When you’re trying to plan what to see in Paris you could well find yourself spoilt for choice. A city brimming with culture, style and romance, it draws millions of tourists every year - all searching for the best places in Paris to visit and usually fighting against a tight schedule at the same time.
From world famous lures such as the Eiffel Tower, to hidden gems such as the Crypte Archeologique, there are so many things to do in Paris that a long weekend just isn’t enough!
So if you’re planning to visit this romantic hub and want to make the most of your trip, then our selection of the top places to visit in Paris could be just the thing for you. We’ve put together an expert selection highlighting what to see in Paris on a short trip, with our top ten places to visit stacked alongside a few additional recommendations that didn’t quite make the cut but shouldn’t be ignored if you have more time.
And if that’s not enough, you can even explore our full list of sites in Paris to your heart’s content.
Ok, ten out or ten for stating the obvious. Everyone puts the Eiffel Tower top of the list of things to see in Paris. But with good reason, because the Eiffel Tower is a place you just can’t miss. From its looming construction to its stunning views of the city and just the general energy and buzz of the place, it really does live up to the billing.
The Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) is an imposing iron monument on Paris’ Champ de Mars by the river Seine. The Eiffel Tower was built between 1887 and 1889 based on the design of engineer Gustave Eiffel, after whom the tower was named. In fact Eiffel’s design was chosen out of 107... Read More
While most people come to this city for romance, there’s a darker side to be found… This underground burial complex houses six million skeletons dating to the 18th century. Stacked in endless corridors, it’s a fascinating and haunting place. If you have the courage, it’s one of the most interesting places in Paris to see.
The Catacombs of Paris (Les Catacombes de Paris) came into use as a burial place for Parisian bones in the eighteenth century following the overpopulation of Parisian cemeteries and the closure of the Cemetery of Innocents (Les Innocents). The Catacombs are underground quarries encompassing a portion of Paris’ old mines near... Read More
Firmly seated among the most famous places to visit in Paris, you could spend your entire trip exploring the Louvre. It is vast and packed full of masterpieces at every turn. So do you zip through to see the highlights – the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo et al - or do you take your time and risk joining the collection…
Musee du Louvre, also known as, the Grand Louvre or just The Louvre, is one of the world’s foremost art museums, exhibiting over 35,000 works from around the globe and throughout history. The Louvre’s eight departments cover an extensive array of historical periods and artistic genres, each represented through the museum’s... Read More
The Pantheon's in Rome right? True, but it’s also in Paris. At least, the Paris Pantheon is in Paris. Makes sense, if you think about it. The Paris Pantheon is a church turned mausoleum and resting place of France’s famous. Little visited, it’s a magnificent building and ranks as one of the best things to do in Paris.
The Pantheon in Paris (Le Pantheon), was built as a result of King Louis XV’s determination to create an edifice to the glory of St-Genèvieve, the patron saint of Paris. “The Pantheon” means “Every God” and construction began in 1758 with the intention that the building be a church. However, it... Read More
A monument to the decadence of royalty and a constant draw for vast numbers of visitors, Versailles is simply astonishing. And if the massive opulent palace isn’t enough, the gardens will simply blow your mind. Representing ostentatiousness beyond measure, it’s clearly one of the very best places to visit in Paris.
The Palace of Versailles was originally the hunting lodge of France’s King Louis XIII, but was transformed into a magnificent residence by his son and successor, Louis XIV. The ostentatious monarch built the Grand Apartment of the King and Queen which included the magnificent Hall of Mirrors before moving both his... Read More
Standing at the very heart of the city, Notre Dame is an iconic cathedral and a staple entry on any list of what to see in Paris. With its looming ceilings and magnificent stained-glass windows, it's a wonderful place to visit. Its fame and location leave it slightly over-glorified, but it's genuinely impressive all the same.
Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris) is a gothic cathedral in Paris’s fourth arrondissement. Original construction began in 1163, with the first stone supposedly laid in the presence of Pope Alexander III. At this time, it was the project of the bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully who... Read More
This cemetery is not the most obvious of things to do in Paris, and yet it has a strange allure. As well as many famous figures and military grandees found here, and alongside ornate and elaborate tombs, are a number of graves which have become cult destinations – principally the burials of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetière du Père-Lachaise) was established by Napoleon I in 1804. Originally considered to be too far from the main city, Pere Lachaise Cemetery initially attracted few funerals, but following a marketing campaign and the transfer of the remains of French philosopher Pierre Abélard in 1817, its popularity... Read More
One of the city’s best hidden gems is the Crypte Archeologique – an underground museum of Roman Paris. Indeed, few people even think of Roman ruins among the interesting places in Paris to visit. This site is more curious as it's directly below Notre Dame; yet of the thousands above, barely dozens descend its steps.
The Crypte Archeologique (Archaeological Crypt) in Notre Dame Square (Parvis) in Paris is an incredible site for those interested in the history of Paris. During the Gallo-Roman Period, Paris was known as Lutetia, which developed from the first and second centuries BC. The Crypte Archeologique contains the remains of Gallo-Roman Lutetia,... Read More
If there was ever an example of good things in small packages then Sainte Chapelle is it. A 13th century church, its beautiful upper chapel is formed of intricate stained-glass windows and a richly decorated ceiling. It’s easily one of the top ten Paris places to visit and really has to be seen to be appreciated.
Sainte Chapelle or the “Holy Chapel” is a gothic church built by Saint Louis in Ile de la Cité in the centre of Paris. The construction of Sainte Chapelle began in 1246 under the orders of King Louis IX, and was carried out with the specific purpose of housing the relics... Read More
A hidden gem in the heart of Paris, Musee de Cluny is a medieval museum nestling within an ancient Roman bath complex. In fact, this tucked away treasure is one of the very best remnants of the ancient Roman city which would become Paris. If you’re seeking interesting places to visit in Paris, this is hard to beat.
Musee de Cluny in Paris is steeped in both medieval and Ancient Roman history. Officially known as Musée National du Moyen Âge – the National Museum of the Middle Ages - Musee de Cluny has an impressive collection, including Roman statues, gothic sculptures, a treasury filled with the works of... Read More
Another very obvious entry on the list of what to see in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe. An iconic landmark, you can’t really come to the city without seeing it, and you can get some excellent views of Paris from the top.
The Arc de Triomphe in Paris is a 162 foot monumental arch in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle. It was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, shortly following his victory at Austerlitz, with the aim of commemorating French soldiers, particularly those who fought in the Napoleonic Wars. The Arc... Read More
Tucked away among cramped modern streets, the remains of this Roman amphitheatre are well worth a passing look. Though not the best roman ruin on the planet, it’s nevertheless centrally located and easy to get to. It may not the most obvious of places to see in Paris, but it’s definitely a quick one to add to the list.
Arenes de Lutece or “Lutetia Arena” in Paris is one of the most important and rare remnants of the Gallo-Roman settlement of Lutetia. Lutetia or ‘Lutece’ was a settlement located on the site of what is now Paris. Originating in pre-Roman Gaul it then became a Roman city. Originally built in... Read More
While there’s no doubt that walking the Champs Elysees is one of the most clichéd things to do in Paris, it’s still worth the stroll. From the Arc de Triomphe to the shops and attractions there’s quite a bit to do. And standing at the top of the Champs Elysees to take a photo remains an unmissable tourist activity.
The Avenue des Champs Elysees is a central street in Paris first established in the 1660’s and in which many of the France’s national events are marked, including parades to celebrate the victories of each of the two World Wars. Today, Avenue des Champs Elysees is a focal point for both... Read More
The Basilica of St Denis is often overlooked by visitors and overshadowed by Notre Dame. Yet it was here that French royalty was laid to rest and, despite destruction during the Revolution, this royal necropolis can still be seen. Combined with stunning architecture, this is one place in Paris that is well worth a visit.
The Basilica of St Denis (Basilique Saint-Denis) in Paris, France is a cathedral basilica named after France’s patron saint. In fact, the place where Basilica of St Denis stands is believed to the site where Saint Denis, also known as Saint Dionysius, was buried after his death in around 275... Read More
The country home of Napoleon Bonaparte, Chateau de Malmaison is one of the most famous grand houses in Paris. Containing impressive collections and a deep sense of history built around the renowned footsteps which graced its halls, this iconic property is on the outskirts of the city but is worth the effort.
Chateau de Malmaison was the home of Napoleon Bonaparte and his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais, who bought it in 1799. Since then, Chateau de Malmaison served as the seat of government from 1800 to 1802 and then became Joséphine’s property in 1809 after the couple divorced. After serving as her... Read More
As impressive for the architecture as for the history and exhibits, this famous former prison lies in the heart of the city. You can still visit the old prison, including Marie Antoinette’s cell, and its convenient location means it often appears on most itineraries of places in Paris to visit.
La Conciergerie in Paris, France is located on an important site which once formed the seat of the city’s Roman leaders during their occupation of Gaul. La Conciergerie itself originally formed part of thirteenth century Palais de Justice, the royal palace built by King Philip IV. It served this role... Read More
Originally a military hospital, Les Invalides is a large complex of buildings and monuments which houses museums, a hospital and a home for war veterans. However, it is the tall chapel dome and the tomb of one of the country’s most famous figures, Napoleon I, that perhaps ranks it among the most famous places in Paris.
Les Invalides was originally built by the order of Louis XIV as a hospital and home for ailing soldiers. This order was given on 24 November 1670, the building designed by architect Liberal Bruant and Les Invalides was completed in 1676. In fact Les Invalides still operates as an institution... Read More
It doesn’t take long to see Place de la Concorde, indeed it’s just a quick stop along the route along Paris’s famous places. And yet in terms of history, it’s hard to find a spot in the city which witnessed such momentous moments. For it was here that King Louis XVI was executed in 1793, an act that sent shockwaves across the world.
Place de la Concorde in Paris was the site where King Louis XVI was executed on 21 January 1793. During the French Revolution, Place de la Concorde was named Place de la Revolution. Prior to this, it had been known as Place Louis XV and had contained a statue of the... Read More
You pretty much have to visit Pont Neuf when you come to this city. Almost all the most famous places to see in Paris require that you walk over it one way or the other. It’s the oldest bridge in the city and a great spot to snap some pictures.
Pont Neuf in Paris dates back to the sixteenth century, making it the oldest bridge in the city. Work on Pont Neuf was started in 1578 by King Henry III and completed in 1607 by Henry IV.... Read More
For a building which is so renowned, the remains of the Bastille are curiously obscure. Lying almost entirely forgotten at the edge of a tiny park, the last remnants of this famous prison are marked only with a small plaque. If you’re looking for things to see in Paris that most people miss, this is one gem worth seeing.
Some remains of the Bastille, the state prison which was famously stormed thus sparking the French Revolution, can be seen in a small park known as Square Henri Galli in Paris. A small plaque next to what seems like an innocuous pile of stones marks this out as the remains... Read More