Travel Advice

The 15 essential things to do in Paris

Last update : 25/02/2024 11:23

Paris, the French capital, captivates travelers with its timeless elegance and rich heritage.

The cobbled streets evoke a romantic charm, while the majestic Eiffel Tower stands tall as an iconic symbol. Lively cafes and local markets beckon for a delightful taste of French cuisine. Renowned museums like the Louvre house priceless artistic treasures, and cathedrals such as Notre-Dame reveal breathtaking architecture.

The Seine's riverbanks offer picturesque views, and meticulously manicured gardens like the Tuileries provide moments of tranquility.

As night falls, the city lights create a magical atmosphere, perfect for romantic strolls along illuminated alleyways. Every corner of Paris seems to unveil a new facet of this captivating metropolis, where the blend of tradition and modernity crafts an unforgettable travel experience.

1 - Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Visiting the Eiffel Tower is an unforgettable experience that provides a captivating glimpse into the history and beauty of Paris. Upon arrival, the sheer enormity of the tower will leave you awestruck. You can ascend either by staircase or elevator, each offering a unique perspective of the iconic metal structure.

On the first level, you'll find exhibitions and shops, offering insights into the design of the Eiffel Tower and its impact on Parisian culture. The more adventurous can opt to ascend to the second level, where a panoramic view of the city begins to unfold, with landmarks such as the Louvre and Notre-Dame Cathedral in sight.

However, the summit of the Eiffel Tower is the pinnacle of the experience. From up there, Paris sprawls out before you, with the Seine winding its way through the city and the rooftops of the capital spreading out beneath your feet. Whether by day, with the city waking up under the sunlight, or by night, when the tower is illuminated in a thousand lights, every moment is an opportunity to capture the magic of Paris.

Before leaving, be sure to take a moment to soak in the romantic atmosphere surrounding the Eiffel Tower. Whether sipping coffee in a nearby café or strolling along the banks of the Seine, the experience of visiting the Eiffel Tower will remain etched in your memory as a symbolic moment of an exceptional Parisian adventure.

2 - The Louvre

The Louvre

The Louvre, a cultural treasure nestled in the heart of Paris, stands as a must-visit destination for travelers seeking history and art. With its expansive galleries, it provides a temporal journey through the ages, housing masterpieces like the Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory of Samothrace.

This transformed palace captivates with its imposing architecture, a harmonious blend of styles from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Every room in the Louvre tells a story, every painting or sculpture transports the visitor into a captivating artistic realm.

Planning your visit allows for exploration of lesser-known treasures and immersing oneself in the unique atmosphere of each section of the museum. The picturesque gardens surrounding the Louvre offer a welcome respite, adding a bucolic dimension to this artistic adventure.

In essence, the Louvre is not just a museum but a temporal gateway that transports travelers through the centuries, making each visit an unforgettable cultural experience.

3 - The Notre-Dame cathedral

The Notre-Dame cathedral

The Notre-Dame Cathedral, a Gothic jewel nestled on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris, is an essential stop for any traveler seeking architectural splendor.
Built in the 12th century, its majestic towers and stunning stained glass windows tell the tale of the city. The interior of the cathedral, with its impressive vaulted ceilings and solemn atmosphere, provides a captivating experience. Ascending the towers not only allows you to admire the iconic gargoyles but also offers a panoramic view of the Seine River and the rooftops of Paris.

Every intricately carved detail, from the portals to the spire, reflects the craftsmanship of medieval artisans. The square in front of the cathedral, with its street artists and lively ambiance, adds a warm touch to this cultural sojourn.

The ongoing reconstruction after the 2019 fire serves as a reminder of resilience and the commitment to preserving this historical treasure. In essence, Notre-Dame embodies the very essence of travel a captivating blend of history, spirituality, and the timeless magnificence of Paris.

4 - The Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées

The Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées

The Arc de Triomphe, a majestic symbol of French greatness, stands proudly atop the Champs-Élysées, offering an unforgettable experience for travelers in Paris.

Erected in honor of Napoleonic victories, the arch embodies military history and national pride. Climbing its steps reveals a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.

The Champs-Élysées, the avenue of dreams, stretches magnificently from the arch, hosting elegant boutiques, charming cafes, and a vibrant atmosphere. Strolling along this iconic avenue is a unique cultural and shopping experience, marked by architectural splendor and the lively spirit of Paris.

In the evening, the Champs-Élysées lights up, adding a magical touch to this escapade. Together, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées represent the essence of Paris, combining history, elegance, and the promise of an unforgettable adventure in the heart of the French capital.

5 - Montmartre and the Sacré-Cœur

Montmartre and the Sacré-Cœur

Montmartre, perched on the highest hill in Paris, offers a unique travel experience steeped in bohemian charm and artistic history.
At its summit, the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur, with its dazzling whiteness, commands the city. Its remarkable architecture and strategic position provide breathtaking panoramic views of Paris. The cobbled streets of Montmartre, adorned with quaint cafes and artists' studios, beckon for leisurely strolls.

The Place du Tertre, at the heart of the neighborhood, hosts outdoor artists, adding a lively and creative atmosphere to this escapade. Montmartre's artistic history, intertwined with figures like Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, is palpable at every street corner. As the day draws to a close, the sunset over Montmartre and the Sacré-Cœur creates a romantic and unforgettable ambiance.

Together, Montmartre and the Sacré-Cœur form a journey in themselves, blending art, history, and a stunning view of the splendor of Paris.

6 - The Latin quarter

The Latin quarter

The Latin Quarter in Paris, an iconic district steeped in history and intellect, offers a fascinating travel experience. Its cobblestone streets, lined with ancient bookshops, lively cafes, and quaint boutiques, reveal a unique bohemian charm.

Serving as the intellectual heart of the city for centuries, the Latin Quarter is home to the renowned Sorbonne University. Students and scholars mingle in cafés, creating a vibrant and intellectually stimulating atmosphere. The Place de la Sorbonne and the Panthéon, guardians of French intellectual memory, add a majestic touch to this neighborhood.

Strolling through the Luxembourg Gardens, one discovers an oasis of serenity amidst the urban hustle. The Latin Quarter, with its history, culture, and vibrant energy, embodies the free and creative spirit of Paris, offering travelers a unique immersion into the intellectual and artistic life of the City of Light.

7 - The Orsay museum

The Orsay museum

Nestled in the heart of Paris, the Musée d'Orsay is an artistic gem that transports travelers to the splendor of the 19th century. Housed in a former railway station, this unique museum captivates with its majestic architecture. The imposing clocks and magnificent glass roof welcome visitors into a world where the noise of trains has given way to artistic contemplation.

Inside, the exceptional collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces, including works by Monet and Van Gogh, unveils the tumultuous evolution of art. Sculptures and art objects add an immersive dimension, plunging travelers into the cultural life of the era. Elegantly arranged spaces provide an atmosphere conducive to discovery and reflection.

Every canvas, every sculpture, every detail tells a story, making the Musée d'Orsay more than just an exhibition space. It is a window into the creative soul of 19th-century France. A visit here is a journey through time, an artistic immersion that leaves a lasting imprint on the hearts of those privileged to explore it.

8 - The Garnier Opera

The Garnier Opera

The Opéra Garnier, nestled in the heart of Paris, stands as an architectural gem, embodying the elegance and refinement of the City of Light. This neo-baroque masterpiece, constructed in the 19th century, captivates travelers with its timeless splendor.

Its facade adorned with sculptures and majestic columns creates a breathtaking first impression. Upon entering, travelers discover a sumptuous blend of gold, velvet, and sparkling chandeliers that evokes the artistic opulence of the era.

The intricately decorated ceilings, wrought-iron balconies, and the renowned auditorium inspire admiration, transporting visitors to a time when the opera was at the center of cultural life. Statues of Greco-Roman deities lining the main staircase add a mythical touch to this experience.

Beyond its remarkable architecture, the Opéra Garnier offers a captivating artistic program. Whether attending a performance or exploring backstage during a tour, every corner of this iconic theater tells a story of artistic passion and excellence.

Concluding the visit on the terrace provides a panoramic view of the city, allowing travelers to appreciate not only the grandeur of the Opéra Garnier but also the dazzling panorama of Paris stretching beyond the horizon. An unforgettable experience that captures the very essence of the journey through time and art.

9 - Take a cruise on the Seine or navigate the Parisian canals

Take a cruise on the Seine or navigate the Parisian canals

A Seine River cruise provides breathtaking views of iconic Parisian landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Notre-Dame, especially enchanting in the evening lights.

The romantic ambiance aboard cruise boats creates an unforgettable experience, particularly during the twilight hours.

Audio commentaries available on board offer fascinating insights into the history and architecture of the iconic sites along the route.

With various cruise options, from short sightseeing tours to longer dinner cruises, you can choose the one that best fits your schedule.

Canal Cruise in Paris:

Navigating the Parisian canals, especially along the Canal Saint-Martin, provides a picturesque and tranquil escape away from traditional tourist routes.

The laid-back atmosphere onboard allows travelers to enjoy a more local experience, passing charming locks and less frequented corners.

Explore lesser-known neighborhoods of Paris and discover hidden gems, from charming cafes to bohemian art galleries.

Guided tours led by local experts add an authentic layer, sharing fascinating stories about the quaint districts you traverse.

Whether you opt for the majestic grandeur of the Seine or the charming intimacy of the Parisian canals, each choice offers a unique perspective on the beauty of Paris, ensuring memorable moments.

10 - Alexandre-III Bridge

Alexandre-III Bridge

The Alexandre III Bridge, a magnificent architectural gem nestled in the heart of Paris, embodies the essence of a journey rich in discoveries and marvels.

Timeless Elegance: With its graceful lines and finely crafted details, the Alexandre III Bridge presents an initial impression of timeless elegance.

Panoramic Views: Spanning the Seine, the bridge unveils breathtaking panoramic views, offering a unique perspective on iconic Parisian landmarks.

Franco-Russian Alliance: Steeped in history, the bridge pays homage to the Franco-Russian alliance, adding an international and diplomatic dimension to its charm.

Gilded Ornaments: The golden details adorning the bridge capture sunlight, creating a sparkling aura that enchants travelers.

Mythological Symbols: Mythological sculptures evoke ancient tales, adding artistic and narrative depth to the traveler's experience.

Rendezvous with History: Crossing the Alexandre III Bridge, every step becomes a rendezvous with history, revealing echoes of a bygone era.

Photogenic Marvel: Whether you're a photographer or a casual observer, the bridge is beautifully photogenic, allowing the capture of unforgettable travel memories.

Nocturnal Ambiance: As night falls, the bridge lights up, creating a magical ambiance that transforms each crossing into a fairy-tale experience.

Gateway to Paris: The Alexandre III Bridge becomes the ideal gateway to venture further into the cobblestone streets and charming neighborhoods of Paris.

Rêverie by the Water: Whether for a romantic escapade or silent contemplation, the Alexandre III Bridge offers a dreamy journey by the water, inviting everyone to escape into the timeless charm of the French capital.

11 - The Luxembourg Garden

The Luxembourg Garden

The Luxembourg Gardens, a gem nestled in the heart of Paris, offers an enchanting journey through time and nature. Its shaded pathways, lined with majestic trees, beckon for a tranquil stroll, reminiscent of journeys through lush landscapes.
Vibrant flower beds, bursting with colors, evoke exotic gardens from distant places, providing an inspiring visual palette. Scattered statues and sculptures narrate an artistic and cultural history, transporting visitors through epochs.

The central basin, dominated by the Luxembourg Palace, creates a majestic atmosphere, inviting contemplation and suggesting inner journeys. Wrought-iron chairs around the basin provide perfect stops for a pause, offering a soothing view of this haven in the heart of the city.

The murmur of water and the song of birds complete this sensory journey, transporting visitors to a world of serenity. In essence, the Luxembourg Gardens offer an escape where every element tells a story, crafting an immersive and poetic experience—a memorable voyage at the heart of Paris.

12 - Covered Passages

Covered Passages

The Covered Passages of Paris offer a captivating journey through the elegance and history of the French capital. Born in the 19th century, these covered galleries are hidden gems, creating timeless charm in the heart of the city.

Strolling beneath their delicate glass roofs, visitors are transported to a bygone era, where 19th-century Paris comes to life through worn cobblestones and richly decorated facades. Each passage has its own personality, from the romanticism of Passage des Panoramas to the opulence of Galerie Vivienne.

These historically imbued spaces tell tales of a bygone time when strollers mingled with the elite in shops, bookstores, and cafes. Sparkling shop windows showcase treasures of antiques, rare books, and art objects, inviting curious exploration.

Beneath these elegant arches, steeped in the hushed atmosphere of centuries past, the Covered Passages reveal the intimate soul of Paris. They captivate the senses, creating a travel experience where one can get lost not only in the cobblestone alleys but also in the rich cultural heritage of the City of Lights.

13 - The Hôtel des Invalides

The Hôtel des Invalides

L'Hôtel des Invalides, nestled in the heart of Paris, stands as a captivating testament to France's military history and architectural grandeur. Built in the 17th century under Louis XIV, this imposing structure, crowned by its iconic golden dome, dominates the cityscape, offering a regal panorama. The dome houses the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, infusing the site with historical and imperial significance.

As visitors stroll through the grand courtyard, flanked by cannons and military statues, a solemn atmosphere envelopes them. Inside the Musée de l'Armée, a remarkable collection unfolds, showcasing armor, weapons, and military artifacts, providing a compelling narrative of French conflicts across the ages.

Surrounded by meticulously landscaped gardens, the Hôtel des Invalides provides a tranquil space for contemplation. The classical façades harmonize with the verdant surroundings, striking a balance between architectural splendor and serene nature.

Whether one is an enthusiast of military history, a connoisseur of grand architecture, or a seeker of immersion in France's glorious past, the Hôtel des Invalides is a must-visit destination. It embodies Paris's cultural richness, transforming each visit into a journey through the tumultuous epochs of French history.

14 - The Sainte-Chapelle

The Sainte-Chapelle

The Sainte-Chapelle, a Gothic gem nestled in the heart of Paris, offers travelers a captivating immersion into art, history, and spirituality. Built in the 13th century on the Île de la Cité, this royal chapel dazzles with its exceptional stained glass windows that narrate biblical tales. The play of light through the windows creates a divine and magical atmosphere, enchanting visitors.

The slender architecture of the Sainte-Chapelle, with its delicate arches and detailed sculptures, bears witness to the artistic refinement of the medieval era. The experience of ascending the spiral staircase to reach the upper chapel, where the windows reach their peak, is an adventure in itself.

Artistic representations of the Gospels and sacred stories in the stained glass forge an emotional connection, transporting visitors to a time when art and faith were intricately linked. The Sainte-Chapelle was once the home of the Crown of Thorns, adding a sacred and historical dimension to its aura.

Regularly hosted classical music concerts in this sacred space offer a unique sensory experience, combining visual beauty with auditory richness. The surrounding gardens and the proximity to the Seine add a touch of romance to this cultural escapade.

Whether one is an art enthusiast, an admirer of architecture, or seeking spiritual inspiration, the Sainte-Chapelle mesmerizes with its timeless splendor, turning each visit into a journey into the glorious past of medieval France.

15 - The Panthéon

The Panthéon

The Panthéon in Paris, nestled in the Latin Quarter, offers a travel experience at the intersection of history, architecture, and intellectual reflection. Initially built as a church dedicated to Sainte-Geneviève, the Panthéon has transformed into a secular monument honoring key figures in French history.

Its imposing exterior, crowned by an elegant dome, provides a breathtaking panoramic view of Paris. Artistic sculptures adorning the facade visually narrate the epic journey of France.

Inside, the grand architecture, majestic columns, and impressive dome create a solemn atmosphere. Frescoes and sculptures depict historical and philosophical scenes, adding an intellectual dimension to the visit.

The necropolis houses the tombs of illustrious personalities such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie, establishing an emotional connection with the builders of the nation.

Visitors can wander through the galleries, admire artworks, and contemplate in this place steeped in memory. The crypt offers a deep dive into the cultural and intellectual heritage of France.

Whether for its imposing architecture, tributes to prominent figures, or silent contemplation, the Panthéon provides an immersive travel experience, inviting exploration of the cultural and historical treasures of France.

Paris - Where to Stay?

Paris offers a variety of accommodation options to cater to different budgets and preferences. Here are some suggestions based on different criteria:

Hotels:

  1. Latin Quarter: Ideal for history, culture, and close to many tourist attractions.
  2. Le Marais: Trendy atmosphere, with art galleries and fashionable shops.
  3. Champs-Élysées: Perfect for shopping enthusiasts and those who want to be in the heart of the action.

More Affordable Neighborhoods:

  1. Belleville: More affordable, with an artistic ambiance.
  2. La Villette: Dynamic neighborhood, less touristy, with Parc de la Villette nearby.

Hostels:

  1. Montmartre: Bohemian atmosphere, with a view of the city from the Sacré-Cœur Basilica.
  2. Le Marais: Close to trendy bars and restaurants.

Apartment Rentals:

  1. Airbnb: Find apartments in different neighborhoods of the city.
  2. Booking.com, Vrbo, HomeAway: Also offer a variety of independent accommodation options.

General Tips:

  • Book Early: Especially if you're traveling during the peak tourist season.
  • Transport: Choose a location close to public transportation for easy commuting.
  • Budget: Set a budget before searching to narrow down your options.

Make sure to check online reviews before booking and consider your personal preferences in terms of location, comfort, and accommodation style.

Paris - How to get around?

Getting around Paris is relatively easy thanks to its well-developed transportation system. Here are several options for getting around the city:

  1. Metro: The Paris Metro is fast and efficient, with 16 lines serving the city and its suburbs. Metro stations are well-signposted, and the network is often the fastest way to move around Paris.

  2. Bus: The bus network is extensive, covering virtually all neighborhoods in the city. Buses are ideal for shorter trips or for exploring areas not served by the metro.

  3. Tramway: The tramway operates on several lines, providing a convenient alternative, especially in certain parts of the city.

  4. RER (Réseau Express Régional): The RER is a network of regional trains connecting Paris to its suburbs and airports. It is faster than the metro for travel to the outskirts of the city.

  5. Vélib' (Bike-sharing): Paris offers a bike-sharing service called Vélib'. You can rent a bike for short trips and explore the city at your own pace.

  6. Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Paris. You can hail them on the street, find them at taxi stands, or book in advance.

  7. Ride-Sharing Services (VTC - Voitures de transport avec chauffeur): Ride-sharing services like Uber are widely used in Paris, providing an alternative to traditional taxis.

  8. Walking: Paris is a pleasant city to explore on foot. Many tourist sites are located close to each other, making walking a convenient option.

  9. Boats on the Seine: Bateaux-mouches and other boat services on the Seine offer a unique perspective of the city.

  10. Car: Renting a car may be useful if you plan to visit places outside of Paris. However, for the city center, public transportation is often more convenient.

Before choosing a mode of transportation, consider your destination, the duration of your stay, and the desired speed for getting around. Paris' transportation system is well-organized, making it easy to explore the city.

Paris - Best period

The best time to visit Paris depends on your preferences for climate, activities, and crowd levels. Here's a description of the seasons in Paris:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring is generally considered one of the best times to visit Paris. Temperatures are mild, gardens are in bloom, and the days start to lengthen. It's a delightful time for strolling through the city, visiting landmarks, and enjoying café terraces.

  2. Summer (June to August): Summer in Paris can be warm, with high temperatures. It's the peak tourist season, attracting visitors from around the world. Parks, gardens, and the banks of the Seine River come to life, but you may encounter more crowds.

  3. Autumn (September to November): Autumn is a pleasant time to visit Paris. Temperatures remain moderate, trees start to display autumn colors, and tourist sites are less crowded than in summer. It's a season conducive to exploring museums and historic neighborhoods.

  4. Winter (December to February): Winter in Paris can be cool, but it offers a festive atmosphere with Christmas decorations. Temperatures are cooler, but the city has its charm with Christmas markets, illuminations, and cultural events.

In summary, spring and autumn are often considered the best seasons to visit Paris due to pleasant temperatures and moderate tourist influx. However, each season has its own charms, and Paris can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Last update : 25/02/2024 11:23

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