Top 10 Paris Must-See Attractions – Especially for First-Timers!

Paris Attractions: Top 10 Things to Do and See in Paris, France

Paris is always a good idea and a city I love going back to. Everything from the art, history, monuments, and food easily makes Paris one of my top bucket list cities. Below find the Paris top 10 attractions you won’t want to miss (in no particular order), along with bonus Paris attractions if you have more time in Paris!

Read: Top Paris Travel Tips to Know Before You Go

Paris 5 days itinerary travel guide. Eiffel tower close up.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links to which I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Disclosure


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 for the most part. Therefore, walking is one of the best ways to see Paris and get around the city. 

However, if you are not a huge walker or the weather is not cooperating, 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.

If you know you will be using the metro a lot, you can look into the Paris tourist transportation pass. It is around 14 euros a day. However, for this to be worth it, you need to ride the metro at least 5 times a day.

If not, you can get the Navigo Pass, and load it up. You can get this card from a ticket agent and ticket machines. It will make it easier than always having to stop at the ticket booth.

Alternatively, you can also use a taxi, Grab, or the Uber app, but I would definitely recommend walking at least a little to really get a feel for Paris.

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

1. Boat Cruise Down the Seine

One of our favorite things we have done in Paris is taking a cruise down the Seine at night. This gives you the opportunity to see many of the top Paris attractions all lit up, including the Eiffel Tower sparkling while going under some beautiful Paris bridges!

These tours also provide history around the city and act as the perfect way to see a lot of Paris in a short time. 

When planning your tour, don’t do the dinner cruise as the food is not worth the money, and you get a better dinner elsewhere in Paris. Let me know if you experience otherwise! Check Paris Seine tours here.

Eiffel tower lit up at night is a must see with 5 days in Paris

2. Norte-Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral is known to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and a top attraction in Paris. It was completed in 1345, has 10 bells, and the tower height stands 226 feet tall.

While you can’t currently go inside due to the restoration efforts after the tragic fire, you can still walk around the outside of Norte-Dame, which is still worth it. They hope to have Notre Dame reopen in 2024.

Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France

Notre Dame is a must with 5 days in Paris. Front of Notre Dame during sunset

3. The Louvre

There is no question the Louvre should be a top 10 Paris attraction! Did you know the Louvre is the largest museum in the world? 

While many just go to see the outside of the Louvre, I urge you to go inside this museum! The Louvre holds some of the most important pieces of artwork in the world!

I would also recommend buying Louvre skip-the-line tickets in advance; this way you can spend the most time enjoying Paris, rather than waiting online! You can even find deals that include a Seine tour and Louvre together.

If you know you will be visiting a lot of museums, getting the Paris museum pass can also be worth it – but you will need to do that calculation yourself.

Additionally, try to go with a game plan on what you want to see in the Louvre. 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. This is also a great attraction for a rainy day in Paris – it rains more than you think.

If you are looking to take those photo-worthy photos at the Louvre, the best time is early at sunrise or at night when the pyramids are lit up!

Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France

The louvre Museum in Paris is a top attraction.

4. The Tuileries Gardens

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 Carrousel. 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.

Located in 1st Arrondissement, it is also one of the best Arrondissements to stay in Paris.

Read: Ultimate France Travel Guide

Address: Place de la Concorde, 75001 Paris, France

Tuileries Gardens in Paris. Large Marble statue.
Tuileries Garden in Paris

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.

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 maritime commerce and industry.

Fontaines Concorde Paris France travel tips itinerary

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 Paris from above! Furthermore, it’s a great thing to do in Paris at night.

Arc de Triomphe started construction in 1806 and stands 164 ft tall. It was actually the largest triumphal arch until 1938.

Address: Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe is a top attraction to visit with 5 days in Paris
Arc de Triomphe is a top attraction to visit with 5 days in Paris

7. Eiffel Tower

This couldn’t be a top 10 Paris attraction list without one of the most famous landmarks in France. 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!

Address: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France

eiffel tower is a top Paris attraction

8. La Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre

First of all, Montmartre may be one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris. The quaint yet hilly cobblestone streets, art scene, and cafes are enough to make me never want to leave.

To top it off, there is the beautiful Sacre Coeur Basilica (also known as The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris), which feels as if it is just looking down on Paris. This Roman Catholic Church is also one of the best free attractions in Paris! Just be sure to get there early, because the line can be long to enter.

And even if you don’t go inside, the views from Sacre Coeur are incredible and worth seeing.

While you’re in the area, make sure to walk by La Maison Rose and Odette. Both are restaurants you can eat at, but even if you don’t, the areas are very charming. Additionally, make your way to the bottom of the stairs by the Carrousel de Saint-Pierre to look up at Sacre Coeur.

Hours: 6:30 AM – 10:30 PM

Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France

Sacre Coeur Basilica is a top attraction in Paris
Views from Tour Montparnasse.

9. Versailles

If you have at least 3 days in Paris, Versailles should easily be a top 10 attraction on your list! And while Versailles is technically not in Paris, I still think it is an incredible place to visit.

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 gave 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.

Address: Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles, France

Versailles gardens in Paris is a top attraction.

10. Musée d’Orsay

Musée d’Orsay was installed in the former Orsay railway station and displays time periods from 1848 – 1914. The tickets were 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!

Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France

Musee dOrsay famous Clock. Visit this museum with 5 days in Paris.

Cafe Watch in Paris

While in Paris, don’t forget to sit outside the restaurant and people watch. It is one of the best ways to embrace Paris and enjoy some of the most amazing Paris restaurants! We spent a lot of time eating around the St. Germain area near Notre Dame and the Saint Michel fountain and never had a bad meal!

Cafes in Paris

Bonus Paris Attractions

If you decide you want to stay in Paris instead of taking the day trip out to Versailles, I would swap it with visiting the Palais Garnier Opera House, which is also stunning.

You can buy a ticket to just tour the palace, which actually has Versailles vibes. You can purchase a ticket directly on their website. I would recommend getting there early to avoid the crowds.

If you really want to splurge, you can even see an actual show!

Palais Garnier Opera House ceiling in Paris
Ceiling in Palais Garnier Opera House

Other top attractions to consider visiting in Paris include:

  • Musée Rodin
  • Catacombs of Paris
  • Disneyland Paris
  • Sainte-Chapelle
  • Parc des Buttes Chaumont – Lovely Park
  • Tour Montparnasse

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!

Parc de Buttes Chaumont in Paris
Sainte-Chapelle Stained Glass
Sainte-Chapelle Stained Glass

Consider Getting The Paris Pass

We opted out of getting the Paris Go City Pass and realized that it might have been worth it after looking at what we spent in Paris. The best way to know if it will be worth your money is to put together your itinerary and cost per person.

I used Go City while in Amsterdam and had a really good experience, so I can definitely recommend it for Paris.

If you’re on a budget, you can visit museums for free on the first Sunday of every month. However, 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 Paris Landmarks!

Additionally, you can look into free walking tours and other popular Paris tours!


Paris Top 10 Attractions: Wrap-up

This covers some of the best attractions you must-see during your time in Paris! I hope you have the best time in Paris, and if you are spending more than a couple of days in Paris, make sure to check out this 5 days in Paris Itinerary! This itinerary covers additional attractions, where to stay, tips, budget, and more! 

Do you have any questions about these top 10 things to do in Paris? Feel like one should be swapped out? Let me know in the comments below!

If you found my Top 10 Paris Attractions helpful, I’d appreciate it if you could save it for later!

Paris top 10 attractions you must-see while in Paris, France.
Photo of author

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.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Paris Must-See Attractions – Especially for First-Timers!”

  1. I had never heard of the Tuileries Gardens before but it looks lovely! Will check it out for sure next time 🙂 Hope you can see Montmartre, it’s my favorite part of Paris and I think you will love it!

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.