If you are a first-time tourist to Paris and are wondering what to do, you are not alone. This city is a buzzing place with many neat experiences. It can be overwhelming, researching and trying to decide what sights are worth checking out and what sights can be skipped.
During Joey and my whirlwind trip to Paris, we tried to hit up all the classic tourist locations. I mean how could be not visit places such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. While we really enjoyed most of the sights on our travel itinerary, some of them were not quite for our taste.
Having said this, here are our favourite spots after having checked out all this classic tourist attractions:
If you are traveling to the capital of France in the summer time like Joey and I did, beat the sweltering heat and descend underground to the cold and crisp Catacombs of Paris. Housing the bodies of over 6 million people from grave sites all over the city, the eerie Catacombs will leave you with a whole new appreciation to not only what is going on above ground in the city, but also for the dark mystery that lurks underground.
The Catacombes Graveyard: Human bones and skulls are sure to leave chills down your spine as you explore the underground Catacombs of Paris – one of the creepiest tourist sites in France. Read more on the catacombs and find out what we thought of this eerie place.
No matter the time of year, visiting the Eiffel Tower will likely be the highlight of your trip to Paris. Whether you climb to the top in the heat of the summer, or take the elevator in the dead of winter, the marvels of the tallest structure in Paris will always leave you wanting more.
During our trip to Paris, Joey and I visited the Eiffel Tower during late summer, when tourist season had begun to die down. We were fortunate enough to have no lineups and decided to tackle the tower by foot, an endeavor that we look back on with pride and satisfaction.
Any new visitors to Paris will certainly have the tower on their list, take it from someone who has been there, make it as memorable as you can.
|Lift to 2nd floor||Lift to top||Stairs to 2nd floor|
|Age 4-11 & Disabled||€4.00||€8.00||€3.00|
Climbing the Eiffel Tower: The Eiffel Tower is probably the most famous landmark in Paris and ultimately the world. Check out Travel Buddies complete guide on what to expect when climbing the Eiffel Tower on foot.
This Roman Catholic church doubles as both a cultural monument and a political monument in Paris. The church of Sacré-Cœur was designed by Paul Abadie in 1875, but sadly Mr. Abadie was never able to see the Basilica’s construction through to its completion in 1914. Located at the highest point in Paris, on top of the butte Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur is accessible to tourists by metro and by bus.
The Basilica was the first attraction that Joey and I visited when we arrived in the city. Staying in a hostel that was only a 5-minute walk from the staircase that climbed to the top of Basilica, we quickly visited this breathtaking church on the day we arrived.
Les Champs D’Élisé is a 2 kilometer long boulevard extending from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. It is known around the world for its theater, cafes and high-end shopping. It is also even more famous for being the ending point of the Tour de France bike race, occurring in July every year. Residents of France won’t think twice about calling this place the most beautiful avenue in the world.
Because Joey and I are not big shopaholics we didn’t spend much time on this boulevard. We used it mainly for convenience, getting from one place to another all while appreciating its elegant atmosphere.
Standing 50 meters high, the Arc de Triomphe is a monument that pays tribute to the lost French soldiers who fought in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. The Arc sits in the center of one of the busiest spots of Paris, a rotary that joins 12 avenues.
When we arrive to see the Arc de Triomphe, it was high noon and traffic on the rotary was very busy. The drivers were whizzing around the 8 lanes that separated us from the Arc at breakneck speed. At first, we weren’t quite sure how to reach the central island of the arc and were convinced we would need to sprint across 8 lanes of crazy traffic. Thankfully we saw a big group of tourists emerge from a well-hidden underground tunnel.
Residence of the late King Louis the XVI and Marie Antoinette the infamous Queen of France, Versaille is a hot commodity for anyone with a passion for history. Build as a stone and brick hunting lodge, this U-shaped palace far from resembles your typical medieval castle. The Château de Versaille is a little more challenging to access when compared to the rest of Paris’s top attractions. This elegant piece of architecture is located in the Île-de-France region, a 75-minutes metro ride outside the city.
Of the 700 chambers that make up the palace, my favourite was “La galerie des glaces” known in English as the Hall of Mirrors. Used by the King on a daily basis as a means to get from his bed-chamber to the chapel, the Hall of Mirrors was also as a venue for hosting palace events such as grand balls.
The Louvre Museum is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris. It holds approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century. These artifacts are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square meters (782,910 square feet). The Louvre is famous for its film appearances, the most notable one being the DaVinci Code, and for housing Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting – one of the most celebrated and valuable pieces of artwork in history.
As mediocre art connoisseurs at best, Joey and I visited the Louvre as a cultural experience. We spent an afternoon in the museum literally getting lost in the collections of art from all over the globe. Of all the paintings we saw, I was most surprised by the Mona Lisa. It seemed so miniature. For some reason, after all of the hype, I had expected it to be bigger than 77 centimeters x 53 centimeters (2.6 feet by 1.9 feet).
Being a 700-year-old medieval Cathedral, Notre-Dame de Paris is one of the finest examples of French gothic architecture. Even for the non-religious, Notre Dame is a nice place to visit simply to enjoy the gargoyle statues and stained glass windows. The towers of Notre Dame house 10 bells, the largest being Emmanuel. The only original bell to the Cathedral, Emmanuel can still be heard ringing five seconds before the rest, marking the hour of the day.
During our visit, we could hear the bells ringing from all over the city in a beautiful sonnet that made me feel like I’d stepped back in time. When visiting Notre Dame, Joey and I were left breathless looking at the inside of the church filled with colourful statues, paintings and sweepingly high ceilings.
The Seine River is a 776-kilometer long river flowing through Paris. With much history flooding its waterways, including the ashes of Joan of Arc being sprinkled after being burnt at the stake, the river remains a popular site for suicide and disposal of murdered bodies.
It’s gruesome to think that after countless evening strolls along this beautiful blue waterway, we could have easily stumbled across a floating corpse. In the evenings, Joey and I loved splurging on wine and freshly baked bread to eat by the Seine as we watched the sun set. In fact, we weren’t the only ones to indulge in a picnic by the river. Like us many of the locals made their way down to the river for supper, eating on the walls surrounding the Seine. It actually became quite crowded by dusk so if you’re planning on doing this and hoping to get a good spot, it’s best to arrive early. Bon Appétit!
Whether it’s your first visit to Paris or your tenth, the iconic monuments of this city have a timeless beauty. After a memorable visit to the French capital, you may feel as though you know Paris like the back of your hand. But the reality is, there is always something new to learn and explore in the city of love.
What was your favourite landmark in Paris? Would you ever take a trip back to this city or would you prefer to visit another part of the world?
Writers Note: This post may contain affiliate links. We will make a small commission if you make a purchase through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. See full disclosure and disclaimer policy here.
The Eiffel Tower is probably the most famous landmark in Paris. Check out the complete guide on what to expect when climbing the Eiffel Tower on foot.
Explore the Catacombs of Paris - one of the creepiest tourist sites in France.
Check out this list for the top things to see and do while traveling to Paris.
Paris is full of people in all different shapes and sizes, discover which ones to avoid while on vacation.
Did you know southern France has free roaming Barbary Macaques? Meet, touch and learn all about this endangered species at the Forêt des Singes in Rocamadour.
While in Belgium, the city of Bruges is worth a trip both for the view and to sample local delicacies.
From world-famous windmills to delicious cheeses, there is no shortage of places to see in Holland all year round.
From wooden stump to tourist shops window, learn all about the fabrication of dutch clogs.
You haven't truly explored Amsterdam until you have been to the Red Light District - a place leaving nothing to the imagination.
Guide your palette through this list of top Dutch treats, that will leave your taste buds wanting more.