When it comes to travel bucket lists, Paris is probably high on most people’s lists. Whether you’re planning your first trip to the “city of light” or a return visit, you will find plenty of things to do. These are my 10 must-see places in Paris.
Ok, let’s start with the obvious one. The Eiffel Tower is probably the most famous landmark in Paris. I remember the first time I saw it while on a train – it gave me goose bumps! The views from it are amazing, but get there early to beat the queue for the lift. We rather foolishly went at midday on a Saturday in July – needless to say it was heaving, so we decided to take the stairs…that was a workout!
If you want a fantastic night of entertainment you can’t beat the Moulin Rouge. It’s decadent and a bit risqué in places – a naked woman with an anaconda in a massive water tank wasn’t what I was expecting! Scantily clad dancers with miniature donkeys and breathtaking acrobatics were also highlights of the show – and of course the can can, which is such an iconic French dance. It really is a night to remember!
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, to give it its full name, or Sacré-Cœur as it’s commonly known is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. Construction of the basilica began in 1875 and was completed in 1914. It was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919. Again, I would say get there early if you want to take photos without throngs of tourists. (The basilica is open every day from 6am to 10.30pm). It’s the second-most visited monument in Paris as you can probably tell from the photo! It is free to enter the basilica but access to the dome and crypt carry a cost. The use of cameras and video recorders is forbidden inside the basilica. Be wary of pickpockets though, the area is notorious for them.
The Louvre is the world’s most visited museum, and it’s easy to see why. The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built in the late 12th to 13th century under Philip II. Remnants of the Medieval Louvre fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. The Musée du Louvre contains more than 380,000 objects and displays 35,000 works of art in eight curatorial departments with more than 60,600 square metres (652,000 sq ft) dedicated to the permanent collection. Probably the most famous piece of art housed there is the Mona Lisa. It’s surprisingly small and very difficult to photograph due to so many people also trying to take photos. However, there are many more very famous paintings there to admire. It would easily take more than a day to see everything, so even if you’ve already been, it’s worth a return visit.
It’s obligatory to pose in front of the pyramid, right?
Ok, so stay with me on this. It’s not the actual building that’s worth seeing, but rather what you can see from the Montparnasse Tower. You will get the best views of Paris from the observation deck (where there’s a seating area), which includes the Eiffel Tower. You can get a day and night ticket for 25 euros, which is valid for 48 hours for two visits.
If like me you love shopping then a visit to Galeries Lafayette is a must! The interior is a thing of wonder, filled with luxury and opulence. But if you don’t have big bucks to spend fear not, there are also high street concessions as well as designer brands.
Up on the roof you get a fantastic view of Opéra Garnier.
A leisurely stroll and picnic in the Jardin du Luxembourg is a lovely way to spend lunch. It covers 23 hectares and is known for its lawns, tree-lined promenades, tennis courts, flowerbeds, model sailboats on its octagonal Grand Bassin, as well as picturesque Medici Fountain. Creation of the garden began in 1612 when Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV, constructed the Luxembourg Palace as her new residence. The garden today is owned by the French Senate, which meets in the Palace.
Probably the second most famous landmark in Paris. It’s on a notoriously chaotic roundabout, so expect to hear lots of annoyed drivers honking their horns! The marathon finishes close to the Arc de Triomphe, which is quite fitting because running 26.2 miles is a triumph!
The Panthéon is a monument in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. The edifice was built between 1758 and 1790. King Louis XV of France intended it as a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve, Paris’ patron saint, whose relics were to be housed in the church.However, Louis didn’t live to see it completed. By the time the construction was finished, the French Revolution had started; the National Constituent Assembly voted in 1791 to transform the Church of Saint Genevieve into a mausoleum for the remains of distinguished French citizens. Today it is a civic building that serves as a repository for the remains of great French citizens, including Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Èmile Zola, and Marie Curie.
A Seine cruise is a lovely, relaxing way to see the city. I’ve done it by day and evening. You can book an evening Seine cruise followed by the Moulin Rouge, which is what we did for my 40th birthday. It’s timed so that you see the Eiffel Tower light up which is magical.
There are plenty of options when it comes to accommodation in Paris. Over the years I’ve stayed in hotels and rented apartments in different parts of the city. Montmartre is my favourite arrondissement with its charming cobbled streets and magnificent views over the city. Whatever your preferences are, Ebooking will help you find the perfect accomodation.
It’s very easy to get around Paris on the metro, but if the weather is nice, you might want to walk instead and take in the views. And if you’re up for a challenge, why not sign up for the marathon? You get to see all the main landmarks and soak up the most amazing atmosphere. I’ve done it four times and it’s the most incredible experience!