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Cultural Tourism in Paris: The Essentials

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Paris, known as the “City of Lights ,” is a cultural gem that attracts millions of visitors from around the world each year. With its rich history, iconic architecture, and renowned museums, the French capital offers an unforgettable cultural tourism experience. Among the must-sees that captivate lovers of art, history and culture, it is worth mentioning some of the most emblematic monuments and places in Paris

The Eiffel Tower, the capital’s icon

The silhouette of the Eiffel Tower captivates the Parisian landscape and symbolizes the capital city’s modern elegance. Built for the Universal Exhibition of 1889, it offers a breathtaking panoramic view from its platforms. Day or night, climbing the Eiffel Tower offers an unforgettable experience for visitors, recalling the ingenuity of Gustave Eiffel and the timeless charm of Paris.

The Louvre: world cultural treasure

Formerly a royal palace, the Louvre is today the largest museum in the world and houses an exceptional collection of works of art. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Victory of Samothrace are among the many artistic treasures on display. Visitors can lose themselves in the Louvre’s vast galleries, delving into centuries of cultural history.

Notre-Dame de Paris, a Gothic masterpiece

Despite the devastating fire of 2019, the Notre-Dame remains a major architectural masterpiece in the heart of the French capital. The medieval spiers, gargoyles, and splendid stained glass windows embody Gothic elegance and have attracted visitors from all over the world over the years. The reconstruction of the cathedral is underway, and tourists can already admire the exterior of the building and contribute to the rebirth of this symbol of faith and Parisian history.

Montmartre and its historic charm

The Montmartre district embodies the bohemian essence of Paris; The famous Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur dominates the hill, offering panoramic views of the city. The cobbled streets are home to quaint cafes, street performers, and the legendary Moulin Rouge cabaret. Montmartre represents for many the artistic soul of Paris and seduces visitors with its timeless charm.

Orsay Museum: 19th Century Art

Housed in a former railway station, the Musée d’Orsay is dedicated to 19th century art from 1848 to 1914. Impressionist masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, and Degas are exhibited there. The collections also include sculptures, furniture, and art objects that offer an unforgettable journey through the artistic evolution of the era.

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   “Civilization and culture” activities Paris is a city rich in history and culture, and its museums are among the most famous in the world. The Louvre, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and many other iconic works, offers a fascinating dive into art history. The Musée d’Orsay, located in a former train station, showcases impressionist, post-impressionist and art

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  The Marais, an emblematic district of Paris in the fourth arrondissement, is in some ways a true historical and cultural “enclave” which embodies both the medieval charm of the city and its vibrant modernity. Located in the center of the French capital, Le Marais – also called SoMa for “south marsh” – is known for its picturesque cobblestone streets,

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10 cultural sites not to be missed during your stay in Paris

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Paris Cultural Heritage Cities

El Museo del Louvre y su Pirámide, en París.

Reading time: 0 min Published on 21 March 2024

Votre séjour à Paris sera l'occasion de découvrir une capitale en perpétuelle effervescence. Ville Lumière, Paris est aussi un musée à ciel ouvert hors du commun dans lequel de nombreux sites culturels constituent des immanquables ! Pour vous aider dans votre choix de lieux et musées à ne pas manquer, découvrez le top 10 des sites parisiens incontournables, à voir absolument pendant votre séjour !

Your trip to Paris is a chance to get to know a capital in constant motion. City of Light, Paris is also an open-air museum with countless cultural sites that are well worth a visit!

To help you choose from the long list of unmissable monuments and museums, here are the top ten Parisian must-sees:

  • The Eiffel Tower and Champ de Mars
  • The Louvre Museum
  • The Musée d’Orsay
  • The Centre Pompidou
  • The Palace of Versailles
  • The Sacré-Coeur Basilica
  • The Notre-Dame Cathedral
  • The Arc de Triomphe
  • The Quai Branly Museum
  • The Grand Palais Galleries

Le Musée du Louvre, l'un des plus grands musées du monde

Idéalement situé au cœur de Paris, le long de la Seine, le musée du Louvre a pour écrin l’ancien palais des rois de France. Toutefois, depuis 1989, ce monument est aussi reconnaissable à la grande pyramide, qui a pris place dans sa cour principale, et qui constitue son entrée principale. À tel point que ce joyau de verre est devenu le symbole du Louvre lui-même. Mais au-delà de l’architecture de ce bâtiment, c’est bien aussi son incroyable collection d’œuvres d’art qui mérite le détour. En effet, ce musée universel expose, dans ses huit départements, plus de 30 000 œuvres traversant les siècles et les civilisations, et un nombre exceptionnel de chefs-d’œuvre mondialement connus (sculptures, peintures, objets d’art...). Pour n’en citer que quelques-uns : le Scribe accroupi, la Vénus de Milo, Les Captifs de Michel-Ange, La Joconde de Vinci, Les Noces de Cana de Véronèse, L’Astronome de Vermeer, La Liberté guidant le peuple de Delacroix... Musée du Louvre

Le Musée d’Orsay et sa riche collection d'art impressionniste

De l’autre côté de la Seine (côté rive gauche), quasiment en face du Louvre, se déploie ce musée qui prend place dans un bâtiment atypique : une ancienne gare parisienne d’une rare élégance, édifiée par le célèbre architecte Victor Laloux pour accueillir en plein cœur de Paris les visiteurs lors de l’exposition universelle de 1900. Quant à sa collection, elle se révèle tout aussi exceptionnelle. En effet, le musée d’Orsay dévoile la plus grande collection d’œuvres impressionnistes du monde, comptant de multiples chefs-d’œuvre datant de la 2NDE moitié du XIXe siècle au début du XXe. Vous pourrez notamment y admirer des œuvres incontournables de Gustave Courbet, d’Édouard Manet, de Degas, d’Auguste Renoir, de Vincent Van Gogh, de Claude Monet, d’Auguste Rodin… mais également une superbe collection d’arts décoratifs et de sculptures. Musée d’Orsay

Le Centre Pompidou et son architecture unique

Mondialement connu pour son architecture avant-gardiste, ce bâtiment, construit en plein cœur du quartier des Halles de Paris, ne laisse pas indifférent. D’autant que cette construction atypique offre à ses visiteurs d’incroyables vues sur les toits et les monuments de Paris, grâce à ses escaliers mécaniques recouverts de tubes de Plexiglas permettant de relier les 6 étages du musée. Car, en effet, ce monument abrite l’un des plus fascinants musées d’art moderne et contemporain d’Europe, comptant plus de 100 000 œuvres, datant des XXe et XXIe siècles. Les grands domaines artistiques de cette période y sont d’ailleurs représentés depuis le dessin jusqu’aux nouveaux médias, en passant par les arts plastiques, la photographie, l’architecture, le design ou encore le cinéma. La collection compte d’ailleurs une liste impressionnante d’artistes célèbres : Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Léger, Kandinsky, Delaunay, Giacometti, Dubuffet… De quoi découvrir ou redécouvrir les mouvements artistiques de l’art moderne (qu’il s’agisse du cubisme, du surréalisme ou des abstractions). Centre Pompidou

Voir cette publication sur Instagram Une publication partagée par Centre Pompidou (@centrepompidou)

Le Château de Versailles et ses jardins somptueux

Également incontournable à visiter lorsqu’on est sur la capitale, le château de Versailles permet de passer en revue tout un pan de l’Histoire de France, depuis Louis XIV jusqu’à Louis XVI. En effet, cet imposant bâtiment à l’architecture impressionnante a été pendant plus d’un siècle la résidence principale des rois de France. Pourquoi visiter ce château ? Pour admirer son joyau : la galerie des Glaces (longue de 7 mètres de longs et parée de près de 360 miroirs). Pour revivre le quotidien du roi et de la reine en admirant leurs appartements, mais aussi pour découvrir le domaine du Trianon (refuge de Marie-Antoinette). Ou encore pour savourer la beauté de ses jardins créés par Le Nôtre, que ce soit de jour comme de nuit, notamment à l’occasion du festival des Grandes Eaux Musicales ou des Grandes Eaux Nocturnes. Château de Versailles

La Basilique du Sacré-Cœur et sa vue panoramique sur la ville

Prenant place au sommet de la butte Montmartre, soit à plus de 130 mètres de hauteur, cet édifice religieux à l’architecture d’inspiration romane et byzantine accorde à ses visiteurs l’un des plus exceptionnels panoramas de Paris. Pour accéder au bâtiment, deux options s’offrent à vous : la montée des célèbres escaliers de la butte ou l’emprunt du funiculaire du quartier. Une fois à l’intérieur, plusieurs ouvrages d’exception attirent l’attention : l’une des plus grandes mosaïques du monde (de 475 m²), le son de la plus grande cloche de France, mais surtout son dôme dont l’accès extérieur (par 300 marches) délivre une splendide vue sur la ville. Profitez aussi de votre visite pour parcourir le quartier environnant : la célèbre place du Tertre et ses artistes, mais aussi le quartier des Abbesses aux ruelles si inspirantes. Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

La Cathédrale Notre-Dame, chef d’œuvre de l’architecture gothique

S’élevant fièrement sur l’île de la Cité, en plein cœur de Paris, depuis le XIIe siècle, Notre-Dame-de-Paris ne cesse d’émerveiller. En effet, même si le bâtiment a été fortement endommagé par l’incendie de 2019, et s’avère actuellement fermé au public, sa façade et ses tours ornées de dentelle de pierre, dans le plus pur style gothique, ainsi que ces splendides vitraux et rosaces ont résisté. Ce monument continue donc d’enchanter ses spectateurs par ses prouesses architecturales, comme il a inspiré Victor Hugo pour l’écriture de son chef-d’œuvre, Notre-Dame-de-Paris. En attendant sa réouverture prévue pour décembre 2024, les visiteurs peuvent profiter d’une exposition gratuite sur le parvis de la cathédrale, consacrée à la restauration du monument et mettant en valeur le savoir-faire des artisans sollicités, intitulée « Notre-Dame de Paris : Au cœur du chantier ». Notre-Dame-de-Paris

L'Arc de Triomphe, le plus grand arc du monde

Érigé à l’extrémité de « la plus belle avenue du monde », Les Champs-Élysées, ce monument a un fort pouvoir symbolique. En effet, la construction de ce monument, initiée Napoléon Ier, sous l’Empire, pour commémorer la victoire de la bataille d’Austerlitz, sert depuis à célébrer la grandeur de la France et à rendre hommage au courage des soldats français devant l’adversité. Hommage rendu plus vif par la présence de la tombe du Soldat inconnu installée sous cet arc depuis le 11 novembre 1920. Mais la visite de ce site culturel (et de son musée) n’a pas comme seul intérêt de rappeler des moments clé de l’Histoire de la France. En effet, la terrasse de cet édifice offre également aux touristes un superbe panorama sur le Paris haussmannien, notamment sur cet axe incroyable qui relie la Grande Arche de la Défense au nord-ouest à l’obélisque de la place de la Concorde et au musée du Louvre au centre de la capitale. Arc de Triomphe

Le Musée du Quai Branly dédié aux arts et civilisations non-occidentaux

Jouissant d’un emplacement de choix, à proximité de la tour Eiffel, ce musée séduit en tout premier lieu par son architecture (création de Jean Nouvel) qui accorde une place de choix à la nature, en plein cœur de Paris. Mais une fois franchies ses portes et sa fameuse rivière de mots, ce sont bien ses milliers d’œuvres d'Afrique, d'Asie, d'Océanie et des Amériques non occidentales qui happent le public. Cette incroyable collection emmène, en effet, les visiteurs dans un immense voyage à travers l’histoire, la culture, les religions des autres continents, de l’antiquité à nos jours. L’un des atouts majeurs du musée : ses nombreuses animations dédiées aux enfants et aux familles (visites contées, ateliers musicaux, artistiques…). Musée du Quai Branly

Voir cette publication sur Instagram Une publication partagée par musée du quai Branly (@quaibranly)

Les Galeries du Grand Palais, qui ont révélé de grands artistes au public.

Doté d’une architecture d’une rare élégance, ce monument a été conçu à l’occasion de l’exposition universelle de 1900 et prend place à proximité immédiate des Champs-Élysées. Offrant une place de choix à l’acier et au verre, ce palais se reconnaît aisément à son immense coupole de verre évoquant une serre gigantesque. Ce site se décompose en 3 espaces : les Galeries nationales, la Nef et le palais de la Découverte. Que peut-on découvrir au sein de ces imposants volumes ? La Nef, présentant une longueur impressionnante de 240 mètres, accueille divers événementiels de rayonnement international. Le palais de la Découverte, quant à lui, est un musée consacré aux sciences, permettant aux enfants de découvrir des expositions éducatives et d’expérimenter. Enfin, les Galeries du Grand Palais, en tant que telles, accueillent des expositions consacrées à des artistes majeurs (Gauguin, Picasso, Rodin, Greco, Mucha, Man Ray…). Grand Palais

Recommandations et conseils : Pour savourer au mieux ces lieux d’exception parisiens, nous vous recommandons de programmer vos visites sur les horaires de basse affluence. Les sites internet de ces structures communiquent fréquemment sur les plages horaires quotidiennes à privilégier. De même, pour une ville touristique de l’importance de Paris, privilégiez dans la mesure du possible un séjour hors saison. Vous bénéficierez ainsi non seulement de tarifs plus attractifs, mais aussi de conditions optimales. Quant à votre mode de transport, nous vous conseillons d’emprunter les transports en commun ou le vélo sur Paris. Vous profiterez ainsi de déplacements plus fluides, moins onéreux et participerez à améliorer la qualité de l’air de la capitale. Excellent séjour parisien !

Pour aller plus loin : - Office de tourisme Paris

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32 Best Things to Do in Paris, France

If it's your first visit to Paris, you'll probably want to spend some time at the world-renowned  Eiffel Tower , the Louvre (home of the "Mona Lisa") and the Notre-Dame. Don't miss out on other notable city jewels either, such as the Musée

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Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)

U.S. News Insider Tip:  For the best photo opportunities of the Eiffel Tower, head to Place du Trocadéro. (Just expect to contend with some crowds!) – Nicola Wood, Senior Editor

Designed and constructed for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (the World's Fair), the Eiffel Tower was always meant to be a temporary structure, but it has skirted demolition twice. The first time, in 1909, the tower was kept around because of its potential as a transmission tower (an antenna was installed atop the tower). Gustav Eiffel, chief architect of the Eiffel Tower, had a variety of scientific experiments tested on the tower with the hope that any discoveries would help prolong its lifespan. One of these included a wireless transmissions test, which the tower passed with flying colors. During World War I, the Eiffel Tower's transmission capabilities enabled it to intercept communications from enemies as well as relay intel to troops on the ground. The second time the Eiffel Tower was almost destroyed was during the German occupation of France during World War II. Hitler planned to get rid of the tower, but never ended up going through with his plan.

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Musée du Louvre Musée du Louvre

U.S. News Insider Tip:  The Louvre is free for all visitors on the first Friday of the month after 6 p.m. (except in July and August), and all day on Bastille Day (July 14). – Laura French  

If you only had time to visit one museum in Paris, it should undoubtedly be the Musée du Louvre. That's because the Louvre is not only widely considered to be one of the best art museums in Europe, but one of the best in the world. The museum first opened its doors in 1793 and features more than 35,000 works of art on display. Here, you can get up close to a variety of art from different time periods and cultures.

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Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris) Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris) free

Note that the cathedral sustained significant damage as a result of a fire on April 15, 2019. Its wooden roof and spire collapsed during the fire. The interior of the cathedral remains closed to the public until further notice. It is set to reopen in December 2024. In the meantime, visitors can peruse a new exhibit that debuted in March 2023. It's located in an underground facility in front of the cathedral, the free exhibit highlights the ongoing construction work at the site, including the expertise of the workers, as well as some remains from the fire and works of art from the cathedral. There are also free, volunteer-led informational tours around the outside of the cathedral select days of the week. Consult this online calendar to see when English tours are offered.

Like the Eiffel Tower , the Notre-Dame Cathedral is seen as a Parisian icon. Located along the picturesque River Seine , the Notre-Dame Cathedral is considered a Gothic masterpiece and is often regarded as one of the best Gothic cathedrals of its kind in the world. Construction of the famous cathedral started in the late 12th century and final touches weren't made until nearly 200 years later. Once you get an eyeful of the cathedral yourself, you'll start to understand why it took so long.

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Champs-Élysées Champs-Élysées free

Musician Joe Dassin once sang "Il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs-Élysées," which translates to "There's everything you could want along the Champs-Élysées." And he's right. Paris' most famous boulevard – stretching more than a mile from the glittering obelisk at Place de la Concorde to the foot of the Arc de Triomphe – is a shopper's mecca. Along its wide, tree-lined sidewalks, you'll find such luxury stores as Louis Vuitton and Chanel rubbing elbows with less-pricey establishments like Adidas and Zara.

While the Champs-Élysées is no doubt a shopping paradise, recent travelers noticed the price tags at most stores can be pretty high. And the more affordable options are constantly swamped with people. The Champs-Élysées itself is no different. Because this is such a famous street in Paris, expect there to be crowds galore, both during the day and the nighttime. Still, many travelers enjoyed taking in the Champs-Élysées' bustling atmosphere and observing both locals and tourists come and go. Some recent visitors said a trip to the Champs-Élysées is not complete without a stop at Ladurée, the city's famous macaron shop.

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Arc de Triomphe Arc de Triomphe

Situated at the western end of the Champs-Élysées , the towering Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by Napoléon to honor the Grande Armee during the Napoleonic Wars. The arch, which is the largest of its kind in the world, is adorned with several impressive, intricately carved sculptures. Underneath the arch, travelers will find the names of the battles fought during the first French Republic and Napolean's Empire, as well as generals who fought in them. Travelers will also find the famous tomb of The Unknown Soldier. The unknown soldier currently buried there is meant to represent all the unidentified or unaccounted for soldiers who lost their lives during World War I. The flame that was lit when the soldier was laid to rest has not extinguished since it was initially lit in the 1920s, and is rekindled every night at 6:30 p.m. by a member of the armed services.

Aside from admiring the arch, visitors can climb to the top and take in the Parisian panorama. Most visitors are wowed by the immense size of the structure and recommend ascending to the top for the spectacular Paris views. Visitors caution that you'll have to wait in line to get to the top and the climb, which is made up of hundreds of stairs, can be a serious workout.

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Latin Quarter Latin Quarter free

U.S. News Insider Tip: If you're in the area, check out the Grand Mosquée de Paris, next to the Jardin des Plantes. It's a beautiful mosque with a hidden-away courtyard, and there's an atmospheric tearoom attached that serves Middle Eastern sweet treats. – Laura French

Architecture lovers should not miss the Latin Quarter. Also known as the 5th arrondissement, the Latin Quarter is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Paris. Its narrow cobblestone streets, winding whimsically through the larger city grid, recall its medieval history. Why does this densely packed neighborhood of attractions, shops and restaurants retain this unique character? It escaped Baron Haussmann's planning reform of the city, thus retaining a more ancient ambience.

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Seine River Seine River free

You won’t have much trouble finding the Seine, as it flows directly through the heart of Paris. The river is perhaps one of the most famous waterways in the world and an attraction in itself. It's also useful for more practical reasons: It flows from east to west, dividing the city into the Left Bank and the Right Bank. Knowing where you are in relation to the Seine can help you find your way around during your trip.

For tourists, the waterway mostly serves as a photo backdrop, but it is a lifeline for locals. It's a reliable water supply, a major transportation route and vital for many kinds of commerce. It has also served as a source of sustenance for many fishermen dating back to the third century. In 1991, the Seine River was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its cultural significance in both the past and the present.

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Musée d'Orsay Musée d'Orsay

U.S. News Insider Tip: Visit on the first Sunday of the month for free entry (when it’s also free to enter the Centre Pompidou, Musée de l'Orangerie, Musée du Rodin, Musée Picasso and several other attractions). – Laura French

Housed in a former railway station along the Left Bank, the Musée d'Orsay is regarded for its rich collection of impressionist works. You'll see paintings by French artists like Degas, Monet, Cezanne and Van Gogh, among many, many others. The museum also houses a number of sculptures, as well as photography and even furniture displays. And if you climb to the museum's top balcony, you can catch a breathtaking view of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica through the museum's massive transparent clock.

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Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) free

U.S. News Insider Tip:  Pick up picnic provisions at a nearby farmer's market, such as Marché Raspail, to enjoy in the gardens. –  Ann Henson, Assistant Managing Editor

A warm-weather oasis that offers the simplest of pleasures, the Luxembourg Gardens provide ample green space (60 acres) for sun-soaking and people-watching, plus there are plenty of activities to keep kids entertained. When the city bustle becomes too overwhelming, meander around the paths and formal gardens, or just relax with a picnic. Kids can float sailboats at the Grand Basin, ride ponies, take a spin on the merry-go-round, or catch a puppet show at the on-site Theatre des Marionnettes. Adults might delight in the on-site Musée du Luxembourg, the first French museum that was opened to the public. Though with 106 sculptures to its name, including a replica of the Statue of Liberty, the Luxembourg Gardens could easily be considered an open-air museum itself.

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Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur) Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur) free

Rising high above Paris, the Sacré-Coeur (meaning "Sacred Heart") looks more like a white castle than a basilica. Towering over the eclectic neighborhood of Montmartre (once a hangout for Paris' bohemian crowd), this Roman-Byzantine, 19th-century masterpiece is easily recognized by its ornate ivory domes. As blanched as it may appear on the outside, the basilica's interior is a sight worth beholding: The ceilings glitter with France's largest mosaic, which depicts Jesus rising alongside the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc.

You'll also likely be left in awe with the panoramic views found from atop the Sacré-Coeur's outdoor staircase. But for an even better photo-op, climb all 300 steps to the top of the dome. The dome is accessible to visitors every day from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mass is held multiple times a day every day.

cultural tourism paris

Centre Pompidou Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou is one of the most visited cultural sites in Paris. But keep this in mind – and recent travelers attest to this – if you're not a fan of modern art, you probably won't enjoy this museum. The Pompidou is all modern and contemporary art (think cubist, surrealist and pop art, among others). Even its exterior is a little "out there," with its insides (piping, plumbing, elevators, escalators, etc.) exposed on the outside.

Inside the inside-out museum, you'll find one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary art in the world (more than 120,000 pieces of art are in its complete collection). The most notable attraction within is France's National Museum of Modern Art, which features works from 20th and 21st-century artists. Here, you can find big names such as Matisse, Picasso and even Andy Warhol. Also within the Centre Pompidou is additional exhibition and entertainment spaces as well as a library, rooftop restaurant and cinemas.

cultural tourism paris

Jardin des Tuileries Jardin des Tuileries free

U.S. News Insider Tip: While you’re here, don’t miss Angelina, just across the street on Rue de Rivoli. This historic, belle epoque-style salon de thé opened in 1903 and serves excellent French delicacies and pastries alongside its famous, indulgently rich hot chocolate. – Laura French

Centrally located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, the Jardin des Tuileries is a free public garden that spans approximately 55 acres. Though it was initially designed solely for the use of the royal family and court, the park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1991 (as part of the Banks of the Seine) and has been open to the public since the 17th century.

cultural tourism paris

Sainte-Chapelle Sainte-Chapelle

Nowhere in Paris does stained-glass windows quite as well as Sainte-Chapelle. The panes – dating back to the chapel's construction in the 13th century – depict 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible in vivid color. Sainte-Chapelle, which took just seven years to build, is a treasured example of French Gothic architecture and originally held Christian artifacts acquired by Louis IX. The building underwent a rigorous restoration between 2008 and 2014 and now welcomes visitors every day of the year except Christmas Day, New Year's Day and May 1 (France's Labor Day).

Admission costs 13 euros (about $14) per person ages 18 and older. Audio guides are available in English (among other languages) for an additional 3 euros (about $3.50). 

cultural tourism paris

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Pantheon Pantheon

Situated in the Latin Quarter – or the 5th arrondissement – of Paris, the Panthéon is a large church and burial ground with a storied history. The structure was completed in 1790 at the start of the French Revolution, and it served as a mausoleum, a church and an art gallery throughout its early years. In 1851, scientist Leon Foucault installed the Foucault pendulum within the building to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. The pendulum was removed and replaced a number of times, and a replica was installed in 1995 and is still in operation today. The Panthéon also contains a crypt where a number of important historians, philosophers, scientists and writers are buried, including Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Marie Curie.

Most recent travelers loved seeing the museum's noteworthy gravesites and Foucault's pendulum. They also recommended taking a dome tour for exceptional views of Paris; you’ll see the Eiffel Tower from the top, as well as many other well-known landmarks. Still, some visitors said the admission fee is too high.

cultural tourism paris

Palais Garnier - Opera National de Paris Palais Garnier - Opera National de Paris

A masterpiece of architectural opulence, the Opéra Garnier – also known as the Palais Garnier – still exudes the opulence it radiated in the late 1800s. This palpable sense of intrigue and mystery that permeates the opera is due in part to its awe-inspiring Old-World interiors as well as Gaston Leroux, the author of "Phantom of the Opera," for which the Garnier served as his inspiration. Leroux claimed the phantom was indeed real, successfully incorporating real life opera occurrences (such as the chandelier falling and killing a bystander) into his fiction. The Garnier's lack of a robust historical record, as well as Leroux's writing talents, have left many wondering if there really was a dweller that lurked beneath the opera. Staff have claimed otherwise, but say with the opera's very real underground "lake" (water tank), it's easy to see how the story could be so convincing. Without Napoleon III, who was responsible for commissioning the opera, Leroux's tale may never have never come to fruition.

The best way to fully experience the Palais Garnier is by purchasing a ballet or opera ticket. Remember to book your tickets several months in advance, as performances are highly coveted. If you won't be in town for a performance or aren't up for forking over the oftentimes high price of a performance, you can explore the building's magnificent interiors on your own.

cultural tourism paris

Le Marais Le Marais free

U.S. News Insider Tip: On Place des Vosges, Paris’s oldest square, you’ll find the former house of Victor Hugo, which is now a museum that’s free to enter. – Laura French

Straddling the 3rd and 4th arrondissements (districts), Le Marais is one of Paris' oldest and coolest districts – so cool, in fact, that French writer Victor Hugo (author of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Les Misérables") called it home. With all of its cobblestone streets, stately stone architecture and tucked away courtyards, it's easy to feel as if you're strolling through medieval Paris. Back in the day, Le Marais housed some notable French royalty. King Henry IV was the one responsible for the construction of the Place des Vosges, Paris' oldest square. And Louis XIV called this neighborhood home for a while until he decided to move his family and court to Versailles . Much of Le Marais also survived the destruction of the French Revolution.

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Versailles Palace (Chateau de Versailles) Versailles Palace (Chateau de Versailles)

U.S. News Insider Tip: In summer, the palace hosts weekend fountain shows in the gardens, featuring music and special effects; come on a Saturday night to see the best, with grounds lit up to magical effect and a firework display at the end. – Laura French

The Château de Versailles, the sprawling palace and former seat of power, is located 10 miles southwest of Paris in Versailles. Every year, nearly 10 million travelers make the trek from Paris to bear witness to the chateau's world-famous grandeur in person. But between all of the gold figurines, dramatic frescoes and cascading crystal chandeliers you'll no doubt find in bulk throughout the chateau, you might be surprised to learn that King Louis XIV's extravagant former residence had pretty humble-ish beginnings.

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Musée Rodin Musée Rodin

A hidden jewel in the city, the Musée Rodin is actually the former residence of famed 19th-century sculptor Auguste Rodin. But in the place of furniture and kitschy lawn ornaments are Rodin's emotive sculptures, including The Walking Man, The Kiss and The Thinker, among many more. In addition to the sculptures, the museum houses 8,000 of the artist's drawings in its collection – a fraction of those are on display –  as well as an area dedicated to the work of his muse and mistress, artist Camille Claudel. Visitors will also get to view pieces from the Rodin's personal art collection, including paintings by Van Gogh.

Recent travelers found Rodin's sculptures to be nothing short of stunning, and highly recommend a visit even if you don't consider yourself an art buff. Another big favorite, and for some visitors as much of a highlight as the art, were the beautiful on-site gardens. To travelers, the gardens, in combination with the museum's manageable size, created a serene and peaceful atmosphere not easily found at other top Parisian museums.

cultural tourism paris

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Saint-Germain-des-Prés Saint-Germain-des-Prés free

The arts abound in Paris. Although visual art gets the most attention here, the city is also a historic literary center. Saint-Germain, in the 6th arrondissement, is known as a 19th- and 20th-century intellectual hub. Here, great writers, thinkers and artists mixed and mingled in their homes and nearby establishments. Anyone battling writer's block will want to spend an afternoon wandering its picturesque streets, stopping by famous literary cafes or enjoying one of the museums located in the neighborhood's borders.

After filling your mind at the Musée Delacroix, Musée du Luxembourg or Musée de Mineralogie, unwind at Les Deux Magots or Café de Flore. The former was visited by everyone from Ernest Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir, James Joyce, Jean-Paul Sartre, and more recently, Julia Child. Nearby Café de Flore opened in the 1800s as well, and claims visitors from Leon Trotsky to Albert Camus to Picasso. Sartre worked from here – using the space as a historical Starbucks – while New Wave celebrities like Bridget Bardot or fashionista Karl Lagerfeld graced its seats later on, in the 1960s. There are plenty of mouthwatering pastry shops and bridge views, too.

cultural tourism paris

Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann free

Whether or not you plan to shop, the Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann department store is a sight to be seen. What started as a small novelty shop in 1893 has since grown into an approximately 750,000-square-foot megastore containing hundreds of brands, from budget-friendly options like Levi's and Carhartt to high-end labels like Prada and Cartier. And while you might be dazzled by the unending collection of fashionable goods, don’t forget to look up. The pièce de résistance of the luxury bazaar is the stunning neo-Byzantine glass dome 141 feet above the ground. There's also a glass walkway on the top floor of the building that allows the bravest of visitors to stand above all the action below. 

Several recent visitors called Galeries Lafayette the most beautiful shopping center in the world, pointing out that even if you aren't there to buy luxury products, the stunning building is a destination in itself. They also recommend going up to the roof of the complex (accessible from the eighth floor), which is open to visitors free of charge, to take in breathtaking views of the city below. From the roof, you'll be able to spot the Eiffel Tower , Sacré Cœur and Notre Dame .

cultural tourism paris

Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris) Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris)

Not every inch of Paris is as romantic as you think – in fact, the Catacombs are downright chilling. Prior to the creation of the Catacombs in the late 18th century, Parisians buried their dead in cemeteries. But as the city continued to grow, burial grounds ran out of space, graves started to become exposed and stunk up surrounding neighborhoods. The limestone quarries located 65 feet beneath Paris eventually became the solution, providing ample and safe space for the city's deceased loved ones. It took years to move millions of bodies from all the Parisian graves.

Today, the solemn, skull-and-boned lined tunnels weave beneath the heart of the City of Love, beckoning to visitors with an interest in the departed. The catacombs stretch for miles all over the city, but visitors are only allowed to access about a mile's worth for 45 minutes at the Denfert-Rochereau (lines 4,6 and RER B) metro station. Trying to access the catacombs at any other entrance throughout the city is illegal. You'll want to wear sturdy footwear as the paths inside are full of gravel, uneven and even slippery in some sections. What's more, you'll have to descend 131 steps and climb 112 steps back up. As such, the catacombs are not wheelchair-accessible. And because of the attraction's unique nature and popularity, expect a queue.

cultural tourism paris

Pere-Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise) Pere-Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise) free

A cemetery as a tourist attraction? If any city can pull it off, it's Paris. Covering nearly 110 acres of the 20th arrondissement (district), the Père-Lachaise Cemetery is considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. It's also Paris' largest green space. Père-Lachaise is a maze of cobblestone pathways lined with leafy, cascading trees which perfectly shade the striking 19th-century burial chambers that permeate the grounds. Aesthetics aside, Père-Lachaise is one of the world's most famous burial grounds: Everyone from Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison to Edith Piaf and Gertrude Stein can be found here. Make sure to pick up a map before you venture in, there are more than 100,000 burial plots here (exact estimates vary dramatically).

Travelers admitted the main reason they made the trek to Père-Lachaise was to visit the famous faces buried here, though after discovering the enchanting grounds, they were happy to stay and wander. Visitors found the architecture of the individual tombstones and burial chambers to be stunning, especially with the many dramatic statues included with the plots. Others particularly appreciate the overall peaceful atmosphere of Père-Lachaise. Because the cemetery is so big, visitors say it's unlikely you'll be sharing lots of space with fellow visitors or tourists at any given time.

cultural tourism paris

Bateaux Mouches Bateaux Mouches

For those who want to cruise down the Seine River , hopping on one of the six Bateaux-Mouches boats is a go-to option. Just about any meal you can think of is offered as you glide along the river – or as the company puts it, Paris's "most beautiful avenue." There are also hourlong cruise-only trips, for those who want to efficiently view some of the city's most iconic sights, including Notre Dame and the Musée d'Orsay . These cruises are among the best Paris tours . Combo tickets that include a bus tour or a cabaret show are also available.

Travelers who recently took a cruise loved the views from the boat and the informational nature of the tour. Many people took a night cruise, which was frequently lauded for its romantic atmosphere. However, a few visitors expressed disappointment with meal portions and the check-in process.

cultural tourism paris

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cultural tourism paris

Musee de l'Orangerie Musee de l'Orangerie

An extension of Musée d'Orsay , Musée de l'Orangerie features a wide selection of impressionist and post-impressionist art. It is best known for its enlarged "Water Lilies" paintings by Claude Monet. The eight massive paintings are divided across two oval rooms that are filled with natural light from a glass roof. Monet increased the size of these paintings with the intention of fully immersing viewers in their beauty, especially after the hardships of World War I. Beyond the "Water Lilies" series, Musée de l'Orangerie houses the Jean Walter-Paul Guillaume collection, which features works by artists like Renoir, Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse and more.  

Museum visitors – especially Monet fans – said this gallery is a must-see. They were pleased to discover it was a relatively small building, meaning it can be seen fairly quickly if you short on time. The smaller space also translates to less crowds, which many museumgoers appreciated.

cultural tourism paris

Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck

U.S. News Insider Tip: Walk about 10 minutes around the corner and you’ll find the Montparnasse Cemetery – a fascinating alternative to Père Lachaise , home to the burial places of artists and intellectuals, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Samuel Beckett, Guy de Maupassant and Charles Baudelaire. – Laura French

The Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck claims to have the best views in Paris – and once you reach the top, it's easy to see why. The lower deck stands more than 650 feet high and overlooks major attractions, like the Eiffel Tower , through floor-to-ceiling windows. Travel another 32 feet upward to the rooftop terrace, and you'll find panoramic vistas of the City of Lights 365 days a year. On a clear day, you can see as far as 25 miles in every direction.

cultural tourism paris

Moulin Rouge Moulin Rouge

If you're looking for the famed Parisian nightlife experience, Moulin Rouge will likely fit the bill. The legendary cabaret club opened in 1889, wowing crowds with dazzling dancers, free-flowing Champagne and outrageous elements like a gigantic model elephant in the garden. With its rich history and extravagant performances, Moulin Rouge has become an important staple in the City of Lights.

On a night at the Moulin Rouge, visitors can be wined and dined while watching talented burlesque dancers adorned in feathers, rhinestones and sequins. While many recent travelers felt that the show was a spectacular must-see while vacationing in Paris, others felt it was overhyped and overcrowded. However, those who opted for the dinner show said the food was fantastic with top-notch service to match.

cultural tourism paris

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont Parc des Buttes-Chaumont free

Paris is home to many beautiful public parks, where visitors and locals alike relax in grassy squares during periods of pleasant weather. Parc de Buttes-Chaumont's 61 acres boasts this – plus a lake, a suspension bridge and walking paths – and a dark history. Its name comes from the bare hill once occupying the site. Stone was mined here, sewage dumped and even horse carcasses discarded. When Napoleon III renovated Paris in the 19th century, it was selected as a large park site, and the artificial lake created. That transformation also washed away its medieval reputation as a gallows. Known as Gibbet of Montfaucon at that time, the bodies of people executed in the city were sometimes displayed here for months on end.

If you can put that history behind you, cross the Gustave Eiffel-designed suspension bridge, or ascend the hill with the Temple de la Sybille for beautiful views of Montmartre. Inside the hillside, quarrying created a cavern. Napoleon's park builders took the opportunity to add a human-made waterfall to the 65-foot-tall space. Summer visitors will especially enjoy the misty reprieve from Paris's heat and humidity.

cultural tourism paris

Conciergerie Conciergerie

Located next to Sainte-Chapelle , the Conciergerie was once a royal residence for various French leaders. At the end of the 14th century, King Charles V and the rest of the palace's inhabitants moved to new residences at the Louvre . The abandoned building was then turned into a new parliament and office space for the kingdom. However, during the French Revolution (and for many decades thereafter), the Conciergerie served as a prison compound to hold both political and common criminals. Most famously, it held Marie Antoinette, the fallen queen of France, in the weeks before she was executed by guillotine in October 1793. In the 19th century, Antoinette's cell was transformed into a chapel, and in 1914 the entire building was deemed a historic monument and opened to the public.

Recent travelers said the site is a delight for history buffs. Still, others noted that if you aren’t particularly interested in the French Revolution or Marie Antoinette, you may find the empty jail cells and barren halls a bit dull. All visitors are given a "HistoPad" (available in six languages) to help enhance their experience. The iPad allows visitors to see what the rooms would've looked like centuries ago with the help of augmented reality, 3D reconstructions and interactive functionalities.What everyone seemed to agree on was the medieval architecture, which is said to be stunning both inside and out.

cultural tourism paris

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cultural tourism paris

Rue de Rivoli Rue de Rivoli free

One of the most famous shopping streets in Paris, the elegant Rue de Rivoli is lined with neoclassical buildings housing designer boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants built into historic arcades.

Named after Napoleon's victory at the Battle of Rivoli and stretching from Place de la Bastille in the east to Place de la Concorde, it's where you'll find the Louvre , the Jardin des Tuileries , Hôtel de Ville (Paris's elaborate city hall) and other attractions. It's also home to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville – an elaborate department store founded in 1856. Other shops range from affordable brands like Sephora, L'Occitane and Mango to high-end designer stores and local French boutiques.

cultural tourism paris

Bois de Vincennes Bois de Vincennes free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Come in the summer to catch the Paris Jazz Festival, when the Parc Floral hosts performers from Paris and beyond. – Laura French

Used as a royal hunting ground from the 12th century, this scenic, easterly refuge is Paris's biggest park, sprawling nearly 2,500 acres (making it nearly three times larger than New York's Central Park , and slightly bigger than its westerly sister, the Bois de Boulogne). It's home to verdant woodland as well as the Parc Floral, a botanical garden with its own mini golf course and various other family-friendly attractions. You'll also find four artificial lakes in the park – boats are available to rent on the Lac Daumesnil – alongside the Parc Zoologique de Paris, several cafes and restaurants and the Château de Vincennes, a lavish former royal residence built in the medieval era.

cultural tourism paris

Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen free

Set on the northern edge of Paris and home to the highest concentration of antiques dealers in the world, this famous flea market is a must for anyone looking to browse and buy vintage treasures. Spread across twelve covered markets and five streets, the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen houses everything from 17th-century furnishings to vintage jewelry, designer clothes, art, books and beyond. When your feet need a break, there are also a handful of restaurants.

At its heart is the Marché Vernaison, an eclectic mishmash of nearly a million objects, spread across nearly 100,000 square feet and selling pretty much anything you can think of. Equally unmissable is the Marché Dauphine, which sells books, vintage records, clothes and more in a huge pavilion, and the Marché Paul Bert Serpette, an upmarket spot specializing in avant-garde interior design that's seen everyone from Julia Roberts to Mick Jagger grace its floors.

cultural tourism paris

Louis Vuitton Foundation Louis Vuitton Foundation

Open to the public since October 2014, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is the brainchild of the LVMH Group (which owns luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton) and famed American architect Frank Gehry. In addition to the art gallery, Gehry also designed the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles , among other renowned museums, university buildings and residences.

Outfitted with curved panels of glass and smooth concrete, the foundation's daring and modern design stands out among Paris' abundance of centuries-old buildings. Inside, you'll find collections of modern and contemporary art housed in both permanent and temporary exhibits. The museum's goal is to promote art and culture on the outskirts of Paris, and it succeeds by attracting more than 1 million visitors each year. 

cultural tourism paris

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PlanetWare.com

31 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Paris

Written by Lisa Alexander Updated Mar 21, 2024 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Whether sunshine is sparkling on the café terraces of Boulevard Saint-Germain, or melancholy mists of the Seine River are shrouding Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris has a way of romancing visitors. The love affair might begin with a first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, then continue with strolls along the wide tree-lined avenues and in lavish formal gardens.

View over Paris

The city is seductively beautiful. Each neighborhood ( quartier ) reveals its unique personality. The Latin Quarter is a small cluster of pedestrian streets and narrow medieval alleyways where bookshops vie for space with university students' cafés and eateries. The fashionable Champs-Élysées buzzes with energy. Outside the city center, Montmartre still feels like a country village and flaunts its bohemian past.

After seeing the museums and monuments, you will want to seek out the small surprises, like family-run bistros with handwritten menus; cobblestone lanes full of quaint shops; secluded squares adorned with flowing fountains; and elegant tea salons, where dainty jewel-like desserts beckon from glass-covered pastry cases.

In every hidden corner and at all the famous sites, Paris casts a spell of enchantment. One visit may inspire a lifelong passion.

Discover what makes the City of Light so captivating and learn about the best places to explore with our list of the top tourist attractions in Paris.

See also: Where to Stay in Paris

1. Eiffel Tower

2. musée du louvre, 3. avenue des champs-élysées, 4. musée d'orsay, 5. palais garnier, opéra national de paris, 6. cathédrale notre-dame de paris, 7. place de la concorde, 8. arc de triomphe, 9. hôtel de la marine, 10. jardin des tuileries, 11. seine river cruises, 12. musical concerts at sainte-chapelle, 13. bustling boulevards and legendary cafés, 14. jardin du luxembourg, 15. sacré-coeur and quartier montmartre, 16. panthéon, 17. place des vosges, 18. musée rodin, 19. place vendôme, 20. centre pompidou, 21. hôtel national des invalides, 22. domaine national du palais-royal, 23. place de la bastille, 24. place du châtelet and tour saint-jacques, 25. la conciergerie, 26. fondation louis vuitton, 27. parc de la villette, 28. paris plages, 29. cimetière du père lachaise, 30. parc des buttes-chaumont, 31. grande arche de la défense, where to stay in paris for sightseeing, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to paris, best time to visit paris, france.

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower (la Tour Eiffel) ranks high on the list of places to visit in France and is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the world. So it's hard to believe that the structure was originally dismissed as a monstrosity. The innovative metal structure shocked Victorian-era audiences when it was unveiled by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel for the Paris Exhibition of 1889 .

Whether loved or hated, the Eiffel Tower has always impressed. Reaching a height of 324 meters, the tower is comprised of 18,000 sturdy iron sections held together by 2.5 million rivets. Although no longer the world's tallest building, the Eiffel Tower has achieved the status of an icon.

For first-time visitors, seeing the Eiffel Tower is an unforgettable experience. Upon arrival at the esplanade, the sight of the four massive pillars that support this 10,100-ton monument leaves many awestruck.

Author's Tip : Purchase your tickets to the Eiffel Tower in advance online. You first choose a specific date and during the online process, you will reserve a specific time slot for the visit. (You must arrive on time.) Tickets sell out during high season (July and August), so you should purchase your tickets as far in advance as possible.

Base of the Eiffel Tower

When you arrive at the Eiffel Tower, you will first walk through the esplanade gardens. Then you will look for the correct queue (which will be labeled "Visitors with tickets"). The recently renovated gardens feature leafy trees and pedestrian pathways with close-up views of the Iron Lady.

To arrive at the Eiffel Tower's 1st floor (at 57 meters) requires an elevator ride or a walk up the 360 steps. This level has public restrooms, a gift shop, a cafeteria, a brasserie restaurant, and an open-air terrace space for admiring the views.

View of Paris from the Eiffel Tower

The 2nd floor (at 125 meters) of the Eiffel Tower is reached from the 1st floor by a staircase of 344 more steps or an elevator ride. This level has similar amenities as the 1st floor, except the viewing platforms offer a perspective onto more of the Paris monuments (such as the Notre-Dame, the Louvre, and the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur).

A highlight of the 2nd floor, the Michelin-starred Le Jules Verne delivers exceptional haute cuisine in a dreamy setting. The restaurant's dining rooms feature expansive windows, which provide a peak of the Eiffel Tower's structural beams and glimpses of Paris cityscapes. You'll also find a buffet-style cafeteria and the Pierre Hermé macaron boutique.

To arrive at the top floor (276 meters in elevation) requires an exhilarating elevator ride from the 2nd floor. The staircases only go up to the 2nd floor, so climbing up to the top is not an option.

Visiting the top floor of the Eiffel Tower is one of the most thrilling things to do in Paris , but it's not for the faint of heart. When you walk out onto the compact viewing platform at this level, you are overwhelmed by the far-reaching views and strong gusts of wind. Up this high, it feels like another world, and you can no longer hear the noise of street traffic below.

View of Eiffel Tower from Jardins du Trocadéro

You definitely will want to spend some time taking photos of the Eiffel Tower. From either the Jardins du Trocadéro (a short walk across the Seine River) or the Parc du Champ de Mars (the lawns in front of the tower), there is just the right distance for picture-perfect photo-ops.

Address: La Tour Eiffel, Champ de Mars, 75007 Paris (Métro: Bir-Hakeim, Trocadéro, Iéna, or Passy station)

Louvre Museum at night

The Louvre is the most prestigious of Paris' museums and the crème de la crème of the city's cultural attractions. Besides its exceptional art collection, the building has a regal past: The Louvre was formerly the residential palace of France's kings.

Today, the Musée du Louvre displays thousands of artworks, many of which are considered masterpieces, from antiquities to European paintings of the 15th to 19th centuries.

It is impossible to see it all in one visit, but you can focus on a particular gallery, such as classical sculpture, Italian Renaissance art, or 17th-century French paintings, or take a self-guided tour to cover the Louvre Museum's highlights.

Of course, you will want to get a look at the Mona Lisa or La Gioconda (or La Joconde in French) painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1503-1505. Many tourists breeze through the museum just to glance at this one piece, but there are other must-see works of art to admire even if time is limited.

Other masterpieces of the Louvre include the ancient Vénus de Milo sculpture; the monumental Victoire de Samothrace of the Hellenistic period; the immense Wedding Feast at Cana painting by Veronese (1563); Sandro Botticelli's Venus and the Three Graces fresco; and Liberty Leading the People (1831) by Eugène Delacroix, depicting the Parisian uprising of July 1830.

To get the most out of a visit to the Louvre, join a guided tour. The museum offers tours in multiple languages. These focus on the highlights and provide information on the palace.

The Louvre Museum Skip-the-Line Tour is another option that also takes you straight to the museum's most famous artworks, including the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa . On this three-hour tour, a guide (who is an art historian) provides in-depth commentary about the masterpieces.

Author's Tips : Most visitors enter the museum in the courtyard of the palace at the Pyramid du Louvre , the glass pyramid designed by Ieoh Ming Pei in 1917. This entrance almost always has long lines. The wait is especially long without a timed entrance ticket. (See tips below for alternative entrances to the museum.)

Avoid the lines of the Pyramid entrance by going to one of the lesser-known entrances. If you already have a Louvre museum ticket or a Paris Museum Pass, head to the Carrousel entrance (99 Rue de Rivoli) where you likely can walk right in without waiting in line. You may save some time at this entrance if you haven't reserved a specific time slot for admission.

Purchase a museum pass : If you plan to visit multiple museums, you can save money and time by purchasing a Paris Museum Pass . The savings depends on how many museums you visit. The advantage is that you don't have to purchase a ticket at each museum. However, you still need to reserve a specific time slot (free of charge) to visit the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, and Château de Versailles (otherwise you may have to wait in line).

If you have not already purchased a ticket or Paris Museum Pass, you may use the Porte des Lions entrance on the 4 Quai François Mitterrand.

Address: Musée du Louvre, Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris (Métro: Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre or Pyramides station)

Avenue des Champs-Élysées

Brimming with fancy boutiques and dining terraces, the Champs-Élysées epitomizes the fashionable panache of Paris.

You'd never guess that the most monumental boulevard in Paris used to be a desolate swamp. The marshland was converted into an avenue by renowned landscape designer André Le Nôtre in the 17th century. Two centuries later, the city planner Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann added the grey stone Mansard-roofed buildings that give the boulevard its classic Parisian look.

The Champs-Élysées is divided into two parts with the Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées as its intersection.

The lower part of the Champs-Élysées, bordering the Place de la Concorde , includes a spacious park, the Jardins des Champs-Élysées , and the Petit Palais fine arts museum. The upper part, extending to the Arc de Triomphe, is lined by luxury shops, hotels, restaurants, cafés, cinemas, and theaters. This bustling area draws many tourists and is a gathering place for Parisians.

The Champs-Élysées is famous for its prestigious establishments, such as Maison Ladurée (75 Avenue des Champs-Élysées), a pâtisserie boutique and tea salon that offers exquisite French pastries (macarons are the house specialty), and upscale designer boutiques like Tiffany & Co. (62 Avenue des Champs-Élysées), Louis-Vuitton (101 Avenue des Champs-Élysées), and Cartier (154 Avenue des Champs-Élysées).

For fine dining , the top choices are the legendary brasserie Fouquet's (99 Avenue des Champs-Élysées) and the swanky gastronomic restaurant L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Étoile (133 Avenue des Champs-Élysées), which has one Michelin star.

Although the Champs-Élysées has an image of refinement, there are many affordable places that cater to tourists and students on a budget, such as Starbucks, Quick, Burger King, and McDonald's.

Address: Avenue des Champs-Elysées, 75008 Paris (Métro: Champs-Élysées Clemenceau station to visit the Jardins des Champs-Élysées and Petit Palais, Franklin d. Roosevelt station for Ladurée, George V station for the main shopping area).

Musee d'Orsay

You haven't seen the best of French art until you visit the Musée d'Orsay . The Musée du Louvre may hold the most masterpieces of European painting, but the Musée d'Orsay focuses on works by celebrated French artists including Monet, Renoir, and Degas.

If you love Impressionist art , this is the place to go. The Musée d'Orsay displays a splendid collection of 19th- and 20th-century art (created from 1848 to 1914).

Although the museum's inventory begins with 19th-century Realist paintings and landscape paintings, the highlight of the museum is the Impressionism collection. Also on display are Post-Impressionist works by artists such as Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, and Vincent van Gogh, and bohemian artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Some of the museum's famous paintings include Claude Monet's The Magpie , Gare Saint-Lazare, Poppy Field , and Luncheon on the Grass ; Vincent van Gogh's self-portrait and Starry Night ; and Renoir's Dance at Moulin de la Galette, which depicts a festive party scene in Montmartre.

You may rent an audioguide to take a self-guided tour. The commentary (available in English and French) covers over 300 works.

The museum also has a bookstore/gift shop, two casual cafés, and a fine-dining restaurant, which is worth the splurge. Formerly the Hôtel d'Orsay (a luxury hotel within the original Gare d'Orsay) and listed as a Monument Historique , the Musée d'Orsay Restaurant features gilded ceilings and sparkling chandeliers.

On the square in front of the museum, there is a kiosk that sells sandwiches and falafel.

Address: Musée d'Orsay, Esplanade Valéry Giscard d'Estaing 75007 Paris (Métro: Musée d'Orsay, Assemblée Nationale, or Solférino station)

Palais Garnier Opera House & the Bibliotèchque-Musée de l'Opera

Commissioned by Napoleon III in 1860, the Palais Garnier Opera House was designed by Charles Garnier in an exuberant Baroque style. Garnier worked tirelessly on the project for over a decade, from 1862 to 1875. Today, this show-stopping landmark is a symbol of Napoleon's Imperial regime.

Upon entering the building, you are dazzled by the lavish 11,000-square-meter interior. Much of the building's space is dedicated to the main foyer with its fabulous Grand Escalier , marble entrance staircase, adorned by ornate gilded lamps, and the Salon du Glacier , a sumptuous Belle Époque hall decorated with mirrors, Corinthian columns painted gold, colorful mosaics, and music-themed ceiling paintings.

The horseshoe-shaped auditorium has an intimate feel, although it can accommodate 2,105 people in its plush velvet seats. Gilded balconies, an enormous crystal chandelier, and a Chagall ceiling painting add to the theater's marvelousness, creating the perfect dramatic backdrop for ballet, opera, and music performances.

The Opéra Garnier hosts a prestigious calendar of events in addition to galas. Attending a performance is one of the most exciting things to do in Paris at night. It's a wonderful way to see the building's interior while enjoying a glamorous evening. Another option is to visit (entry ticket required) on a self-guided tour or take a guided tour during the daytime.

Connoisseurs of fine dining will be delighted to discover CoCo, a chic restaurant within the Opera House (entrance is at 1 Place Jacques Rouché) that serves contemporary French cuisine prepared from seasonal ingredients. CoCo offers lunch and dinner daily, as well as weekend brunch (every Saturday and Sunday) featuring musical entertainment. The garden terrace is open Tuesday through Saturday during summertime. Reservations are recommended.

Address: Palais Garnier, Place de l'Opéra, 8 Rue Scribe (at Auber) 75009 Paris (Métro: Opéra, Chaussée d'Antin-La Fayette or Havre-Caumartin station)

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (Photo taken prior to the April 2019 fire)

Despite the damage done by the 2019 fire, it is still worth seeing the Notre-Dame Cathedral. This awe-inspiring medieval monument stands at the heart of Paris on the Île-de-la-Cité, an island in the Seine River. To get here from the Latin Quarter , simply cross the Petit Pont bridge.

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris was founded in 1163 by King Louis IX (Saint Louis) and Bishop Maurice de Sully, and the construction took more than 150 years. The cathedral was first created in the Early Gothic style, while later additions (the west front and the nave) show the transition to High Gothic style.

View of the cathedral's facade during renovations

Note: A large fire in April of 2019 caused considerable damage to the cathedral: The medieval roof and the 19th-century spire collapsed. However, the monument was partly saved thanks to the work of hundreds of firefighters.

A project to repair the structure is underway. The city plans to rebuild the cathedral and restore it to its previous state. Restoration work is ongoing.

Currently, the interior of the cathedral (including the towers) and the space immediately in front of the cathedral (on the Parvis Notre-Dame) are closed to the public. A few steps away from the cathedral's facade, a section of the Parvis Notre-Dame (square) is now used for educational exhibits about the cathedral.

The Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral anticipates reopening in December 2024. A project to redesign the landscaping around the cathedral is scheduled for completion in 2027.

Until the reopening, the Notre-Dame de Paris congregation will celebrate Mass at the Eglise Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois (2 Place du Louvre) in the 1st arrondissement.

Address: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, 6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Place Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris (Métro: Cité or Saint-Michel Notre-Dame station)

Place de la Concorde

The Place de la Concorde stands at the heart of Paris both literally and figuratively. The square was created in 1772 by the architect of King Louis XV. During the French Revolution, the Place de la Concorde was the scene of state-ordered executions , including Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, among other victims of the guillotine. The square was also part of Napoleon's triumphal route.

One of the largest and most central squares in the city, the Place de la Concorde offers a sensational perspective of the city's landmarks. In one direction, you can admire the Arc de Triomphe and in the other, the Louvre, while the Eiffel Tower can be seen in the distance.

Two ornately decorated fountains and an Egyptian obelisk are found in the middle of the square. However, it's a bit of a hassle to get up close because you have to walk through heavy traffic. The Place de la Concorde is one of the busiest intersections in Paris.

Tip for Pedestrians : You will notice cars circulating the square at high speeds. French drivers don't always pay attention to pedestrians. Make sure to get out of the way of oncoming cars!

During summertime , the Place de la Concorde adopts a fairground ambiance, with a Ferris wheel gracing the square from June through August. The neighboring Jardin des Tuileries also has amusement park rides and fairground treats during summertime.

To arrive at the Place de la Concorde, walk from the Louvre through the Jardin des Tuileries or the Rue de Rivoli, or follow the Quai des Tuileries along the Seine River. Alternatively, you may take the Métro to Concorde station.

Arc de Triomphe

Nothing says capital city grandeur quite like a triumphal arch. Paris' Arc de Triomphe is dedicated to the soldiers who fought in the French armies of the Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon I commissioned the building of this mighty structure in 1806 but did not live to see its completion in 1836.

The monument was modeled after the Arch of Titus in Rome. The massive 50-meter-high arch features bas-reliefs with larger-than-life-size figures, which depict the departure, victories, and glorious return of the French armies.

Particularly noteworthy is the bas-relief by François Rude on the Champs-Elysées-facing side: Departure of the Volunteers of 1792 , also known as La Marseillaise , illustrating the troops led by the winged spirit of Liberty. On the inner surface of the arch are the names of more than 660 generals and over a hundred battles.

The Arc de Triomphe stands at the end of the Champs-Élysées, presiding over a circular intersection (the Place de l'Étoile).

From the top of the monument, a viewing terrace affords a panoramic outlook onto the 12 avenues that radiate from the Place de l'Étoile, including the route from the Avenue des Champs-Elysées to the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. It's also possible to see all the way to La Défense, the hilltop neighborhood of Montmartre, and the Eiffel Tower.

At the foot of the Arc de Triomphe is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier , dedicated in 1921 as a memorial to an anonymous soldier (symbol of the many other unknown soldiers who valiantly died for their country during World War One without ever receiving recognition).

The Flame of Remembrance was ignited at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on November 11th, 1923, and since that date has not ever been extinguished. Every evening at 6:30pm , a ritual takes place to rekindle the memorial flame at the tomb.

Throughout the year, events to honor national holidays are held at the Arc de Triomphe, including the November 11th (anniversary of the Armistice of 1918) ceremony commemorating those who perished in the war; the May 8th Fête de la Victoire (Victory Day) celebrating the end of WWII, and the liberation from Nazi occupation; as well as festivities for July 14th (Bastille Day).

Admission requires an entrance ticket. You may reserve a ticket in advance online. Free admission is included with the Paris Museum Pass (no reservations required). Guided tours are available.

For visitors with reduced mobility and young children, there is an elevator to reach the viewing terrace. Otherwise, you must take the stairs (284 steps).

Address: Arc de Triomphe, Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris (Métro: Charles de Gaulle-Étoile, Kléber or Argentine station)

Intendant's Apartments at Hôtel de la Marine

A fascinating glimpse of ancien régime (old regime) splendor awaits you at the Hôtel de la Marine . During the reign of Louis XV, this Neoclassical palace housed the apartments of the Intendants du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne (the King's Furniture Storage Intendants). The intendant had an important job: procuring and maintaining the furnishings for the king's elaborate palaces.

The Hôtel de la Marine opened to the public in 2021 after several years of painstaking restoration work. This monument is one of the newest tourist attractions in Paris.

You enter the Hôtel de la Marine through a cobblestone courtyard off the Place de la Concorde. Then walk up the massive marble staircase and into the reception rooms, where you feel like you have stepped back in time. The interior decor has been restored to a state of perfect preservation.

Chandeliers in the Salons d'Honneur

Adorned with gilded moldings and crystal chandeliers, the Salons d'Honneur salons resemble the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles . Other rooms in the Intendant's Apartments reveal the refinement of the Age of Enlightenment.

During this period, aristocratic residences were lavishly decorated with exquisite furnishings, wallpaper, curtains, and paintings. You'll also see precious antiques such as a desk created by Jean-Henri Riesener , a renowned 18th-century cabinetmaker.

The dining room of the Intendant's apartments at the Hôtel de la Marine

The dining room of the Intendant's Apartments, with its floral-patterned porcelain dinnerware, appears ready to welcome guests. On the guided tour, you will learn that the host placed servings of sugar (a precious commodity at the time) on the table to show off his wealth, along with bread, oysters, and bowls of fresh apricots, grapes, figs, and apples.

Be sure to step out onto the Hôtel de la Marine's Loggia , a colonnaded balcony that overlooks the Place de la Concorde. From this privileged spot, you can admire views of the Eiffel Tower, the gold-domed Hôtel National des Invalides, and the Jardins des Champs-Élysées.

Historical Notes : The Hôtel de la Marine is found on the Place de la Concorde, the square created in 1748 to display an equestrian statue of Louis XV and originally called Place Louis XV. During the French Revolution, the statue of the king was removed and the Crown jewels were stolen from the Hôtel de la Marine. In 1795, the square was renamed the "Place de la Concorde."

View over Jardin des Tuileries

Treat yourself to some time relaxing and wandering the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries. After visiting the Hôtel de la Marine, the Place de la Concorde, or the Louvre Museum, you should spend some time wandering the nearby Jardin des Tuileries. This French formal garden was designed by celebrated landscape architect André Le Nôtre in the 17th century.

Today the garden offers an escape from the hustle and bustle in central Paris, but the ambiance was not always so idyllic. This garden is the site of the Palais des Tuileries where Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were essentially imprisoned during the French Revolution. The palace was destroyed by a fire in the 19th century; all that remains is the gorgeous garden.

Jardin des Tuileries

The leafy grounds feature perfectly manicured trees, statues, and pathways. You can relax on the wooden park benches or on individual green chairs which may be moved around. Find the spot that appeals to you and lounge there for a bit, while listening to birds chirp. You'll see locals having a picnic lunch or reading a book in the sunshine.

For snacks and quick meals, head to La Terrasse de Pomone , a kiosk where you can order crepes and sandwiches to-go or for dining at the outdoor tables; the Petit Plisson kiosk that sells quiches and sandwiches for dining at shaded tables; or Petit Farmers , a purveyor of artisanal ice cream.

The park's two café-restaurants, Le Pavillon des Tuileries and the Café des Marronniers offer casual meals in a tranquil setting beneath the leafy chestnut trees.

Tips : Check the opening hours of the café-restaurants and food kiosks as the hours change during different seasons. You will only find the Petit Farmers ice cream truck & stand at the Jardin des Tuileries from April through October.

Seine river cruise at sunset

Soak up the scenery of Paris on a Seine River cruise. You'll have a chance to see the sights from a different perspective. The Seine River bridges, the Eiffel Tower, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre Museum look stunning from the viewpoint of a riverboat.

While a daytime cruise allows you to appreciate the glory of the monuments brightened by sunshine, the most romantic experience is an evening cruise. After sunset, the city's landmarks are illuminated, which creates a special effect, and somehow the city seems more magical.

For a cruise that includes dinner, try the Paris Seine River Dinner Cruise with Live Music by Bateaux Mouches. This luxurious riverboat cruise departs at the Pont de l'Alma (a short walk from the Eiffel Tower) and treats you to a romantic four-course meal. If you prefer a more casual boat ride, a good choice is the Seine River Direct Access Guided Cruise by Vedettes de Paris which includes commentary from a knowledgeable guide and breakfast or lunch.

Gourmands will be tempted by the Ducasse sur Seine restaurant boat, which departs from Port Debilly. This dining cruise offers a haute cuisine experience. Options include a lunch (two, three, or four-course meal) or dinner (four or five-course meal). Menus focus on contemporary-style French dishes prepared from seasonal ingredients.

Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle is considered a rare jewel among medieval houses of worship and is certainly one of the most exquisite churches in Paris . The ravishing 13th-century chapel is tucked away on the Île-de-la-Cité , just a few blocks (about a 10-minute walk) from the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

This masterpiece of Rayonnant Gothic architecture was built from 1242 to 1248 for King Louis IX (Saint Louis) to house the precious relics he had acquired from the Byzantine Emperor. The altar displays a relic of the Crown of Thorns.

An expanse of 13th-century stained-glass windows sets this chapel apart from any other church in the world. The windows' beauty and brilliance are best appreciated on a sunny day and in the morning. If possible, try to schedule your visit accordingly.

The chapel's over 1,000 stained-glass windows (covering 600 square meters) depict scenes from the bible, both Old Testament and New Testament stories. The colors and light symbolize divinity and the Heavenly Jerusalem.

Only used for church services on rare occasions, Sainte-Chapelle is open to the public as a museum (entrance tickets are required). For an additional fee, audioguides (available in French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese) provide one hour of commentary to help visitors appreciate the art, architecture, and history of Sainte-Chapelle.

To truly experience the serene ambiance of Sainte-Chapelle, attend one of the classical music concerts held here. In the iridescent glow of the sanctuary, performances of Baroque chamber music, sacred music, or Vivaldi string quartets have a sublime quality. A regular program of concerts is held at Sainte-Chapelle year-round, with events scheduled several times a week.

Sainte-Chapelle is located in the Palais de la Cité. To find the chapel, enter the iron gate of the Palais de Justice and walk through the inner courtyard.

Another attraction nearby is La Conciergerie (tourists may purchase combined entry tickets), the prison where Marie-Antoinette was detained during the French Revolution.

Address: Sainte-Chapelle, 8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris (Métro: Cité, Saint-Michel Notre-Dame or Châtelet station)

Saint Chapelle - Floor plan map

A visit to the City of Light is not complete without spending time on the sidewalk terrace or bustling interior of a famous café. It's the ultimate Parisian people-watching scene and a chance to imagine the historic rendezvous that occurred here.

To discover the legendary Paris cafés, the best place to start is the Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement. This broad tree-lined boulevard features an enticing array of storefronts: designer fashion boutiques, prestigious cafés, and old-fashioned brasseries.

The most celebrated cafés are the Café de Flore (172 Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés), which was the meeting place of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and Les Deux Magots (6 Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés), once the haunt of poets, authors, and artists, including Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway.

Les Deux Magots cafe

Across from Les Deux Magots is the Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés , one of the most important churches in Paris .

At both Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots, you will get the classic Parisian café experience, complete with waiters wearing bow ties. Although the waiters have a reputation for their brusque service, their formality adds to the authentic ambiance.

The Saint-Germain-des-Prés area also has excellent pâtisserie boutiques, boulangeries, and chocolate shops such as the Ladurée tea salon (21 Rue Bonaparte), the Maison Le Roux Chocolatier & Caramélier (1 Rue de Bourbon le Château), and Debauve & Gallais (30 Rue des Saints-Pères), a boutique founded in 1779 that supplied Marie-Antoinette with chocolates.

Join the Paris Sweet Tooth Stroll small-group tour to sample the neighborhood's finest sweet treats.

The brasseries of Boulevard du Montparnasse were also frequented by artists and writers during the early 20th century. Le Dôme in Montparnasse is a Paris institution (108 Boulevard du Montparnasse) that has attracted luminaries including Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Picasso. In its glittering Art Deco dining room, the restaurant serves exceptional seafood.

Another atmospheric French brasserie with a mythical past, La Coupole (102 Boulevard du Montparnasse) has, since the 1920s, been visited by artists such as André Derain, Fernand Léger, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, and Marc Chagall as well as the novelist Albert Camus and the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.

La Rotonde Montparnasse (105 Boulevard du Montparnasse) has been a gathering place for painters and writers since 1911 and still attracts cinematographers and artists today.

Jardin du Luxembourg

The Jardin du Luxembourg is the best-known park in Paris after the Tuileries. The 25-hectare park features a formal French garden, similar to the Jardin des Tuileries, as well as an English garden with shady groves of overgrown trees.

On a nice day, it's fun to grab a baguette sandwich at a nearby bakery and then find a chair in front of the garden's duck pond. This is the Paris version of going to the beach when the weather is pleasant. You'll notice many local residents taking a lunch break or simply soaking up some sunshine at the park. It's an especially popular spot among students of the Latin Quarter.

You can also visit a rose garden, apiary, Orangerie (orangery), and greenhouses filled with exotic orchids, as well as an orchard where heirloom varieties of apples flourish.

Palais du Luxembourg

Artistic treasures are found throughout the gardens, such as the picturesque 17th-century Fontaine Médicis , a fountain basin nestled under trees opposite the east front of the Palais du Luxembourg , which today is used by the French state as the seat of the Senate.

Steps away from the Fontaine Médicis is La Terrasse de Madame , a little café-restaurant in a charming setting. You may dine at outdoor tables beneath the leafy chestnut trees. The menu includes coffee and croissants for breakfast and bistro meals for lunch, such as steak, Croque Monsieur (sandwiches), quiche, grilled fish, charcuterie, and salads. Also on the menu are traditional French desserts like profiteroles and crème brûlée .

La Terrasse de Madame

Children love the playground, which features swings, slides, a sandpit, a games area, and pony rides. A favorite activity for the youngest visitors at the Jardin du Luxembourg is steering miniature sailboats around in the octagonal pool (the boats can be hired at a kiosk by the pond).

For French-speaking kids, watching a puppet show at the Théâtre des Marionnettes is not to be missed. The Théâtre des Marionnettes is a modern venue, in the southwest area of the park near the tennis courts, that accommodates an audience of up to 275 children and adults (which makes it the largest puppet theater in France).

Address: Jardin du Luxembourg, Rue de Vaugirard/Rue de Médicis, 75006 Paris (Métro: Luxembourg or Odéon station)

Sacré-Coeur and Quartier Montmartre

Sitting at the highest point in Paris like an ornamental decoration, the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre has a special aura. Its alabaster facade blends Romanesque and Byzantine styles, and from far away, it looks like a wedding cake (which is its nickname).

If you walk to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica from the Métro station, you must walk up the Esplanade, a staircase of over 200 steps, to arrive at the Basilica.

Inside the Basilica, the striking mosaic of Christ with a flaming heart gives the sanctuary an emotional and spiritual intensity, fitting for a church that was created as a symbol of hope after the Franco-Prussian War. In keeping with the somber ambiance, the Basilica's sanctuary is quite dark except for a plethora of flickering candles.

The atmosphere outside the church is quite a contrast, with Parisian joie de vivre in full swing. Locals like to hang out on the grass lawns of the Esplanade while listening to street musicians. You'll see tourists taking selfies, couples embracing, and kids playing on the grass. Below the Esplanade is an old-fashioned carousel, adding to the sense of festivity.

You can spend time on the terrace in front of the Basilica admiring the views of Paris or climb (300 steps) up to the Basilica's Dome for an even higher perspective with unobstructed panoramas. Admission to the Dome requires an entrance fee, but you may visit the Basilica free of charge .

After visiting the Sacré-Coeur, be sure to explore the enchanting neighborhood of Montmartre . This medieval country village (once considered outside of the city) has been incorporated into the city of Paris as the 18th arrondissement.

Picturesque street in the Montmartre neighborhood

Montmartre exudes old-fashioned charm along with an avant-garde edge. Winding cobblestone streets and pedestrian staircases lead to small locally owned boutiques and restaurants, art galleries that evoke the quarter's bohemian past, and quiet squares filled with outdoor cafés .

During the Belle Époque, the village of Montmartre began to attract artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Edgar Degas. The bohemian creative spirit of Montmartre is still found here, especially around the Place du Tertre and the Carré Roland Dorgelès .

Montmartre has several excellent art museums, where you can admire the creations of artists who resided here in the late 19th and early 20th century (the Belle Époque). During that era, the quarter was famous for its cabarets and artists' studios.

The Musée de Montmartre (12 Rue Cortot) occupies a historic house where Auguste Renoir, Raoul Dufy, Suzanne Valadon, and other artists once lived and worked. Tucked away within the museum's gardens, you'll find the Café Renoir , which features outdoor seating in the delightful space where Renoir painted several masterpieces.

If you are intrigued by Surrealist art, be sure to visit the Dalí Paris museum (11 Rue Poulbot). This innovative museum displays more than 300 works created by Salvador Dalí. The exhibits are presented in a way that reveals the symbols and motifs used in his artworks.

Address: Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, 35 Rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre, 75018 Paris (Métro: Abbesses)

Panthéon

The Panthéon is the national mausoleum of France's greatest citizens. You get a sense of the important heritage just by glancing at this grand monument. The colonnaded facade and enormous dome were modeled after the ancient Pantheon in Rome.

The architecture of the Panthéon marks a clear break from the fanciful Rococo style of the Louis XV era and instead presents a simpler and more somber Neoclassical style. The inscription on the Panthéon's facade reads " Aux Grands Hommes La Patrie Reconnaissante " (" To the Great Men Recognized by Their Country ").

Dome of the Panthéon

Many famous men (75 in total) are buried here, including philosophers Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and René Descartes; and the writers Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Émile Zola, and André Malraux. Although the monument was originally dedicated exclusively to France's male citizens, this has changed recently.

Since 1995, several of France's most esteemed female citizens have been buried in the Panthéon including the physicist Marie Curie, a two-time winner of the Nobel Prize. Five other women are buried at the Panthéon. In November 2021, Josephine Baker (the famous Black American expatriate dancer and singer) became the sixth woman to receive the honor of being inducted into the Panthéon.

La Convention Nationale, Pantheon

When you step inside the Neoclassical sanctuary, you will be awed by the spacious domed interior, the floor-to-ceiling paintings that depict scenes of Christian saints, and the enormous sculpture that celebrates French Revolution deputies ( La Convention Nationale ).

Beneath the monumental rotunda is an unusual centerpiece: a science experiment rather than a work of art. Foucault's pendulum , created by French physicist Léon Foucault, was installed in 1851 to demonstrate his theory that the Earth rotates. The brass pendulum hangs from the dome on a steel wire and constantly oscillates in a circular trajectory.

To find the famous citizen's monuments and tombs, you will need a map (available on-site). The underground crypt is arranged in a geometric fashion, but it is easy to get lost.

Foucault's pendulum

Entrance to the Panthéon requires an admission fee, unless you have a Paris Museum Pass and except for the first Sunday of every month from November through March.

From April through September (for an additional entrance fee), you may ascend to the Panthéon's dome, where a colonnaded balcony provides a sensational view of the city's landmarks. You can see the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica in the hilltop neighborhood of Montmartre.

Address: Panthéon, Place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris (Métro: Luxembourg station)

Place des Vosges

In the charming Marais district, the Place des Vosges is Paris' oldest public square. With its uniform red-brick architecture, this elegant square provided a model for other squares such as Place Vendôme and Place de la Concorde.

The Place des Vosges was constructed between 1605 and 1612 (called Place Royale at the time) for King Henri IV. The buildings originally housed aristocratic residences.

The Place Royale offered a splendid setting for festive occasions in the 17th century, such as tournaments, state receptions, and court weddings. It was also a favorite spot for duels, in spite of Cardinal Richelieu's ban on dueling. The celebrated courtesan of Louis XIII's reign lived at number 11, and the future Madame de Sévigné was born in 1626 at number 1 on the square.

Victor Hugo rented an apartment at number 6 on the Place Royale between 1832 and 1848. Today this apartment is a museum, the Maison de Victor Hugo (6 Place des Vosges) which is devoted to educating visitors about the life and work of Victor Hugo.

The Place des Vosges is at the heart of Le Marais, a medieval quarter with narrow cobblestone streets, grand Renaissance palaces, and hôtels particuliers (mansions) of the 16th and 17th centuries. Several of these stately old buildings have been converted into museums.

Musée des Archives Nationales in the Hôtel de Soubise

A fascinating glimpse of France's history awaits you at the Musée des Archives Nationales (Museum of the National Archives) in the 17th-century Hôtel de Soubise (60 Rue des Francs-Bourgeois). The museum presents historical exhibits including the Edict of Nantes, French Revolution objects, Marie-Antoinette's last testament, and a letter written to Napoleon.

The most important museum of the quarter is the Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris. This recently renovated museum illustrates the history of Paris from antiquity through the French Revolution and the Belle Époque until the present day.

In the Hôtel Salé (a 17th-century aristocratic mansion), the Musée National Picasso-Paris (5 Rue de Thorigny) wows you with its incredibly extensive collection (over 5,000 pieces) of Picasso's artwork, including some of his most iconic masterpieces.

Cafe in Le Marais

More than just an open-air museum filled with historic monuments, Le Marais has become a trendy quarter full of fashion boutiques, cute cafés, and unique shops. Spend some time wandering the Rue de Sévigné and its cross street, the Rue des Francs Bourgeois . This area brims with youthful energy and is a fun place to visit for a stroll or a coffee break.

Another interesting fact about Le Marais is that it has a significant Jewish community. The Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme (71 Rue du Temple) presents the 2,000-year history of France's Jewish communities, along with educational programs about Jewish culture and exhibitions of artwork by Jewish artists such as Chagall and Modigliani.

Nearby, the Jardin Anne Frank offers the tranquility of a secluded garden. This quiet, leafy green space features benches, shady trees, and an orchard. One of the chestnut trees in the garden was grafted from a tree that Anne Frank could see from the window of the annex where she lived in Amsterdam.

For those in search of a refined Parisian experience, the Mariage Frères (30 Rue du Bourg-Tibourg) is the place to go. This tea salon serves its aromatic tea with savory and sweet delicacies in a French colonial-style dining room; its adjoining shop sells a wide selection of scented teas in distinctive tins.

Many tourists wait in line to try the authentic falafel at L'As du Fallafel (34 Rue des Rosiers), considered one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in Paris. This area has several kosher restaurants and kosher bakeries.

Tip : Keep in mind that L'As du Fallafel and other Jewish-owned shops in the Marais are closed on Shabbat (Friday evening and Saturday during the daytime).

Address: Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris (Métro: Saint-Paul or Bastille station)

Garden at the Rodin Museum (Musee Rodin)

The Musée Rodin is a hidden gem in the posh 7th arrondissement. This peaceful haven of refinement occupies the Hôtel Biron , an 18th-century mansion where sculptor Auguste Rodin lived and worked for many years. The property includes a seven-acre Sculpture Garden that blooms with flowers throughout the year.

In 1908, Auguste Rodin began to rent several rooms on the ground floor of the Hôtel Biron to use as an atelier. Rodin later took over the entire Hôtel Biron, which became his place of residence for the rest of his life. In 1916, Rodin donated his artworks and collection of antiquities to the French state, and the museum was established soon thereafter.

The Musée Rodin displays a remarkable assortment of Rodin's sculptures, as well as the works of Camille Claudel. Rodin masterpieces presented in the Hôtel Biron include Danaïd , an expressive marble sculpture depicting a mythological character (created in 1890); The Age of Bronze (created in 1877); The Cathedral , a stone sculpture of two intertwined hands (created in 1908); and The Kiss , one of Rodin's most sensual works (created around 1882).

Several monumental Rodin sculptures preside over various corners of the Sculpture Garden. The Thinker , Rodin's most iconic work of art , sits on a pedestal overlooking the perfectly manicured formal garden. The expressive Monument to Balzac stands in a shady spot beneath leafy trees, while a bronze statue of Adam is sheltered behind dense shrubbery.

Adding to the romance of the garden are the park benches and the café-restaurant, L'Augustine , where you may relax on an outdoor terrace. The café-restaurant also has a casual indoor dining space. Here you can savor a classic French meal, complete with dessert supplied by the renowned Maison Lenôtre pâtisserie.

Place Vendome

This graceful 17th-century square was designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart , one of the leading architects of Le Grand Siècle (during the reign of Louis XIV). Originally, the square was called Place Louis le Grand and was intended to house royal establishments.

The charm of the Place Vendôme is that it has retained the consistency of the overall design, which combines regal ostentation with civic simplicity. Following careful restoration in the early '90s, it has been restored in all its splendor.

The square is known for its upscale jewelry boutiques including Boucheron, Chaumet, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Cartier. Another luxury establishment here is the Ritz Hotel , which was frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein.

Coco Chanel made the Ritz Paris her home for 34 years; she decorated her suite in her signature style with velvet-upholstered sofas, lacquered furniture, and gilded mirrors. The Ritz Paris still has a suite named after Coco Chanel that exemplifies her vision of Parisian chic.

At the center of the Place Vendôme stands a landmark of historic importance, the Colonne de la Grande Armée (replacing a statue of Louis XIV that was removed in 1792). Built between 1806 and 1810, the 42-meter-high column is dedicated to Napoleon and his Grande Armée (army) who fought heroically and victoriously in the Battle of Austerlitz (in December 1805).

The column's facade is crafted from bronze plaques embossed with 108 spiraling bas-relief friezes (similar to Trajan's Column in Rome), which tell the story of the glorious events that took place during Napoleon's campaign of 1805.

Address: Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris (Métro: Tuileries or Opéra station)

Centre Pompidou

In the charming Le Marais quarter, the Centre Pompidou is a cultural center devoted to modern art. The building itself features shocking modern architecture, sometimes described as an "inside out" design because the architectural details of staircases and elevators appear on the exterior.

The main attraction of the Centre Pompidou is the Musée National d'Art Moderne (National Museum of Modern Art), which displays iconic works of art chosen from an extensive collection of over 100,000 pieces. The collection focuses on contemporary art created from 1905 to the present.

The collection covers all the movements of modern art, beginning with the Post-Impressionist "Fauves" and "Les Nabis" movements (André Derain, Raoul Dufy, Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, and Marc Chagall) and continuing with the famous movement of Cubism (Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, and Robert Delaunay).

Each room highlights a specific time period or artistic movements such as Expressionism, Constructivism (Paul Klee and Piet Mondrian), Surrealism (Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte, and André Masson), Abstract Expressionism (Mark Rothko, Nicolas de Staël, Hans Hartung, and Serge Poliakoff), Informal Art (Jean Dubuffet), New Realism, and Pop Art (Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg).

Several masterpieces of the collection are not to be missed : Avec l'Arc Noir by Wassily Kandinsky, Manège de Cochons by Robert Delaunay, Portrait de la Journaliste Sylvia von Harden by Otto Dix, The Frame by Frida Kahlo, Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel by Marc Chagall, La Blouse Roumaine by Henri Matisse, New York City by Piet Mondrian, and Les Loisirs-Hommage à Louis David by Fernand Léger.

The center has two bookstores, a casual café, and a boutique that sells gift items inspired by contemporary art.

For a special dining experience, head to the Centre Pompidou's restaurant on the museum's top floor. Restaurant Georges features floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular panoramic views of the Paris cityscape. Tables on the terrace look out directly onto the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and Montmartre.

Address: Centre Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris (Métro: Rambuteau, Hôtel de Ville, Châtelet or Rambuteau station)

Hôtel National des Invalides

Louis XIV founded the Hôtel Royal des Invalides in the late 17th century as a home for disabled soldiers. The building was constructed between 1671 and 1676 under the direction of the architect Libéral Bruant and centered on the Eglise Saint-Louis-des-Invalides, which was later redesigned by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1706.

Today, the Hôtel National des Invalides still has a hospital (Institution Nationale des Invalides) that provides medical care for disabled veterans.

The monument also includes several tourist attractions: three museums and two historic churches. You could easily spend hours here, and luckily the site has excellent amenities: a café-restaurant, the Angelina tearoom (famous for its hot chocolate and pastries) in a tree-shaded courtyard, and a bookstore/gift shop.

Founded in 1794, the Musée de l'Armée (Army Museum) presents a large collection of military equipment and uniforms, weapons, prints, and armor from various historical periods. The museum covers the military history of France from the 13th century (the Crusades) to the 17th century. There are also paintings of Napoleon and well-known generals, as well as maps that depict the French campaigns.

The Musée de l'Ordre de la Libération honors the soldiers who fought for the liberation of France during the Second World War, from 1940 to 1945. This museum also educates visitors about the deportation of Jews from France, the Resistance, and life in France during the war.

The military strategy of the 17th century comes to life at the Musée des Plans-Reliefs (Museum of Relief Maps). The museum displays 97 detailed (1 to 600 scale) relief maps of France's fortified towns (citadels) and fortresses that date from 1668 to 1871. Louis XIV's Minister of War (and later ministers) used the maps for military planning purposes.

Cathédrale Saint-Louis des Invalides

A gold-domed Neoclassical church, the Eglise du Dôme des Invalides was built in 1677 as a royal chapel for Louis XIV but is most famous for being the site of Napoleon's Tomb , installed here in 1861 by the orders of King Louis-Philippe. The imperial tomb stands beneath a magnificent cupola, which was painted by Charles de la Fosse.

Designed for veterans to worship, the Cathédrale Saint-Louis des Invalides (constructed around 1676) connects with the Eglise du Dôme des Invalides. This chapel was built in keeping with the etiquette of the 17th century and has a separate entrance from the Eglise du Dôme. The Eglise Saint-Louis des Invalides still serves as the cathedral for the French army.

Address: Hôtel National des Invalides, Esplanade des Invalides, 129 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris

The Palais-Royal

Just steps away from the Louvre Museum, you will find a welcome retreat amid the bustle of Paris' 1st arrondissement. Visiting this secluded spot feels like a secret getaway, even though it's right in the center of the city.

The Palais-Royal was created as a residence for Cardinal Richelieu in 1633, during the reign of Louis XIII. Richelieu later bequeathed the palace to the royal family, and it became the childhood home of Louis XIV.

Exemplifying classical French architecture, the Domaine National du Palais-Royal is made up of 60 pavilions surrounding a courtyard and a garden, the Jardin du Palais-Royal . This peaceful enclosed space has the feeling of being its own little village within the city.

After wandering the busy streets of Paris, you will be delighted by the lush tree-shaded grounds. You might be surprised to see that the courtyard features a contemporary sculpture installation, a striking contrast to the historic architecture.

The buildings are connected by a colonnaded pathway and arcaded galleries (verandas) filled with high-end boutiques . There are fancy cafés with pleasant outdoor terraces and two gastronomic restaurants: the haute-cuisine Palais Royal Restaurant (two Michelin stars); and Le Grand Véfour in an 18th-century dining room featuring ornate " art décoratif " design motifs.

The Palais-Royal area has two theaters: the Théâtre du Palais-Royal (38 Rue de Montpensier), which dates back to 1783 and continues to present theater performances in French; and La Comédie-Française (1 Place Colette), a theater known as the " La Maison de Molière " because it has staged so many of the famous playwright's works. The Comédie-Française was inaugurated in 1790 and is still in use during its theater season.

A lovely place for a stroll, the Domaine National du Palais-Royal is open every day, free of charge. The Centre des Monuments Nationaux offers guided group tours.

Address: Domaine National du Palais-Royal, 8 Rue Montpensier, 75001 Paris (Métro: Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre or Pyramides station)

Colonne de Juillet, Place de la Bastille

Now, only the name of this square is a reminder that the notorious state prison known as the Bastille, the much-hated symbol of absolutist power, once stood here. After the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, the prison was completely demolished.

In the center of Place de la Bastille is the 51-meter-high Colonne de Juillet , topped by a graceful gilded figure of Liberty ( Génie de la Liberté ). The monument commemorates the July Revolution of 1830, which overthrew King Charles X and brought Louis-Philippe d'Orléans to power.

Four Gallic cocks and a lion relief on the base of the column symbolize the free people of France. A spiral staircase of 283 steps inside the column leads to a viewing platform.

On the site of the Bastille prison is the new Opera House, the Opéra Bastille , inaugurated by President Mitterrand on July 13, 1989. This immense modern theater has seating for 2,745 people. Both the view of the stage from the auditorium and the acoustics are superb.

The Opéra Bastille presents a calendar of events that includes opera and ballet performances by the Opéra National de Paris and the Corps de Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris.

For a memorable evening in Paris, attend one of the performances at the Opéra Bastille and then dine in the Bastille area. This trendy neighborhood is brimming with quirky boutiques, hip clothing shops, stylish restaurants, and happening cafés.

Address: Place de la Bastille, 75012 Paris (Métro: Bastille)

Pont au Change leading to the Place du Châtelet

The Place du Châtelet stands at the very center of Paris in the 1st arrondissement, overlooking the Seine River. The Pont au Change (bridge) provides access from the Île de la Cité to the Place du Châtelet.

Tip : It's just a short walk from Sainte-Chapelle and La Conciergerie on the Île-de-la-Cité to the Place du Châtelet, so it would make sense to visit these tourist attractions at the same time.

Two theaters grace the Place du Châtelet. The opulent Second Empire Théâtre du Châtelet (1 Place du Châtelet) presents a wide variety of music concerts, as well as dance and theater performances. A listed Monument Historique where Sarah Bernhardt once directed shows, the Théâtre de la Ville (2 Place du Châtelet) stages a diverse program of dance, music, and theater performances.

Tour Saint-Jacques

The area around Place du Châtelet is also worth exploring. Continue towards the Rue de Rivoli, past the Boulevard de Sébastopol, and wander through the small park to find the Tour Saint-Jacques . The 16th-century Flamboyant Gothic clock tower is all that remains of the Eglise Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie (the patron saint of butchers), the town's old parish church.

The Saint-Jacques Tower is also famous as the place where Blaise Pascal conducted one of his barometric experiments, which showed the effect of altitude on the height of a column of mercury.

La Conciergerie

Never mind the inviting name, this imposing medieval fortress was an infamous place of detention and a courthouse (from 1793 to 1795) during the French Revolution. Here, prisoners including Marie-Antoinette and Robespierre were kept in dank cells while awaiting their fate.

The Conciergerie is a remnant of the Palais de la Cité , the royal residence of France's kings in the 13th and 14th centuries until the royal residence was moved to the Louvre. During the Restoration (return of the Bourbon monarchs to the throne), the Conciergerie was no longer used as a prison and Marie-Antoinette's cell was converted into a commemorative chapel.

Today, the Conciergerie is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to the public as a museum. It's possible to purchase a combined entry ticket for the Conciergerie and Sainte-Chapelle. Admission to the Conciergerie is included with a Paris Museum Pass.

During your visit, you will have a chance to walk through the Prisoners' Corridor which includes a replica of French Revolution-era prison cells. An evocative exhibit, the Salle des Noms lists the names of more than 4,000 people who were put on trial by the Revolutionary Tribunal and includes their biographies.

Of course, you must visit the expiatory chapel of Marie-Antoinette (the commemorative chapel). Look for the motif of tears painted on the walls.

Other highlights of the visit include the Salle des Gardes which exhibits artifacts from the bloody Reign of Terror, including a guillotine blade, prison regulations, and a copy of Marie-Antoinette's last letter.

The Salle des Gens d'Armes is a 14th-century vaulted Gothic hall of awesome proportions. In this forbidding room, the condemned prisoners were handed over to the executioner.

For an exceptional view of the building's Neo-Gothic facade, stand on the opposite side of the Seine River on the Quai de la Mégisserie. From this distance, with its three round towers and the Tour de l'Horloge (Clock Tower), the fortress resembles a fairy-tale castle rather than a penitentiary.

Address: 2 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris (Métro: Cité or Saint-Michel Notre-Dame station)

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Formerly royal hunting grounds, the Bois de Boulogne is now home to a surprising modern landmark. Opened in 2014, the Fondation Louis Vuitton was commissioned by Bernard Arnault, chairman of the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy corporation.

Acclaimed American architect Frank Gehry designed the striking building, using 3,600 glass panels and more steel than the amount in the Eiffel Tower. The museum features 3,500 square meters of exhibition space with 11 different galleries illuminated by natural light.

In keeping with the museum's modern theme, the permanent collection focuses entirely on 20th-century and 21st-century art organized into four different categories: Expressionism, Contemplative Art, Pop Art, and Music & Sound.

The Fondation Louis Vuitton offers a year-round calendar of events and temporary exhibits. Cultural events and music performances are presented in a 1,000-seat auditorium.

Not to be missed are the four outdoor terraces on the rooftop, which afford sweeping views of the Bois de Boulogne, La Défense district, and the Eiffel Tower in the distance. You may also shop at the bookstore and enjoy a snack or meal at Le Frank Restaurant .

A tourist attraction in itself, the 850-hectare Bois de Boulogne has walking paths, gardens, bicycle rentals, picnic areas, and a lake for boating. Three upscale restaurants, including La Grande Cascade , the Auberge du Bonheur , and the three Michelin-starred restaurant Le Pré Catelan , offer traditional French fine dining. At the park's hippodrome used for horse races, La Brasserie Paris Longchamp serves casual sit-down meals.

Within the Bois de Boulogne is the Parc de Bagatelle with picnic tables, a snack bar, and a rose garden. The 18th-century Château de Bagatelle is open on Sundays and for temporary exhibitions. The Orangery of the Parc de Bagatelle hosts a Chopin Festival every year from mid-June until mid-July.

Address: 8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne, 75116 Paris (Métro: Pont de Neuilly or Avenue Foch)

La Géode IMAX theater

Covering 55 hectares, the Parc de La Villette is the largest landscaped green space in Paris. The park is brimming with attractions, including children's playgrounds and the Cité de la Music .

The park is also home to 400-seat La Géode IMAX theater; the Zénith Paris - La Villette concert hall; the Philharmonie de Paris performance venue; and Le Trabendo , which stages rock, rap, and hip-hop music concerts.

During summertime, Parisians (and a few tourists) enjoy attending cultural events at the Parc de La Villette. For several days at the end of May, the Villette Sonique festival draws huge crowds to outdoor music concerts. Other festivals include Jazz à La Villette held from late August through early September and an outdoor film festival ( Cinéma en Plein Air ), which takes place in the park from mid-July to mid-August.

The park features a variety of themed gardens with walking paths, footbridges, and bright red architectural "follies" designed by Bernard Tschumi. The area around the Canal de l'Ourcq is embellished with ponds and fountains.

Address: 211 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris (Métro: Porte de la Villette)

Seine River bank

Planning to visit Paris during summertime? Be sure to pack your swimsuit! Even though the city is far from the sea, you can still find "beaches" for sunbathing.

From early July through late August, the Seine River becomes a beach destination. The riverbanks along the Quai de Seine and Quai de Loire are transformed into little resorts, complete with lounge chairs, sun umbrellas, and palm trees. Recreational opportunities include table football, tai chi, and petanque.

Other summertime recreational opportunities (in July and August) include swimming at the Bassin de La Villette , which has three swimming pools with lifeguards, and sports activities at the Jardins du Trocadéro .

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Outside of central Paris, the Père Lachaise Cemetery in the 20th arrondissement is the city's most famous and most visited cemetery. This 44-hectare space is the final resting place of many famous men and women, including Honoré de Balzac, Frédéric Chopin, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, and Jim Morrison.

Some of the tombs and graves of the most admired personalities attract a cult following, with flowers and tributes left by visitors on a daily basis.

Address: Cimetière du Père Lachaise, 21 Boulevard de Ménilmontant, 75020 Paris (Métro: Père Lachaise or Philippe Auguste station)

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Locals escape to this peaceful oasis when they need a break from urban life. Among Parisians, this park is a favorite place to go for picnics and basking in the sunshine on warm days.

The 25-hectare park has the feeling of an untamed pastoral landscape, in contrast to the typical Parisian formal French gardens, with their orderly rows of flowerbeds and pollarded trees.

This romantic English-style garden features caves, waterfalls, and an artificial lake. Large shady trees and spacious grassy areas invite visitors to pull out a blanket and relax. Some areas of the park offer panoramic city views.

The convivial Rosa Bonheur café serves Mediterranean cuisine on an outdoor terrace. Rosa Bonheur is also known for its musical entertainment and evening dances.

For a gourmet lunch or brunch, Le Pavillon du Lac delights you with its lake views and garden patio. Le Pavillon du Lac is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday and for brunch on Sundays.

Address: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, 1 Rue Botzaris, 75019 Paris

Grand Arche of La Défense

The Grande Arche de la Défense is found in a business district at the end of Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle. This area just outside the city limits of Paris is named La Défense, which recalls the bitter resistance by French forces in this area during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871.

Designed by Johan Otto von Spreckelsen, the Grande Arche makes a striking impression. This huge 110-meter-high rectangular triumphal arch is faced with glass and granite.

The monument was inaugurated in 1989 on the bicentenary of the French Revolution, and the contemporary structure symbolizes France's national value of fraternity. The arch was originally called " La Grande Arche de la Fraternité ".

Address: La Grande Arche, 1 Parvis de la Défense, 92040 Paris (Métro: La Défense)

Deciding where to stay in Paris depends on your taste in hotels and travel preferences.

An abundance of quaint small hotels are scattered throughout the 5th, 6th, and 7th arrondissements, which is also known as the Rive Gauche (Left Bank). Tourists appreciate this area for its central location, excellent restaurants, and lively sidewalk cafés.

The Marais quarter (4th arrondissement) on the Right Bank rivals the Left Bank for old-world charm and trendy ambiance. This neighborhood is filled with magnificent historic palaces and mansions, while enticing boutiques, cozy restaurants, cafés, and tea salons line the quarter's cobblestone streets.

Many luxury hotels are found on the boulevards near the Louvre and the Champs-Élysées, in an area of the 8th arrondissement known as the Triangle d'Or (Golden Triangle) because of its designer fashion boutiques and upscale gourmet restaurants.

Montmartre is farther from most tourist attractions but has a special atmosphere thanks to its bohemian heritage, excellent art museums, and atmospheric pedestrian alleyways. Some of the hotels in this hilltop neighborhood offer sweeping city views.

Here are some highly-rated hotels in these areas of Paris:

Luxury Hotels:

  • In the fashionable 8th arrondissement near the Jardins des Champs-Élysées is the five-star Le Bristol Paris . This legendary hotel epitomizes Parisian elegance with sumptuous guest rooms featuring Louis XV or Louis XVI furnishings and tailor-made bed linens. Guests enjoy the courtyard garden, spa, rooftop swimming pool, tea time at Café Antonia, and fine dining at the hotel's Michelin-starred gastronomic restaurant or Michelin-starred brasserie.
  • La Réserve Paris - Hotel and Spa is another ultra-luxurious accommodation in the 8th arrondissement near the Champs-Élysées. The five-star hotel occupies a palatial 19th-century mansion decorated in a classical style, yet has the intimate ambiance of a private home. Guests appreciate the top-notch amenities: spa, fitness center, indoor swimming pool, and two gourmet restaurants including a dining room with two Michelin stars.
  • Art Deco interiors create an inviting feel at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in the 8th arrondissement. This opulent five-star hotel occupies a landmark building that dates to 1928 and has been beautifully maintained. Guests are pampered by the hotel's amenities: an upscale spa, swimming pool, and three fine-dining options including a vegetarian restaurant. The hotel's gastronomic restaurant, Le Cinq, boasts three Michelin stars.
  • The Hôtel Plaza Athénée graces the tree-lined Avenue Montaigne, a prestigious boulevard lined with haute couture boutiques. Housed in a stately Haussmann-style building near the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, this five-star hotel features plush guest rooms with Art Deco furnishings. Amenities include the Dior Spa, and three dining options, including a garden courtyard restaurant and La Galerie, a salon that serves afternoon tea.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • In the Latin Quarter steps away from the Panthéon, the impeccably maintained Hôtel Résidence Henri IV exudes old-fashioned Parisian charm with its traditional interior decor and balconies overlooking the street. The spacious guest rooms have flat-screen televisions and updated bathrooms; the apartments have kitchenettes. This four-star hotel has a hammam and offers spa treatments. The breakfast (available for an additional charge) includes artisanal and organic products.
  • The Relais Christine has a quiet and cozy ambiance, which makes it feel like a family home. This five-star hotel in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood is surrounded by cafés, bistros, and restaurants. The tastefully adorned guest rooms feature garden, courtyard, or street views and Nespresso coffee machines. Amenities include an upscale spa, fitness center, breakfast for an additional charge, and room service.
  • Near the legendary Boulevard Saint-Germain cafés and a short walk to the Jardin du Luxembourg, the boutique three-star Hôtel Left Bank Saint Germain des Prés occupies an 18th-century building on an ancient street where Molière had a residence. The hotel's suite has a living room with windows that look out onto Notre-Dame Cathedral. A continental breakfast with croissants, café au lait, and fresh-squeezed orange juice is available.
  • The charming Relais Médicis is tucked away on a quiet street near the Luxembourg Gardens. This four-star hotel is a welcome retreat from the busy streets of the Saint-Germain neighborhood. The guest rooms blend old-fashioned French country decor with modern amenities. Breakfast (available for an additional charge) includes yogurt, cheese, fresh-squeezed orange juice, coffee, tea, and croissants from a neighborhood bakery.
  • Montmartre is considered Paris' most enchanting neighborhood, although it is a Métro ride to the main tourist attractions. A few steps away from the Métro station in the heart of the quarter's narrow, winding streets is Hôtel Le Relais Montmartre . This four-star hotel has quaint guest rooms with vintage-inspired decor. The hotel offers a breakfast buffet (generous for the price) that includes croissants, yogurt, charcuterie, cheese, and fruit.

Budget Hotels:

  • The Legend Hotel by Elegancia is conveniently located in the Montparnasse district of the 6th arrondissement (Rive Gauche) and about a 10-minute walk to the Luxembourg Gardens. This cozy three-star boutique hotel has chic contemporary-style rooms. The hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, buffet or continental breakfast (for an additional charge), and concierge services.
  • In the Latin Quarter (Rive Gauche) near the Panthéon, the family-run Hôtel Diana has stylish modern rooms with renovated bathrooms and courtyard or city views. Considering the central location and 24-hour front reception desk, this hotel provides excellent value for the price. A continental-style breakfast buffet is available for a small charge.

Paris Sightseeing Overview:

  • For first-time visitors, the Paris Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour is a good choice. You can decide which monuments you would like to see, such as the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs-Élysées, and the Musée d'Orsay. The tour provides commentary while you're on the bus and includes an entrance ticket to the Arc de Triomphe as well as a short Seine River Cruise.

Hop-on Hop-off Seine River Tour:

  • The Hop-on Hop-off Seine River Tour covers the city's highlights by cruising down the Seine River. This self-guided tour allows you to stop at eight different places on the Seine River over a one-day or two-day period. You will have a chance to see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Musee d'Orsay, the legendary Saint-Germain-des-Prés cafés, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Place de la Concorde, and the Hôtel National des Invalides.

Visit the Normandy Battlefields:

  • History buffs will want to see the famous World War II battlefields, about a three-hour drive from Paris. One recommended day trip is the Normandy D-Day Beaches Tour . Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, tourists will see the Omaha and Juno Beaches, and the American Cemetery. The tour also includes a visit to the Arromanches harbor.

Must-See Sights Outside of Paris :

  • Another popular outing from Paris is the Versailles and Giverny Day Trip . This full-day excursion explores the vibrant gardens of Giverny, which Monet depicted in many paintings, and the Château de Versailles, Louis XIV's extravagant palace. The tour includes a gourmet lunch at the Moulin de Fourges riverside restaurant, which is housed in an 18th-century mill inspired by Marie-Antoinette's hamlet at Versailles.

Many seasoned travelers say the best months to visit Paris are in the spring (April, May, June), the summer (especially June and the first half of July), and early autumn (September and October) . As a general rule, this is also the best time to visit France.

April is in the off-season , and hotel prices are reduced. The drawback is that the weather is capricious and can be quite chilly or rainy . Average low temperatures are mid-40 degrees Fahrenheit. With some luck, the weather could be refreshingly crisp and sunny. Average highs are low-60 degrees. On the upside, April offers the chance to experience the magic of early spring. Trees begin to bud their first leaves in the parks and lining the avenues. Daffodils and tulips bloom in the gardens.

In May , the weather is still fickle , with a mix of sunny days and chilly or rainy days. The temperature averages range from high 60 degrees to low 50 degrees Fahrenheit. By early May, trees, burgeoning vegetation, and colorful flowers enliven the leafy grounds of the Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin des Champs-Élysées, Jardin des Plantes, Parc Monceau, Bois de Boulogne, and the Buttes-Chaumont. On warm days, café terraces come back to life.

June is a delightful time to visit Paris because of the balmy weather and long days . Daytime temperatures are comfortable, with high temperature averages in the low 70 degrees. Thanks to Paris' northern latitude, the sun sets at almost 10pm in June. It seems that the entire city is out and about to celebrate the beginning of summer. The sidewalk café scene bustles and there is a sense of joie de vivre in the air.

The first two weeks of July are the most exciting time to visit Paris, with Parisians' anticipation of vacation just around the corner. Plus, the weather starts to feel like summer. The entire month of July is a great time to visit because of warm days with average high temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

July and August are the hottest months of the year in Paris. August also has average high temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, travelers should keep in mind that many shops and restaurants close in August when Parisians leave for summer holidays after the Fête Nationale (Bastille Day) on July 14th.

September is a marvelous time to visit Paris because the weather is still pleasant , yet it is in the off-season , so hotels are more affordable, and tourist attractions are less crowded. Similar to the springtime, September promises a mix of weather, with some sunny days and some rain. The average high temperatures are low-70 degrees Fahrenheit and average low temperatures are mid-50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another good time to visit is October which is in the off-season . October weather can be chilly. The daytime high-temperature averages start to dip into the 60s Fahrenheit and the average low temperature is 48 degrees.

Tips for What to Wear : For a Paris vacation in April, May, September, or October, travelers should pack layers and bring sweaters, a jacket, raincoat, boots, and an umbrella. In June and July, the weather is warm enough for summer dresses and short-sleeve shirts. Packing requirements during the late fall and winter months (November through March) include heavy coats, scarves, wool hats, gloves, warm socks, and boots.

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

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Easy Paris Day Trips: There are many wonderful places to visit within easy reach from Paris . Just outside the Paris metropolitan area is a tranquil rural landscape that is rich in cultural treasures: lovely little villages, historic castles, splendid churches, and interesting medieval towns. A must-see destination is the Château de Versailles , the 17th-century palace of Louis XIV (the "Sun King").

For those who prefer cities to the countryside, several worthwhile destinations are just a one- to two-hour train ride away: the elegant and cultured city of Lille (one hour by TGV train) with its distinct Flemish character, the delightful town of Amiens (about one hour and 30 minutes by train), and Lyon (two hours by TGV train) known as the gastronomic heart of France.

Adored by tourists for its perfectly preserved medieval ambiance, picturesque canals, and enticing chocolate shops, atmospheric Bruges (two hours 30 minutes by train) is simple to visit even though the train crosses the border into Belgium.

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Historic Sites in Normandy: The scenic Normandy region wows visitors with its natural beauty and fascinating history. Along its dramatic coastline are the Landing Beaches of World War Two, and nearby are military cemeteries and memorial museums. One of the top attractions of France and Normandy's most visited site is Mont Saint-Michel , a UNESCO-listed medieval pilgrimage site with a sublime 12th-century abbey church. Tourists will also enjoy discovering the historic town of Rouen , with its marvelous cathedral, handsome half-timbered houses, and abundance of Gothic churches.

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Gorgeous Castles and Pastoral Landscapes: The fairy-tale Loire Valley landscape is home to the most magnificent Renaissance châteaux in France. With a lush natural environment of woodlands and rivers, this enchanting region is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The naturally beautiful region of Brittany boasts a wild, rugged coastline, with many idyllic fishing villages and an unspoiled countryside with medieval castles. The Burgundy region is dotted with historic towns such as Dijon , quaint villages, ancient abbeys, and Romanesque churches.

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First time in paris guide for art lovers.

  • Tea Gudek Šnajdar

First time in Paris guide for art lovers

First Time in Paris Guide for Art Lovers was first published on Culture Tourist on 22 January 2019 and updated on 8 March 2024.

Paris is the city I could visit a few times per year and never get bored with it. I used to live three hours by train from Paris, so I was there quite often. However, I still visit it frequently. After visiting it on a school trip, with friends, as a couple and on a solo trip, I’ve become a first-time-in-Paris expert among my friends.

This post contains some affiliate links. Read Culture Tourist Privacy Policy  for more info.

To help you plan your perfect first visit to Paris, I created this first time in Paris guide for art lovers. Here, you’ll find a list of sites you should visit, the best museums, French food and souvenirs to look for, and some other valuable tips for your trip to the French capital.

⤷ Read more : My yearly pilgrimage to Paris 

A short history of Paris

Impressionists in Paris

Paris is filled with history, art and culture. The city was first inhabited in the 3rd century BC and became a Roman town later. During the Middle Ages, Merovignians and Franks were ruling it, before it finally became the French capital in the 12th century. During that time, the construction of one of its most famous buildings, the Notre Dame Cathedral, started.

Louis XIV lived during the 17th century and was one of the most famous French kings. However, he actually moved his court from Paris to a nearby Versailles. Paris became a centre of the French Revolution in 1789, with a crowd storming to the Bastille, the symbol of the Royal authority. It was destroyed during the Revolution, and today, you can only see a square in Paris where it once stood.

Napoleon Bonaparte, who ruled France between 1799 and 1815, erected many buildings in Paris. Arc de Triomphe, Pere Lachaise Cemetery and the city’s first metal bridge, Pont des Arts, are the most famous among them.

⤷ TIP : An impressive Napoleon’s tomb remains at the Les Invalides Church, next to the Army Museum. 

Napoleon III and his newly appointed prefect of the Seine, G.-E. Haussmann, rebuilt the city centre between 1853 and 1870. Within one of the most impressive urban projects ever done, they’ve built wide boulevards and created buildings with typical façades of the same height, design, and colour.

Paris became one of the world’s most important art centres during that time. Its captivating bohemian lifestyle attracted artists many of whom moved to Paris. An Impressionism, one of the first modern art styles, developed during that time.

⤷ Read more : Impressionists in Paris

In 1889 and 1900, two important international exhibitions were organised in Paris. Some famous buildings were built for them, like the Eiffel Tower, Pont Alexandre III, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais and the first Paris metro line.

In the first half of the 20th century, Paris again became the magnet for many artists. Pablo Picasso, Amadeo Modigliani, Henri Matisse, Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, Igor Strawinsky, James Joyce, Josephine Baker and Salvador Dali  are just some that lived in Paris during that time.

During the First World War, the city was on the front line and often bombed, while during the Second World War, it was occupied by the Nazis. However, in the second half of the 20th century, it developed into one of the most important European capitals.

⤷ Read more : Modern architecture in Paris

Start your visit with a Paris Walking Tour

Statue in one of the Paris gardens

A great way to get a feeling of a city and an excellent introduction to its neighbourhoods and history is by taking a walking tour. You’ll get to know the city better, hear about the lifestyle of its locals and the best places to visit during the walking tour.

Numerous walking tours are organised in Paris daily and I’m sure you’ll find some focusing on the theme that will interest you. Check out this link for the selection of walking tour in Paris you can join .

⤷ Read more : My travel diary – Three days in Paris

What to see during your first visit to Paris

Paris is one of the most popular travel destinations worldwide, with millions visiting annually. That’s why it’s good to plan your visit well. My advise is to pick one or two sites to visit within a day. And spend the rest of it by just strolling its cobbled streets, next to the Seine River or by exploring some of charming Paris’ neighbourhoods.

⤷ TIP : One of my top tips for visiting Paris is to book entrance tickets for places you want to see in advance. I’ve included links to them next to the sites I mentioned.

1 – Eiffel Tower

View on Eiffel tower from bridge across the Seine river

Address : Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France Entrance tickets : Book your online ticket on this link

One of the most iconic symbols of Paris is the Eiffel Tower . Built in 1889 and initially seen as an ugly metal construction by the Parisians, it soon became the city symbol. I love seeing it from different parts of the city. The best view of the Eiffel Tower is from Trocadero on the other side of the Seine River. If you want to visit it, book your ticket online and avoid queueing for hours.

2 – Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre dame cathedral in Paris

Address : 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II Entrance tickets : Entrance to the Cathedral is free of charge. However, you can buy tickets to visit the towers or the crypt at the entrance.

One of my favourite buildings in Paris is a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture, the Notre Dame Cathedral. I love walking around its beautiful gardens and taking a closer look at its flying buttresses, gargoyles and other details.

The Cathedral was severely damaged in the 2019 fire. It’s under reconstruction now, so you can see it from the outside only. An interesting exhibition about its history and current reconstruction is displayed on panels around it. So, be sure to visit it!

⤷ TIP : Would you like to learn more about it during your visit to Paris? Check out this Notre Dame Cathedral virtual reality experience .

3 – Arc de Triomphe

View from the Arc de Triomphe

Address : Place Charles de Gaulle Entrance tickets : Book your online ticket on this link

Located at the end of one of the most famous streets in Paris, Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe was built by Napoleon. It honoured soldiers who fought in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Climb to its top level because you’ll find a small exhibition about Napoleon there.

⤷ TIP : Arc de Triomphe offers one of the best views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower.

4 – Sainte Chapelle

Gothic windows of Saint Chapelle in Paris

Address : 8 Boulevard du Palais Entrance tickets : Book your online ticket on this link

Sainte Chapelle is another beautiful place to admire the French Gothic style. It’s a royal chapel within Palais de la Cite that used to be a residence of French kings. It’s world-famous for its large stained glass windows and a place you should visit during your first trip to Paris.

5 – The Louvre Palace

Best museums in Europe Louvre

Address : Rue de Rivoli

One of the most famous museums in the world is located in the old palace of the French kings (their court was there before it was moved to Versailles by Louis XIV). Since it was built over a long period, you can see different styles on it. However, it is a fantastic building, and walking around its courtyards while discovering busts of famous French people on its façades is something you shouldn’t miss when in Paris for the first time.

⤷ Read more : A trip from Paris – Fontainebleau Palace

6 – Sacré-Cœur

Steps below Sacre Coeur in Paris

Address : 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre Entrance tickets : Free entrance

Built at the highest point in Paris, at the Montmartre hill, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sacré-Cœur) is the second most visited place in Paris. It’s a relatively new building, finished in 1914. You can combine a visit to it with a walk around the Montmartre neighbourhood.

⤷ TIP : One of Paris’s best views is from the Sacré-Cœur Basilica’s entrance. So be sure not to miss it!

Neighbourhoods to visit during your first time in Paris

Saint germaine des pres.

Saint Germaine neighbourhood

With its wide boulevards, beautiful residential buildings, and Jardin du Luxembourg, Saint Germaine des Pres is my favourite neighbourhood in Paris. It’s an area with those typical Haussmann’s buildings, many local shops, restaurants and galleries. 

⤷ TIP : Being centrally located but still quite residential, I suggest you look for accommodation there. I always stay at a hotel in the Saint Germaine des Pres neighbourhood. Walking to the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre from there is also very easy.

View on Paris and Sacré-Cœur in distance

Montmartre is where many artists used to live during the second half of the 19th century. It was a rural area outside the city walls, with cheap rents back then. That’s why it was also attractive to many of those bohemian artists. Many places around the neighbourhood still witness that, from where some artists lived to where they met and bought their art supplies.

It still has that artistic feel today. However, it’s trendy among tourists, so you should stroll at the side streets for a more authentic feeling.

⤷ Read more : Locations linked to Vincent van Gogh in Paris

Marais neighbourhood in Paris

Marais is a charming area that is so different from other Parisian neighbourhoods. You can see how Paris used to look before the massive urban makeover by Haussmann. It’s home to some quite cool restaurants, vintage shops and my favourite, street art.

⤷ TIP : Join this Marais Walking Tour to learn more about that fascinating neighbourhood. 

Best museums in Paris

Paris is home to some of the best museums in the world . If you’re only staying in a city for a few days, choosing which ones you would like to visit could be tricky. I advise you not to go somewhere only because it’s a famous museum. Instead, do your research and choose the one with a collection that’s interesting to you.

⤷ Read more : The best museums in Paris

Musée du Louvre

Louvre museum in Paris, one of the best museums in Europe to visit in 2023

Address : Rue de Rivoli Entrance tickets : Book your online ticket on this link 

The most famous museum in the world is definitely a place you should visit at least once in your lifetime. However, it’s also the most visited museum in the world, so plan your visit wisely. If it’s your first time in Paris, I would definitely join some of the organised museum tours (here is the two-hour Louvre Museum Tour I recommend ). That way, you’ll see the highlights and get an excellent overview of the museum.

⤷ Read more : The Louvre Museum Highlights – What to see at the Louvre Museum

Musée de l’Orangerie

Address : Jardin Tuileries Entrance tickets : Book your online ticket on this link

This is one of my favourite museums, not only in Paris but in general. It’s home to two oval rooms in which Monet’s Water Lilies are displayed. It’s such a wonderful experience sitting in the middle of the room, surrounded by those fantastic paintings. They also have a collection of some great Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. It’s a smaller museum, and you can see everything within two hours.

Centre George Pompidou

George Pompidou Museum of contemporary art in Paris

Address : Place Georges-Pompidou Entrance tickets : Book your online ticket on this link

Centre George Pompidou is a museum of contemporary art and a place to go for anyone who likes 20th and 21st-century art. It’s also one of the most important museums of that kind in Europe. My favourite part is its building. So, whenever in Paris, I’m sure to at least pass next to it.

Musée d’Orsay

Address : 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur Entrance tickets :  Book your online ticket on this link

Another iconic museum in Paris is Musée d’Orsay. Located in a former train station, it’s home to the work of some of the first modern painters. One of the most significant collections of Impressionist paintings is there, together with some famous late 19th-century masterpieces.

⤷ Read more : Virtual museum visits: Impressionists at Musée d’Orsay

Musée Picasso

Picasso Museum in Paris

Address : 5 Rue de Thorigny Entrance tickets : Book your online ticket on this link

This museum is home to one of the largest collections of Picasso’s artwork. It’s a great place to learn about different styles he experimented with, see some of Picasso’s most famous paintings and learn a lot about that fascinating artist.

⤷ Read more : What to see in Musée Marmottan – Monet

Parks and promenades you have to visit in Paris

Paris is home to numerous beautiful parks. When tired of the city bustle, go to some of these lovely places, sit on a bench or have a picnic in a park. You’ll see so many Parisians having lunch with friends in parks. So, get some baguette and cheese, and feel like a local for a day.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Statue in Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris

Closest metro stop : Luxembourg

My favourite park in Paris is Jardin du Luxembourg. Located right in the middle of the Saint Germain du Pres neighbourhood, it’s one of the places I visit each time I’m in Paris. It has a beautiful combination of culture and nature which will transfer you back to history, and you’ll almost expect Maria de’ Medici, who initiated its construction, to pass by. 

Jardin des Tuileries

Tea looking at Tuileries gardens in Paris

Closest metro stop : Tuileries

Another park I really like is the centrally located Jardin des Tuileries. It’s a great place to walk between the Louvre Museum and Place de la Concorde. You’ll see numerous metal chairs you can take and put wherever you like in the park, and then just sit, relax and enjoy the view of Paris. The last time I was there was the Tour de France weekend, and we had a perfect race view from the park.

Canal Saint-Martin

Canal Saint Martin in Paris

Closest metro stop : Republique

Not really a park, but one of the most beautiful Paris promenades is Canal Saint-Martin. It’s a place to go and feel more like a local in Paris. It’s also where some of the scenes from the “Amelie“ movie were shot.

⤷ Read more : How to spend a day in Paris like a local

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Closest metro stop : Pere Lachaise

Pere Lachaise Cemetery is an exceptional place in Paris. It’s an old 19th-century garden cemetery where many famous French people were buried. Some of them are Oscar Wilde, Honore de Balzac, Eugene Delacroix, Edith Piaf and Marcel Proust. Probably the most visited grave is of one of the rare non-French people, Jim Morrison. Beautiful tombs and statues and a feeling like you are walking through history make this place unique.

⤷ TIP : If you’d like to learn more about the people buried there and the cemetery’s history, check out the Pere Lachaise Cemetery tour options on this link .

French food to try the first time in Paris

French breakfast.

French breakfast in Paris

Whenever in Paris, I love having a traditional French breakfast at one of the restaurants around my hotel. I just love the simplicity of it: a baguette, a croissant, a bit of jam and a cup of coffee. And I love starting my day that way. 

Where? Once again, I love the Saint Germain du Pres area. Many restaurants serve traditional French breakfast. I’m avoiding the ones looking too touristic (signs in English are usually a red flag to me) and am choosing the ones where I could see local people inside. 

Duck for lunch

Whenever in Paris, I have a duck for lunch. I don’t know what it is, but a duck in Paris is delicious and much better than anywhere else.

Where? Les Antiquires restaurant! Located close to the Orsay Museums, I have lunch there whenever I’m in Paris. I love everything there, from the service to the atmosphere and that perfect duck.

Macarons in Laduree in Paris

If there is something sweet you have to try when in Paris, it’s definitely macarons . These sweet little cookies have already become one of the symbols of France and Paris, and you’ll find them in many places around the city. My recommendation is to get them at Laduree or Pierre Herme. Or in both, as I usually do when in Paris.

Where? Laduree or Pierre Herme

French cheese

I love French cheese! Whenever in Paris, I buy some cheese and bring it home with me. You can have a cheese platter in almost every restaurant in Paris. But, I prefer to go to the market or supermarket, buy some cheese there and have it on the balcony of my hotel room. I just feel entirely like a local that way.

Where? Any local market or supermarket

Coffee & French Desserts

Dessert and coffee in Paris

Paris is home to some of the best pastry shops in the world. My favourite thing to do in Paris is sit in a local cafe, have coffee and cake, and watch the city pass by.

Where? One of my favourite cafes in Paris is Carette . Their coffee is probably the best I have had in Paris, and the selection of cakes there is fantastic. I always visit it in Paris and even had a mini birthday celebration there a few years ago.

⤷ Read more : Ile-de-France travel diary – Paris, Fontainebleau and Moret-sur-Loing

Best souvenirs from Paris

French food – French food is fantastic and getting some of it home with you will make you feel like you’re still in the City of Light. Buy some cheese at the market or some French wine at the wine shop. Macarons are also a great souvenir. In many of those special macaron shops, they will pack them for you in a beautiful box. So, they could make a perfect present, as well.

French cosmetics – France is famous for its cosmetics industry, so whenever in Paris, I buy cosmetic products, too. French cosmetic products from brands like Nuxe and Avene are significantly cheaper there than in other European countries. You can read more about it in my blog post about buying cosmetics in Paris on this link .

Something artistic – Paris is the city of art, and you’ll find many creative souvenirs in its shops. I love museum shops and their selection of souvenirs inspired by art. A Merci Concept Store is one of my favourite places to buy beautiful souvenirs in Paris, too.

⤷ Read more : My 5 favourite souvenirs from Paris

Books about Paris

cultural tourism paris

Something I love to do when travelling is read a novel set up in a place I will visit before my trip. Paris was inspirational to many writers, and you’ll find numerous books about it or with a story set up in it.

If you’re a bookworm, then a place you definitely have to visit in Paris is Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore . Many famous writers used to gather there. It’s a historical site already. But, it’s also a place where you can find a large selection of books in English in Paris.

1 – Ernest Hemingway: A Moveable Feast – This is one of my favourite books about Paris. I bought it during one of my visits to Shakespeare & Co. In it, Hemingway described his life in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s so well that you’ll almost feel like you’re there. You can read my A Moveable Feast book review on this link .

Buy ‘A Moveable Feast’ on Amazon on this link !

2 – Christina Henry de Tessan: Forever Paris – This excellent book about Paris will transfer you to some past times. The author follows the lives of famous Parisians like Coco Chanel and Claude Monet. The best part of the book are the short self-guided tours around Paris in the footsteps of these famous Paris residents. I did the Coco Chanel walk during one of my trips to Paris and truly enjoyed it.

Buy ‘Forever Paris’ on Amazon on a link here !

3 – Janice MacLeod: Paris Letters – Something for artistic souls in love with Paris. This novel is about an American girl who moves to Paris looking for a purpose in life. After spending some time in the city, she started to paint scenes from Paris and send them to people worldwide. Of course, she also falls in love with a Parisian guy along the way.

Buy ‘Paris Letters’ on Amazon on a link here !

Some final tips for visiting Paris for the first time

Public transport tickets in Paris – The metro system in Paris is excellent and easy to navigate. The city is quite extensive, so it’s good to use the public transport from time to time. I always buy a set of ten one-way tickets at one of the machines you’re going to find at any station. This is also the cheapest option, and you’ll pay for those ten tickets 17,35 euros. If you buy a single ticket, the price will be 2,15 euros per item. Their official website is also great for finding the best routes inside the city. Check it out on this link .

What to wear in Paris – Paris is the city for layers and an umbrella. Summers are warm, while winters are grey. The weather also changes often, so take something with long sleeves if you visit in summer. Rain is also quite common, but luckily, it lasts for a short time. However, taking an umbrella is something you should do.

Seine River Cruise – A great way to observe beautiful Paris architecture is from some of the Seine River cruises. That’s especially useful if you or someone you’ll be travelling with can’t walk for the whole day. I found them to be so useful when visiting Paris with my in-laws and while my son was little. Here are the Seine River Cruises to choose from .

⤷ Read more : Bring Paris to your home for a day

Paris is a beautiful city filled with history, fantastic art, and numerous cultural sites. This first time in Paris guide will help you plan your trip to that beautiful city.

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Epicure & Culture

Epicure & Culture

Food, wine & culture for the ethical traveler

5 Must-Have Cultural Experiences In Paris

paris

Traveling to a much hyped-about destination such as Paris can be overwhelming.

Expectations are often high when traveling to a destination so many people rave about and trying to figure out what exactly to do in a city with so many sites (besides visit the Eiffel Tower, of course), can be stressful.

Luckily, it doesn’t need to be!

We’ve compiled five must-have cultural experiences, from the lively entertainment at Moulin Rouge to a relaxing afternoon at the Louxemburg Garden.

This guide is perfect for both those traveling solo in Paris or in a group!

Table of Contents

1. Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge is one of the best-known cabarets in Paris , France.

Historically, Moulin Rouge is said to be the birthplace of the can-can dance, which began as a seductive dance by courtesans but is now a form of entertainment throughout cabarets in all of Europe.

Today, Moulin Rouge provides musical entertainment to travelers from around the world.

Though the original Moulin Rouge burned down in 1915, much of the decor inside is still fashioned as it was back then, so that travelers can experience the traditional Moulin Rouge experience while watching a variety of dance performances and enjoying champagne or dinner.

paris culture

2. Louvre Museum

The Louvre is the most visited museum globally, seeing some 8-9 million visitors annually, and rightfully so.

The museum itself is full of history, housed in the Louvre Palace that was originally built in the 12th century.

Today, the Louvre is home to more than 70,000 pieces of art.

The most famous is, of course, the Mona Lisa but with departments ranging from Egyptian Antiquities and Islamic Art to Sculptures and Decorative Arts, you’ll only do yourself a disservice by snapping a photo of the Mona Lisa and leaving.

Note that the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays.

3. Cathedral de Notre Dame

One of the most famous buildings in Paris, Notre-Dame is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic Architecture.

Notre-Dame is home to the official chair of the archbishop of Paris as well as some of Catholicism’s most important relics, including one of the Holy Nails, a piece of the True Cross, and the Crown of Thorns. Entrance to the cathedral and all services are free during operating hours though there is a small fee to visit the treasury which holds the historical relics.

Tours are available, which are a great way to learn more about Catholicism in Paris, and climbing to the top of the bell towers is a must — it’s from there you’ll be able to take the famous image of the gargoyles looking over Paris.

Photo courtesy of Gurgen Bakhshetsyan via ShutterStock

4. Luxembourg Garden

Created by Marie de Medici in 1612, the Luxembourg Garden is not only a peaceful place to enjoy a picnic or relax with a book but also host to many cultural activities, such as a puppet theater and occasional musical performances.

One can spend an afternoon exploring the 25 hectares of land, including an apiary, English and French gardens, and some 100 statues, including the famous Medici Fountain.

5. Les Invalides

Les Invalides is a complex of buildings related to French military history. Wandering through Musée de l’Armée, visitors can learn of the French history by viewing artifacts from early wars, and also L’Hôtel des Invalides, the first veteran hospital, and the surrounding “town” of veteran’s barracks, convent, and more.

The most famous part of Les Invalides, however, is the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.

What’s your favorite cultural experience in Paris? Please share in the comments below. 

By Sky Fisher  

Also Check Out:

French Food Culture: Tracing The Heritage Of Brittany’s Kouign-Amann

World’s Most Popular Wine Regions (And Where To Visit Instead)

Worth The Buzz: Top Five Wine Bars In Paris, France

Sky Fisher is a small-town country girl with a passion for travel. She has a love affair with Central America and currently calls Costa Rica home. Follow her adventures at Sky vs World .

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8 kinds of tourism to enjoy in Paris and Île-de-France

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What tourist are you ? Believe it or not, but no matter your passions, Paris is the kind of capital making everyone on the same page. Furthermore, the French capital and its surroundings provide you with such a large range of possibilities that any kind of tourism is possible. And to prove it, we have gathered 8 themes likely to make you discover the Paris area with outings likely to delight you.

From gastronomic tourism to cultural discoveries , via natural and green places , happiness is just one click away!

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Best cultural activities in Paris

cultural tourism paris

Hello adventurers! Embark on an extraordinary journey to conquer the enfamous city of Love : Paris! This iconic destination is a veritable treasure trove of cultural wonders, artistic brilliance, and immense beauty. Fear not, for we’ve meticulously crafted the ultimate guide to ensure that your trip is nothing short of spectacular. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Parisian charm, and let us be your compass through this city of awe-inspiring landmarks, hidden gems, and unforgettable experiences. Get ready to unravel the best cultural activities in Paris and make the most out of every moment, as we unveil the must-see spots and insider tips that will elevate your adventure to whole new heights!

cultural tourism paris

1- Visit the Famous Landmarks: Eiffel Tower and Triumphal Arch

First up, let’s talk about the absolute rockstars of Paris : the Eiffel Tower and the Triumphal Arch! These iconic wonders not only make the city look amazing but also tell a super cool story about France’s history and culture. The Eiffel Tower, standing tall on Champ de Mars, is like the superhero of architecture. Head to the top for a jaw-dropping view of Paris, it’s like a dream come true! Then, there’s the Triumphal Arch on the famous Champs-Élysées. It’s a tribute to those who fought in French wars, and it’s a must-see! Snap some killer pics from different angles and save some amazing memories in the famous capital.

cultural tourism paris

2- Visit the Most Famous Museums: Louvre, Orsay, and Quai Branly

Now, let’s dive into a cultural journey through time and art at the most famous museums in Paris! First up, the Louvre aka the world’s biggest art museum. It’s a grand celebration of art from different civilizations, with over 35,000 artworks, including priceless pieces such as the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Next, check out the museum d’Orsay, it used to be a railway station! This place is all about 19th to 20th-century art, featuring legends like Monet, Van Gogh, and Degas. Last but not least, the Quai Branly Museum, a modern masterpiece showcasing arts and civilizations from Africa to the Americas. Besides the interior the outside of these museums are just as beautiful, It’s like a journey through cultural richness in the heart of the city.

cultural tourism paris

3- Visit Famous Historic Buildings: Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, and Garnier Opera

Time to explore the historic heart of Paris and discover some jaw-dropping buildings! Notre-Dame Cathedral is a symbol of history and faith, with stunning French Gothic architecture. Fun fact: it even has its own Disney movie! Sacré-Coeur, perched on Butte Montmartre, gives you the best panoramic view of Paris. Inside, there’s a massive mosaic, and you can climb up for a 360° view! Last but definetly not least, the Palais Garnier, an architectural masterpiece since 1875. From the monumental staircase to the Grand Salon, it’s like stepping into a magical decor. Each room is a unique experience in itself, and it’s a must-visit during your Paris stay!

cultural tourism paris

4- Guided Visits: Seine River Cruise and Versailles Palace

Don’t miss out on guided adventures in Paris! A cruise on the Seine River is pure magic, especially at night. Picture this: iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame all lit up while you sail along. It’s like a dreamy Paris postcard coming to life! And speaking of dreams, a guided tour of the Versailles Palace is a must-try. This famous castle has hosted royalty, and a guided tour helps you unlock its secrets, characters, and collections. Online tickets are your golden pass to these incredible experiences, and trust us, they’re worth every penny!

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The Best Time to Visit Paris for Cheap Flights and Fewer Crowds

By Matt Ortile

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The question of when is the best time to visit Paris was answered by Audrey Hepburn in the 1963 classic Sabrina : “ Paris is always a good idea.” A spring stroll through the Jardin du Luxembourg, a summer evening along the Canal Saint-Martin, a fall morning whiled away sur la terrasse avec un café , twinkling holiday markets in the winter—it all sounds so fabulous that one single trip can’t cover it all. But if you’re someone who strategizes around attending (or avoiding) big events in the French capital, or would like to cash in on prime deals for hotels and flights, there is of course a slight science to it all.

To get some expert advice on the best time to visit Paris, I spoke to two of Condé Nast Traveler ’s Top Travel Specialists : Nick Cunningham, the destination manager for Europe at Scott Dunn; and Camilla Davidson, the head of destination management for France at Red Savannah. Both offered tips about the city’s cultural calendar, the must-see sights, and other insider tips that will make your Paris experience—much like Audrey Hepburn’s in Sabrina —one to write home about.

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Paris in the spring remains one of the best times to visit for temperate weather and fewer tourists.

What is the best time to go to Paris?

The best times to visit Paris are the months that shoulder the summer season: April, early May, September, and early October. “The days are still warm and balmy but without the sweltering heat of peak summertime,” says Davidson of Red Savannah. You’re more likely to avoid the crowds at this time too, when many of the families traveling with kids are back at work and school.

Cunningham of Scott Dunn agrees that avoiding the months of June, July, and August are a smart idea; temperatures all over Europe are rising , and the city heat and humidity of Paris can feel oppressive. September is his favorite time to visit the French capital, since you won’t need a coat: “Though, it is Paris. In case fall does come early, any excuse is better than none to don a fashionable coat and make the streets of Paris your very own runway.”

When is peak season in Paris?

Peak season in Paris begins at the end of May with the Roland-Garros (a.k.a. the French Open) and runs through the summer, ending in the middle of September . Davidson notes that many Parisians also take their grands vacances in August, when they decamp to the beach or the mountains, so many small boutiques and restaurants close for the month. Also, this means August may feel more packed with tourists than usual because all the locals are away, and you may not get to experience all the insider Paris recs you got from your friends for things like hole-in-the-wall wine bars and must-visit thrift shops.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the fashion world’s calendar, Cunningham cautions: “Despite the fantastic opportunities for spotting A-list celebrities , be warned that if you visit during fashion weeks, especially womenswear, it’s possible you will see higher prices everywhere during seemingly surprising times of the year in the fall and spring.” For what it’s worth: the women’s ready-to-wear shows—what most people call “Paris Fashion Week”—occur in late February or early March and late September or early October .

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There are plenty of historic cafés in Paris like Les Deux Magots where you can while away the day.

What is the cheapest time to go to Paris?

Generally, the cheapest time to go to Paris is in the window from mid-November to mid-December, says Cunningham, “after the insanely busy summer tourist season, but before the holiday season , when prices leading just up to and after New Year’s skyrocket.” During this time, you avoid most of the major events on the annual calendar like fashion week, the French Open, and the like, giving you plenty of room at hotels and shorter lines at the main tourist attractions.

With the Olympics happening in France this year, the cheapest time to go to Paris in 2024 is after the summer, specifically October and November, according to Laura Lindsay, the global travel trends expert at Skyscanner, the search aggregator and travel agency. As for 2025, the beginning of the calendar is looking like a good time to book your flights, she says. January , February, and March have flights starting at $330 roundtrip from the United States to Paris.

For cheaper plane tickets to Paris, Lindsay recommends playing with your itinerary. Roundtrip flights from and to the most convenient airports are most desirable and often priced accordingly by airlines . “Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly out with one airline and back with another,” she says. “You can also look at flying in or out of one airport and back to or from another. This is especially handy for cities with multiple airports like Paris, London, and New York. It can take a bit of playing with the flight search, but it can result in finding great flight deals.”

How many days in Paris do you need as a first timer?

Both Davidson and Cunningham suggest four to five days in Paris for the average first-time visit. Travelers can cover a handful of must-see sights in Paris, but an extra fifth day can offer some breathing room and time to enjoy the city at a more leisurely pace. This is Paris after all. Simply strolling through the streets for a bit of French flânerie will always yield some new-to-you discoveries, be it a café , a bakery, a boutique, or some small patch of green.

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Crowds are a given at the Louvre, but time your arrival strategically for a calmer experience

What are the must-see places in Paris?

Naturally, the Eiffel Tower , the Louvre , and the Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre are among the must-see tourist attractions in Paris, but be prepared for crowds to be there year-round. Try going early when you can; watching the sunrise at the foot of the Sacré-Cœur with a view overlooking the French capital is definitely worth the wake-up call and the hike up the hill. Additionally, the boat rides along the Seine are one of the tourist attractions that even Parisians can appreciate; Cunningham suggests going at golden hour, just as the city lights come to life at dusk, for a truly mesmerizing display of the City of Light.

As for more off-the-beaten-path experiences, Cunningham recommends a guided tour of the Palais Garnier , the most famous opera house in the city: “It’s a very brief visit that doesn’t take much time, but it delivers perhaps one of the most interesting tours you can do in the city.” Davidson also offers a useful strategy for seeing art and culture in the city: “Paris is so filled with museums, galleries, and art exhibitions that I always suggest visitors to pick just one gallery and focus on that, to avoid ‘museum fatigue’ and focus on a particular area of interest for you.”

Note that the Notre Dame Cathedral is due to reopen at the end of 2024 after extensive reconstruction and restoration in the wake of the devastating fire in the spring of 2019. It’s one of the most anticipated reopenings happening in the city this year, the other being that of the Grand Palais. Book tickets early, if you want to go, and be prepared to muscle through the crowds.

What else should I know before visiting Paris?

Always make sure to greet shop owners and staff when entering a store, a restaurant, a hotel—any building in Paris, really. “It’s considered rude to wait for them to greet you,” Cunningham explains. Bonjour and merci will get you far; you’ll find that just saying hello and thank you will make your experience in the city all the more pleasant.

Davison also suggests bringing comfortable walking shoes . Much of the city is walkable, and you’ll miss a lot of the beautiful city scenery if you’re just shuttling back and forth between tourist sites via the Metro or taxis. She also recommends visiting a museum on the first Sunday of the month, which is when many art institutions offer free admission. “It’s a great way to explore some of the lesser-known museums, with less commitment than an expensive ticketed admission.”

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Tourism in Paris - statistics and facts

What are the leading travel markets in paris, what are the most visited tourist attractions in paris, key insights.

Detailed statistics

Travel and tourism's direct contribution to GDP in Paris 2019-2022

Number of tourist arrivals to Paris and the Île-de-France region 2019-2023, by type

Domestic tourism spending in Paris 2019-2022

Editor’s Picks Current statistics on this topic

Museums & Galleries

Number of visitors to the Louvre in Paris 2007-2023

Destinations

International tourism spending in Paris 2019-2022

Travel, Tourism & Hospitality

Further recommended statistics

  • Premium Statistic International tourist arrivals in France 2010-2023
  • Basic Statistic International tourism spending in France 2019-2022
  • Basic Statistic Travel and tourism's direct contribution to GDP in Paris 2019-2022
  • Basic Statistic Travel and tourism's direct contribution to employment in Paris 2019-2022
  • Basic Statistic Distribution of travel and tourism spending in Paris 2019-2021, by type
  • Premium Statistic Passenger traffic at Paris-Charles De Gaulle Airport 2011-2023
  • Premium Statistic Number of inbound tourist arrivals in selected European destinations 2019-2022
  • Basic Statistic Leading European city tourism destinations 2019-2022, by number of bed nights

International tourist arrivals in France 2010-2023

Number of international tourist arrivals in France from 2010 to 2023 (in millions)

International tourism spending in France 2019-2022

International tourism expenditure in France in 2019 and 2022 (in billion euros)

Travel and tourism's direct contribution to GDP in Paris 2019-2022

Direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP in Paris, France from 2019 to 2021, with a forecast to 2022 (in billion euros)

Travel and tourism's direct contribution to employment in Paris 2019-2022

Direct contribution of travel and tourism to employment in Paris, France from 2019 to 2021, with a forecast to 2022

Distribution of travel and tourism spending in Paris 2019-2021, by type

Distribution of travel and tourism spending in Paris, France in 2019 and 2021, by type

Passenger traffic at Paris-Charles De Gaulle Airport 2011-2023

Number of passengers at Paris-Charles De Gaulle Airport from 2011 to 2023 (in millions)

Number of inbound tourist arrivals in selected European destinations 2019-2022

Number of international tourist arrivals in selected cities and destinations in Europe from 2019 to 2022 (in millions)

Leading European city tourism destinations 2019-2022, by number of bed nights

Leading city tourism destinations in Europe from 2019 to 2022, by number of bed nights (in millions)

Inbound and domestic tourism

  • Premium Statistic Number of tourist arrivals to Paris and the Île-de-France region 2019-2023, by type
  • Premium Statistic Inbound tourist arrivals in hotels in Paris 2011-2023
  • Premium Statistic Leading inbound tourism markets in Paris and the Île-de-France region 2022
  • Basic Statistic International tourism spending in Paris 2019-2022
  • Premium Statistic Domestic tourist arrivals in hotels in Paris 2011-2023
  • Premium Statistic Leading domestic tourism markets in Paris and the Île-de-France region 2022
  • Basic Statistic Domestic tourism spending in Paris 2019-2022

Number of tourist arrivals to Paris and the Île-de-France region in France from 2019 to 2023, by type (in millions)

Inbound tourist arrivals in hotels in Paris 2011-2023

Number of international tourist arrivals in hotels in Paris, France from 2011 to 2023 (in 1,000s)

Leading inbound tourism markets in Paris and the Île-de-France region 2022

Leading international tourism markets in Paris and the Île-de-France region in France 2022, by share of arrivals

International tourism expenditure in Paris, France from 2019 to 2021, with a forecast for 2022 (in billion euros)

Domestic tourist arrivals in hotels in Paris 2011-2023

Number of domestic tourist arrivals in hotels in Paris, France from 2011 to 2023 (in 1,000s)

Leading domestic tourism markets in Paris and the Île-de-France region 2022

Leading domestic tourism markets in Paris and the Île-de-France region in France 2022, by share of arrivals

Domestic tourism expenditure in Paris, France from 2019 to 2021, with a forecast to 2022 (in billion euros)

Accommodation

  • Premium Statistic Hotels in France 2024, by region
  • Premium Statistic Number of hotels in Paris 2019-2023, by rating
  • Premium Statistic Number of hotel rooms in Paris 2019-2023, by rating
  • Premium Statistic Hotel overnight stays in Paris 2011-2023
  • Premium Statistic Hotel occupancy rate in Paris 2023, by hotel category
  • Premium Statistic Average daily rate of hotels in Paris 2023, by hotel category
  • Premium Statistic Revenue per available room of hotels in Paris 2023, by hotel category
  • Premium Statistic Number of Airbnb listings in Paris 2023, by room type

Hotels in France 2024, by region

Number of hotels in France as of February 2024, by region

Number of hotels in Paris 2019-2023, by rating

Number of hotels in Paris, France from 2019 to 2023, by hotel rating

Number of hotel rooms in Paris 2019-2023, by rating

Number of hotel rooms in Paris, France from 2019 to 2023, by hotel rating

Hotel overnight stays in Paris 2011-2023

Total number of overnight stays in hotels in Paris, France from 2011 to 2023 (in 1,000s)

Hotel occupancy rate in Paris 2023, by hotel category

Occupancy rate of hotels in Paris, France in 2023, by hotel category

Average daily rate of hotels in Paris 2023, by hotel category

Average daily rate (ADR) of hotels in Paris, France in 2023, by hotel category (in euros)

Revenue per available room of hotels in Paris 2023, by hotel category

Revenue per available room (RevPAR) of hotels in Paris, France in 2023, by hotel category (in euros)

Number of Airbnb listings in Paris 2023, by room type

Number of Airbnb listings in Paris, France as of December 2023, by room type

Visitor attractions

  • Premium Statistic Most visited museums and cultural attractions in Paris 2019-2022
  • Premium Statistic Attendance at museums and monuments in Paris 2023
  • Premium Statistic Number of visitors to the Louvre in Paris 2007-2023
  • Premium Statistic Number of visitors to the Eiffel Tower in Paris 2011-2023
  • Premium Statistic Number of visitors to the Musée d'Orsay in Paris 2007-2022
  • Premium Statistic Number of visitors to the Centre Pompidou in Paris 2000-2022
  • Premium Statistic Number of visitors to Disneyland Paris theme park in France 2009-2022

Most visited museums and cultural attractions in Paris 2019-2022

Leading museums, monuments, and cultural sites in Paris, France from 2019 to 2022, by number of visitors (in 1,000s)

Attendance at museums and monuments in Paris 2023

Number of visits at selected museums and monuments in Paris, France in 2023 (in 1,000s)

Number of visitors to the Louvre Museum in Paris, France from 2007 to 2023 (in millions)

Number of visitors to the Eiffel Tower in Paris 2011-2023

Number of visitors to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France from 2011 to 2023 (in millions)

Number of visitors to the Musée d'Orsay in Paris 2007-2022

Number of visitors to the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, France from 2007 to 2022 (in millions)

Number of visitors to the Centre Pompidou in Paris 2000-2022

Number of visitors to the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France from 2000 to 2022 (in millions)

Number of visitors to Disneyland Paris theme park in France 2009-2022

Number of visitors to Disneyland Paris theme park in France from 2009 to 2022 (in million)

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Positive and Negative Impacts of Tourism in Paris

We know that tourism has many positive and negative impacts, but what about its impact on the capital? In this article, we will see the impacts of tourism on Paris in detail.

Positive impacts

Economic growth.

cultural tourism paris

You cannot deny that tourism is a considerable source of income for the country, especially knowing that France is the leading tourist destination in the world , this means that it welcomes the most tourists in the world yearly.

In 2018, nearly 89.3 million international tourists traveled to France, including 50 million to the Île-de-France region, according to the Île-de-France regional tourism committee (link in French).

In its dashboard on the French economy , the INSEE states that in 2018, the domestic tourism expenditure reached 153.3 billion euros. It means that tourists spent a total of 153.3 billion euros during their stay in France, the two main expenditures being accommodation and transports.

cultural tourism paris

Tourism is a major source of income for restaurants and cafés (around 17 billion euros in 2018) as well as for museums and other charged landmarks .

Tourism keeps the economy going and contributes to the wealth of the country .

Creation of jobs

Tourism develops many jobs in different areas: in souvenir shops, department stores, airports, restaurants, bars, museums, landmarks, travel agencies, hotels, etc. According to the Banque des Territoires (link in French), part of the Caisse des dépôts , a French public financial institution, there are 2.87 million jobs linked to tourism.

The creation of jobs benefits the inhabitants of the capital itself, who can find one more easily.

Decrease of the unemployment rate

cultural tourism paris

The creation of jobs directly contributes to the decrease of the unemployment rate of the inhabitants, even though these jobs are not always long-termed (many are seasonal and anyone can apply).

Sharing French culture abroad

cultural tourism paris

The arrival of international tourists allows French cultural, historical and artistic heritage to be shared worldwide.

French culture is already well known in the world: many people know Paris, the famous Eiffel Tower, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Champs-Elysées, the Louvre and its Mona Lisa, baguettes, French cheese and wines, the beret and the striped sweater, luxury boutiques such as Chanel and great fashion designers like Jean-Paul Gaulthier some might even know the French Revolution.

Tourism contributes to the image that tourists have of France.

In favor of intercultural exchanges

cultural tourism paris

Traveling is an enriching experience for an individual and it allows to bring together different cultures and world views.

When tourists and inhabitants meet, it leads to interesting conversations for both sides.

It is a great opportunity to step out of one’s comfort zone and to discover that our view of the world is not necessarily the general convention.

Negative impacts

cultural tourism paris

Tourism is bad for the environment: according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition (in French), it is responsible for 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

In France, tourism caused the emission of 118 million tonnes of CO2 in 2018, according to a study by ADEME (in French), the French Environment and Energy Management Agency. These GHG emissions correspond to those of 11 million French people over a whole year.

These emissions are mainly due to transport and accommodation, but also to other tourism activities such as restaurants and shopping. Tourists account for 80% of transport-related GHG emissions (mainly air transport).

Such air pollution greatly contributes to global warming and changes the quality of the air.

We do not recommend you to eat or walk around outside during pollution peaks (difficult for tourists as they often visit on foot and eat in outside seating areas). You can always keep an eye on the air quality of the capital on this website (in French).

The weather also contributes to the dispersion of polluting particles (especially wind and rain, which are frequent in Paris).

Overpopulation

cultural tourism paris

According to the INSEE (in French), in 2018, Paris, a small city of 105 km2, has 2,175,601 inhabitants, meaning 20,754 inhabitants per km2 , which is much more than in New York for example, with its 7,101 inhabitants per km2.



Paris is a small, highly populated city , we can even say overpopulated. The arrival of tourists contributes to it. Even if they don’t stay for long, they need accommodation which could have been for Parisians. Tourists also contribute to the saturation of transport networks and streets.

Underprivileged inhabitants

parisian-street

Parisians are the ones who suffer most from tourism. In addition to the overcrowding effect mentioned previously and the noise pollution that it can cause, the local population sees less and less other locals: many accommodations are transformed into Airbnbs for tourists or hotels and hostels .

These accommodations, which are specially designed to host foreigners, are contributing to the rise in rental prices and land purchases . The cost of living is also rising , gradually forcing the inhabitants to move to the more financially accessible but less secure and crowded Parisian suburbs .

The progressive departure of the inhabitants leads to the arrival of a more affluent social class in the areas and many homes are becoming secondary residences , rendering certain arrondissements ghostly.

The jobs created by the tourist demand are not necessarily for the inhabitants , especially as many are seasonal or for students.

Inhabitants end up missing social contact with other inhabitants in favor of foreign contacts, which can frighten them and make them question their own identity.

The social impact of tourism is so great that people can feel oppressed by so many strangers in their daily lives.

Mona

I aim to share my tips and recommendations for the beautiful country of France. My goal is to help you plan your next adventure, whether it’s a weekend getaway or a once-in-a-lifetime trip. From finding the best hotels and restaurants, to discovering unique activities and sights, I’ve got you covered!

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Welcome to another captivating episode of MOJO: The Meaning of Life and Business! Today, we return to Paris and have a delightful and insightful conversation lined up for all the Paris enthusiasts out there. Our guest, Karen Reb Rudel, is not just any tour guide—she's a storyteller, a cultural aficionado, and a Parisian at heart. Join us as we unravel her fascinating journey from Pennsylvania to Paris, a tale woven with music, chance encounters, and a deep love for the City of Light. In this episode, we'll embark on a virtual exploration of Paris, diving into the often overlooked, yet enchanting, corners of this iconic city. Karen's perspective sheds light on the importance of taking the time to truly savor the cultural richness of Paris, uncovering hidden treasures, and immersing oneself in its myriad charms. But that's not all—we'll also delve into the potential impact of the upcoming Paris Olympics on the city's tourism, the nuances of safety in different parts of the world, and the fascinating contrasts between European and American lifestyles and educational systems. Enthusiasts of virtual travel, rejoice! Karen takes us on a journey through the world of virtual tours, offering a unique opportunity to savor the magic of Paris from the comfort of your own home. From culinary explorations to educational experiences for children, the possibilities to engage with the essence of Paris are boundless. So, whether you're a seasoned traveler, an aspiring globetrotter, or simply someone with a love for culture and adventure, this episode is brimming with insights, inspiration, and a touch of Parisian flair that you won't want to miss! About my guest: Born and raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Karen grew up with the aspiration to be a comedian, a musician, or both… She groomed these crafts from a young age by making everyone around her laugh. Karen was back and forth between Paris and Philadelphia, working on musical projects and touring (including being the flautist and singer in a Reggae band in Paris). One day her parents came to visit her and Karen, having learned a lot about Paris, was showing them around when her mother exclaimed, “Karen, you would make a great tour guide!” As the French say Voila!! Connect with Karen on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and on the web at https://sightseekersdelight.com/.

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17 Things About Visiting Paris No One Tells You

The Eiffel Tower

If you are planning a visit or becoming a resident of Paris , you will find everything you need in this charming city. The fashion capital of the world, the city has a long history of art and a rich culture. From museums to restaurants, cafés, and parks, the city offers endless activities to experience French culture. You may have heard rumors and clichés, so here are our list of things about visiting Paris no one tells you until it’s too late.

Sunset at the Eiffel Tower

1. Crossing red lights

For Parisians, the cross lights seem to be a suggestion, which is open to interpretation. You are welcome to wait for them to turn green, it is up to you, but most Parisian pedestrians become experts in physics as they learn how to calculate the precise time and speed of an approaching car to get to the other side of the street.

2. Paris is covered by a cloud of cigarette smoke

In the old-time, classic French cinema, attractive actors looked fabulous and classy while smoking a cigarette. This is a practice that is still very popular in today’s French culture. You will see large amounts of men and women from all ages and backgrounds with a lit cigarette while sitting, walking, standing or waiting. It is estimated that the streets in Paris hold up to 350 million tons of cigarette butts every year.

Paris by Night

3. Bonjour, Merci, Pardon, Bonsoir and repeat

Like any other city, Paris has clear standards of etiquette. Locals are polite to each other in their everyday social interactions, keeping a civic harmony on the streets. For example, it is perfectly normal for the bus driver to smile and greet all the passengers with a ‘ Bonjour .’ If you are visiting Paris or living here, make sure you remember the words ‘ pardon’ (I’m sorry/excuse me) for when you want to get the attention of a stranger, and ‘s ’il vous plait ’ (please) when asking for something.

4. Appreciate the beauty but keep off the grass

There are enough parks and gardens in Paris to visit each day of the month. The grass looks so perfectly green and welcoming, ideal for a picnic on a sunny day or for laying down with a good book under a tree’s shade. Unfortunately, certain parks like the Jardin des Tuileries , are kept untouched and clean. Sitting on the grass is forbidden, disappointing all those who were ready to have a piquenique à la française . This is, however, the reason behind why many Parisian parks are so alluring.

Jardin de Tuileries

5. The French do speak English

A couple of years ago, tourists visiting Paris found it hard to communicate with the locals due to the language barrier, since very few of them spoke English. Hence, the popular belief that the French don’t speak any English. However, with the growing influence of American culture along with the internet, more Parisians are Anglophone. Although they are not big fans of the English language and mostly prefer speaking their native, they will make an effort to understand you and make themselves understood if you ask politely or even better, if you ask in French.

6. The French are not rude

It’s true that most locals won’t go out of their way to help or socialize with lost foreigners, but if you ask for help there will always be someone willing to assist you. As mentioned above, they are publicly polite to each other which, contrary to being rude, portrays them as respectful and unobtrusive. Parisians working in the tourism industry deal with all types of tourists, including disrespectful ones too that neglect the city’s culture and laws, as it happens in any big city with a constant flux of tourists. Therefore, you might come across locals who don’t appreciate misbehaving tourists and might seem impolite.

people cheering on a mountain

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7. Cheese, wine, and bread mean much more to the French than you thought

Aside from the large amounts of cheese displayed at the supermarkets, you can also find an extensive variety at fromageries, yes, there are specialized cheese stores. Made from cow, sheep or goat’s milk, you will hear names that you’ve never heard before, and what is even more fascinating is the fact that each cheese has its own history and place of origin. Good cheese always tastes better with a freshly baked bread bought early from a b oulangerie (bakery). This combination can only be improved with the excellent assortment of French wines. If you like red, white, rosé, sparkling or fortified or if you prefer it dry, semi-dry or sweet, you will always be able to accompany your food with an exquisite wine of your taste.

I love cheese

8. It’s very easy to move around

If you don’t have a phone with a GPS, Paris might seem like a maze for newcomers. With 20 districts and streets sharing very similar names that are impossible to pronounce. No matter where you get lost, you will eventually see a Metro sign or bus station with a big map of the city. As long as you know your destination, getting around with public transportation is easy regardless of the language you speak. There are also public bikes with stations close to one another, a convenient alternative to getting the metro whilst being physically active.

Metro

9. Fashion is within

Paris is the capital of fashion and Parisians honor their title. Walking on the streets during work days, you will see men in well-fitted suits, and women in dresses, high heels, and chic bags rushing in the metro. In the summer, women dress in light colors, flappy skirts, and open shoes, while during the winter, stylish coats and scarfs reign the public spaces. Being fashionable is an inherited trait, as parents dress their kids with unique styles and designer clothes. Parisians are well prepared all year round to look their best even if it’s only to go to the supermarket on a Sunday morning.

10. Most Parisians wearing high couture don’t go on shopping sprees

You were probably wondering how it is possible for the average Parisian to own expensive clothes and bags? In fact, most locals shop during the famous ventes privées, private sales that fashion houses arrange every end-of-season to sell what they have left at the lowest prices. If you are an old-time resident, you will probably be added to the brand’s lists and if you are new in town you can always follow your favorite designer’s Facebook page or sign up for their newsletter and you will be part of this private shopping frenzy.

11. The dilemma between staying hydrated and having to pay for the bathroom

As long as you are consuming at a restaurant and you need to use the bathroom you won’t have a problem. However, if you drank too much and find yourself away from home, you will be asked to pay (usually) around 50 cents to use any establishment’s toilette. Don’t expect the bathrooms to be cleaner just because you paid, the half euro is only worth it because it will avoid what could be a catastrophe.

12. Good Food Nation

Eating quality food is a top priority for the French, regardless of the meal or time of day. Portions are neither big nor small, they are the perfect size to be satisfying. Eating is both individually and socially significant. Because food can be regarded as a source of personal satisfaction and social interaction, brunch , lunch or dinner are the ideal moments when these two necessities are fulfilled. A delightful meal starts with good company, followed by a flavorful bottle of wine and is completed by a delicious dish.

French cuisine

13. But eating is expensive…

If you really want to indulge in one of the many appetizing restaurants in Paris , you must be willing to pay for what you eat. Eating in this city is not about the fulfillment of biological needs but an authentic experience through which you can explore the culture better. All food, but especially cakes, cookies, and croissants make the p atisseries and b oulangeries look like art exhibitions. So next time you are debating on whether you should pay for a fancy dinner, remember you are buying much more than just food.

14. Runner Friendly

Running is not exclusive to Paris, every city has its parks and trails where people can run outdoors, but there is something about Paris that is different. First of all, most sidewalks are wide enough so that you don’t have to be extra cautious not to hit anyone with your sweaty arm or be run over by a fast biker. Secondly, there is a wide selection of beautiful parks that once inspired philosophers, writers, and artists, and will definitely win your heart over while you run. And lastly, on sunny days, when the sky is clear, instead of looking at your watch, you can look up and appreciate the slow change in colors of the sky and clouds, especially around sunset. The scenery is so magnificent that by the end of your run you will be out of breath.

15. Get your groceries no later than Monday

Be sure you have everything you need from the food market by Sunday, otherwise, you won’t be able to get fresh fruits and vegetables. Monday is one of the two official days for market sellers to rest and fuel up for the following week.

16. Art extends to the streets

Paris has some of the most fascinating art museums in the world with unique pieces from French and international artists. However, you can also enjoy a cultural trip without having to go to museums and galleries. The French capital has become an important hub for emerging street art and graffiti artists, so keep an eye out when strolling through the streets.

Street art at Les Halles street

17. The Western weight-loss trends and diets are not very popular in the French capital

Most Parisians look slim and healthy because they eat when they need to and keep an overall balanced diet that includes all food groups. They have good genes which they maintain by eating in moderation. By Noa Radosh

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China-France Ties: Cultural exchanges promote modern art and tourism

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Jewelry art from Paris encounters the Oriental Pearl, offering a place for the public to pursue their passion for jewelry, its history and craft. Shanghai is now the third permanent location outside of Paris and Hong Kong to host the L'ÉCOLE School of Jewelry and Art by the renowned French jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels.

"From beginners to connoisseurs or simply curious audiences and young people, L'ÉCOLE offers a rich program of in-person courses, online and offline talks, as well as exhibitions, publications, and research projects. All exhibitions are open free to the public. It is an initiation school, open to everyone, with no special requirements. Since its inception, L'ÉCOLE has welcomed a diverse audience from various industries and professions in China, from young children to adults and even senior citizens," said Giulietta Yu, Managing Director of L'ÉCOLE China.

The venue will also host workshops, a library, and courses on topics such as the evolution of jewelry through civilizations and eras to help promote the connection between Chinese and French art and culture.

"In the future, L'ÉCOLE will continue to introduce interesting programs with a broader and deeper influence, from Asian craftsmanship to academic research, and hold more programs related to Eastern culture," said Giulietta Yu, Managing Director of L'ÉCOLE China.

Shanghai has grown into a contemporary art destination, attracting what's seen as the highest level of cultural cooperation with the Centre Pompidou museum in Paris.

As a major international destination for contemporary art, Shanghai has reached the pinnacle of cultural cooperation with the Centre Pompidou Museum in Paris.

During the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism, the Centre Pompidou is the cultural calling card of France. Since 2019, the museum has been collaborating with the West Bund Museum Project in Shanghai. An agreement has been signed to renew this successful partnership for another five years, with the aim of developing a much broader and more expansive cultural partnership.

The project will see a range of collaborative programs launched over the next five years, including exhibitions, seminars, performance art, and educational events.

Paul Frèches is the managing director of the Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum project and the representative of the Centre Pompidou in China. He said this collaboration actually began decades ago. "Back in the 1980s, we had a major show that was called 'Magicians of the Earth.' That show was the first contemporary art exhibition in a Western institution that included the work of living Chinese artists in a very contemporary and innovative way. So, that was one of the really first consistent projects that we did that brought us into relationship with China."

France is also among the countries to benefit from China's visa-free travel policy. "So for a French citizen who wants to travel to China, I think it's obviously a great thing. If I see it from my own perspective and the perspective of this project here, it's going to help us a lot. Because all year long we have teams of colleagues who come from Paris: some are art handlers, some are exhibition curators, some are art conservators. All of them need to come here on quite a regular basis. If they don't stay longer than two weeks, then it's going to be much easier for them if they don't have to apply for a visa and they know that they have the flexibility. They will enjoy coming to Shanghai even more, not just to work, but to explore," Frèches said. 

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