The 15 must-see places to see in Paris

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Lluís Enric Mayans


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Paris has large and many museums. The Louvre, of course, but also the Musée d'Orsay, the Grand Palais and its many exhibitions as well as the Quai Branly museum. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart ... so many historical monuments that make Paris a city with an invaluable heritage. Discover our list of must-see attractions in Paris during your stay!

Discover the Louvre museum

Former home of the kings of France, the Louvre has been one of the largest museums in the world. Its collections are divided into eight departments: Eastern, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, paintings, sculptures, works of art, Islamic arts and graphic arts (from the Middle Ages to 1848). With more than 40 works on display, it will be impossible for you to visit it in one day! However, there are a few must-see attractions:

  • Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
  • The Venus de Milo
  • Louis XV's crown
  • Saint Mary Magdalene
  • The Cana Wedding
  • Alexander's story
  • The statue of Ain Ghazal
  • The Mummy of Man
  • And many more if you have the time!

The Louvre Museum is open every day from 9 a.m. to 18 p.m., with an evening on Wednesday and Friday until 21 p.m.

The Louvre

Visit the Quai Branly museum

Located in the 7th arrondissement on the banks of the Seine, the Quai Branly museum was inaugurated in June 2006. It is entirely dedicated to non-western civilizations and highlights the richness of cultures. You will discover collections from all over the world. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 19 p.m., with an evening Thursday until 22 p.m. During school holidays, it is also open on Mondays. However, the museum is closed on December 25 and May 1.

Quai Branly Museum

Explore the Musée d'Orsay

The Musée d'Orsay is located about ten minutes on foot, along the Seine, from the Musée du Quai Branly. He is known around the world for its rich collection of impressionist art. It is also the museum of all artistic creation in the Western world from 1848 to 1914. Its collections represent all forms of expression: from painting to architecture, including sculpture, decorative arts and photography. A must see in Paris for art lovers! The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 19 p.m., with an evening Thursday until 21:45 p.m. (closed on December 25 and May 1).

Musée d'Orsay

Appreciate art at the Georges-Pompidou Center

The Georges-Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture (also known as the "Pompidou Center"), the Mecca of modern and contemporary culture, houses within a daring architecture:

  • The National Museum of Modern Art
  • The industrial creation center (also called Beaubourg)
  • The Public Information Library (BPI), which is open to all
  • Exhibition galleries
  • Cinema rooms
  • Performance halls
  • Concert halls
  • A contemporary music research center (IRCAM)

The Georges-Pompidou center is located in the Saint-Merri district of Paris 4th district. It is open Wednesday to Monday from 11 a.m. to 21 p.m. (22 p.m. Thursday) with a closing on May 1.

Centre Pompidou

Marvel at the Natural History Museum and the Jardin des Plantes

The natural history museum brings together 12 sites throughout Paris. But its historic heart is in the Jardin des Plantes, in Paris 5th. It offers impressive exhibitions on the animal world, the plant world and on the formation of the Earth. It is a wonderful and very informative place to see in Paris, which will delight children and adults! It was founded in 1793 and is therefore one of the oldest establishments of this type..

The Jardin des Plantes and the Natural History Museum

As for the Jardin des Plantes, it has been open to the public for almost 400 years! You will be able to discover many varieties of trees, flowers and shrubs, but also games such as a plant labyrinth. The opening hours of the Garden vary according to the seasons. As for the Natural History Museum, it is open every day from 10 a.m. to 18 p.m. (closed on January 1, May 1 and December 25).

Experiment at the City of Sciences and Industry

Located in the heart of the Parc de la Villette (a green park that is very pleasant in summer), the City of Science and Industry is one of the leading science museums in Europe. It is an ideal place to visit with the family, since specific spaces are offered to children in order to stimulate their curiosity. Impossible to get bored there! The Cité des Sciences is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 18 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 19 p.m. Exceptionally, the museum is closed on January 1, May 1 and December 25. The City of Sciences is accessible to disabled persons. Indeed, the site has the Tourism and Handicap Label.

The city of Science

Navigate the Seine in Bateaux-Mouches

This romantic river cruise usually lasts a little over an hour. What to enjoy the beauty to see in Paris, while remaining seated. In high season, from April to September, there is a boat departure every 30 minutes from 10 am to 22:30 pm. In low season, from October to March, there is a boat departure every 40 minutes from 11 a.m. to 21:20 p.m. Reservations are also possible lunch cruises and dinner cruises. However, for meals, proper dress is required.

The Seine

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Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower, one of the most famous monuments in the world (324 meters high for 10 tonnes), was erected by Gustave Eiffel in 100 for the Universal Exhibition of which it was the star. It has become the symbol of the French capital and therefore a must see in Paris! While climbing the floors of the Iron Lady, you can admire a magnificent view of the capital. Access by elevator is open from 9:30 a.m. to 23:45 p.m. (with a last ascent at 23 p.m.). Access by stairs is open from 9:30 a.m. to 18:30 p.m. (cannot be climbed after 18 p.m.).

Eiffel Tower

Take to the air in Montmartre in front of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica

The Sacré-Coeur Basilica is located in the Clignancourt district, at the top of the Butte Montmartre, 130 meters above sea level. Its construction was completed in 1914. Its dome, 83 meters high, makes the building visible from far away. It is the second most visited monument in Paris! Moreover, the Louise-Michel square, which stretches at the foot of the Basilica, is a perfect place to admire Paris. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is open every day from 6 am to 22:30 pm Admission is free. But Montmartre is also:

  • Place du Tertre with its cartoonists
  • Charming streets
  • Restaurants for all tastes
  • The Red Mill
  • Vineyards
  • A cemetery where many famous people are buried.
The Sacred Heart

Meditate at the Arc de triomphe de l'Étoile

The creation of the Arc de Triomphe was decided by the Emperor Napoleon 1st. Its construction began in 1806 and was completed in 1836. It is located at the corner of the 8th, 16th and 17th arrondissements, at the top of the avenue des Champs-Elysées. It is the largest Arc in the world. By going to its top, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Paris. Just under the Arc, is the tomb of the unknown soldier. Its flame is also rekindled every evening at 18 pm You should know that inside the building is a museum that tells its story. The Arc de Triomphe is open from 10 am to 22:30 pm However, the monument can only accept a certain number of visitors. This is why, in the event of high traffic and for security reasons, the access is sometimes closed.

Arc de Triomphe

Enjoy other great views by reading this article:
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Admire the Opéra Garnier

A masterpiece of 19th century theatrical architecture, the Palais Garnier was built by Charles Garnier and it was inaugurated in 1875. It is the 13th opera house in Paris since the founding of this institution by Louis XIV in 1669 . Its construction was decided by Napoleon III as part of the major renovation works in the capital. Today, the Opéra Garnier presents lyrical and choreographic shows to be seen all year round in Paris. It is a historical monument and a symbol of Parisian luxury. The opera house is open to visitors during the day, which will allow you to discover all the details of this fabulous architecture! Tours take place every day from 10 a.m. to 16:30 p.m. (18:15 p.m. in summer). Annual closings are January 1, May 1 and December 25.

Opera Garnier

Stroll around the Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is one of the great must-see places in Paris. Discover this historical monument built to the glory of the Sun King. The Palace of Versailles is a very fine example of Baroque architecture. A unique château, often copied but never equaled, it still shines today. The Hall of Mirrors, the murals, the huge throne room… It's all about wonder before this immense heritage left by Louis XIV. Coming early in the morning to Versailles, you can take advantage of the afternoon to stroll in the park of the castle. You will then admire the flower beds, fountains, etc. On summer evenings, the park very often hosts shows: the great musical waters are the best known. In winter, you can also listen to classical music concerts in the castle. You will then be struck by the majesty of the place and the music.

The Palace of Versailles

Located in the Paris region, one hour from Paris, the Palace of Versailles deserves to be devoted a day. In any case, you have to count on a queue that is always very impressive. Getting there early is therefore strongly recommended to take advantage of the Hall of Mirrors with as few tourists as possible. Plan your visit by purchasing your tickets in advance: Fnac and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux allow you to come on site with your tickets in your pocket. At the Carrousel du Louvre Tourist Office, you can also obtain a ticket combining the visit of the castle and your trip to Versailles. The garden and the large park are open all year round and allow you to access the Chapel of the Petit Trianon, the Queen's Theater, the Belvédère, as well as the Queen's Hamlet.

Stroll in the Jardin du Luxembourg

The Luxembourg Garden is located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris and covers 23 hectares. It was created in 1612, thanks to the wish of Marie de Médicis, who wanted to get away from the turmoil of the court. This huge green space is one of the favorites of Parisians and tourists.. Depending on the season, it is open between 7:30 am / 8:15 am and 16:30 pm / 21:30 pm. You can practice chess, bridge, tennis, or simply sit on a chair around its pool and enjoy the moment.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Take a walk in the Père-Lachaise cemetery

Père-Lachaise is the most popular cemetery to see in Paris. It is located in the 20th arrondissement and was created by the architect Brongniart. Many personalities are buried there (Oscar Wilde, Victor Noir, Jim Morrison, Molière, Honoré de Balzac, Sarah Bernhardt, Théodore Géricault, Edith Piaf, Chopin, Proust, and many others!). With its 44 hectares and more than 4 trees, it is the largest green space in the capital. It is a pleasant place to walk. But to walk there, don't forget to put on good shoes in order to walk easily on the cobbled paths. The Père-Lachaise cemetery is open from 8 a.m. to 17:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday).

Père Lachaise cemetery

Contemplate the Sainte-Chapelle

The Sainte-Chapelle, also called Sainte-Chapelle du Palais, is located not far from Notre-Dame de Paris. Its construction began in 1242 and ended in 1248. A record time for the time! It is within it that are sheltered the most prestigious relics of Christendom to see in Paris. The chapel is a marvel of Gothic art classified as a UNESCO heritage site, with nearly 600 m² of stained glass. It is possible to visit it from 9 a.m. to 17 p.m. from October to March, and from 9 a.m. to 19 p.m. from April to September.

Holy Chapel

The essentials of Paris… and after?

The French capital is therefore full of monuments that will make you experience the past. If you are going there as a couple, plan a romantic and memorable weekend. But Paris is also the place of all the extravagances, so a little tour in unusual places will amaze you! Finally, discover our complete guide to the City of Light to help you prepare for your stay.

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