Paris is a city that attracts us very much. It represents the place of love, of romantic dreams come true and for many it is the ideal place to go to enjoy a romantic getaway. However, it is much more than that. There are very interesting monuments and historical buildings that you will love to discover. Here we name the 45 essential places to visit during a trip to Paris. Remember that at the end of the article you will find an interactive tourist map with all the places to visit mentioned in our tourist guide. You can use the map to plan your visit or simply use it once at the destination tolocate points of tourist interest in your vicinity.
Arc De Triomphe
This is one of the symbols of Paris, so you cannot travel the French capital without knowing it. The Arc de Triomphe is located in the VIII arrondissement, at the western end of the bustling Champs Elysées, and is characterized by being an imposing building of about 50 meters that dates from the year 1806. It is the main identity monument of France and is managed by the National Monuments Center.
Traveling to Paris and returning without having visited the Eiffel Tower is almost a crime. This monument symbolizes strength in the face of the difficulties of life and war, and is undoubtedly one of the first national icons that you will want to discover in Paris. It can be seen from almost any vantage point in the city and at night it offers a play of lighting that fills the city and the waters of the Seine with colors. The Eiffel Tower has three levels. Both the first and second floors are accessible by elevator and by stairs. The only way to visit the top of the Eiffel Tower is to take the elevator.
After the Disney movie “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, who hasn’t wanted to visit the church of gargoyles? Yes, this beautiful cathedral is another of the essential attractions of Paris. One of the main reasons to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame is to admire the confluence of different architectural styles, and the brilliant way in which the Gothic has managed to mix with the Romanesque and the Norman.
After the fire that broke out on April 15, 2019, its treasury and its towers are closed and while work is being done on its reconstruction and repair. The security perimeter of the Ile de la Cité has been reduced since April 21. However, it is still impossible to access the immediate surroundings of the cathedral, as well as the Petit Pont and the Pont au Double. The reopening is planned for 2024.
One of the most prestigious universities in Europe, related to freedom of expression and daily revolutions. The Sorbonne is located in the Latin Quarter, near the Lycée Louis-le-Grand and the Luxembourg Gardens; an area surrounded by educational buildings and an absolutely cheerful and lively atmosphere. You can not freely access and walk through its corridors, the entrance to this sacred institution is, in principle, reserved for students and teachers. However, it is possible to visit the Sorbonne if you organize a guided tour in advance.
Palace Of Versailles
Without a doubt, this palace will catch your attention because its architecture is quite different from everything you can see in Paris. It was built by Louis XIV and represents one of the most important monarchy buildings on the European Continent. You can visit its rooms, the hall of mirrors, the chapel, a charming display of works of art from the Renaissance era… you can even tour the gardens of the Palace of Versailles by train. Without a doubt, one more of the tourist attractions in Paris that you should not miss.
A replica of Greek architecture in the middle of the city of Paris? Yes! The Pantheon is a crypt that contains the tombs of famous French personalities: Victor Hugo, Marie Curie and Voltaire are buried here. It is located next to other historic buildings : the town hall, the Saint Étienne du Mont church, the Saint Genevieve library and the University. Also, its proximity to the Luxembourg Gardens and immersed in the Latin Quarter, make it one of the essential places to visit in Paris.
Basilica Of The Sacred Heart
Although getting there requires a certain sacrifice (it is located at the top of the Montmartre hill ), it is worth it. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart not only has a hypnotic architecture (with its mythical white dome and the bustling Plaça del Tertre) but, from its entrance, you can appreciate fabulous views of the entire city.
Place De La Bastille
The French Revolution took place here, one of the most important historical events in Paris and Western culture. Place de la Bastille is built on what was formerly the Bastille fortress, a high wall that prevented enemy armies from entering Paris. Later, it became a prison, and it is where the “Assault on the Bastille” took place, which marked the beginning of the Revolution. Finally, the Bastille was demolished and in its place there is only a roundabout with a monument to remember this important place in the history of France. If you visit this area, we recommend you take a walk aroundthe Bastille Market, located nearby, where a wide variety of products are offered.
And we continue with the list of places to visit in Paris with another of the “tops”. The Louvre Museum is one of the most popular in Paris and where you can enjoy unique and fabulous works of art. Among its most outstanding pieces is the “Gioconda” by Leonardo de Vinci. This is one of the mandatory visits for any tourist passing through Paris. However, you should know that it is such a large museum with so many works that it is impossible to visit everything in a single visit. For this reason, we recommend that you go knowing what you want to see and go to its location in order to make the most of your time.
The Champs-Elysées Avenue is the most important in Paris and connects two popular buildings in the city: the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde. The Champs Elysées is, today, a long promenade that brings together the most sophisticated fashion and leisure shops on its sidewalks, as well as buyers from all over the world, eager to take a piece of this beautiful avenue in bags.
This building has a long history because it represents a gesture of gratitude to those people who gave up their lives to serve the nation. It was built by Louis XIV, and was known as the Hôtel Royal des Invalides, as it served as a home for disabled soldiers. Although it still houses a hospital today, the Les Invalides complex also houses three museums and two churches: a huge cathedral, a museum where jewels belonging to the French army are kept, plans of the city and the Museum of the Order of the Liberation, hidden corners that you should not miss when you come to this corner of Paris.
Next to the Louvre it is one of the most important museums in Paris. Among the most remarkable paintings that you can admire in the Musée d’Orsay are Monet’s “The Poppies”, Renoir’s “Dance at the Moulin de la Galette” and Degas’ “The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Ballerina”. If you want to get to know the culture of the country in depth, then you should not miss this visit.
With the name “Muelles de la Seine” one of the most beautiful pedestrian areas of Paris is known. It is located on the left bank of this important river and is a fabulous place to go for a walk all year round. The Orsay wharf is one of the most beautiful and popular in the area, it is very close to the museum of the same name.
If you like music, you will surely have seen this theater in many movies. The Opera Bastille theater is located in the 12th arrondissement of Paris and is a modern- style building that offers performances of classical works and works from other periods. The Opera Bastille was inaugurated by President Mitterrand on July 13, 1989 and has a capacity for more than 2,000 people. Both the view of the stage from the auditorium and the acoustics are magnificent.
In this gigantic shopping center in Paris you can buy clothing and lingerie from the most important brands and designers in France. In Galeries Lafayette you will find all the prestigious fashion firms, as well as decoration items, all gathered under its iconic glass dome. Without a doubt, a perfect place to go shopping in Paris.
Montmartre is a large hill located in the northeast of Paris and is known above all for its creative atmosphere, where several world-renowned artists, such as Monet, Picasso and Renoir, settled during the Belle Époque. When visiting Montmartre, in addition to visiting its famous Basilica, don’t forget to stop at the Wall of Love (Le Mur des Je t’aimes), on which “I love you” is written 311 times in 250 languages. Another interesting place to discover here is Vignes du Clos, a tiny vineyard and surely one of the only ones that exist in the middle of a city. This vineyard is owned by the city and the profits go to social initiatives.
One of the most famous cabarets in Paris, and surely in the whole world, is the Moulin Rouge, especially famous after the movie with the same name. One of the ways to enjoy the night can be to see a cabaret show at the Moulin Rouge and party at La Machine nightclub, located in the same building. It is also possible to book for a dinner show, attend a function or a matinee.
Natural History Museum
If you like plants and animals, you have to visit this museum. The Natural History Museum in Paris is packed with wacky species, some extinct and others only present in a few far flung corners of the world. Along with the ones in Washington and London, it has one of the most diverse and prestigious collections in the world.
Best Areas To Stay In Paris
Let’s do a ‘brake’ ! Did you know that sleeping well can have a big impact on your travel experience ? Paris is a huge city, and with a lot of accommodation, so it is very important to choose accommodation correctly. For this reason, we have created a guide (also very complete) of the best areas to stay with some recommended hotels. Check it out now or later. What difference does it make? But always before booking !
Royal Palace Gardens
Walking the paths full of flowers and plants is a real pleasure, especially knowing that you are in the middle of the noise of one of the busiest cities in Europe. Next to the Royal Palace Gardens you can also visit the former headquarters of the National Library of France, where several million works, unique manuscripts and priceless documents are kept.
Along the winding medieval streets and alleys of this neighborhood you will find a multitude of small shops, galleries, cafes and ultra-modern restaurants. The Marais has become a fashionable and avant-garde neighborhood, a must-see for most tourists. As it has an important Jewish community, here you can visit the Museum of Jewish Art and the Anne Frank Garden. Other points of tourist interest to highlight are: the Place des Vosges (the oldest in Paris) and the National Picasso Museum.
It is a huge park (more than 55 hectares) located in the heart of Paris. It stands out for a wonderful bond between modern architecture and nature. It was designed by Bernard Tschumi and is the largest urban cultural park in the city. La Villette is packed with attractions, including several playgrounds for children, the Museum of Science and Technology, the IMAX theater La Géode, and the famous Zénith de Paris concert hall. During the good weather, it hosts various concerts and open-air festivals.
The Beaches Of Paris
Speaking of good weather! During the summer months, Parisians flock to the banks of the Seine River to enjoy the “beaches of the Country.” It is not a joke. The city makes several areas designed for relaxation and recreation available to the public. Inside the Parc Rives de Seine, from the Pont Alexandre III to the Pont du Solferino (on the left bank) and from the Pont Neuf to the Pont de Sully (on the right bank), you will find grassy areas full of deckchairs, parasols and palm trees. Another “beach” resort along the Seine is at the Bassin de La Villette (located at the Quai de la Loire and the Quai de la Seine). This area of the canal hasthree swimming pools, various water activities and toilets on the docks, changing rooms, showers, beach bars and ice cream stands.
Center Georges Pompidou
Also known simply as Pompidou, this museum will give you the opportunity to discover very interesting works of modern art. It is located in one of the most peculiar neighborhoods of Paris, nestled in an even more peculiar building, which will catch your attention and will encourage you to want to know it from the inside : a lot of colored tubes linked and covered in shiny crystals.
A walk from Le Marais to the Canal Saint Martin is a must for any tourist setting foot in Paris. It is an opportunity to get to know the most sophisticated shops in the city as well as cute restaurants and independent and trendy boutiques. The Canal Saint Martin area isn’t just for shopping, it’s also a fabulous place to wander and watch some of Paris’ trendiest people.
Did you think we were going to forget about him? The Disneyland Paris park is the destination par excellence for family tourism (and sometimes not so family). And yes, many travelers (both those traveling with children and those without) take the opportunity to combine a trip to Paris with a few days at Disneyland. We cannot summarize everything in such a small space, so we recommend you expand on the information in the specific section on what to visit in the Disney park and another on where to stay in Disneyland.
Palace Of The Opera Garnier
The Paris Opera House is an impressive monument that is also overlooked by many tourists. Built in the late 19th century, its façade is imposing and ornate, while inside you’ll find equally ostentatious decoration (gold everywhere). You can visit the place on your own or through a guided tour.
Located in the center (between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde), it is a public garden, huge and free. Although originally designed exclusively for the use of the royal family and the court, the park was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1991 (as part of the banks of the Seine) and has been open to the public since XVII century. Parisians and tourists alike love strolling the tree-lined paths, picnicking on the lawn, or just sitting on a bench people-watching. The Musée de la Orangerie is also nearby, at the southwestern end of the gardens. There are also three restaurants, a bookstore and a carousel perfect ifyou travel with children.
If you already know our guides, it won’t surprise you that we include a cemetery in the list of places to visit. This cemetery is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The Père-Lachaise is a labyrinth of cobbled pathways lined with cascading leafy trees that cast perfect shade for the striking 19th-century burial chambers that permeate the grounds. Apart from aesthetics, this one of the most famous cemeteries in Europe. Here rest such famous figures as Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf and Gertrude Stein. Be sure to grab a map at the entrance, as there are 70,000 plots to search through.
Catacombs Of Paris
And we continue with the most “dark and alternative” attractions in Paris! The catacombs are a huge collection of bones and ossuaries located under the city. The overcrowded cemeteries of 18th century Paris gave rise to these ossuaries and more than 6 million people were moved to this underground tomb. Descend below the streets of Paris and go through the labyrinth of tunnels full of human bones. Only 200 people are allowed in, so there is often a queue and it moves very slowly. We recommend that you get your tickets in advance if you want to visit the Catacombs of Paris.
It is the oldest bridge in the city and connects the right bank with the “ile de la cite”. From this bridge you will get an incredible view of the Seine River, the Pont des Arts and the Eiffel Tower.
Sainte Chapelle And Conciergerie
A short distance from Notre Dame is the Sainte Chapelle, another super nice cathedral (great to replace a visit to Notre Dame) that has some of the best stained glass in the world. The queues to enter the Sainte Chapelle are usually long, but the wait is worth it. We recommend combining the visit with the Conciergerie, since both points of interest are next to each other. This is the place where Marie Antoinette and others were imprisoned before being taken to Place de la Concorde to be executed.
Place De La Concorde
The Place de la Concorde, which like the Place de la Bastille is a large roundabout, is located between the Jardin des Tuileries and the Champs-Elysées. This famous square is steeped in history : during the French Revolution it was the place where King Louis XVI was guillotined, as were Marie Antoinette and Robespierre. From mid-November to early May there is a giant Ferris wheel on the Place de la Concorde. The entrance costs about €14 and allows you to enjoy incredible views of Paris. The best time to go up is at dusk, just to see the lights of the Eiffel Tower turn on.
Alexander Iii Bridge
The Pont Alexandre III is the most ornate and sumptuous of the bridges spanning the River Seine, connecting the Champs-Elysées and the Eiffel Tower. Built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, the Alexander III Bridge is today a protected historical monument and is considered one of the most beautiful urban bridges in the world.
Flea Market “Les Puces”
With Paris being a haven for antiques and collectibles, it’s no wonder the world’s largest antiques market is located here in Clignancourt. With 70,000 square meters and 15 different markets, it is the perfect place for treasure hunting. Open on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, it’s easy to spend an entire day there, whether you’re looking for antiques or not.
The Madeleine Church could be mistaken for an ancient Greek temple due to its neoclassical façade. Some even confuse it with the Pantheon. However, you should know that it is a Roman Catholic church designed as a pantheon for the glory of Napoleon’s army. You can visit for free every day from 10 to 7.
This is the only skyscraper in the city of Paris. Although its extravagant appearance is not much admired, if you go up to the 56th floor, you will have a 360° panoramic view of the entire city. Also, you should know that the Montparnasse Tower has one of the fastest elevators in Europe, and it will take you to the 56th floor observatory in just 38 seconds. And if 56 floors aren’t enough for you, you can keep going up to the 59th floor outdoor observatory.
The elegant Galerie Vivienne is one of the many passageways you’ll find in the Grands Boulevards area of Paris. These passageways, which usually connect two streets, are actually glass-roofed shopping arcades between the buildings. For this reason, they are also known as “Les Passages Couverts” (Covered Passages). One of our favorite galleries is the Galerie Vivienne. Strolling through these charming arcades will allow you to discover beautiful hidden shops, cafes and restaurants.
If you sit down for a drink at Les Deux Magots or Le Procope, you will surely pay a little more than what it would cost you in another bar, but… Are you in Paris? Both are emblems of what a French café or bistro should be and are located on the luxurious Boulevard Saint-Germain. For more examples, check out our guide to cafes to visit in Paris.
Cafe From The Movie “Amelie”
And if you get “picky-picky” when it comes to coffee shops… We present you the Café des Deux Moulins, located in the 18th Arrondissement of Paris. Its fame has spread popularly in recent years thanks to the fact that it was one of the main scenes of the film Amelie.
Le Bon Marché Left Bank
They are the oldest department stores in the world and feature an elegant architectural design. The mall houses a fine selection of high – end stores and is a perfect place to shop for Parisian fashion and luxury brands without being immersed in the tourist crowds.
Great Arch And Defense
In western Paris, at the end of avenue Charles-de-Gaulle, is a complex of high-rise buildings developed since the mid-1960s. The neighborhood is named after La Défense, recalling the bitter resistance of French forces in this area during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. Designed by Johan Otto von Spreckelsen, the Great Arch is truly impressive. It is a huge rectangular arch 110 meters high covered in white marble. The monument was inaugurated in 1989 on the occasion of the bicentenary of the French Revolution, and its contemporary structuresymbolizes the national value of fraternity in France. In fact, the arch was originally called “La Grande Arche de la Fraternité”.
Does the idea of visiting a haunted house appeal to you ? Covering an area of 1,000m², Le Manoir is one of the best places to visit in Paris at night. The 30 artists who work here bring 14 Parisian legends to life, most of them based on true events. The 23 rooms offer horror stories told in 5 levels of fear that visitors can choose from. There are 3 animatronics, a mad dog and a screeching gargoyle that add to the fleet of “horror” items. If your trip coincides with Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas or a Friday the 13th, you can take the opportunity to attend a special function.
Secret Places To Visit In Paris
If you want to organize a different and alternative trip, we recommend you visit these ten secret places, which do not appear in the lists of trendy places, and which will allow you to take an authentic and very different vision of Paris. Discover them!
Louis Vuitton Foundation
Owned by the LVMH group, the Louis Vuitton Foundation’s main objective is to promote art and culture. It is one of the must-see places in Paris, not only for its luxurious label but also for its amazing design. Located on Avenue Mahatma Gandhi in Paris, the building has 11 galleries of different sizes and an auditorium.
Saint Germain Des Pres
This Parisian neighborhood, situated along the Seine River, is primarily known for its galleries, luxury shops, trendy cafes, and restaurants. It is also famous for its thriving nightlife. So if you want to spend a memorable night in Paris, this is the right place. In short, a neighborhood that you should not miss during your trip to Paris.