THINGS TO DO IN PARIS: 10 ATTRACTIONS YOU CAN’T MISS!
With so many amazing things to do in Paris, knowing what to prioritise can be tricky. After countless visits over the years, we’ve just about covered all there is to do and see and narrowed these 10 attractions down as being the best. Below you’ll find some of the most iconic landmarks and things to do in Paris that every tourist should tick off their bucket list when visiting Paris.
MONTMARTRE/BASILICA OF SACRÉ-COEUR
One of our all-time favourite places in Paris is Montmartre! Visiting this beautiful suburb is a must, no matter how many times you’ve been to Paris. You’ll find the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur atop the hill which can be reached by foot or funicular train in just over a minute. You can wander into the Basilica and marvel at the stunning detail of the historic masterpiece or simply admire the view of the city from the staggered hilltop. Behind the Basilica is a charming market square with tonnes of restaurants to choose from and all surrounded by Parisian artists painting portraits. You’ll find most tourists follow the traffic towards the left and straight down to the square, however, if you go straight past the left turning, you’ll find luxury and authentic Parisian restaurants that aren’t as crowded. At night the hilltops become a hotspot to enjoy performances from local artists, providing a great atmosphere for a relaxed evening of entertainment.
Tip: While Montmartre is safe, we always like to carry a money belt whenever we are in tourist hotspots around any city.
Read more: Montmarte is also a great area in Paris to stay in. You can find out more information about it on where to stay in Paris.
Read more: Montmarte is also home to one of our favourite hidden gems in Paris.
Pop by to see Mona in Le Louvre, she’ll only charge you £43/$58 USD! Terrible jokes aside, this place is stunning and every room is flooded with history from the last 7000 years. This museum holds a whopping 35,000 pieces of artwork, each with a unique story to tell. This makes it the largest art museum in the world that nearly every tourist in Paris will have on their list of landmarks to tick off. To avoid queuing for hours, be sure to book a priority ticket.
Tip: Don’t forget to take a camera like the Canon EOS M50 to get some great artistic shots of Le Louvre. There are small boxes that you can stand on to get some clever optical illusions too – you’ll see the lady in the bottom right-hand corner of the image below doing this.
This big guy is pretty easy to spot no matter where you are in Paris. There are three floors to the Eiffel Tower, the first of which is transparent. From the second floor, you’ll be able to take a glass lift to the top for panoramic views of the city. This is a popular way to view Paris, which means extremely long queues pretty much all year round; make sure you get a queue jump ticket.
If you’re looking to view the Eiffel Tower from a distance then walk along the river Seine which is particularly fabulous at night, or head to Trocadéro square; the latter will provide a central view of the tower and is perfect at sunset! That being said, it is also busy so if you’re an early riser then sunrise is a peaceful alternative!
Notre Dame is a cathedral dating back to the 12th century and is a gothic masterpiece! It holds what is thought to be the largest organ in France and is free to visit all year round (although at the time of writing – December 2020, it is being partially rebuilt after it caught fire)!
JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG
Among the hustle and bustle of city life, you’ll find this little pocket of paradise bursting with colour. Explore the fountains and flower gardens, or even pop by to play some tennis! Alternatively, it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the scenery after a day of exploring the city!
Beneath the streets of Paris lies 200 miles of tunnels filled with roughly 6 million Parisian skeletons from the 18th and 19th centuries. When the cemeteries of Paris were overspilled, the remains were transferred to an old quarry and turned into a harrowing yet fascinating piece of art. Tourists are now able to experience a 1.5 km snippet, which takes roughly 1 hour to complete whilst listening to an audiotape detailing the history of Les Catacombs. Again, this is another popular attraction that will teach you tonnes of fun facts about Paris, so you’ll likely need to pre-book a queue jump ticket.
Tip: It’s cold in Les Catacombs so make sure you take a jacket (him/her)
Read more: Near Les Catacombs there’s also a hidden gem in Paris.
At just under 2 km long and 70 meters wide, the Champs-Élysées is known as one of the most popular streets in the world for shopping. It’s home to many high-end stores such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci, as well as heaps of fancy hotels and restaurants. Towards the end of the Champs-Élysées, you’ll find the Arc de Triomphe…which is the perfect segway to our next attraction…
Read more: The Champs-Élysées is also a great place to stay in Paris.
ARC DE TRIOMPHE
Positioned in the middle of a roundabout stands the Arc de Triomphe, another iconic landmark for Paris that honors those who died in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. The rooftop can be accessed with this queue jump ticket to provide panoramic views of the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, and much more. Much like the Eiffel Tower, sunset is a great time to experience the view!
Tip: Make sure you find the underpass to the Arc de Triomphe as the roundabout is one of the busiest in the world.
PALACE OF VERSAILLES
The estate of Marie-Antoinette, the former queen of France and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, the Palace of Versailles covers an area of over 800 hectares. Today, tourists are able to roam around the magnificent palace and explore the gardens whilst learning about the history behind the gates. To book, find tickets here.
The perfect way to finish off any Parisian adventure is with a trip to the Moulin Rouge cabaret in the trendy area of Pigalle. Over 60 million people enjoy this show every year and with performances running throughout the day and night, there really is no excuse not to go! Klook has put together a great package that includes dinner and Champagne, as well as a bus tour of the city before or after your viewing. This can be booked here.
Tip: Make sure you get there at least 45 minutes early to get a good seat.
Best time to visit: June – October
Average flight time from the US: 7.5 hours
Visa: No visa is required unless you’re staying for more than 90 days
Language: French is the main language spoken, but most also speak English
Currency of France: Euros
Plug: Type C and E – make sure you pack a universal power adapter
Daily budget: €50/£45/$60 USD
Safety: Paris is predominantly a safe city to explore both day and night, however it’s always wise to take a money belt
If you’re planning a trip to Paris then we’ve got some other posts that may be useful:
- Hidden Gems in Paris / Discover some of the best kept secrets in the city
- Paris in March / Discover why visiting Paris in March is the perfect time
- Where to stay in Paris / This guide covers all the best areas to stay in Paris, from budget to luxury
Millie and Tom x
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