We could only ever scratch the surface of things to see and do in Paris in the confines of this guidebook, such are its many and varied delights. We would advise anyone spending more than a few days in the French capital to either head to one of the Tourist Office welcome points to get more info, or shell out on a guidebook to get the very most of their time here.
Top of our hitlist, though, are the following.
Perhaps the symbol most connected with the city, and even the country as a whole, the Eiffel Tower was the brainchild of Gustave Eiffel and installed for the city’s 1889 World’s Fair. It’s the tallest structure in Paris at 324 metres, offering breathtaking views over the whole city, and is supposedly the most-visited paid monument in the world. You can head up to the second level for free, but to reach the top you need to pay. For similarly excellent views of the city, Sacré Coeur is the basilica that sits atop the highest hill in Paris, Montmartre.
With the Arc de Triomphe at one end, and the Place de la Concorde at the other, the Champs Élysées is one of Paris’s most iconic streets. The tree-lined boulevard is known for its shops, cafés and theatres, as well as being the site of the annual Bastille Day parade, as well as the finishing point for the Tour de France.
Arguably the most famous museum in the world, the Louvre is home to the Mona Lisa. It is said the average visitor spends less than 20 minutes inside the museum, heads straight to its most famous exhibit and largely ignores the rest of the artworks before leaving - don’t be that visitor, there’s plenty worth seeing here.
One of the best ways to see Paris is by taking a cruise on the Seine - most tour operators leave from the south bank near to the Eiffel Tower, and it’s a pleasant way to watch the city go by and get some unique views of its many bridges and riverside architecture, including views up close of Notre Dame cathedral.
Fans of The Doors flock to the Père Lachaise cemetery, which is home to Jim Morrison’s grave. Also to be found among the rows of ornate gravestones and monuments are the resting places of Oscar Wilde, Frederic Chopin and plenty of other French luminaries.
The Musée d’Orsay, housed in a former railway station, is the permanent home of some of the most famous artworks in the world, including Whistler’s ‘The Artist’s Mother’ and Monet’s ‘Blue Water Lillies’ among other works from the likes of Van Gogh and Renoir. Other
On the outskirts of the city is the Chateau de Versailles - once home to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, it’s one of France’s most stunning stately homes.