Top 10 Paris Attractions

Top 10 Paris Attractions

At the same time, Paris is historical and modern, cheerful and gloomy, sunny and slightly rain-washed, as in Camille Pissarro's paintings. To discover Paris for yourself and leave a piece of your soul in this city, you need so little – to visit it.

Paris, the French capital, is a world-famous city of love, art, and fashion. It is rightfully considered one of the most romantic cities in Europe – almost everyone dreams about visiting the "City of Light" at least once in life. Its colossal historical value and unique, incomparable atmosphere attract more than 30 million foreign tourists every year, making it the most visited city on earth!

Urbanistically, the center of Paris seems quite monotonous: its straight endless avenues with hundreds of almost identical residential buildings do not give the city particular charm. In the 19th century, the prefect of the Seine department, Baron Haussmann, commissioned by Emperor Napoléon III, destroyed all the medieval quarters of Paris by reconstructing the city. 

"Paris is not a city; it is a world." – King Francis I of France.

However, as one of the oldest capital cities in Europe, Paris is truly noteworthy for its unique attractions that you will not find anywhere else in the world. If you have been to Paris, you have seen a lot.

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The 10 Best Attractions in Paris

Paris Map

There are so many things to do in Paris that any vacation will seem too short. In addition to the standard monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, you may want to add some new and unusual places to your list of attractions to experience all of the charms of the French capital. The following is a guide with a brief description of the city's ten most popular tourist attractions.

1. Eiffel Tower

Panoramic view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower
Panoramic view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower can be easily called the most recognizable architectural landmark of the French capital. Now no one can imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower. Most Parisians, if they did not love it, then, in any case, learned to come to terms with it.

Built from 1887 to 1889 by the French civil engineer Gustave Eiffel, it was the world's tallest building for a long time. Almost all the tower construction costs paid off in just a year due to its popularity among tourists.

Consisted of three square observation platforms, the 324 m (1,063 ft) high metal tower stands between the greenspace Champ de Mars and 19th-century bridge Pont d'Iéna in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. The top level's upper one is 276 m (906 ft) above the ground. You can get there by stairs or by lift.

Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris

Bus (line 42): Tour Eiffel
Metro (line 6): Bir-Hakeim

2. Notre-Dame de Paris

Top 10 Paris Attractions
View of the cathedral from the west

The medieval cathedral with the melodic name Notre-Dame-de-Paris has combined everything you would usually find in Paris – it is a building of stunning beauty in the city's center. The cathedral square has a bronze sign with the inscription "km 0", which means that this is where all the roads in the world begin.

Notre Dame was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. At the time of the laying of the first stone, the Romanesque style prevailed in French architecture. During the construction, the Gothic style replaced it, and as a result, the cathedral acquired the best features of both, finally getting a unique look.

6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris

Bus (line 75): Quai aux Fleurs-Pont St-Louis
Metro (line 4): Cité

3. Seine River Banks

The Seine is not just a river but a symbol of France. Eternally seething with life, it divides Paris into the Right and Left Banks living different lives. Many famous artists, writers, and musicians lived and worked on the Left Bank, and the bohemian life of the whole of France took place here. The Right Bank acquired bourgeois fame and was proud of wealth and luxury.

Paris Attractions
Seine River, with the city's oldest bridge – Pont Neuf – in the background

Along the Seine in the center of Paris, there are the most famous monuments of the French capital: the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Louvre, also beautiful bridges connecting the banks of the river. The history of many bridges goes back centuries. For example, the Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris: Henry III of France laid the first stone in 1578.

The banks of the Seine are authentic Paris. They are unique in every sense – both mentally and physically – and therefore included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Parisians themselves call them the 21st district of the capital – the principal and most beautiful. The main point of the Seine River cruise is Pier 3 at the Eiffel Tower.

4. Paris Catacombs

Paris Attractions
Human skulls and bones stacked in rows in the Catacombs

Usually, Paris is associated with romance, but still, there is a place in this city that is just terrifying and hidden underground from the eyes of a tourist. That is the famous Catacombs of Paris (Catacombes de Paris). 

The Catacombs are a network of underground and winding tunnels created by mining limestone to build cathedrals and palaces in medieval Paris. With a total length of up to 300 km (186 mi), they have a depth of 15 to 20 m (49 to 65 ft). 

Between the 18th and 19th centuries, due to the oversaturation of Parisian cemeteries (sometimes a dozen people could rest under one grave at different levels), the remains of almost 6 million people were reburied in these tunnels.

A 1.7-km (1 mi) zone with ancient tombstones and thousands of human bone fragments, collected in bizarre compositions and tall columns, is open for tourists. If you are brave and do not have serious health problems, you should see this incredible place, and perhaps you will learn some of the mysteries of humanity. 

1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris

Bus (lines 59, 88): Denfert-Rochereau
Metro (lines 4, 6): Denfert-Rochereau

5. Luxembourg Gardens

Paris Attractions
Statue of Liberty in Luxembourg Gardens (first model, by Frédéric Bartholdi, 1870)

On the Left Bank in Paris, there is a specific atmosphere of French flavor. At the center of all this splendor, called the Latin Quarter, stands a beautiful garden named Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg). Established in the 17th century, it attracts citizens and tourists with the opportunity to walk along shady alleys, relax by the fountains, admire numerous elegant sculptures, and lie on green lawns. The garden houses the Orangerie, the Luxembourg Museum, and the attractive Baroque-style Luxembourg Palace, which now houses the French Senate.

Parisians owe the appearance of their favorite garden to Marie de Medici, wife of King Henry IV. Originally from Italy, she longed for her native land so much and decided to establish a piece of her homeland in Paris.

The 6th arrondissement, 75006 Paris

Bus (line 38): Luxembourg
Train (line RER B); Luxembourg

6. Sacré-Cœur Basilica

Paris Landmarks
Southeastern view of the basilica

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Basilique du Sacré-Cœur) is a bizarre imitation of a Byzantine temple. Its white tower and dome have become an integral part of the Paris skyline. Inside the church is the top mosaic in France, measuring 480 m² (5166 ft²). It looks mesmerizing!  

The church has uniqueness due to its building material: a specific mineral extracted in Paris' suburbs. When exposed to water, it turns white. Therefore, the over 100-year-old church is pleasantly surprised by its whiteness.

Built to commemorate the Franco-Prussian War victims at the end of the 19h century, it is the second most visited religious monument in France, after Notre Dame.

35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris

Bus (line 40): Utrillo
Metro (line 12): Lamarck - Caulaincourt

7. Tuileries Garden

Paris Attractions
Side building of the Louvre seen from the park

The Tuileries Garden (Jardin des Tuileries) is one of the first parks created in France according to the "French formal style" rules, the layout of which still serves as an example for all park creators. This style prevailed in the 16th century when designers, through structural form, emphasized the power of man over nature. The park has a geometrically correct plan with pronounced symmetry, which gives it solemnity and majesty.

The proximity to the country's principal museum – the Louvre – makes the site incredibly popular with tourists. Adorned by flowers, greenery, and sculptures, the Tuileries Garden is the epitome of peace and tranquility after walking through the bustling streets of Paris. Most of the sculptures located in the park are masterful replicas of the originals. On the territory, there is a Ferris wheel and several cafes.

1st arrondissement, 75001 Paris

Bus (line 72): Pyramides Tuileries
Metro (line 1): Métro Tuileries

8. Château of Vincennes

Paris Landmarks
Donjon of the Château de Vincennes

Together with the Palace of Versailles, the Château de Vincennes is the most remarkable royal residence in Paris, built between the 14th and 16th centuries for the kings of France in the Bois de Vincennes (hence its name) wood. The town of Vincennes historically developed around the castle; now it is a suburb of Paris, you can get here by metro.

Remaining a strong fortress for 700 years of its existence, the castle throughout the period was continually in the center of events: kings were born here, married, lived (including as prisoners), and died.

Surrounded by a moat and its fortress walls, the large, 52-meter (170 ft) high keep rises in a large courtyard. It is the principal donjon of the castle, the residence of its owner. Then, the keep was the tallest in Europe and remains unsurpassed till now. Cylindrical towers, with a terrace above them, frame the entrance. 

In front of the keep stands the Sainte-Chapelle de Vincennes, a beautiful Gothic chapel – a Monument Historique, included in France's national heritage list.

Avenue de Paris, 94300 Vincennes

Bus (lines 56, 115, 118, 124, 318, 325): Avenue du Chateau
Metro (line 1): Château de Vincennes

9. Père Lachaise Cemetery

Paris Attractions
The life-size statue of French journalist Victor Noir, famous for the protrusion on his pants, touched by thousands of visitors to the cemetery

The Père Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetière du Père-Lachaise) is one of the world's most famous burial sites. Located in the eastern part of Paris, this cemetery is the largest in the French capital.

Many celebrities rest here: playwright Oscar Wilde, cabaret performer Edith Piaf, actress Sarah Bernhardt, dancer Isadora Duncan, novelist Honoré de Balzac, opera singer Maria Callas, composer Frédéric Chopin, the Doors vocalist Jim Morrison, etc.

The Père Lachaise Cemetery is a beautiful place: on properly planned alleys, there are artistic tombs with complex sculptural compositions, architecturally impressive family crypts with modest or majestic gravestones, and elegant columbariums.

16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris

Bus (lines 61, 69, 71): Roquette - Pere Lachaise
Metro (lines 2, 3): Père Lachaise

10. La Défense

Paris Attractions
Panoramic view of the La Défense seen from the Eiffel Tower

Not for nothing is La Défense called the French Manhattan. It is considered the grandest business center in Europe. The modern business and residential area, built up with skyscrapers and shopping malls, is located 3 km west of the city. 

The Great Arch is the principal local attraction, included in many tours of the French capital. Tourists from different countries are eager to see a modern miracle of engineering and a monument of architectural modernism. The French love to sit on the arch's steps and look at the evening edge of skyscrapers and Paris, stretching into the distance.

La Défense district has an attractive pedestrian area dotted with fountains and more than sixty abstract sculptures.

Metro (line 1): La Défense

The Most Adventurous Experiences in Paris

How lovely Paris is when the sun shines! Forget about taking the bus, metro, or taxi in the city. If you want to take the time to view the city's numerous sights, there are other more fascinating ways to tour the French capital at a comfortable pace.

You might want to explore Paris by choosing one or more of the recommended outdoor activities listed below. Enjoy!


France joined the Eurozone by adopting the euro in 1999, so visiting Paris and traveling around France and nearby countries will be truly convenient for you.

Where to Stay in Paris

On, you can book over 4,000 homes, apartments, and other unique places to stay in Paris.

According to this online travel agency for lodging reservations, Relais12bis Bed & Breakfast By Eiffel Tower, Résidence Charles Floquet, and Derby Alma are some of the best accommodation in Paris near Eiffel Tower.

Renting a Car in Paris – a leader in online car rental reservations – is the best site to book a car in Paris. They compare car rental deals from many companies so you can choose what works best for you. 

What to Buy in Paris

Perfume. High-quality fragrances are a specific topic for shopping in Paris, as French perfumes are considered the best in the world.

Desserts. Candied violets and macarons occupy first place in the rating of French confectionery. You can find them in almost any pastry shop in Paris.

Cheese. You can not leave Paris without the French cheese. There are more than 350 species of this dairy product produced in the country.

Nice Little Things. Of course, you may want to buy a cute souvenir with some Paris symbols as a keepsake of your trip: an attractive Notre Dame magnet, a lovely postcard, an Eiffel Tower figure, or a key chain. The prices for these popular French souvenirs are very modest.

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