14 Must-See sights in paris
Updated: May 1, 2022
Paris contains thousands of historical monuments and places of interest. Below is a top, must-see list of fourteen places to visit on your next trip to Paris, organized by Arrondissement:
Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre)
Built in the late 1100’s as a fortress, the Louvre Museum, as known simply as The Louvre, transitioned to Royal residences in the 16th century. The first exhibition was held there in 1699, beginning a new era for the landmark to act as a monument to the Sciences and Arts. The museum is open every day except Tuesday, with varying hours depending on the day. €11 will provide all-day access to the permanent collections. Visitors under 18 years of age are free. The first Sunday of each month is free for all visitors – expect busy lineups! The ancient Greek statue of Venus de Milo and the portrait of Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci are just two of the famous pieces of art that you will find there.
Nearest Métro station: Louvre Rivoli or Palais-Royal-Musée du Louvre
Tuileries Gardens (Jardins des Tuileries)
The largest gardens in Paris, Tuileries Gardens (pronounced Twee-lu-ree) link Place de la Concorde to The Louvre. Filled with sculptures, picnicking on the grass is welcome. Chairs are provided in areas around the water basins.
Nearest Métro station: Tuileries
The oldest standing bridge, despite its name which means ‘new bridge’, crosses the Seine joining the most western point of the Île de la Cité to the right and left banks of the Seine. Construction began in the late 1500’s and was finished in the early 1600’s. The bridge was fashioned without houses on it, quite unusual at the time, and became an immediate success as a throughway for the city. It is considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the city of Paris.
More info from Wikipedia website
Arrondissements/Districts: 1st and 6th
Nearest Métro station: Pont Neuf
Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame)
Located on the Île de la Cité, one of the islands located in the Seine River, Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the most recognized monuments of Paris. Building of the cathedral began in the 12th century, and continues to support the Roman Catholic Community with regular services. It is free of charge to enter, although tours are available at a fee.
Nearest Métro station: Cité or Saint-Michel
Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel)
Built for the World’s Fair in 1889, the Eiffel Tower is known most famously for its views, and was the world’s tallest building at the time it was built. Open from 9:30 am until at least midnight, tickets are generally required to book in advance. Taking the stairs costs €5, which will only get you to the second floor. To get to the top, take the elevator at a cost of €14,50. At nighttime, from dusk until 1:00 am, the entire structure is lit up like a glittering Christmas tree for five minutes on the hour, every hour, which is a sight best seen from one of the parks on either side of the tower.
Nearest Métro station: Trocadéro Station or Champs de Mars/Tour Eiffel
Arch of Triumph (L’Arc de Triomphe)
In the early 19th century, Napoleon wanted to build something to honour the victories of La Grande Armée (the name for the French Army at the time). The Arch of Triumph (L’Arc de Triomphe) was completed in 1836, long after his downfall. With incredible views all the way east to the Louvre Museum, the arc is reached only by walking under the traffic circle. Getting to the top is a 40 step climb after the elevator ride. The price of a ticket is €8; hours are from 10:00 am until at least 10:30 pm, depending on the season. There are some holiday closures. Check the site for details.
Nearest Métro station: Charles de Gaulle – Étoil
The Avenue des Champs-Elysées runs seven kilometres (approximately four miles) long from the Place de la Concorde past the Arc de Triomphe to the business district on the west side of Paris. Famous for its shops and cafes, the avenue was built in the 18th century through meadows to extend the Tuileries Gardens to the west. One of the most famous city avenues in the world, this street hosts the last stage of the Tour de France.
Nearest Métro station: Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau
Concorde Square (Place de la Concorde)
Located between the Louvre Museum on the east and the Champs-Elysées on the west, Place de la Concorde is the largest public square in the city of Paris. An Egyptian obelisk with a fountain on either side marks the centre of the square, measuring 23 metres (75 feet) in height and is possibly over 2,000 years old. Marie-Antoinette was beheaded in this square after the French Revolution, along with many others. The spot marks a central point in downtown Paris. Look in one direction to see The Louvre and turn to the other direction to see the Arc de Triomphe, all designed in clean lines.
More info from Wikipedia website
Nearest Métro station: Concord
Montmartre is the hill in the north of Paris that lends its name to the 18th Arrondissement. It is not only famous because it is the location of Sacré Coeur Cathedral, but also because of the artist community that has resided there for many decades. It is known that Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh were all regulars in this neighborhood, either living there or visiting frequently. Have your portrait sketched in the square near the top or visit the Moulin Rouge Cabaret nightclub.
Tourist site with more information on the area
Nearest Métro station: Blance or Abbesses
Philharmonic (Philharmonie de Paris)
This is far more than a music hall, the award-winning architectural design not only houses the Paris Orchestra, it includes touring musical shows, a museum area, and rehearsal rooms for future musicians.
Official website includes performance listings and current exhibits
Nearest Métro station: Porte de Pantin
Sacré Coeur Cathedral (La Basilique du Sacré Coeur)
Sacré Coeur Cathedral, or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, is a Roman Catholic Church located on Montmartre, the tallest peak in Paris. Sacré Coeur was completed in 1914, and it is where you will find one of the largest mosaics in the world. You may enter the main basilica for free, starting at 9:00 am. Closing hours depend on the day and the season. Views from the dome are fantastic and require an admission fee. Ticket prices start at €6.
Nearest Métro station: Anvers or Abbesses
Seine River (La Seine) Boat Tour
If you are visiting Paris between April to October, check the weather and consider a boat tour along the Seine, with or without a meal. It is a relaxing way to see the key monuments as many can be seen from the river, at night and during the day. Many companies perform these tours and offer various starting points along the river; some offer hop-on, hop-off capabilities.
Official website: there are many tour providers
Arrondissements/Districts: Many are covered, including 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th
Nearest Métro station: Depends on the boat tour selected; each operator originates from a different dock
Les Berges de Seine
Over two kilometers car-free on the Left Bank of the Seine from the Pont de l’Alma to the Musée d’Orsay. This section of the river has been completely transformed into a promenade filled with bars, restaurants, sports courts, chess boards, and even floating gardens that include hammocks for resting.
Official website includes listings on exhibitions and special events
Nearest metro station: Pont de l’Alma or Musée d’Orsay
Versailles Palace (Château de Versailles)
Versailles Palace, also known simply as ‘Versailles’ (pronounced Vair-sigh), was built in the early 1600’s as a hunting lodge for French royalty. The grounds and the palace were developed over many decades, and became the seat of the French government in 1682. Famous for its opulence, an entire day is easily spent here, inside and around the gardens. Château de Versailles is where Marie Antoinette lived, and where the WWI Treaty of Versailles was signed. It is advised to purchase the all-site passport for €18 in advance. (NOTE: only the Gardens are open on Mondays)
Nearest train station: RER C to Versailles-Rive-Gauche
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