Ever since I was little, Paris as always help an enchanting charm- like the one place where ‘love’ origins from for some reason. In all of the world, Paris will always be a good idea, and somehow connected with the notion of ‘love’.
I’m yet to visit Paris, but in my mind- and through my research- I’ve already been there- several times. There are so many beautiful places to see within Paris- and more so, in the whole of France. But, when I will visit, these are the 15, that I wouldn’t want to miss- and in no particular order.
- Eiffel Tower
I had to start with the most significant one, right. The Eiffel Tower, a monument that practically draws the Parisian skyline in every illustration created, where on the top floor Tom Cruise proposed Katie Holmes, in front of which so many couples proposed and kissed, and shared moments of awe and love. Visit it once during the morning, and once during the night. As beautiful as it looks during the day, it’s a true sight to behold in the night- with all the light.
Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 to mark 100 years of the French revolution by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel. Him, with his associate Maurice Koechlin went on to also design the Statue of Liberty. At its time, it was the tallest building in the world, and stayed so for about 41 years.
You can read more about the Eiffel on one of my favorite websites to read, History.com.
- Musee du Louvre
You can’t visit Paris without visiting the Louvre Museum. It is the world’s largest museum and one of Paris’ most significant monuments. The museum is a part of the Louvre Palace which was built back in around 12th century. Louvre Museum is best known for being home to one of the most popular paintings in the history, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The museum opened before the French Revolution in 1793.
Admission charges are 15 euros per person, unless you are under 18 years of age. If you can, I would recommend spending the whole day there, if not, keep at least 4-5 hours for the museum, mostly because you’d want to spend all that time there- walking around with your mouth open, in awe.
- Notre Dame Cathedral
Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is probably the first thing that comes to your mind right? Well, at least that’s the case for me. But, the Notre Dame is more thanthat. Considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, its one of the most popular Cathedrals in the world. It was built in 1345, yep- the 12th century. However, during the French Revolution, most of it’s religious imagery and artwork was damaged and destroyed. There have been several restorations processes since then. There is history and character in the Cathedral that can fascinate one endlessly. I’m a sucker for history- so a place like this would definitely grab my attention for longer than others.
Due to its popularity and significance, there are always long queues to enter the spectacular Cathedral. Be prepared to wait for a while. Also, because it’s Cathedral – there’s a dress code (long-ish clothes).
- Sainte Chapelle
Another fine example of French Gothic Architecture, the Sainte Chapelle was finished in the 11th century. Damaged during the French revolution, it was also restored in the 19th century. It is popular for the mesmerizing stained glass work windows. It is really close to the Notre Dame- so they can be visited one after the other.
Admission fees is just 10 euros, free if you’re an EU passport holder, and from every single review I’ve ever heard- it’s well worth it. The lines here are smaller than the Notre Dame- with wait time just about 15-20 minutes.
- The Latin Quarter- Luxembourg Gardens
Le Jardin du Luxembourg is much newer compared to the cathedrals. It was built in the 17th century. Pack a picnic basket with baguettes, fresh macaroons, croissants, fresh strawberries and some bubbles and plot yourself in the beautiful garden. While I would recommend definitely visiting it- especially after a day full of busy itinerary- you can sit back and relax here.
- Palais Garnier
A super fancy name to a super fancy Parisian Opera theatre. It was finished in 1875, and got its name from its architect, Charles Garnier. Its popularity is hugely related to the fact that it was the backdrop for the plot of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. You must tour the insides of the magnificent Opera house.
The English tours are mostly sold-out, so make sure to book yours before-hand. If not, they also have headsets that can explain the place to you in English and from what I’ve read and heard, quite entertaining. The place gets very busy, so I arrive first thing in the morning. It open at 10am. The guided tours can last somewhere around 2 hours. You can buy the tickets online- but with the date and time slot booked in advance.
- River Seine- Cruise on the Seine
The river flows through the heart of Paris, and is one of the must dos when in Paris. The river cruises are usually an hour long. Many reviews suggest that you get some of the best picture of the Eiffel from the river. It takes you under beautiful bridges, much like St Petersburg.
There are several cruises you can book from, based on your budget. Remember, research and first-hand reviews are the key!
- Arc de Triomphe
The monument was built to honor those who died during the French Revolution and the Napolean wars. Beneath it, is the tomb of the unknown soldier- a memorial to all the soldiers who died during the First World War.
Get the view and images from Champs Elysee, several reviews don’t recommend paying for the ticket and going on the top. There are several cafes along the Champs Elsyee where you can relax and gaze at the beautiful memorial building. To be honest, its quite like the India Gate in New Delhi- and it stands for the same thing as it does in India- the unknown soldiers who lost their lives to save ours. The monuments also look quite similar.
This isn’t a monument, it’s actually an area with an old village charm to it, with a selection of luxury cafes. The area is quite known for it’s “romantic feel”. In all the scenarios I build in my head, I am sitting in a cafe with a book, drinking hot chocolate and eating macaroons, when my the one approaches me and we begin our epic love story.
Located in the area are Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coeur. There are several street artists- selling and performing, so its quite happening. However, be very careful of pickpockets and robbers in this particular area.
- Chateau de Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was built in the 17th century. You can best associate it with Marie Antoinette- her private residence and pompous gardens are within Chateau de Versailles.
It is a must visit for every Parisian tour- because of its architecture, significance to the French history, royalty and revolution. The grandeur of the palace is beyond mesmerizing- and best described as enchanting. Because of this, you won’t be the only person to see the magnificent palace- plan ahead and reach early- so you don’t have to wait in the queues too long. It’s obviously advised to buy your tickets online. While you can easily spend the whole day there, you might not have that much time to- so spend at least 2-3 hours in there. Preferably, arrange for a tour guide so you can make the most of the place and find out the little facts and tales of the place.
The entry to the gardens is absolutely free of charge.
- DisneyLand Paris
Confession: I’ve never been to Disney Land. It sucks, I know. A 24 year old, so in love with everything that’s a fantasy and romantic- and hasn’t been to Disneyland. Worry not, I’m trying to find a way to amend that very soon. (Paris, Hong Kong- I’m yet to decide). But, when I go to Paris, I will take an entire day out for Paris. Get there in the morning just when it’s about to open and stay until the park closes, for I can’t imagine another way.
Admission tickets are roughly about 45 euros per person, which isn’t bad for the most magical place.
- Le Marais
An historic part of Paris, it dates back to the 13th century. It was home to aristocracy before the French Revolution, since then it’s come back to its superior significance. Its full of super expensive hotels, boutiques, and cafes. Pierre Hermé’s store is also on the street- do NOT miss the delicious macaroons from there. Their cocoa macaroons are literally the best things ever.