Paris, France

Ah Paris, the romantic French capital known for its gothic architecture, cafe culture, designer boutiques, and food that is magnifique to say the least!

We set afoot on the cobblestone streets of Paris with a long list of sights to see and found ourselves captivated by mouthwatering French cuisine and head over heels for the south of France. Keep reading to see our recommendations on things to do in Paris.

THINGS TO DO IN PARIS, FRANCE:

Eiffel Tower Must See in Paris
Image from @anniesbucketlist 

The Eiffel Tower

Let’s start with the iconic symbol of Paris. Standing 320m tall, the Eiffel won’t be hard to find amongst the cityscape especially with the crowd it attracts. Yep that’s right, this hotspot is almost always bustling with tourists and street hagglers (hold tight onto your valuables!) – so here are a few ways to have a more intimate experience of the Eiffel Tower:

Eiffel Tower Paris what to do in Paris

  • Sunrise at the Trocadero Steps: We simply took an Uber ride to the steps just before sunrise and an easy walk up the steps gave us breathtaking clear views of the Eiffel Tower with hardly anyone around. Watching the sun and the pink and purple sky dance behind the Eiffel Tower will make it an experience to treasure.

eiffel-tower-night-lights-2Image from Yellow Flat ParisView of Eiffel Tower from 360 montmapassne.jpg

  • Sunset at the Montparnasse Tower: This tower may be an eyesore from the streets but it offers a 360 degree view of the city for a true panoramic view of Paris and its surrounds. At the observation deck, we enjoyed the fiery sunset and around 9pm the 20,000 golden lights that adorn the Eiffel twinkled for 5 minutes every hour on the hour until 1am. The view is breathtaking (literally) and you’ll never get sick of the twinkle. We recommend buying your tickets to the Montparnasse Tower in advance to avoid the crowds.

If you would like to travel inside the Eiffel Tower itself, you can certainly do so (we recommend looking at purchasing a Paris Pass or skip-the-line ticket). However, locals say that the Montparnasse Tower offers a wider view of Paris and if you’re short on time, we assure you’ll be satisfied with your sunrise or after dark experiences from outside the tower.

  • Paris Pass: Avoid queues by buying tickets online if you plan to enter the Eiffel Tower and other attractions.

The Louvre must see in Paris

Musee du Louvre Paris things to do

The Louvre 

Another must-see in Paris is the Louvre, home to the world’s greatest art museum including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. We were forewarned that experiencing the Louvre could easily take a full day or two and getting lost is almost always expected when you’re inside.

For those that are short on time, the Louvre Pyramid itself is worth the visit. Luckily for us, our accomodation was within walking distance from the Louvre and after crossing paths several times, we are sure that the pyramid and its surrounds are best enjoyed at sunset or at night in its lit up glory.

  • Louvre: Avoid waiting in line and buy tickets if you plan on entering the Louvre.
  • Paris Pass: This is also included in the previously mentioned Paris Pass ticket.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc De Triomphe

The most monumental of all the arches is the Arc De Triomphe, a symbol to honour those who fought for France in the Napoleonic Wars. We stopped by the Arc De Triomphe during our walk around the Champs Elysees, a bustling area that is often touted as the “New York” strip of Paris. We spent most of our day enjoying a walk around the avenue and thoroughly enjoyed the arc from the streets. However, tours are available for a more in-depth experience of the Arc De Triomphe which we’ll include below.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame de Paris

The Notre Dame Cathedral is a Catholic Church and a spectacular example of the peak of architecture in the 12th Century. The architecture itself is jawdropping and if you have time to take a tour the cathedral, it’s a great place to admire famous religious artworks,  stained glass windows and meticulously designed gargoyles. If you make your way to the top of the tower, the South Tower will give you sweeping views of the City but you’ll be limited to a few minutes of enjoyment here during peak hour crowds.

Pantheon Paris

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is home to some of Paris’ most famous graves including Marie Curie and Jacques-Germain Soufflot, the man that designed the building itself. Although the Pantheon does have its own intrigue and a great view of Paris from the Pantheon Dome, we wouldn’t say this is a “must-see” in Paris.

The Latin Quarter

Image of Latin Quarter from Virtual Visitor Paris

The Latin Quarter

However, short walking distance from the Pantheon is the Latin Quarter which is something you should definitely add to your itinerary. This is the perfect place to take a stroll when hunger is imminent. Here, you’ll find yourself surrounded by amazing eateries, patisseries and lots of options for cheese fondue.

Palace of Versailles

Chateau de Versailles

Jardins du Chateau

Palais of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is a 30 minute train ride from Paris but we recommend setting aside a full day for your visit. Tickets to visit the palace can often sell out during peak season so book them online in advance and, if you can, pay a little extra to skip the queue.

Our pre-purchased tickets still required us to wait under the blistering sun for almost 3 hours with the other pre-purchasers before we even made it to the entrance. Also be sure to pack plenty of water, food and snacks as there are limited eating options inside and you’ll be starving from all the waiting around.

Despite the wait times, the pure opulence of the palace and the enormity of its size is simply jaw-dropping which makes it a must visit if you’re in town. The palace itself is remarkable but the pushing and shoving from the crowds can be a bit of a hinderance to the overall experience, don’t worry, you’ll have more breathing space once you reach the gardens outside. In the end, the Hall of Mirrors inside the palace and the fountains in the garden were the highlights of Versailles.

catacombs 1catacombs of paris

Catacombs of Paris

The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries holding the remains of over 6 million people lining the ancient tunnel mines of Paris. Upon entry, you’ll find yourself walking down a spiral of stairs leading to a maze of skulls and bones. The tunnels are dark and eery but the history of the tunnels will captivate you to continue deeper to the other side.

The visitor numbers here are restricted to 200 at a time, so unless you purchase “skip the line” tickets in advance you’ll be waiting in an extremely long queue.

Sainte-Chapelle

A one of a kind 13th century Gothic-style chapel, need I say more? Of the many chapels we visited, Sainte-Chapelle’s stained glass windows located on the top floor of the chapel made it the stand out. While the lower chapel was dedicated to officers, the upper chapel was dedicated to the King and his family and the glass windows depict approximately 1,130 biblical figures.

As you might have gathered by now, the sights to see in Paris are just endless so we had to cut this post down to our most memorable sights. What were your most memorable things to see or do in Paris? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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