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

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Paris Attractions: Top 10 Things to do and see in Paris, France

Paris is always a good idea, and a city I plan on seeing countless times! 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!

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

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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.

Additionally, 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!

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 did in Paris was 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!

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 experienced 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 Gothic French 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.

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 is 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!

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.

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.

Address: Place de la Concorde, 75001 Paris, France

Tuileries Gardens in Paris. Large Marble statue.

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.

Address: 75008 Paris, France

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!

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. 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!

Address: 33 Avenue du Maine, 75015 Paris, France

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

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 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!

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!

Cafe in Paris, France

Bonus Paris Attractions

If you find yourself having more time in Paris, add these additional attractions to your Paris Bucket list!

  1. Sacré-Cœur Basilica – Beautiful Roman Catholic Church. 
  2. Montmartre – Beautiful Neighborhood in Paris that is considered very photo-worthy. 
  3. Moulin Rouge
  4. Musée Rodin
  5. Catacombs of Paris
  6. Disneyland Paris
  7. Sainte-Chapelle
  8. Parc des Buttes Chaumont – Lovely Park. 

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

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 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!

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

4 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

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