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Ultra-cosmopolitan, romantic, and a mecca of art, culture, fashion, and architecture, Paris’s seductive charms are legendary for good reason. With an abundance of internationally famous attractions, there is always something to do in the magical City of Light. From the iconic Eiffel Tower to the historic underground catacombs, discover the top things to do in Paris in order to fully soak in the beauty of this energetic city.
Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
Coming as a surprise to no one, the Eiffel Tower is the world’s most visited paid monument in the world. Climb to the top of this iconic landmark for a stunning view of the city and return at night to watch the mesmerizing light show. Rich in history and considered by many to be a symbol of love, the tower is always worth a visit.
Soak in the best view of Paris at the Notre Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame of Paris is a towering Gothic, Roman Catholic cathedral where visitors will find dramatic statues of Joan of Arc, Saint Denis, and Charlemagne in addition to a series wood carvings depicting the story of Jesus Christ. Climb up the bell towers, peek out past the famous gargoyles and you’ll find a breathtaking and unique view of the city.
Update: In April 2019 The Notre Dame Cathedral tragically caught fire. Efforts are underway to restore this iconic landmark to its former glory. Check in here for the most current information.
Get a glimpse of Mona Lisa at the Louvre
Arguably one of the most impressive museums in the world, the Louvre is always one of the top things to do in Paris. Plan accordingly, as the sheer magnitude of this gem can take up to a half day to explore. While the Mona Lisa is certainly one of the biggest highlights, make sure to soak in the works of other notable artists along the way.
Explore lush landscapes at the Tuileries Garden
Located near all the popular attractions such as the Louvre, Champs Elysees, and Arc de Triomphe, the Tuileries Garden was once the royal gardens of the Tuileries Palace. Now a stretch of lush landscape, rest your feet on one of the many benches and soak in the tranquil ambiance.
Cross the Pont Alexandre III bridge
If there’s one bridge to cross in Paris, this is it. Running from the left to right bank of the Seine, Pont Alexandre III is not only one of prettiest bridges in the city, it is also a gorgeous focal point where visitors can view the Eiffel Tower from afar.
Get your art on at Musee d’Orsay
Housed in a former railway station, the lesser known Musee d’Orsay museum is a must see. Highlighting the post-Classic era of the second half of the 19th century, here visitors can explore artwork treasures from Van Gogh, Renoir, Money, Picasso, and more.
Catch a ballet performance or opera show at Palais Garnier
A pure delight to visit and an architectural treasure, the Palais Garnier seats over 2,000 people and is just as impressive inside as it is on the outside. Considered a stunning masterpiece, visitors are encouraged to explore Paris’s ballet and classical music scene here. The best way to explore the intricacies of this monument is to attend a performance, however, there are also tours available.
Dive into French history at Les Invalides
A complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissements, Les Invalides is perfect for visitors who are interested in Paris’s past. These museums and monuments contain the military history of France, including a former hospital for wounded soldiers and the burial site of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Tower over the Champs Elysees at Arc de Triomphe
After window shopping along the prestigious Champs Elysees, head straight for the top of the road to climb the 234 steps to the viewing platform of the Arc de Triomphe. Standing at the center of the busy Place Charles de Gaulle and offering a birds-eye view over the city, the Arc de Triomphe is one of Paris’s most distinctive historical landmarks.
Look up in Saint-Chapelle
Built during the second half of the 13th century by Louise IX, Saint-Chapelle is an architectural marvel created as a royal chapel to house the Holy Relics of the Passion of the Christ. The most impressive feature of this jewel is its intricately designed interior with impressive stained-glass displays that mesmerize visitors with its glittering combination of light and color.
Climb the famous Sacre Coeur stairs
Standing tall above the city, climbing the stairs of the Sacre Coeur provides visitors a superlative panoramic view from the top of its 271-foot dome. Translating to “mount of martyrs,” it is said that Sacre Coeur was the place of the martyrdom of the first bishop of Paris in the 3rd century.
Discover cheap eats in the Latin Quarter
After a day of exploring attractions, visitors can wander through the streets of the Latin Quarter for an abundance of cheap and charming cafes, bars, and shops. France’s oldest university, La Sorbonne, was founded in the area in 1257 and has evolved into a popular area with budget travelers.
Explore the underground Catacombs
A different kind of attraction, the underground catacombs provides visitors with a unique Parisian experience. A series of long, winding tunnels, visitors can descend down a set of gloomy stairs and traverse a mile through underground subterranean passageways lined with skulls and bones excavated from various Paris cemeteries during the 18th century.
Wander the streets of Montmartre
An authentic ‘Old Paris’ vibe, Montmartre is one of Paris’s most charming places to take a stroll and wander around. Located in the 18th arrondissement, the area is lined with cobblestone paths, ivy-laden windows, and eclectic shops selling anything from delicious pastries to handmade jewelry.
Take a day trip to Versailles Palace and Gardens
While Paris has plenty to offer within the city, visitors will be amiss if they don’t take a day trip to the opulent Versailles Palace and Gardens, the former residence of French monarchs. An example of 18th century French architecture and art and a current UNESCO’s World Heritage site, visitors can soak in the stunning views of the manicured Versailles Garden, Chapel of Versailles, Grand Apartment, and Hall of Mirrors.