in Paris

March in Paris

  • Mardi Gras, Fountain Shows at Versailles, French Open

April in Paris

April in Paris

  • Paris Marathon, Easter concerts, spring flowers

May in Paris

May in Paris

  • Mother's Day, jazz festival, concerts

June in Paris

June in Paris

  • Summer sales, Pride week, music fests, air show

July in Paris

July in Paris

  • Bastille Day, Tour de France, beaches

August in Paris

August in Paris

  • Free concerts & movies, Rock En Seine

September in Paris

September in Paris

  • European Heritage Days, Fashion Week

October in Paris

October in Paris

  • Wine festival, Halloween, Motor Show

November in Paris

November in Paris

  • Armistice Day, Salon du Chocolat

December in Paris

December in Paris

  • Christmas, New Year's Eve

Hanukkah in Paris

Hanukkuh in Paris

  • Menorah lightings 

Christmas in Paris

Christmas in Paris

  • Holiday celebrations & decorations

Paris Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets

  • Gifts, holiday food, mulled wine, and Santa

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Book Your Paris Hotel

View from Hotel Bourdanaisse near Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower Hotels

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Arc de Triomphe Hotels

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Paris Hotels near the Louvre

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Hotel in Saint-Germain neighborhood in Paris

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Plan Your Paris Trip

  • Why visit Paris?
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  • 7 Reasons why you need travel insurance
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Louvre tours: Skip the Line Louvre Museum Walking Tour

Your essential guide to sightseeing in Paris

Sightseeing in Paris? From the Louvre and Eiffel Tower to the lesser-known Buttes-Chaumont, here’s our ultimate city guide

Eiffel Tower – tick. Louvre – tick. Notre Dame – tick. We’re sure you’ve got the most famous of Paris sights and attractions right at the top of your holiday hit list. But what else should you try to squeeze into your packed Parisian itinerary? There’s almost too much to see and do in the French capital, let’s be honest, so we’re here to give you some guidance. From a charming mecca for bibliophiles to a stunning off-the-beaten-track park near Belleville, trust us: you’ll never get bored in the City of Light. This is our ultimate guide to sightseeing in Paris. So here we go, strap in, and get ready to say bonjour to these incredible sights. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do 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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Sightseeing in Paris

Eiffel Tower

1.  Eiffel Tower

Imagine the gaping hole in the Parisian skyline (and our hearts) if all 18,000 metal parts of Gustave Eiffel’s jaw-dropping monument had been taken down at the end of the 1889 World Fair as originally planned. Thankfully, this elegant Parisian icon is still standing and poised for selfie opportunities galore. You can ascend to different levels of the 300-metre structure – though bear in mind the very utmost part is closed at certain times of the year. When it's open though, there's a cosy salon up there to gaze at the whole of Paris from. Be sure to check the tower from afar in the evening too, when for ten minutes on-the-hour 20,000 flashbulbs light the tower. Come on, we know it looks a bit like a pylon, but you can't really do Paris without it. You just can't.

Arc de Triomphe

2.  Arc de Triomphe

  • Attractions

Sure, it's older and shorter than the Eiffel, but what's wrong with old and short things? Number two on your must-see-in-Paris list has to be the Arc de Triomphe. It’s a regal reminder of a time when Napoleon Bonaparte ruled the roost, proudly standing its ground as the roar of traffic whirs around its stone buttresses. In the Arc’s museum, you can learn about its 200-year-old history through interactive screens before jetting up to the roof, where gorgeous views of the city await. You're pretty close to some good shopping streets when done, too. Again, it's the Arc de Triomphe people. That's as Paris as Paris gets, save the Eiffel, of course. 

Château de Versailles

3.  Château de Versailles

  • Things to do
  • Paris et sa banlieue

Despite its location on the fringes of Paris, it would be sacrilege to overlook Versailles, one of the most lavish buildings on the face of the earth. Making a full day of it is essential – wander through the ornate state apartments, marvel at the pink marble palaces tucked away from the pomp of the court, and check out Marie-Antoinette’s digs: a deliciously twee and saccharine chocolate box of a house located on a fairy-tale farm. Outside the château gates the Académie du Spectacle Equestre run elaborate shows of tightly choreographed theatrics on horseback which is well worth your time too. I mean, this place. Look at the size of it, the width. Such a gaff. The garden too. It's quite the way to spend a day in the capital.

Galeries Lafayette

4.  Galeries Lafayette

  • Department stores
  • Chaussée-d'Antin

Few cities are as synonymous with style, flair and fashion as Paris. And if you are in Paris to pick up designer duds, make a beeline for the Galeries Lafayette, a sprawling shopping mecca where you can lose hours to retail therapy. Come for Dior and fine wine, and stay for the drop-dead gorgeous domed roof, which looks particularly exquisite at Christmas when there’s a tree laden with fairy lights underneath it. Xmas shopping is never chicer than it is here. When you've filled your bags, fill your stomach too, there are great food options. Just as you'd expect in prime France. Like Petrossain Caviar, and La Cave at Lafayette Gourmet (wine galore). 


5.  Sacré-Coeur

  • price 1 of 4

While the mosaics inside the beautiful 19th-century (1877 if you want the pub quiz knowledge) basilica are très jolies , the real reason you’ve scaled the hill (or taken the funicular – if you’re over 80 or feeling lazy) is to take in the sweeping vistas of the city. Go in while you're there though, obviously. Also, when done gazing at the view – the cobbled, bistro-lined streets behind Sacré-Coeur are well worth exploring. Just try to sideline the keyring-shaking touts. The entire area is oozing history, so why not walk around the area? Actually, a fact for you, it was once considered among the most rebellious neighbourhoods.

Les Catacombes

6.  Les Catacombes

  • Walks and tours
  • Denfert-Rochereau
  • price 2 of 4

Deep beneath the Parisian streets lie the neatly stacked bones of around six million people. It took them a whole 12 years to move all their bones. Quite the shift. As the sign outside reads (in French) ‘Here lies the Empire of Death.’ Which, you know, could be considered dramatique. But yes, it makes for a pretty unnerving experience, walking through this corridor of stacked skulls. You can tour a section of the 3,000km (1,864-mile) tunnel network – just make sure you wrap up warm, the temperature in the tunnels is a cool 14°C. You'll be chilled to the bone otherwise. 

The Louvre

7.  The Louvre

  • Art and design
  • price 3 of 4

Yes, it’s the home of the Mona Lisa (you might have to wait until the crowds disperse to get an eyeful of Leonardo’s gal and that enigmatic smile), and it's way smaller than you'd think, so you're likely to get a selfie of a selfie with the painting. No bother though, there are some 35,000 works of art and artefacts to explore at the Louvre, so get your walking shoes on and start exploring. Whatever you do, don’t try to do it all – that would take days on end. Pick a few rooms you like the sound of, and spend time properly savouring the treasures inside. Aimlessly wandering the corridors will leave you too tired for anything. Choose the bits that sound good, and you'll absolutely louvre it!

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

8.  Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

  • Parks and gardens
  • Buttes-Chaumont

If you’re looking for somewhere a little wilder and more free-form than the neatly-trimmed bushes and gravelly paths of most Parisian parks, head to the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. Winding walkways, serene temples and roaring waterfalls make this a paradise for the curious explorer. As the city’s fifth-biggest park, there’s no shortage of stuff to see and do – and while you’re here, you’d be silly not to indulge in the park’s fabulous on-site food and drinks.

Moulin Rouge

9.  Moulin Rouge

If it’s glitz and glam you’re after, dig out your sparkliest glad rags and sashay over to the world-famous Moulin Rouge. Drinks will be flowing freely, the costumes flamboyant and – naturellement – there’ll be more high kicks than you can shake a feather boa at. But don’t think you can just rock up and catch one of the Moulin’s spectacularly successful shows – book ahead (like, months ahead) to avoid disappointment. Go full Francais with a glass of champagne, you deserve it. Even if it's just for getting a spot at the show. If you want to be a real Moulin Rouge head, do the can-can there, it's where the modern can-can comes from. It was originally a seductive dance though, so watch who you do it to!

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

10.  Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

  • Ile de la Cité

If you know the Hunchback, you know the cathedral. After Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel ‘The Hunchback of Notre-Dame’, Disney’s plucky ’90s movie brought the wonderfully foreboding Gothic architecture of the historic icon (built between 1163 and 1345) to a whole new generation. Even after the inferno that tore through the roof in April 2019, which millions watched unfold on screens worldwide, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame still stands majestic on the Île de la Cité. On your next visit, look up at its timeless façade and imagine its future – just how will they rebuild this sacred beast? Visiting it now is also a sad but unique experience. "I saw it when it was being rebuilt" you'll say to the grandkids one day.  For the pub quizzers among you,  Notre-Dame de Paris means ' Our Lady of Paris'. Nice right?   

Montparnasse Tower

11.  Montparnasse Tower

The Eiffel Tower is such an essential part of the Parisian skyline – would you really want a panorama of the city without it? Well, that’s where Tour Montparnasse comes in handy. The Montparnasse is 209-metre block of glass and steel with, crucially, a fabulous viewing platform at the top. Within seconds of stepping into the lift you’ll be lapping up those city views – with the Eiffel Tower certainly included.

Jardin des Tuileries

12.  Jardin des Tuileries

  • 1er arrondissement

A gentle stroll through the vast gravelled paths in these gardens beside the Louvre makes for the perfect antidote to a day of tourist jostling – whether on a chilly winter’s day with a coffee or in the blazing summer sunshine when you can grab an ice cream and admire the perfectly coiffed hedges. If you want more art, somehow, there's a handful of modern sculptures, including bronzes by Laurens, Moore, Ernst, Giacometti, and Dubuffet's Le Bel Costumé.

Musée de l’Orangerie

13.  Musée de l’Orangerie

What with the crowds, the queues and the painfully slow map navigation, sightseeing in Paris can be stress-inducing stuff – but at least you can find some respite among the mellow hues of Monet’s ‘Nymphéas’  (water lilies) paintings, which wrap around two white oval-shaped rooms of the Orangerie. It's worth it, you know it is. When else are you going to go there? There's also  Modigliani, Rousseau, Matisse, Picasso and Derain around the place, so you know, yeah, you basically need to go don't you? 

Canal Saint-Martin

14.  Canal Saint-Martin

  • Canal Saint-Martin

While you might not necessarily know it, you may well have already seen or heard about the Canal Saint-Martin. Loads of Amélie was filmed here. Édith Piaf sang about it a lot. Sisley’s got his famous ‘View of the Canal Saint-Martin’ in the Orsay. And it’s easy to see why the canal is such a muse: the place is teeming with quirky establishments and peculiar personalities. It’s perfect for a chilled late-afternoon stroll – not least because there are fewer better Paris experiences than grabbing a bière or bite to eat and sitting down at the water’s edge. Très heureux , indeed.

Musée d’Orsay

15.  Musée d’Orsay

  • 7e arrondissement

Here you’ll find Delacroix, Corot, Manet, Renoir, Pissarro, Gauguin, Monet, Cézanne and van Gogh – and that’s to name just a few of the huge names within the Musée d’Orsay. The third most esteemed gallery (after the Louvre and Pompidou) in an art-mad city, before the Orsay opened in 1986 as a collection specialising in art produced between 1848 and 1914 it was actually a train station. These days, it’s also perfectly placed for a romantique post-exhibition stroll down the Seine.

Palais Garnier

16.  Palais Garnier

  • Music venues

Opera fans are in safe hands in the lavish surroundings of this 2,000-strong auditorium. Arrive early to marvel at the false ceiling painted by Marc Chagall in 1964 and  saunter down that grand staircase like you’re royalty. Opulent and grandiose, this place will transport you back to the days of 19th-century  Haute société – and that’s all before you even sit down to enjoy its stellar programme of opera, ballet and theatre. Don't like opera? Who cares, you're in Paris. Dust off the suit and pretend! 

Centre Pompidou

17.  Centre Pompidou

  • 4e arrondissement

Its playful nursery school colours, exposed pipes and exterior escalators make the Centre Pompidou – designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers – one of the best-known sights in Paris. If modern art’s your bag, you’re in for a treat, because this place holds more of it than anywhere else in Europe. Name the artist and there's something here, you know, assuming they're good and modern. Certain parts are free entry. 

Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

18.  Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

  • Père-Lachaise

Like much Parisian architecture, Père-Lachaise cemetery is incredibly photogenic. Winding cobbled pathways lead you between leafy trees and ornate headstones. It's dead nice. Tourists flock here because of the famous names buried here – Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Proust, Balzac – but it’s a pretty place to wander in its own right. In fact, we've made a  handy guide  to help plot your route through the cemetery. It's a strangely fun time, cruising among the dead.

Shopping on the Champs-Élysées

19.  Shopping on the Champs-Élysées

In 1969, hoary French crooner Joe Dassin released ‘Les Champs-Elysées’, a perfect slice of cheesy French chanson whose lyrics go, ‘in the sunshine, in the rain, in the dark or in the day, all you need’s on the Champs-Elysées’. The song captured the avenue’s status at the time as one of the most fashionable streets in Paris. Today it remains as such, with big-name brands like Levi’s, Hugo Boss and, er, Marks & Spencer all headquartered here. Come armed with cash and plenty of it. Of course, you can pop over to that triumphant arc at the top. Hell of a roundabout, that. 

Shakespeare & Company

20.  Shakespeare & Company

  • Quartier latin

While the original Shakespeare & Co was once frequented by Ernest Hemingway and other famed 1930s bohemians, the new shop (which opened in 1951 on the Left Bank) has a cherished reputation of its own. Here you’ll find tome-lined passageways and irresistibly enchanting alcoves – this is a place that has inspired writers, readers and bibliophiles for decades. Our advice? Bring a spare suitcase. You’ll almost certainly find yourself hauling home half a bibliothèque’s worth of literary goodies.

Looking for somewhere amazing to stay?

The best Airbnbs in Paris

The best Airbnbs in Paris

Paris is a beautiful city steeped in history and glamour, but boy is it pricey. Looking to do this city on the cheap? Renting a perfectly located, très chic Airbnb is one way to enjoy the French capital without breaking the bank.

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25 Top Tourist Attractions in Paris

By Kay Pierce · Last updated on May 4, 2024

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 :

Map of Paris

Paris Map

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.

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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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32 Top Things to Do in Paris, France

tourist attractions is paris

First visits to Paris  can be as daunting and disorienting as they are enchanting. It's often hard to know where to begin and to prioritize what should you be seeing on your first days of exploring in the French capital. And while there's nothing wrong with getting lost down mesmerizing cobblestone streets or relying on the advice of locals, it sometimes helps to have a basic idea of the top attractions to narrow down your options.

The entire city is full of history, stunning architecture, and a uniquely Parisian charm at nearly every street corner, so you really can't go wrong no matter what you choose to see. However, there are a few attractions that first-time visitors to the French capital have to see, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum. But after seeing the obligatory stops, choose whatever destinations most call to you.

Take a Stroll in an Outdoor Market

The French take their food very seriously and there's no better way to experience that first-hand than to visit one of the city's many open-air food markets. These markets are typically held several times throughout the week and there's one in almost every neighborhood. Even if you're staying in a hotel, you can stock up on fresh fruit, cheese, charcuterie, and other snacks—perfect for taking on a picnic along the Seine. 

One of the oldest markets in the city is along the pedestrian street of Rue Mouffetard on the Left Bank of the river. It's one of the permanent markets in the city, so it's open every day and every season with vendors selling all types of food to enjoy. Wandering an outdoor market is a sublimely Parisian activity, and the Mouffetard market is one of the best. It's accessible via the metro stops Censier-Daubenton or Place Monge.

Dance the Can-Can at a Cabaret

After expending all your energy climbing Montmartre's formidable hills and stairs, consider spending an evening at a  traditional Parisian cabaret . While these glitzy, Vegas-style shows aren't frequented by Parisians and are really geared toward tourists, there's still something undeniably nostalgic about a French cabaret. The most famous, of course, is the Moulin Rouge , but it's also the most touristy. If you want to try something different but with just as much flair, feathers, and can-can, head to Lido on the Champs-Elysées.

Catch the View From Tour Montparnasse

The Tour Montparnasse is the second-tallest building in Paris and the only skyscraper outside of the business La Défense district. Because it's the only skyscraper around and towers above its neighbors, the building is generally considered an eyesore and after it was completed, buildings over seven stories tall were prohibited from the city center. Nevertheless, even Parisians admit that the view from the observation tower on the top floor is one of the best in the city (if only because it's the only place where you can't see the Tour Montparnasse). Special two-for-one tickets offer a special deal for guests who want to visit twice: once in the day and again at night for two equally spectacular views.

Snack on Fresh-Made Macarons

The French are famous for their pastries, but one of the most famous French desserts is without a doubt the macaron (pronounced macar-AWN , rhyming with "gone"). Ask 10 different Parisians where you can buy the best macarons and you'll get 10 different answers, because everyone has their particular favorites. And while you really can't go wrong buying a macaron from any local patisserie , a few places do stand out in case you need some guidance. Pierre Hermé is internationally recognized, but other standouts include Dalloyau and Cafe Pouchkine .

Église Saint-Sulpice

While the more famous church of Notre Dame is being restored, visitors to Paris can visit the city's second-largest church, Église Saint-Sulpice. Built during the 17th century, the church dedicated to Sulpitius is located in the Latin Quarter and is only slightly smaller than Notre Dame. The grand interior includes a painted ceiling dome and a massive organ that's considered one of the most impressive examples of its era. On Sundays, visitors can stop by before and after Mass services for regularly scheduled concerts to hear this masterpiece at work.

Shop in the World's Most Beautiful Mall

In addition to being masters of all things cuisine and gastronomy, Parisians are also expert shoppers. This is evidenced by their sprawling, elegant department stores, the best of which is the Galerie Lafayette Haussmann. What originally opened in 1893 as a small store selling novelty gifts has turned into one of France's biggest department store chains. The flagship store in Paris on Boulevard Haussmann is a massive shopping center, but don't expect this to be like your everyday mall. Even if you don't consider yourself a shopper, the architecture alone makes it worth stopping at this regal building. Be sure you go all the way up to the roof, which is free to visit and offers an unbeatable view.

Visit the Louvre Museum

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

To learn the Louvre inside and out, you might need half a lifetime. Still, one has to start somewhere. The site of the world's most extensive and most diverse collection of pre-20th-century painting, sculpture, and decorative objects, the Louvre is a global touristic drawcard. Not forgetting the  Mona Lisa  and the  Venus de Milo , make sure to visit less crowded wings to bask in the works of Vermeer, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and countless others. The centuries-old palace itself is a testament to a rich history spanning from the medieval period to the present.

Go to the Top of the Eiffel Tower

More than any other landmark, the Eiffel Tower has come to represent an elegant and contemporary Paris—but this wasn't always so. The iron tower, which was built for the 1889 World Exposition by Gustave Eiffel, was wildly unpopular with Parisians when it was unveiled and was nearly torn down. 

It has since attracted over 220 million visitors, and it would be hard to imagine Paris now without it. The tower crowns the Paris night sky with its festive light and glitters up a storm every hour. It has also recently firmly entered the twenty-first century, retrofitted with solar panels and glass-floored observation platforms, to the delight of some and the vertigo of others. Cliché? Yes, maybe. But essential. 

See Breathtaking Impressionist Art at the Musée d'Orsay

 TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Walk over the bridge from the Louvre to the Musee d'Orsay  and witness a literal and figurative bridge between classical and modern art. Housing the world's most important collection of  impressionist and post-impressionist painting , the Musee d'Orsay's light, airy rooms whir you through three floors of modern wonders, from Degas' ethereal dancers to Monet's water lilies, all the way to Gaugin's verdant jungles. Significant works by Van Gogh, Delacroix, Manet, and others await you, too.

Marvel at the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees

The 164-foot Arc de Triomphe commissioned by Emperor Napoléon I ​does exactly what it was made to do: Evoke sheer military power and triumph. It was built in an age when leaders erected monuments in their own honor and scaled to their egos. The arch's beautiful sculptures and reliefs commemorate Napoléon's generals and soldiers. Visit the Arc de Triomphe to begin or culminate a walk down the equally grandiose  Avenue des Champs-Elysées . You can't help but feel grand yourself.

Visit Centre Pompidou and the Beaubourg Neighborhood

Parisians consider the Centre Georges Pompidou to be the cultural pulse of the city. This modern art museum and cultural center, located in the  neighborhood affectionately dubbed Beaubourg  by locals, opened in 1977 to honor president Georges Pompidou.

The Center's signature skeletal design, which evokes bones and blood vessels, is either loved or reviled—no in-betweens. If wacky design isn't your cup of tea, the permanent collection at the National Museum of Modern Art is a must and features works by Modigliani and Matisse. Rooftop views of the city are also in order.

Explore the Sacré Coeur and Montmartre

With its unmistakable white dome that some compare to a meringue crowning the city, the  Sacré Coeur sits at the highest point of Paris on the Montmartre knoll, or  butte . This basilica, which was consecrated in 1909, is best-known for its garish gold mosaic interiors and for its dramatic terrace, from which you can expect sweeping views of Paris on a clear day. Take the funicular up with a metro ticket and stop off at Sacré Coeur before exploring the winding, village-like streets of the bohemian Montmartre neighborhood.

Take a Boat Tour of the Seine River

Seeing some of Paris' most beautiful sites glide past as you drift down the Seine river is an unforgettable and essential experience. Companies such as  Bateaux-Mouches  and  Bateaux Parisiens  offer one-hour tours of the Seine year-round for about 10 euros, or roughly $12. You can hop on near Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower. Go at night to enjoy the shimmering play of light on the water, and dress warmly—the wind from off the Seine can be chilly. You can also take tours of some of Paris' canals and waterways, which will allow you to see a semi-hidden side of the City of Light.

Stroll Through Père Lachaise Cemetery

TripSavvy / Leopoldine Bauer

Paris counts within its walls many of the world's most poetic cemeteries, but Père-Lachaise outdoes them all. Countless famous figures are buried here: the most popular being  The Doors  lead singer  Jim Morrison , whose tomb is kept constant vigil by fans. The French playwright Molière, Oscar Wilde,  Edith Piaf , and Richard Wright are a few others. On a sunny day, climbing to the cemetery's summit and looking down on the lavishly designed crypts can be surprisingly joyful.

Admire Sculptures at the Musée Rodin

Tour a great sculptor's studio in a romantic setting at the Musée Rodin, completely renovated and re-opened to visitors in November 2015. Set in an 18th-century mansion, the museum is home to more than 6,000 works by Rodin, including "The Thinker " and  " The Kiss ".  There are also 15 sculptures in the permanent collection from the French sculptor Camille Claudel, another master. 

After seeing the sculptures, make sure to spend some time admiring the extensive collection of drawings and cast molds on display. The lush grounds are home to a rose garden, café, and fountains. More iconic sculptures from Rodin grace the gardens, including "Orpheus" and bronze studies for "The Burghers of Calais". 

See World-Class Contemporary Art at the Foundation Louis Vuitton

This stunning foundation designed by Frank Gehry offers world-class contemporary art shows and one of the most unique additions to the Parisian skyline in recent years. The collection houses work owned by Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of the iconic fashion brand, LVMH. You'll see everything from giant Gerhard Richter paintings to interactive installations by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson.

Shop (or Window-Shop) on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

If you want to shop like a Parisian high-roller—or at least pretend to—head to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and the surrounding district. Joining the 1st and 8th arrondissements (districts) , the street is lined with the biggest names in fashion and luxury, ranging from old-school couture labels like Goyard, Hermès, Gucci and Prada, as well as contemporary, coveted houses and designers (Apostrophe Jun Ashida). You can also find bespoke perfume, high-end jewelry, scrumptious pastries and even old-world, fine luggage. It's no wonder it's considered one of the best shopping districts in the French capital . 

Find a Vintage Treasure at the Marché aux Puces de Clignancourt/St Ouen

It's easy to get overwhelmed at this sprawling Parisian flea market. After all, the 150-year-old puces— literally, "fleas"—is among the world's largest. But with a bit of focus and perseverance, you can find a treasure within the labyrinth of stalls, regardless of if you're hunting for antique silver cutlery or vintage Chanel couture. The market is located on the edge of north Paris, where the 18th arrondissement meets the suburb of St. Ouen.

The easiest way to get there is to take Metro Line 4 to "Porte de Clignancourt" and follow the signs to the market.

Wander Through the Marais District

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre 

If there's a better French neighborhood for strolling, sightseeing, shopping, tasting, and people-watching all in a single morning or afternoon, we haven't found it. The Marais, which spans the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, has a rich history in Paris: It's home to the city's historic Jewish Quarter ( pletzl ), and also serves as the heartbeat of the city's vibrant LGBT community.

Within the always-bustling center, you'll also find stunning  hôtel particuliers  (old-school mansions), numerous medieval sites and landmarks, a plethora of high-end and designer boutiques, and many of the city's best museums, including the Musée Picasso. 

Relax & Stroll at the Luxembourg Gardens

Even if you know very little about the French capital, you might have a mental image of Parisians relaxing in lawn chairs on terraces overlook ornate, manicured lawns and ponds. This is an iconic image you can play out for yourself by visiting the Luxembourg Gardens, an Italian and French-style haven that was once the stomping grounds of the Queen Marie da Medici.

While it's a favorite place to relax with a picnic, the Renaissance-era formal gardens are popular among joggers and walkers, and children who race their sailboats behind the Sénat. Also be sure to admire the collection of statues: some of our favorites include stately sculpted images of the different Queens and other royal women of France throughout history. 

See the Largest Public Collection of Picasso's Work

After closing for nearly five years, the Musée Picasso in Paris re-opened at the end of 2014, fresh off a pricey renovation. Now, this world-class museum spans more than 50,000 square feet and houses thousands of works by the inimitable Spanish artist. The main building, a 17th-century mansion in the Marais district, features furniture designed by the legendary Diego Giacometti. 

Housing masterpieces as well as works from lesser-known periods in Picasso's work, the museum also offers temporary exhibits showcasing the work of artists such as Giacometti. It's a must-see for anyone interested in the history of 20th-century art. 

Eat Some Famous Parisian Ice Cream

 Public domain/Creative Commons

Tucked away on the Ile Saint-Louis, you'll find nearly 100 flavors of ice cream at the famous Berthillon. Depending on the season, you can try everything from wild strawberry to peach, hazelnut, pistachio, and white chocolate. The shop's idyllic setting—nestled on a small island in the Seine, across from Notre-Dame Cathedral—makes it a must-visit. Not to mention it's one of the best ice creams you can order in Paris. You can stroll the streets, lined with 17th-century mansions, while you enjoy your cone.

Satisfy Natural Curiosities at Deyrolle

Seeking a bit of the old-fashioned and the strange? Deyrolle is an old Parisian boutique (open since 1831) that notably specializes in taxidermied animals (none are recent, though, a potentially reassuring point for those concerned with animal rights). 

Located in the 7th arrondissement, this veritable cabinet of curiosities houses life-sized tigers, bears, birds, and more, as well as countless drawers filled with every possible butterfly, bug, or insect you can imagine. Many of the boutique's subjects have been used in the study of botany, entomology, and zoology. This is certainly one of the weirdest shops in Paris and well worth a visit, if you can handle the taxidermy. 

Amble Around the Latin Quarter

Nothing quite says Paris like a day strolling through the Latin Quarter, one of the city's most storied and beloved districts. Start by browsing books at the beloved English bookshop Shakespeare and Company, before heading over to the Sorbonne University square to have a coffee. Then check out the medieval treasures at the Musée Cluny, browse rare books and antiques near the Jardin du Luxembourg, and wind through the narrow little streets behind the Pantheon to the Place de la Contrescarpe.

Or just wander and make any number of your own discoveries: morning light hitting the tops of the buildings; the joy of tasting fresh bread, pastries and fruit on the market-centric Rue Mouffetard or the Place Monge; the possibilities are nearly endless. 

The  Sorbonne University  is the historic soul of the Latin Quarter, where higher learning has flourished for centuries. Founded in 1257 for a small group of theology students, the Sorbonne is one of Europe's oldest universities. It has hosted countless great thinkers, including philosophers René Descartes, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir. Enjoy a drink on the café terrace in front of the college before exploring the winding little streets of the Quartier Latin behind it.

Explore the Canal St Martin & Its Hip Shops, Restaurants

Anyone who wants to understand contemporary Paris should spend some time strolling up and around the Canal St. Martin, one of the city's most vibrant and innovative areas. Walk to the center of one of the graceful, metallic green bridges to watch boats float down the canal (and come through complex lock systems). 

Enjoy a glass of wine and a few small plates at a wine bar, or nosh on eclectic cuisine in one of the area's countless, utterly hip new restaurants. Browse boutiques and art bookshops for the latest in style and design. You can even have a picnic right by the water, a favorite local pastime. 

See Some of Monet's Most Beautiful Work at This Small Museum

Many visitors to Paris completely overlook a small collection at the west end of the Tuileries gardens that harbors one of Impressionist master Claude Monet's most breathtaking works of art. But they shouldn't. 

Pay a visit to the Orangerie Museum and witness the sweeping, poetic beauty of Nymphéas , a series of murals that plunge you into Monet's distinctive world of color, light, and watery landscapes. His waterlilies are a symbol of world peace, painted following the end of the first World War as a gesture of hope and reconciliation. 

In addition to Monet's stirring masterpiece, the Orangerie museum also hosts the Jean Walter-Paul Guillaume collection, with remarkable works from the likes of Cézanne, Renoir, Picasso, Sisley, Matisse, and Modigliani. After you've seen the Orsay and the Centre Pompidou collections, an afternoon here offers another dose of artistic inspiration and education. 

Take a Day Trip to Versailles

Versailles and its world-famous palace and gardens are a quick one-hour trip outside the city, making it an essential and easy day trip from Paris. This 17th-century palace had humble beginnings as a hunting lodge before turning into an opulent palace under the rule of Louis XIV, also known as the "Sun King".

Today, strolling through the extensive formal gardens and visiting the incredible Hall of Mirrors is an experience you won't likely forget. Also make sure to reserve some time for the quieter, lesser-known buildings and gardens, including the Petit Trianon and Queen's Hamlet, where Marie Antoinette retired from the pressures of court life and even pretended at times to be a humble shepherdess or milkmaid. 

Go Underground into the Catacombs

It doesn't have to be Halloween for you to thoroughly enjoy the creepy experience of going far underground to see the Catacombs of Paris. There are dozens of miles of tunnels dug way below street level, but only a small portion of these can (legally) be visited. 

Here, after buying a ticket and descending a long spiral staircase, you'll be plunged into a strange world of death. Millions of human bones and skulls are neatly stacked (in curious, very French fashion) alongside the pathways, souls who were transferred from overcrowded cemeteries in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some will find this attraction decidedly chilling, while others will enjoy it as an archaeological and social curiosity. Either way, it's well worth a couple of hours. 

Eat Some Delicious French Bread & Pastries

A trip to the French capital would be incomplete without ducking into a few warm, inviting bakeries and patisseries (pastry shops) to taste their tempting creations. From all-butter croissants and pain au chocolat that boast the ideal balance between flakiness and softness, to crusty, impeccably baked baguettes, creamy lemon mini-tarts and fluffy eclairs, there's a whole gourmet world to discover out there. But don't feel intimidated. While stunning, these products are part and parcel of daily life in Paris.

Visit the Old Paris Operahouse...and See a Ballet There

Confusingly enough, the Palais Opera Garnier  doesn't actually host opera performances these days. That's the job of the newer Opera Bastille. But this historic site, now home to the French National Ballet, is a remarkable place to visit, inside and out.

Its sumptuous, elegant design can be admired from far down the equally regal Avenue de l'Opéra, an iconic sight well worth seeking out. Inside, the magnificent stairway in the entrance and main theatre, crowned with a moving ceiling painting from French painter Marc Chagall, is simply sublime. 

Enjoy Fresh Air at the Bois de Boulogne

Sometimes, a little breathing room away from the stress and noise of the city is in order. When you're not up for a full day trip but wouldn't mind a little green and fresh air, head over to the Bois de Boulogne and enormous wooded park sculpted from an old forest. 

Enormous green lawns, tree-lined walking paths, ponds inhabited by ducks and wild birds, an open-air theatre, puppet shows for kids, and even an old-fashioned horseracing track await here. Pack a picnic, put on your walking shoes, bring a camera, and enjoy a day away from the city right on its very edge. 

Toast Like the French at a Local Wine Bar

Owen Franken / Getty Images

As you might expect, Paris boasts a remarkable number of excellent wine bars . Go enjoy a simple glass or two at one of these laid-back bars, where you might also tuck into a plate of fragrant, creamy French cheeses or savory charcuterie. Some of those that made our list of the best also specialize in small plates that fit the definition of gourmet. 

Whether tasting a light, fresh Beaujolais Nouveau for the harvest season or trying more complex, "challenging" reds and whites from Burgundy or Bordeaux, there's something for everyone at these bars. After all, in France, wine isn't a snobby affair, but rather something most people enjoy daily.

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29 Beautiful Places in Paris Everyone Should Visit (at Least) Once

By Caitlin Morton

Muse Rodin Paris Museum Exterior

Compiling a list of the most beautiful places in Paris is no easy task. The city has a nearly endless supply of charming shops, artsy museums, boutique hotels, and world-famous landmarks—so choosing just a few dozen of those sites takes a good deal of restraint.

Still, we were able to put together a collection of Parisian wonders that we feel encapsulate this great city best—from the iconic Eiffel Tower to the romantic banks of the Seine River, with plenty of bookstores and cathedrals in between.

If you’re planning a trip to the City of Light, be sure to add these must-visit places to your itinerary. And even if you’ve already experienced most of these attractions, the wonderful thing about Paris is that every repeat visit unveils something new about the city. Whether it’s your first or fifth time walking along the cobblestoned streets of Saint-Germain or hearing the bells toll from Notre-Dame, you’ll find that the charm of Paris transcends cliche.

With gilded history reflected across so many arrondissements, here are 29 of the most beautiful places in Paris.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

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Jardin du Luxembourg

One of the most famous green spaces in Paris (and even greener during the spring), Jardin du Luxembourg is a favorite spot for locals to stroll and relax. While the overall vibe here is quite grand and regal, there are still intimate corners to be found.

Hôtel de Crillon A Rosewood Hotel Paris

Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel

Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel has long been one of Paris’s most fabulous grande dames, but the property became even more luxurious after unveiling its four-year renovation in 2017. The current iteration features Karl Lagerfeld–designed suites, dreamy terraces for afternoon tea, and a world-class spa with a glittering indoor pool.

NotreDame Paris

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

When you think of French Gothic architecture, chances are you think of Notre-Dame . Although the cathedral’s spires were destroyed in a devastating fire in 2019, the iconic facade and rose windows still draw massive crowds—and serve as a testament to the enduring beauty of Paris.

Muse JacquemartAndr Paris

Musée Jacquemart-André

Once the home of a refined, art-collecting couple, Musée Jacquemart-André now serves as a museum with works from Rembrandt, Bellini, Botticelli, and more. The 19th-century mansion is just as much of a draw, with grand marble staircases and gallery walls that redefine #apartmentenvy.

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Shakespeare and Company Paris

Shakespeare and Company

A former haunt of Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, Shakespeare and Company is as historical as it is charming. Bibliophiles could spend hours perusing the bargain racks on the sidewalk (especially on a sunny afternoon), ideally followed by a slice of lemon pie at the on-site café.

Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Open since 2014, this spectacular museum is home to some of the city’s best contemporary art. But we think the sailboat-shaped building—designed by Frank Gehry—is a masterpiece in and of itself.

Eiffel Tower Paris

Eiffel Tower

You had to be expecting this one, right? There is no city-landmark pairing as iconic as Paris and the Eiffel Tower, which has defined the skyline since 1887. For some of the best photo ops, head to Place du Trocadéro , an elevated, open space with a stellar view of the tower.

Panthéon Paris

Who needs a reason to visit the Panthéon ? Its gorgeous neoclassical architecture is lure enough. Don't forget to look up.

La Maison Rose Montmartre Paris

La Maison Rose

Since the 19th century, Montmartre has served as the bohemian hub of Paris’s creative and nightlife communities. The neighborhood has an endless string of postcard-perfect shops, but few are quite as recognizable as La Maison Rose—a rosy pink restaurant sitting pretty on a street corner.

Musée de l'Orangerie Paris

Musée de l’Orangerie

Musée de l'Orangerie —located at the far end of the Tuileries Gardens—strengthens the case that Paris’s smaller museums are just as important as, say, the Louvre. Plus, it’s the only place you can stand in awe of Monet’s famous Nymphéas (Water Lily) murals.

Arc de Triomphe Paris

Arc de Triomphe

As if the views of the Arc de Triomphe aren’t stunning enough, the views from the Arc de Triomphe are even more incredible. It's a pretty claustrophobic climb to the top, but the fresh air and 360-degree views of Paris are well worth it.

Musée d'Orsay Paris

Musée d'Orsay

A vast collection of Impressionist artworks is the focus at the Musée d’Orsay , Paris’s second most-visited museum. But don’t forget to look past the artwork for a moment to admire the arched ceiling, a reminder of the building’s past as a train station.

Rue Crémieux Paris

Rue Crémieux

This little throughway in the 12th arrondissement might just be the most charming street in all of Paris. Just beware of the fashion influencers and Instagram celebs trying to take advantage of those pastel-colored backdrops.


Palace of Versailles

Though it technically lies just outside of Paris, the Palace of Versailles is an essential stop on any City of Light itinerary. The former residence of King Louis XIV is a study in opulence, with the Hall of Mirrors and manicured gardens drawing some 15 million visitors each year.

PalaisRoyal Paris


The Palais-Royal complex is in some ways Paris in a nutshell: shops, cafés, art, history, architecture, and spectacular gardens, all across the street from the Louvre. Keep an eye out for Instagram photoshoots around the Colonnes de Buren , an art installation consisting of black-and-white-striped columns of varying heights.

Muse Rodin Paris Museum Exterior

Musée Rodin

We make this a stop on every trip to Paris, and sometimes, we don't even go inside. Musée Rodin is a light-filled estate with a serene garden filled with sculptures like The Thinker and The Gates of Hell . It's as intimate and personal (and relatively uncrowded) a museum-going experience as you'll get in the city.

Place de la Concorde Paris

Place de la Concorde

Despite its macabre history (it was the site of guillotine executions during the French Revolution), this public square is now one of the most beautiful places in Paris. Landmarks like the Luxor Obelisk and mermaid-filled fountain only add to the glamour.

Glasswalk hanging over the atrium of the Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann department store in Paris France Europe

Galeries Lafayette

On the famed Boulevard Haussmann, Galeries Lafayette is a department store known for its upscale French products and stunning neo-Byzantine stained-glass cupola. If you can swing it, visit during December to see one of the world’s grandest Christmas displays .

Pont Alexandre III Paris

Pont Alexandre III

This ornate, Beaux-Arts–style bridge connects the Left and Right Banks of Paris, and is one of the biggest tourist photo-ops in the city. We get it: With all those gilded statues and river views, the selfie urge is real.

Palais Garnier Paris

Palais Garnier

Palais Garnier is one of the most opulent Beaux-Arts buildings in Paris. Prepare to be dazzled by the grand marble staircase, gilded chandeliers, and frescoed ceilings.

SainteChapelle Paris


Photos of Sainte-Chapelle are apt to take your breath away, but they hardly do justice to this Gothic chapel on Ile de la Cité. After struggling your way up the narrow spiral staircases to the upper chapel, that first glimpse of the 50-foot stained glass windows is an experience you’ll never forget.

SaintGermain Paris


Not only is this 6th arrondissement neighborhood the cocoa capital of Paris , but it also happens to be extremely picturesque, with cobbled streets and pretty French balconies everywhere you look.

Père Lachaise Cemetery Paris

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Pretty much everything in Paris is next-level beautiful—even its cemeteries skew more divine than dismal. Spend an overcast afternoon walking across Père Lachaise’s 108 acres, then pay your respects at the graves of Gertrude Stein and Oscar Wilde.

Sacré Coeur Paris


Second in height only to the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Coeur is a towering Romano-Byzantine basilica one very steep climb up into Montmarte. Everything about it—its architecture, its views from the hilltop—inspires awe.

Parc des Buttes Chaumont Paris

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Featuring cliffs, lakes, and waterfalls, the 62-acre Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is an au naturel alternative to Paris’s more groomed, rigidly formal parks. Hike up rocky elevations to catch amazing views of the city, including the aforementioned Sacré-Coeur.

most beautiful places in paris Jardin des Tuileries Paris

Jardin des Tuileries

This perfectly manicured park also has the advantage of a perfect location—turn one direction and you'll find the Louvre, turn the other, Place de la Concorde. Walk the entire length to really admire the formal French garden design of the 17th century.

Musée du Louvre Paris

Musée du Louvre

The Louvre is famously crowded—it is the most-visited museum in the world, after all. But even if you aren’t willing to fight a hundred camera-wielding tourists to see the Mona Lisa, at least stroll past the museum to see I.M. Pei’s famous glass pyramid.

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Hôtel Plaza Athénée

Open for more than a century, Hôtel Plaza Athénée is one of the most elegant, fashionable, and surprisingly playful hotels in all of Paris. Its signature red awnings are best enjoyed with a side of Michelin stars, at restaurant La Cour Jardin's ivy-covered terrace.

River Seine Paris

River Seine

The River Seine is essentially the beating heart of Paris, bordering half of the French capital's arrondissements. We’re partial to views of the river at dusk, but thanks to a few recent additions—a floating hotel and pedestrian-only walkway , for starters—the watery pathway is pretty damn gorgeous around the clock.


Hôtel Le Grand Mazarin

Hôtel Le Grand Mazarin

Disneyland Hotel Paris

Disneyland Hotel Paris

Paris Travel Guide

Paris Travel Guide

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40 Top Tourist Attractions in Paris | 2024 (with Photos)

James A. Smith

James A. Smith - Chief Editor

Last Updated: February 19, 2024

Hey there! I'm James, a seasoned traveler and a passionate explorer of all things Paris. Through my personal experiences and love for this incredible city, I'll guide you to the top tourist attractions and help you make unforgettable memories during your visit.

Top Tourist Attractions in Paris for an Incredible Journey

If you are heading to the French capital for a dream vacation, you will want to know all about the best attractions in town before you go.

Paris offers a wonderful experience for tourists looking to immerse themselves in its beauty and charm. From French Revolution history to the Gothic architecture and magnificent gardens that make Paris so iconic, this city has it all.

Of course, you will want to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Notre Dame de Paris, but there is so much more than that in Paris. So, let's dive into our top 40 recommendations.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Eiffel Tower

Top Choice Hotel

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Le Jules Verne

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Montana Club

Best Time to Visit

Springtime in Paris, flowers bloom, love abounds.

Average Temperature

The average temperature in Paris, France fluctuates.

Transportation Options

Metro, bus, tram, RER, taxi, bicycle, scooter, walking.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)

My Top Recommendation

Paris, France: Immerse yourself in the artistic charm of Montmartre, a neighborhood brimming with bohemian whimsy and breathtaking views of the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica - a perfect spot to watch the sunset over the city while sipping a delicious café au lait.

Paris, France: Indulge in a leisurely stroll along the Seine River, admiring the enchanting bridges and riverside book stalls, before treating your taste buds to an unforgettable culinary experience at a cozy bistro tucked away in the charming Le Marais district.

What You'll Need to Bring

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Lightweight and versatile clothing
  • Travel adapter for electronics

What Not to Miss

Louvre museum.

  • Notre-Dame Cathedral
  • Champs-Élysées

What to Avoid

  • Scams and pickpocketing
  • Overpriced tourist traps
  • Unsolicited street vendors

Table of Contents

Place de la Concorde

1. Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde

Let's start the list with one of the most famous public squares in Paris. The historical roots of the Place de la Concorde in central Paris go back to the French Revolution and the French Kings.

The Place de la Concorde is a city center jewel with breathtaking architecture, including the famed Obelisk of Luxor and the magnificent fountains. This is a square steeped in French history.

Place de la Concorde, the largest plaza in Paris , provides a gorgeous environment for leisurely strolls, ideal photo opportunities, and a chance to see the city's rich cultural legacy.

2. Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Visitors in Paris all flock to the Arc de Triomphe , a famous landmark ****and one of the most iconic Paris attractions.

The Arc de Triomphe serves as a reminder of the country's rich architectural history and legacy. The arch was commissioned in 1806, after the victory at Austerlitz by Napoleon. Additionally, installed under the arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a site used to honor the unknown soldier who died during World War I.

This massive arch, one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Paris, is a representation of triumph and victory and provides a stunning perspective of the city from its observation deck.

The Arc de Triomphe is a must-see location where visitors can fully experience Parisian culture because of its stunning architecture and historical significance.

3. Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Undoubtedly the most popular tourist attraction in Paris, the Eiffel Tower is a symbol of France around the world. Its impressive metal structure and illuminations are part of what makes the Eiffel Tower so special.

Head up to the top of the Eiffel Tower for spectacular panoramic views of Paris from its impressive 330 meters in height. No trip to Paris is complete without a stop at the Eiffel Tower.

When in Paris, a visit to the Eiffel Tower guarantees a remarkable and breathtaking experience that should not be missed. The Eiffel Tower is not far from the Arc de Triomphe and other famous landmarks in Paris. It is a must-see for any visitor to the city.

4. Ile de la Cité

Ile de la Cité

A must-see among the many tourist attractions in Paris is the island in the Seine, known as Ile de la Cité , in central Paris.

The Notre Dame Cathedral, which features spectacular Gothic architecture, and the ancient Palais de Justice are famous landmarks on this little island.

Visitors can appreciate the ancient structures, small cafes, and stores that ooze Parisian elegance while strolling in its gorgeous streets.

5. Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

The Notre Dame Cathedral , another incredibly famous landmark in Paris, France, has served as a representation of French Gothic architecture for centuries.

This magnificent church, also known as Notre Dame de Paris , has exquisite stained glass windows, elaborate woodwork, and imposing bell towers. Despite the recent fire at the cathedral, the structure still stands tall and proud thanks to wonderful restoration work.

Its magnificent exterior, which includes flying buttresses and ornate rose windows, is proof of the middle ages' greatest architectural achievement.

One of the major tourist attractions in Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral is situated on the Île de la Cité in central Paris.

6. Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg

A lush haven that once served as the private garden of French royalty is the Jardin du Luxembourg , or the Luxembourg ****Gardens in Paris, France.

Today, the Luxembourg Gardens is one of the famous tourist attractions in Paris, noted for its magnificent planted gardens, lovely fountains, and tranquil ambiance.

The Jardin du Luxembourg, which covers more than 55 acres, is the ideal location for relaxation and taking in Paris's natural splendor.

Visitors to the Luxembourg Gardens can wander along the paths that are shaded by trees, marvel at the vibrant flower beds, and unwind by the peaceful ponds.

The Jardin du Luxembourg is a tranquil and beautiful place steeped in history in Paris. So, add the Luxembourg Gardens to your Paris bucket list.

7. Place de la Bastille

Place de la Bastille

The famed Bastille jail, which was built by one of the French kings and destroyed during the French Revolution, previously stood at the Place de la Bastille in Paris, France.

It is now a lively square that represents French democracy and freedom. The Place de la Bastille provides a window into the city's illustrious history and revolutionary past. Visitors can explore the plaza and discover how important it was in influencing French history.

The square is bordered by stores, cafes, and theaters. An opportunity to connect with the city's past and understand its cultural significance is provided by a visit to Place de la Bastille.

8. Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges

The Place des Vosges in Paris is a beautiful, ancient square with a rich history. It was called Place Royale during the French Revolution to recognize the Vosges department, which was the first to pay taxes.

This famous square is less than a 30-minute drive to the Louvre Museum by road, making it an easy stop for those taking in the city's cultural riches. The famed cathedral's magnificence will be admired by art lovers. Furthermore, Notre Dame de Paris is also easily accessible, so the art appreciation can continue.

The Place des Vosges' magnificent gardens , with their immaculately kept lawns and lovely fountains, are its most notable feature. They offer a tranquil and scenic backdrop for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful escape in the middle of Paris.

9. Rue de Rivoli

Rue de Rivoli

The famed Rue de Rivoli is one of the top tourist attractions in Paris and has great historical significance.

It is roughly 22 minutes by road from Notre Dame and is recognized for its stunning architecture and recognizable structures. The Rue de Rivoli was given its name in honor of Napoleon's victory in the Battle of Rivoli .

Today, Rue de Rivoli is famed for its elegant stores, quaint cafes, and gorgeous old structures that highlight Paris's illustrious past and splendor.

10. Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

Among the top-tier popular tourist attractions in Paris, Disneyland Paris is renowned for its enchanted realm of enchantment and fantasy.

Disneyland Paris is situated in Chessy, France, and is readily reached by train thanks to the Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy railway station .

The park is a popular vacation spot for both families and Disney enthusiasts with its extensive selection of exhilarating rides, enthralling shows, and well-known Disney characters.

The fact that Disneyland Paris is ideally placed means that, after a day of fun and excitement in the fantastical world of Disney, travelers can go back and explore other tourist attractions in central Paris.

11. Musée du Louvre

Musée du Louvre

The Louvre Museum, commonly known as the Musée du Louvre , is without a doubt among the top tourist attractions in Paris.

The Louvre Museum, which houses an incredible collection of some of the most astounding works of art, including the famous Mona Lisa , is a must-see for both art lovers and history buffs. A few miles from here was where Marie Antoinette once lived.

The Louvre Museum, which has a long history that dates back to 1546 when Francis I transformed it into the major residence of the French Kings, also features post-impressionist art and modern art in addition to its canonical masterpieces.

An unrivaled experience of art, culture, and history in the center of Paris is guaranteed with a trip to the Louvre Museum. A quick tip: to avoid the crowd on the road, get to the Louvre through a metro station.

12. Montmartre


The dynamic and bohemian area of Montmartre , which is situated in the northern region of Paris, is regarded as the ideal tourist destination. It is renowned for its distinctive charm, creative atmosphere, and stunning city vistas.

Famous artists like Van Gogh previously called Montmartre home , and it has long been a gathering place for artists. It is a city center for modern art and has a large number of art galleries, studios, and cafes.

A scenic ambiance is created by the cobblestone streets , old houses, and quaint cafes, making it ideal for leisurely strolls and taking in the creative mood.

Among the many Parisian tourist attractions, Montmartre is undoubtedly a must-see for art lovers and those looking for a distinctive and exciting experience.

13. Jardin des Tuileries

Jardin des Tuileries

In the center of Paris, there is a historic park called Jardin des Tuileries . It was constructed in the 16th century and used for many years as a royal garden and has a somewhat similar history to the Jardin du Luxembourg.

It is one of the most stunning tourist attractions in Paris, recognized for its gorgeous statues, fountains, and lovely surroundings.

Visitors may readily access the garden because it is close to other well-known Paris landmarks including the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde.

Everyone can now appreciate the garden's beauty and history thanks to its opening to the public after the French Revolution. Anyone visiting Paris must go to the Jardin des Tuileries.

14. Champ de Mars

Champ de Mars

The Champ de Mars , one of Paris' attractions, is a renowned park in proximity to the Eiffel Tower. This huge green area, which was formerly used as a military training area, has seen some of the French Revolution's most spectacular festivities.

It now serves as a tranquil park where guests may take leisurely walks, have picnics, or just enjoy the breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower. The park has historical significance in addition to being next to a former railway station.

Tourists who want to fully experience Paris' beauty and history must pay a visit to Champ de Mars.

15. Centre Pompidou

Centre Pompidou

Art aficionados should not miss a trip to the Centre Pompidou , a renowned cultural landmark in the center of Paris. It contains a sizable collection of modern art, which includes pieces by well-known creators including Picasso, Matisse, and Warhol.

Its recognizable facade with exposed colorful pipes and escalators makes the center a distinctive architectural landmark in Paris. Another of Paris' attractions, Notre Dame Cathedral, is just under five minutes drive from the Centre Pompidou.

The Centre Pompidou provides visitors with the ideal opportunity to discover Paris' dynamic art scene while taking in its famous sights, and the Eiffel Tower is also nearby.

16. Maison de Victor Hugo

Maison de Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo, one of the most famous French citizens and author of such classics as "Les Misérables" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," is honored at the Maison de Victor Hugo , a historic home museum in Paris.

This museum, which is only a 2-minute stroll from the charming Place des Vosges, provides an intriguing look into the life and legacy of Victor Hugo.

Hugo spent 16 years of his exile from France in this particular home, which has been preserved and turned into a museum displaying his personal effects, writings, and artifacts.

The building is a must-visit for literature lovers and followers of this renowned author in order to learn more about his life and times.

17. Hôtel de Ville

Hôtel de Ville

One of the most well-known Paris attractions is the Hôtel de Ville , which is situated in the city center. It served as the headquarters of the French Revolution . This magnificent Renaissance structure had a tremendous impact on Parisian history.

Ornate carvings and sculptures cover the building's façade, displaying the time period's architectural prowess. The structure's interior is equally spectacular, with expansive hallways and elaborate decorations.

The building is a well-liked location for cultural events and exhibitions and is still used as the city's administrative center today.

18. Seine River

Seine River

A significant element of Paris' scenery is the Seine River , which runs through the city center. The river's banks are studded with famous sites, storied bridges, and enchanting promenades, and it acts as a natural boundary between the Right Bank and the Left Bank.

The Seine River has been a significant part of the history and culture of the city, inspiring poets, writers, and artists. You can take a boat cruise along the Seine and spot attractions like the Eiffel Tower and examples of French Gothic architecture.

The Seine has, however, presented problems in the past, such as in 2003 when it reached dangerous heights and forced the largest evacuation of artwork—including the Mona Lisa—since World War II.

19. Canal Saint Martin

Canal Saint Martin

The Canal de l'Ourcq and the Seine River are joined by the charming Canal Saint Martin in Paris.

With its attractive waterfront promenades, tree-lined boulevards, and old iron footbridges, the canal has developed into an idyllic Paris attraction.

Popular activities near the canal include leisurely strolls, bike rides, and boat tours . Renting a boat or joining a tour allows visitors to cruise the canal while going through picturesque locks and under charming arches.

The canal offers a calm and beautiful approach to seeing the city, and some people even decide to sail to Notre Dame to experience Paris from the water.

20. Place Charles de Gaulle

Place Charles de Gaulle

Place Charles de Gaulle is a prominent square in Paris, known for its historical significance and iconic landmark, the Arc de Triomphe.

This public square is an important hub in the city since it is traversed by the historical axis of Paris, which runs from the Louvre Museum to the contemporary economic zone of La Défense.

The Arc de Triomphe , which honors Napoleon Bonaparte and represents French national pride, is prominently displayed in the middle of the area.

Lastly, this square is the second-largest square in the capital after Place de la Concorde is a must-see for tourists and an important landmark in Paris because of its grandeur and historical significance.

21. Avenue des Champs Elysées

Avenue des Champs Elysées

The Avenue des Champs Elysées is one of the most popular Paris attractions in the entire world. Furthermore, you can get to the Place de la Concorde from this place by road in 10 mins via Av. Marceau and Voie Georges Pompidou.

The avenue is a popular tourist destination since it is lined with upscale stores, theaters, cafes, and historical sites. At the western end of the Boulevard, the imposing Arc de Triomphe rises majestically.

Two equestrian sculptures were erected on the avenue after the French Revolution. The Avenue des Champs Elysées is a must-visit location for both tourists and locals since it represents the grandeur of Paris.

22. Musée Marmottan Monet

Musée Marmottan Monet

In Paris, France, there is a renowned art gallery called the Musée Marmottan Monet . It has a significant collection of Claude Monet's works as well as those by other well-known Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists.

Through its display of the development of art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the museum offers a glimpse into the culture and history of Paris.

The Musée Marmottan Monet is one of the major Paris attractions that attract tourists and art lovers from all over the world.

For art enthusiasts and those interested in the development of art in Paris, it is a must-visit location because of its distinctive collection. 

23. Parc de la Villette

Parc de la Villette

The third-largest park in Paris, Parc de la Villette , is a popular and exciting destination for both locals and visitors. This large park, which is situated in the city's northeast, welcomes guests with a variety of fun things to do.

Everyone may find something to enjoy at Parc de la Villette, which features a variety of green areas, playgrounds, gardens, and cultural institutions like concert halls and theaters.

It is a well-liked location for families and science aficionados because it is also home to the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, the biggest science museum in Europe.

Parc de la Villette is a must-visit for anybody wishing to experience the various and lively sides of Paris because of its distinctive fusion of nature, art, and entertainment.

24. Musée National d'art Moderne

Musée National d'art Moderne

One of the biggest and most renowned art museums in the world is the Musée National d'Art Moderne , located in Paris' landmark Centre Pompidou.

A sizable collection of modern and contemporary artwork, including pictures, sculptures, photos, and multimedia works, may be found there.

The museum is a must-visit location for art fans due to its extensive collection, which includes works by famous artists including Kandinsky, Matisse, Delaunay, and Picabia.

The Musée National d'Art Moderne is a true gem in the art world and a standout among Paris attractions for travelers to explore and enjoy with its cutting-edge displays and avant-garde architecture.

25. Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles or Château de Versailles, a former royal palace west of Paris, is a place of historic significance.

It served as the home of several French monarchs, notably Louis XIV , popularly referred to as the Sun King. Marie Antoinette was also historically associated with the building.

The palace is well known for its ornate architecture, famous hall, and immaculately kept grounds. The Palace of Versailles, however, was largely abandoned as a representation of monarchy during the French Revolution , and it later transformed into a museum.

It continues to be one of the most well-liked Paris attractions today, allowing tourists to travel back in time and experience the splendor and extravagance of French royalty.

26. Rue des Rosiers

Rue des Rosiers

The bustling Rue des Rosiers in Paris is located in France's famed Le Marais district. It is renowned for its distinctive ambiance, lovely cobblestone streets, and extensive cultural history.

The Jewish cultural center of Paris is located along this street, which is surrounded by kosher eateries, bakeries, stores, and vintage boutiques. This center is renowned for its mouthwatering falafel, authentic Jewish food , and a variety of vintage clothing and antique stores.

Aside from gorgeous architecture and historical sites like synagogues , Rue des Rosiers is home to other notable locations.

Along with other well-known monuments like the Eiffel Tower, it is a must-see for tourists wishing to appreciate Paris' rich cultural past.

27. Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

A prominent museum devoted to ornamental arts ****and design is the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris , France.

Occupying the north-western wing of the Palais du Louvre , this is one of the most renowned museums in Paris . A sizable collection of decorative arts, including furniture, textiles, ceramics, glassware, jewelry, and more, is kept in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

With an emphasis on French workmanship and inventiveness, the museum displays the development of decorative arts and design from the Middle Ages to the present.

For those interested in the rich history and aesthetic brilliance of decorative arts in Paris, France, it is a must-see location.

28. Place du Tertre

Place du Tertre

Place du Tertre in Paris, France, is a lively plaza that has long served as a significant center for artistic activity. This plaza, located in the storied Montmartre district, is renowned for its lovely cobblestone walkways, attractive cafes, and buzzing ambiance.

Numerous artists exhibit their work and create masterpieces there, earning the square its reputation as a hub of the arts. It has served as a meeting spot for tourists, art lovers, and artists who want to capture the essence of Montmartre in their works of art.

Place du Tertre is a must-visit location for anybody looking to experience the artistic and cultural diversity of Paris, France, due to its close proximity to Notre Dame Cathedral.

29. Boulevard Saint Germain

Boulevard Saint Germain

The Boulevard Saint-Germain is one of the city's oldest and ****most historic neighborhoods and it runs through the Latin Quarter.

It is a well-liked location for both locals and tourists because of its recognized classic cafes, stylish boutiques, and historical landmarks.

With its wide sidewalks dotted with cafes and stores, Boulevard Saint-Germain is renowned for its energetic and lively ambiance , making it ideal for leisurely strolling and people-watching.

The street is renowned for its historical significance as well, having long served as a center for thought and creativity.

Boulevard Saint-Germain is a must-see location for anybody discovering the beauty and history of Paris because of its rich legacy, lovely atmosphere, and cultural significance.

30. Palais du Luxembourg

Palais du Luxembourg

In the city center of Paris, there lies a magnificent palace called the Palais du Luxembourg . The French Senate's current home was originally constructed in the 17th century for Marie de' Medici.

The majestic architecture of the Luxembourg Palace, which includes the famous French Renaissance style and lovely public gardens, is well-known.

The palace has been an important location in French history for many years, acting as a political, cultural, and social hub.

It continues to be a representation of elegance and grandeur today, drawing tourists in with its regal allure and historical significance.

For anybody interested in discovering more about Paris's rich history and cultural treasures, a trip to the Palais du Luxembourg is a must.

31. Le Marais

Le Marais

Le Marais , a lovely area in the city center, is well-known for its gorgeous streets, charming buildings, and extensive cultural history. A fusion of history, art, fashion, and gastronomic treats can be found in this hip neighborhood.

Le Marais offers a distinctive fusion of old-world beauty and modern flair with its winding cobblestone alleyways, surviving medieval structures, and opulent residences. It is a popular tourist attraction due to the abundance of art galleries, shops, museums, and cafes.

Le Marais is a must-visit location for anybody wishing to experience the vivacious atmosphere of Paris, from its hip stores and thriving nightlife to its cultural icons like the iconic Place des Vosges and the ancient Carnavalet Museum.

32. Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

The renowned Moulin Rouge cabaret is situated in the lively Pigalle district of Paris, France. It is a tourist attraction in the city and dates back to 1889.

It is noted for its spectacular shows , flashy costumes, and exciting can-can dance routines. The Moulin Rouge has a long history as a center of entertainment, drawing tourists from all over the world to its lavish performances and glitzy setting.

Its unique crimson façade and distinguishing windmill have come to represent Parisian cabaret culture and the city's nightlife.

The Moulin Rouge continues to enthrall spectators with its fusion of music, dancing, and theatrical spectacle, and it is still regarded as a beloved representation of the charm and mystique of Paris.

33. Venus de Milo

Venus de Milo

The Musée du Louvre in Paris, France, is home to the famous ancient Greek statue known as the Venus de Milo .

It is one of the most well-known and esteemed works of art in the entire globe and is thought to have been created by Alexandros of Antioch in the second century BC.

The Venus de Milo, a recognized example of ageless beauty and great craftsmanship, shows the Greek goddess of love and beauty in a graceful position with no arms.

It is regarded as a masterpiece of classical sculpture because of its tranquil and enigmatic expression, which has mesmerized art lovers for centuries.

The Venus de Milo, a famous representation of art and culture, draws tourists from all over the world to the Louvre to take in its magnificence and significance.

34. Marché des Enfants Rouges

Marché des Enfants Rouges

In the hip Marais neighborhood of Paris, France, there is a bustling market called the Marché des Enfants Rouges .

It is a distinctive and thriving culinary destination and the city's oldest covered market, dating back to the 17th century.

The market is renowned for its large variety of food stalls that serve a variety of international cuisines, including French, Moroccan, Japanese, and more.

Everyone enjoys visiting the market to indulge in delectable cuisine , purchase fresh meats, cheeses, and other special things, and take in the vibrant environment.

This market is a great place for foodies in Paris to visit because of its fascinating history, multiculturalism, and culinary pleasures.

35. Sacré-Coeur Basilica (The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris)

Sacré-Coeur Basilica

The beautiful basilica known as Sacré-Coeur is perched atop Montmartre Hill in Paris and has come to represent the city.

With its characteristic Roman-Byzantine design and domed towers, this towering white church provides breathtaking panoramic views of Paris from its terrace.

A well-liked tourist attraction and a house of worship, Sacré-Coeur is renowned for its majesty, beauty, and spiritual significance.

Visitors can explore the basilica's interior, which is filled with beautiful stained glass windows and elaborate mosaics , or they can climb to the top for sweeping views of the city below.

The church is a must-see location for both tourists and locals because of its imposing presence atop Montmartre and its cultural and historical significance.

36. Palais Garnier

Palais Garnier

The Paris Opera House , commonly known as the Palais Garnier , is a well-known cultural icon that draws visitors from all over the world.

Owing to its lavish exterior, grand staircase, and beautiful interiors, this magnificent opera theater is a marvel of architectural architecture and is situated right in the middle of Paris.

Visitors can experience the Palais Garnier's opulent halls, huge auditorium, and stunning stage on guided tours.

The Palais Garnier is a must-see location for fans of opera and architecture equally due to its historical significance, outstanding craftsmanship, and rich creative tradition.

It is a popular tourist destination in Paris due to its iconic status as one of the most well-known opera houses in the world, as well as its luxurious beauty and cultural significance.

37. Place de L'Opéra

Place de L'Opéra

The Place de l'Opéra is a well-liked tourist destination in the city center of Paris recognized for its opulence and historical significance.

The Palais Garnier, the renowned Paris opera house, with its stunning façade and elaborate construction, dominates this famous area. The neighborhood is filled with high-end stores, cafes, and theaters , making it a hive of activity.

This opera house is a must-visit spot for tourists traveling through Paris due to its strategic location, stunning architecture, and cultural significance.

38. Musée de l'Orangerie

Musée de l'Orangerie

A highly recommended Paris attraction for art aficionados and admirers of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art is ****the Musée de l'Orangerie .

The museum is situated in the Jardin des Tuileries and boasts a collection of pieces by well-known artists like Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, and Picasso.

The classic Water Lilies series by Monet is presented in the Musée de l'Orangerie's distinctive oval-shaped rooms, which are one of the museum's primary attractions.

Visitors may immerse themselves in the astounding beauty of these works of art thanks to the exhibition's immersive setting.

The Musée de l'Orangerie is a must-visit for anybody wanting to learn more about Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art because of its calm environment, small size, and great collection.

39. The Left Bank

The Left Bank

The bohemian and creative neighborhood of Paris known as " Rive Gauche ," or the Left Bank , is renowned for its thriving cultural scene and intellectual past.

It is recognized for its historic sites, including the iconic Eiffel Tower , the Latin Quarter with its bustling streets and youthful vibe, and the famed Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, which is known for its literary cafes and art galleries.

For tourists looking for a real Parisian experience, the Left Bank is a must-visit location since it offers a distinctive combination of art, history, and a bohemian attitude.

40. Sainte-Chapelle


The Sainte-Chapelle is a stunning Gothic chapel from the 13th century that is situated in the center of Paris, France. King Louis IX commissioned its construction to store his collection of sacred artifacts, which included the Crown of Thorns.

Over 6,000 square feet of breathtaking stained glass windows in the chapel portray biblical events. The Sainte-Chapelle's unique architectural elements and vibrant stained glass windows are visible to visitors.

It is regarded as one of the world's most exquisite examples of Gothic architecture and a must-see for anybody with an interest in history or the arts.

FAQ About Tourist Attractions in Paris, France

In this section, we’ll look at some frequently asked questions about tourist attractions in Paris.

What are the three tourist attractions in Paris?

The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Notre Dame Cathedral are three popular tourist attractions in Paris. The Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triomphe are all within an hour's drive of one another, or you can brave the Paris metro system to visit all three famous sites.

What is the number 1 tourist attraction in Paris?

The Eiffel Tower is widely considered the number one tourist attraction in Paris. If you are looking for iconic images of Paris, the Eiffel Tower will come to mind first.

What should tourists see and do in Paris?

Tourists in Paris should visit iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Notre Dame de Paris. They should also explore charming neighborhoods, such as the left bank of the Seine where Hemingway, Picasso, and Matisse all once lived.

What is very famous in Paris?

The Eiffel Tower is probably the most famous attraction in Paris. Other very famous attractions in Paris include the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame de Paris, the Mona Lisa painting, and the Moulin Rouge.

Summing Up: Top Tourist Attractions in Paris

Overall, visitors will be in awe of Paris' remarkable attractions. This city has it all , whether you're interested in medieval Paris, modern art and fashion, or you want to soak up the charm of Paris' magnificent gardens.

Paris is a dream destination for anyone looking for an unforgettable experience. Whether you head to Notre Dame for some quiet contemplation or visit a museum to learn about the French Revolution, you will have a fulfilling vacation in France's capital.

Don't pass up the chance to experience these popular tourist attractions and make lifelong memories. Plan your amazing trip to Paris right away.

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Home » Travel Guides » France » 75 Best Things to Do in Paris (France)

75 Best Things to Do in Paris (France)

Even if you’ve never been to Paris you may feel like you already know the City of Light. And in most cities in the world you’d be scraping the barrel trying to find 75 genuinely worthwhile things to do. But that will never be the case in Paris.

Such is the amount of world-beating museums and sights we all know and love, there will never be a shortage of ideas. We reckon you could make another 75 with the rejects and still have the time of your life in Paris.

You can’t compose a list like this without having tried and trusted favourites like the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower, but we also have a few recherché places and experiences that merit the extra minutes on the RER or Métro.

Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Paris :

1. The Louvre

Louvre, Paris

The world’s largest and most visited art museum has more than enough material for an article of its own.

The Louvre Palace started out as a medieval fortress, before becoming a gallery for artists to study antiquities and the works of Old Masters in the 1700s.

Fast forward 230 years and you have a museum that you’d need weeks to fully appreciate.

There are antiquities from scores of world cultures and a collection of Renaissance and Baroque art that puts every other museum in the world to shame.

If you are pressed for time, see the crème de la crème like the 2,200-year-old Winged Victory of Samothrace, Liberty Leading the People (Delacroix), the Portrait of François I (Jean Clouet), the enigmatic Gabrielle d’Estrées and one of her sisters (Unknown) and of course the Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci).

2. Musée d’Orsay

Musée d'Orsay, paris

In the astonishing confines of a Beaux-Arts railway station is a compendium of French art and culture from the mid-19th century to 1914. The Gare d’Orsay is on the left bank of the Seine and was completed in 1900 for the Exposition Universelle.

After becoming obsolete for modern rail travel the building sat idle before being listed and turned into one of the largest art museums in the world, filling the gap between the Louvre and the National Museum of Modern Art at the Pompidou Centre.

In this unforgettable environment are scores of iconic works of art by Impressionists and Post-Impressionists like Renoir (Bal du Moulin de la Galette), Cézanne (The Card Players and Apples and Oranges), van Gogh (Starry Night Over the Rhône) and Manet (Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe).

3. Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Even taking on board the queues and safety measures, how could you possibly come to Paris and not go up one of the world’s most famous landmarks? Built in time for the 1889 World’s Fair, the tower stands at 324 metres and was the tallest structure in the country until the Millau Viaduct was completed in 2004. As an attraction it hardly needs introduction.

If you’re in the city for the first time then it needs to be a priority, but if you’re returning after a few years you can spot the city’s new landmarks, like the Fondation Louis Vuitton, from the observation decks.

Close to 7 million people ascend the Eiffel Tower every year; most go up to the first two levels where there are shops and restaurants, while the third level is still the highest accessible observation deck in Europe at 276 metres.

4. Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame de Paris

Hands-down the most famous and beloved Gothic monument in the world, the Notre-Dame’s unmistakeable towers rise from the eastern point of the Île de la Cité in the Seine.

In Paris’s Medieval core, the cathedral was begun in 1163 and completed just under 200 years later.

After picking up damage in the Revolution this monument was revitalised in the 19th century by the master restorer Viollet-le-Duc.

There are many reasons to brave the crowds and see the Notre-Dame, from the peerless sculpture on the facades (including the famous gargoyles), to the rose windows, stained glass, bell (enshrined in literature by Victor Hugo) and the view that can be had from its towers.

Despite the Revolution the treasury still has relics like the Crown of Thorns, while you can peer into Paris’s distant past in the excavations at the Archaeological Crypt.

5. Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

The largest and maybe the most famous palace in the world isn’t something to take lightly.

A testament to the opulence and excess of the ancient régime, Versailles grew from a hunting lodge in the 17th century to the ultimate statement of power in the century that followed.

André Le Nôtre, who perfected the French formal garden style, and the virtuoso artist and decorator Charles Le Brun are just two of the masters to leave their mark at Versailles.

You need a lot of time to get the most from the palace, its opulent apartments and the historic Hall of Mirrors that links them.

And the main palace is only one element, along with the bewilderingly large grounds, the Royal Opera House, Grand Canal, Neptune Basin, Grand and Petit Trianon, and not to forget Marie Antoinette’s own idyllic village, the Hameau de la Reine.

6. Hôtel des Invalides

Hôtel des Invalides

Louis XIV founded the sumptuous Hôtel des Invalides in 1670 to house destitute and infirmed war veterans.

The building still fills that purpose, as a retirement home for servicemen and women, equipped with medical facilities.

For the military-minded or people enthused by French history there are also museums with martial themes inside.

One, the Musée des Plans, has tactical scale models of cities, designed for military commanders in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

The Musée de l’Armée is France’s national military museum and has Medieval armour, canons, uniforms, military figurines, artillery, a Renault FT17 tank and a V-2 missile.

The Dôme des Invalides is what many come for, a former church and burial place for military heroes.

Here Napoleon’s red quartzite and green granite tomb sits in a circular hollow under the dome.

7. Musée de l’Orangerie

Musée de l'Orangerie

Built by Napoleon III, the grand orangery of the Tuileries Palace’s is a sensational museum for Impressionist and modern art.

The building had been put to a variety of uses before Monet donated his Nymphéas (Water Lilies) panels to the French government.

These were a monument to the end of the First World War and are displayed in the orangery’s fabled oval rooms.

More than 90 years later this cycle of eight paintings on the ground floor remains as subtly powerful as ever.

In the basement you’ll be treated to pieces by some of the most illustrious names in the history of art, like Paul Cézanne, Matisse, Renoir, Rousseau, Sisley, Picasso and Chaim Soutine.

8. Centre Georges Pompidou

Centre Georges Pompidou

Now more than 40 years after it sprouted in the 4th arrondissement’s Beaubourg Area, the postmodern Pompidou Centre and its inside-out design can still provoke a reaction.

Within, there’s an enormous library and alongside it is the IRCAM, avant-garde music institute.

But the main event is of course the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Europe’s largest modern art museum and one of the 10 most visited art museums in the world.

The collections take in every notable movement in modern and contemporary from 1905 to today.

Think Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, Braque, Calder and Klee, but also giants from the last 60 years like Yves Klein, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Nam June Paik and Joseph Beuys.

There are also major temporary exhibitions on the panoramic top floor: Jeff Koons, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Dalí have all featured in the last five years alone.

9. Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

On Place de l’Etoile at the western end of the Champs-Elysées is the monumental astylar arch erected to celebrate the victories and remember the war dead of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

The Arc de Triomphe is also at the centre point of the Axe Historique, a long, straight line linking monuments from La Défense in the west to the Louvre in the east.

And as for the arch its facades are carved with reliefs of key episodes from the 1790s and 1800s, like the Battle of Austerlitz and Fall of Alexandria.

On the pillars are sculptural groups, including the iconic Marsellaise, which has a winged personification of liberty leading the volunteers, to symbolise the Revolution’s 10 August uprising.

And finally, the names of the military leaders of the day are etched in the pillars, and those who died in battle are underlined.

10. Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris

Embedded within the maze-like complex of the Palais de la Cité, the seat of France’s Kings up to the 1300s, the Sainte-Chapelle is a royal chapel constructed in just ten years up 1248. This is one of the first and most important works of Rayonnant Gothic architecture, a style known for its lightness and sense of height as you’ll know the moment you look up at the blue vaults trimmed with gold and dotted with fleurs-de-lis.

The Saint-Chapelle was ordered by King Louis IX to contain the relic of Christ’s Crown of Thorns, which has since been moved to the Notre-Dame.

And even though there was some damage in the Revolution the 15 breathtaking stained glass windows have survived almost unscathed since the 13th century and are held as some of the finest in the world.

11. Musée Marmottan Monet

Musée Marmottan Monet

This museum on the eastern cusp of the Bois de Boulogne started out as a repository for works from the First Empire (Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule). But in the 1950s and 60s the Marmottan received a series of massive donations of Impressionist art, including one from Michel, the second son of Claude Monet.

So in one stroke the museum had the largest single collection of Monet paintings in the world.

Among them is Impression, Sunrise, Monet’s seminal depiction of the port at Le Havre that gave the Impressionist movement its name.

There are also pieces from other luminaries of the period like Renoir, Degas, Gauguin, Morisot, Sisley and many more.

That collection of art and decorative items from the Napoleonic era remains, together with a spellbinding set of Medieval illuminated manuscripts.

12. Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde

Paris’s largest square was plotted in 1755 and completed in 1772 between the Champs-Elysées and the Tuileries Garden.

Early on it was named Place Louis XV, while at the northern end of the square are a couple of splendid examples of the Rococo Louis Quinze architecture in fashion during his reign.

But the times soon changed, and the equestrian statue of Louis XV was dismantled in 1789 when the square became known as Place de la Révolution.

A guillotine was set up, and pillars of the French nobility, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, were executed here.

Today you have to see the fountains created during the reign of Louis-Philippe in the 1830s, and the 3,500-year-old obelisk at the centre, which once stood at the entrance to the Luxor Temple.

13. Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges

In the Marais district allow an hour or so to bask in the historic ambience on this square.

Designed and built in one go at the start of the 17th century, the Place des Vosges is what made the Marais so fashionable for Paris’ upper class over the next 200 years.

The square is still lined with rows of red brick mansions in the Mannerist Louis XIII style, boasting dormer windows and white stone quoins.

You can marvel at the arcades on the ground floor or take in the scene from the dainty garden in the square.

Many of these mansions are now museums, including one preserving Victor Hugo’s residence.

Some other distinguished former residents are the woman of letters Madame de Sévigné and Cardinal Richelieu.

14. Musée Rodin

Musée Rodin, Paris

When August Rodin passed away in 1917 he bequeathed his works and personal collection to the French government, provided his workshop at the fine Hôtel Biron was converted into a museum.

This mansion dates back to the 1700s and is a fitting backdrop for some of the world’s most celebrated sculptures.

Rodin’s greatest works like The Thinker, The Kiss, The Burghers of Calais and The Gates of Hell all await.

Rodin’s muse, Camille Claudel is also represented, and there are thousands of sketches and photographs, many owned by Rodin himself.

Rodin was also an avid collector and gathered ancient antiquities from Egypt, Greece and Rome, as well as paintings by contemporary artists like Renoir and van Gogh.

15. Sacré-Coeur

Sacré-Coeur, Paris

At the highest point of the Butte Montmartre hill is a monument born out of a catastrophe.

Designed as a Romano-Byzantine basilica, the Sacré-Coeur is known the world over and was started in 1875 as penance for France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War.

The ghostly white stone is travertine quarried south of Paris at Château-Landon.

You have to battle up Square Louise Michel below to be rewarded by what might be the best view of Paris.

Head inside to see the apse, which has one of the world’s largest mosaics in its ceiling, named Christ in Majesty.

For an even more complete view of the city you can scale the church’s iconic dome.

16. Musée de Cluny

Musée de Cluny, Paris

South of the Île de la Cité by the Sorbonne is in the sumptuous Gothic and Renaissance mansion of the Abbots of Cluny.

The building’s earliest architecture is from the 14th century, and outside you can potter around the Medieval garden and courtyard dating to the 15th century and embellished with intricate stonework and mullioned windows.

The interior abounds with Medieval art of the highest order and has stained glass, Limoges enamel, carved ivory, illuminated manuscripts, 8th-century gold, sculpted reliefs, architectural fragments and religious statues.

Finest of all though is the Lady and the Unicorn, a set of six wool and silk tapestries woven in Flanders around 1500, seen by many as the pinnacle of art in the Middle Ages.

Also on the site are the sizeable remnants of the 2nd-century Gallo-Roman baths, Les Thermes du Nord.

17. Musée Jacquemart-André

Musée Jacquemart-André

In the 19th century Édouard André, the heir to a banking fortune, invested his wealth in an extraordinary art collection.

André and his wife, the respected painter Nélie Jacquemart, had an nose for Italian Renaissance painting and would head off to Italy each year to buy the works that grace their mansion in the 8th arrondissement.

On the tour of the couple’s state apartments, informal apartments, winter garden, an Italia gallery and private apartments there are paintings by Botticelli, Canaletto, Bellini, Perugino, Uccello, van Dyck, Rembrandt, Frans Hals, as well as sculpture by Donatello and Luca della Robbia.

18. Petit Palais

Petit Palais, Paris

Another Beaux-Arts monument built for the Exposition Universelle in 1900, the Petit Palais is opposite its big brother the Grand Palais, between Pont Alexandre III and the Champs-Élysées.

The building has a trapezoidal shape and in the Beaux-Arts spirit abounds with ostentatious decoration on its facade and in its central courtyard.

Inside is the City of Paris Art Museum, which holds its own against the many other cultural attractions nearby.

With 1,300 pieces, the exhibition charts the entire history of art from antiquity to the 21st century.

Best of all are the Old Masters like Poussin, Rubens and Rembrandt, as well as a complete timeline of 19th-century French painting from Ingres to Cézanne, via Delacroix, Monet, Courbet, Sisley and Pissarro.

19. Palais Garnier

Palais Garnier, Paris

As much a hallmark of Paris as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, the Palais Garnier may well be the world’s most famous opera house.

The venue was commissioned by Napoleon III to coincide with Baron Haussmann’s grand renovation of Paris in the 1870s.

In an exuberant Beaux-Arts style, Palais Garnier is named for its architect Charles Garnier.

The facade has busts of famous composers between its Corinthian columns above figurative sculptures embodying the arts.

You could experience the interior as it was intended at an opera performance (expect to queue at short notice), or take a tour to be overwhelmed by the splendour of the Grand Foyer and Grand Staircase.

20. Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris

In the 6th arrondissement one of Paris’s go-to parks was conceived at the start of the 17th century by Marie de’ Medici for the Luxembourg Palace.

The French Senate now sits at the palace, and also owns the gardens.

In the summer you won’t find a better place to take a few minutes out from a busy day of sightseeing, amid this parterre of formal lawns and gravel paths.

The Jardin du Luxembourg is also a sight of its own, dotted with more than 100 statues, among which is a series for 20 French queens and illustrious women commissioned by Louis-Philippe in 1848. Also present is an orchard with rare apple varieties, several greenhouses and an apiary.

Not to be missed is the Medici Fountain, dating to 1630, but moved and updated in the 19th century.

21. Jardin des Tuileries

Jardin des Tuileries, Paris

On the Axe Historique between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde is the garden of the former Tuileries Palace.

This space was first landscaped in the 1560s by Catherine de’ Medici on the site of former tile factories, which is where the name comes from.

Later, the court landscape architect André Le Nôtre reworked the grounds in his French formal style, centred on the round Grand Bassin fountain.

As a royal property, the Jardin des Tuileries only opened to the public after the Revolution.

In 1792 it was the scene of a massacre when the palace was stormed by a mob trying to get to Louis XVI, and the Swiss Guard protecting the king was killed.

The gardens are rich with public art by Giacometti, Rodin and Maillol.

22. Musée du Quai Branly

Musée du Quai Branly

A few steps along the Seine from the Eiffel Tower is a museum for the indigenous cultures of Oceania, the Americas, Asia and Africa.

There’s no danger of missing the Musée du Quai Branly because one of its buildings is literally alive.

The “green wall” on the “Bâtiment Branly” is the brainchild of botanist Patrick Blanc and is made up of 15,000 plants of 150 varieties.

In the dimly lit and creatively designed interior you’ll go on a winding trip through places and times, confronted by artefacts like Moorish brooches, West African ritual masks, Native American totem poles, portrait masks from Peru and a ceremonial throne from Indonesia.

The museum gardens are also extraordinary, resembling a miniature wilderness, in an environment of pools, streams, tree groves and little hills.

23. Catacombs


In the final decades of the 18th century Paris was in dire need of extra cemetery space.

As grim as it sounds the mass graves at Les Innocents cemetery were quite literally overflowing at that time, so for the answer the city looked to a network of limestone mines dating back to medieval times.

These are in the 14th arrondissement, 20 metres below street level where the temperature is a steady 14 degrees.

Some six million bones were moved here up to 1810. At first these were stacked randomly, but the engineer Louis-Étienne Héricart de Thury decided to make the catacombs a visitable mausoleum, and had the femurs, skulls arranged in jaunty, decorative patterns.

People still get lost in this eerie, 1.7-kilometre maze of tunnels so remember to keep close to your guide!

24. Coulée Verte René-Dumont

Coulée Verte René-Dumont

In 1988 the old railway line heading east through the 12th arrondissement was cleverly reconfigured into a park.

The Coulée Verte runs for almost five kilometres from the Opéra Bastille to the edge of the Boulevard Périphérique using a viaduct and tunnels on the way.

The lines dates back to 1859 and had been left abandoned since the 1960s before being regenerated by architects Philippe Mathieux and Jacques Vergely.

In some places the vegetation that had cropped up along the railway has been kept, while in others, particularly on the Viaduc des Arts in the west, the Coulée Verte has been neatly landscaped with water features, trimmed hedges and manicured bushes.

25. Tour Montparnasse

Tour Montparnasse, Paris

In the neighbourhood of the same name towards the south of the city proper is Paris’s second highest building.

A 210-metre office skyscraper, the Tour Montparnasse went up in the early 70s and its black, monolithic outline stands out against the stone architecture beneath it.

For this reason and many others the Tour Montparnasse has never been an object of universal affection.

But one thing you can’t criticise the tower for is its view, partly because the Tour Montparnasse isn’t part of it! The fastest elevator in Europe will whisk you up 200 metres in 38 seconds.

And at the top you can see more than 40 kilometres on clear days, behind the windows on the 56th floor or on the open-air terrace above.

26. Père Lachaise Cemetery

Père Lachaise Cemetery

On a hill in the eastern 20th arrondissement, the Père Lachaise Cemetery opened at the beginning of the 19th century and is the city’s most coveted place to be laid to rest.

The site itself has some history as it was once the home of François de la Chaise, Louis XIV’s confessor.

Among the cemetery’s 70,000 plots are hundreds of important historical figures.

The joy of a visit is tracking down their plots and checking out the Historicist designs of their mausoleums and memorial stones among in the surrounding greenery.

And to give a sense of who’s buried here, the list includes Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison, as well as French cultural giants like Balzac, Camille Corot, Chopin, Géricault, Molière, Pissaro and Edith Piaf to name just a few.

27. Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

In a labyrinthine building on the Rue de Rivoli between the Louvre and Tuileries is a museum for decorative arts from Medieval times to the 20th century.

Established by the Union des Arts Décoratifs in 1905, the museum and its collection are vast.

Around 6,000 objects are on show at any one time, from Renaissance tapestries, to tableware, graphic arts, silk wallpaper and sculpture.

If you’re pushed for time you could decide to concentrate on one sphere, be it Art Nouveau and Art Deco design (covered by 10 whole rooms), or porcelain by the Sèvres Manufactory.

The glass collection is the richest in France, and has incredible pieces by Lalique, Baccarat, Tiffany and Gallé to name a few.

28. Musée Nissim de Camondo

Musée Nissim de Camondo

In 1911 the banker Moïse de Camondo had this regal Neoclassical mansion built in the 8th arrondissement to house his invaluable collection of decorative arts from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The house has been preserved exactly as it was a century ago, with furniture and decorative pieces still in place.

Anyone with an eye for French savoir-faire will be in their element among three floors of the finest furniture, textiles and porcelain.

There are paintings by Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Savonnerie carpets woven in the 1600s for the Louvre’s Grand Galerie, Aubusson and Beauvais tapestries, and chairs, tables and desks by artisans associated the Garde Meuble (Royal Furniture Repository).

29. Panthéon


On the Latin Quarter’s Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the Panthéon looks out over the Seine and is where some of France’s most famous citizens have been interred.

Constructed between 1758 and 1790, it was originally intended as a church.

But no sooner was it completed than France was in the midst of the Revolution and Mirabeau ordered it to be secularised and turned into a mausoleum for great Frenchmen.

The Panthéon borrows from the Pantheon in Rome, and was one of the first Neoclassical buildings in France.

Among the burials in the necropolis are the cream of French science, thought and culture, like Marie Curie, Rousseau, Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and Émile Zola.

30. Jardin des Plantes

Jardin des Plantes, Paris

France’s chief botanical garden, the Jardin des Plantes has more than 10,000 species growing in themed gardens and greenhouses on the left bank.

One of the centrepieces is the Alpine Garden, with 3,000 species next to twisting paths.

There’s also an experimental garden, an Art Deco-style winter garden, an exceptionally diverse rose garden and Australian and Mexican greenhouses.

On the north side the park has a small zoo, which was moved from Versailles during the Revolution.

And on top of all that there are branches of the French Museum of Natural History on the edges of the park, including galleries for Palaeontology and Anatomy, Botany, Mineralogy and Geology and Evolution, all in separate pavilions.

31. Musée des Arts et Métiers

Musée des Arts et Métiers

At the Saint-Martin-des-Champs Priory by the Arts et Métiers Métro station is a museum championing France’s greatest inventions.

The setting is historic on its own, as the monastery buildings are among Paris’s best preserved pieces of Medieval heritage.

But what’s inside them is even more thrilling.

The museum was founded in 1794 to recognise French contributions to science and technology, and around 2,500 objects from an archive of more than 80,000 are on show.

Some that helped change the world are Foucault’s pendulum, Bartholdi’s model of the Statue of Liberty, a host of early aircraft like Ader Avion III by Clément Ader, a Panhard & Levassor Type A (one of the earliest cars) and Lenoir’s Gas Engine from 1860.

32. Bois de Vincennes

Bois de Vincennes, Paris

Southeast of the city, the Bois de Vincennes is the largest park in Paris at almost 1,000 hectares.

To put that into perspective that is 10% of Paris’s total area! The park was founded between 1855 and 1866 as part of Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann’s Renovation of Paris.

Long before that it had been a hunting park for the Medieval Kings of France, who resided at the Château de Vincennes on the northern border of the park.

That property, famed for its towering keep was where the English King Henry V died in 1422. There’s a host of attractions in the Bois de Vincennes, which is hardly surprising for the park’s size.

As well as the Paris Zoo there’s also the Parc Floral, a 31-hectare botanical attraction that has a sculpture garden with works by Alexander Calder and Alberto Giacometti.

33. Saint-Germain-des-Prés


On the left bank of the Seine, Saint-Germain-des- Prés is a quarter that rose to fame in the middle of the 20th century when it became the haunt of thinkers, writers and artists like Jean-Paul Sartre, Juliette Gréco, Samuel Beckett and Alberto Giacometti.

The quarter’s reputation for wild nightlife and non-conformism went back to just after the First World War: Low rents and proximity to the university drew young, fashionable types, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés was home to Paris’s jazz clubs and its gay community, which continued to thrive even in the Second World War.

Now, although the louche ambience and artists have gone, Saint-Germain-des-Prés remains young, stylish and dynamic, and somewhere to come for bookshops, bars, galleries, historic cafes and design shops on narrow streets.

34. Grand Palais

Grand Palais, Paris

Across from the Petit Palais, the Grand Palais is from that flurry of construction leading up to the Exposition Universelle in 1900. Crowned with Le Tricolor, the building is nothing short of spectacular and another of Paris’s enduring monuments thanks to its exuberant Beaux-Arts design and floating steel and glass vaults.

The Grand Palais is still among the city’s top exhibition venues: At the time of writing there were concurrent exhibitions for Gauguin, Rubens and Irving Penn.

Also inside is the Palais de la Découverte, a much-loved science museum founded in 1937. A fascinating exhibit here is the School of Rats, where real research is being done on the learning processes of animals.

35. Le Marais

Le Marais, Paris

In the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, the Marais was once swampy, uninhabitable ground north of the city.

But from the 13th century to the 18th century it became the preferred address for Paris’s nobility.

The neighbourhood’s golden age was in the 1600s and 1700s, when the delightful Place des Vosges was built.

There are dignified properties from around this time across the district.

See the Hôtel de Soubise, now housing the Museum of French History, and the neighbouring Hôtel de Rohan, which holds the National archives.

The Marais is now one of the hippest quarters in the city, with a large LBGT community, endless art galleries, artists’ ateliers and enough boutiques to last a lifetime.

36. Canal Saint-Martin

Canal Saint-Martin, Paris

Crossing the cosmopolitan 19th, 10th and 11th arrondissements, the Canal Saint-Martin is 4.5 kilometres long and dates back 200 years.

Beginning at the reservoir in Parc de la Villette, the canal is open-air all the way to Place de la République when it moves underground until Place de la Bastille.

The canal was started under Napoleon in 1805 with the intention of channelling clean drinking water into the city and minimising diseases like cholera.

Later that century warehouses were built on its banks, and these have since become stylish homes.

The banks are lined with shops, cafes and bars with waterside terraces, and you can pause for a few minutes under the foliage in an area of the city not many tourists see.

37. Montmartre

Montmartre, Paris

A byword for Belle Époque bohemianism, Montmartre is a more intimate Paris away from the grand boulevards and towering apartment blocks.

These cobblestone streets on the stiff slope of the Butte Montmartre are flanked by cute, low houses and invite you to explore to your heart’s content.

Montmartre was really put on the map in the last decades of the 19th century when Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Pissarro, van Gogh and Modigliani lived and worked in the neighbourhood.

There’s nightlife of course, and this becomes bawdier further down the hill in the Pigalle quarter, home of the Moulin Rouge.

Look for the Moulin de la Galette, a 17th-century windmill immortalised by Renoir, van Gogh and Pissarro.

38. Église Saint-Sulpice

Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris

An obligatory sight in Saint-Germain-des-Près, the Église Saint-Sulpice is Paris’s second largest church behind the Notre-Dame.

Anne of Austria, Queen to Louis XIII, laid the foundation stone for a dramatic Baroque redesign in 1646, although work would drag on for almost a century due to conflicts like the Fronde civil wars from 1648 to 1653. The western facade, begun in 1732, was initially inspired by St Paul’s Cathedral in London, but was reworked throughout the 18th century to bring it more in line with Classical architecture.

The grand scale of the church becomes clear as soon as you step inside: The highlight is the first side chapel on the right, the Chapelle des Saints-Anges, which has murals painted by Delacroix from 1855-1861.

39. Latin Quarter

Latin Quarter, Paris

In the days of Ancient Lutetia, the Roman elites lived on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, now capped by the Panthéon.

The name, Latin Quarter, doesn’t come from that time, but is related to the Paris-Sorbonne University: As Latin was the language of academia, lectures were held in Latin all the way up to the Revolution, so it was the main tongue in this part of the city.

Despite rising rents, the Latin Quarter still has a young feel on its tangle of alleyways.

That’s down to the many institutions of higher education and research centres.

And the high concentration of young people made it the nerve centre of the protest movements in the 1960s that shook France to its foundations.

In May 1968 students took Place St.

Michel and even declared it an independent state.

40. Les Passages Couverts

 Passage du Grand-Cerf, Paris

Paris wouldn’t be Paris without its covered shopping arcades, which are mostly found in the 1st, 2nd and 8th arrondissements on the right bank.

Nearly all are from the first decades of the 19th century, smartly cutting between two parallel streets to make the most of the limited space in the city at the time.

Of the 150 passages before 1850, most were lost during Baron Haussmann’s renovation of Paris, but nearly all of the survivors are in immaculate condition and host tearooms, cafes and sometimes quirky, old-time shops.

The swankiest are Passage du Grand-Cerf, Galerie Véro-Dodat and Galerie Vivienne.

And two others worth a mention are Passage du Caire, the longest at 360 metres and hosting clothing wholesalers, and Galerie Colbert, which is owned by the National Institute of Art History and the only public passage without shops.

41. Jardin d’Acclimatation

Jardin d'Acclimatation

As a city of art, serious museums and nightlife, Paris isn’t always ideal for kids.

But a more convenient and much cheaper alternative to Disneyland Paris lies in the northern part of the Bois de Boulogne.

This theme park has changed a lot since it was opened by Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie in 1860, but is old-school and traditional at heart.

There are carousels, pony rides, a zip-line, a miniature train, an enchanted river ride, a boating lake, small roller coasters and all manner of playgrounds including one with water that is always a hit with little ones in summer.

And ever-popular are the animal habitats for donkeys, sheep, alpacas, camels, pigs, or the peacocks that go where they please.

42. Fondation Louis Vuitton

Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris

On the southern fringe of the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne is what looks like a massive mechanical creature crouching in the foliage.

This is Paris’s newest major art attraction and opened in October 2014 after almost a decade of planning.

The architect was Frank Gehry, as you might tell from one glance at the building’s abstract lines, comprising 12 “sails”. There’s a small exhibition about how this building was designed and constructed, and two headline-grabbing temporary exhibitions a year.

At the time of writing this article the main event was an exhibition by MoMa with works by Picasso, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Max Beckmann, Jasper Johns, Gustav Klimt, Rem Koolhaas, Paul Cézanne and many more.

43. Pont Neuf

Pont Neuf, Paris

Translating to “New Bridge”, Pont Neuf is in fact the oldest stone bridge in Paris, begun in 1578 and completed in 1606. It crosses the Seine on the western point of Île de la Cité, and there are seven arches from the right bank to the island, and then five from the island to the left bank.

Henry IV ordered the bridge, and he is remembered with an equestrian statue from 1618 at the point where the bridge crosses the island.

Like many royal monuments the statue fell victim to the Revolution and was destroyed in 1792, but then restored in 1818. Come around to the side for a better look at the bridge’s “mascarons”, grotesque faces on the corbels in the cornice.

You don’t need to count them, but there are 384 in all.

44. Musée Albert Kahn

Musée Albert Kahn Garden

At the dawn of the 20th century the banker Albert Kahn set out on a mission to record the world with photography and film.

Over 22 years he sent photographers and cameramen to all corners of the globe,. And the project was only stopped by the Wall Street Crash.

In the end “Archives of the Planet” amounted to 72,000 colour pictures and 180,000 metres of film.

These form the basis for the museum exhibition.

Outside are gardens of the world that he commissioned more than a century ago.

In four hectares there are French and English gardens, as well as a traditional and contemporary Japanese garden.

Kahn also recreated a patch of forest from the Vosges, and a “blue forest” where azaleas and rhododendrons flower in spring.

45. Guimet Museum

Guimet Museum, Paris

The industrialist Émile Étienne Guimet was an avid traveller and in the 1870s was sent to Asia to conduct a survey of religion on the continent.

During his trip he amassed an inconceivably large and rich collection of art.

The museum, which opened in 1889, is one of the largest arrays of Asian art outside Asia.

And what’s clever about the exhibition is the way contemporary art is sprinkled in with antiquities.

To give you sense of what’s in store, there are Indian fabrics, Greco-Buddhist sculptures from Afghanistan and Pakistan and Japanese samurai armour.

And from China there are statues and porcelain, paintings and reliefs from various dynasties dating back to the Han Dynasty in the 1st century.

46. Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois


If you have time to kill before your entry slot for the Louvre, you could do a lot worse than take a closer look at this stunning church on the east side.

Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois dates all the way back to the 600s, and has a mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance design.

The 15th-century main portal is original, and has beautiful carvings on its archivolts and jambs, while inside is a sensational 13th-century wooden statue of Saint-Germain, a Flemish 16th-century altarpiece and a pew designed for Louis XIV by Charles Le Brun and Claude Perrault in the 1680s.

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Charles-André van Loo and many other artists who once lived at the Louvre have their tombs at this church.

47. Cour Carrée

Cour Carrée

Something else to divert you while you’re waiting to go into the Louvre is the most celebrated of the palace’s courtyards: The Cour Carrée was ordered by François I as part of the Western Extension in the 16th century and is held as one of the greatest achievements of Mannerist architecture in France.

Pierre Lescot led the design between 1546 and 1551, producing a benchmark for French Classicism.

Responsible for the ornamentation was the sculptor Jean Goujon, who contributed the masterful friezes, high-reliefs, drapery and statues in the niches from 1555 to 1562.

48. Sèvres – Cité de la Céramique

French National Ceramics Museum

Hop on Line 9 of the Métro to the western suburbs to visit the French National Ceramics Museum.

Sèvres is the most revered name in French ceramics, and has been the site of a Royal, then Imperial and now National Manufactory since 1756. In 2010 a joint museum opened in Sèvres and at the other famous porcelain centre at Limoges.

The Paris branch has almost 50,000 pieces of ceramics from all eras.

The largest chunk of the exhibition deals with invaluable European porcelain from the 1400s to the 1800s, but there’s also Moorish earthenware, Ancient Greek ceramics, Chinese porcelain and terracotta from North America.

49. Parc de Saint-Cloud

Parc de Saint-Cloud

A French “Jardin Notable”, the Parc de Saint-Cloud is on the ground of a lavish royal property overlooking the Seine and blessed with a vista of the city to die for.

The Château de Saint-Cloud had been a residence for Marie Antoinette, but was obliterated in the shelling during the Siege of Paris in 1870. Now, the outline of the old chateau has been marked by yew tree topiaries, while André Le Nôtre’s Baroque formal gardens are still here, along with Mare Antoinette’s rose garden.

You can while away a few minutes at La Lanterne revelling in a panorama of Paris that not many tourists get to see.

50. Pont Alexandre III

Pont Alexandre III, Paris

Completed for the Exposition Universelle in 1900, what may be Paris’s finest bridge is named after Tsar Alexander II, celebrating France’s ties with Russia.

Built with a single arch to allow boats to pass below, you could call Pont Alexandre III the perfect Beaux-Arts statement in the way it combines technical mastery with extravagant decoration.

On each bank there’s a pair of tall stone pedestals or socles, serving both as a counterbalance and decoration.

They are topped with golden statues of Fames restraining Pegasus.

The two on the right bank represent the arts and science, while those on the left bank are for commerce and industry.

Then above the bridge’s arch are two nymphs to symbolise the Franco-Russian alliance, one for the Seine and one for St Petersburg’s Neva River.

51. Île Saint-Louis

Île Saint-Louis

The smaller of Paris’s river islands, Île Saint-Louis is a just upriver from Île de la Cité and links to neighbour by the Pont Saint-Louis.

Where Île de la Cité is full of pomp, this island is quieter and residential, but lovely in its own way.

It was developed in the reign of Louis XIII from the beginning of the 17th century, and there are still a few handsome townhouses from this period.

In the 1700s and 1800s this was a neighbourhood in the same vein as Le Marais or Faubourg Saint-Germain.

The purpose of a visit now is to escape the crowds, explore its small grid of streets and dine at one of the bistros or brasseries.

Berthillon here is an ice cream parlour with worldwide fame for its exotic sorbets like passion fruit and fig.

52. Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Paris

In 1867 a park opened on what had only recently been a quarry for gypsum and limestone in the northeast of the city proper.

The designer was Jean-Charles Alphand, Napoleon III’s trusted landscape architect during Baron Haussmann’s overhaul of the city.

The old quarry was remodelled into a thing of beauty, reminiscent of Ancient Rome.

At the top of a 50-metre cliff is the Temple de la Sibylle, based on the Temple of Tivoli in Vesta.

In the rocky mass there’s also a grotto, which is a vestige of the quarry’s galleries.

The picturesque waterfall inside the grotto is fed by waters from the Canal Saint-Martin and ends up in the lake at the base of the rock.

53. Musée des Arts Forains

Musée des Arts Forains

In an old wine warehouse in the southeast of the city is an astounding collection of vintage fairground rides and automata put together by the art and antiques dealer Jean Paul Favand.

There are 14 rides in total, among which are carousels and merry-go-rounds, as well as 16 stalls for games and more than 1,500 smaller curiosities like a Hooghuys Organ, all dating from 1850 to 1950. Up close you’ll see the craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into the sculptures on the carousels, amusement games and automata.

Outside the Christmas period you have to sign up for a tour in advance.

These are given in French but there’s a brochure in English explaining the exhibits.

54. Galeries Lafayette Haussmann

Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, Paris

A quick jaunt from the Palais Garnier is the flagship of the revered department store brand, Galeries Lafayette.

Receiving around 25 million shoppers a year, this one store generates 1.8 billion Euros in sales, more than London’s Harrods or New York’s Bloomingdale’s.

The Galeries Lafayette Haussmann opened in 1894, and a location designed to catch Paris’s moneyed bourgeoisie.

In 1907 it was given its first makeover, and this is when the monumental Neo-Byzantine was installed, 43 metres above the shop floor.

A later update in 1932 gave the store its characteristic Art Deco styling.

Luxury shoppers need look no further, but if you’re just here to see the sights, make sure to go up to the terrace to gaze over the Opera Garnier, Invalides and Eiffel Tower.

55. Parc Monceau

Parc Monceau, Paris

Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans was a cousin of Louis XVI and wouldn’t be spared the guillotine during the Revolution.

But from 1778 he built himself a park in what is now the extremely posh northern part of the 8th arrondissement.

The park was right on the Wall of the Ferme générale, a system of tolls built not long before the Revolution to collect taxes on goods brought into the city.

The big rotunda at the main entrance of the park is from 1787 and is one such toll station.

There are original monuments from Louis Philippe’s garden like an ice house shaped like a pyramid and a gorgeous Classical colonnade beside the pond.

In 1797-98 the aviation pioneer André-Jacques Garnerin performed world firsts with hot air balloons and parachutes in this park.

56. Marché d’Aligre

Marché d'Aligre, Paris

The best food markets in Paris are a little off the tourist trail, and there’s a great one in Quartier des Quinze-Vingts a couple of streets up from the Coulée Verte René-Dumont.

A vital local amenity the Marché d’Aligre trades six days a week, and has both outdoor stalls and a covered market with three halls.

At the permanent stalls inside are boucheries and charcuteries selling meat preparations from around France, so that might be cured Bayonne ham, rilettes, pâté, terrines, foie gras as well as chicken and pork cooked on rotisseries.

The square outside is packed with noisy traders selling seasonal fruit, vegetables, flowers and fresh herbs.

57. Basilica of Saint-Denis

Basilica of Saint-Denis, Paris

All but three Kings of France were buried at this Gothic church in the suburb of Saint-Denis.

It’s a satisfying timeline of French history that begins with Clovis I in the 6th century and ends with Louis XVIII who died in 1824. The neighbourhood in the north of the city isn’t the prettiest, but is only a quick journey on the RER or Transilien trains.

Your sense of adventure will be rewarded by dozens of stunning recumbent tombs sculpted between the 1100s and 1500s.

The basilica was inevitably ransacked during the Revolution and the bodies were moved to a mass grave.

When the Bourbons were restored to the throne after Napoleon the mixed-up remains were moved to the crypt where they’re kept in an ossuary and their names are marked by marble plaques.

58. La Défense

La Défense, Paris

At the far western end of the Axe Historique is a district that looks like nowhere else in Paris.

A jungle of futuristic glass and steel architecture, La Défense cropped up in the 1960s and new skyscrapers are still being built today.

It goes without saying that not many people visit Paris for the skyscrapers, but if you’re fond of modern art and architecture La Défense is a must.

More than 70 listed pieces of public art can be found here, most around the pedestrianised central extension of the Axe Historique, also home to the massive Quatre Temps mall.

There are pieces by Alexander Calder, Joan Miró and Richard Serra, along with newer installations by the likes of Guillaume Bottazzi.

But the undoubted emblem of La Défense is the 110-metre Grande Arche, clearly visible from Arc de Triomphe and completed in 1989.

59. Marché Poncelet


At the other end of the spectrum to Marché d’Aligre, Marché Poncelet is an upscale market in the affluent 17th arrondissement.

Just one stop on the Métro from the Arc de Triomphe, it’s a given that you’ll have to pay a higher price for groceries and high-quality treats.

The market is on Rue Poncelet and Rue Bayen, where permanent shops have counters along the street.

There are wine merchants, fromageries, butchers, including one selling horse meat, a branch of the revered Daguerre Marée fishmongers, and of course enormous selections of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Come by early and treat yourself to an oven-fresh croissant.

60. Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine

Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine

The terrace of the Palais de Chaillot has a view of the Eiffel Tower across the Seine that is etched in history.

This building comprising separate eastern and western wings dates to the Exposition Internationale in 1937 and replaced Palais du Trocadéro, established 50 years earlier for the 1878 World’s Fair.

There are three museums in the Palais de Chaillot, the most fascinating of which is Museum of French Monuments, set up by the highly influential architect and restorer Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1879. In the exhibition are casts of the marvellous cathedral portals around the country, along with a gallery of stained glass and examples of innovative modern building designs, like a full-sized replica of an apartment by Le Corbusier.

61. Saint-Eustache

Saint-Eustache, Paris

Many world-changing personalities have passed through the portal of this church at Les Halles.

Louis XIV received his first communion at Saint-Eustache, while the future Cardinal Richelieu, Molière and future Madame de Pompadour were baptised here.

Later, Mozart chose the church for his mother’s funeral and the last rites for Mirabeau were read at this spot in 1791. The church was started in 1532 and its architecture is made up of Renaissance ornamentation on a Gothic plan.

Despite being relatively short the 33-metre vaults create an uplifting sense of scale and wonderful sound.

Saint-Eustache also has France’s largest organ, and free concerts are given every Sunday, while symphony orchestras regularly take advantage of the building’s superlative acoustics.

62. La Cinémathèque Française

La Cinémathèque Française

Near the Seine in the southeast of the city is the kind of eye-popping building that only Frank Gehry could have designed.

La Cinémathèque Française is in the former American Center, built in 1994, and is a repository of wonders from the history of cinema.

There are magic lanterns from the 17th century (and a collection of 25,000 projection plates) and the inventions by Auguste and Louis Lumière, along with cameras, posters, sets, props and even costumes worn by Louis Brooks, Greta Garbo and Vivien Leigh.

Every year a new heavyweight of film is chosen for an exhibition, and recent subjects have been Antonioni, Scorsese, Truffaut and Gus van Sant.

63. Stade de France

Stade de France, Paris

The other big draw in Saint-Denis is France’s national sport stadium.

The Stade de France was constructed for the 1998 World Cup (won by France), and echoes with two decades of sporting memories.

You can sample the atmosphere is at national football and rugby matches, or during the many concerts held each year.

But if you’re keen to know the innovative methods used in construction, and want to go behind the scenes you can join one of the daily 90-minute tours taking you pitch-side and into the dressing rooms.

On the way there’s tons of memorabilia like signed sports jerseys and guitars, as well as handprints left by some stars who have performed in the stadium like Zidane, Laurent Blanc and Jonny Wilkinson.

64. Conciergerie

Conciergerie, Paris

Up to the 14th century the Conciegerie (part of the Palais de la Cité) was the seat of the French kings until Charles V moved across to the Louvre Palace in 1358. From the end of the 14th century all the way up to the 1900s the Conciergerie was used as a prison, where inmates were organised according to their wealth.

The most notorious phase was the Revolution when Marie Antoinette was counted among the prisoners, but Napoleon III was also an inmate after a failed coup against King Louis Philippe.

Today the building is mostly taken up by law courts, but a large section is open to the public, revealing the historic kitchens and Gothic Salle des Gardes (Gaurds’ Hall) and Salle des Gens d’Armes (Soldiers’ Hall).

65. Faubourg Saint-Germain

Faubourg Saint-Germain

To encounter Paris at its most palatial, continue along the Champ de Mars from the Eiffel Tower to enter the Faubourg Saint-Germain, France’s most wealthy district.

Up to the 17th century this patch of land on the left bank of the Seine was all marshes and farms before Louis XIV built Les Invalides.

And slowly, over the course of the 1700s Paris’s nobility started to switch their attention to this quarter from Le Marais, as the left bank was quieter and less polluted.

One of the finest palaces built in that time are Palais de la Légion d’Honneur, originally built in the 1780s for Frederick III, Prince of Salm-Kyrburg, who was guillotined in 1794.The Prime Minister’s residence, Hôtel Matignon (1725) is also in the district, and was built at such great expense that its owner was forced to sell as soon as it was finished.

66. Marché Bastille

Marché Bastille, Paris

The Boulevard Richard Lenoir, lying on top of the Canal Saint-Martin, welcomes one of Paris’s biggest and fanciest markets every Thursday and Sunday.

From roughly 07:30 ’til 14:30 on Thursday and 15:00 on Sunday there several supermarkets’ worth of produce at more than 100 stalls.

These are laden with fruit, vegetables, fresh herbs, charcuterie, eggs, cheese, preserves, bread, pastries, fish and seafood.

All this goodness is bound to leave you peckish and there’s no lack of stalls selling freshly shucked oysters and white wine to go with it, potato gratin, or chicken hot of the rotisserie.

67. Seine River Trip

Seine River Trip

Yes it may be a cliché, but there’s logic to taking a cruise on the River Seine.

And that’s because so many of the Paris’s monuments are on the river, from the Eiffel Tower in the west to the Notre-Dame in the east.

With continuous guided commentary to fill you in, you’ll float past the famous embankments and under bridges like Pont Neuf and Pont Alexandre III. The river excursions business is run by a duopoly of Bateaux Mouches and Bateaux Parisiens, and both provide a menu of cruises whether you want a simple sightseeing trip in a glass boat or fine dining on the water in the evening.

68. Rue Crémieux

Rue Crémieux

If you’re waiting for a train at Gare de Lyon, give yourself a minute or two to amble along this sweet pedestrian street close by.

With its shutters and colourful pastel painted walls, Rue Crémieux looks like it could be in a village in the south rather than one of Paris’s busiest transport hubs.

Some of the odd-numbered houses on the east side have trompe l’oeil paintings of birds, vines, windows or timbers, and every house on the street has a little flourish of plants and flowers in pots along the pavement.

69. Palais-Royal

Palais-Royal, Paris

Now occupied by the Constitutional Council and the Ministry of Culture the Palais-Royal is a former royal property opposite the Louvre just off Rue Saint-Honoré.

The palace’s first name though was Palais-Cardinal, and Richelieu lived in the palace up to his death in 1642. One of many important tenants was Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, who was regent after the five-year-old Louis XV ascended the throne in 1715 and formed a government at the Palais-Royal.

At the inner courtyard is Les Deux Plateaux, an art installation of striped columns of varying sizes by Daniel Buren.

Walled by the palace’s arcades are the 18th-century gardens, designed by Victor Louis, with straight, precise rows of trees trimmed to right angles and a circular basin at the centre.

70. Musée Picasso

Musée Picasso, Paris

In Le Marais the Musée Picasso reopened in 2014 after a five-year renovation.

The museum is in the refined Hotel Salé, a Baroque townhouse commissioned in the 1650s for a tax farmer collecting salt tax, which explains the name.

The museum is state-owned, and gathered its collection by allowing Picasso’s descendants to pay inheritance tax in the form of art.

Since 1968 it has assembled a remarkable array of works, more than 5,000 in total, charting each of Picasso’ phases, but also revealing his creative process.

The sculpture collection is acclaimed, but there are also paintings, sketches, drawings, engravings, illustrations, photographs and filmed footage.

Some of Picasso’s private collection is also here, from ancient Iberian Bronzes and African statues to paintings by Matisse, Degas, Seurat and Paul Cézanne.

71. Rue Saint-Honoré

Rue Saint-Honoré

If you’re in the mood for an idle stroll there’s no better street than Rue Saint-Honoré.

East to west, this street is roughly parallel with Rue de Rivoli and runs from Les Halles to La Madeleine the famed 12th-century church re-founded as a Neoclassical temple by Napoleon.

If there’s a luxury brand worth its salt, you’ll find it on Rue Saint-Honoré.

The high-end shops are clustered around the west end of the street where there are names like Max Mara, Valentino, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo and Fendi at every turn.

There’s lots of interesting trivia tied to the street: Joan of Arc was wounded here in 1429 during an attack on Paris when it was controlled by the English, and in 1610 Henry IV was assassinated just off the eastern end on Rue de la Ferronnerie by a Catholic fanatic.

72. Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen

Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen

On the other side of Montmartre, just beyond the Boulevard Périphérique is a market with the largest concentration of antiques dealers and second-hand shops in the world.

The Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen was born as an assortment of rag-and-bone dealers removed from the city, and its creation was linked to Eugène Poubelle making the dustbin compulsory in Paris in 1884. The market has permanent shops and stalls on indoor and outdoor streets, and is open Saturday to Monday.

Each street has its own character and specialty, be it furniture, vintage cameras, toys, kitchenware and books.

The most upmarket stalls are at the outdoor Marché Paul Bert Serpette frequented by the rich and famous hunting for antique jewellery, clothing and furniture.

73. Rue des Martyrs

Rue des Martyrs, Paris

Climbing into Montmarte from Le Pigalle, with the dome of the Sacré-Cœur in sight, Rue des Martyrs is a slice of the earthy Paris of old.

There are some 200 independent businesses on the street, from thriving cafes and bars to bookshops, antiques dealers, grocers, patisseries, specialty food shops and the live music venue Le Divan du Monde.

The street got its name for supposedly being the place where Saint Denis, patron saint of Paris, was decapitated by the Romans in the 200s.

Meanwhile its shops and the everyday people living on the street were the subject of an entire book by New York Times’ Paris correspondent Elaine Sciolino in 2016.

74. Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios Park

Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios Park

Disneyland is by far the furthest attraction on this list from the centre of Paris.

But it’s doable if you catch the RER A from Nation, or even faster and a bit more expensive on the TGV from Charles de Gaulle Airport.

For youngsters the whole thing will be a dream come true.

At Disneyland Park they can meet Mickey and their favourite movie characters, and hit rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain: Mission 2. Fantasyland and the Sleeping Beauty Castle have enough magic to bring a smile to jaded grown-ups.

Older kids and adults could have even more fun at the Walt Disney Studios Park, a separate park about the moviemaking business, for stunt shows with high production values.

75. Palais de Tokyo

Palais de Tokyo, Paris

Upriver from the Palais de Chaillot is another monumental project for the World Fair in 1937. In 2001 the west wing of the Palais de Tokyo became a space for contemporary art exhibitions, also staging talks, fashion shows, concerts, movie screenings and performance art.

The stark, neutral design of the building makes it a kind of blank canvas for contemporary artists: Since 2012 it has added permanent “site-specific installations” by Laurent Derobert, Emmanuelle Lainé and Jean-Michel Alberola, among others.

The Palais de Tokyo also has a bookshop, two gardens, two restaurants and lots of activities and workshops for kids.

75 Best Things to Do in Paris (France):

  • Musée d'Orsay
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Notre-Dame de Paris
  • Palace of Versailles
  • Hôtel des Invalides
  • Musée de l'Orangerie
  • Centre Georges Pompidou
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Sainte-Chapelle
  • Musée Marmottan Monet
  • Place de la Concorde
  • Place des Vosges
  • Musée Rodin
  • Sacré-Coeur
  • Musée de Cluny
  • Musée Jacquemart-André
  • Petit Palais
  • Palais Garnier
  • Jardin du Luxembourg
  • Jardin des Tuileries
  • Musée du Quai Branly
  • Coulée Verte René-Dumont
  • Tour Montparnasse
  • Père Lachaise Cemetery
  • Musée des Arts Décoratifs
  • Musée Nissim de Camondo
  • Jardin des Plantes
  • Musée des Arts et Métiers
  • Bois de Vincennes
  • Saint-Germain-des-Prés
  • Grand Palais
  • Canal Saint-Martin
  • Église Saint-Sulpice
  • Latin Quarter
  • Les Passages Couverts
  • Jardin d'Acclimatation
  • Fondation Louis Vuitton
  • Musée Albert Kahn
  • Guimet Museum
  • Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois
  • Cour Carrée
  • Sèvres - Cité de la Céramique
  • Parc de Saint-Cloud
  • Pont Alexandre III
  • Île Saint-Louis
  • Parc des Buttes Chaumont
  • Musée des Arts Forains
  • Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
  • Parc Monceau
  • Marché d'Aligre
  • Basilica of Saint-Denis
  • Marché Poncelet
  • Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine
  • Saint-Eustache
  • La Cinémathèque Française
  • Stade de France
  • Conciergerie
  • Faubourg Saint-Germain
  • Marché Bastille
  • Seine River Trip
  • Rue Crémieux
  • Palais-Royal
  • Musée Picasso
  • Rue Saint-Honoré
  • Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen
  • Rue des Martyrs
  • Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios Park
  • Palais de Tokyo

Paris Insiders Guide

What's On in Paris


Christmas in Paris

  • Christmas in Paris
  • The Eiffel Tower

Monuments in Paris

Historic churches, history museums.

  • The Louvre Museum
  • Musée d'Orsay

The Top Paris Museums

Artist museums, more paris museums.

Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line Tours

Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line

The 6 essential day trips, 10 more iconic day tours, what to do in paris, seine river cruises, night in the city of light, paris city tours, walking tours, your own private paris.

Romantic Dinner Cruises

  • Romantic Dinner Cruises

The Top Left Bank Hotels

The Top Left Bank Hotels

The best hotels in paris, boutique & romantic, top hotels near…, preferred 5-star hotels, the palaces of paris, affordable hotels.

Food & Wine Tour in the Marais

Le Marais Food & Wine Tour

Food & wine activities, the foods of paris, memorable paris dining, best paris restaurants, paris restaurant guide.

  • Bistros & Brasseries

Top-Rated Restaurants

Visit the Champagne Region

  • Visit the Champagne Region

Paris Attractions

You ask, we answer, visiting burgundy, paris miscellanea, top ten lists, unusual paris sights, paris gardens & parks, the paris explorer.

Things to do in Paris

  • What's On When You're Here

Airports & Transfers

Getting around paris, paris travel guide, paris essentials, train travel, paris arrondissements, visitors guide to our 8 top-rated paris tourist attractions, visitors guide to our top-rated paris attractions.

For us and for millions of travelers, Paris is the greatest place in the world to visit. There are so many iconic tourist attractions that planning and choosing can be daunting. In this guide to our top-rated attractions we explain what you need to know. Take a few minutes to plan an itinerary and you won't have to regret missing anything.

Our Top-Rated Paris Tourist Attractions

1. Skip the Eiffel Tower Lines… Less waiting, more fun!

2. Masterpieces of the Louvre… Go directly to the Mona Lisa.

3. Notre Dame & Île de la Cité Tour… Explore the historic island.

4. Musée d'Orsay Impressionism Tour… Monet, Renoir, van Gogh & friends.

1. Skip the Eiffel Tower Lines…

2. Masterpieces of the Louvre…

3. Notre Dame & Île de la Cité Tour…

4. Musée d'Orsay Impressionism Tour…

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 . From the first time we booked a tour that bypassed the ticket lines and took us directly to the elevator, we were hooked. If you stand in the ticket line you can expect to wait for hours. 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 Resources

  • Summer Hours – Daily, 9:00 AM to 12:45 AM
  • Winter Hours – Daily, 9:30 AM to 11:45 PM
  • Pre-book a slip-the-line tour …
  • Interactive Metro Map …

Discover What's On When You're Here...

Discover what's on when you're here, 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.

1. 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.

2. Or, exit from the Metro to the surface, cross Rue de Rivoli and walk through the arched of Passage de Richelieu to arrive at the main courtyard of the Louvre. Enter the museum through the modernistic glass pyramid.

3. Another way to approach the Louvre is through the Jardin des Tuileries by 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 below.)

The Louvre Museum

  • 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 can be 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.

The Louvre Museum Resources

  • Read Our Guide to the Louvre …
  • Guide to the Paris Museum Pass …
  • Monday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday – 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday, Friday – 9:00 AM to 9:45 PM

Top-Rated Paris Museum Tours

3. notre dame & île de la cité.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame – After the Fire

Following the tragic and spectacular fire of April 2019 the cathedral is closed for repair until perhaps 2025. However, it's still an amazing sight and being able to watch the progress of the reconstruction work is fascinating.

Notre Dame – How to Get There

What's the most-visited attraction in Paris? According to some estimates it's Notre Dame, at least pre-fire! The cathedral is easy to find since its blocky twin towers stick up above the surrounding buildings. 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 & Île de la Cité Tour

While waiting for Notre Dame to re-open , take a guided tour of the area around the cathedral and of the historic island it sits on — Île de la Cité. Your guide leads you to the serene Place Dauphine , the flower markets, historic churches and buildings, and the oldest bridge in Paris. The island is lovely.

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 a 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.

Arc de Triomphe Resources

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.

  • Opening Hours – 10:00 AM to 10:30 PM
  • Closed – January 1, May 1, July 14, November 11, December 25

Romantic Dinner Cruises In Paris

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 Resources

  • 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 …

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

Musée d'Orsay is a good example of the use of the Paris Museum Pass. With it you bypass the left-hand entrance, Door A, and proceed to the right-hand Door C, on the right, where there is usually a shorter line, if any line at all.

As you know, our favorite way to visit a popular museum is on a guided tour, and there's a good 2.5-hour tour of d'Orsay that also gets you past the ticket lines.

Musée d'Orsay Resources

  • 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 have you 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 grand Hotel de Crillon , and consider whether or not you have the courage to ride the ferris wheel that's often set up at Concorde.

  • 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 Medici 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

Delectable Food Tours in Paris

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 building 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 a cafe, we stumble out of the park (depending on how much wine was served at lunch) either by the east gate to walk up to 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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21 Non-Touristy Things to do in Paris: A Local’s Guide

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Non-touristy things to do in Paris is what you are looking for? Then this post is for you. Because while you can easily find lists and blogs with a plethora of hidden gems in Paris, usually, those gems are still kinda touristy.

Rue Crémieux? Super cute. The Covered Passages ? Beautiful! But is it where the Parisian hang out in their spare time? Not so much.

So if you are keen on leaving the beaten path and experiencing a Paris that is not flooded by tourists, read on. As a Paris local, I will share with you the real spots where the locals hang out.

Spoiler : it’s not on the Champs-Élysées and neither at St. Michel.

Lena Profile Pic Salut from Paris

Salut, I am Lena – travel planning expert and parisienne since 2006 🩷

Belleville in Paris - Street Scene with Cafés and pedestrian road

The best 21 authentic non-touristy things to do in Paris

Paris is home to the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysée and Montmartre, but also to more than 2.1 Million Parisians. 12 Million, if you count everyone who lives in the greater Paris region.

And what is, as sure as the Mona Lisa in the Louvre is, that it’s unlikely that you bump into any of them at one of the famous landmarks.

Yet, Parisians are passionate about great food, art, music, culture, and socializing. So, where do they hang out if not at places like the Louvre or Champs-Élysée? Let’s discover the rather unusual things to do in Paris together.

You look for unique things to do in Paris? Don’t miss these posts:

  • 8 Must-Visit English Bookstores in Paris
  • Père Lachaise Cemetery – Know Before You Go!
  • Vanves Flea Market – A Hidden Gem for Vintage Fans
  • 98+ Exciting Hidden Gems: non-touristy things to do in Paris
  • The Human Zoo of Paris – a dark secret uncovered!

visiting the Fauve Brewery is one of the unique things to do in Paris.

Drinks & Dinner: Best non touristy restaurants in Paris

Everyone in Paris loves to go to Bars, Cafés, and Restaurants. Yet, you won’t find many Parisians at the busy spots like Châtelet or St. Michel. Those are reserved for expats and tourists.

#1 Butte-aux-Cailles

13. Arrondissement – Metro 6, Exit Corvisart | Metro 7 Place d’Italie or Tolbiac

Butte-aux-Cailles in Paris’s 13th arrondissement is an often overlooked neighborhood in Paris. Nested on a small hill, it once echoed Montmartre with its windmills and vineyards. Those are long gone, and now, Butte-aux-Cailles it’s a hotspot for cool cafés, restaurants, and vibrant street art .

Stroll through its charming houses and narrow alleys by day, then enjoy its lively, yet affordable dining and bar scene by night. It’s one of the most fun and cool, non touristy things to do in Paris.

And while you’re there, enjoying one of the loveliest places, don’t skip the picturesque Quartier des Peupliers. It’s a quaint residential area with plenty of charming streets and houses.

Craving some delicious Asian food? Swing by Avenue de Choisy, the heart of Paris’s Asian Quarter. It’s a must for foodies!

Best Addresses:

  • French Cuisine: Café du Commerce
  • Affordable Drinks: Le Merle Moqueur , an institution at the Butte-aux-Cailles
  • Thai and Lao Food : Lao Lane Xang 2

tourist attractions is paris

#2 Rue Sainte-Anne

1st /2nd Arrondissement – Metro 7 or 14, Exit Pyramides | Metro 3 Quatre – Septembre

Rue Sainte-Anne in Paris is a Japanese food lover’s dream. If Parisians crave Ramen, it here you find them.

But the area around Rue Sainte-Anne is also a good spot for Mochis, Bubble Tea or even shopping staples for your cooking at home. Because it’s here you find one of the few K-Marts in Paris.

Fun thing though, if you are looking for local things to do in Paris, many have nothing to do with France. Parisians love international cuisine, for example.

Anyway. Beyond just food, Rue Sainte-Anne is a cultural hotspot, echoing the vibrant vibes of Japan. But it doesn’t stop there. You’ll stumble upon Taiwanese food stalls tempting you with their delicacies and quaint shops offering unique tea blends, spices and authentic household items.

It’s here, where you also find one of the loveliest covered passages in Paris : Passage Choiseul.

And here’s a local tip: if you’re wondering which Ramen place is the best, just look for the longest queue. That’s where the magic happens!

  • Japanese French Boulangerie : Aki Boulangerie (try the Melon Bread)
  • Ramen: Menkicchi Ramen
  • Bubble Tea: Laïzé or Mini Pablo at Passage Choiseuil

Lena in Passage Sainte Anne drinking Bubble Tea from Laize

#3 Oberkampf

11th Arrondissement – Metro 1, 5 or 8, exit Bastille, or Metro 9 exit Voltaire

The Oberkampf area in Paris buzzes with energy. Stretching boadly between Bastille and Oberkampf, this hotspot offers an alternative, hip vibe. It’s not about luxury; it’s about authenticity.

So if the unique things in Paris you’re looking for include nightlife, this area is perfect.

Best you start at Bastille and make your way up. Rue de la Roquette and Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud brim with bars and pubs. If you prefer unique over upscale, this is your place.

  • Great Cocktails & Music: Fréquence
  • Craft Beer: Les Cuves de Fauve
  • Italian Food: Giorgio
  • Upscale Sushi: Yuro
  • Women Fashion: Comptoir du Désert, 74 Rue de la Roquette

Fequence Cocktail Bar in Paris: unique activities in paris

#4 Canal St. Martin or Bassin d’Arsenal

An evening by the water, watching the sunset and sharing a bottle of wine is an unforgettable experience. The Seine river banks, with a view of the shimmering Eiffel Tower and the famous bateaux mouches passing by, are favorites for both tourists and Parisians. It’s a shared love for fun things in Paris.

But if you’re searching for a spot where the local vibe thrives, there are 2 locations you need to know about: The Canal St. Martin and the Bassin d’Arsenal, close to Bastille are wonderful, if you are keen on adding a few underrated places in Paris.

It’s here where many Parisians retreat to for those serene summer evening moments. Join them and discover another side of Paris.

  • Food, craft beer & outdoor seating by the canal: Paname Brewing Company
  • Live concerts, tributes, and clubbing: Supersonic

Bassin d'Arenal in Paris with Bastille in the backdrop

Where the Parisians go: Gardens & Parks

Spending an afternoon reading, a picnic with the kids on the weekends or simply to see some verdure: The Parisians love their gardens and parks. And while many do enjoy the Jardin du Luxembourg or the Tuileries, it’s not the go-to spot to savor their spare time.

The inner-city parks are rather spots for a lunch break in the sun, an afterwork catch up, or a pit-stop while heading somewhere else.

But what are the best gardens and parks in Paris to enjoy nature and serenity?

best non tourist things to do in paris: Parc Montsouris in Paris

#5 Coulée Verte de René-Dumont

12th Arrondissement – Metro 1, 5 or 8, exit Bastille,

The Coulée Verte de René-Dumont made it to the top of the hidden gems for everyone who’s looking for the best non touristy things to do in Paris. So, it is a bit touristy, especially the first part of it following the viaduct des arts.

But the further out you stroll, the fewer tourists you cross. The park de Reuilly and the passerelle are back in Parisian hands, and it’s a favorite spot of locals for picnics and sunbathing.

  • Beergarden with street food and art hub: Ground Control
  • Indoor food market & outside flea market: Marché d’Aligre
  • Italian food with outdoor seating: Bacioni

Jardin de Reuilly - along the Coulée Verte

#6 Albert Kahn Gardens and Museum

2 Rue du Port, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt | Metro 10, Exit Boulogne Pont de Saint-Cloud

Not only tourists flock to the Parisian Museums, the Parisians themselves love the cultural landscape of their hometown. But as they are used to beton and urbanism, they are in awe when they can check off a museum and a beautiful garden in one go.

Hence, on of their favorite and very under the radar locations is the estate of Albert Kahn. You find it tucked away in Boulogne-Billancourt. Which is technically not Paris anymore. But don’t worry, it’s still on Metro line 10, and who counts anyway?

Albert Kahn (1860 – 1940) was a philanthropy and one of the first world traveler. The museum and his garden reflect both and are a beautiful homage to his life. The museum exhibits thousands of photographs, and the gardens are some of the nicest you find in Paris.

Jardin d'Albert Kahn with Japanese Bridge

In line with his travel experiences, you find here a Japanese garden, an English rose garden, a French orchard and a lush forest. The garden is especially lovely in spring and a great alternative if your limited time is not allowing you to take a trip to Giverny.

#7 The Parc Floral

12 Arrondissement – Metro 1, Exit Château de Vincennes

The Parc Floral is one of the Parisians favorites. Located in the heart of the Bois de Vincennes, it’s a perfect escape from the buzzing city.

Visitors come to see flowers and plants from all over the world, for jazz concerts during summer or simply to spend a lazy picnic day in the sun. The parc is especially popular among families because the space has one of the best playgrounds in Paris .

The entrance is free during off season and mostly during the week. On weekends, a little entrance fee is asked.

Pine trees in Parc Floral

#8 Parc Montsouris

14th arrondissement – RER B, Exit Cité Universitaire

The Parc Montsouris is yet another Parisian favorites. You find it in the south of Paris, not far from the Catacombs and the cute Butte-aux-Cailles neighborhood.

If you are looking for an off beat place to relax the day away, maybe to play some games with friends, or to have a laid-back picnic, the parc is a perfect place.

And if you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the wild parrots that are living here.

Tip: take some time to explore the surrounding streets. Along the Rue Nansouty you find some of the prettiest streets in Paris . Not surprising that Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis picked this spot at their Parisian home base.

Parc Montsoris

Museums & Art: Non-touristy things in Paris

The Parisians love their museums, and you do meet many of them in the big galleries like the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay or yet, the Château de Versailles.

But there are, of course, countless museums and galleries, that are very popular but far from the radar of any tourist. Here’s a selection for you:

#9 Musée de l’Homme

16th Arrondissement – Metro 6 or 9, Exit Trocadéro

The Musée de l’Homme in Paris is a newly renovated museum dedicated to anthropology and human evolution. In fact, it only reopened in 2015.

You find it in the wonderful Palais de Chaillot at Trocadéro and its exhibits illuminate facets of human evolution and varied cultures.

Are you an “Emily in Paris” enthusiast? Then this spot might appear familiar. That’s because the rooftop terrace of the museum served as a filming locale. Even though this prime spot is reserved for private events, the view isn’t.

From the museum you overlook the Eiffel Tower, and it’s a noteworthy stop for any Paris visitor who is keen on a non-touristy museum in Paris.

touristsy but non touristy thing to do in Paris: View on the Eiffel Tower from Musee de l'Homme

#10 Musée de la Liberation

14th Arrondissement – Metro 4 or 6, Denfert-Rochereau

Located near the Catacombs, the Musée de la Libération is frequently missed by tourists. It stands as one of Paris’ top museums , highlighting the French Resistance during World War II.

If you are keen on history, it offers you a unique perspective on Paris during World War II. The museum got recently renovated and relocated, to a historically significant location. That’s because the tunnels that the French Resistance used as their headquarters, are right below the museums and you can visit them.

The museum and the tunnel visits are free. But only a certain number is allowed to the tunnels, so make sure to be there early to get a spot.

My Tip: Combine it with a visit to the Catacombs and head over to Rue Daguerre afterward for a lunch or a drink. It’s a lovely pedestrian street with of cafés, restaurants, and shops.

tunnel that leads to the underground headquarter of the liberation

#11 Musée Carnavalet

3rd Arrondissement – Metro 8, Exit Chemin Vert |  Metro 1, Exit Saint-Paul

An all time favorite is the Musée Carnavalet. You find it in the Marais district in one of the old mansions that are so typical for the area. They belonged to the French aristocracy and were left abandoned after the French Revolution.

Anyway, the Musée Carnavalet is one of the free museums in Paris and tells you more about the long and eventful history of the French Capital.

While you wander through the halls, you get to see a plethora of artifacts and items. It’s a real trip through history.

Tip: Make a small detour to the Galleria Continua on 87 Rue du Temple, 75003 Paris. It’s an art galleria with a small Italian café. Their saffron and pistachio ice cream are is not from this world.

Nouveau Art in Paris, Musée Carnavalet

#12 Musée de Montmartre

18th Arrondissement – Metro 12, Exit Abbesses or Lamarck – Caulaincourt

If you like Montmartre, then you’ll love the Musée de Montmartre. It’s one of my personal favorites and even though Montmartre sees thousands of visitors each day, the museum is rarely packed.

Nested in the heart of Montmartre, the Musée Montmartre is a gateway to the quarter’s vibrant history. But it’s not only artifacts and objects. It’s also fantastic views over the vineyard “Clos de Montmartre” and as well stepping into the ateliers of celebrated local artists.

But the journey doesn’t end there. “Le Café Renoir” awaits, offering you a serene garden escape.

Atélier within the Musée Montmartre

#13 Fondation Louis Vuitton

16th Arrondissement – Metro 1, Exit Les Sablons

Nestled within Bois de Boulogne and adjacent to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, the Fondation Louis Vuitton emerges as one of Paris’s newest museums. Its striking, avant-garde architecture by Frank Gehry becomes an immediate focal point.

As you step inside, you’re introduced to a curated collection of contemporary and modern art, each piece echoing the innovation of the structure it’s housed in. A blend of art and architecture, it’s a must-visit for both art enthusiasts and architectural admirers.

Fondation Louis Vuitton in Jardin d'Acclimatation

Strolling in Paris: non-touristy places to discover

Are you up for a walk, but the Jardin des Tuileries or the Champs-Élysées are way too crowded for you? Then see my following suggestions, because you aren’t the only one avoiding these touristic hotspots on the weekends:

#14 Bois de Vincennes

In Paris’ 12th arrondissement, southeast of the city center, you’ll find the Bois de Vincennes. It’s a great spot for a walk or a more adventurous hike. What’s neat about this place is you can easily pair a visit here with a trip to the Parc Floral or the Jardin Tropical.

And if you’re up for it, why not check out the Château de Vincennes too? The Bois de Vincennes also makes a lovely picnic spot, especially on a sunny day.

#15 Hike from “ gare to gare ”

The Gare to Gare hikes near Paris offer a simple yet delightful escape. You hop on the RER to a village, for example my favorite, Bures-sur-Yvette, and set off on a trek to a different station. ( Here you have the exact itinerary for this hike)

This hike is a 3-hour walk and weaves through lush forests and over an impressive viaduct, before passing through charming villages and finally to Gif-sur-Yvette.

Here you have the choice to loop back to Bures-sur-Yvette or to catch the RER back to Paris. It’s a perfect blend of nature, architecture, and village life, just a train ride away.

Hike gare to gare is a non touristy thing to do in Paris

#16 Quartier de Mozaïa

19th Arrondissement – Metro 7B Exit Danube | Metro 11, Exit Place des Fêtes

In Paris’ 19th arrondissement, there’s this cozy little spot called Quartier de Mozaïa. It’s like stepping into a small village with its mix of tiny houses and green gardens.

Walking around here feels like a break from the usual city rush, with all the unique buildings and quiet corners. It’s a lovely place for a calm stroll or to snap some cool photos.

If you’re searching for a peaceful spot in Paris, Mozaïa’s definitely worth a visit. It is certainly one of the unusual places in Paris.

Quartier de Mozaïa in Paris: visiting the garden alleys in the east of Paris is a nice and interesting non touristy thing to do in Paris

#17 Belleville

20th Arrondissement – Metro 2 or 11, Exit Belleville

Belleville in Paris is like a canvas come to life with its vibrant street art. It’s a lively spot with a mix of cultures and creativity at every corner. It is one of the most lively, yet non touristy places in Paris.

And guess what? It’s super close to the Quartier de Mozaïa. So, it’s a great idea to check out both on the same trip.

You get to see Belleville’s energetic streets and then unwind in Mozaïa’s peaceful vibes. It’s like experiencing two different worlds in one go, right in Paris!

Best Adresses:

  • Delicious bao buns and spring rolls: La Cantine Chinoise
  • Alternative neighborhood vibes: Café Chérie
  • Concerts: La Maroquinerie

Chinese cantine in Belleville: a non touristy thing to do in Paris

Shop like a local: unique things to do Paris

Up for a shopping experience? Check out this local shopping spots for a less crowded experience than Rue de Rivoli or Les Halles.

#18 La Grande Épicerie de Rive Gauche

38 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris – Metro 9 or 12, Exit Sèvres-Babylone

La Grande Épicerie de Rive Gauche is this fancy food spot in Paris , absolutely stuffed with all sorts of French treats. It’s perfect for picking up some yummy souvenirs, but yeah, it’s not cheap. Every time I go there, I’m amazed by folks doing their regular grocery shopping – like, wow, that’s some stylish grocery list!

Despite the prices, the quality of everything from cheeses to pastries is top-notch. It’s a bit of a splurge, but for those special French flavors, it’s totally worth it. Just walking around there is a treat in itself!

One of the many boulangeries in Paris

#19 Rue de Commerce

15th Arrondissement – Metro 10, Exit Avenue Émile Zola

Rue de Commerce, nestled in Paris’ 15th arrondissement , is a charming street lined with boutiques and cafes. It’s a lovely spot that somehow captures a small-town vibe right in the city.

Strolling down this street, you’ll find a mix of unique shops and cozy spots to grab a coffee or a bite. It’s a perfect place to experience a quieter, more quaint side of Parisian life.

Rue de Commerce is a little non touristy street in PAris with plenty of shops. Here you have a terasse with fresh flowers

#20 Bercy Village

12th Arrondissement – Metro 14, Exit Cour Saint-Émilion

Bercy Village, tucked away in Paris, is a neat spot with a history as a wine depot. Those old warehouses where they used to store wine? They’ve been turned into a lively area with shops, restaurants, and a big cinema. It’s a unique blend of old and new.

And the park next door isn’t your typical French garden; it’s more modern and laid-back, a cool place to relax after exploring Bercy Village. This place has a bit of everything: history, shopping, movies, and green space.

tourist attractions is paris

#21 La Beaugrenelle

15th Arrondissement – Metro Line 10, Exit Charles Michels

Beaugrenelle Shopping Center, just a hop from the Eiffel Tower in a residential Paris area, is a mix of cool and classy. You’ve got your familiar stores like H&M, but also some upscale ones like Sessun and Zadig & Voltaire.

The area’s filled to the brim with local restaurants and shops, perfect for a laid-back Saturday afternoon doing your shopping.

Voilà, these are some of the most popular spots in Paris among locals. Perfect, if you are up for unique things to do in Paris, far from the usual tourist hotspots. I see you there!

tourist attractions is paris

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How to Escape the Olympics in Paris This Summer

Even if you’re visiting for the Games, you may want to take a cultural break like a local.

A view of a Paris park, with people sitting on outdoor chairs in front of and a handsome stone building.

By Laura Cappelle

Reporting from Paris

Construction chaos, price hikes and now mandatory QR codes to walk some city streets : As the Olympics loom in Paris, many locals are already looking to escape the Games, and come July, will head to quieter parts of France.

It’s likely that some of the 15 million visitors expected to roll into town might also want a break from the cheering crowds. Luckily, the greater Paris area and nearby regions offer plenty of opportunities to slow down and take in some French culture. Whether you’re looking to escape for an hour or for a day, here are some suggestions.

Pompidou Center

With its quirky inside-out architecture — a tangle of colorful tubes running across the facade — the Pompidou Center has been a flagship venue for contemporary art since the 1970s. For a culture break between athletic feats, stop by its “Comics on Every Floor” festival, a wide-ranging, international dive into the genre.

While the festival offers no fewer than five individual exhibitions, the biggest one by far is “ Comics, 1964-2024 ,” which contrasts American comics, Asian mangas and European trends. Graphic novels have long thrived in France: Franco-Belgian comics and, more recently, graphic novels are a huge market, and local stars including Hergé, Blutch and Catherine Meurisse are also getting their own mini-exhibitions at the Pompidou Center.

Children will also be able to sample an immersive installation crafted by the author and illustrator Marion Fayolle. The Pompidou’s wide-ranging permanent collections are a bonus, and now is a good time to catch them, since the building is set to close from 2025 to 2030 for extensive renovations.

Time commitment : 3 to 4 hours

Location : Châtelet, Rambuteau or Hôtel de Ville Metro stations

Cost of entry : €17 or €14 for concessions;

The Catacombs

When the crowds or the summer temperatures become too much, Paris offers a compelling option: going underground. Underneath the French capital lie the Paris Catacombs, a maze of ancient mining galleries, some of which were used in the 18th century to create an ossuary.

At the time, the city’s cemeteries had become so overcrowded that they posed a public health threat. The bones of the dead were piled into the repurposed galleries, which have been open to visitors for over two centuries. As you descend the steep spiral staircase, the temperature drops to about 57 degrees, and the sounds of the streets fade.

The mile-long route is eerily introspective, with plaques here and there to guide you past the remains of six million Parisians. As the Olympics take over the city above ground, the contrast will be sharp, but beware: Since the stairs are the only point of entry, the Catacombs aren’t accessible to wheelchair users or people who need step-free access.

Time commitment: 1 hour

Location: Denfert-Rochereau station (Metro and RER)

Cost of entry: €29 (with audio guide), €23 for concessions, €10 for children over 5, free admission for children under 5. Tickets may be booked online, but only 7 days in advance;

The Louis Vuitton Foundation

It may look like an oversize glass sailboat, but this summer, the Louis Vuitton Foundation should be a safe haven. A quirky highlight of the Bois de Boulogne, a sprawling park on the western edge of Paris, this contemporary art museum designed by Frank Gehry has stayed away from staging sports-related exhibitions this year, unlike some of its peers.

It is a pointed choice, because the appeal of government grants as part of the Cultural Olympiad led a huge number of Parisian arts institutions to make sometimes tenuous connections between art and sports. Instead, the Louis Vuitton Foundation — inaugurated exactly a decade ago by the LVMH conglomerate — is staging a retrospective of the American painter and sculptor Ellsworth Kelly, who spent some of his formative years in postwar Paris.

Kelly’s vivid, abstract investigations of form and color are paired with an exhibition devoted to Matisse’s landmark 1911 work “The Red Studio.” The Louis Vuitton Foundation’s permanent collection is no slouch either, spanning Giacometti, Warhol and recent contemporary acquisitions. Linger at the Bois de Boulogne for a stroll through the woods before heading back to central Paris.

Time commitment: 3 hours

Location : Bois de Boulogne and Les Sablons Metro stations

Cost of entry: €16, €10 for concessions;

Madame Arthur Cabaret

Tourists flock to the nearby Moulin Rouge, but for a more offbeat, modern cabaret experience, Madame Arthur is a go-to address in Montmartre. Once the first drag venue in postwar Paris, it reopened in 2015 with a troupe of singers and musicians that soon became the talk of the town.

There are no lip syncs here: All numbers are sung live, and Madame Arthur has the quirky habit of translating classic English-language songs into French. In addition to hearing Madonna or Britney Spears en français , you’ll learn some local earworms and sample the gender-bending fashion that has pushed French drag toward its recent renaissance.

Throughout the summer, Madame Arthur will open its doors Thursdays to Saturdays, with an 10.30 p.m. show on the main stage. You can then turn the venue into your own stage when it transforms into a nightclub.

Time commitment: An evening (with the option to stay well into the night)

Location : Pigalle Metro station

Cost of entry: €30 (standing only);

Outside Paris

The franco-american museum at the castle of blérancourt.

If all you want, after rubbing shoulders with millions of visitors during the Olympics, is to hole up in a quiet part of the countryside, Blérancourt is definitely off the beaten path. A small town northeast of Paris, it is nestled the Picardy region, where a World War I frontline ran, and which experienced harrowing destruction.

The Franco-American Museum of Blérancourt was established in the aftermath to commemorate American contributions to the war effort and the rebuilding of the region. The local castle was renovated to that end by the philanthropist Anne Morgan, the daughter of the banker J.P. Morgan. The resulting museum is a fascinating tribute to Franco-American exchanges over the years, from the shared revolutionary ideals of the 18th century both World Wars and a painting collection centered on artistic exchanges between the two countries.

Hostellerie Le Griffon , right by the entrance to the museum, will have you covered if you want to stay in Blérancourt, but for a truly peaceful break, head to the nearby Château du Mont de Guny — a small castle overlooking a valley that was recently converted into a bed-and-breakfast. From there, other historical sites are easily accessible, including the Château de Pierrefonds and the ruins of the medieval Château de Coucy.

Time commitment : 2 days

Travel: Rent a car (2 hours from Paris)

Cost : €6-8 for the Franco-American Museum;

A number of small towns with impressive histories are easy to reach by train from Paris. With its medieval city center, Provins is a favorite getaway. It was a prominent own for merchant fairs in the 11th and 12th centuries, when it was owned by the Counts of Champagne, and much of the architecture form that period has been preserved, earning Provins a UNESCO World Heritage listing.

Cobbled pathways, fortifications and a dungeon are all within walking distance of the train station, and the city’s ramparts — nearly a mile long, with 22 towers dotted along the way — have been newly restored, after work was completed in 2022.

A day is enough to visit all the town’s key attractions, including the monumental Cesar Tower, the Tithe Barn and an 11th-century priory. This summer, Provins is making the most of its status as an open-air throwback to the Middle Ages, with daily shows centered on falconry and medieval jousts.

Time commitment: 1 day

Travel: Suburban train P from Gare de l’Est station (around 1 hour and 20 minutes)

Cost: €10 round trip, plus €17 for Pass Provins, which provides access to the main medieval sites;

The Domain of Chamarande

There are plenty of castles within a short distance from Paris, but the Domain of Chamarande , south of the city, has a couple of trump cards. First, if you don’t want to rent a car, it’s easily accessible from the city via the suburban train system. Second, it combines sprawling, peaceful grounds with year-round contemporary art exhibitions.

While the 17th-century castle itself is currently closed for maintenance, there is plenty to do outdoors. Bikes and boats are available for rent to tour the estate, where artworks are woven into the landscape. In 2001, Chamarande became host to a contemporary art center run by local authorities, and pieces from its permanent collection are dotted around the estate, like an oversize ladder by Philippe Ramette that leans against the castle.

This summer, temporary exhibitions also include a pop installation by Laurie Charles centered on the female body, and open-air immersive works inspired by the moving body — an artsy nod to the Olympics.

Time commitment: A day

Travel: RER C from central Paris (around one hour)

Cost: €10-15 round trip;

Deauville and Honfleur

The coastline of Normandy is only two hours away from Paris by train, and some of its best-known towns offer contrasting atmospheres for a weekend away. Start with Deauville , a ritzy destination that is home to a historical casino, horse races and historical villas. Its calling card, though, is free: over a mile of wide, sandy beach, accessible directly from the city center. Its famous boardwalk boasts 450 Art Deco beach huts, adorned with the names of international actors and directors who have attended the annual American Film Festival.

The next day, make the 25-minute drive up the coast to Honfleur, a peaceful harbor town with a rich artistic history. Before the old port and its pastel-colored half-timbered houses became an Instagram dream, they inspired multiple painters: Turner painted watercolors there in 1832, followed by French artists including Claude Monet and his mentor Eugène Boudin, a precursor to Impressionism who has his own museum in Honfleur. The city’s narrow medieval streets are a joy to wander, from the many galleries to Saint Catherine’s Church, a distinctive wooden church that is the largest in France.

Time commitment : 2 or 3 days

Travel: Train to Deauville (2 hours and 10 minutes) then bus, taxi or car to Honfleur

Cost : Round trip to Deauville from around €35 (book ahead)

The Picardy region, north of Paris, generally flies under the radar compared with nearby Normandy — which makes it an appealing destination if you’d like to avoid the biggest tourist crowds. The region’s capital, Amiens , is an underrated gem an hour from the capital. Its towering Gothic cathedral is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, and a couple of lovely museums are a short stroll away, including the former house of the 19th-century author Jules Verne.

Amiens is home to a more unusual attraction, too: 300 hectares of water gardens, right in the center of town. The city sits over the Somme river, and a delightful network of canals, ponds and market gardens developed there over centuries, known as Les Hortillonnages. Much is now ornamental, but the fruits and vegetables that are cultivated there are sold at the local market on Saturdays.

Every summer, Amiens also hosts an International Garden Festival all around the Hortillonnages, with 50 or so installations designed by gardeners, artists and architects expected this year. The area can be toured by foot, electric boat or even a rowing boat, if you’re in the mood for an adventure.

Time commitment : 1 day

Travel: Regional trains to Amiens (1 hour and 10 minutes) from Paris Gare du Nord

Cost : €46 round trip;

2024 Paris Summer Olympics

The summer olympic games in paris are expected to draw millions of spectators..

Olympic Flame Arrives in Marseille: The flame will be carried on a 79-day journey across France  and its territories, culminating in Paris with the start of the Olympic Games on July 26.

Did France Build the Olympics Safely: Undocumented workers played a larger and more dangerous role  in delivering the Games than the Macron administration acknowledges.

World Anti-Doping Agency: Ahead of the Olympics, the global agency tasked with policing doping in sports is facing a growing crisis  as it fends off allegations it helped cover up the positive tests of elite Chinese swimmers .

Friends Competing for Spots: Conner Mantz and Clayton Young had run side by side for more than 10,000 miles. Both vied for a place in the marathon at the Paris Games . Who would make it?

Dancing in the Louvre: The museum is joining in the Olympics celebration by opening up for dance and exercise classes early in the morning. Tickets sold out in a flash .

tourist attractions is paris

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MONTMARTRE TRAVEL GUIDE 2024: Experience a fantastic tourist Vacation with unforgettable side attractions to the Mount of Martyrs

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The company at the center of a battle over Elvis' Graceland is a mystery

Image: Graceland fans tourists line queue

Someone may be trying to take Graceland from Elvis Presley’s family.

Who that person is exactly, no one knows.

Not Presley’s family. 

Not even the judge overseeing the fight.

The mystery has unfolded in a courtroom in Memphis, Tennessee, where a lawyer for one of Presley’s granddaughters asked a judge to stop a company that claims it has rights to Graceland, which has been in the family’s control since Presley bought it in 1957.

The company, which calls itself Naussany Investments & Private Lending, issued a public notice of its plan for a foreclosure sale and asserted in documents that the claim was related to a $3.8 million loan it had made to Lisa Marie Presley , Elvis Presley’s daughter, who died last year, according to documents filed in court by her own daughter, the actor Riley Keough. But it is difficult to determine whether the lending company exists.

Keough filed a claim last week in Shelby County Chancery Court in Tennessee alleging that Naussany Investments & Private Lending had submitted fraudulent documents with forged signatures showing Lisa Marie Presley had put up Graceland to secure the loan. The foreclosure sale was scheduled for Thursday. Keough said in the court filing that Presley never borrowed money from Naussany Investments or gave it a deed of trust. 

On Wednesday, Chancery Court Chancellor JoeDae Jenkins, who is presiding over the court case, delayed the sale and told Keough’s lawyer, Jeff Germany, that she will most likely succeed in blocking it for good.

“It appears that you, Mr. Germany, your client will be successful on the merits,” Jenkins said, “providing that you prove the fraud that has been alleged.”

A representative for Naussany Investments & Private Lending wasn’t in the courtroom. In fact, it has been difficult to figure out much about the company or who runs it.

NBC News searched multiple public records databases for any person in the U.S. with the last name Naussany and for any company with the name Naussany or the initials NIPL and found nothing. NBC News also couldn’t find any social media profiles belonging to the company or representatives.

The only available information about the company comes from court filings in the Graceland case, and it doesn’t say much.

Documents provide street addresses for the company in Jacksonville, Florida, and Hollister, Missouri, that match post offices. A third address is a post office box in Kimberling City, Missouri. Keough said in her claim that someone named Kurt Naussany sent her lawyer emails seeking to collect the $3.8 million and threatening to sell Graceland. The claim attached some of that correspondence, including an email in July that included an email address and a phone number for a Kurt Naussany.

The phone number is disconnected. NBC News sent an email to the address Monday, and late that night it received a reply saying Kurt Naussany left the company in 2015 and “should not be on any paperwork to do with Lisa Marie Presley.” The message suggested contacted Gregory E. Naussany, “as he handled all loans with Ms. Presley.” 

A follow-up email from the Kurt Naussany address Monday night said he knew Lisa Marie Presley for years and “never did any loans for her.” The message added, “please make sure you and all colleagues have names straight.”

On Tuesday night, the Shelby County court received a faxed response to Keough’s claim from Gregory E. Naussany that described him as a lender with the company. The filing denied Keough’s accusation and asked that the company be allowed to continue with the sale.

“I respectfully deny the allegations made by Danielle Riley Keough,” Naussany wrote to the court. “Naussany Investments & Private Lending is prepared to provide evidence and arguments to demonstrate the relief sought is not justified in this case.”

The filing included a phone number and an email address for Gregory E. Naussany. No one picked up the phone or responded to texts sent to that number. But a request for comment to the email address Wednesday drew a response indicating that the company would drop the case after “consultation with lawyers.”

NBC News replied, asking for more information about him and the company and an explanation for why there is no publicly available information about them. NBC News also asked to speak with him by phone. A response signed “Gregory E Naussany” declined, saying more information would come in a future court document. “It’s apparent that Keough and LMP family was not aware of LMP mis handling of money and finances,” the reply said.

Mark Sunderman, a real estate professor at the University of Memphis, said accusations of fraud and fly–by-night companies are common in property-rights disputes — particularly when they involve people who have died. The Graceland case may just be a high-profile example of it.

“I know Graceland is a real big deal here, and seeing this national treasure potentially being foreclosed on and lost to the Memphis community would be a real heartbreak. So I can see that this is a major news event,” Sunderman said. “But if this had been someone else’s inheritance, someone else’s home, it would just be another example that the public never hears about.”

The promised filing from Naussany hasn’t shown up yet, according to the court. Also missing: any information about who is behind the company.

tourist attractions is paris

Jon Schuppe is an enterprise reporter for NBC News, based in New York. 

tourist attractions is paris

David K. Li is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.

Dips and Trips

Dips and Trips

Most Famous Tourist Attractions In The World

Posted: May 30, 2024 | Last updated: May 30, 2024

<p>Enchanting history, praise-worthy architecture, and opportunities for activities are all elements that a tourist attraction must possess to make its way into the headlines. But even these may not be enough to make a place go from great to one of the most famous attractions in the country. The story they tell counts, and we’re going to tell it today.</p> <p>We all love different kinds of traveling and for that reason we can never agree on which tourist attraction is the best. They all are in a sense. But what we can do is find out which attractions are most widely recognized and talked about. Whether you like them or not is your choice, but there’s no denying that the vast majority of people has heard of the destinations we’ll be talking about in this post.</p> <p>The data for the first quarter of 2024 was collected and processed by <a href="" rel="noopener">YouGov</a>, a data analysis company that defines fame as the percentage of people who have heard of a certain tourist attraction before. Keep in mind that, in this case, the respondent’s opinion of the place is irrelevant. With that being said, let’s explore some of the most famous tourist attractions ranked by fellow Americans!</p>

Enchanting history, praise-worthy architecture, and opportunities for activities are all elements that a tourist attraction must possess to make its way into the headlines. But even these may not be enough to make a place go from great to one of the most famous attractions in the country. The story they tell counts, and we’re going to tell it today.

We all love different kinds of traveling and for that reason we can never agree on which tourist attraction is the best. They all are in a sense. But what we can do is find out which attractions are most widely recognized and talked about. Whether you like them or not is your choice, but there’s no denying that the vast majority of people has heard of the destinations we’ll be talking about in this post.

The data for the first quarter of 2024 was collected and processed by YouGov , a data analysis company that defines fame as the percentage of people who have heard of a certain tourist attraction before. Keep in mind that, in this case, the respondent’s opinion of the place is irrelevant. With that being said, let’s explore some of the most famous tourist attractions ranked by fellow Americans!

<p>Welcome to the home of Mickey Mouse, Snow White, and Cinderella! Disneyland is an icon of the American pop culture and it’s no surprise that 98% of respondents included in the survey have heard of it before. There are six Disney parks in the world, two of which are located in the States. The first Disneyland theme park to ever open is in Anaheim, California.</p><p>Since its opening in 1955, Disneyland has become a staple travel destination for families with children, young adults, and other fans of the magical world of Disney. Disneyland was ranked as the most famous destination by female respondents. It is also worth noting that 63% of people have a positive opinion of the topic.</p><p><strong>Fun fact:</strong> Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is the only Disneyland designed and constructed under direct supervision of the mastermind Walt Disney.</p>

Welcome to the home of Mickey Mouse, Snow White, and Cinderella! Disneyland is an icon of the American pop culture and it’s no surprise that 98% of respondents included in the survey have heard of it before. There are six Disney parks in the world, two of which are located in the States. The first Disneyland theme park to ever open is in Anaheim, California.

Since its opening in 1955, Disneyland has become a staple travel destination for families with children, young adults, and other fans of the magical world of Disney. Disneyland was ranked as the most famous destination by female respondents. It is also worth noting that 63% of people have a positive opinion of the topic.

Fun fact: Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is the only Disneyland designed and constructed under direct supervision of the mastermind Walt Disney.

<p>It may all have started in California but one shouldn’t underestimate the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The resort was opened in 1971 and nowadays consists of four theme parks, two water parks, and an array of entertainment and dining options spanning 43 square miles of land.</p><p>Like Anaheim’s Disneyland, Orlando’s Disney World Resort attracts millions of visitors each year and is a popular tourist attraction among children and adults alike. While Disney World is slightly less popular than Disneyland, it shares a 98% fame rating with its Californian counterpart. Disney World happens to be the most famous tourist attraction among male respondents included in the survey.</p><p><strong>Fun fact:</strong> Walt Disney World had its own airport for a few years back in the 1970s.</p>

Disney World

It may all have started in California but one shouldn’t underestimate the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The resort was opened in 1971 and nowadays consists of four theme parks, two water parks, and an array of entertainment and dining options spanning 43 square miles of land.

Like Anaheim’s Disneyland, Orlando’s Disney World Resort attracts millions of visitors each year and is a popular tourist attraction among children and adults alike. While Disney World is slightly less popular than Disneyland, it shares a 98% fame rating with its Californian counterpart. Disney World happens to be the most famous tourist attraction among male respondents included in the survey.

Fun fact: Walt Disney World had its own airport for a few years back in the 1970s.

<p>While in Europe, why not also visit another landmark—Paris, France? This city often appears on people’s bucket lists, and for good reason. There’s nothing quite like standing at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, gazing up at the massive structure and reveling in its beauty, construction, and significance. And for all the wow factor the Eiffel Tower features, that’s only a small slice of Paris attractions.</p><p>Other top sites in Paris include the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre Museum, Les Catacombes, Centre Pompidou, Notre Dame Cathedral, and a cruise along the Seine.</p>

Eiffel Tower

The 1,083-foot wonder of Eiffel Tower has never ceased to amaze its visitors after its completion in 1889. The architectural gem is located in the heart of Paris, France, and welcomes nearly seven million visitors annually. Needless to say, the unique structure is one of the most iconic symbols in the world and the third most famous destination among US traveleres.

While 97% of respondents recognized the architectural feat, 72% of people have a positive opinion about it. Contributing to Eiffel Tower’s fame is its peculiar iron silhouette and pyramid-like triangular shape. The fact that the structure was the tallest building in the world for 42 years also helped.

Fun fact: The height of the tower changes up to six inches between seasons due to the effects of temperature fluctuations on its iron components.

<p>Leaving Europe and heading to familiar territory, people who’ve been here know that the streets of NYC are not necessarily a place where someone can stop and stretch whenever they want. In fact, one of the issues tourists face is that New Yorkers may yell at them for walking too slowly! It comes with the territory; you have to move at the city’s pace if you want to enjoy it here. As with some of the other places on the list, it just isn’t for everyone.</p>

Times Square

We’re moving on to New York’s busiest agora – the one and only Times Square. This cultural hub of Broadway theaters, upscale entertainment venues, and prestige establishments gained popularity after the first world war and is now one of the most traversed parts of the world. In fact, as many as 60 million people cross the pedestrian intersection each year.

According to 60% of respondents, Times Square was worth visiting. We’ll leave it up to you to agree with them or not. But since 97 out of 100 people have heard about the place before, there’s no denying it’s one of the most famous tourist spots in the USA.

Fun fact: Times Square is so bright at night it is visible from outer space.

<p>If you’re going to San Francisco, you should never skip a selfie with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The one-mile suspension bridge had become a thing of the postcards shortly after it was opened in 1937 following four years of construction. The bridge is recognized by 97% of respondents and has a high popularity rating of 72%.</p><p>These days, the tourist attraction and its 746-foot towers are seen by over 10 million visitors annually and remain one of the must-see places among both foreign and local travelers.</p><p><strong>Fun fact:</strong> The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world for over 25 years.</p>

The Golden Gate Bridge

If you’re going to San Francisco, you should never skip a selfie with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The one-mile suspension bridge had become a thing of the postcards shortly after it was opened in 1937 following four years of construction. The bridge is recognized by 97% of respondents and has a high popularity rating of 72%.

These days, the tourist attraction and its 746-foot towers are seen by over 10 million visitors annually and remain one of the must-see places among both foreign and local travelers.

Fun fact: The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world for over 25 years.

<p>It’s the universal symbol of freedom. It’s the embodiment of the word liberty. It’s Statue of Liberty! This magnificent neoclassical sculpture graces New York Harbor’s Liberty Island and was made as a gift from the people of France to the United States after the abolition of slavery. The construction of the copper statue took nine years and the colossal was on display in 1886.</p><p>Nowadays, Statue of Liberty stands proud and is visited by more than four million people annually. It is also widely recognized world wide as a symbol of freedom, hope, and inspiration to pursue better life. Statue of Liberty was recognized by 97 out of 100 respondents and recommended by 80% of people which is higher than any other attraction on this list.</p><p><strong>Fun fact:</strong> The Statue of Liberty is struck by lightnings around 600 times per yer.</p>

Statue of Liberty

It’s the universal symbol of freedom. It’s the embodiment of the word liberty. It’s Statue of Liberty! This magnificent neoclassical sculpture graces New York Harbor’s Liberty Island and was made as a gift from the people of France to the United States after the abolition of slavery. The construction of the copper statue took nine years and the colossal was on display in 1886.

Nowadays, Statue of Liberty stands proud and is visited by more than four million people annually. It is also widely recognized world wide as a symbol of freedom, hope, and inspiration to pursue better life. Statue of Liberty was recognized by 97 out of 100 respondents and recommended by 80% of people which is higher than any other attraction on this list.

Fun fact: The Statue of Liberty is struck by lightnings around 600 times per yer.

<p>Niagara Falls is a group of three waterfalls – American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls – located on the United States – Canada border at the southern Niagara Gorge end. The tourist attraction is one of the most famous destinations involving bodies of water in the world and is visited by approximately 12 million people each year.</p><p>So what makes Niagara Falls so special and why do they stand out even though there are many taller waterfalls in the world? The answer lies in the combination of height, width, gorgeous views, and the volume of water that passes over the falls. Only three in one hundred respondents haven’t heard of Niagara Falls before and as many as 77% of people have a positive opinion of the tourist destination.</p><p><strong>Fun fact:</strong> Around 3,160 tons of water flow over Niagara Falls every second.</p>

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a group of three waterfalls – American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls – located on the United States – Canada border at the southern Niagara Gorge end. The tourist attraction is one of the most famous destinations involving bodies of water in the world and is visited by approximately 12 million people each year.

So what makes Niagara Falls so special and why do they stand out even though there are many taller waterfalls in the world? The answer lies in the combination of height, width, gorgeous views, and the volume of water that passes over the falls. Only three in one hundred respondents haven’t heard of Niagara Falls before and as many as 77% of people have a positive opinion of the tourist destination.

Fun fact: Around 3,160 tons of water flow over Niagara Falls every second.

<p>The White House is not only the seat of the President and First Family but also a living museum of American history where tours see over one million visitors per year. The iconic white building designed by Irish-born architect James Hoban is also a world-renowned structure that symbolizes the United States government, presidency, and, most importantly, the American people.</p><p>Nowadays, only four in one hundred people are not familiar with the name. While 65% of individuals recommended the tourist attraction, 22% remained neutral and another 9% voiced their dislikes.</p><p><strong>Fun fact:</strong> John Adams, and not George Washington, was the first president to live in the White House.</p>

The White House

The White House is not only the seat of the President and First Family but also a living museum of American history where tours see over one million visitors per year. The iconic white building designed by Irish-born architect James Hoban is also a world-renowned structure that symbolizes the United States government, presidency, and, most importantly, the American people.

Nowadays, only four in one hundred people are not familiar with the name. While 65% of individuals recommended the tourist attraction, 22% remained neutral and another 9% voiced their dislikes.

Fun fact: John Adams, and not George Washington, was the first president to live in the White House.

<p>Another spot that could cause some controversy. The thing is, they sell the experience masterfully! In fact, it appeals to young and old. Some people sit here and live out childhood dreams. There’s nothing wrong with that; this is not meant to criticize people who’ve had a memorable experience at one of the most iconic restaurants at the resort. What’s the criticism here, then? If you’re not a fan of the film, and you’re not living out some sort of fantasy, you may realize the food’s middle of the pack. When the bill comes, it’s going to make you wish you had picked somewhere else to eat. The tip here is to leave this experience to people who will actually enjoy it!</p>

Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom is part of the massive Walt Disney World that we discussed earlier. Though part of a much bigger complex, Magic Kingdom serves as a standalone destination that can easily keep you and your loved ones busy for an entire day. The theme park features a number of classic attractions, musical parades, and Disney characters in their element.

What makes Magic Kingdom so famous is not only its name and connection to the world of Disney but also the fact it houses six enchanted lands on top of Cinderella’s castle. This attraction is recognized by 96% of respondents even though only 59% of people have a positive opinion of it.

Fun fact: Magic Kingdom features an underground tunnel system that helps staff distribute supplies throughout the park without compromising the magical ambience on park grounds.

<p>Like Walt Disney World Resort, this American theme park chain is headquartered in Orlando, Florida. Since 1964, SeaWorld’s been growing in the number of aquariums, thrilling rides, and mammal parks that keep over 20 million attendants per year busy. The park also grew inreasingly famous after offering somewhat controversial up-close, family-friendly animal encounters involving sea lions, dolphins, and even killer whales.</p><p>While only 61% of respondents would recommend visiting SeaWorld, 96% of people have heard about the place before. It is best known by Baby Boomers and is the third most famous tourist attraction among female respondents.</p><p><strong>Fun fact:</strong> SeaWorld Orlando is home to over 35,000 animals.</p>

Like Walt Disney World Resort, this American theme park chain is headquartered in Orlando, Florida. Since 1964, SeaWorld’s been growing in the number of aquariums, thrilling rides, and mammal parks that keep over 20 million attendants per year busy. The park also grew inreasingly famous after offering somewhat controversial up-close, family-friendly animal encounters involving sea lions, dolphins, and even killer whales.

While only 61% of respondents would recommend visiting SeaWorld, 96% of people have heard about the place before. It is best known by Baby Boomers and is the third most famous tourist attraction among female respondents.

Fun fact: SeaWorld Orlando is home to over 35,000 animals.

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