Paris, the City of Love, is a must-visit tourist destination in the world because of many reasons. With its massive buildings, stylish architecture, excellent photogenic spots, cafes, galleries and museums, Paris has unparalleled beauty, which makes you want to go back to the city again and again. The food and wine scene in Paris is one of the best in the world. Here are
a few things you can see and do, when you are coming here for the first time.
Things to see and do in Paris
1. Eiffel Tower
We didn’t need to tell you, did we? Gustavo Eiffel constructed this tower in 1889 for the universal exhibition that was to be held here. Though it was meant to be a temporary structure, it continues to be the pride of Paris even today, thanks to its ability to sustain several transmission tests. You can use the elevator to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and enjoy the sights of the Paris city below you.
2. Notre Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame Cathedral is currently closed to the public because the structure was damaged considerably in the April 2019 fire accident. Renovations are underway, and this iconic church in Paris is expected to open for tourists from 2024 onwards. Considered the best cathedrals in Gothic architecture, Notre Dame’s history dates back to the 10th century. With its huge pillars, statues, and intricate carvings, this one is indeed a sight for sore eyes!
3. Louvre Museum
It is not without reason that the Louvre is considered one of the best museums in the world. It houses over 35000 exquisite works of art, paintings and sculptures. Leonardo da Vinci’s most well-known work, Mona Lisa, is housed here in a glass case. The museum was open to the public for the first time in 1793. Today, it continues to be the most-visited museum in the world. Many centuries ago, the Louvre served as the royal residence for many French kings, such as Louis XIV.
4. Musee d’Orsay
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the Musee d’Orsay is the not-so-popular cousin of the Louvre Museum. Situated on a site that was once a railway station, the Musee d’Orsay is known for its thousands of impressionist works, exhibits of old furniture and timeless photographs. You can see paintings of famous artists like Claude Monet and Van Gogh here. While you are, don’t forget to climb to the museum’s balcony to get a beautiful view of the Sacred Heart Basilica.
5. Sainte Chapelle
The stained glass windowpanes of Sainte Chapelle are world-famous and represent Paris’ true culture and heritage. Constructed in the 13th century, these window panes depict more than 1000 scenes from the Bible’s Old & New Testaments. The church itself is famous for its brilliant French Gothic architectural style. It underwent major renovation work between 2008 and 2014. Since then, Sainte Chapelle has been open to the public every day, except on Christmas, New Year’s and Labor Day.
6. Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmarte
The Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart) Basilica is a unique structure in Paris. When most other buildings are built in French Gothic or Gothic styles, this one steals your eye with its excellent Roman-Byzantine style. This white castle-like structure, with its ivory domes and intricate ceilings is a must-visit place in Paris, if you love scenic and architecturally-rich places. The ceiling of this church contains the largest mosaic in France, depicting pictures of Jesus along with Mother Mary. Climb all the 300 steps of the basilica to take awesome photos and panoramic views of the city.
7. Palais Garnier
Operas were an integral part of France’s culture and art in the 1800s. The Palais Garner, also known as the Opera Garnier, is a place that transports you back to several centuries with its wonderful atmosphere, and mystery-filled walls. It is no surprise that this building was an inspiration to Gaston Leroux, the author of “Phantom of the Opera.” Buy a ballet or opera ticket to enjoy the mystery and culture of this place in its full glory.
8. Seine River
Walking along the Seine River, the pride of Paris, won’t cost you a dime. However, it will leave you with many unforgettable memories to take back home. Since it is located right in the heart of Paris, it is a major source of transport for the locals. It is believed that this river was the lifeline of fishermen even in the 3rd Century. Thanks to its role in France’s culture and heritage, the Seine River was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Centre in 1991.
9. Luxembourg Gardens
If you are visiting Paris with your family and kids, a visit to the Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) is necessary. Walk around the green gardens that cover 61 acres of land, take pony rides, float sailboats on the Grand Basin, try the merry-go-round ride, watch puppet shows or just relax in the lush gardens with a picnic basket, when you come here. While you are here, visit the historical museum that houses close to 106 sculptures.
10. Arc de Triomphe
At around 50m, this is the tallest arch in the world. The great French Emperor, Napoleon, commissioned the Arc de Triomphe, to celebrate the victory of the French Army. The arc is a memory of those who lost their lives in the war. The place is famous for housing the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a tribute to all the soldiers who died during the First World War.
Paris Travel Tips
- Book tickets for tourist attractions in advance, and if possible, book skip-the-line tickets to avoid crowds.
- You must use the high-speed trains from Paris to go to other tourist destinations like Lyon, Marseille, etc. during the weekends. You can use the metro service Paris to go around the city.
- Enjoy the local markets and discover the lifestyle of the locals to get the true flavor of Paris. Don’t forget to taste the special French breakfast and tea, while you are here.
- Read the rules of the cafes before going inside. Some charge you for just sitting on their chair.
When to visit Paris
The spring season between March and May is the best time to visit Paris. Being the most romantic city in the world, you will find many tourists here throughout the year. However, spring is the best season to enjoy the local festivals, street shows, wine tasting tours and other carnivals that Paris is known for.