25 Best Places to See in Paris

Colorful Rue Cremiux in Paris France

Paris is easily one of the most romantic cities in the world, attracting millions of tourists annually for its never-ending supply of gorgeous architecture, museums, culture, food, fashion, and finer things. It can be overwhelming to try and decide which places to see in Paris or where to go in Paris where there are so many places to see that are worthy of mentioning whether they be of cultural or historical significance to just being beautiful to photograph.

We have put together this guide of the 25 best places to see in Paris, according to us of course, to help you decide where to go in Paris and the best places to visit in Paris during your trip from museums, iconic landmarks, to the best photo spots we’ve got you covered!

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25 Best Places to See in Paris

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower view in Paris

The Eiffel Tower is easily the most iconic symbol of the city and one of the best places to see in Paris for any visitor whether it be from afar at one of the incredible viewpoints or vantage points in the city to being right under or visiting the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Designed and constructed for the 1889 World Fair in Paris, you’d be surprised to learn that the city hated this modern piece of architecture in the city at first. But time made this one of the most loved structures and icon’s in not only the city but in all of France and is easily one of the most recognizable pieces of architecture in the world as well as the most visited.

The Eiffel Tower is also where to go in Paris if you want a stellar view of the city. There are three different levels accessible to visitors and even restaurants with a view on the first and second levels. The upper platform offers an observation deck. 

Skip the lines by getting your Eiffel Tower entrance ticket in advance.

If you want to get a great vantage point of the Eiffel Tower check out these other best spots in Paris to see the Eiffel Tower.

  • Sacré Cœur Basilica in Montmartre
  • Trocadéro Gardens
  • Top of Arc de Triomphe
  • Rue de l’ Université
  • Montparnasse Tower 
  • Square Rapp

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe in Paris France

Another one of the best places to visit in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe, another one of the most famous and recognizable monuments in the city on Champs-Élysées.

The monument was constructed to honor those who lost their lives fighting in the French Revolution and wars under Napoleon. This is also the location of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from WWI.

You can walk around the base or pay a small fee to climb the 200+ stairs to the top for an incredible view of the city as well as Champs-Élysées.

Afterward, you can walk the 1.9 km (1.2 miles) towards Place de la Concorde along Champs-Élysées where you’ll find tons of restaurants and luxury shopping as well as a few more affordable chains. 

Paris Travel Tip: Avoid Champs-Élysées on Saturdays as this is when the anti-government demonstrations and protesters gather. While it could be a completely peaceful demonstration, many of the protests have turned violent or to riots even destroying storefronts. You can see the damage on some of the stores and some even have barricades up around them to prepare for possible destruction. This is all a part of the Yellow Vests Movement began in France in November 2018 against President Macron. To learn more check out this article by Afar. 

This is very easy to avoid just by showing up on any day but Saturday.

Skip the lines by booking your ticket in advance!

Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum in Paris through the shadows

Another one of the most famous and best places to see in Paris is the Louvre Museum, the world’s largest and most visited art museum and another iconic landmark of the city. 

You really could spend months examining the vast collection of around 38,000 pieces of art and objects on display in the different wings. It’s actually been said that if you spend 1 minute looking at each object in the Louvre for 8 hours a day it would take 75 days to see everything! YIKES! The most famous of them all is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting in the Denon Wing.

The location of the museum is in the original location of the medieval fortress the Louvre Castle, replaced by the Louvre Palace in the 14th century where it served as the royal residence until it evolved into the structure it is today and became a public museum in the 18th century.

From the 1980s to 1993 the proposal and construction of the Grand Louvre Pyramids took place, however as iconic as the glass pyramids are today, much like the Eiffel Tower, these were heavily criticized by the public. Eventually, the pyramids became an iconic symbol and are loved today.

Skip the line by pre-booking your tickets in advance or skip the line by taking a guided tour of the Louvre.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris at sunrise a week before the fire

Arguably one of the most famous cathedrals in the world and another iconic place to see in Paris is the Notre Dame Cathedral. This medieval Catholic cathedral is considered to be one of the finest French Gothic architecture structures in the world with its famous colorful rose stained glass windows, flying buttresses, and rib vaulting that was innovative at the time of its construction in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Besides being a famous piece of architecture, Notre Dame is also home to one of the world’s largest organs and famous giant church bells as well as the seat of the Archdiocese of Paris.

The church became a pop icon symbol in the 19th century after the author Victor Hugo released his literary classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and is one of the most popular places to visit in Paris.

A week after our visit in April 2019, the Notre Dame suffered immense damage from a fire. After raising money to rebuild and restore the cathedral in almost a record-breaking time it is rumored the cathedral will get a more modern roof and spire, only time will tell if this will receive as much backlash as other cherished places to see in Paris like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Pyramids for being more modern structures in a historic city.

Bastille

Top of the Bastille Monument in Paris

The Place de la Bastille or Bastille Square is the former location of the Bastille prison where the attack that took place and started the French Revolution. This place to see in Paris is an important symbol for the domestic conflicts that took place France over history.

The Bastille was originally a fortress built to defend the city from the English in the Hundred Years’ War in the 14th century. The design of the fortress was strategic and innovative that’s style was copied a lot throughout history.  

After the destruction, almost none of the original Bastille was left except for some of the foundation where you can still find today at the corner of Boulevard Henri IV and the Quai des Celestins.

The column you see and know as the Bastille today is known as the July Column and it stands in the center of the original Bastille.

Moulin Rouge

Posing on our motorcyle in front of Moulin Rouge with our guide Romain

Another one of the most recognizable places to visit in Paris from modern pop culture is the famous cabaret in the city, the Moulin Rouge.  

The name Moulin Rouge literally translates to the red mill and is where the famous Can-Can dance originated. Located on Boulevard de Clichy in Pigalle near Montmartre, this famous cabaret opened its doors in 1889.

You can take a photo or admire the exterior as many do when visiting this area or actually attend the Féerie show showcasing 80 artists including the famous Doriss Girls, 1000 handcrafted Parisian costumes, a giant aquarium, and performance set to original music.

You can pre-book a Moulin Rouge show with champagne in advance or the Moulin Rouge show with dinner in advance.

Versailles

Palace of Versailles in Paris

The Palace of Versailles, another famous place to see in Paris, served as the royal residence of France from 1682 until the French Revolution just 20 km (12 miles) from the city center of Paris.

Versailles most famous features include the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Opera, Marie Antionette’s cottage, and the incredible gardens of Versailles. You can spend an entire day exploring the complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you want to experience this place to visit in Paris in the most unique way possible we recommend checking out their annual masked ball where each guest is responsible for showing up in Baroque attire inside the palace for an unforgettable night feeling like a French king or queen every year around June.

Paris Travel Tip: Try to come to Versailles on a weekday to avoid long lines, especially in peak season.

Skip the long lines by booking your Palace of Versailles ticket in advance.

Palais Royal

Megan sitting on the black and white columns at Palais Royal near the Louvre in Paris

Not only a great place to visit in Paris but a popular photo location is the Palais Royal, the former royal palace. Located next to the Louvre this is where you can find the seat of the Constitutional Council, Ministry of Culture, and the Conseil d’État.

The large inner courtyard was once home to the most famous covered arcade in Paris, the Galerie d’Orléans but was demolished in the 1930s. Today in this location is where to go in Paris if you’re looking for one of the best Instagram photo locations. 

In 1986, artist Daniel Buren was commissioned to create an outdoor art installation here known as Les Colonnes de Buren.

The installation consists of a grid filled with different height columns with black and white stripes. We find it to be really cool and aesthetically appealing, but like most modern structures in Paris, it received a lot of backlash when it was first installed in the 80s.

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If you want to get a crowd less photo, come early or be prepared to be very patient and ready to snap your photo in between the crowds.

Musee d’Orsay

Musee d'orsay in Paris view from the Seine river cruise

Besides the Louvre, this is another one of the most popular museums in the city and place to visit in Paris. Situated in a former railway station known as Gare d’Orsay, this art museum houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art pieces in the world from paintings, sculptures, to photography.

Some of the most notable artists include Renoir, Degas, Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, Gaugin, Seurat, and Cézanne to name a few and is considered one of the largest art museums in the world.

Some of the most famous pieces of artwork include a self portrait of Van Gogh, Whistler’s Mother by Whistler, Olympia by Manet,  and the Bal du Moulin de la Galette by Renoir to name a few.

Skip the lines by booking your ticket in advance OR if you’re planning on hitting up multiple museums get this combination ticket for Musee d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie.

Galerie Lafayette

Whether you’re a shopper or not, Galerie Lafayette is an impressive place to see in Paris. The gorgeous art nouveau shopping center is a landmark of its own. 

Each week they put on a full-blown fashion show for visitors who are sightseeing or shopping from their range of stores for all budgets including some incredible luxury brand stores under the remarkable dome.

Paris is considered the fashion capital of the world and has been for centuries, this is what to see in Paris if you’re a lover of fashion and where some of the biggest french labels put on their fashion show annually. 

If fashion isn’t your thing then be sure to check out the food here as well, there is a global selection of food tasting bars that make the visit worth it in itself.

Paris Travel Tip: The weekly fashion show is held at 3:00 pm every Friday on the 4th floor.

Catacombs

skulls in the catacombs in Paris

One of the more eerie places to see in Paris are the famous Catacombs. These networks of chambers and tunnels of underground ossuaries are where the final remains of more than 6 million people rest. 

The catacombs were put in place to help distribute remains when cemeteries in the city were starting to overflow in the 18th century. The catalyst to this was when the Holy Innocents’ Cemetery, the oldest and largest in the city from the middle ages, couldn’t handle the number of bodies here and collapsed. It is said now that Les Halles is located where this cemetery once was.

There was a sense of urgency to relocate the bodies from the collapsed Holy Innocents Cemetery so the corpses were transported in caravans of covered wagons at night to an open mine shaft used as a giant mass grave.

It is believed that there are over 200 miles of tunnels in the catacombs, although only a small section is open to the public for visitation. While there are said to be secret entrances that are forbidden to enter, some do at their own risk, accessible by secret entrances from the Metro, manholes, and the sewer. The locals who do this are known as, “cataphiles,” and it is highly discouraged to do this as it can be dangerous, you could get lost, and if you get caught you will be fined.

Some of the areas of the Catacombs that are rarely open to the public do occasionally exist, for example, there are orchestra and music concerts held in the section of underground chambers at Green-Wood Cemetery.

Skip the lines by booking your Catacombs entrance ticket in advance.

Hotel de Ville

Megan by Carousel in front of hotel de ville in le marais paris

One of our personal places to visit in Paris is the neighborhood of Le Marais and the gorgeous Hotel de Ville. While it’s not a hotel as we know it today, it is steeped with the history of the city and serves as Paris City Hall today. 

This location was also where public executions took place from the 14th century to the last execution in the year 1830.

In 1871, Hotel de Ville was destroyed during the Paris Commune when it was set on fire. It took 20 years to rebuild on the original foundation that survived the fire in neo-Renaissance style.

Today, Hotel de Ville is still the office for the local government and a gathering place for tourists and activities. You can’t miss the gorgeous carousel outside Hotel de Ville which is a picture perfect spot to stop. 

Pay attention to the intricate details in the facade of the hotel from the statues to the clock tower. The inside is just as impressive as the exterior if not more with exquisite decor floor to ceiling from chandeliers to painted ceilings including a replica of the Hall of Mirrors from Versailles.

There are also regular exhibitions going on inside throughout the year, be sure to check what is going to be featured during your visit typically featuring local French artists as well as international exhibitions.

Sacré Cœur

View from the basilica of the Sacred Heart in Montmartre Paris

Another one of the best places to see in Paris is located in the neighborhood of Montmartre. The Sacré Cœur, or Basilica of the Sacred Heart is located on the highest point in the city and where to go in Paris if you want an epic vantage point with one of the best panoramic views of the city.

This Roman Catholic church and the basilica is one of the most popular landmarks in Paris to visit. Besides being a religious monument and place of worship, Sacré Cœur is also considered a political icon for the historical significance of the victory over France in the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune when the radical socialist part ruled Paris from March to May in 1871. Marking the neighborhood of Montmartre as one of the most revolutionary and rebellious in the city’s history.

The church was built after political unrest and defeat over the French as a symbol for the pain the French went through during this time it was constructed to symbolize they will rise again. 

Well before the construction, this site was always a religious one being a place of worship for paganism as well as Roman temples dedicated to Mercury and Mars due to its high location in the city.

Visitors can go inside the church, visit the crypt, and pay a small fee to climb the 300 steps up to the dome with incredible 360 views of the city.

Montmartre

the sinking house in Montmartre Paris

Another one of our favorite picks for where to go in Paris and best places to see in Paris is in the Bohemian neighborhood of Montmartre. Also known as the Mountain of Martyrs located at the highest point in the city in the 18th arrondissement.

This is the neighborhood where some of the best-known artists in the world like Van Gogh, Renoir, Matisse, and Picasso to name a few called home and completed some of their most famous pieces of art here.

This is one of the most attractive neighborhoods in the city with cobbled lanes, colorful ivy-covered homes and buildings, and some of the most swoon-worthy cafes and restaurants it’s no wonder why this is so many visitors favorite place to see in Paris. 

Besides the Sacré Cœur basilica mentioned above this is where you can find great museums, cabarets, art, photo locations, and even the Moulin Rouge. We have an entire guide on the best things to do in Montmartre, be sure to check it out if you’re planning a visit.

Take a guided tour of Sacré Cœur and the Montmartre neighborhood with an expert guide over two hours learning about the history of the area. Book your tour here.

Street Art of Ourcq

the colorful murals in Ourcq the Paris Street Art Scene

One of the more off the radar places to see in Paris is in the 19th arrondissement and the Ourcq Metro station along the Ourcq canal. This industrial neighborhood isn’t really considered the sexy side of Paris and where most people don’t even think of visiting. In the 90s alot of the factories in the area closed leaving alot of empty shells of buildings in a not so thriving area of Paris.

However, a local artist has been working for years to change this neighborhood to be a thriving community driving in businesses like restaurants with his community of artists and their colorful murals around the city.

Da Cruz used his passion for art to start a movement here. Born in France from a Portuguese family he has dedicated his work and passion to bringing color and life back to this area of Paris and the locals love it. 

His own work is present all around Ourcq as well as artists from all over the world in his community known as Cultures Passages. The entire area is a really fun place to explore and where to go in Paris if you love street art and murals. You can spend a good amount of time just wandering around looking at mural after mural and afterward head to the canal to eat or drink at one of the trendy waterside bars or restaurants.

You can even find a mural of Da Cruz inside of the Pompidou Center.

While you can totally explore this area of Paris on your own we recommend doing what we did and take a tour to learn more about the artists and murals in Ourcq with Explore Paris. They offer a lot of unique tours in Paris that are unlike what other tour companies are offering.

Since this tour was in the testing phase during our trip, if you’d like to organize it you can ask for a private English tour on their contact page, be sure to mention the Ourcq tour we mention on our page so they know exactly what you’re looking for until they have it readily available for everyone who visits their website,

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Le Village Royal

Megan with her umbrella in Le Village Royal in Paris

What was just an ordinary street in Paris filled with shops has now transformed into Instagram content heaven and our next pick for best places to see in Paris if you love colorful places! 

Le Village Royal was just another Parisian square with shops until Portuguese artist Patricia Cunha installed her 800 colorful umbrellas known as the “Umbrella Sky Project,” inspired by the Portuguese village Agueda.

This is said to be temporary as this exhibit moves all around the world, don’t miss your chance to see it!

Pompidou Center

The outside of the Pompidou Center in Paris

Another incredible museum and place to see in Paris is the modern art museum, the Pompidou Center. Located in the 4th arrondissement you can easily recognize The Pompidou Center by its unique exterior with escalators on the exterior of the building and giant colorful tubes running across the building. 

This is where you can visit the National Museum of Modern Art with notable works from artists like Picasso and Matisse to name a few as well as even more modern artists like Warhol. 

There are permanent exhibitions as well as exhibitions on the top floor offering a stunning view of the skyline of beautiful rooftops throughout Paris.

This is one of the most famous museums in the city and worth allowing an entire morning or afternoon to explore, while you’re here check you Da Cruz’s mural as mentioned above under Ourcq!

Skip the lines by purchasing your Pompidou Center tickets in advance!

Tuileries Garden

Tuileries Garden in bloom with a view of the Louvre in Paris

One of the best places to relax, enjoy a gorgeous garden, and to get from one iconic place to see in Paris to another is walking through the Tuileries Garden located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde before Champs Élysees. 

The gardens were created by the queen of King Henry II, Catherine de’ Medici in the 16th century and it wasn’t until the 17th century the gardens were open to the public after the French Revolution. 

Today, you see Parisians and visitors running, relaxing, or having a picnic here. We find this to be the best place to grab a bottle of wine and sip while being surrounded by the beautiful gardens and buildings of the heart of Paris.

Trocadéro

the view of the eiffel tower from the Trocadero in Paris

One of the best places to visit in Paris if you’re looking for where to go to get some of the best Eiffel Tower photos and vantage points. The Trocadéro is located on the Seine River directly across from the Eiffel Tower offering a stunning view.

Named after the Battle of Trocadéro, this is where to go in Paris if you’re wanting that picture perfect spot of the Eiffel Tower or to just enjoy the gorgeous gardens. 

In the evenings in the summer you can enjoy a beautiful illumination on the Warsaw water fountains that serve as the centerpiece to the Trocadéro gardens.

Rodin Museum

Another place to visit in Paris if you’re a lover of fine art and sculptures is the Rodin Museum or Musée Rodin dedicated to the works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin. This is where you can find the famous and original Thinker statue.

The collection includes thousands of sculptures, drawings, photos, and artwork such as Rodin’s private collection of paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, and Renoir to name a few.

Many of Rodin’s sculptures are on display in the museum’s garden which is one of the reasons I really like this museum as it has his most famous pieces on display in a natural environment, not inside like most museums. There’s even an entire room dedicated to Rodin’s lover and French sculptor Camile Claudel.

Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges in Le Marais Paris

Another one of our picks for best places to see in Paris is at Place des Vosges, the oldest square in the city as well as one of the most beautiful in Le Marais. Formerly known as Palace Royale, the square’s location straddles the  3rd and 4th arrondissements that make up Le Marais Paris, one of our favorite places for where to go in Paris.

This was the place to live in Paris during the 17th and 18th centuries, this is where you’d find the most important people of this time living here from Parisian nobility to famed author Victor Hugo who wrote the Hunchback of Notre Dame up until the French Revolution.

You can visit Victor Hugo’s former private residence here as well, its a full museum dedicated to Hugo’s life before, during, and after his exile to Guernsey. This is where he wrote some of his most famous work including part of Les Miserables. 

Originally built by Henry IV in the early 17th century on the grounds where Hotel des Tournelles was and where the royal residence of Henry II was located. After Henry II death at a tournament at Tournelles, his wife, Catherine de’Medici of Italy had the complex destroyed and she moved the Louvre Palace.

Père Lachaise Cemetery

The largest cemetery in the city is another one of our picks for best places to see in Paris. Popular among tourists, this is where you can find the first garden cemetery and the most visited necropolis (a fancy word for the cemetery) in the world!

This cemetery serves as the final resting place for some of the most famous people in Paris including Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Proust, and so many more cultural icons of the city and country’s history including the final resting place for The Doors lead singer Jim Morrison.

It really is worth reading up on the history of some of the figures who are buried here or join a walking tour to learn more about the stories behind the bodies here from tales of Heloise and Abelard lovers reunited to the architecture of the cemetery.

Book your Père Lachaise Cemetery guided tour here.

Pantheon in the Latin Quarter

Located in the Latin Quarter, this is another incredible place to see in Paris. The massive and impressive structure was originally built as a church but now is more of a mausoleum and where the final remains of famed are today including the tomb of famed French literary Victor Hugo.

The Pantheon is gorgeous inside and out and is a good excuse to come and explore the Latin Quarter of Paris where there are plenty of beautiful cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops. A good place to start would be Boulevard St-Michel, the main street through the Latin Quarter. 

Book your Pantheon ticket in advance here.

Palais Garnier Opera House

palais garnier opera house in Paris

Another impressive building and place to visit in Paris is the Palais Garnier Opera House. Built in the 19th century in the 9th arrondissement, this opulent and ornamental Opera House is as stunning from the outside as it is on the inside.

This opera house is mainly used for and associated with the Paris Opera Ballet and is considered one of the most famous opera houses in the world.

You may recognize this opera house as it was used as the setting in The Phantom of the Opera novel and musical by Gaston Leroux.

Besides being a place for performances, the Palais Garnier Opera House is also where you can find the Paris Opera Library Museum.

Book your Opera Garnier entrance ticket in advance or take a 90 minute guided tour of the Opera Garnier here.

Sainte Chapelle

Sainte Chapelle stain glass in ParisAnother famous and incredible place of worship and place to see in Paris is Sainte Chapelle or the Holy Chapel. This Gothic style beauty has one of the most incredible stained glass windows in the world from the 13th century. It’s a jaw-dropping sight.

The chapel dates back to the 13th century and is one of the best examples of architecture preserved from this time even though it has been damaged throughout history including during the French Revolution.

What’s even more impressive is that when you visit many of the old cathedrals and churches throughout Europe you hear of how some of the construction to decades if not hundreds of years, not Sainte Chapelle, this chapel only took 7 years to complete.

The chapel houses some significant sacred Christian relics including the crown of thorns from Saint Louis.

Next door you can find the Conciergerie, the prison along the Seine where Marie Antoinette was held as a prisoner.

Book your Sainte Chapelle and Conciergerie combination ticket in advance.

Musée de l’Orangerie

monet in Musée de l'Orangerie in ParisAnother place to see in Paris if you’re an art enthusiast. Located in the Tuileries Garden, Musée de l’Orangerie is a collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.

This is where you can find the giant Water Lilies murals by Monet as well as notable works by Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, and Renoir to name a few others.

While the other works are impressive, the main tourist attraction is the Water Lillies in their impressive display covering two rooms to display the eight paintings.

If you’re planning on visiting up multiple museums get this combination ticket for Musee d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie.


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