Paris is a big city and is rich with activities to do. So how can you know what to do as a priority? It’s your first visit to Paris and you want to make sure not to miss any of the best visits of the city? For that matter, we have gathered them for you.
1) The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is the emblem of Paris, and it would be an absolute sacrilege to not at least go by and take some pictures. 325 meters high (or 1066 ft), the Eiffel Tower was built for the Paris World Exhibition of 1889 by Gustave Eiffel.
It held the world’s highest building record until 1930 when the Chrysler Building was built in New York City.
Today it is the second most visited building in France, right after the Notre-Dame-de-Paris cathedral.
Brave the queue and the height and climb to the top, and you won’t be disappointed by the view of Paris and the Champ de Mars!
The Eiffel Tower owns several restaurants, so you can enjoy a meal with a spectacular view, though you will have to book your table a few months in advance to be able to eat there.
Schedules: Every day from 9:30 AM to 11:45 PM (last rise to the top at 10:30 PM by elevator).
Prices: Tickets to access the Eiffel Tower are various, some of them only give you access to the 2nd floor and some others only allow you to take the stairs. Then the prices change depending on your choices.
Top access by elevator
Adult fare: €25.50
Young fare (12 to 24 years old): €12.70
Children fare (4 to 11 years old): €6.40
Rate for children under 4 years old: Free
Access: metro Trocadéro (line 9), Ecole Militaire (line 8), Bir Hakeim (line 6) or RER C station Champ de Mars.
2) Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysées
Another symbol of the French power, the Arc de Triomphe was ordered by Napoleon Bonaparte to commemorate the victory of the Battle of Austerlitz in 1806.
Today it commemorates the First World War and holds the flame of the Unknown Soldier.
The Arc de Triomphe also overlooks Paris, the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in particular, known to be the most beautiful avenue in the whole world.
The Champs-Elysées are also great for shopping because they gather the biggest French and international brands.
Schedules: Every day from 10 AM to 10:30 PM (last access 45 minutes before closure).
Full price: €12
Reduced rate: €10 (young people from 18 to 25 years old, tourism professionnal, and foreign teachers)
Free for people under 18 years old and for people between 18 and 25 years old from European Union countries and for disabled people and their accompanist
Arc de Triomphe: Metro Charles de Gaulle-Etoile (lines 1, 2, 6, RER A)
Champs-Elysées: Franklin Roosevelt (line 1), George V (line 1) or Champs-Elysées – Clémenceau (lines 1 and 13)
For more information about the Arc de Triomphe, you can check its official website.
3) Château de Versailles
An absolute masterpiece, the Château de Versailles is the symbol of the French monarchy and used to be the home of the Sun King Louis XIV as well as his descendants Louis XV and Louis XVI.
Originally a simple hunting pavilion for King Louis XIII, it was transformed into the marvel it is today under Louis XIV’s orders as a means to establish dominance over the nobles and to leave his trace upon the world.
Spend a day out of time by visiting the Château de Versailles, but also its gardens, the Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon, and the Hameau de la Reine.
Schedules: Every day – except on Monday – from 9 AM to 5:30 PM.
The Trianons and the Hameau only open at noon.
Simple full-price ticket for the Castle: €18
Free entrance for young people under 26 years old who are residents of the European Union.
Access: Versailles Château Rive Gauche station (RER C) or Versailles Rive Droite station (Transilien L, access by the Paris Saint-Lazare station)
4) Louvre Museum
Royal residence for 300 years, the Palais du Louvre has been hosting the Louvre Museum since 1793.
Gathering thousands of pieces of artwork from Ancient Egypt to the Romantic Period, the Louvre is the symbol of the History of France.
You will find there some classic works, like Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace or even Antioche’s Venus de Milo.
Schedules: Every day – except on Tuesdays – from 9 AM to 6 PM. On Wednesdays and Fridays, the museum closes at 9:45 PM.
Full price ticket: €15 on the spot and €17 online with a visit time slot and guaranteed access in 30 minutes (prices can change)
Free entrance for people under 25 years old living in the European Union and for all young people between 18 and 25 years old of all nationalities for nocturnal visits.
Moreover, free for everyone on each first Sunday of the month.
Access: Metro Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7)
Located on the Ile de la Cité, the Notre-Dame-de-Paris cathedral was for a long time the main symbol of Paris, before the Eiffel Tower was built.
It is by the way at the center of Victor Hugo’s novel Notre-Dame de Paris. Among other things, it was the location of Napoleon Bonaparte’s coronation in 1804.
On Monday, April 15th of 2019, the Notre-Dame cathedral was truly damaged by a wildfire. It is now under renovation and the visits are now suspended until further notice. But nothing prevents you to admire it from the outside.
Schedules: Every day from 7:45 AM to 6:45 PM (7:15 PM on Saturday and Sunday)
Prices: The entrance is free.
Access: RER B and C, Saint-Michel – Notre-Dame station, metro Saint-Michel (line 4), Cité (line 4) or Cluny – La Sorbonne (line 10).
For more information about the cathedral, you can check its official website (website in French)
Built after the Franco-German war of 1870, the Sacré-Coeur basilica was to be dedicated to the Heart of the Christ.
Indeed, it was supposed to expiate the sins committed by the French people during the war.
Located at the top of the Montmartre Hill, the Sacré-Coeur is the second most visited religious monument, right behind the Notre-Dame cathedral.
Not only is the inside absolutely stunning, with its white stones and the painting of the Christ inside the Heart, but the view from the top of Montmartre is breathtaking!
Schedules: Every day with no exceptions, from 6 AM to 10:30 PM
Prices: Free entrance
Access: Metro Anvers (line 2) or Abbesses (line 12) then take the funicular or the stairs.
For more information on the Sacré-Coeur, you can check its official website
7) Père Lachaise cemetery
The biggest cemetery of Paris, the Père Lachaise cemetery is also one of the most famous in the world.
Many celebrities are buried there, like Edith Piaf, Eugène Delacroix, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Jean de la Fontaine or Molière.
You will then be able to pay your respects to these icons.
Schedules: From Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 5:30 PM (the hours may vary), Saturday from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM and Sunday and holidays from 9 AM to 5:30 PM
Prices: Free entrance
Access: 16, rue du Repos, 75020 Paris. Metro Philippe Auguste (line 2)
For more information on the opening hours of the Père Lachaise cemetery, you can check the official website
8) Les Grands Magasins (Department Stores)
Considered to be a monument, the department stores of the Boulevard Haussmann gather the Galeries Lafayette and the Printemps Haussmann and make the first shopping center in Europe.
You will find there every major brand, whether it be clothes, shoes, leather goods, perfumes or jewelry wise…
Whatever you’re looking for, you are guaranteed to find it!
You will also have the opportunity to witness the great architecture, and you will even be able to go to the roof of the Galeries Lafayette and enjoy a beautiful view of Paris.
Schedules: From Monday to Saturday from 9:30 AM to 8:30 PM and on Sunday from 11 AM to 8 PM (the schedules may change depending on the shops).
Access: Boulevard Haussmann, metro Chaussée d’Antin – La Fayette (lines 7 and 9), Opéra (lines 3, 7 or 8) or Trinité (line 12), Auber (RER A) or Haussmann – Saint-Lazare (RER E)
9) Buttes Chaumont Park
Located in the northeast region of Paris, the Buttes Chaumont Park is one of the biggest parks in Paris.
Its setting in a pit gives you access to some beautiful views of the city, especially of the Montmartre neighbourhood.
With its caves and cascades, it might make you forget that you’re still in Paris!
You will easily be able to organize a picnic in the park with your family or friends.
Prices: Free entrance
Schedules: Every day from 7 AM to 10 PM in summer and from 7 AM to 8 PM in winter.
Access: Metro station Buttes Chaumont (line 7 bis)
10) Montmartre quarter
Known for the presence of the Sacré Cœur, Montmartre is one of Paris’ most iconic districts.
As it’s a historic and very vibrant quarter, you will be able to find everything here – bars and restaurants, but also many museums, and even the Moulin Rouge!
It’s also the city that Dalida’s heart belonged to – she lived there during the 60s until her death. You will also be able to admire the carved chest made in order to pay tribute to her, but also her house – which now has been sold.
Access: Metro 12 – Station Abbesses
11) Moulin Rouge
Inaugurated in 1889 (the same year as the Eiffel Tower), the Moulin Rouge has always been defined as a symbol of music, artist and body liberty.
A true definition of joy, nowadays the Moulin Rouge still is one of Paris’ emblems thanks to its shows, with its famous dancers and their stunning outfits.
Many celebrities have followed one another there, such as the famous Edith Piaf who sang there.
The show’s schedules: Everyday at 9PM and 11PM
You can also attend a dinner-show everyday at 7PM
Shows from €87
Dinner-show from €185 (the prices may change)
Access: Metro 2 – Station Blanche
>> Book your event at the Moulin Rouge <<
(note that bookings are mandatory)
12) Jardin des Tuileries
Separating the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde, the Jardin des Tuileries was designed by André Le Nôtre, a famous royal gardener (he created the gardens of the Château de Versailles) to accompany the Palais des Tuileries, which was burnt down in 1871.
Favorite meeting place among the Parisians, the Jardin Des Tuileries is not only very pleasant, with its large alleys and its fountains, but it also has statues made by the greatest French sculptors like Rodin or Maillol!
It is also close to the Musée de l’Orangerie, where you will find the famous Water Lilies by Monet.
From 7:30AM to 7:30PM, from the last Sunday of September to the last Sunday of March.
From 7AM to 9PM from the last Sunday of March to the last Sunday of September.
Prices: Free entrance.
Access: Place de la Concorde, 75001 Paris, metro Concorde (lines 1, 8 and 12).
13) Quartier Latin
The Quartier Latin (the Latin Quarter) is located in the 5th district of Paris, right next to the Notre-Dame cathedral.
It’s one of the more famous and more active quarters of the city, thanks to the presence of two universities, so it’s a quarter where many students gather.
You will find many streets with bars and restaurants, but also tourist sites such as the Panthéon, the arenas, the Curie museum but also the Jardin des Plantes.
Access: Metros 10, 7 and 4
Located in the 5th district – in the Quartier Latin – the Panthéon was built during the 18th century, taking its inspiration from the Rome’s Panthéon.
Its objective was to pay tribute to the French Republic’s great men, and many prominent personalities such as Simone Veil and her husband, as well as Victor Hugo, Emile Zola, Jean Moulin are buried there.
Its eclectic architecture must be seen and will amaze you by its beauty.
Full price: €9
Free for people from European Union countries under 25 years old and for disabled people and those aiding them.
Metro 10 – Station Cardinal Lemoine
Bus lines 84, 89, 75, 24 –Panthéon station
15) Jardin des Plantes
Also located in the Quartier Latin, the Jardin des Plantes of Paris is the head office of the National Museum of Natural History.
It has many greenhouses and scientific buildings called « galeries » which act as little museums about different topics. It is truely a little paradise in the heart of Paris which will seduce you with its diversity.
You will also be able to discover many independent expositions, but in particular the garden’s zoo, called the menagerie.
Garden’s schedule: Everyday from 8AM to 5:30PM
The menagerie’s schedule: Everyday from 9AM to 5PM (last access 45 minutes before the closure)
Free entry for all (note there are some paid expositions – go on the official website for more information)
Menagerie’s full price: €13
Reduced rate (for people from European Union countries under 25 years old): €10
Free for disabled people and those accompanying them
Metros 5/10 and RER C – Station Gare d’Austerlitz
Bus lines 63, 87, 89 – Station Jardin des Plantes
16) Jardin du Luxembourg
Located in the 6th district of Paris, the Jardin du Luxembourg is right next to the Quartier Latin. As it’s a mix of English and French gardens styles, you will be impressed.
It’s a beautiful mix of greenery and art which is offered to you when you go to the Jardin du Luxembourg. As well, you will also find many sculptures scattered throughout it.
It’s also the location of the Senate, which is therefore in charge of the garden.
Schedule: Opening between 7:30AM and 8:15AM and closure between 4:30PM and 9:30PM (depending on the season – more information here (French website))
Prices: Free entry for all
RER A and RER B – Station Luxembourg
Bus lines 58, 82, 83 – Station Guynemer-Vavin
17) Palais Garnier
The Palais Garnier or Opéra Garnier is a theater that was built in 1875 and has a performance hall, public spaces and rehearsal spaces. It’s one of the places that welcomes the most visitors in Paris.
It’s a true architectural beauty and it should be no surprise that it was rated as a historic monument in 1923.
The Palais Garnier is also part of the public institution of the « Opéra national de Paris » (with the Opéra Bastille); you have the possibility to attend ballets or the dance school’s demonstrations, concerts or recitals there.
Show’s schedule: Beginning at 2:30PM in the afternoon and 7:30PM in the evening, except special cases (you must arrive at least 30 minutes before the beginning of the show)
Counter’s schedules: From Monday to Saturday from 10AM to 6:30PM
Prices: Depends on the show (more information on the official website of the Opéra national de Paris)
Metros 3,7 and 8 – Station Opéra
Metros 8 and 14 – Station Madeleine
RER A – Station Auber
18) Centre Pompidou
The national art and culture center Georges-Pompidou is located in the 4th district of Paris in the famous Quartier du Marais.
Inaugurated in 1977, you can find contemporary art – temporary and permanent – expositions which form the biggest modern and contemporary art collection of Europe. There is also theater music and dance show, as well as the first public library in Europe.
Its original design – recalling the industrial era – will surprise you.
Every day except Tuesdays from 11AM to 9PM (last access 1 hour before closure)
Thursdays nocturnal tours last until 11PM
Permanent exposition ticket/children’s gallery and view over Paris: €14
For permanent expositions: free for young people from 18 to 25 years old from European Union countries, and for all each first Sunday of the month.
For permanent and temporary expositions: free for people under 18 years old and for disabled people and those accompanying them.
Metro 11 – Station Rambuteau
RER A, B and D – Station Châtelet-les-Halles
The Sainte-Chapelle du Palais is a gothic-style chapel which is located on the Île de la Cité, near to Notre-Dame.
It is famous for being built in only 7 years but also because it harbors the biggest Christian relics such as the Crown of Thorns.
The Sainte-Chapelle has been rated as a historic monument since 1862.
Schedules: Everyday from 9AM to 5PM.
Full price ticket: €10
Free for people under 26 years old from European Union countries and for disabled people and those accompanying them.
Metro 4 – Station Cité
Metros 1, 7, 11 and 14 – Station Châtelet
RER B/C – Station saint-Michel
20) Hôtel des Invalides
The Hôtel des Invalides is now located in the 7th district of Paris, but before 1860 it was in the 10th district.
Its construction began in 1671 under Louis XIV’s orders, who wanted to offer the old fighters (the Invalides) in his army – which was the biggest Europe army at that moment – a house after their service.
Nowadays, it welcomes some servicemen who have finished their service. You can also find museums there, in particular, the Army Museum.
Schedules: Everyday from 10AM to 5PM (museum’s fund closes 30 minutes before the museum’s closure)
Museum full-price ticket: €12
Museum reduced rate ticket: €10
Free for young people under 18 years old, for young people from 18 to 25 years old from European Union countries, and for servicemen.
Metro 8 – Stations Invalides or La Tour Maubourg
Metro 13 – Station Varennes
RER C – Station Invalides
21) Parc de la Villette
You could find not only many types of gardens, but also the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie and the Cité de la Musique which allow you to attend expositions or shows, in addition to enjoying the greenery.
The park: Everyday from 6AM to 1AM (except if there is a derogation)
Note that some gardens are closed depending on the time of the year and/or weather conditions.
Expositions of the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie: From Tuesday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6PM and Sunday from 10AM to 7PM (more information here)
Philharmonie and Cité de la Musique: From Tuesday to Friday from 12AM to 6PM and Saturdays and Sundays from 10AM to 6PM (more information here)
Park access: free for all
Full price expositions ticket to the Cité des Sciences: €12
Reduced rate expositions ticket: €9
More information on the prices here
The prices of the Cité de la Musique change depending on your activities – more information on the official website.
Access to the park:
Metro 5 – Station Porte de Pantin
Metro 7 – Station Porte de la Villette
Tram 3b – Stations Porte de Pantin/ Ella Fitzgerald/ Porte de la Villette
Access to the Cité des Sciences:
Metro 7 – Station Porte de la Villette
Bus lines 139, 150, 152 – Station Porte de la Villette
Tram T3b – Station Porte de la Villette
Access to the Cité de la Musique:
Metro 5 – Station Porte de Pantin
RER E – Station Pantin
Tram T3b – Station Porte de Pantin
Bus lines 75 et 151 – Station Porte de Pantin