There are hundreds of things to see and do in Paris, from historic landmarks, museums full of famous artworks and sculptures, elegant theatres with lavish operatic performances, lush parks, world-class spa facilities and sumptuous wineries. Immerse yourself in the chic culture, feast on the historical riches and traditions and prepare to fall in love.
Musee d’Orsay – The Museum d’Orsay is THE must-see museum in Paris thanks to the single most impressive collection of Impressionist period paintings on earth! Wander from room to room and gawp at the works from the most famous of artists including Edouard Manet, Claude Monet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Within the former railway station there are also works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Camille Claudel and many many more!
Eiffel Tower – The single most enduring symbol of Paris and that she stands for is surely the Eiffel Tower, the iron beauty built in 1889 for the Paris World Fair by Gustave Eiffel. Situated on Paris’ Champ de Mars and standing at a mighty 324m tall, this is probably THE most visited monument on earth. And I strongly recommend buying your Eiffel Tower tickets in advance for a set time slot, in order to avoid queuing.
Luxembourg Gardens – Wander the carefully manicured Luxembourg Gardens which are formal in style and previously only accessible by royals prior to the French Revolution. Today all are welcome to stroll within a little piece of calm and relaxation in the center of Paris.
River Seine – Take a boat trip on the Seine and fulfil every tourist cliché – it’s a cliché for a reason though as the Seine is a serene and chic way to see the city. The Seine flows from east to west and travels right through the heart of Paris thus creating the famous Left Bank and Right Bank districts. The River Seine is also Paris’ only UNESCO World Heritage listed site rather surprisingly.
Musee de l’Orangerie – Expect to see many museums on this list as Paris is packed full of culture! The Musée de l’Orangerie is both a museum and art gallery featuring various impressionist and post-impressionist works of art such as Claude Monet’s famous Water Lilies. This imposing building is located beside the Tuileries Gardens on Paris’ Place de la Concorde.
Sainte-Chapelle – Probably the most stunning royal chapel to exist in France, with fifteen impressive stained glass windows. Constructed in the mid-13th century in French Gothic style, originally to house pieces of the Passion of Christ, the Sainte Chapelle was the focal point of Louis IX’s Palais de la Cité. Today the chapel is UNESCO listed.
Saint-Germain-des-Pres – Soak up traditional Paris with a stroll through the Saint-Germain-des-Pres district. Browse the small boutiques, be seen at the best restaurants in the city and sip a coffee at a café as you watch the world go by.
Palais Garnier – Opera National de Paris – Recommended for all ballet, opera and chamber music fans. Either try to catch a world-class performance here of join an organised tour to explore more of this impressive structure.
Musee Rodin – Explore both the beautiful grounds and museum pieces within the Musee Rodin, where famous sculptor Auguste Rodin lived and worked. The museum opened in 1919 and the most famous of Rodin’s works; The Kiss, The Thinker and The Gates of hell can be seen within the extensive gardens.
Longchamp Racecourse – Catch a horse race at the famous Longchamp Racecourse on Paris’ Route des Tribunes. Built on the banks of the Seine River, Longchamp is home to the annual the Prix de L’arc de Triomphe each October.
Aquarium Tropical de la Porte Doree – Opened in 1931, The Tropical Aquarium today provides an educational family day out with such tropical and aquarium fish as Piranha, Discus, Mandarin, Archer and Rascasse featured.
Pont Alexandre III Bridge – Walk over the historic Pont Alexandre III arch bridge that crosses the River Seine and connects the Champs-Élysées district with the Invalides and Eiffel Tower district. The bridge was built in 1896 and reflects the architecture of the Grand Palais which is located adjacent to the bridge. Featuring lavish lamps in Art Nouveau style as well as winged horses the bridge was named in honour of Russian Tsar Alexander III.
Musee Marmottan – Showcasing the famous works of impressionist artist Claude Monet, a visit to the Marmottan Museum is recommended. Located by Ranelagh Park there are about 65 Monet paintings with the 19th century townhouse. Monet of course created the Water Lilies painting as well as the Rouen Cathedral series, Haystacks and London Parliament series.
Pere-Lachaise Cemetery – Probably the most visited cemetery in the world is the Pere-Lachaise which has many famous interments amongst the 1 million gravesites. Notable graves include that of The Doors frontman Jim Morrison, opera singer Maria Callas, poet Oscar Wilde, composer Frédéric Chopin, comic playwright Molière and tragic lovers Abelard and Heloise.
Musee du Louvre – If you have plenty of time on your hands, then visit the Louvre art gallery which is absolutely vast! The works are within a former Parisian palace and contain around 400,000 works of art. Most popular pieces include Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo by artist Alexandros of Antioch. Make a list of must-sees and tackle this giant with precision.
Notre Dame Cathedral – The iconic Notre Dame Cathedral has featured in many films thanks to its handsome Gothic architecture, which was built in the 12th century. Catch mass here, admire the intricate gargoyles and climb the 400 steps up to that infamous belltower.
Ile de la Cite – Stroll around the Ile de la Cite district of Paris which retains quaint medieval streets beside the Seine coupled with haute-cuisine restaurants and fashionable cafes. You’ll be swamped with culture and history too here with Notre Dame, the Conciergerie, Sainte-Chapelle and the Palais de Justice all on your doorstep.
Arc de Triomphe – Iconic and historic, the Arc de Triomphe landmark was commissioned by Napoleon I in 1806 to honour the victory of his great army. Visit at night to see the monument lit in resplendent glory and watch the flame being lit on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Musee de l’Armee – Architecture buffs will devour the stunning Army Museum building and historians will be bowled over by the sheer diversity of weaponry and war memorabilia on display here.
Sacre-Coeur – Sitting proudly atop the Montmartre hill is the mighty Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre, aka Sacre-Coeur. Admire the panoramic views of Paris below and if you’re feeling energetic climb the basilica’s dome for an elevated view.
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By Julie Bowman