You couldn’t miss the Eiffel tower if you wanted to, as it can be seen from almost everywhere in the city center. But you want to get up close and personal with the iron lattice landmark. If you’re patient enough to stand in line for what feels like an eternity, you can even reach the top for a breathtaking view of the City of Lights.
The Eiffel Tower was founded in 1889 and built by Gustave Eiffel’s company for the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution and the 1889 World’s Fair. It’s funny to think that Parisians initially hated it as it didn’t fit in the urban landscape, and that it was only supposed to stand for 20 years.
At 300 meters high, it was the tallest building in the world at the time. It is now the most visitedpaid monument in the world.
It lights up in the evening and sparkles for 5 minutes, every hour on the hour.
Address : Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France
Tickets prices : Elevator – 16 euros to 2nd floor, 25 euros to the top. Stairs – 10 euros to 2nd floor, 19 euros with elevator to the top.
Another landmark, and the largest art museum in the world, the Louvre is another must visit while in Paris. As a former royal palace, it is also a historic monument.
Besides the Mona Lisa, there is actually so much to see (38.000 objects to be precise), one or even two visits won’t be enough to explore the entire museum, so you’ll have to select the galleries you’re most interested in.
You’ll get a map with your ticket to help you find your way in the huge palace. Guided tours are also available.
Address : Rue de Rivoli, on the right bank of the Seine
Ticket price : 15 euros. Free for all on the first Sunday of each month, and if you’re under 18, EU resident between 18-25, and other conditions here
Opening hours : 9 am – 6 pm. Wednesdays and Fridays until 10 pm. Tuesdays closed.
Located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, this public garden is lovely and nicely combined with a visit to the Louvre.
It was created by Catherine de Medici in 1564 as a garden for the Tuileries palace, re-landscaped in 1664 to its current French formal style and became a public park after the French Revolution.
Opening hours : 7 am – 9 pm daily
4/ WALK ALONG THE SEINE
Taking a walk along the Seine is a must on any trip to Paris. The river is 777 km long and runs along so many sights like the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay or the Tuileries Garden to name a few. You’ll also get plentiful views of the Eiffel Tower.
Don’t miss Paris’s most famous bridges : Pont-Neuf / New-Bridge, which ironically is the oldest bridge in the city, Alexander III bridge and Pont des Arts / Arts bridge, where couples put padlocks to cement their love.
On the banks of the river, you will also find souvenir shops and outdoor booksellers «lesBouquinistes», that sell second-hand antiquarian books.
As an alternative to walking, you could take a boat cruise, expensive but relaxing.
5/ NOTRE-DAME CATHEDRAL
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris is a medieval Catholic cathedral in the 4th district, on the Île de la Cité, a natural island in the Seine.
Built 8 centuries ago, Notre-Dame is one of the most famous churches in the world and one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture.
It inspired Victor Hugo to write The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, which in turn was the inspiration for many movies. Anyone remembers Walt Disney’s version?
Address : 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Jean-Paul II square
Visiting Hours : Daily 7.45 am – 6.45 pm. Sat-Sun : 7.45 am – 7.15 pm
Don’t stop at the basilica and its views of the city, go wonder the cobbled streets, cafés & shops of Montmartre.
Montmartre is actually a large hill that gives its name to the surrounding district. At the beginning of the 20th century, this is whereall the artists had their studios and many movies were since then shot in this beautiful neighbourhood.
Still known for its artistic history (along with the basilica & view of the city), Montmartre has however become very touristy with the years, and is now also known as a nightlife district, with the Moulin Rouge being one its landmarks.
Many Parisians will tell you Montmartre is not what it used to be. There is a whole museumdedicated to Montmartre’s history if you feel like investigating this statement.
8/ CHAMPS ELYSEES & TRIUMPHAL ARCH
The 2 km long Avenue des Champs Elysées is a worldwide famous street for upscale shopping. It runs from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte himself and one of Paris’s landmark monuments.
Other than luxury shopping, the wide avenue is also home to theatres, restaurants, cafés and beautiful architecture.
9/ BUY MACARONS
A trip to Paris also couldn’t be complete without trying (& bringing home) some macarons. Remember when you spell macaroons, it’s coconut based. Macarons however, are meringue based, and oh so French !
You can pick up some great vegan macarons at Gentle Gourmet, a vegan restaurant in the 12th district or at VG Patisserie, a vegan cake shop & bakery in the 11th.
10/ SIT AT A CAFE
Finally, when all is said & done, you’ll be well deserving of a parisian break.
Go sit at the terrace of a Café in the city center, have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (French, of course!), enjoy a few of those macarons you just bought, and just watch people go by.
As you soak in the atmosphere, you’ll learn that much more about the city and its inhabitants, and bring home a whole new experience.