50 Things To See in Paris
Paris, the City of Lights, is the world’s most visited capital. So, with all of these people coming to visit them, the city obviously had to make the sights well-worth it! Below are 50 things to see in Paris for the next time you get to visit this enchanting city.
COVID-19 Note: Almost all of the attractions below now require an EU Vaccine Card to get in. I got mine by bringing my American Vaccine Card (Pfizer) to a local pharmacy in Paris. You do not need an appointment, but you will pay around $30 USD. After this, you’ll get an app with your vaccine QR code built in that can be scanned almost anywhere around Europe.
1. Eiffel Tower
Duh. I probably didn’t even need to put this one on here; I know it’s already on the itinerary. However, it should be worth noting that you can enter the park below the tower for free. If you’d like to take the trip to the top, there are tickets available for purchase.
2. Musee d’Orsay
The Musee d’Orsay is a museum in Paris that got its name because it is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, which was a railway station built in the end of the 19th century. Most of the collection here is French art from 1848 to 1914 including many paintings, sculptures, photography and even furniture.
3. Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris. This was originally a royal palace, but is now a must-see for anyone with even the slightest interest in art.
Sainte-Chapelle is a gothic-style royal palace. Being the residence of the Kings of France until the 14th century, this chappelle is now open for the public to come view the stunning stained glass and dramatic architecture.
5. Palais Garnier- Opera National de Paris
The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house that was originally built for the Paris Opera between 1861 and 1875. The seven-ton bronze and crystal chandelier here was actually designed by Garnier! This beautiful building is now mostly used by the Palais Garnier for ballet.
6. Seine River
The Seine River (pronounced SAYN) is a 777-kilometer-long river that runs through the Paris Basin in the north of France. The Seine is known for its romantic sightseeing boats, called “bateaux mouches,” that you’ll see making their rounds up and down this beautiful river. During my trip to Paris, I took a Champagne cruise at sunset and it was a great way to see the famous surrounding sights and gather my bearings in the city.
7. Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in all of Paris as it honors those who fought & died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Built between 1806 and 1836, the tomb of an unknown soldier from World War 1 lies beneath the famous vault. You can pay your respects at the Arc de Triomphe for free, or pay a small fee to climb about 280 stairs to the top for lovely views over Paris.
8. Musee de l’Orangerie
Musee de l’Orangerie is an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. It was originally built in 1852 as an orangerie or winter shelter for the orange trees, hence its name. This gallery is fantastic because it doesn’t tend to crowd too much.
Montmartre is a 130m high hill in Paris that’s been a sacred sight where druids were thought to have worshipped. Montmartre is most well-known for its artistic aesthetic as well as its nightclub district. Be sure to check out the white-domed Basilica of the Sacre-Coeur on its summit.
10. Luxembourg Gardens
The Luxembourg Garden is the biggest garden in Paris at 55.6 acres large. The gardens are divided into English and French Gardens and are most well-known for their peace and serenity. In the middle of the forest lies a giant pond, as well. You can tour the Luxembourg Gardens for free, but there is a fee if you would like to enter the Musee du Luxembourg.
11. Basilique du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre
The Basilique du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre is located at the top of Butte Montmartre and gives you a 360 degree view of the magnificent city. However, the inside of the building is just as glorious as its home to the largest mosaic in France (480 square meters) that is cast across the ceiling.
12. Le Marais
La Marais is one of the more hip and fashionable neighborhoods in Paris. This trendy place is a melting pot of the Jewish community, Chinese community, LGBTQ community and tourists. However, the architecture here is very different than most other places, making it feel like you’ve truly found that hidden gem. On Sundays, they actually close down the streets here and open them up just for pedestrians, which tends to get pretty crowded. Note: This is a very safe area, but watch out for pickpockets near the opera house!
13. Musee Rodin
Opening in 1919, the Musee Rodin was primarily dedicated to the artwork of the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin, hence the museum’s name. The admission to this museum is Pay What You Wish and the garden here is free year-round. However, the suggested admission is around $7-$10.
The Trocadero is across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower which makes for a fabulous view. This place was named in honor of the Battle of Trocadero and is a must-see.
Built in 1790, the Pantheon is a breathtaking (literally) building located inside of the Latin Quarter. Originally a church dedicated to St. Genevieve (the patron saint of Paris), it now serves as a secular mausoleum containing French citizens’ remains.
16. Saint Germain des Pres Quarter
Saint Germain des Pres Quarter is home to many different restaurants and shops as well as the oldest church in Paris. Experience the culture that Hemingway once did as he stepped into his favorite cafe or walk the sidewalks overflowing with vintage booksellers along the banks of the Seine River.
17. Musee Marmottan Monet
Musee Marmottan Monet is home to the largest collection of Claude Monet’s works, featuring over 300 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. This is open every day (except Monday) from 10:00AM-5:30PM, with the exception of being open until 8:30PM on Thursdays.
18. Musee de l’Armée
Musee de l’Armée, also known as The Army Museum, was built in 1905 and hosts collections of uniforms and weapons from French military conflicts as well as the tomb of Napoleon. This is one of the largest military history and art collections in the world.
19. Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden) is the oldest and biggest garden in Paris. This park is over 22.4 hectares large and you can do a free tour through here, seeing the plants and over 200 sculptures. This is partly why this is among the city’s most famous gardens.
20. Latin Quarter
Latin Quarter’s most known for its cafes filled with students from Sorbonne University. Non-coincidentally, it’s also known for its bookshops! Here, you can find landmarks like Shakespeare & Company, Jardin des Plantes, the National Museum of Natural History and the Pantheon.
21. Observatoire Panoramique de la Tour Montparnasse
The Tour Maine-Montparnasse is a 210-meter skyscraper in Montparnasse. Built from 1963 to 1973, this used to be the tallest skyscraper in Paris, that is until it was surpassed by Tour-First, maxing out at 231 meters. Even so, this is an incredible sight to see Paris from!
22. Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann
Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann is an upscale French department store located on Boulevard Haussmann. Today, Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is the second most visited monument in Paris, only beat out by the Eiffel Tower. Comprising of 62 stores, it’s a bit difficult to leave here empty-handed.
23. Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III is a gorgeous deck arch bridge that spans its way across none other than the Seine River. Being a French monument since 1975, this is quite possibly the most extravagant bridge in the entire city.
24. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is the 5th largest park in Paris at 24.7 hectares. This public park opened in 1867 and now contains a lake, the Temple de la Sibylle, a suspension bridge, waterfall…pretty much anything you could dream of–yes, even WiFi! Enjoy the Instagrammable views.
25. Musee Jacquemart-Andre
The Musee Jacquemart-Andre is a private museum made from the private home of Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart in order to display the art they had collected throughout their lives. Now owned by the Institut de France, you’ll still be able to experience these breathtaking collections of art.
26. Atelier des Lumières
What used to be a foundry is now one of the coolest art exhibits in Paris. Atelier des Lumières is a collection of monumental immersive exhibitions consisting of 140 video projectors and a spatialized sound system, stretching over 3,300 square meters. To see ticket prices and hours, head to their website.
27. Cemiterio de Pere-Lachaise
Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Paris, getting over 3.5 million visitors annually. Why is it so popular? This cemetery hosts some of the greatest talents of all time, like Morrison, Moliere, Chopin, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Rossini.
28. Place de Vosges
Originally Palace Royale, Place de Vosges is the oldest planned square in Paris, France. Built in the early 17th century, this Louis XIII-style architecture is often considered one of Europe’s most beautiful squares. Before this perfectly symmetrical square was built here, the famous “Hôtel de Tournelles” stood tall back in 1388. After King Henri II died on these lawns during a tournament, the family moved away and reconstruction began.
29. Towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris (“Our Lady of Paris”) was constructed way back in the 12th century, though it was rebuilt several times since then. Unfortunately, in April of 2019, there was a devastating fire at the site causing tons of roof and upper-walls damage. Though President Emmanuel Macron said the cathedral will be restored, a complete restoration may take 20+ years.
Champs-Elysees is one of the most famous streets world-wide and it’s name literally translates to “Elysian Fields,” meaning someone thought the street was heaven on Earth. Well, that someone and SO many more. If you want to forget about your problems and remember how big of a world we truly live in, Champs-Elysees will be your heaven on Earth. If you’re visiting during New Year’s, this will also be where the fireworks shoot off at midnight.
31. Ile de la Cite
Ile de la Cite is one of the two remaining natural islands on the Seine River. Since the Middle Ages, this island has been home to three major monuments: the Gothic Sainte-Chapelle, the Conciergerie and the Notre-Dame Cathedral. All this history is quite impressive for an island that’s only 56 acres large.
32. Pont Neuf
Pont Neuf is another bridge in Paris. Located near the west end of Ile de la Cite, this is actually the oldest outstanding bridge across the Seine River at 412 years (scary–I know)! Ironically enough, Pont Neuf translates to “New Bridge.”
33. The Conciergerie
Once the most notorious prison in all of France, the Conciergerie is now mostly used for law courts. As you may imagine, going from a parliament to a prison during the Revolution and finally to a museum today, this place has a LOT of history, as most things in Europe do. Head here any day of the week between 9:30AM and 6:00PM for a culture trip.
34. Place de la Cocorde
Place de la Cocorde is the largest square in the French capital. Located at the edge of Champs-Elysées, this square is most well-known for its fancy hotels, monumental fountains (Fontaine des Fleuves and Fontaine des Mers) and the Luxor Obelisk, which is a 3,300-year-old Egyptian obelisk. The Luxor Obelisk marks the spot of where the guillotine once stood back during the French Revolution.
35. Roue de Paris
The Roue de Paris is a 200-foot-tall ferris wheel located in Place de la Concorde. Much like the London Eye, you will get incredible views of the surrounding city while enjoying a spin around the big wheel.
Note: This attraction may no longer be available.
36. Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was the OG royal residence until the French Revolution began in 1789. Depending on where you are in Paris, it usually takes about an hour to an hour and a half to get to the castle by train. I recommend taking the RER C train as it will lead you directly to le château de Versailles.
37. Louis Vuitton Foundation
The Louis Vuitton Foundation is a cultural centre and art museum that opened in October of 2014. This hosts a permanent collection centering around 4 themes: Pop, Expressionist, Contemplative and Music & Sound. In addition to this, the building itself, as you can see above, is also a piece of art.
38. Centre Pompidou
The Centre Pompidou was built between 1971-1977 and is a library/museum. However, it’s not just any old museum in here; it’s the home of the Musée National d’Art Moderne, AKA the biggest, most important and oldest museum of modern art in all of Europe–no big deal or anything. The tickets cost 14 Euros to enter, but visitors younger than 18, EU citizens under 26 and those with a disability certificate are not required to pay this entry fee.
39. The Wall of Love
The Wall of Love is exactly what it sounds like. 40 square meters high and located in the Jehan Rictus garden square, this wall shows love in all of the languages you could imagine. Are you ready to feel the love?
40. Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge is a cabaret show! Moulin Rouge is French for “Red Mill” and is the story of a young Englishman in Paris in 1899. You aren’t required to go full-on black-tie affair while attending the cabaret, but you should dress smart. In other words, no flip flops, shorts or sportswear.
41. Canal Saint-Martin
Canal Saint-Martin is a canal that connects the river Seine to Canal de l’Ourcq. Every 10-15 years, this canal is drained and cleaned, which brings many fascinating French treasures to the surface. In the meantime, enjoy the river cruises on the canal in their passenger boats.
As you can see above, Angelina is a famous tea house in Paris. However, perhaps even better than their tea is their almost pudding-like hot chocolate. Stop by Angelina’s to satisfy that sweet tooth!
43. Pont de l’Archeveche
Pont de l’Archevêché is the narrowest bridge in Paris. However, you may know it better as the Lovers Bridge. Crossing over the river Seine, hundreds of lovers have come here to attach a padlock to the river’s edge and lock in their love for life…..hopefully.
Bouquinistes is the name for the booksellers who have lined up their shops along the bank of the river Seine. Soak in the neat aesthetic of this open-air bookshop as you search for used and antiquarian books from the traders.
45. Mundolingua: The Museum of Languages
Mundolingua is a fun museum relating to the general public. It’s filled with present information and documents as well as objects that relate to culture and language. Come to the Mundolingua & leave as a cultured human.
46. Rue Cler
Rue Cler is the most famous market street in Paris. Here, you’ll find tons & tons of patisseries, butchers, specialty food stores, flowers, cafes….the list goes on!
47. The Catacombs
The Catacombs are underground ossuaries in Paris that host over 6 million people’s remains. Only a small portion of the Catacombs are open to the public, as some passages are extremely low, flooded or narrow. To save money, book your tickets online beforehand.
48. Paris Sewer Museum
The Paris Sewer Museum is a history museum located at the esplanade Habib-Bourguiba. Inside, you can see a wide array of sewer networks and even enter a part of the sewers with exhibits built within them. However, the Paris Sewer Museum is temporarily closed at this time. Check out their website to find out if this has changed since the time I wrote this piece!
49. La Grand Arche at La Defense
La Grand Arche at La Defense is a 20th century version of the Arc de Triomphe, another beautiful monument. However, the Grand Arche was built to celebrate humanity and humanitarian ideals rather than the military victories.
50. Shakespeare and Company
Shakespeare and Company, named by George Whitman, is arguably the most famous independent bookstore in the world. Founded in 1951, this English-language bookstore encouraged writers to linger in this shop and find their inspiration. They have 30 beds within the shop that you can sleep in in exchange for a few hours of work each day, the promise to read a book each day, and to write a one-page autobiography. By now, over 30,000 people have taken part in this opportunity.
As you can tell from these 50 things to see in Paris, this is a city that has a little something for everyone. From museums and monuments to cafes and bookstores, I hope you can fulfill all of your French desires. So, what’s on your Paris Bucket List?
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