Ah, Paris… the city that continues to inspire artists, lovers, and everyone in between. A must-see for any world traveler, Paris is filled with bucket-list experiences. This is your ultimate guide to get the most joie de vivre from your trip, whether you’re there for a weekend or longer.
What better way to get your bearings in a new city than to see it all at once? When arriving in Paris, your first port of call should definitely be the Montparnasse Tower — 210 meters above les rues. Offering truly spectacular 360 degree views of the city, we love it because it offers an unbeatable vantage-point for all of Paris’ iconic monuments… including the Eiffel Tower. Wizz past the lines with a timed ticket and spend awhile: on clear days, there’s up to 40 kilometers of visibility, so there’s really plenty to take in.
2. Get a different perspective
Cruising the River Seine is one of the best (and most relaxing) ways to see some of the major sites. On this one-hour tour, you’ll glide by the Notre Dame Cathedral, Orsay Museum, and Eiffel Tower. But that’s not all! Keep a weather eye out for some famous bridges, too. You’ll glide underneath the Pont Neuf, the oldest standing bridge across the Seine, and the Pont Alexandre III. If you’re in the mood for romance, opt for an evening illuminations cruise. Seeing the city’s landmarks light up as the sun goes down? Now that’s something.
3. Take history to new heights
No list of the top experiences or (top places to visit) in Paris is complete without the Arc de Triomphe. Napoleon commissioned this classically styled arch in 1806 after the Battle of Austerlitz, but it was only completed in 1836. The arch commemorates those who died in the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars. Take a few moments to visit the underground vault with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the First World War. After, climb to the top up 284 stairs to admire the views from the top. Soak up the views and snap a few pictures of the famous Champs Elysées and the twelve streets radiating from the arch.
4. Become an art aficionado
If you don’t visit the Louvre, have you even been to Paris? In a word: non. Make the most of your time at the world’s largest art museum with a skip-the-line guided tour. You’ll learn about this historical palace and its thousands of works of art from a professional guide as you tick famous works of art off your bucket list: “Mona Lisa,” the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and Venus de Milo. You’ll also see lesser-known (but no less marvelous) artworks on this two-hour tour. Just don’t forget to take a perfect selfie in front of I.M. Pei’s modern glass pyramids at the entrance to the museum!
5. Feel like a true bohemian
One of the most iconic places to visit in Paris is Montmartre. Known for its artists and nightlife, the neighborhood is best explored on a walking tour. Head to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica for the perfect view of the city (second only to the panorama offered by the Eiffel Tower). After that, take a break at one of the many cafes. As you unwind with a French pastry, it won’t be hard to picture Picasso or Van Gogh as they might have relaxed in the area. After all, both masters lived and worked there.
6. Come to the cabaret
Quintessentially French, a trip to the world-famous Moulin Rouge is a Paris must. Sip champagne as you watch 100 performers in feather boas, sequins, and rhinestones strut on stage. After just a few minutes, you’ll be transported to the golden age of chorus girls and exuberant entertainment. Warning: post-show, you’ll might start saying things like “life truly is a cabaret.”
7. Go underground
Walk down 131 steps to the underbelly of Paris to explore the ancient Catacombs. The lines are long, as it’s one of the top places to visit in Paris, but a skip-the-line ticket will give you fast access. In the 18th century, bones were relocated to this ossuary from cemeteries around the city to solve problems in public health. The Catacombs house the remains of around 7 million people. Exploring these underground tunnels is a chilling (and thrilling) experience.
8. Meet the Phantom of the Opera
Home to the famous phantom from the story and musical, the Opéra Garnier is a stunning Baroque palace that houses one of Paris’ oldest working theatres. The building comes to life on a tour with an expert guide. Marvel at the Grand Escalier double staircase and extravagant gold leaf and marble décor during your tour. A hot tip: it’s possible to buy low-price tickets directly from the box office for performances on the day.
9. Journey to the Magic Kingdom
Not all of the top sights in Paris are within the city. A day at Disneyland Paris is unforgettable for kids of all ages. Rides, shows, parades, and tours will fill up a day faster than you can say Ratatouille. Tour the studios, get your adrenaline pumping on Thunder Mountain, and pose for a pic with all your favorite characters.
10. Act like royalty
The ultimate finalé to your unforgettable Paris trip is to visit the royal court of Versailles. The Sun King, Louis XIV, moved the royal court to Versailles in 1682. This is also where Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI lived the high life before the French Revolution. See the majestic Hall of Mirrors and learn about royal life with a guided tour of Versailles.