It seems that there is always too much to do when you visit Paris. As a consequence, planning your days can be confusing.
To honor this city we love and to help you plan your trip, I created this list of the top 25 places that I want visit when in Paris. Most of these attractions are well-known and I assure you that all are worth seeing. So let them speak for themselves.
1. The Eiffel Tower.
There are many reasons why this is the number one tourist attraction in Paris. Over more than 1,000 feet high, this iconic wrought iron structure was constructed for the 1889 World Exposition. Ride the elevators or climb the stairs, photographic opportunities are everywhere. Make your reservations in advance, it is always crowded.
2. The Louvre.
The world’s most visited museums, the Louvre Museum is located in the Louvre Palace with its signature glass pyramid entrance. Housing a collection of more than 1 million objects, it is home to some of the world’s most famous art works including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the statue Venus of Milo.
3. Sacre Coeur.
One of the most dominant 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. Take time to visit the Montmatre neighborhood around it.
4. Notre Dame.
The world-famous Notre Dame cathedral stands more than 400 feet high. This marvelous church is considered a supreme example of French Gothic architecture. A tour of this 13th century masterpiece is mandatory. Take time to visit its home, Ille De La Cite and the wonderful Ille St Louis, both located in the middle of the Seine.
5. Versailles Palace.
OK, it is not in Paris, but the Palace of Versailles, is one of the largest and most opulent castles in the world and the one day trip to take. Home to 2,143 windows, 1,252 fireplaces, and 67 staircases, the Castle is one of the most visited attractions in France. This amazing 18th century castle was home to King Louis at the time of the revolution and is now a UNESCO heritage site. Save time for a long long walk in the spectacular gardens.
6. The 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 reliefs depicting victorious battles. Beneath the arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from WWI.
7. Musee D’Orsay.
A mandatory vist for art lovers, the Musee d’Orsay houses the world’s best collection of impressionist paintings. Located in a former railway station, this grand museum showcases works by famous artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, Cezane, Degas, Pissarro, Renoir and Jean-Francois Millet. Spectular in its own right as a building, it has recently been remodeled again.
8. Centre Pompidou.
Centre George Pompidou, named after a former President of France was completed in 1977. The architecture is a love it or hate it cacophony colors, cables, boxes, and tubes. It is home for a public library, the Musée National d’Art Moderne, and major art exhibitions.
9. Jardin Du Luxembourg.
The Luxembourg Garden is the second largest public park in Paris. Perfect for a picnic or stroll among beautiful lawns, artistic statues and fountains. Take a jog, breathe, take a break from all that touring.
10. Moulin Rouge.
Toulouse-Lautrec adored Moulin Rouge, and he certainly had good reasons to do so. Located in the vicinity of Montmartre in the Paris red-light district of Pigalle, this remains the symbol of cabaret. The show is not cheap but you can feel old Paris in the air even in today’s world of non smoking laws.
11. Musee de L’Orangerie.
Located on Place de la Concorde. fine collection of Impressionist art, notably the most famous of Monet’s Water lilies series.
12 Les Invalides/Napoleon’ s Tomb
Home to the remains of Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte (b.1769)m this magnificent memorial built between 1843-53 and now serves as his final resting place. The giant sarcophagus that houses his remains is staggering. On the grounds is also the Musée de l’Armée, the French war museum.
13. Place De Concorde.
At the east end of the Champs-Elysées is Place de la Concorde, the largest square in Paris with grande vistas in every direction. It was here that the French King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and many others were guillotined during the French revolution. A 3200 years old Egyptian obelisk anchors the center of the Plaza.
14. The Bateaux Mouche.
Bateaux Mouches are open excursion boats that show you a very unusual view of the city from along the river Seine. Especially fun at night.
15. The Grand Palais.
Built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle, the Grand Palais reflects the work of three different architects, each of whom designed a façade. In 1994 the wonderful glass-roofed hall was closed when bits of metal started falling off. After major restoration, the Palais has reopened and houses major expositions.
16. The Champs Elysees
The Avenue des Champs-Elysées links place de la Concorde with the Arc de Triomphe. The avenue has symbolized the style of Paris since the mid-19th century and remains a popular tourist destination overflowing with shoppers. A must walk and some of the most expensive coffee in the world but hey, think of the view.
17. Musee National Rodin.
The Rodin museum occupies the home and gardens where the sculptor lived in the final years of his life. The Kiss, the Cathedral and the Walking Man are exhibited indoors. Many of his individual figures or small groups that also appear in the sculpture garden.
18. Musee Quai Branly.
This unusual modern ‘living’ building is surrounded by trees on the banks of the Seine. A showcase for non-European cultures. Dedicated to the ethnic art of Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas. Full of rare treasures and featuring regular unique expositions.
19. Cimetiere Du Pere Lachaise.
Can you feel the ghosts of Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf in this large swath of green just to the north of The Bastille? Take time for a long walk in the most famous cemetery in Paris.
20. The Petit Palais.
The ‘Little Palace’ is overshadowed by its big brother, Le Grand Palais across the road. But ignore it and you’ll miss out on one of Paris’s loveliest fine arts museums. The building, built for the 1900 for the World Fair, is lit entirely by natural light and sits around a pretty little garden an exceptional spot to enjoy a coffee and cakes.
21. The Paris Opera (Palais Garnier)
The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. Open for tours and home to an aggressive musical menu.
22. Les Catacombes.
This is a 3,000km (1,864-mile) tunnel network that runs under much of the city. With public burial pits overflowing in the era of the Revolutionary Terror, the bones of six million people were transferred to the catacombes. The bones of Marat, Robespierre and their cronies are packed in with wall upon wall of their fellow citizens. A damp, cramped tunnel takes you through a series of galleries of bones and more bones.
23. Places Des Voges.
Paris’s first planned square was commissioned in 1605 by Henri IV and inaugurated by his son Louis XIII in 1612. Now a place of refuge in the Marais surrounded by galleries and shops.
24. Pont Alexandre II
This stunning bridge is another great excuse to stroll across the Seine. Phenomenal views in both directions and particularly beautiful at night.
25. Le Sainte Chapelle
Located in the center of the city on the Île de la Cite is a small Gothic chapel constructed by King Louis IX from 1238-1243. A remarkable visual experience, as the entire upper tier of the chapel is surrounded by enormous stained glass windows.
Don’t agree with these choices? Want to add to this list? Then please comment.