Things To Do When You're In Paris, France
Paris is the crown jewel of Europe. You probably already feel like you know all about the City of Light. There are so many wonderful things to do in this city, we’re only going to touch on a few. Rest assured we have been to each of these locations. Reach out if you have a question about anything we list.
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Paris:
The world’s largest and most visited art museum has more than enough material for an article of its own. The Louvre Palace started out as a medieval fortress, before becoming a gallery for artists to study antiquities and the works of Old Masters in the 1700s.
If you are pressed for time, see the crème de la crème like the 2,200-year-old Winged Victory of Samothrace, Liberty Leading the People (Delacroix), the Portrait of François I (Jean Clouet), the enigmatic Gabrielle d’Estrées and one of her sisters (Unknown) and of course the Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci). Be prepared to wait in an extra line to see Mona, about 1 hour or so on a good day.
In the astonishing confines of a Beaux-Arts railway station is a compendium of French art and culture from the mid-19th century to 1914. The Gare d’Orsay is on the left bank of the Seine and was completed in 1900 for the Exposition Universelle.
After becoming obsolete for modern rail travel the building sat idle before being listed and turned into one of the largest art museums in the world, filling the gap between the Louvre and the National Museum of Modern Art at the Pompidou Centre.
If you’re in the city for the first time then it needs to be a priority.
Close to 7 million people ascend the Eiffel Tower every year; most go up to the first two levels where there are shops and restaurants, while the third level is still the highest accessible observation deck in Europe at 276 metres.
Perhaps if this is more than your first visit then treat yourself to one of the two restaurants in the tower. Either 58 Tour Eiffel or Le Jules Verne. Both are excellent, require reservations and offer fantastic views.
Notre-Dame de Paris
Probably the most famous Gothic monument in the world, Notre-Dame can be seen best from the eastern point of the Île de la Cité in the Seine. In Paris’s Medieval core, the cathedral was begun in 1163 and completed just under 200 years later.
Of course since the most recent fire, the building is closed and surrounded by fencing. So your best bet for the view is a distant one.
Palace of Versailles
The largest and maybe the most famous palace in the world isn’t something to take lightly. A testament to the opulence and excess of the ancient régime, Versailles grew from a hunting lodge in the 17th century to the ultimate statement of power in the century that followed.
You need a lot of time to get the most from the palace, its opulent apartments and the historic Hall of Mirrors that links them. If you have a chance, eat at La Flottille, a garden restaurant in the gardens or rent a bike.
Arc de Triomphe
At the western end of the Champs-Elysées is the monumental arch erected to celebrate the victories and remember the war dead of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The Arc de Triomphe is also at the centre point of the Axe Historique, a long, straight line linking monuments from La Défense in the west to the Louvre in the east.
Buy your tickets ahead of time if you’d like to go to the top, which I recommend at least once.
At the highest point of the Butte Montmartre hill is a monument born out of a catastrophe. You have to battle up Square Louise Michel below to be rewarded by what might be the best view of Paris.
In the final decades of the 18th century Paris was in dire need of extra cemetery space. Be prepared for a lot of walking.
Saint Germain des Prés
This area is delightfully full of restaurants and bars. It is a bit of a younger and hipper crowd but great places to watch Paris go by.