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THINGS TO DO IN PARIS
- The Eiffel Tower: Half an hour or 2 hours, depending on the queues
It’s the most iconic symbol in the French capital and certainly the one all the tourists want to see. Accessible from the Bir Hakeim metro station, the Eiffel tower is a fantastic example of engineering and offers some excellent views over the city. If it is a cloudy or rainy day it is probably not worth the queues to the top, so enjoy the might of the tower from below (it’s free!). Remember there are plenty of other places to get some excellent views over the city, so you don’t necessarily need to go to the top of the Eiffel tower. If you’re dead set on it however, you have 2 options – walk up (which is cheaper, less crowded but quite a hike) or take the lift. Make sure you’re doing this on a clear day to get the best of the views.
- The Louvre: Half a Day (internal) or half an hour (external)
The Louvre not only houses the best art in one of the world’s biggest museums, the former fortress palace is a masterpiece in itself. The most visited art gallery on earth is housed here, and it is an excellent place for art buffs and those who only want to get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa and other famous pieces, as well as Egyptian art. If, like me, you aren’t that interested in art but want to take in the fantastic network of buildings that are the Louvre Palace without forking out for a ticket then simply take half an hour to walk around the buildings and marvel at the scale of the former fortress.
- Notre Dame Cathedral: Up to an hour
The beautiful Gothic era Notre Dame Cathedral is situated on the banks of the Seine on the edge of the Latin Quarterand offers a fantastic example of French gothic architecture. Entry is free and you can pay a little extra for a guided tour. Beautiful.
- Sacre Coeur, Montmartre: Up to an hour or a whole evening
Climbing the steps of the gorgeous Montmartre area can be a bit of a workout, but it is certainly worth it once you reach the top. The gorgeous Sacre Coeur basilica is in itself a major Paris tourist attraction which should be explored in about half an hour, with free entry. Remember to take in the massive organ, the frescoes and the architecture of the building. But perhaps the best part of the Sacre Coeur is the fabulous view offered over the city from the highest point in Paris, just outside the Basilica. If you’re coming for the evening, bring some food and a bottle of wine and watch the sun set amongst the crowds, some of whom will bring guitars and music and start a party on the steps.
- Montmartre: One evening to hangout
Head up to Montmartre for the evening and enjoy the atmosphere, quaint shops and great architecture on the quaint cobbled streets of this historic neighborhood. If you are coming here to eat, stay away from the overpriced restaurants on the Place du Tertre and head down the hill to the main streets along Rue Lepic and around – here are plenty of little bistros which are favored by locals, gorgeous boutiques, flower shops and bakeries.
Montmartreis a great place to head for some chilled out nightlife, a meal amongst friends and a few glasses of wine in a bistro. For something a little edgier head down hill to Pigalle, home to the famous Moulin Rouge and a great place to take in a cabaret show with dinner. For some lively bar entertainment you should head to Rue Oberkampf where bar hopping is all the rage, whereas the Latin Quarter offer laid back nightlife amongst the students.
- Arc De Triomphe: Half an hour or so
The Arc de Triomphe or the Triumphal Arch honours the individuals who battled and bit the dust for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. It bears all the names of the French triumphs and commanders engraved on its internal and external surfaces.
- Musee D'Orsay: A couple of hours
The museum boasts of an impressive collection of Impressionist art. Artistes like Jean-Francois Millet, Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Auguste Rodin & his muse, Camille Claudel are represented at the museum.
- Sainte Chapelle: Keep aside 2 to 3 hours
A stunning piece of architecture, the Sainte Chapelle is a beautiful medieval Gothic chapel located in Paris. Having an interesting history, you have to include this in your Paris travel itinerary.
- Jardin Du Luxembourg: Upto 2 hours
A must visit if you love orchids, the Jardin Du Luxembourg was created sometime during the year 1612 and is spread across an area of 23 hectares. Manicured lawns, serene flower beds and model sailboats welcome visitors.
- Palais Garnier: Under an hour
Splendid to look at, the Palais Garnier is decorated with lavish marble friezes, columns and statues from Greek mythology.
- Centre Pompidou: Keep aside 3 hours
An intriguing building, the Centre Pompidou is a must visit for architecture buffs. The place houses a librar, a museum and a centre for music and acoustic research.
- Army Museum: Upto 2 hours
Located on 129 Rue de Grenelle, the Army Museum offers a glimpse into the military history of France.
- Ile De La Cite: An evening to hang out.
The Ile de la Cité is the epicenter of Paris! The original site of the Parisi tribes of the Sequana river (possibly the earliest settlement in Paris), the Ile is one of the two remaining islands on the Seine. Many visitors don't even realize that the famous cathedral of Notre-Dame is actually situated on this island!
- Orangerie Museum: Approximately a couple of hours
The charm of the Orangerie Museum lies in the fact that it is never very crowded and yet it gives due respect and space to the artists' works. The paintings on display at the museum are rare pieces of art, including Claude Monet's masterwork- the Nymphéas (Water Lilies).
- Pantheon: Keep aside an hour
The Pantheon is a stunning building in the Latin Quarter of Paris, France. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve. After a few changes and modifications, the building now acts as a famous burial place. An example of Neoclassic architecture, the building comes with an interesting history.
- The Palais Royal: A couple of hours
Built for the man who was arguably the world’s first Prime Minister,Cardinal Richelieu, The Palais-Royal came to be known over the years for it’s beautiful ornamental gardens, court-gatherings, and the best of Paris high society parties. In the late 16th century, the gardens and surrounding structures of the Palais-Royal opened to all members of the public quickly establishing boutiques, cafes, salons, hair salons, bookshops, museums, countless refreshment kiosks, becoming one of the most important marketplaces in Paris. There was even a public theatre. Today the palace houses Conseil d'Etat, the Constitutional Council, and the Ministry of Culture.
- Disneyland Paris: Keep aside an entire day if you are in town with your kids!
Who does not love visiting Disneyland?! Famous all over the world, children love it and adults cannot get enough of it either! Enjoy the thrilling rides, meet your favourite Disney characters and dine at one of the many restaurants present within the theme park.
Shopping in Paris
Famous for its designer boutiques, Paris does not lack plenty of shopping areas. Head to Rue de Faubourg St Honoré for the top designer stores and a shopping experience amongst Europe’s rich and famous. Boulevard Haussmann offers the great Galeries Lafayette (which also boasts some excellent views over the city from the top) and of course the Champs Elysées is full of designer and high street stores. The city also has some great markets, such as the Saint Ouen Flea market, Rue Mouffetard Market.
Below we have a list of things to do in Paris and the places where you want to spend the best moments of your trip. At the same time, the city offers you the best neighborhoods to explore and new foods to try.
This list should help you in deciding and prioritizing what you should plan on your Paris getaway. Find a mix of must-see tourist spots, underrated local hangouts, and maybe even a few new experiences you can try out.
Make the most of your trip to Paris with confidence.