Symbol of French culture, Paris also bears the title of one of the most visited cities in the world. There are almost 30 million visitors a year. With so much history and amazing places to visit, no wonder. There is always something new to discover or visit, even for people who lived in the City of Light.
And for those coming for the first time, it is even hard to know which sights of Paris to prioritize. But do not worry! One day I was a tourist too, and I know how it is. So I selected the places that I consider a must for the first visit to Paris. Also, I will leave important information about each tourist spot (history, times, tickets, etc.)
Top Sights of Paris
◊ Eiffel Eiffel Tower
◊ Louvre Museum
◊ Arch of Triumph
◊ Alexandre III Bridge
◊ Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral
◊ Luxembourg Garden
◊ Sacré Coeur Basilica
◊ Galeries Laffayette
The Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) is everyone’s darling! Today, the “Iron Lady” is not only a tourist spot in Paris, but it is also a world icon when it comes to France. Built-in 1889, with 325 meters of height and 1,665 steps, it has three levels for visitation.
On the first level, you already have a beautiful view of the city, gift shop, and the 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant. On the second floor, there are also restaurants and a fantastic panoramic view.
Finally, the third level is right at the tip of the tower, and access is by elevator only. For those not afraid of heights, the trip to the top is well worth it. THAT’S AWESOME!
Address: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007
The Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre) is considered one of the main sights of Paris. The title is not thanks to its beautiful glass pyramid, but mainly because it houses one of the largest collections of sculptures, paintings, and decorative objects in the world.
It is at the Louvre that we can see famous works such as the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. You can also view works by renowned artists, as well as collections of Egyptian and Greek artifacts.
Address: Rue de Rivoli, 75001
The largest and one of the most beautiful parks in Paris, the Jardin du Luxembourg (Jardin du Luxembourg), belongs to the French Senate. However, admission to the park is open to the public and free of charge. The garden offers an excellent infrastructure, with chairs, palapas, bathrooms, tennis and basketball court, playground for children, and a place to play bocce (very common among the French). It is also an open-air museum full of sculptures scattered around the garden.
ARCH OF TRIUMPH
Planned by Napoleon, the Arch of Triumph (Arc de Triomphe) was built in honor of the French military victories.
Even on its walls are engraved the names of hundreds of soldiers who fought along with Bonaparte. Besides seeing the monument, you can climb to the top and enjoy a beautiful view of Paris.
Avenue des Champs-Élysées is considered one of the most beautiful and famous avenues in the world. There are cafes, restaurants, night clubs, and luxury shops (this is where Louis Vuitton’s largest store is.)
It is therefore one of the busiest places in Paris. So go easy on your ride and be sure to stop by Ladurée for a delicious macaron.
Address: Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris
Galeries Lafayette is a department store installed in three buildings in Paris. The brand is also present in several cities in France and even in other countries.
Located very close to the Garnier Opera House, the shop is divided into Lafayette Dome, Lafayette Man, and Lafayette Casa & Lafayette Gourmet. Lafayette Dome, the largest and oldest store, has a beautiful interior and full of details that give all the glamor. In addition to the luxury brands, you will find restaurants, cafés, and a terrace where you can climb for free and see Paris from above.
Address: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris
ALEXANDRE BRIDGE III
It is not enough to be just a bridge to connect one place to another, it has to be the most beautiful bridge in Paris.
Rich in detail, the Alexandre III Bridge (Pont Alexandre III) has become a tourist spot in Paris. Along the bridge, you will be enchanted by golden lamps, angels, nymphs, and the winged and golden horses.
The bridge, once the scene of Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” is a popular place not only for tourists but also for those who live in the city.
Below you will find bars, restaurants, and even a ballad. In summer, the banks of the Seine River are crowded with people picnicking and watching the sunset.
Address: Pont Alexandre III, 75008
NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL OF PARIS
Located on the Ile de la Cité, Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris) is considered the ground zero of Paris. The cathedral has been the stage for weddings, coronations, masses, and even beatifications. It has over 700 years of age and a gothic style. Today, it is one of Paris’s top sights and receives thousands of tourists every year. Even in 2015, the cathedral surpassed the Eiffel Tower and was named the most visited place in Paris.
Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris
The Sacred Heart Basilica, or Sacré-Coeur Basilica, is set right on the hilltop of the Montmartre district. Built with white marble and an eighty-meter-high central dome, it is one of the most beautiful sights in Paris.
Beyond the garden and the interior of the basilica, you can climb the 300 steps. There, you can enjoy the view of the city, which is even better at sunset.
Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018
So, have you ever visited any of the main sights of Paris? What’s your favorite?