In this article we will describe the best places to visit in Paris organized by the most popular sights and attractions.
1. Notre Dame
Towering Notre Dame Cathedral and its island home, the île de la Cite, are the visual crown of the historic heart of Paris. In 2013 the cathedral will celebrate its 850th birthday accompanied by nine newly cast bronze bells. Nearby is the Palais de Justice made famous during the French Revolution, the Conciergerie (where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned), the stained glass mastery of the church Saint Chapelle, the famous Pont Neuf Bridge, and the delightful residences and shops of the island Île de Sainte Louis. Click for more details on Notre Dame and surrounding attractions.
2. Eiffel Tower
Visiting the stunning, world-famous Eiffel Tower and viewing the city from on high is considered by many the traditional right of passage when visiting Paris. Nearby are: the Palais de Chaillot and its museums, the Musée du Quai Branly (ethnography) and the Musée Marmottan Monet (an excellent art museum focused on the works of Monet). Click for more details on the Eiffel Tower and nearby attractions.
3. Champs Elysées
This the romantic heart of Paris and one of the most popular streets for strolling and shopping while gazing at the monumental Arc de Triomphe. Seine River cruises are nearby. Click for more details on the many things to see and do on the Champs Elysées.
4. The Louvre
Perhaps the most well-known and important of the world’s museums, the Louvre has an incomparable collection of art (including the Mona Lisa), statuary and historic artifacts. The beautiful Tuilleries Gardens are nearby, as is the Orangerie that houses Monet’s famous Water Lily paintings. Click for more details on the Louvre at its surrounding attractions.
5. The Latin Quarter
Home of the Sorbonne, the Pantheon, the fabulous Museum of the Middle Ages and the Delacroix Museum, this is the historic, “intellectual capital” of Paris. The Luxembourg Gardens is a wonderful park in the middle of the city and nearby St. Germain-des-Prés is trendy shopping area full of interesting boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants. Da Vinci Code fans should be on the lookout of the church Saint-Sulpice in Saint Germain-des-Pres. Click for more details on the Latin Quarter and the best places to visit in this area.
The Saint Louis des Invalides church houses the final resting place of Napoleon I, and many other of France’s military heroes. Nearby is the Musée d’Orsay, the grand museum of the Impressionists, as well as the Rodin Museum exhibiting many of the master’s works. Click for more details on the Invalides and surrounding attractions
7. The Marias
The Marais is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Paris and its Places des Vosges is a delightful 17th century residential square. The nearby Musée Picasso is a must see (it reopens in summer 2013), as is the Musée Carnavalet focused on the history of Paris. Les Halles ( a modern version of the historic markets of Paris), the amazing Pompidou Center and its modern art, as well as the Stately Hôtel de Ville, the City Hall of Paris are in close proximity. In addition, the Place de la Bastille is nearby, although there is not much to see of importance has survived the passage of time. Click for more details on the best places to visit in the Marais.
The scene for countless novels, movies and paintings, Montmartre is another of the popular destinations in Paris. See the famous church Sacre Couer, the artists at the Place du Tertre and, if you are a fan on the “can-can”, get reservations for the Moulin Rouge. Click for more details on Montmartre and its interesting neighborhood.
9. Central Paris
The Place de la Concorde and its famous obelisk was once the site of the guillotine and the executions of many of the royalty during the French Revolution. The Rue Saint-Honoré and the Place de la Madeline are prime shopping areas, as is the Place Vendome with it Grand Column celebrating the Napoleon. See also the beautiful Opéra Garnier as you head for more shopping at the Grand Magasins, including Printemps and the Galeries Lafayette. Click for more details on what to see and do in Central Paris.
10. Père Lachaise Cemetery
It is curious that one of the most interesting attractions in Paris is the Lachaise cemetery. This historic burial grounds is the final resting place of many notable luminaries and is a historical who’s who of Paris, its history and the arts. Click for more details on Père Lachaise and links to our map of the area.
11. Daytrips – Close By
We recommend the four locations immediately below as easy day trips from Paris that will help balance the frenetic pace of touring the city with enchanting country estates, palaces and gardens. Our page on Fontainebleau also includes a description of the amazing chateau Vaux le Vicomte
Although we do not cover it in detail in our guide, Disneyland Paris attracts visitors of all ages and is just a little over a half-hour east of Paris by RER train. Fantasyland, Discoveryland, Frontierland and Adventureland lead the pack, but these are just part of the Disneyland Paris experience. See the official website of Disneyland Paris for more details on visiting.
12. Daytrips – Farther Afield
If you are willing to travel “farther afield”, click the button below for information on visiting 1) the World War II Invasion Beaches of Normandy, 2) the Loire Valley and its Chateaus, 3)Chartres Cathedral, or 4) the majestically situated Mont Sainte Michel in southern Normandy on the border with Brittany.