When you say Paris, it is usually followed with a description of not only being the most romantic city in the world but also as the most beautiful. It is popularly known as the City of Lights and as the Capital of Fashion where families and honeymooners travel for its historic landmarks, grand art museums and galleries as well as for a fabulous shopping experience. This capital of France, located on the river Seine, is also known as the most popular tourist destination of the world.
A large part of Paris, along with River Seine, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is home to several iconic and historic landmarks such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum and arguably the most visited tourist site in world, the Eiffel Tower. Other than its lovely sights, Paris is also known for its delectable food which is why, after Tokyo, it has the second highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants. With over 180 museums and monuments densely concentrated into this French city, there is so much to see when you visit Paris. Here are our top picks:
- Musée du Louvre – When in Paris, how can you miss the world-famous Louvre museum? One of the biggest museums of the world, this former residence of the kings of France houses a collection of 35,000 works of art within its second empire style walls. Don’t forget to schedule some time to visit the also famous, Tuileries gardens.
- Musée d'Orsay – Although less popularly known than the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay is definitely no less important. This museum is internationally known for being home to a grand collection of impressionist art with collections spanning from paintings to architecture. You can also see beautiful works of decorative arts, sculpting and photography. The museum building itself is impressive with its monumental architectural style.
- Eiffel Tower – Of course, every Paris list has to have Eiffel Tower. This world famous monument is not to be missed. It stands 324 meters tall and weighs 10,100 tons. The tower took 2 years, 2 months and 5 days to build and just turned 120 years old in 2009. Go up the Eiffel Tower by lift of by steps to get a panoramic view over Paris. On the first floor, tourists can leisurely walk through the shops while on the second floor, weary travellers can treat themselves to an excellent meal and dine 125 metres high at the Jules Verne restaurant. Go up one more floor and there you can have a unique 360-degree view of Paris while literally having your head in the clouds.
- Arc de Triomphe – Another famous monument in Paris, the Arc de Triomphe is located at the Place de l’Etoile and overlooks the Champs-Elysées. Napoleon had this monument built in 1806 by architects Chalgrin, Joust and Blouet to commemorate his victory at Austerlitz. Make sure to visit the Arc de Triomphe around 6:30 in the evening to witness the rekindling of the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which is directly beneath the arch. You can also go up to the top of the monument to have another panoramic view of the city, day or night. A quick stop at the museum, found within the structure, is also a good place to learn about this structure’s history.
- Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris – An architectural masterpiece of Gothic style, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is the most visited monument in France. Work on this cathedral started in the 13th century and wasn’t completed until the 15th century. Be sure to schedule a visit to this is cathedral and discover the Notre-Dame treasury. Take the time to admire the beautiful stained glass and rose windows and hauntingly beautiful gargoyles. Also, try to climb up one of the towers to enjoy another excellent view of the city.
- Château de Versailles – Paris is home to many gorgeous and historic castles but one of the more famous ones is the Château de Versailles. Within the castle, you can visit the Royal Apartments, the Royal Opera, the Chapel and the Hall of Mirrors. Most known for its lavish park, it is decorated with numerous statues situated all over with fountains and parterres. Also within the Park itself, you can find beautifully structured buildings such as the Hamlet of Queen Marie-Antoinette, the Grand and Petit Trianon, and the Temple de l’Amour. Drop by the Museum of the History of France located within the castle grounds to view collections from the 16th to 19th century of decorative arts, tapestries, paintings and more.
Getting around Paris is easy with its numerous transport options. For public transport, you have the option to travel around Paris by metro, bus or the RER, their suburban express trains. With these you can cover the whole city of Paris and the Ile-de-France region. Traveling by metro or subway is by far the easiest and most cost-efficient way with over 300 stations, clearly marked with a big yellow “M”, and 16 lines numbered and marked by colour.
As one of the world’s top tourist destination as well as being a major European air and rail hub, there are many ways to visit Paris. Flying direct to Paris would be the best option for long-haul travellers. Skyscanner can help you find cheap flights to Paris by comparing budget and scheduled airlines in one search.
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