Top Paris Attractions
The first time you visit Paris, or any new destination,
the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be
scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get
there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice,
and other information about the top tourist attractions in Paris
to help with your itinerary planning.
|Eiffel Tower Champs de Mars
|33 (0) 1 44 11 23 23
you are visiting Paris, you have to tour the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel
Tower is one of the most recognizable symbols ever built. However,
there really isn’t much to tour or learn about. The Eiffel
Tower was originally built in 1899 and was suppose to be a temporary
symbol for the 1899 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair).
Somehow the Eiffel Tower managed to survive and grew to become the
Paris Icon that it is today. The tower is painted brown and in the
daytime it may be a bit of a disappointment. There are a number
of restaurants and shops inside the Eiffel Tower. Tickets to the
second floor and top floor can be purchased at the information office
at the base of the tower. You can expect a long wait for the elevator
and it gets a little confusing. However, the awe-inspiring view
of Paris is well worth it. In the evening, Paris wouldn’t
be Paris without the illuminated Eiffel Tower in the backdrop.
Musee du Louvre
|Musée du Louvre
|+33 1 40 20 53 17
You could spend weeks at the Louvre but still you wouldn’t have time
to appreciate each masterpiece. The Louvre is the world’s
largest museum and contains over 30,000 works of art. Surveying
the Louvre can be exhausting but your journey through history is
also very rewarding.
Upon your arrival at the Louvre, you’ll first be amazed by
the size of the fortress in which the museum is housed. The Louvre
was first built in 1200 and later became the royal family’s
palace in 1500. The palace was finally opened as a museum in 1793.
More recently, the now familiar glass pyramids were added in the
1980’s and serve as the entrance to the museum.
The Louvre is generally very crowded and can certainly be confusing.
Your first stop should be the information desk on the ground floor.
Once you have reviewed the tour schedule, you will most likely want
to join one of the 90 minute guided tours. Roaming the Louvre with
or without the free map can be very difficult. As part of the guided
tour, you are provided with a headset so that you can hear the tour
guide despite the fact that at times you may be 30 feet from the
guide. The Louvre is divided into nine collections including the
History of the Louvre and Medieval Louvre, Oriental Antiquities,
Arts of Islam, Egyptian Antiquities, Sculptures, Objects d’art,
Paintings, Prints, and Drawings, and Arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania
and the Americas. Related, the Louvre is broken up into three wings:
Richelieu, Sully, and Denon. Some of the more famous masterpieces
include the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory
of Samothrace. You also will not want to miss the Coronation of
The policy of the museum is to allow photographs. However, many
sightseers may complain arguing that the flashes fade the paintings.
Time flies by at the Louvre. You’ll leave happily fulfilled
but also very tired. However, a day trip will only scratch the surface
of what can be discovered at the Louvre.
Notre Dame Cathedrale
is another one of Paris’ top symbols. The cathedrale is located
on the tiny Ile de la Cite. Fittingly, the first settlement
on the Ile de la Cite making it Paris’ birthplace. The area
was chosen because the surrounding waters provided protection from
invading armies. Cathedrale Notre-Dame was built in 1163 and finally
completed in the 14th century. Its gothic style communicates biblical
history to on-seeers. The Cathedrale Notre-Dame dominates the history
of Paris. Napoleon crowned himself emperor here and General de Gaulle
gave thanks here when the Germans freed Paris. Notre-Dame is another
must see Paris attraction. However, the Cathedrale is undergoing
a long-term restoration process and may be partially obstructed.
Basilique du Sacre-Coeur
The Basilique du Sacre-Coeur is located a top a large hill just
beyond Montmarte’s main square. You’ll most likely have
to push your way past some street hustlers. Hold on to your wallet.
Don’t let them tie a string around your finger. Whatever they
tell you, it is not a French custom. Once you get to the stairs,
you’ll be fine.
It’s quite a hike to the top so take your time and enjoy
it. Once you get to the hilltop, you’ll gaze in awe at the
spectacular view of Paris. During the daytime you can take a peak
inside the church. However, Basilique du Sacre-Coeur’s main
draw is its view of Paris.
Spend the next couple of hours walking the streets around Montmartre’s
Place du Tertre. This area doesn’t seem to have been disturbed
by time and remains much how it was when Van Gogh lived here.
Jim Morrison's Grave
Jim Morrison, the legendary pop icon and front man for the Doors died while
living in Paris on July 3rd 1971. He was laid to rest in the Pere
Lachaise Cemetery. Paris’ largest cemetery
and final resting
place of many famous artists, poets, and statesmen. There are diagrams
of the cemetery at each of the many entrances. However, navigating
through the Pere Lachaise can be confusing and frustration. The
cemetery is quite remarkable. There are thousands of trees amongst
thousands of elaborate tombs. Finding the grave of Jim Morrison
is no small task so plan on spending at least a few hours strolling
through the cemetery. Your best bet is to ask someone for directions.
If you still can’t find Jim Morrison’s grave, ask someone
else. The grave is one of the smaller ones although there are usually
groups of people around the site. There is graffiti marked on surrounding
graves and typically flowers along with candles or incense burning
on top the grave. Many make the pilgrimage to Jim Morrison’s
grave when visiting Paris. It has developed into a top Paris attraction.
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