Paris, the capital of France, is one of those destinations that everyone is dying to visit at least once. Who doesn’t know the Eiffel Tower, the city’s most emblematic monument? While worth a visit, it does not do the city justice. Paris has so much to offer in terms of art, history, cuisine and fashion that after spending a few days there, most forget about the Eiffel Tower altogether.
Sometimes tourists are shocked when they realize that Paris is not the fairy tale they expected. To avoid the so-called Paris syndrome, we’ve put together a list of 20 suggestions of all kinds of places worth visiting. Palaces, historical sites, museums and art galleries – we’ve got it all covered.
20 Louvre Museum: the largest art museum in the world
The Louvre is so big you could spend WEEKS there. More than 15,000 people visit it every day and it is home to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa and many other world famous paintings. If you’re lucky, you might even spot celebrities lurking around.
19 Despite the 2019 fire, Notre-Dame Cathedral is worth a visit
Notre Dame made headlines last year when it caught fire. Since the tragic event, visitors are not allowed to enter the cathedral, but it is still worth seeing from the outside. it is a place of immense history: it is there that Napoleon crowned himself emperor in 1804.
18 Arc de Triomphe: where the avenues meet
All major avenues in Paris lead to the Arc de Triomphe for everyone to see. Below is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. The monument not only honors the soldiers of the First World War: it also commemorates those who died during the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars.
17 Sacred Heart: a church perched on top of a hill
Also known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, the Sacré-Coeur offers stunning views of part of the city, as the hill on which it is built is one of the highest points in Paris. And the good news is that you can enter the basilica for free.
16 Book a show: the Moulin Rouge cabaret is dazzling
You may know what Moulin Rouge is from the movie. Seeing a live show is even better and tickets should be purchased well in advance as they are obviously always sold out. The Moulin Rouge was the first building in Paris to be lit by electricity.
15 Paris Catacombs: Dare to Go Underground
For those who like weird and scary things, a visit to the catacombs is a must. They hold the bones of around 7 million Parisians who lived in the 18and century and they are absolutely huge. The catacombs were also used by the Germans and the French resistance during World War II.
14 Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous avenues in the world
Commissioned by the famous Sun King at 17and century, the name of this beautiful avenue comes from Greek mythology and means a place where heroes go after their death. You won’t come across any heroes in Paris, but you can do prestigious shopping on the Champs-Elysées.
13 The Tuileries Garden will nourish the souls of romantics
The most popular public garden in Paris has existed since the 16and century. There is also a palace which is technically part of the garden and which includes two museums inside. It’s a nice place to rest after an exhausting visit to the Louvre.
12 Pay your respects at the Père-Lachaise Cemetery
The Père-Lachaise cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris. Very important personalities are buried there and tourists like to pay their respects there. Among the famous people who have found their final rest, there are Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Frédéric Chopin and Marcel Proust.
11 The works of Salvador Dalí have a permanent exhibition in Paris
This gallery is simply called Dali Paris. It presents the graphic artworks and sculptures of the unconventional surrealist as a permanent exhibition. Even those who aren’t into art and want to skip the Louvre will appreciate this gallery because Dali’s works have a knack for leaving no one indifferent.
ten The Dome is Napoleon’s resting place
The Dome des Invalides is where things went down in history. Before the construction of the Eiffel Tower, it was the tallest building in the city. This is where Napoleon’s tomb is located. During the Second World War, the premises were transformed into barracks. It’s hard to imagine that this architectural marvel served such an ordinary purpose.
9 Château de Vincennes: a massive castle that many tourists do not know
Technically speaking, this castle is outside the city limits of Paris, but since getting there only requires one metro ride, we’ve included it in the list. The origin of this complex dates back to the 12and century and it was a royal residence for some time.
8 The Marmottan Monet Museum is home to amazing impressionist art
Another gallery suggestion that is easy to take in and soothes the soul. Inside you will find works by the most famous impressionists, such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Paul Gaugin. A visit shouldn’t take more than two hours and it won’t be as crowded as most other places.
7 A walk through Montmartre is a must
When we think of Paris, we think of the picturesque and romantic streets that we see in the movies. If you want to walk around the most picturesque part of the city, we suggest you get lost in the Butte Montmartre. You will surely get that perfect Paris photo and satisfy your expectations.
6 Learn how to say I love you in a bunch of languages on the wall of love
This wall does not attract hordes of tourists and that alone is reason enough to go and see it. The I Love You Wall features over 250 languages and has been spreading love since 2000. It’s a popular place to get proposed.
5 No visit to Paris is complete without seeing the Palace of Versailles
This palace and the surrounding garden beats the Eiffel Tower in any competition. It is the epitome of luxury and extravagance. It was built by the Sun King and many other palaces in Europe have tried to emulate his marvelous style. You can’t afford to miss it!
4 Stop at Deux Magots for a coffee and a bite to eat
Les Deux Magots is one of the most popular cafes in Paris. It’s a safe bet for those who don’t know where to grab a bite to eat. French cuisine is a big part of every decent trip to Paris, so make sure you go hungry.
3 Do you feel poetic? Visit the Museum of Romantic Life for inspiration
This is another idea for those who appreciate art, poetry and all things romantic. Paris is home to many unique little objects and in the case of the Museum of Romantic Life, visitors can enjoy both the exhibition and the unique setting with a pavilion.
2 Discover the city from the river: take a cruise on the Seine
One way to see Paris is from the river by cruising under many beautiful bridges (there are 37 in total) and enjoying the view of the river banks. On a boat trip, you won’t be as tired as you would be walking and navigating public transport.
1 The Luxembourg Gardens are a serene place for locals and tourists
You have to be in good shape for Paris. There aren’t many cities in the world where you never have enough time to see it all. When you need to rest, head to the Jardin du Luxembourg. If the weather is nice, you can even picnic there.
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