- Paris Attractions: Top 10 Things to do and see in Paris
- Getting Around Paris
- Consider Getting The Paris Pass
- 1. Boat Cruise Down the Seine
- 2. Norte-Dame
- 3. The Louvre
- 4. The Tuileries Garden
- 5. Place de la Concorde
- 6. Arc de Triomphe
- 7. Eiffel Tower
- 8. Tour Montparnasse
- 9. Versailles
- 10. Musée d’Orsay
- Don’t Forget to Cafe Watch in Paris
- Bonus Paris Attractions
Paris Attractions: Top 10 Things to do and see in Paris
We stayed in Paris for 5 days and contemplated staying for 5 months instead! Everything from the art, history, monuments, and food will have you saying “oooh lala” over and over again! Get ready for cute cafes lining the street, the smell of crepes, amazing Paris restaurants and the overwhelming feeling of marveling at monuments, cathedrals, and statues! Below I list my Paris top 10 attractions you won’t want to miss (in no particular order) along with bonus extras below if you have more time!
Getting Around Paris
Paris holds some of the most famous monuments, museums, art and cathedrals all of which are within walking distance of each other, at least for us! We could have used the metro, but Paris is way too beautiful to not walk around especially in April, which is when we went.
If you are not huge walkers, the metro is safe and very easy to use. Just make sure to keep all your belongings close to you, as Paris (along with other big cities) is known to have “sticky fingers” for your wallets.
Also, when you put your ticket into the slot at the gate entrance, wait for it to pop out of the top and keep it safe. If you happen to lose it, or not grab it from the gate, you may be stuck in the train station for a while…. Learn from our mistakes!
If either of those is not for you, then you can use Grab or Uber app, but I would definitely recommend walking at least a little to really get a feel for Paris.
Consider Getting The Paris Pass
We opted out and realized that it might have been worth the money as we spent so much at each attraction. The best way to know if it will be worth your money is to put together your itinerary and cost per person.
Another good thing to note is museums are free on the first Sunday of every month. This is widely known, so it can get quite crowded. Also, if you are from the EU and 25 or younger, entry is free to many monuments!
Unfortunately, we did not fall in any of those categories, but it was money well spent!
1. Boat Cruise Down the Seine
One of our favorite things we did in Paris was taking a cruise down the Seine. Therefore it easily makes my top 10 Paris attractions! After being told by several family members that we must do this tour, I am happy to report they were right.
It is the perfect way to see a lot of Paris in a short time since most of the iconic buildings and monuments are lined down the seine. We did our tour at night and would highly recommend it since you get to see the city of lights, all lit up while cruising down.
Don’t do the dinner cruise as the food is not worth the money and you get a better dinner elsewhere. Let me know if you experienced otherwise!
Our tour was with Vedette Du pont Neuf and it was fantastic. The guide spoke in both French and then English giving an authentic vibe.
He provided such insightful information as we went down the Seine and watched the Eiffel tower sparkle in all her glory! (not sponsored… although if you guys find this… maybe? haha)
UPDATE- We were heartbroken to learn Norte Dame went up in flames. Hopefully, the restoration will help bring an amazing piece of history back to life.
Notre-Dame Cathedral is known to be one of the finest examples of Gothic French architecture. It was completed in 1345, has 10 bells and the tower height stands 226 feet tall.
You can’t help but feel humble as you walk through the massive doors with detailed sculptures engraved through the walkway. Inside, we marveled at the huge stained-glass windows and art and sculptures lining each side of the cathedral.
3. The Louvre
There is no question the Louvre should be a top 10 attraction on your list! Did you know the Louvre is the largest museum in the world? For the best photo ops, go very early at sunrise or at night when the pyramids are lit up!
I would recommend buying your tickets in advance, this way you do not have to wait as long online. Also, go with a game plan on what you want to see.
You can get lost in the Louvre for over a month trying to see every piece of art… seriously! For us, The Code of Hammurabi, The Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Dying Slave were some of our top things to see, but it’s still ok to wander around a bit as there is so much beauty to see.
4. The Tuileries Garden
Situated right outside is the perfect spot to give your legs and feet a break after walking around the Louvre! We sat by a large fountain and watched the ducks and their chicks swim around.
There are also cafes in the park to satisfy your built-up appetite from your Louvre expedition.
The Gardens are massive with sculptures, fountains, and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrouse. If you’re interested in history, these gardens date back to King Henry III in the 1500s! They are also the perfect spot to just relax or have lunch.
5. Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde is famous for many public executions such as Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI. While in the square, visit the Luxor Obelisk, the Fontaines de la Concorde, and Roue de Paris.
The Luxor Obelisk stands 75 ft high, weighs 230 tons, and is over 3,000 years old. It was originally housed outside the Luxor Temple in Egypt and was gifted to France by Muhammad Ali Pasha, Ruler of the Ottoman Egypt!
You can find the Luxor Obelisk at the center of the Place de la Concorde.
Fontaines de la Concorde
Right next to Luxor Obelisk are two fountains on either side; each with intricate details and beauty. Finished in 1840, the North fountain commemorates navigation and commerce on the rivers of France and the South fountain commemorates the maritime commerce and industry.
6. Arc de Triomphe
Located at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle sits Arc de Triomphe. The Arc was built to honor those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. You can actually go to the top and view the city!
7. Eiffel Tower
This couldn’t be a top 10 Paris attraction list without the Iron Lady! Did you know the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 and took 2 years 2 months and 5 days to complete for the world fair?
We went to the Trocadero Gardens to lay on the lawn, eat crepes and stare up at the tower. We opted out of going up the Eiffel tower, since I was told the best views of Paris come from Tour Montparnasse, and she was right!
8. Tour Montparnasse
A wise friend once told me, if you want to see Paris like a real Parisian, go to the top of Montparnasse to see all of Paris.
We had a tiny bit of difficulty finding the entrance to the top but if you just ask a couple of times, eventually you will make it to the entrance. We had to walk around the building to another side and pay 18 euros each, but let me tell you, the views were incredible!
First, you are brought to the 56th floor where there are telescopes, food, and a gift shop. Next, you can take the stairs and walk to the open-air terrace with incredible 360-degree views of Paris and a champagne bar!
If you have at least 3 days in Paris, Versailles should easily be a top 10 attraction on your list! This Palace will have you in awe as you walk through history. For scope, around 37,000 acres of land were cleared for tree-lined terraces, walkways, and gardens holding thousands of plants and trees.
We paid to have access to the Castle and Trianon Estate, however, if you are not there super early, it’s not worth it since the Palace is so large! On the plus side, the gardens are free! I also believe it is better to buy your tickets online ahead of time.
Since the Gardens are massive you can rent golf carts and bikes. We walked down towards the large pond where people were canoeing to rent our bikes for the hour. This helped us see a lot of the property and give us a nice breeze on a rather hot day.
Also, make sure to check the train schedule going and leaving to avoid getting stuck there.
10. Musée d’Orsay
Musée d’Orsay was installed in the former Orsay railway station and displays time periods from 1848- 1914. The tickets are $13.50 euros each and the line was short which is always a plus!
This museum is much smaller than the Louvre but has some great pieces. Our favorite area was the Van Gogh exhibition with some of his most famous pieces. Some even say they like Musée d’Orsay over the Louvre!
We really enjoyed both so if you are museum buffs, be sure to check them out!
Don’t Forget to Cafe Watch in Paris
While I’ve listed places to see below, don’t forget to sit at one of the many cafes, and watch the crowds as the people go by while sipping an espresso or eating a light lunch.
Bonus Paris Attractions
If you find yourself having more time in Paris, add these additional attractions and extend that top 10 list!
- Sacré-Cœur Basilica
- Moulin Rouge
- Musée Rodin
- Catacombs of Paris
- Disneyland Paris
- Parc des Buttes Chaumont
While Parc des Buttes doesn’t make the top 10 Paris attractions, it is definitely worth visiting with an extended time in Paris. Parc des Buttes Chaumont is one of the largest original green spaces in Paris measuring 61 acres.
With diverse landscapes of hilly outlook areas, birds, ducks, and turtles, and a suspended bridge, you’ll be sure to find many Parisians relaxing on warm days. Bring some baguettes with cheese and a bottle of wine and you are set!
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