10 Top Places to Visit in Paris

Paris, “the City of Lights,” is an ideal destination for a visit regardless of the weather or season, as the city is in constant motion. Whichever direction I took, the city’s comprehensive museums, acclaimed theaters, and striking landmarks constantly alternated with each other. As a first-time visitor to Paris, I chose to visit the most popular places first. Here’s a list of the 10 top places to visit in Paris:

1. Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower - Best Places to Visit in Paris

The iconic Eiffel Tower is usually the first on everybody’s “Things to Do in Paris” list. The world’s most visited paid monument was built for the purposes of providing an entrance to the World Fair in 1889. As strange as it may seem today, it was meant to be dismantled in 1909, twenty years after completion. However, because of an astonishing height of one thousand feet, it had become useful as a perfect place for telegraph companies to attach transmission antennas, and was thus spared destruction as planned.

Each of the three levels of the tower was easily accessible when I visited. If you’ve ever dreamed of floating in void, the tower’s first level has a transparent floor, and is the perfect spot to live out that fantasy.

The second level is best for a panoramic view of the city, as well as to see other places to visit in Paris.

The third floor, accessible only by elevator, is ideal for marriage proposals, since the magnificent and distant Chartres Cathedral is prominent in the background.

If you’d like to know more about the tower during your visit, look out for the interactive media that offers a deep insight into the history of the tower.

2. Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral - Best Places to Visit in Paris

The popular “Our Lady Cathedral” is another must-see among Paris attractions. As immense as it is gorgeous, the grand cathedral assumes the spot once occupied by a temple devoted to the Roman god Jupiter. The cathedral is one of the earliest – and certainly among the most exquisite – examples of Gothic style and culture.

Two interesting things about the cathedral – the towers have remained unfinished since they were built, and the towers don’t have spires like most Gothic religious building do.

You can climb the cathedral’s two towers for fine views of Paris, but first take a tour of the interiors and get a closer look at the extraordinary rose windows depicting biblical scenes. Also, don’t miss the chance to walk around the outside of the Cathedral to see impressive flying buttresses supporting the apse from the outside. These form arched supports that allow the Gothic-style structures to soar to the heavens.

3. Louvre Museum

Louvre Museum - Best Places to Visit in Paris

The most visited museum in the world was begun as a mighty fortress in the 12th century. As the fortress lost its purpose, it was dismantled, and the foundations were used for the construction of the royal palace. The former royal palace houses the Louvre Museum today. The museum is another must-see Paris attraction, but you need the entire day to explore its expansive premises on your own. If you don’t have that much time, you can book a guided tour that will reveal the essentials to you in a shorter timeframe.

If you are a passionate explorer, there are some sections you should prioritize. Although every section is interesting in its own way, I consider the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiques, the Gallery of paintings, the Apartments of Napoleon III, and the Marly Court the most interesting. The Louvre’s most outstanding masterpieces are located in them, including the Mona Lisa, Wedding at Cana, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and Marly Horses.

4. Triumphal Arch

Triumphal Arch - Best Places to Visit in Paris

The most visited museum in the world was begun as a mighty fortress in the 12th century. As the fortress lost its purpose, it was dismantled, and the foundations were used for the construction of the royal palace. The former royal palace houses the Louvre Museum today. The museum is another must-see Paris attraction, but you need the entire day to explore its expansive premises on your own. If you don’t have that much time, you can book a guided tour that will reveal the essentials to you in a shorter timeframe.

If you are a passionate explorer, there are some sections you should prioritize. Although every section is interesting in its own way, I consider the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiques, the Gallery of paintings, the Apartments of Napoleon III, and the Marly Court the most interesting. The Louvre’s most outstanding masterpieces are located in them, including the Mona Lisa, Wedding at Cana, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and Marly Horses.

5. Orsay Museum

Orsay Museum - Best Places to Visit in Paris

Second only to the Louvre, the Orsay is another outstanding museum you shouldn’t miss during your Paris sightseeing. The museum houses the largest collection of Impressionist art in the world, as well as other celebrated art movements such as Realism, Orientalism, and Symbolism.

The collection of the Orsay Museum mostly consists of sculptures and paintings, which are accompanied by decorative art objects and photos. Most of them originated in the 19th century, and some special art pieces were created by Rodin, Carpeaux, Courbet, Monet, Van Gogh, and Renoir. The Gleaners, Four Sides of the World, Ugolin, Dance, and Bal du Moulin de la Galette are some masterpieces you shouldn’t miss.

If the Orsay’s design seems strange to you, it is because it was initially a railway station!

6. Alexandre III Bridge

Alexandre III Bridge - Best Places to Visit in Paris

Of the dozens of bridges you will see along the Seine during your trip to Paris, the Alexandre III is the most beautiful. The bridge comprising of sculptures, candelabras, and pillars is the largest in the French capital ,and was built in honor of the established alliance between France and Russia by the end of the 19th century. Two coats of arms on both sides of the bridge drew most of my attention. The western part had the coat of arms of Paris, while the eastern side depicted the Russian coat of arms. Four pillars stabilize the bridge, and each of them featured a different theme, each symbolizing different periods in French history to represent French art, science, industry, and commerce.

7. Luxembourg Garden

Luxembourg Garden - Best Places to Visit in Paris

Relaxing in probably the most beautiful garden in the city was among the top things to do in Paris for me. The weather was nice, and I had an opportunity to sunbathe on a bench in the French-style garden, as well as cool down in the shades of the English-style park. Many beautiful sculptures introducing French saints, heroes, and royalty line Luxembourg Garden’s walking paths, manicured alleys, and floral paths.

The gardens boasted of several flower beds and fountains, as well as a small version of the Statue of Liberty designed by the same person who had designed the American version of the same statue.

8. Montmartre

Montmartre - Best Places to Visit in Paris

Unavoidable Montmartre, the iconic Artists’ Quarter, is a full chest of interesting stories related to history, art, and mythology. You can choose to walk through its picturesque, narrow streets, visit the Holy Heart (Sacre Coeur) Basilica, and experience panoramic views of Paris and still have a lot on your plate.

If you can spare a significant amount of money for premium entertainment, book a table at the Moulin Rouge well in advance. If not, an affordable, authentic cabaret performance awaits you in the Au Lapin Agile, which was frequented in the past by famous artists.

9. Versailles

Versailles - Best Places to Visit in Paris

A trip to Paris without visiting the Versailles is almost impossible. To me, a visit to the former royal residence was the highlight of my Paris sightseeing activities. Commissioned by Louis XIV, the Sun King, the sumptuous palace and the neighboring pleasure gardens were made to impress, which they still do without fail.

The opulent Versailles Palace features paintings and sculptures inspired by Roman mythology. The official and private quarters exude utmost luxury, while a separate wing houses paintings depicting various fateful events in the French history. In the Versailles gardens, you can walk along tree-lined promenades, flanked by flower beds, majestic fountains, and sculptures.

10. Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris - Best Places to Visit in Paris

Disneyland Paris is a family-friendly destination to relive old memories of carefree childhood. It’s also a great place to build new memories with the young members of your family. Don’t think for a second that you are too old to enjoy a Disney Park! Maybe you can’t take an interstellar or an adventurous roller coaster ride for certain reasons but as long as you are able to descend into Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, explore a pirate hideout, or attend a Disney Parade, you’ll still have a great time.

Other top places to visit in Paris

The French capital city, Paris, abounds with numerous others places to visit such as Opera Garnier (an acclaimed performing arts venue), Basilica Saint Denis (resting place of past French royals), and Centre Pompidou  (the greatest contemporary art collection in Europe).

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