Paris is a big city and rich with activities. How can you know what to do first? It’s your first visit to Paris and you want to make sure not to miss any of the best sites in the city? 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. Looking down on Paris from its 325 meters (1066 ft) in height, 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.
Endure the queue and the height and climb to the top; you won’t be disappointed by the view of Paris and the Champ de Mars!
The Eiffel Tower hosts 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.
Schedule: Every day from 9:30 AM to 11:45 PM (last rise to the top at 10:30 PM by elevator).
Prices: Their are different tickets to go up the Eiffel Tower, some of them only give you access to the 2nd floor and some others only allow you to take the stairs. The price will vary according to your choice.
Last-floor access by elevator
Adult rate: €25.50
Teenage & Young Adult rate(12 to 24 years old): €12.70
Children rate(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 the Champs-Elysées
As a symbol France’s national power, the Arc de Triomphe was requested by Napoleon Bonaparte in order to commemorate the victory during the Battle of Austerlitz in 1806.
Today it commemorates the First World War and hosts the Flame of the Unknown Soldier.
The Arc de Triomphe overlooks Paris in general, and the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in particular, which is known to be the most beautiful street in the whole world.
The Champs-Elysées is also a great place for shopping because it gathers the biggest French and international brands.
Schedule: Every day from 10 AM to 10:30 PM (last access 45 minutes before closure).
Full price: 12€
knock-off 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 as well as for disabled people and their helpers
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) Palace of Versailles
The palace of Versailles is an absolute masterpiece of French architecture. It’s the symbol of French monarchy and used to be the home of Louis XIV, the Sun King as well as his descendants Louis XV and Louis XVI.
While it was initially a mere hunting pavilion for King Louis XIII, it was transformed into the marvel it is today under Louis XIV’s decree as a means to establish dominance over the nobles and to leave his mark in history.
Spend a day in another time while visiting the Château de Versailles, as well as its Gardens, the Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon, and the Hameau de la Reine.
Schedule: 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 people under 26 years old and 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
After having 300 years of history as a royal residence, the Palais du Louvre has been hosting the Louvre Museum ever since 1793.
Through gathering thousands of pieces of art from Ancient Egypt to the Romantic Period, the Louvre is the symbol of France’s history.
Many classic pieces such as 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 are on permanent exhibit for anyone to see.
Schedule: 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 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, the main symbol of Paris until the Eiffel Tower was built.
It is the core subject of Victor Hugo’s novel Notre-Dame de Paris. Among other things, it was the location of Napoleon Bonaparte’s coronation in 1804.
Update February 19, 2020: Due to it being rebuilt, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is currently closed to the public. You can still walk up to -and around- it in order to savor its still resplendent architecture which still qualifies it as one of Paris’ iconic monuments.
Schedule: Every day from 7:45 AM to 6:45 PM (7:15 PM on Saturday and Sunday)
Price: 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 in 1870, the Sacré-Coeur basilica was dedicated to the Heart of the Christ.
Its purpose was 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 in Paris, right behind the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Not only is the interior absolutely stunning, with its white stones and the painting of the the Christ’s Holy Heart, but the view from the top of Montmartre is breathtaking!
Schedule: Every day, 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 here such as Edith Piaf, Eugène Delacroix, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Jean de la Fontaine or Molière.
You will be able to pay your respects to these famous figures.
Scheduls: 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)
Holding the qualification of a monument in and of itself, the department stores of the Boulevard Haussmann gather the Galeries Lafayette and the Printemps Haussmann and is considered Europe’s number one shopping center.
Every major brand is for sale, whether it be clothes, shoes, leather goods, perfumes, jewelry or otherwise
Whatever you’re looking for, you are sure to find it here.
You will also have the opportunity to witness the building’s architecture, and you even be able to go to the roof of the Galeries Lafayette to 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 North-East region of Paris, the Buttes Chaumont Park is one of the largest parks in Paris.
Its position on top of a quarry lets you enjoy dome of the most beautiful views of the city, especially the Montmartre neighbourhood.
With its caves and cascades, it might make you forget that you’re still in Paris!
You can easily 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 is a historic and vibrant quarter, you can find anything here – bars and restaurants, but also many museums, and even the Moulin Rouge!
It’s also the area 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, artistic and body liberty.
A true definition of joy, nowadays the Moulin Rouge is still one of Paris’ emblems thanks to its shows, including its famous dancers and their stunning outfits.
Many celebrities have performed 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
Between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde, the Jardin des Tuileries was designed by André Le Nôtre, a famous royal gardener (he also designed the gardens of the Château de Versailles) to accompany the Palais des Tuileries, which was burnt down in 1871.
As one of Parisians’ favorite meeting places, the Jardin Des Tuileries is not only very pleasant, with its large alleys and its fountains, but it also has statues sculpted by the greatest French sculptors like Rodin or Maillol!
It’s also near the Musée de l’Orangerie, where you can admire Monet’s famous Water Lilies.
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.
Price: Free entrance.
Access: Place de la Concorde, 75001 Paris, metro Concorde (lines 1, 8 and 12).
13) Latin Quarter
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 neighbourhoods of the city. Due to the presence of two universities, it’s an area with many students.
You will find many streets with bars and restaurants, but also tourist sites such as the Panthéon, Les Arènes, the Curie museum and the Jardin des Plantes.
Access: Metros 10, 7 and 4
Located in the 5th district – in the Latin Quarter – the Panthéon was built during the 18th century, using Rome’s Panthéon as a model.
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 which are buried there.
Its eclectic architecture is a must-see and will doubtlessly amaze you through its beauty.
Full price: 9€
Free for people from European Union countries under 25 years old and for disabled people and heir helpers.
Metro 10 – Station Cardinal Lemoine
Bus lines 84, 89, 75, 24 –Panthéon station
15) Jardin des Plantes
Also located in the Latin Quarter, the Jardin des Plantes is the home of the National Museum of Natural History.
It has many greenhouses and scientific buildings called “galeries” which act as little museums concerning various topics. It is truly a little paradise in the center of Paris which will seduce you thanks to its diversity.
There are also many independent exhibits such as 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 entry is 45 minutes before closing time)
Free entry for all (note: there are some charged exhibits- 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 their helpers
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 Latin Quarter. Due to the mix of English and French garden styles, it’s makes for an impressive sight.
As such, a beautiful mix of greenery and art is presented to you when you go to the Jardin du Luxembourg. There are many sculptures scattered throughout it as well.
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 which was built in 1875 and has a performance hall, public areas and rehearsal areas. It’s one of the places that welcomes the most visitors in Paris.
It’s a true architectural masterpiece and it is quite unsurprising that it was claqqified as a historical monument in 1923.
The Palais Garnier is also part of the public institution of the “Opéra national de Paris” organization (along with the Opéra Bastille); You can go there to attend ballets or the dance school’s demonstrations, concerts and recitals.
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 Georges-Pompidou museum of contemporary art is located in the 4th district of Paris in the famous Marais area.
Opened in 1977, temporary and permanent exhibits form the biggest modern and contemporary art collection of Europe. There is also theatrical musicical and dance shows, as well as the first public library in Europe.
Its original design – which emulates the 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 exhibits: 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 their helpers
Metro 11 – Station Rambuteau
RER A, B and D – Station Châtelet-les-Halles
The Sainte-Chapelle du Palais is a gothic-style chapel located on the Île de la Cité, near Notre-Dame.
It’s famous for being built in only 7 years and because it hosts the most important Christian relics such as the Crown of Thorns.
The Sainte-Chapelle was classified as a historical monument in 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 their helpers.
Metro 4 – Station Cité
Metros 1, 7, 11 and 14 – Station Châtelet
RER B/C – Station saint-Michel
20) Hôtel des Invalides
While the Hôtel des Invalides is currently located in the Paris’ 7th district of Paris, until 1860, it used to be in the 10th district.
Its construction began in 1671 under Louis XIV’s instruction, who wanted to give his veteran soldiers a place to live in after having served in the army.
Nowadays, while there are still some army veterans who live there, there are mainly museums including 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 veterans.
Metro 8 – Stations Invalides or La Tour Maubourg
Metro 13 – Station Varennes
RER C – Station Invalides
21) Parc de la Villette
There are many types of Gardens, as well as the, Museum of Science and Industry and the Cité de la Musique in which you can attend exhibits or shows, in addition to enjoying the greenery.
The park: Everyday from 6AM to 1AM
Note that some gardens are closed depending on the time of the year and/or weather conditions.
Exhibits of the Museum of Science and Industry: 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 ticket for the Cité des Sciences: 12€
Off-price ticket: 9€
More information on the prices here
The prices of the Cité de la Musique may change depending on the exhibit- 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
Mona knows Paris like the back of her hand. Its bars, its restaurants and above all, its hotels, whether you want to sleep, eat, party or just take a walk in Paris, Mona knows them (nearly) all. Follow her lead, she will gladly give you all her good tips!