Paris, the city of love and a city I love! If you’re visiting Paris for a few days here are the top 10 classic ‘Paris’ things to do along with my secret tips and pricing!
I also have a blog on the top 20 alternative things to do in Paris, check it out here!
Built in 1757 the Pantheon was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve. It now functions as a mausoleum containing the remains of famous French citizens such as Victor Hugo (Hunchback of Notre dame and Les Miserables), Alexandre Dumas (the Three Musketeers), Voltaire, Emile Zola and Pierre & Marie Curie (radioactivity).
It is also where physicist Leon Foucault demonstrated the rotation of the earth by constructing a pendulum beneath the dome. The original Foucault-pendulum is not there but there is a pendulum that will help you to tell the time!
You can also go up the Pantheon to have a great view over Paris!
All of this for only 9 euros OR if you visit on the first Sunday of the month between November and March it’s FREE! (It’s also free if you’re under 26)
9. Tour Montparnasse
A particular eye sore in the Paris sky line with arguably the best view of Paris as you can see the Eiffel Tower without seeing the Montparnasse tower!
210m into the sky the Montparnasse Tower gives you a panoramic view of Paris including the Eiffel Tower, Invalides, Sacré Coeur and Notre Dame!
If the 17 euros tickets put you off (sorry it’s not free if you’re under 26) then what you can do is go to the panoramic bar (you don’t need to book but it is advised), it’s free to enter but obviously you will need to buy a drink (wine is around 10 euros a glass).
The other famous dome of Paris is the Hotel Des Invalides, it’s not actually a hotel but was built as a shelter for injured war veterans. The golden dome lights up the Paris sky line and is situated just down from the pont Alexandre III.
The buildings now consists of the Musée de l’Armée, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs and the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine as well as the Dome des Invalides; a large church containing the tombs of French war heroes such as Napoleon Bonaparte.
You can visit the Hotel Des Invalides for 9.50 euros (again it’s free if you’re under 26).
If you’re visiting during the summer make sure to check out the light and history show – “La Nuit aux Invalides” (certain nights are in English).
7. Walk along the Seine
A popular walk is from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, this way you get to walk past Invalides, the Louvre and Musée D’Orsay, not to mention the many beautiful Parisian bridges. Maybe grab a bottle of wine (and a bottle opener!), a baguette and some cheese and have a little pause on your way…!
Alternatively you could opt for a boat tour, there are a lot of companies offering different tours so pick what suits you!
6. Tuileries (and Le Musée de L’Orangerie)
The Tuileries (pronounced too-ler-rees) is a park in the 1st arrondissement right next to the Louvre. Like many parks in Paris you are not allowed to walk or sit on the grass however there are many tree lined avenues to enjoy as well as fountains surrounded by chairs and it is super instagrammable!
It is also where the Musée de L’Orangarie is found, an art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings and the permenant home for eight of Claude Monet’s “Water Lillies” murals. As well as works by Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir and more. The gallery costs 9 euros to enter OR it’s free if you’re under 26 or it’s the first Sunday of the month.
5. Notre Dame
Arguably the most famous church in France if not the world. Notre Dame (translates as “Our Lady”) was completed in 1365 and is a fine example of French Gothic architecture.
It is free to enter (and definitely do!) as it’s really a beautiful cathedral inside and out! If you can try to go on Sunday to catch their evensong as the sound is simply beautiful.
You can also pay 10 euros to climb up the towers for a beautiful view down the Seine, the queue for this is down the side of the cathedral. Again being under 26 gets you free entrance and it’s also free on the first Sunday of the month from November to March.
I also recommend walking down the south side of the Notre Dame (along the river), during spring there are cherry blossoms and there are a lot less people!
4. The Louvre
The world’s largest art museum and home to the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo (amongst others). Even if you’re not into art galleries I would come and see the pyramids of the Louvre (outside the museum), the mixture of old and new architecture is simply beautiful in my opinion.
The Louvre is 15 euros – or it’s free on the first Sunday of the month from October to March and to under 26 year olds. Be careful as it’s CLOSED on TUESDAYS!
3. Montmatre (Sacre Coeur and Moulin Rouge)
One of my favourite areas in Paris characterised by it’s cobbled streets, cute cafés and the steep hill!
The hill is worth the walk though as the view over Paris is simply beautiful and it’s also where you’ll find the Sacré Coeur (meaning Sacred Heart) church. You can enter for free but if you wish to see more you can pay 8 euros to visit the crypt and go up the dome.
Head to the “Place du Tertre” (also known as the place des artistes) for a drink or some food, it’s a super cute square with (as I’m sure you guessed from the nick name) lots of artists! Be careful to get the price of the sketch before letting yourself be drawn.
Not far from this (near metro stop Abbesses) is the wall of love – a beautiful blue wall with “I love you” written in different languages from all over the world!
You could also visit the café made famous in the film “Amelie” – Café des Deux Moulins. Before walking down the hill towards to Moulin Rouge.
2. Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees.
No trip to Paris is complete without a walk down the Champs Elysees! Shop in one of the many designer stores and pop into La Durée for some macarons.
At the end of the boulevard is the Arc de Triomphe, make sure you make the climb up the stairs to enjoy a beautiful view of the Champs Elysees (amongst the other many roads that lead away from the roundabout) and the Eiffel Tower. It’s 12 euros a ticket, or free if you’re under 26 OR on the first Sunday of the month November to March.
1. Eiffel Tower
I’ve lived in Paris for 2 years and I still can’t get over how amazing the Eiffel Tower is. The ever present bronze beauty is definitely number 1 on the list of what you need to see in Paris.
Head to the Champs de Mars (the patch of grass next to the Eiffel Tower) to chill out with a picnic or a bottle of wine whilst admiring the tower. You should also walk up to Trocadero for another beautiful view of the tower.
If you are in good health and want to go up the Eiffel tower I would recommend climbing the stairs up to the second floor (it’s not as tiring as you would think) and the queue is always a lot shorter than for the elevator (it’s also cheaper)! Tickets are 7 euros and once you are on the second floor you can pay 5 euros more to get the elevator to the very top!
When the sun sets the Eiffel tower lights up and don’t miss it sparkle every hour on the hour for around 5 minutes!
If you wish to visit everything on this list in a weekend I would suggest:
Day 1 – Spend the morning/lunch in Montmatre, then head for a walk through the Tuileries/Orangerie and up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe then either walk or get the line 6 to Trocadero to visit the Eiffel Tower for a picnic and to see it sparkle after sunset.
Day 2 – Start at the Pantheon then walk to Notre Dame, followed by a picnic and walk along the Seine to the Louvre then Invalides and finally finishing for a drink at the bar in Tour Montparnasse.
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