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Visit Paris: what to do and what to see during a first visit to the capital? Discover the essential activities!

Also we plan events in Paris, please contact us to plan elopement, destination wedding or proposal in Paris.


Summary
1. The Louvre
2. Follow the reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris
3. The Eiffel Tower
4. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart
5. Arc de Triomphe
6. The Père-Lachaise Cemetery
7. The Catacombs of Paris
8. The Musee d’Orsay
9. The Luxembourg Garden
10. The Rodin Museum
11. Take a cruise on the Seine or navigate the Parisian canals
12. The Pompidou Center
13. Play boules along the Canal de l’Ourcq
14. The Louis Vuitton Foundation
15. Buttes-Chaumont Park
16. Discover the vineyards of Montmartre
17. The Covered Passages
18. The Picasso Museum
19. The Marsh
20. The Pantheon
21. The Opera Garnier
22. Montparnasse Tower
23. The Sainte-Chapelle
24. The Hotel des Invalides
25. To do and see also in Paris and its surroundings
Our Parisian workshop
How to go to Paris?
Where to sleep in Paris?
How to get around Paris?
Ah Paris… French capital of gastronomy and love, Paris enjoys an incomparable historical and cultural heritage. This is what the millions of tourists who come to visit Paris appreciate each year. But it is not enough to be a foreigner to love Paris, because even living in the capital, it is not uncommon to be surprised by discovering or rediscovering one of the wonders that the city has to offer.

With so much to see and do in Paris, it’s hard to come up with a list that cuts to the essentials while having a realistic experience of all that Paname has to offer. We have nevertheless selected the crème de la crème of Paris with some well-known places, others off the beaten track, to help you plan a long weekend or a stay of a few days in the capital.

Ready to discover authentic Paris? Let’s go !

1. The Louvre

The Louvre is none other than the best art museum in the world but also the most visited. With 210,000 m² of exhibitions, where you can find works from almost all the civilizations of the world, it is also the largest.

The three most popular works here are Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory. Beyond these essentials, the best thing to do is to know where you are going, and what you want to see first. But don’t be afraid to get lost, because you might stumble upon something memorable!

Anyway, you will have to come back more than once to know all the secrets of the Louvre Museum!
2. Follow the reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris
But what to do in Paris? Rising above Place Jean-Paul-II (parvis) on the Ile de la Cité, Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral is the symbolic heart of Paris and, for many, that of France.

Napoleon was crowned here, and many kings and queens have exchanged their wedding vows at its altar. Before the terrible fire that occurred on April 15, 2019, you could come and discover the incredible interior of the Gothic cathedral, but also its exterior with its superb architectural details and the unforgettable view of Paris, between a few gargoyles, from the top of the south tower.

Begun in 1163, and completed in 1345, badly damaged during the Revolution, and restored by the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century, Notre-Dame is not the oldest or the largest cathedral in France, but in terms of beauty and architectural harmony, few are comparable.

Today, guided tours of the Île de la Cité make it possible to follow how Notre-Damee will be rebuilt and why it must be protected.

3. The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is to Paris what the Statue of Liberty is to New York and what Big Ben is to London: the ultimate emblem.

The French engineer Gustave Eiffel, already famous for the construction of viaducts and bridges, worked for two years to erect this emblematic monument of the Universal Exhibition of 1889. It also salutes the centenary of the French Revolution.

Today, she is certainly most beautiful at night, when she is showcased in a sparkling spectacle. The latter was only to be used for the transition to the year 2000, but it was so popular that the 20,000 bulbs were reinstalled for permanent use in 2003.

The Iron Lady does her electric dance for five minutes every hour from dusk to one in the morning. Heavily visited, expect to queue to climb to the top!

4. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart

It’s hard not to believe you’re soaring to heaven when you visit the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, that white castle perched atop Montmartre. The French government commissioned it in 1873, after the devastating years of the Paris Commune and the Franco-Prussian War.

It was the architect Paul Abadie who built the Sacré-Coeur, using elements of Romanesque and Byzantine style for its design. Construction lasted until World War I, and the basilica was finally consecrated in 1919.

5. Arc de Triomphe
Stretch your legs and climb the 284 steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Up there, you will have a breathtaking view of the Champs-Elysées and the arch of La Défense.

It is also a privileged place to observe the driving techniques of Parisians: the Place de l’Etoile roundabout is anarchic at times. Indeed, when there is an accident here, the fault is automatically shared 50/50 on the report.

Back at the bottom of the arch, spare a thought for the Unknown Soldier whose grave is under the Parisian monument.

6. The Père-Lachaise Cemetery
The Père-Lachaise cemetery is the cemetery of celebrities. Almost all the talented and dead French people who can be named are buried there, among other places.

Religious belief and nationality never prevented being buried there: the person simply had to have lived or died in Paris or have an allocated space in a family grave.

From Balzac to Chopin via Oscar Wilde (the tomb worn by the kisses of admirers), the hunt for talent is endless.

7. The Catacombs of Paris
Are you coming to visit Paris? So dare to descend into the bowels of the city! A visit to the Paris Catacombs is arguably the most chilling attraction Paris has to offer, with miles of tunnels lined with the femurs and skulls of six million deceased Parisians.

Built 18 meters underground at the end of the 18th century to prevent diseases from spreading through the cemeteries of the city center, the Catacombs are now the scene of a freezing walk.

 

8. The Musee d’Orsay

Sheltered since 1986 under the roof of one of the most beautiful train stations in Paris, the recently renovated galleries of the Musée d’Orsay contain the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world: Cézanne, Monet, Renoir, Manet, Van Gogh, Degas, Gaugin, and many others are exhibited there.

In addition to the works of the Grand Masters, you will find a collection of decorative art from the Art Nouveau period and a range of sculptures from the 19th century. Go and relax in the cafe behind the museum’s giant transparent clock.

9. The Luxembourg Garden
What to do in Paris to escape the hubbub of the capital? This 25-hectare park is an elegant way to escape the bustle of the Left Bank. Bordered by Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, these beautiful gardens are adored by Parisians eager to lounge on a lawn chair in the sun or enjoy an impromptu picnic.

Children of all ages can race small sailboats in the basin behind the Senate, stroll through the children’s playground, watch a puppet show or ride the oldest merry-go-round in town. Joggers come to run there, while others come for a walk in the orchard and apiary, where beekeeping is taught and honey is sold in the fall. Don’t miss the excellent art exhibitions at the renowned Luxembourg Museum.

10. The Rodin Museum
Once the workshop of the great sculptor, this imposing 18th century residence is one of the finest museums in Paris and contains more than 7,000 sculptures by Rodin, including his great masterpieces such as The Thinker, The Kiss, The Bourgeois de Calais and La Porte de l’Enfer, alongside 8,000 drawings and gouaches by the artist.

The charming park of the Rodin Museum, with a fountain, rose bushes and a pleasant outdoor café, make it an ideal choice to spend a pleasant afternoon if you come to visit Paris. The museum also hosts special exhibitions and a cycle of exhibitions of contemporary works. After three years of renovations, the museum fully reopened in November 2015.
11. Take a cruise on the Seine or navigate the Parisian canals
The Seine is for some the most romantic side of Paris, so if you are visiting Paris as a couple, a Bateau-Mouche cruise will be in style. Its curves punctuated by bridges are lined with some of the most beautiful monuments in the world, and its green quays offer it all the panoply to be on the postcards.

Bateaux-mouches are touristic, to the point that most Parisians drive them away irrevocably, but it’s worth putting on your headphones to enjoy a good time in the heart of Paris.

If the too “touristy” side is not for you, you can also choose to rent a boat. With or without a licence, with the help of a skipper or not, you have the choice of sailing on the Saint-Martin canal, the Bassin de la Villette, the Canal de l’Ourcq or even on the Seine to discover the capital. from a new angle.

12. The Pompidou Center

State-of-the-art, the Center Pompidou, whose skeleton museum is on display outside the building, houses modern art treasures by (among others) Braque, Dubuffet, Matisse and Ernst, as well as temporary exhibitions of constantly changing art, so that no two visits to the center are ever the same.

Arrive early when the lines are still bearable, or arrive at 6pm and stay until closing time at 9pm, after which Georges, the trendy Pompidou bar and restaurant, serves delicious cocktails in a futuristic setting with a panoramic view of the city.

13. Play boules along the Canal de l’Ourcq
The Canal de l’Ourcq, dating from the 19th century, was originally created by Napoleon to supply Paris with drinking water, but was widely used for the transport of goods.

Nowadays, like the Canal-St-Martin further downstream, the Canal de l’Ourcq attracts a trendy crowd, from students to 30-somethings and young families, who come to play boules on the banks of the canal, picnic picnic by the water and even play ping-pong in the playgrounds.

14. The Louis Vuitton Foundation
Rising above the Bois de Boulogne like a magnificent vessel with undulating crystal sails, the contemporary art museum and cultural center designed by architect Frank Gehry is the most captivating on the horizon. Parisian since the unveiling of the Center Pompidou in 1977.

Commissioned by Bernard Arnault (CEO of LVMH), it houses Arnault’s important private collection, including works by Pierre Huyghe, Gerhard Richter, Thomas Schütte, Ellsworth Kelly, Bertrand Lavier, Taryn Simon, Sarah Morris and Christian Boltanski, among others.

If you come to visit Paris and want to stop by the Louis Vuitton Foundation, know that it also hosts many temporary exhibitions, such as the installations of the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson.

15. Buttes-Chaumont Park
There are many possibilities for strolling in a park if you come to visit Paris, from the paths of the Jardin des Tuileries to the ponds of the Jardin du Luxembourg. But if you are looking for something a little more unusual and less crowded, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is definitely worth a visit.

Located high up in Belleville and often forgotten by weekend goers who want to stay close to the tourist loop, this jewel of the 19th arrondissement is one of the most magical places in the city.

16. Discover the vineyards of Montmartre
Looking for what else to do in Paris? Take a break in Renoir’s gardens, a haven of peace overlooking the vineyards of Montmartre and where you can find the only cabaret from the end of the 19th century, Au Lapin Agile.

The gardens inspired many impressionist painters who lived here, such as Valadon, Utrillo and of course, Renoir. If you’re lucky, you’ll even meet Salis, the museum’s friendly cat named after the founder of the Au Chat Noir cabaret.

17. The Covered Passages

More than old shopping malls, Les Passages Couverts around the Grand Boulevards are galleries with a special atmosphere dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Covered by an utterly charming glass roof, their second-hand bookstores, tea rooms and gift shops make them fun alternatives to Parisian shopping galleries.

We list in particular the Galerie Vivienne and the Passage Jouffroy, which houses the Grévin Museum, another must-see in Paris.

18. The Picasso Museum
This hugely popular museum came to life again in late 2014, when it finally reopened after an ambitious (and controversial) five-year renovation that cost around 52 million euros. Home to the world’s largest public collection of Picasso’s inimitable work, it now covers almost 5000 m² over two buildings: the 17th century Hôtel Salé and a new structure on the garden side dedicated to temporary exhibitions.

The furniture exclusively designed by Diego Giacometti in the Hôtel Salé is an added bonus.

19. The Marsh
By far the best shopping district in Paris, the Marais is so much more than that. Located in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, the old mansions, the superb museums (the Carnavalet museum, the Cognacq-Jay museum and the Picasso museum), the great restaurants, the cafes, the old Jewish quarter of Paris, and the beautiful Place of the Vosges make the district an essential activity to do in Paris.

Wander Rue Vieille du Temple and Rue Franc Bourgeois, two of the backbones of the neighborhood, and discover the charming side streets and many hidden delights of the neighborhood during your visit to Paris.

20. The Pantheon
It is in the heart of the Latin Quarter that the Panthéon de Paris sits enthroned on the Sainte-Geneviève mountain. Since the French Revolution, this neo-classical monument has been dedicated to honoring great figures who have marked the history of France.

If you are passing through Paris and you come to visit the Pantheon, you can see buried personalities there such as Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Louis Braille, Émile Zola, Jean Jaurès, Jean Moulin, Jean Monnet, Pierre and Marie Curie, or even Alexandre Dumas.

21. The Opera Garnier
A historical monument of the capital, the Opéra Garnier is a must to add to your list of things to do if you come to visit Paris.

Classified as a historic monument, you will be amazed by its magnificent facade, its grand staircase and of course by its majestic auditorium with its 220m² canvas on the ceiling painted by Chagall.

22. Montparnasse Tower

What to do in Paris to gain height? Head to the Montparnasse Tower and enjoy a unique view!

Built between 1969 and 1973, the Montparnasse Tower has 58 floors, 25 lifts, and has a total area of ​​90,000 m². Not bad is not it ? Although the entire skyscraper is intended for corporate offices, the 56th and 58th floors are open to the public.

23. The Sainte-Chapelle
Lovers of the Gothic style, simply curious or looking for a bit of freshness if you come to visit Paris during the summer, the Sainte-Chapelle is a real treasure located on the Ile de la Cité. A listed monument, it houses the Holy Crown of Thorns, a piece of the True Cross, as well as various other relics of the Passion.

Along with the Conciergerie, another must-see in the capital, the Sainte-Chapelle is one of the remains of the Palais de la Cité, which extended over the site covering the current courthouse.

24. The Hotel des Invalides
The Hôtel des Invalides has always welcomed invalids since its construction ordered by Louis XIV, but also the Saint-Louis des Invalides cathedral, several museums including the Army Museum and a military necropolis with in particular the tomb of Napoleon I.

Designed by Libéral Bruand and Jules Hardouin-Mansart, it is one of the most important masterpieces of French classical architecture. So think about coming to visit it!

25. To do and see also in Paris and its surroundings
La Maison Deyrolle: Boutique, museum and cabinet of curiosities par excellence, the superb taxidermist Deyrolle has enchanted and cultivated Parisians since 1831
The City of Science and Industry: educational and fun essential around science and its universes.
The Petit Palais in the heart of Paris
Disneyland Paris: The famous amusement park is a great opportunity to dive into the Disney universe
Parc Astérix: Famous theme park inspired by the comic book universe of Uderzo and Goscinny
The Museum of Vampires and Imaginary Monsters
The Orangery Museum
The Quai Branly Museum
The Paris Zoological Park
Visit the different castles in the region: The Château de Versailles, the Château de Fontainebleau or the Château de Vincennes

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