Paris: France’s Capital – the Top 10 Places of Interest
Paris is one of the most famous cities in the world. Therefore, it’s no wonder that this beautiful capital is the dream destination of many a traveler. But Paris isn’t just about romance – you can also visit stunningly beautiful and historically important buildings here. It doesn’t matter where you are, there are magnificent sights all over Paris.
To make sure you don’t get overwhelmed by the wide range of attractions in Paris, we have collected the top 10 sights in this article. Don’t miss any of them on your next trip to Paris! But first, here’s a brief overview of the city.
Paris in a Nutshell
Paris is the capital of France, a country in Western Europe. Although the city has a population of more than 2.14 million and is therefore one of the biggest in the EU, it’s surprisingly small in terms of area. In fact, it’s only about 105.34 square kilometers in size, with approximately 20,600 people per square meter. This makes Paris one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The capital of France is located in the north of the country. The river Seine divides it into two parts, Rive Droite (north) and Rive Gauche (south).
If you want to enjoy Paris while walking in the sun, we would recommend coming here between June and September. During this time, the weather is not only warm, but also dry.
But no matter the time of year, there’s always something going on in the city of love. For example, there’s the national day on July 14th. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789. There are lots of exciting things happening all over the city on this day. For example, there’s a huge military parade on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a breathtaking firework display over the whole of Paris, and many more surprises, which we don’t want to spoil here.
Another great event is the Nuit blanche. As soon as it gets dark on the first Saturday in November, artists all around Paris start to display their work. Many colors illuminate the city, and you can experience music, theater, art exhibitions, and many more events up close. That sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
Of course, we can’t leave out Christmas in Paris. The city is simply magical at this time of year, with huge and elaborately decorated Christmas trees and fairy lights everywhere. Don’t forget to visit the many Christmas markets to really get into the festive mood. A trip to Paris is always worth it, no matter the time of year, but Christmas here remains a particularly special experience.
Of course, you shouldn’t only enjoy the sights, but also the delicious food. One of the best and most popular specialties is the world-famous croissant. Don’t miss out on this tasty and buttery pastry! Whether it’s a traditional croissant or a pain au chocolat, this specialty is simply to die for!
There’s another Parisian specialty that has become an absolute trend in recent years – macarons! This confection, which you can enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea, comes in many varieties. Whether you prefer pistachio, vanilla, mixed berries, or chocolate, there’s a macaron for everyone.
Of course, there’s also the world-famous baguette. Whether you have it with delicious French cheese, jam, and butter, or simply plain – you have to try a baguette when you’re in Paris! It just doesn’t taste the same in other places. The Parisians truly are the masters of the baguette.
If you want to explore all the sights in Paris, we would recommend buying a metro ticket. Did you know that the city’s subway network is the second largest one in Europe? It’s very well-structured and reliable.
The Top 10 Places of Interest in Paris
Now that you know all the basics, it’s time for our top 10 sights!
The Eiffel Tower: the Landmark of Paris
The Eiffel Tower is the most famous landmark in Paris. It’s everywhere – on postcards, t-shirts, and keychain. Paris and the Eiffel Tower just go hand in hand. The landmark, which is 330 m (ca. 1,083 ft) tall, was built between 1887 and 1889 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Today, it is one of the most visited landmarks in the world, with about 7 million guests every year. You can admire the Eiffel Tower not only from a distance, but also up close by walking up its steps or taking the elevator. The view from the top is truly amazing! No matter what you decide to do on your trip, the Eiffel Tower is a must-see when you’re in the City of Love.
You’ll recognize the Louvre Museum immediately by the glass pyramid in its courtyard. This beautiful museum was opened in 1793. It’s the largest art gallery in the world, with up to 35,000 exhibits to admire! Among them are Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Eugène Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People”. At the Louvre, there’s a famous painting wherever you look.
Another popular museum that you should definitely put on your sightseeing list is the Musée d’Orsay. Originally used as a train station, it was later converted into a museum. It is much smaller than the Louvre, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting. There are more than 4,000 exhibits, and you can see world-famous works of art up close. Whether it’s Claude Monet or Vincent van Gogh, the Musée d’Orsay is home to a truly fascinating collection.
Fortunately, all the best museums in Paris – the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée de l’Orangerie, and the Grand Palais – are all pretty close to each other. So if you have the time, we recommend spending a day walking from one museum to the other.
The Basilica minor Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre was built between 1875 and 1914 and has been one of the most visited sights in Paris ever since. The magnificent church at the top of the hill Montmartre towers above the rest of the city. It is an architectural marvel both from the outside and the inside. Don’t miss the five-meter tall Statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by the artist Pierre Sequin before you go in! But there are also plenty of beautiful mosaic ornaments and elaborate decorations waiting for you inside the church. If you’re still not satisfied, then surely the breathtaking view will convince you. You can see all of Paris from up here!
Notre-Dame de Paris
The cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s one of the oldest Gothic cathedrals in France. This record becomes even more impressive when you consider its exceptional architecture. Notre-Dame was built in four different construction phases between 1163 and 1345. From historic chalices to unique crucifixes, there is a lot for you to discover here. No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to this magnificent cathedral.
Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile
This French monument is located in the center of the Place Charles-de-Gaulle. It was built from 1806 to 1836. Underneath the famous triumphal arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which honors all the fallen unidentifiable soldiers. The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most popular sights in Paris. You can only reach it through an underpass. Don’t forget to visit the viewing platform at the top of the 50 m (164 ft) tall monument, where you’ll have a stunning view of Paris!
This opera house was opened in 1875. It is one of the largest theater buildings in the world and can accommodate up to 1,900 people. The grand staircase, or escalier d’honneur in French, is particularly impressive. Its elaborate and detailed design is a true highlight of the opera house! Another interesting thing is the large crystal chandelier in the auditorium. It weighs a total of eight tons. So if you’ve ever wanted to see The Phantom of the Opera in France’s most beautiful venue, then the Opéra Garnier is the place to be!
Avenue des Champs-Élysées
If you’re in Paris to go shopping, then you should visit the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The southern side of the street was built in 1616 and is lined with a long row of trees. The opposite side followed a few years later in 1667. This world-famous shopping street is almost two kilometres – or a little more than a mile – long and is home to hundreds of stores. But even if you don’t want to buy anything, looking around is still well worth it just to admire the beautiful shops. The shopping street starts at the largest square in Paris, the Place de la Concorde, and ends at the Place Charles-de-Gaulle, where the Arc de Triomphe is.
Jardin des Tuileries
The Jardin des Tuileries, or Tuileries Garden, is a Baroque park near the Louvre. You should definitely take a stroll around here, as it’s one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe. What used to be a private park for France’s kings and queens is now a green refuge for visitors and locals alike. The great variety of flowers, historical sculptures, and grandiose fountains will mesmerize you. After you’ve walked around for a while, grab a free chair, sit down near one of the fountains, and enjoy the lovely atmosphere.
Palace of Versailles
As you can probably tell by its name, this famous palace is in Versailles, a suburb on the outskirts of Paris. But in our opinion, you should still make the trip to this place. After all, it’s one of the largest palaces in Europe. Although it was originally used as a royal residence, it has been a museum since the early 19th century. In 1979, the palace became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, you can visit it, learn more about the French monarchs and their home life, and admire the building’s magnificent façade. There’s a lot for you to discover outside as well, such as the orangery and the beautiful garden, among other things. We highly recommend a trip to Versailles. Don’t miss out on this historically important and incredibly beautiful building!
In this article, we’ve collected the top 10 sights in Paris. Do you want to see some of the greatest paintings in the world? Then a day at the Louvre or the Musée d’Orsay is the perfect activity for you. Or maybe you prefer a visit to some of France’s most beautiful churches, like Sacré-Coeur or Notre-Dame. Can’t get enough of French culture? Then get your tickets to a night at the opera in one of Europe’s largest and most magnificent opera houses, the Opéra Garnier? Of course, no trip to Paris would be complete without the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. If you want to update your wardrobe, then the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées is the perfect place for you. Finally, don’t forget to visit the Palace of Versailles on the outskirts of Paris to round off your trip. What are you waiting for? Bon voyage!