Paris is a city that comes alive with art, culture and romance. It’s a city where you can find just about anything your heart desires.
From the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum to the Arc de Triomphe – there are so many things in this beautiful city that you must see. What are the ones that can’t be missed?
We built up for you the ultimate must sees Paris’ list, which gathers some of the most amazing and iconic sights around town for every traveler’s pleasure!
So, read on, take note, and get ready to be amazed by one of Europe’s finest cities.
Must Sees Paris: Attraction #1, The Eiffel Tower
Let’s start with the obvious and get it out of the way. The number one must-see in Paris is obviously the Eiffel Tower. We’re sure it’s already on your list, but let us tell you a few reasons why you should visit.
This monument was built for the World’s Fair in 1889 in celebration of the French Revolution centenary and faces the gardens of the Champs de Mars. It has, since then, become one of Paris’ most famous landmarks.
It’s an engineering marvel, masterpiece of the architect Gustave Eiffel, that offers stunning views across the city. The tower has been the highest point in Paris since 1889, but it’s not just about seeing how high you can go.
The Eiffel Tower is a cultural landmark that will introduce you to French culture and art on several levels figuratively and literally speaking.
On the first level, discover the story and old pictures of the beautiful Iron Lady. Next level up, discover a few shops, bars and restaurants including the one Michelin star Le Jules Verne. If you are not afraid of heights, go straight up to the last floor where you can see the reconstitution of Mr. Eiffel’s office or enjoy a unique 360° view of Paris.
For those who don’t want to wait in line, you can also enjoy a picnic in the gardens of the Champs de Mars with an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower.
Don’t forget to pay a visit at night when it’s all lit up!
The Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is a famous monument in Paris and the symbol of France.
It is a triumphal arch, which was built to commemorate the victory of the French armies under Napoleon’s empire.
The construction started in 1806, but it was officially opened to the public in 1836. The Arc de Triomphe has a height of around 165 feet and is located on the Place Charles-de-Gaulle, also called the Place de l’Etoile, at the end of the wide and clear avenue of the Champs-Elysées, allowing us to admire it from a far distance.
Under its arch, you can observe the tomb of the unknown soldier, where a flame is burning in honor of all soldiers who died for France during the first World War.
Know that you can go up to the second level by stairs or lift, and visit the high balcony to get an even greater view of Paris!
It’s name is actually the “Arc de Triomphe de l’étoile” but everyone commonly calls it the “Arc de Triomphe”.
The Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral
Another great heritage from the past: The Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral. Its construction started in 1163, but ended around 180 years later in 1345.
This must-see is another iconic landmark of Paris, with its Gothic architecture and ornate colorful stained glass windows. It has welcomed some of the most important milestones in France’s history, such as the coronation of Napoleon.
The Notre-Dame Cathedral is the last resting place for many kings and their families as well as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its amazing architecture.
For years, it was the most visited place in Paris, until 2019 when a fire broke out and devastated the building. Since then, the Notre-Dame Cathedral has been closed for renovation. You can still admire its architecture and impressive stained glass windows from the outside, and enjoy a walk around the Ile de la Cité while you’re at it.
The Louvre Museum
In our go-to places in Paris, it is impossible not to mention the Louvre Museum that houses one of the art world’s largest collections !
The Louvre has been open to the public since 1793 and it features artworks from all periods, with over 500 sculptures on display. It’s an iconic building and one of Paris’ landmarks which attracts millions of visitors each year from all around the world.
The Louvre gathers an impressive collection that ranges from ancient art to some of the most famous paintings in history like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, sculptures, antic civilization art collections, and much more!
Not fond of art? You’ll still find it a feast for your eyes, as its architecture is incredibly beautiful too!
Don’t expect to see every single room of the museum. It is simply impossible, as you actually would need 4 entire days to visit it all. At the beginning of your visit, check the plan for rooms and masterpieces that attract you the most to make sure you won’t miss them.
But we do have to say that just wandering around its great exhibitions and letting the museum surprise you, is a great way to visit the Louvre.
The Palace of Versailles
For this iconic place, you will have to go a little outside of the city. But don’t worry, it’s actually just 30 minutes away from Paris and you can get there by train or bus!
The Château de Versailles, or Palace of Versailles, is a must-see of the city of Paris as it represents the royal era in France in all its splendor.
Indeed, once a royal residence to nobility and royalty like King Louis XIV, King Louis XVI or Marie Antoinette, it has been recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1979.
Partly destroyed during the French Revolution, its stunning architecture remains today to tell us about the high life in the 18th century, especially in the “Galerie des Glaces”.
The gardens of Versailles are also incredible. Plan some time to enjoy the wide and flourished gardens with its long centered canal, thousands of trees, flowers, and numerous fountains and water jets! We guarantee it’s worth planning some time to see this architectural nature!
The lines are pretty long to access the Palace of Versailles. One, you can book your tour ticket in advance to avoid the ticket booking waiting line. Two, try to get to the Palace quite early in order to avoid the crowd.
The Pont Alexandre III
This bridge is an iconic landmark and one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris, France.
Built from 1897 to 1900 for the Universal exhibition of Paris, this monumental bridge was also a symbol of the French-Russian friendship.
The Pont Alexandre III connects the Grand Palais and Petit Palais from one side of the Seine river with the other side housing the Hotel des Invalides.
A few elements will surprise you on your walk there:
- Its extreme size and beautiful architecture
- The 4 huge pylons on the extremities of the bridges, which all host on their tops an impressive golden sculpture
- On their bottom a rock sculpture
- And finally some candelabras magnificently sculpted that light at night to give it a romantic touch.
Ideal for a lover’s walk or to take the perfect Parisian-vibes’ pictures, this is one of the best things of Paris and its free.
If you do have a bit more time in this area, seize the opportunity to check out the exhibitions or shows happening in the Grand Palais, it might be worth it!
Restaurants and clubs are hidden under the bridge if you want to have dinner or dance all night in such a unique place!
The Musée d’Orsay
The Musée d’Orsay, one of the biggest art museums of Europe, is definitely a must see while in Paris.
Located by the left bank of the Seine, it houses a large collection of paintings from the 19th century such as paintings by Van Gogh or Monet for instance!
The architecture of the museum is quite interesting as well, as it has been built in the old train station of Orsay.
During your visit, make sure to check out the beautiful clocks up on the walls, witnesses of the old train station.
Catacombs of Paris
If you want to see part of what makes the City of Light so special, then we invite you to check out the Catacombs of Paris.
Go underneath Paris and discover this wide network of galleries that contain the ossuaries. The dead were buried and then stacked in a continuous series of curving galleries. There are about six miles of corridors, behind which lie 1.5 million remains.
It was been built originally to accommodate the overcrowding of cemeteries for Parisians during the Revolution. Although it was cleared out and closed to the public after that period, it has been reopened and is now a fascinating place to visit, one like you’ve probably have never seen before!
The Opera Garnier
Next one on your list could be the Opera Garnier, also called the Palais Garnier. It is a monumental and famous building with an “Art Nouveau’ décor that was built in the late 19th century by the architect Charles Garnier.
It hosts some of the best ballets, lyrical concerts and theatrical performances that you could see in France’s capital.
As soon as you walk through the doors of the Palais Garnier, expect to be mesmerized by what it’s like inside because no two parts look alike!
Book two tickets for a show during your stay to admire both this typical Parisian Opera house and the performance of renowned artists.
The Avenue des Champs-Elysées
The Avenue des Champs-Elysées is one of the most famous avenues in Paris.
Nicknamed “la plus grande avenue du monde” which translates as “the largest avenue in the world”, it connects the Arc de Triomphe with the Place de la Concorde and offers many opportunities for those who are looking for shopping experiences.
You can find some of the world’s most renowned and luxury brands like Louis Vuitton or Chanel on this avenue but also, more accessible fashion stores and small shops with great souvenirs.
If you want the full Parisian experience, make sure not to miss out on this one during your trip in Paris!
If you are getting exhausted from the long walks in Paris while on this avenue, stop by the charming Ladurée café. A few flavorful macaroons shall make you feel like new again!
The Place de la Concorde
The Place de la Concorde is the biggest square in Paris. It’s located right in the intersection between the Champs-Elysées and the Tuileries Gardens, leading to the Louvre. It will then probably be on your walking tour itinerary while visiting Paris.
It is a place where you can see many monuments as it holds in its center a few statues, 2 fountains, and the Obelisk of Luxor, made in Ancient Egypt, that was gifted to France.
Well, not that fun actually – This square used to hold public executions of royal heads after the Revolution.
The Jardin du Luxembourg
The Garden of Luxembourg is a large and well-known public park located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. It’s accessible via several metro stations and entrances that you can take depending on your starting point in the city.
Between the museum, statues, restaurants, fountains, terraces, sport courts such as tennis or basketball, areas to chill and playgrounds which make this place very family-friendly.
We can guarantee that you will absolutely love the Jardin du Luxembourg, which is like a green oasis in the center of Paris.
If you are a runner, the Jardin is a great place to run in the mornings, where you’ll be able to run alongside with locals.
The Montmartre Neighborhood
If you want to feel like your in the movie “Amelie Poulain”, you definitely need to head to Montmartre for at least part of a day during your Parisian trip!
In the heart of the 18th arrondissement of Paris, you’ll be able to take pictures of its windmills, narrow and steep streets and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica.
This neighborhood is also well-known for being home to many artists in the 19th century which made Montmartre a place where imagination was allowed while looking at reality from another perspective.
It also has an artistic vibe even now as it’s still active with street art, small galleries, and the best Place du Tertre which welcomes dozens and dozens of independent artists.
It’s the perfect place to find original souvenirs and bring home some paintings of Paris!
The Sacré-Coeur Basilica
The Sacré-Coeur Basilica is one of the most famous sights in Paris. It can actually be seen from many points in the city but you will be able to appreciate its inside and outside beauty when visiting Montmartre.
To reach the Basilica is a journey by itself. Located at 425 feet of altitude, the access to this monument can be done either by going up many stairs or via the funicular.
After your way up, take some time to visit the Basilica and enjoy the rewarding and stunning views of Paris from the top. It’s also an ideal spot for photo shoots!
The Père Lachaise Cemetery
The Père Lachaise Cemetery is a large and famous cemetery located in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. It’s the most visited one in France as it has over 1,000,000 people buried there.
In the heart of Paris, this particular cemetery is the resting place to many celebrities, politicians and artists. You could even pay a visit to the tomb of Jim Morrison!
This peaceful place, calm and timeless, makes it an interesting stop when going to Montmartre or the Pigalle area.
Jardins des Tuileries
The Tuileries Gardens are located in the heart of Paris, making it one of the most visited public parks.
This garden is part of a large green space that starts with Place de la Concorde and ends at The Louvre.
You can enjoy its many trees, flowers, statues, fountains while taking a break with a coffee, an ice cream or one of those jambon-beurre sandwiches Parisians are craving for!
A few streets away from the center part of the garden, you can have quick access to the Galerie Vivienne, the Place Vendome or even the Palais Royal if you have some extra free time on your trip.
The Latin Quarter is a popular area in Paris. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some of the best cafes and traditional French dishes as it is home to a great student-life making this district very lively!
If you like going around with your camera out or just wandering around aimlessly while enjoying an ice cream on one of those hot summer days, then you’ll love this neighborhood.
As you can see there is a lot more to see in Paris than the Eiffel Tower! Paris is just a wonderful place, and any street, corner or garden will have its charm.
And you, did you have any other places in mind that we should add to the list? Let us know in the comments!
If you find yourself with some extra time to explore the City of Love, or would like to have a local guide with you, make sure to contact us so we can arrange a tour with a true Parisian guide that will give you some anecdotes and funny stories you would will never have imagined about Paris!
We hope this list will help you to organize your trip to Paris and now, the last thing left for us to do is to wish you a Bon voyage!