Top 20 things to do in Paris while you there
In this article, I have listed out all the most important places to see in Paris, the world’s top-wished-for city by nearly every one of us.
Paris, the capital of France is somehow viewed as a must-see city by all of us, at least once in our lifetime. Though there are more beautiful cities in the world than Paris, we are conditioned to believe Paris is a romantic city.
I would pinpoint to our school days literature lessons that depicted a lovely picture of Paris. The poems, the paintings, and several museums also painted a picture of sophistication to Paris.
In order to appreciate Paris, its avenues, the Seine River, architecture, are we supposed to be well read in classics?
To some extent yes; however, it is not fully so.
Maybe the fine French architecture, old villas with thin drapes and blinds remain the same forever but certainly, the French cuisine, the comforts in hotels and inns have undergone a sea of change in Paris.
Let us see the list of must-see places in Paris.
Naturally, without ranking this dreamy street in Paris on top of the most important places to see in Paris, I would be facing the wrath of true French people.
This beautiful avenue in Paris City is about 2 km long. It runs from the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle.
From morning to till late night, tourists stroll across this main identity of Paris, appreciating the stunning architecture of the ancient buildings such as expensive hotels, theaters, and many shops.
On Champs-Elysees, the annual military parade is conducted.
We have seen the Champs-Elysees countless times in movies and that is why it is regarded as the most recognized street in the world.
Jardin du Luxembourg
If you are not French, just remember this beautiful place to see in Paris as Luxembourg Gardens. Forget about where exactly it is located; just tell your taxi driver your destination and he will take you there without another word exchange. Yes, the Jardin du Luxembourg is that much popular in Paris. No tourist to Paris would think of returning without visiting one of the greenest places in Paris.
It has been in existence since sometime in the 17th century. It was built by Marie de’ Medici, wife of King Henry IV.
Modern day France and the fine beauty of its many cities are probably the outcomes of inspiration from the Luxembourg Gardens.
Inside the Luxembourg Gardens, you can see:
- A palace
- Several statues
- Vast expanse of lawn strewn with chairs
- Elm tree-lined promenades
- Colorful flower gardens
- Fruit orchards of apple and pear
- A small cafeteria that serves authentic French wine
I have deliberately left out mentioning some attractions to see inside the Jardin du Luxembourg park so that you can admire all its fine aspects in person when you visit Paris.
The Palais Garnier
It is an interior of the Palais Garnier, an important landmark to see in Paris. Isn’t it awesome and imposing? Have you ever seen such grandeur in any building, anywhere in the world?
Do you how the Palais Garnier will look from outside? Here, have a look at its façade:
Simply breathtaking-eh? If you are on your own in Paris as a tourist, bookmark this attraction to see. However, if you are on a guided tour of Paris arranged by hotel’s travel desk, you will be taken to this beauty of Paris automatically as it will be in the itinerary of every locally guided tour in Paris.
Don’t forget to take a picture of an imposing and incredible chandelier in the foyer. It weighs 7 ton and is made of crystals and bronze.
With your mouth agape, you will be admiring every grand staircase, alcoves and velvet furnishings embedded with gold leaves.
I am sure the name sounds a bell to you. Notre Dame is a cathedral built during the 12th century. It is probably the finest example of the beauty of French Gothic architecture.
That architecture is so famous that we see them even in remote towns and villages of various countries in the world, including India.
Notre Dame is a very important landmark in the city of Paris. It is as important a landmark as the Eiffel Tower that you would visit anyway and that’s why I did not include the Eiffel Tower in my list of places to see in Paris.
The cathedral is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture
The Notre Dame’s awe-inspiring façade, buttresses, stained-glass organs, and its towering spires and mass will make you rooted to your posture for a long time.
Place du Trocadéro
This palace serves as an observation point to capture the images of the imposing Eiffel Tower. It is considered as the best place to see the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River as it is located right across them.
Le Palais de Tokyo
Paris is the center of fine arts in the world. Most of the celebrated eminent painters, sculptors, and musicians that we adore are from France.
To see the majority of their works in France, there are umpteen museums and art galleries throughout France.
Le Palais de Tokyo is such an important landmark to see in Paris that houses contemporary art.
If you can appreciate the finer latent beauty of paintings and sculptures, you should visit the Palais de Tokyo. Else, you can skip it and also several other such places of attractions in Paris.
Sacré-Coeur Church, Paris
OMG! What a beauty! This is a typical Byzantine-period built basilica in Paris and it is a revered place of interest to the Christians of the world.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is a church dedicated to the Roman Catholics.
Look at its height! It is almost as tall as Eiffel Tower.
- Pantheon, Paris
To allure you to mark and visit this beautiful place in Paris, I give below the Pantheon’s inside appearance.
Isn’t it grand and imposing?
The Pantheon in Paris should not be confused with the Pantheon in Rome. The Pantheon in Paris was also originally meant to function as a Palace but somehow ended up like a tomb containing the last remnants of eminent personalities of France.
I read the list of famous French citizens’ who are buried inside the Pantheon in Paris and I could identify only two names from the list.
- Marie Curie
- Victor Hugo
Here is how the Pantheon in Paris appears from outside.
Does it look like Pantheon’s in Paris is 230 years old?
The Latin Quarter is the place in Paris where the Pantheon is located and fittingly so. Somehow, these neo-classical architecture impress us-right? The grandeur in them does not lose its sheen even after several centuries.
Places of such historical importance in Paris are given equal importance by the local city tour organizers and the travel desks in hotels. You will also feel proud to be a part of history when you stand in front of monuments and take a photograph.
Place de la Concorde, Paris
The image says it is a public square, located in the center of Paris and act as your gateway to the famous Champs-Elysees.
The vastness of the public square will instantly impress a tourist in Paris. Even if you stay just one day in Paris, don’t miss visiting this beautiful landmark.
The sprawling 19 acres can accommodate thousands of people. It is the largest public meeting place in Paris.
Another very important historical aspect of Place de la Concorde will make you shiver. It was where the infamous ‘guillotine’ was kept and the guilty were publicly killed in a bizarre way.
Another prominent sightseeing place in Paris, the Tuileries Gardens is located close by to Place de la Concorde.
The tapering stone pillar that you see above is called Luxor Obelisk. It is located right in the center of Place de la Concorde.
The Luxor Obelisk stands tall at 75 feet.
Pont Alexandre III
As you can see, it is a bridge, an ornate one with typical French stone-art that makes it a very attractive place in Paris and a must-see tourist landmark of Paris.
Here is a video of the bridge of Alexandre III. See how vibrant is the life on the bridge. Don’t you think you would take a selfie there?
The Pont Alexandre III connects Paris on either side of the Seine River. This means the artistically built bridge is the main thoroughfare connecting the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysees.
Pont Alexandre III is classified as a French Monument and that makes it an important tourist landmark in Paris.
Paris is a city of lights and here is the proof.
What a strikingly beautiful and colorfully lit place in Paris! What you see is the courtyard of the world famous museum Louvre located in Paris.
Your Paris trip will be considered useless if you have not visited the Louvre.
Don’t imagine the Louvre museum is a place to see dead animals. This is a world-class museum displaying artworks of incredible beauty and imagination numbering 38,000 objects.
Louvre is undoubtedly the world’s largest art museum. Since was opened in 1793, Louvre is also a historic monument as it is a palace too.
This is another art museum in Paris and a very important tourist attraction to see in Paris.
The Seine River flows just outside the entrance of this incredibly beautiful building.
Unlike the Louvre museum where arts from Greece and Italy are displayed, the Musée d’Orsay’ exhibition includes mainly French art that was created from 1848 to 1914.
Palace of Versailles, Paris
Awesome sight-right? The Palace of Versailles in Paris is one of the biggest tourist attractions. Look at the sculpture! It is unbelievably realistic!
Here is the terrific garden seen outside the palace.
The Palace of Versailles was built during the reign of Louis XIV that started in 1682. The last king that stayed in this gorgeous palace was Louis XVI.
Hôtel des Invalides
The word ‘hotel’ can be misleading. Looking at the sprawling building and its grandeur, it convinces us as a hotel but it is not.
The actual meaning of Hôtel des Invalides is “National Residence of the Invalids”.
The large complex of several buildings comprises a hospital for the war veterans and also serves as their retirement home.
In addition, inside the complex, one of the buildings is dedicated to exhibiting objects of defense and is called the Musée de l’Armée.
Apart from an attractive church, there are tombs too built in memory of heroes of French wars.
Look at the interiors of this massive Gothic styled church called The Sainte-Chapelle.
It’s a Royal Chapel where the rulers can enter the chapel directly from their residence without exposing them to the general public.
This Paris attraction is an example of the beginning of Gothic architecture in the world. We can easily identify it from several obvious aspects such as the tall spires on the exterior of the buildings and the high ceiling of the interior of the buildings.
Musée Marmottan Monet
One of the Paris attractions that are not visited by every category of visitors is the Museum of Paintings exclusively by the impressionist artist Claude Monet.
It is said much of the paintings were donated by Claude Monet’s son. Nowhere in the world, you can see so many (300+) masterpieces of Monet.
At a later time, paintings of other reputed artists such as Gauguin and Morisot were added to display.
Seine River Cruise
Of all the Paris attractions, a cruise on the River Seine is not to be missed. Don’t go on a Seine River cruise during the day time, but choose an evening cruise, after the ‘City of Lights’ live up to your expectations and do justice to its name.
When you see all the familiar landmarks of Paris including the Eiffel Tower, the Palace of Versailles, etc gloriously lit, you will scream in absolute delight.
Square of Tertre
Tourists to the eternal city Paris are lured to get their own portrait done in front of them in a place called Square of Tertre.
It is located not too far away from another popular landmark of Paris “The Sacred Heart Basilica” in Montmartre Hill.
Here is an image of the imposing looking Basilica, the white dome is visible from various parts of Paris because of its height of 450 feet!
In the vicinity of the ‘Basilica of the Sacred Heart’, is the Square of Tertre where nondescript looking artists would be waiting for their customers with high expectation. Their easel, pencils, and paintbrushes would be neatly stacked on a small stool.
Montmartre has been the artists’ hub since the times of Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and Claude Monet.
You can buy any number of paintings and they would prove that you had been to Paris.
Oh yes, you just cannot neglect this big attraction in Paris. The world famous Moulin Rouge cabaret dance is located very near to the Montmartre area. Would you dare to miss a lifetime chance to sit in the Moulin Rouge nightclub in Paris or would you rather sit solemnly in the Sacred Heart Basilica and offer your sincere prayers?
In Paris, a tourist who has no interest in architecture, historic monuments that include palaces of yesteryear rulers of France, numerous museums and art galleries might feel disappointed. Such category of tourists can try several highly visited restaurants that are famous for delectable French cuisine accompanied by French wines.
Shopping of the popular French perfumes, pastries and fashion garments can also take up much of your time and money.
To see just half of Paris city, you need at least 5 days. Therefore, plan your lifetime trip to Paris accordingly.