Paris – a wonderful city. We made a list of our top 5 places to visit in Paris. There are certainly many other great places to see in Paris, but we think that these five should absolutely not be missed on the first visit to Paris.
1. Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is probably the most well-known landmark in Paris – but certainly also one of the busiest places in the city.
Waiting times are long to even get to the square beneath the Tower and need to be considered in the planning. The level of security present is high. To go to the actual top of the Eiffel Tower one needs even more patience and should definitely order their tickets online in advance. We had a look at the Eiffel Tower from the ground and that alone was an experience.
More detailed information around the Eiffel Tower can be found in our designated Eiffel Tower article.
One of the most beautiful structures for me in the whole of Paris is Sacré-Cœur.
Once you have managed to climb the stairs up to the church you are rewarded with a wonderful view of the city. Another 300 stairs up to the dome of Sacré-Cœur and on a clear day you can see up to 40 kilometres across the city. Just amazing!
More detailed information about Sacré-Cœur and our visit can be found in our article “300 steps to the top of Sacré-Cœur”.
What is a visit to Paris without seeing the world-famous Louvre?
Art lovers can marvel at the Mona Lisa but also at pieces of western art from the middle ages to 1848, at art from Oriental, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman civilisations and at Islamic and graphic art. Some 35000 pieces are on display in the biggest museum of Paris.
Not only the art is worth seeing. The building itself is, too. A glass pyramid was cleverly integrated into the medieval fortress from the 12th century in 1989.
4. Notre Dame
Located on the Île de la Cité is the probably most well-known cathedral of Paris, Notre Dame. This church is one of the most visited landmarks in all of France and is really, really busy most of the time. Waiting in front of the main entrance of the building can take substantial amounts of time, especially in the main season. But once in there, visitors can marvel at the colourful windows and rose windows.
Construction of the church started in the 13th century but was only completed in the 15th century.
The cathedral is open daily throughout the entire year from 08:00 in the morning to 18:45 in the evening (until 19:15 on Saturdays and Sundays). A visit to the church is free. For the view from the top of the tower, however, one has to pay.
Update: After the big fire in the church, no visit is possible at the moment!
5. Arc de Triomph
The world’s biggest archway is in France. On the Place de l’Étoile the Arc de Triomphe was built in 1806 to commemorate the victory of the Battle of Austerlitz. The grave of the nameless soldier is beneath the arch. Every evening at 18:30 a flame is lit there.
If you don’t mind longer waiting times, you can go inside the Arc de Triomphe to visit a museum around the history of the structure. One can also go up to a viewing platform on top of the archway. The view from here down the Champs-Élysées is wonderful and on a clear day reaches all the way over to La Defénce.
But a visit to the arch without going to the museum is also very worthwhile. Just standing beneath the huge arch and looking at the brasses or just observing the crazy driving on the Place de l’Étoile is worth the excursion.