Top 10 Tourist Places in Paris
2. Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower, soaring high above the Paris landscape, symbolises Paris and offers spectacular city views from three levels. For many visitors, climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower is at the top of their list of “must-see sights in Paris, France,” and for good reason.
Although the famous landmark can be seen from many locations throughout the city, nothing beats the thrill of ascending to the observation platforms and watching the Paris landscape shrink and shrink beneath you. During peak months, crowds at the Eiffel Tower can be massive, and waiting in line for tickets can take up to 4 hours or more—but if you plan ahead of time, you can skip the regular line.
2. Louvre Museum
The massive Louvre Museum receives over 10 million visitors per year, making it the world’s most visited museum and a must-see in the 1st arrondissement’s “Royal Paris.”
The Louvre’s three world-famous masterpieces, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and two famous Greek statues, Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace (also known as the Winged Nike-yes, the inspiration for the popular athletic shoe brand!) account for much of its popularity. The Louvre, on the other hand, has a magnificent Egyptian collection complete with mummies, gallery after gallery of European paintings from the Middle Ages to the mid-nineteenth century, and rooms filled with exquisite furniture, tapestries, and ornamental objects.
Outside, I. M. Pei’s glass pyramids and a reflecting pool contrast with the former royal palace’s ornate Renaissance architecture.
3. Versailles Palace
Versailles Palace is one of the largest in the world, with over 700 rooms. The magnificent Versailles Palace, famous for its royal occupants ranging from King Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette, the glittering Hall of Mirrors, lavishly decorated rooms, and priceless art, provides an unforgettable glimpse of royal life when you visit. You could easily spend the entire day here. Versailles attracts a large number of visitors, and long security check lines before entering mean a 2-4 hour wait during most months of the year. Skip the line tickets and attraction passes will not save you from all delays: you will still have to go through security, though those lines are usually short.
4. Latin Quarter
Spend some time exploring the Latin Quarter to get a sense of an older Paris.
This famous Left Bank neighborhood, first settled by Romans in the first century, has long attracted bohemians, scholars, and political protesters. In the narrow, winding streets and older buildings, you can see traces of medieval Paris.
Drink in the brasseries along Boulevard Saint-Germain where Hemingway, Sartre, and Camus hung out in the 1920s, visit the Pantheon to see the tombs of French heroes and intellectuals, and gaze at the Cluny Museum’s timeless beauty of the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.
5. Seine River-Beaches, Cruises, & More
The Seine River runs through the heart of Paris, defining the city’s Right Bank to the north and Left Bank to the south. The historic heart of Paris is Île de la Cité, one of two small islands in the middle, with world-famous mediaeval masterpieces, hidden parks, and lovely 17th century enclaves.
There are numerous ways to enjoy the Seine. Stroll along the banks and marvel at the beautiful bridges. Les bouquinistes, or riverside bookshops on both sides of the Seine, are a must-see. Discover the Parc Rives de Seine, a riverside pedestrian-only promenade stretching from Place de la Bastille to the Eiffel Tower. Cruise up and down the Seine on a tour boat for a unique view of Paris’ most beautiful historic buildings and bridges. Dine and dance on a riverboat. Unwind in a floating swimming pool.
Visit Les Berges, a recreational area on the left bank of the river that comes alive in the summer.
6. Montmartre and Sacré Coeur
Montmartre, once a separate village, has been a part of Paris since 1860, but its winding lanes, many trees, and picturesque hillsides give it the appearance of being a separate place.
You can walk through the neighborhood’s many cafes and cabarets and imagine the artists, musicians, and writers who lived there when rents were low 100 years ago.
The most famous sight is the gleaming white Basilica of the Sacré Coeur, which was built in the Italian Byzantine style and can be seen from almost anywhere in Paris. Tourists frequently congregate around Sacré Coeur and the Moulin Rouge theatre in Pigalle, but they miss the most interesting parts of the neighborhood, which include small art museums and parks, pedestrian-only lanes, and a couple of old-fashioned windmills.
7. Musée D’Orsa
The Musée d’Orsay, housed in a former train station, houses a magnificent collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art.
Crowds pack the galleries housing the most famous masterpieces, particularly those by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, whose Starry Night drawing draws the most attention. But the Orsay Museum’s many treasures are reason enough to put it on your Paris “bucket list”—in fact, many visitors say it’s their favourite museum in the city. This museum houses the world’s best collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, including works by Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Pierre-August Renoir, and others.
In addition to the art, there’s a lot more to see and do here, including a few surprises.
8. The Arc de Triomphe
The massive Arc de Triomphe is one of Paris’ most recognisable attractions, commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon to commemorate his army’s victories across Europe, despite the fact that he was By the time it was finished 30 years later, he was exiled and dead.
The Arc de Triomphe is surrounded by a busy traffic rotary where 12 major streets converge, including the western end of the Champs Élysées. Although it is visible from a distance, you will get the best views and experience when you are close to it. Purchase a ticket and proceed to the observation deck at the top for 360-degree views of Paris. Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the eternal flame at the monument’s base to honour the unidentified French soldiers killed in World Wars I and II. Every evening at 6:30 p.m., you can see it being re-lit. Large sections of the monument are covered in elaborate statues and bas relief carvings depicting Napoleon’s battles.
9. Pompidou Center
When it first opened, the Pompidou Center’s edgy design, which featured exterior walls of brightly coloured tubes and exposed mechanical systems, drew howls of derision in a city filled with traditional architecture. The building’s design by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers is still visible in the cityscape half a century later.
Inside, revolving exhibitions of top-tier contemporary paintings, sculptures, and video and sound installations account for the museum’s immense popularity (get a skip the line ticket before you go to save time). After your visit, walk around to the back of the Centre Pompidou’s right side to see Stravinsky Fountain, which is named after the composer and is filled with 16 moving water sculptures that represent his music. It’s also visible if you look down from the rooftop deck.
10. Luxembourg Garden
Luxembourg Garden is the city’s most popular park, with towering chestnut trees, an expansive pool where children (and teens and adults) float toy sailboats, and many benches for sitting among lush flowers and beautiful statues.
With 448 other Paris parks and 2 forests to choose from, that’s quite the accomplishment!
Despite its popularity, Luxembourg Garden never feels crowded because its 60 acres are divided into many distinct areas. If you’re travelling with kids, don’t miss out on the pony rides and puppet theatre. If you aren’t, grab one of the green metal chairs next to the reflecting pool at the Medici Fountain and enjoy a few moments of total relaxation.