Paris is a top tourist destination for many reasons, not the least of which is its rich architecture, booming nightlife and vast array of museums. But for those looking to fully experience these factors, Paris can be a challenge. With so many attractions to choose from and so little time, where should a traveler start?
Thankfully, we’ve come up with an exhaustive list of some of the best things to see and do in Paris that will have you back on your feet before tomorrow. From Eiffel Tower visits to art galleries and historic cathedrals to top-notch basketball and volleyball clubs, our list of the top 7 tourist attractions in Paris has something for everyone. If you’re looking to really immerse yourself in Paris as a local would do it centuries ago, there are also several must-see spots that locals won’t expect you to visit (and vice versa). So whether you’re a seasoned beauty buff or someone just learning how great the city has it all under their belt, this list of the top 7 tourist attractions in Paris has you covered.
Eiffel Tower – The Paris landmark everyone wants to visit
If you’re a history buff or a tourist looking to learn more about how the city got its name, the Eiffel Tower is a must-see. It’s one of the most recognizable structures in the world, and it’s easy to see why. With 133 years of history, the Eiffel Tower has evolved from a workers’ ticket to France’s top tourist attraction. Most recently upgraded to include elevator access and luxurious rooms, the Eiffel Tower is a must-do for all history buffs, travelers and Parisians alike.
Notre Dame de Paris – A must-see Cathedral
For those looking for an authentic Parisian experience, a visit to the Notre Dame de Paris is a must. Not only is it the center piece of the city, but it’s also the largest Gothic church in the world. What’s more, the Mona Lisa is believed to be painted on the famous stained glass window in the cathedral’s Crypt. The Mona Lisa was, in many ways, the first advertising campaign for the Notre Dame de Paris. If you’ve ever wondered what the French have been up to all this time, this is the place to see and do.
Louvre Museum – Art lovers will love this museum
The Louvre Museum is a cultural icon in Paris, and it’s easy to see why. With more than 10,000 works of art spanning five millennia, the Louvre is the largest art museum in the world. That alone should give you an idea of just how extensive this place is. What’s even cooler is that if you want to learn more about any piece of art, the museum has an art school where you can become a certified expert. If history, art and culture isn’t your thing, there are also several other attractions to check out in the Louvre besides art pieces.
Musée d’Orsay – Located in the heart of Paris, this museum is a treasure trove for art aficionados
Located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, the Musée d’Orsay is one of the most important museums in France. The building itself is aprotected historical monument, and the museum itself is even more amazing from the inside out. The rotating exhibits change each month, so you never know what you’ll see. If you’re a history buff, this is the perfect place to visit with some of your favorite French art historians. You’re in for an unparalleled immersive experience as soon as you walk through the doors.
Arc de Triomphe and Champs Élysées – The iconic roads
Paris’s most recognizable avenue, the Champs Élysées, has been a source of inspiration for countless artists and architecture lovers. You’d be hard-pressed to find two people who haven’t at least glanced at the same picture at least once. But, for all its beauty, the Arc de Triomphe is also one of the most recognizable sightseeing spots in France. Both elements combined make for a striking contrast against the Paris skyline. If you’re in the mood for a bit of history, the Champs Élysées was the site of the first, and last, French Open held on grass. Today, it’s home to the annual June bike race, but it was also the site of a number of significant events throughout French history, including the signing of the Treaty of Paris ending World War I, the victory celebration at the Paris Olympics, and the return of Charles De Gaulle to the city he once called home.
Saint-Michel Basilica – A must-see Catholic shrine
One of the most iconic architectural structures in all of Europe, the Saint-Michel Basilica in Paris is a must-see for any Catholic or Parisian visitor. The Basilica is the largest church in France, with a floor area of 133,000 square meters (13,300 square feet) and 2,600 meters (96 feet) of height from the bottom of the dome to the top. The construction of the Basilica took almost 50 years, from 1300 to 1340, and it was inaugurated in 1342. What’s more, the Basilica has been the site of many pivotal moments in French history, including the coronation of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Like the Louvre, the Saint-Michel Basilica is also one of the most visited sights in France, so be ready for a long line.
Jardin des Tuileries – One of the most beautiful parks in all of Europe
Located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, just a short walk from the Louvre Museum, the Jardin des Tuileries is one of the most popular parks in all of Paris. With a history dating back to the 12th century, the Tuileries Gardens have been a peaceful oasis in the midst of the bustling city. However, the gardens have gone through many changes over the years, including the replacement of many of the famed old trees by fountains, urns and cascades of water. The gardens are also home to the Rosebay tree, which is over 200 years old. If you’d like to avoid touristy areas and want a more authentic experience, make your way to the Tuileries Gardens by foot.