Things to do in Paris
Standing high above Paris, the Eiffel Tower is the most readily recognised symbol of this stunning city. The tower was constructed for the 1889 World Fair, but it now hosts millions of visitors each year looking to explore its heights and see Paris from on high. The Eiffel Tower is open morning and night, every day of the year. If you're up for it, opt to climb the stairs to the viewing deck and avoid waiting in long lines for the lifts.
The Eiffel Tower overlooking the Seine River in Paris.
Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees
The setting for some of the most significant moments in French history, the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees are quite simply must-visit destinations of Paris. The Champs-Elysees features a wide tree-lined street and is known for its luxury boutiques and cafes. It culminates at the western end with the imposing and instantly recognisable Arc de Triomphe. You can actually climb to the top of the Arc, which affords a spectacular view of the city – and one with the Eiffel Tower in it!
Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees at dawn, Paris, France
Sacre-Coeur and Montmartre
If you're looking for art, history, holiness and stunning design all rolled into one then Sacre-Coeur is an essential destination. Built to restore moral order to a rebellious neighbourhood of Paris, it sits on the city's highest point at Montmartre. The site has long been favoured by artists keen to capture the beauty of Paris. The cafes that line Place du Tertre are an ideal spot to feast on a crepe and watch the many artists who work in the square hone their art.
The Sacre Coeur Cathedral and historic Parisian buildings, as night falls.
Synonymous with luxury, Versailles is the ultimate opulent French palace that almost defies belief. Think gold, gold and more gold, gardens that stretch on forever, and a hall of mirrors that reflects extravagance. From the ornate floors to the equally decorative ceilings, Versailles is a destination no traveller should miss. It's located 45 minutes outside of Paris and is easily accessible on the train, or via a day tour.
The absolutely astounding Palace of Versailles.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Pere Lachaise Cemetery is among the most famous in the world as the final resting place of authors, musicians, poets, and artists. Here you'll find epitaphs to the likes of Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Moliere, and Oscar Wilde. It's also the largest cemetery within the city of Paris and the first garden cemetery, featuring quaint cobblestone paths, massive mausoleums, and imposing Gothic shrines.
One of the many statues in the Père Lachaise cemetery, Paris, France.
As the world's largest museum, the Louvre is one of the most readily recognised buildings of Paris. Each year it attracts almost 10 million visitors to witness the artworks on offer and explore the historic building in which they are housed. The former fortress and home to French kings became a museum in 1793, and it now accommodates over 35,000 pieces of art dating back up to 7,000 years – including the famed Mona Lisa.
The large glass pyramid serves as the entrance to the Louvre Museum, Paris.
Sitting on the banks of the Seine, the architecturally spectacular Musee d'Orsay has a unique focus on one of the most seminal periods in art history. Here you'll find the works of the Impressionists housed in a collection that features names like Renoir, Monet, Manet, Degas, Van Gogh, and Cezanne. As a former train station built for the 1900 World Fair, the building is worth more than a cursory glance.
The Musée d’Orsay is a must-have Paris experience.
The Musee Rodin is home to the sculptures, photographs, objects d'art and sketches of ground-breaking French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. The museum has two sites including the architecturally significant Hotel Biron in Paris and Rodin's villa just outside the city. Both provide the opportunity to witness Rodin's work process, but Hotel Biron encompasses more pieces and also features impressive gardens.
The Musee Rodin in Paris was opened in 1919.
As a modern multidisciplinary cultural centre for the people of Paris, the Centre Pompidou boasts the title of Europe's largest modern art museum. It's a place to wonder at art in almost all forms including sculpture, cinema, paintings, new media, and prints. The Centre Pompidou features over 100,000 works in total, created by over 6,400 artists, and it attracts almost four million visitors a year.
The Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France.
Grand Mosquee de Paris
An oasis of tranquillity within the sea of bustling activity that is Paris, the Grand Mosquee de Paris is France's oldest surviving place of Muslim worship and also its largest. A major feature of this building is the statuesque 33m-high minaret, but it's also home to fabulous decorative works. Inside the entrance you'll find intricate tile work, calming pools, fountains, and flowers.
The Grand Mosquee de Paris is located in the 5th arrondissement of the French capital.
Deep beneath the streets of Paris lie Les Catacombes. The network of former mine tunnels is the last resting place of millions of Parisian citizens where bone upon bone line the walls. This unique mass grave was established in the 18th century to solve two problems plaguing Paris: mine tunnels prone to caving in and overflowing cemeteries with sanitation issues.
An unforgettable experience: Les Catacombes in Paris, France.