Paris: The city of love and romance. Bursting with culture and steeped in a rich history which makes it one of the most popular European city break destinations. Whether you have a weekend, a week, or more to spare in the French capital, we are full of ideas and recommendations for the top things to do in Paris and how best to spend your time.
In this blog, we count down the top 10 tourist attractions in Paris from ten to one!
10. Visit Musée Rodin
Somewhat of a hidden gem, the Musée Rodin is packed with intrigue. This is the former home of Auguste Rodin, the famous sculptor of the 19th century, and what is contained within the property today is a testament to his creative impulses. Find sculptures, drawings and a specific area which has been dedicated to work which was inspired by his mistress – the artist, Camile Claudel. Rodin’s personal art collection also shines, and you will be able to view paintings by the luminary Vincent Van Gogh.
9. See the streets of Le Marais
Le Marais is known as one of the oldest districts in Paris, and a ‘must visit’ for those who want to sample the atmosphere of yesteryear – it is truly one of the cool things to do in Paris. Think cobbled streets, hidden courtyards and architecture which belongs very much in a bygone era. If you have read or seen The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the place could already seem familiar, as this neighbourhood was home to the author Victor Hugo, and apparently influenced his work. This ‘medieval’ area was also home to Louis XIV before he moved to Versailles. Guided tours are available.
8. Pause and take stock at Sacré-Cœur Basilica
Standing at over 130 metres above the ground, there are plenty of great photo opportunities here. If you make your way right up to the dome, you can find one of the best views of the city. The ceiling inside the building is decorated with a HUGE mosaic, measuring 480 m², making it the largest in France. This religious site is a great place if you need to take a break to pause and think about life. Once you’re ready to leave Sacré-Cœur, head down the hill where you can find the famous Moulin Rouge!
7. Go down the Champs-Élysées
If you like to ‘shop until you drop’, or if you just want to visit one of the most famous streets in the world, you have to go along the Champs-Élysées. The mile which stretches from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe is lined with luxury – from designer stores to some of the most exclusive hotels, but there are also more affordable chain stores on offer. Whether you shop or not, this road can be great for finding a cafe and people watching, or just soaking up the unique setting. The Champs-Élysées is a must do in Paris.
6. Get lost in the Musée du Louvre
There are plenty of museums in Paris, but it could be argued that none come close to the Musée du Louvre. There you will find a staggering total of 35,000 artworks, encompassing a variety of cultures, and time periods. First opened back in 1793, today the Musée du Louvre is home to a wide variety of artifacts – from Grecian sculptures to mummy tombs from Ancient Egypt. And if you are interested in seeing the old apartment of Napoleon III, you can right here.
5. Marvel at Versailles Palace
OK, so it is not strictly in Paris, but just 14 miles outside of the capital lies a ‘must visit’ landmark which should be on your to do list. The Château de Versailles is a remarkable expanse of a palace which was once where the most power in France lay. From crystal chandeliers to gold figurines, there is a lot of grandeur to dazzle you, including the famous Hall of Mirrors. After being practically abandoned, Versailles came back to life in a big way after World War One, as a museum and the location where the famous peace treaty which ended that conflict was signed.
4. Admire the Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the best things to do in Paris, and if you are heading to the Champs-Élysées, it is a good opportunity to double up your visit and see both at the same time. This towering monument was commissioned by Napoléon to honour the French Army during the wars his empire fought. Today you can see some of the names of the fierce battles which were fought, including some of the generals to have led the troops, along with the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
3. Take in the ballet at the Opéra Garnier
The Opéra Garnier is also known as the Palais Garnier, and if you are being a Paris ‘culture vulture’, this might be the most exquisite taste of French tradition which you make. It is also a part of your trip which might take some forward planning, because to get tickets to the opera or the ballet at the Opéra Garnier can require booking well in advance of the day which you wish to go – sometimes months. But the building is a landmark in its own right, and if you can’t make it at night, you could take a guided tour during the day time.
2. Have a culinary adventure at Monsieur Bleu
Monsieur Bleu restaurant terrace is not only one of the most renowned eateries in the capital, it also offers an unbeatable view of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. If you want to make an occasion out of a meal out, there appears to be no better place than the Monsieur Bleu. Alternatively for one of the most unusual things to do in Paris, dine at the Le Kube, an ice restaurant made out of 20 tonnes of ice!
1. Ascend the Eiffel Tower
There is nothing which truly compares to the Eiffel Tower, which goes down as the most iconic tourist spot in Paris. Romantic, imposing and stately all at the same time, the Eiffel Tower was first constructed for the World Fair in 1889. Rather than being simply an aesthetic asset, the Eiffel Tower has performed several important roles – from a transmitter which was capable of intercepting communications in war time, to the basis for scientific experiments. Today it stands as a structure which attracts people from all over the world, and if you go to Paris, you simply must pay it a visit.
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