1. Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris), 2. Musée du Louvre, 3. Sainte-Chapelle, 4. Palais Garnier - Opera National de Paris, 5. Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg), 6. Arc de Triomphe, 7. Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur), 8. Eiffel Tower, 9. Château de Versailles, 10. Jardin des Tuileries, 11. Seine River, 12. Le Marais. If this is your first time visiting Paris, you should probably spend some time at the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and the famous Eiffel Tower. Explore some of the lovely public gardens, which cost nothing, including the Jardin des Tuileries, Park des Buttes-Chaumont, or Jardin du Luxembourg. Also, it's free to view the sacred structures at Sacré-Coeur, Sainte-Genevieve, and Sainte-Chapelle. You won't have enough time to visit all of the city's museums, stores, attractions, and neighborhoods, so make your own timetable and explore Paris at your own pace. Or, sign up for a guided tour to learn more about certain areas of the city from a local and learn how to avoid lines at many of these popular sights. Here are some best places to visit in Paris.
- Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris)
- Musée du Louvre
- Palais Garnier – Opera National de Paris
- Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg)
- Arc de Triomphe
- Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur)
- Eiffel Tower
- Château de Versailles
- Jardin des Tuileries
- Seine River
- Le Marais
Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris)
Keep in mind that a fire on April 15, 2019, caused considerable damage to the cathedral. The fire caused its wooden roof and spire to collapse. Until further notice, the cathedral is off-limits to the general public. In 2024, it’s scheduled to reopen in full. The Notre Dame Cathedral is regarded as a Parisian icon, much like the Eiffel Tower. The Notre Dame Cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece frequently cited as one of the best of its kind in the world, is situated along the lovely River Seine. The famed cathedral’s construction began in the late 12th century, but it wasn’t completed for nearly 200 years. When you see the cathedral for yourself, you’ll begin to see why it took so long.
The exquisite architectural elements of Notre-Dame are profuse and increasingly more so as you go closer. The stone facade of the front door contains expertly sculpted figures that blend together perfectly. One instance of its magnificent architecture is the entrance to the portal of judgment. The cathedral’s back is just as exquisitely crafted, with an elaborate flying buttress that begs to be captured on camera. Travelers will see stained-glass windows all over the place, as well as extremely high, gilded ceilings. Visitors have the option of climbing the cathedral’s 422 steps for outstanding city views if they wish to do more than just wander around.
Visitors praised the Notre-stunning Dame’s interior and exterior architecture (right now, you can only view the cathedral from outside and enter the crypt, due to the 2019 fire). Those that traveled to the top of the cathedral truly liked the views but were irritated at how little time they were granted by church officials. The cathedral limits the number of visitors at the top as well as how long they can stay there because it is such a popular pastime (and there is so limited room). Be ready to wait as well. With upwards of 13 million tourists annually, there will probably be crowds at the entrance plaza and long lines to get to the top of the cathedral unless you arrive early in the morning or late at night.
Location: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II
Price & Hours: Free; Hours vary
Googe Rating: 4.7/5.0
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Musée du Louvre
The Musée du Louvre should without a doubt be your only museum stop in Paris if you only have time for one. This is due to the fact that the Louvre is not only regarded as one of the top art museums in the world, but also one of the best in Europe. More than 35,000 items of art are on display at the museum, which originally opened its doors in 1793. Here, a range of artwork from various eras and cultures may be viewed up close. Ancient Greek sculptures and Egyptian mummy tombs are both on display at the Louvre (including the renowned Winged Victory of Samothrace and the curvaceous Venus de Milo). Thousands of paintings are available for viewing as well. Here, you may find masterpieces like Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” which is the center of attention in the museum, “Liberty Leading the People” by Eugene Delacroix, “The Raft of the Medusa” by Theodore Géricault, and more.
Even Napoleon III’s former apartment is still visible. Yet, you aren’t required to go inside the apartments to experience what it was like to be a king. The Louvre was a royal home for several French kings before it became a museum, notably Louis XIV. The Louvre started to change into an artistic venue after Louis XIV left it in favor of Versailles.
On Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and weekends, the museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; on Friday, it is open from 9 a.m. until 9:45 p.m. On Tuesdays, the Louvre is closed. Visitors under the age of 17 are admitted free of charge, while adults must pay 17 euros (about $17) to enter. The museum is situated in the heart of the city and has a dedicated metro stop on Line 1 at Louvre-Rivoli.
Location: 99 rue de Rivoli
Price & Hours:
- 17 euros (about $17) for adults;
- Free for kids 17 and younger;
- Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sat, Sun 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Fri 9 a.m.-9:45 p.m.
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Sainte-Chapelle has the best stained-glass windows in all of Paris. The 13th-century stained glass windows, which portray 1,113 episodes from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible in rich color, were installed in the chapel. Sainte-Chapelle, a prized example of French Gothic architecture that was constructed in just seven years, once housed Christian items that Louis IX had bought. Apart from Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and May 1 (Labor Day in France), the structure is currently open to visitors every day of the year after undergoing a thorough restoration between 2008 and 2014. Any person who is 26 years old or over must pay 11.50 euros (or $11.50) for admission.
The chapel is a great masterpiece, according to recent visitors, however, some did observe that it was smaller than they had anticipated. Nonetheless, they advise taking your time to examine each stained-glass window in further detail because they each have a distinctive tale to tell. Some visitors also suggested visiting the Conciergerie, a 14th-century palace turned prison, which is right next door. Consider purchasing a combined ticket for 18.50 euros (about $18.50) if you intend to visit both locations.
Depending on the season, Saint-Chapelle is open from 9 a.m. until either 5 or 7 p.m. Keep in mind that each day’s final entry is permitted 40 minutes prior to the end of the business. Besides hosting concerts, the monument also includes a mobile app that walks you through the hidden significance of each of the 15 stained-glass windows. If you only want to learn about the main rose window, the downloadable software costs nothing; if you want to study all of the panes, it costs roughly one euro (about one dollar).
Location: 8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
- 11.50 euros ($11.50) for adults 26 and older;
- Free visitors 25 and younger;
- 9 a.m.-5 or 7 p.m. daily
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Palais Garnier – Opera National de Paris
The Opéra Garnier, commonly known as the Palais Garnier, is a masterpiece of opulent architecture and still emanates the richness it did in the late 1800s. The Garnier’s breathtaking Old-World interiors and Gaston Leroux, the author of “Phantom of the Opera,” who used the Garnier as inspiration, both contribute to the opera’s palpable feeling of mystery and intrigue. Leroux asserted that the phantom was actually real, skillfully blending true opera events—like the chandelier falling and killing a spectator—into his story. Many have questioned whether there actually was a dweller that lurked under the opera because of Garnier’s scant historical documentation and Leroux’s writing prowess.
The staff has denied this, although it’s simple to understand how the story could be so plausible given the opera’s very genuine underground “lake” (water tank). Leroux’s story might not have been realized if Napoleon III, who ordered the opera, had not existed.
Buying tickets to a ballet or opera is the greatest way to experience the Palais Garnier to the fullest. Recall ordering your tickets well in advance because popular performances sell out quickly. You can see the building’s exquisite interiors on your own if you won’t be in town for a performance or don’t want to shell out the frequently expensive cost of a performance. The building’s inside was so magnificent that all who entered were astounded by what they saw. Visitors praised the Palais Garnier’s beauty throughout, even in the tiniest crevices and nooks. You’ll probably have to wait in line to both purchase tickets and visit the attraction because of how popular the opera is.
On days with matinee performances, the Palais Garnier may close earlier than its regular closing time of 5 p.m. Adults must pay 14 euros (about $14) for unguided admittance; students and those under 25 pay 10 euros (about $10). Younger than 12-year-olds are admitted for free. Moreover, the opera provides around 90-minute guided tours for 18.50 euros (roughly $18.50) for adults; children and students pay less. Daily guided English tours on various topics are available. The price of an audio guide is 6.50 euros, or roughly $6.50. Metro lines 3, 7, and 8 can be taken from the Opéra to the Opéra Garnier, which is located directly to the north of the Louvre. On-site amenities include a café, gift shops, and bookstores.
Location: 8 rue Scribe, Place de l’Opera
- 14 euros (around $14) for adults;
- 10 euros (about $10) for students and those younger than 25;
- 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
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Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg)
Pick up picnic supplies from a local farmer’s market, such as Marché Raspail, to eat in the gardens, according to a U.S. News insider tip. The Luxembourg Gardens are a warm-weather haven that delivers the most basic pleasures. That is one of the best places to visit in Paris. They offer 60 acres of green space for people-watching and sunbathing, as well as a ton of kid-friendly activities. Wander through the walkways and formal gardens when the city’s bustle gets too much, or simply unwind with a picnic. Children can ride ponies, ride merry-go-rounds, float sailboats in the Grand Basin, or watch puppet shows at the nearby Theatre des Marionnettes. Adults may enjoy the on-site Musée du Luxembourg, which was the first public museum in France. The Luxembourg Gardens, which have 106 sculptures, including a replica of the Statue of Liberty, are readily regarded as an outdoor museum in and of itself.
The gardens also offer baseball and basketball courts, but visitors claim that the best way to decompress is to simply sit back and take in the beauty. Luxembourg Gardens is located in the 6th arrondissement, a short distance from the Notre-Dame des Champs (line 12) and Odéon (lines 4 and 10) metro stations. There is no charge to see the garden, however, there is one for the Musée du Luxembourg.
Location: Rue Auguste Comte
Price & Hours: Free; Hours vary seasonally
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Arc de Triomphe
Napoleon ordered the construction of the imposing Arc de Triomphe at the western end of the Champs-Élysées to honor the Grande Armee during the Napoleonic Wars. The arch, which is the biggest of its sort in the world, is embellished with a number of magnificent sculptures that were painstakingly carved. The names of the battles fought under the first French Republic and Napoleon’s Empire, as well as the generals who fought in them, are listed beneath the arch. The well-known tomb of The Unknown Soldier can also be found by travelers. The soldier who is now interred there is intended to stand in for all the unidentified or unaccounted-for soldiers who perished in World War I. Since it was first lighted in the 1920s, the flame that was ignited when the soldier was laid to rest has not gone out, and it is rekindled every night at 6:30 p.m. by a member of the armed forces.
Visitors can climb to the top of the arch and view the entirety of Paris in addition to simply appreciating it. Most visitors are astounded by the enormous size of the building. Alternatively, use the underground passageway close to the subway that goes straight to the building’s foundation.
Depending on the season, the viewing deck and the inside of the arch are open daily from 10 a.m. to 10:30 or 11 p.m. The arch is free to view from the outside, but individuals over the age of 17 must pay 13 euros ($13) to ascend to the top. The arch is free to enter for anyone under the age of 17. Charles de Gaulle Étoile, which serves lines 1, 2, and 6 as well as RER A, is the closest metro station.
- Free to view;
- 13 euros (about $13) entry fee;
- 10 a.m.-10:30 or 11 p.m. daily
Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur)
The Sacré-Coeur, which means “Holy Heart,” is a basilica that rises above Paris and resembles more of a white fortress than a basilica. This Roman-Byzantine marvel towers over the diverse Montmartre neighborhood in Paris and was once a hotspot for the city’s bohemian culture. And that is one of the best places to visit in Paris. The basilica’s interior is stunning, despite how bland it may look from the outside: The largest mosaic in France, which shows Jesus rising beside the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc, glitters on the ceilings. The expansive views that can be seen from the Sacré-Cur’s staircase will probably leave you speechless as well. But if you want an even better photo opportunity, take the 300 stairs up to the dome’s peak. Every day from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 or 7 p.m., depending on the day, guests have access to the dome. Every day, there are many Masses celebrated.
Travelers claim it was worthwhile to brave a large number of tourists, despite the Sacre-Coeur seeing its fair share of people. Although some confess it’s tempting to just sit outdoors and take in the sights of Paris, travelers said the church was lovely and highly recommended investigating the stunning interiors.The Eiffel Tower’s brilliant lights will illuminate the skyline if you stay around long enough, according to travelers who advised setting out at dusk. But if it isn’t feasible for your schedule, set aside some time to stroll through the picturesque Montmartre district and take in its lively Place du Tertre. Many of the top Paris excursions stop here as well.
Location: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre
Price & Hours: Free; 6:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. daily
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The Tour Eiffel is the best representation of Parisian architecture, it is one of the best places to visit in Paris.It was originally intended to be a temporary structure, and Maupassant claimed he left Paris as a result of it. William Morris went frequently to avoid having to see it from a distance. Gustave Eiffel, an engineer, constructed the avant-garde cast-iron tower for the 1889 World’s Fair and the 100th anniversary of the 1789 Revolution. Eiffel utilized cutting-edge technology that was already common in iron-framed structures. The construction process lasted more than two years and used 2,500,000 rivets and 18,000 pieces of metal. Up until the 1930s, when New York’s Empire State Building surpassed it as the highest building in the world, the 300m (984ft) tower stood atop four enormous concrete piles.
You can walk up to the second floor, but there are also vintage double-decker lifts that travel up and down. On the first and second levels, there are gift shops, an exhibition area, a café, and even a post office. The classy Jules Verne restaurant has its own lift in the north tower and is located on the second floor. There is a viewing platform and Eiffel’s cozy salon at the top (third level). On a good day, views can extend for 65km (40 miles), but the most fascinating vantage points are of the ironwork itself. The tower’s 20,000 flashbulbs create a stunning effect at night for ten minutes on an hour. Alain Ducasse now oversees the restaurant named Jules Verne.
Location: Champ de Mars7e, Paris
- By stairs €4.50; €3-€3.50 reductions; free under-4s.
- By lift (1st & 2nd level) €8.10; €4-€6.50 reductions; (3rd level) €13.10; €9-€11.50 reductions; free under-4s
- By lift Mid June-Aug 9 am-12.45 am daily (last ascent 11 pm). Sept-mid June 9.30 am-11.45 pm daily (last ascent 10.30 pm).
- By stairs (1st & 2nd levels) Mid-June-Aug 9 am-12.45 am (last ascent midnight). Sept-mid June 9.30 am-6.30 pm (last ascent 6 pm).
Googe Rating: 4.6/5.0
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Château de Versailles
Versailles is the most opulently dressed Château in the world because of centuries of renovations; it is a stunning, can’t-miss combination of opulence. Once Louis XIV visited Vaux-Le-Vicomte, the spectacular home of his finance minister Nicolas Fouquet, the architect Louis Le Vau first embellished the old structure, a hunting lodge constructed during Louis XIII’s reign. The swampy marshes were transformed by André Le Nôtre into terraces, parterres, verdant trees, and an amazing array of fountains. Spend a significant portion of the day admiring the stunning state apartments and the Hall of Mirrors, a 73-meter (240-foot) gallery with 357 mirrors that looks out onto the garden. The centerpiece of any visit, it was commissioned in 1678 by Louis XIV and embellished by Le Brun. The renowned Treaty of Versailles was also signed there in 1919.
Le Vau died in 1670, and Jules Hardouin Mansart took over as chief architect, creating the Versailles that we are familiar with today. He also erected the pink marble mansions known as the Grand and Petit Trianons, which are hidden from the court’s protocol to the grounds. The Petit Trianon is a beautiful example of neo-classicism, while the Grand Trianon still features Napoleon’s décor from when he stayed here with his second Empress, Marie-Louise. It later became part of the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette, an exclusive hideaway located beyond the canal in the wooded parkland. The area also includes the queen’s fairy-tale farm and dairy, known as the Hameau de la Reine, which was given to Marie-Antoinette by her husband Louis XVI in 1774 as a wedding present. The Académie du Spectacle Equestre, managed by renowned horse trainer Bartabas, is located in the former stables outside the château gates and is in charge of producing the spectacular spectacles of meticulously coordinated theatrics on horses.
Location: Place d’ArmesVersailles78000
- Nov-Mar: Tue-Sun 9am-5.30pm;
- Apr-Oct: Tue-Sun 9am-6.30pm
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Jardin des Tuileries
The Jardin des Tuileries is a 55-acre public garden in the center of Paris, situated between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. It is one of the best places to visit in Paris. The park has been open to the public since the 17th century, even though it was initially only intended for use by the royal family and court. In 1991, it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a component of the Banks of the Seine.
The green area has played a significant part in French history. For instance, Napoleon and Marie-Louise’s procession marched through the gardens on its way to the couple’s wedding feast in the now-defunct Palace des Tuileries. Foreign dignitaries once convened for meetings in the Jardin des Tuileries. Today, both locals and visitors to Paris enjoy strolling around the park’s tree-lined walks, enjoying picnics on the grass, or just relaxing on a green chair and people-watching. The park is a fantastic spot to unwind on your way to or from the Louvre, according to recent visitors. At the southwest corner of the gardens, you may also find the Musée de l’Orangerie close by. Restaurants, a bookstore, a carousel, and other amenities may be found in the gardens. The hours of the Jardin des Tuileries change with the season. Year-round, the park opens at 7 or 7:30 a.m., although in the winter and summer, closing times can be as early as 7:30 p.m. or as late as 11 p.m.
Location: Place de la Concorde
Googe Rating: 4.5/5.0
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Given that it runs straight through the center of Paris, you won’t have much trouble finding the Seine. The river is a draw-in and one of the most well-known waterways in the world. Also, it serves practical purposes by dividing the city into the Left Bank and the Right Bank as it runs from east to west.
The river is primarily used by tourists as a backdrop for photos, but for the residents, it provides a lifeline. It is important for many different types of commerce, a key transit route, and a reliable water supply. Since the third century, many fishermen have relied on it as a source of food. The Seine River was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 as a result of its historical and contemporary cultural importance.
The Seine can be accessed in a variety of ways. Previous travelers advised getting oriented to the city by beginning your journey in Paris with a boat tour (like Bateaux Mouches). The heated inside containers enable the year-round operation of the tours. Parisians might be seen selling regional things like books and handcrafted artwork along the river’s banks. There are 37 Seine River bridges in total, so if you take the time to cross a couple of them, you’re sure to discover something worth photographing.
Location: northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau
Price & Hours: Free; 24/7 daily
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Le Marais, which spans the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, is one of Paris’s oldest and nicest neighborhoods. Victor Hugo, the author of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Les Misérables,” actually made Le Marais his home. It’s simple to imagine yourself strolling through ancient Paris with all of the cobblestone streets, grand stone architecture, and hidden courtyards. Le Marais once served as home to several important French royalties. The Place des Vosges, which is the oldest square in Paris, was built by King Henry IV. Also, Louis XIV lived in this area for a while before deciding to move his family and court to Versailles. Le Marais also escaped the French Revolution’s devastation in large part.
The neighborhood has historically welcomed a variety of cultures despite its Old-World French vibe. The city’s Jewish neighborhood has been Le Marais since the 13th century. In rue des, Rosiers, which has some vintage delis and bakeries, the history of the neighborhood is most palpable. Le Marais is now the city’s LGBT community’s hub, with elegant shops and a thriving nightlife scene outnumbering traditional Jewish businesses. Le Marais is renowned for its mouthwatering falafel (particularly at the Jewish food stall L’As du Fallafel), shopping, and a wide variety of art galleries and museums. The National Archives of France, the Musée Picasso, the Centre Pompidou, and the Musée des Arts et Métiers, the oldest science museum in Europe, are all located in this area.
Le Marais is renowned for its many vintage shops and specialty stores, like papeteries, in addition to the neighborhood’s assortment of boutiques. The Village Saint-Paul is a great place to find antiques, and the Marché des Enfants Rouges, Paris’s oldest market, is a treat for foodies. According to visitors, walking is the greatest (and simplest) method to discover Le Marais. Travelers couldn’t help but fall in love with Le Marais and all it had to offer as they strolled through its vibrant streets. Le Marais’ many amenities, such as its numerous delicious restaurants, kept visitors occupied (and full) for hours on end, while the area’s stunning architecture astounded many.
Location: Le Marais