Famous Landmarks in Paris

Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world to visit. With so many famous landmarks, beautiful museums, and delicious food, I am not sure I will ever tire of visiting! If Paris, France, has caught your eye too, you may be curious about the famous landmarks in Paris.

In all honestly, Paris has way too many incredible landmarks, but below, I have put together some of my favorite landmarks I think you should visit. Many of these are famous monuments you may recognize instantly. I have also included some landmarks that locals love to make the list a little more unique!

At the bottom of this list, I have also included a map with all the landmarks, the Arrondissement it is located in, and other linked guides I think you will find helpful for planning a trip to the French Capital!

famous landmarks in Paris France
Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris

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1. Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)

I feel like it is only right to start off with the most famous landmark in Paris, the Eiffel Tower. Once you arrive in Paris, it is hard to miss it! Its popularity led to the tower being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.

Each time I visit Paris, I never grow old of seeing the tower sparkle at night. If you plan to climb the Eiffel Tower during your visit, I highly recommend getting tickets in advance (at least 2 months before your trip)! You can get them directly on the Eiffel Tower website. Picnicking by the Eiffel Tower at Champs de Mars will always be one of my favorite things to do!

First time in Paris? Check out these things to know for your first visit!!

Admission: Starting at around £30

Hours: 9:30 AM – 11 AM

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champs de mars tour Eiffel
champs de mars tour Eiffel

2. Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre)

Another iconic Paris landmark is the Louvre Museum. You will recognize it by the unique pyramid shapes that have become a top Instagram spot! To think the French originally hated the design!

I love the Louvre Museum, and it’s not because it is home to the Mona Lisa. This building is absolutely stunning, along with the art that is housed in it. In fact, it was built in the late 12th century as a palace.

If you plan to go inside, which I highly recommend, getting skip-the-line tickets for the Louvre is a must. The last time I was in Paris in April, the line was over 3 hours long.

Fun Fact: When the Louvre opened, it only had 537 paintings. The museum now has over 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 pieces of art.

Admission: Staring at around $18

Hours: Saturday – Thursday: 9 AM – 6 PM; Friday: 9 AM – 9:45 PM

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The Louvre in Paris - Paris Travel tips

3. Notre Dame Cathedral

One of the most impressive cathedrals in Paris is, hands-down, The Notre Dame Cathedral. It is also one of the most famous landmarks in the city and even became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.

I feel beyond lucky to have seen Notre Dame before the fire broke out in 2019, however, they plan to have this landmark back open by 2025! For now, you can still admire Notre Dame from the outside – which is still beautiful!

Related: Here are my The Best 10 Attractions in Paris

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Notre Dame from across the river
Notre Dame in 2023

4. Arc De Triomphe

You will surely recognize the famous Arc de Triomphe. I will never forget when I first visited because this landmark’s roundabout includes what I consider a car accident waiting to happen!

The Arc was completed between 1833 and 1826 and was built to honor the people who passed away during the French Revolution. Viewing the Arch is one of the best free things to do in Paris, but if you want to climb to the top, it has an admission cost. From the top, the views of the Eiffel Tower are awesome, but I am not sure the price is worth the view.

Psst: If you plan on visiting a lot of city attractions, I recommend getting either the Go City Pass or the Paris Museum Pass. They are designed to help you save money!

Hours: From April 1st to September 30th: 10 AM – 11 PM; October 1st to March 31: 10 AM – 10:30 PM

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Arc de Triomphe should be on any itinerary with 5 days in Paris.

5. The Palace of Versailles

Although the Palace of Versailles is technically in Versailles and not Paris, it is almost always grouped in with Paris, and I personally feel it deserves to be on this list. Plus, this decked-out gold Palace is just incredible.

Most famously known for being the Royal residence of King Louis XIV, the Palace sees around 15 million visitors every year. This actually makes it one of the most popular landmarks in the world.

Construction started on the palace way back in 1661, and yet it only became a World Heritage Site in 1979. I highly recommend visiting early to give yourself enough time to explore the grounds. It actually makes for the perfect day trip from Paris.

I also highly recommend renting bikes for getting around the garden area.

Admission: Ranges – but skip-the-line tickets are recommended – gardens are free.

Hours: Every day except Mondays: 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Versailles gardens in Paris is a top attraction.

6. Sacre Coeur Basilica (The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris)

Not only is Sacre Coeur Basilica a stunning landmark, but it is also free to visit and offers some of the best views of the city. Perched up on a hill in the Montmartre neighborhood, this basilica opened in 1875.

During my last visit around 11 AM, the line was very long to get in, so I recommend going early if you don’t want to wait as long.

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Touring inside the Sacre Coeur basilica is a great activity on a rainy day in Paris

7. River Seine

When visiting, it is almost impossible to miss the river Seine. This 483-mile river flows through Paris and ends at the English Channel.

As you make your way down the Seine, you will pass some of my favorite landmarks, so I highly recommend a boat tour. If you can only do one boat tour, let it be at night. This way, you can see the Eiffel Tower sparkle; it’s magical! I always recommend it to anyone visiting!

Related: My detailed Paris Itinerary: 5 Perfect Days

View down the Paris Seine River at Sunset
View down the Paris Seine River

8. Champs Elysees

Champs Elysees is not just any ole avenue. It starts at Place de la Concorde and makes its way down to Arc de Triomphe, so it’s a nice walk. Plus, it is well known for its boutique shops and restaurants. If you love shopping, visiting Arc de Triomphe, or want to take a quick Macarron stop at Laudree, don’t miss out on this landmark.

One thing to keep in mind is that the area is very busy during lunchtime. If you love the hustle and bustle, you’ll love it here. If you’d rather avoid the crowds, you can still visit in the early morning.

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Laduree Cafe in Paris

9. Colonne Vendôme

A landmark that is not as frequented by tourists is Colonne Vendome.

This landmark was ordered to be built in 1806 by Napoleon to commemorate the battle of Austerlitz but was destroyed in 1871 during the Paris commune, so it had to be rebuilt. The column is unique and definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for something outside the normal touristy things to see. Plus, during the holidays, they do really nice decorations here.

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Colonne Vendome is one of the best landmarks in Paris
Credit: AndreaA/depositphotos

10. Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge is quite an iconic Paris landmark – especially for visitors to the city. With a beloved movie and plays around the world, how can you not want to visit?

By attending a show here, you’re signing up for an evening of nonstop entertainment. The shows are designed in a way to immerse all of your senses!

As for its history, Moulin Rouge was co-founded in 1889, however, the original building was actually destroyed by a fire in 1915. Now, you can find the building in the 18th arrondissement, and it is most identifiable by its iconic red windmill. You won’t be able to miss it.

Did you know that can-can dance is featured in many of the shows performed here and actually introduced this style of dance to Europe?

If you’re a fan of theatre and performance, even just taking a photo outside of this building is so much fun in itself. If you do want to book a ticket, try to do so as far in advance as possible. These shows get booked very quickly!

Opening hours: Dinner is usually at 7 PM, and shows begin at 9 PM Dinner

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Moulin Rouge in Paris

11. Pont Neuf

The Pont Neuf is one of the coolest landmarks in the city. The history (and irony) of this bridge is something I enjoyed learning about while on my most recent trip.

Famous for being the oldest standing bridge, the Pont Neuf is 232 m, 761 feet, and after being ordered to be built by Henry IV, the bridge was constructed in 1607.

Despite being the oldest standing bridge, Pont Neuf actually translates to “New Bridge.” Which is incredibly ironic now. To add to its history, The Pont Neuf was also the first bridge to cross the entire width of the River Seine.

Along the bridge, you’ll also find various sculptures, including the famous Mascarons. The Mascarons were popular statues during medieval times as they were thought to ward off evil spirits. While not the originals, it’s still cool to see.

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Best Free Things to do in Paris - Cross the Bridges

12. Pont Alexandre III

The Pont Alexandre is possibly the most picturesque and famous bridge in Paris. The bridge connects the Champs Élysées quarter with the Invalides right by the Eiffel Tower.

The Pont Alexandre III bridge was built in 1896, and its popularity is largely due to its extravagant design. At the time of its construction, it was actually often called a marvel of engineering. I highly recommend visiting for sunset, as it has those romantic vibes.

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Pont Alexandre Bridge Paris Landmark

13. Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde is more of a public square than a traditional landmark, but don’t let that put you off visiting, as it has some significant history. For one, it is actually the largest square in the city.

The square is most famous for its high levels of public execution, including Marie Antoinette and King Louis XIV. Additionally, it is home to the Luxor Obelisk, which was gifted to France from Egypt (another destination I love).

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Place de la Concorde Obelisk Paris itinerary

14. Catacombs of Paris

Suppose you’re looking for a slightly eerie activity while on your trip to Paris, you should consider visiting the Catacombs. This unique landmark opened to the public in 1809 and contains the bones of several million Parisians.

This is another place where you will want to get your tickets in advance since it is very popular. If you want it to feel even more spooky, consider heading there at night. It is one of the most unique nighttime activities in Paris.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 9:45 AM – 8:30 PM

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Skulls in the Catacombs of Paris.

15. Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle is one of the most incredible landmarks for its stained glass. There are exactly 1,113 stained glass windows. This Gothic-style chapel is truly one of the most beautiful chapels I have ever visited.

Saint-Chapelle was built in 1248 and was designated a historic monument in 1862.

The chapel actually experienced a lot of damage during the French Revolution. However, you’d never know since it was fully restored in the 19th century.

To see the stunning stained glass, you have to walk up the stairs. I also recommend getting one of the information cards to the left when you enter. These explain all the scenes. Getting tickets in advance helps, and they have “airport-like” security.

This is also a great indoor activity for cold or rainy days in the city.

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Sainte-Chapelle Stained Glass
Sainte-Chapelle Stained Glass

16. Tour Montparnasse

The Tower of Montparnasse is a more modern landmark than most on this list, but it offers some lovely views of the whole city, including the Eiffel Tower on the skyline. After ascending myself, I can agree the views are quite lovely, but if you’re on a budget, it’s not necessary.

Instead, head to the top of the Galeries Rooftop for a free view.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Hemingway (the famous author) regularly frequented the bistros in this area?

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Views from Tour Montparnasse in Paris is perfect for any itinerary with views of the Eiffel tower
Views from Tour Montparnasse.

17. Hôtel des Invalides

Hotel des Invalides is another exceptional monument in Paris.

Located in the 7th arrondissement, this complex is split into various museums and monuments that tell the story of the military history of France.

The building was constructed in the 17th century by Louis XIV with the purpose of being a building for those who served in the Royal Army.

Today, the hotel is filled with authentic architecture and artifacts. Visiting the Tomb of Napoleon I is also a top draw to the building.

Admission: €15

Opening hours: Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM (Late opening on the 1st Friday of each month from 6 PM to 10 PM)

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Hotel des Invalides is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris
Credit: TTstudio/depositphotos

18. Panthéon

Another wonderful landmark is the Pantheon. Located in the Latin Quarter, this landmark is most recognizable by its triple dome.

The Pantheon has so much history behind it. It was a project of King Louis XV and was built during the years 1759 to 1790.

The pantheon was first used as a sanctuary to the Glory of the Patron Saint of Paris but quickly became a national necropolis for the worship of illustrious men. Then, it became a church until 1885, when it returned to its role of Pantheon.

Fun Fact: Did you know that before the Eiffel Tower was built, the Pantheon was actually the highest point in the city?

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View of the Pantheon is a great free activity.
Credit: paolo_airenti/depositphotos

19. Palais Royal

It wasn’t until my second visit to Paris that I made it to Palais Royal, and it is quite a landmark. It is actually right by the Louvre!

The gardens of the palace are particularly special. They also have the Instagrammable black and white striped octagonal columns that make for fun photos.

As for its history, construction of the Palace was completed in 1639, and since then, it has been home to famous historical figures such as Henrietta Maria and Henrietta Anne Stuart in 1649 to escape the English Civil War.

This landmark is also great because it’s completely free to visit!

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Palais-Royal Colonnes de Buren
Palais-Royal Colonnes de Buren

20. Canal Saint Martin

To escape the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Canal Saint Martin. The canal is 4.6 km in length and it connects the Canal de l’Ourcq to the River Seine. I also feel it is more of a hidden gem for locals.

The canal was originally used to supply Paris with building materials and other goods. However, due to other forms of transport quickly being created in the 1960s, the canal almost became a paved highway. However, I think most people would agree that it is a good thing that they decided against it!

One of the most interesting facts about this canal is that it’s actually drained and cleaned every 10-15 years.

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Canal Saint Martin is a great Paris landmark
Credit: ademyan/depositphotos

21. Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges is actually a square and is known as the oldest planned square in Paris. The square was ordered to be built by Henry IV in 1605.

Place des Vosges is now considered a gem in the heart of Paris and is a perfect place to picnic, take photos, and enjoy the scenery.

The area has also been a place where famous artists, writers, and politicians have spent time over the past years and even today, so you never know who you might see!

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22. Conciergerie

This landmark is often overlooked, but I think its given history makes it a must-visit.

The Conciergerie was originally a royal palace, however, it quickly became a courthouse and prison that held over 2,700 prisoners, including Marie Antoinette.

Today, it is not only a national monument but a museum that you can explore. Most people see the outside of the Conciergerie, but not many actually make it inside, which I would recommend if you’re interested in history.

Inside, you will be able to take a fascinating deep dive into what prison life was like during the revolution. You will also have the opportunity to learn more about Marie Antoinette’s life during her time here.

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Conciergerie in Paris

Paris Landmarks Wrap-up

I hope you have enjoyed exploring some of the most famous landmarks in the French capital, with a couple of local gems throughout. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out my Ultimate Guide for Touring France, along with some additional popular blog posts below!

If you have any questions about these landmarks or general questions about traveling to Paris, let me know in the comments below! Also, if you think there is a landmark that should be added, also let me know below =)

You can save this map by clicking on the star. On the left side, the legend will pull out. On the right-hand side, you can make the map larger.

Did you find this guide on Famous Paris Landmarks helpful? I’d appreciate it if you could share it below!

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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

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