Paris has an iconic sight around practically every street corner. Whether you are taking in the historic Eiffel Tower, one of the many immersive galleries or just admiring the fountains, there is no shortage of culture and history to get lost in. From world-famous paintings to panoramic views of a truly unique city, the sights in Paris really do suit all tastes.
Situated beneath the busy streets of the capital, the Catacombs of Paris is an eerie yet fascinating attraction which is home to the remains of over six million people.
Dating back to the 1770s, the underground tunnel was opened as a way of dealing with Paris’s overflowing cemeteries. As the problem reached a point of critical urgency, the decision was made to ban burials, remove bodies from cemeteries and place their remains within a network of underground tunnels, which originally formed part of the city’s old stone quarries.
In 1810, the catacombs were re-organised to form a visitable mausoleum; the bones and skulls were stacked in a pattern to create walls of bones, resulting in the chilling sight which greets visitors today. Those who do visit can see this remarkable sight for themselves, while also learning all about the site’s history and the lives of those whose remains are laid there.
Coulée verte René-Dumont, also known as Promenade plantée, was once an old railway line that ran through the 12th arrondissement in Paris, which has now been converted into a tranquil walkway with plenty of fascinating features, plants and lush greenery along the way.
The walkway was created in 1988 and has been enjoyed by Parisians and visitors alike ever since. One end of Coulée verte René-Dumont starts at the Opéra Bastille and follows on for 2.9 miles; along the way, you can see old and new designers’ work come together while enjoying lunch or a coffee amongst these picturesque surroundings.
There will be plenty of opportunities for shopping when you arrive at the Allée Vivaldi, as well as excellent dining options available, too. Along the way, you can see hazelnut and lime trees as well as a host of intriguing flowers and plant life, which looks particularly spectacular in spring or summer, where you will be surrounded by tranquillity in the middle of bustling Paris.
Luxembourg Gardens offers beautiful green spaces to peruse in Paris; being the perfect spot to take a stroll in no matter what month you visit. This 23-hectare garden has exquisite topiary, tree-lined promenades and an incredible collection of flora and fauna.
Before the French Revolution, the Luxembourg Gardens were only actually open to royalty, created by the widow of King Henry IV of France, who also built the Luxembourg Palace – the grand stately home which borders these gardens.
Make sure you make the most of these well-manicured gardens, where there are plenty of benches to sit down and take in the stunning surrounding scenery. The Medici Fountain is one of the most iconic and beautiful features of the gardens, surrounded by tall, emerald green trees. The fountain has expertly-sculpted statues based on Greek mythology, which you can admire as you make your way around these captivating gardens. There are also plenty of interesting sites nearby, too, including the quaint Latin Quarter.
Located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, situated in the north part of the city, travellers can find the impressive hill, Montmartre. Here, you can discover Paris’s most famous basilica at the top of the hill – the Sacré-Coeur, which is well worth the climb at any time of the year. The top of Montmartre marks the highest point in the city, too, offering spectacular views of the surrounding scenery.
There are plenty of benches and green spaces on the way up the hill, where you can either take a rest or enjoy a tasty picnic. Montmartre is also where the famous Moulin Rouge film is set, so you can immerse yourself in the romantic, historic story that we all know and love. This area actually has strong connections with legendary artists such as Picasso and Monet, too, which you will certainly start to acknowledge while exploring the area.
So, whether you want a glorious view of the city or somewhere to relax on a warm summer’s day, Montmartre is definitely a spot worth visiting.
Musée d’Orsay is an incredible art museum in Paris, which you can find on the left bank of the glittering Seine river in the heart of the city. If you’re looking to explore a fabulous range of art during your Paris getaway, but don’t want the crowds and queues of the Louvre, then this is the perfect place to visit.
This museum has the largest collection of impressionism and post-impressionism artwork in the world, where you can see paintings from artists such as Monet, Degas, Cézanne and Van Gogh. Originally a railway station, the light, airy and fascinating building is certainly as spectacular as the artwork it houses.
If you want to discover even more information on the art featured here, you can join onto a guided tour, which are held regularly throughout the day. There are also exciting events held at the Musée d’Orsay, including concerts. So, make sure you keep up-to-date with the many experiences on offer here.
Père Lachaise Cemetery is a huge graveyard in Paris, home to gravestones of famous artists, writers and musicians from the past. It is a large, green and peaceful area, where you are sure to find some of the most culturally significant figures from France’s past. This site has actually featured in countless films, novels and even a video game, too.
The cemetery covers an impressive 110 acres, so be prepared to do some walking when you arrive; as it is the most visited graveyard in the world, there is plenty for you to see. Grab a map and see the decadent and lavishly decorated graves and tombs of Oscar Wilde, Frédéric Chopin and Marcel Proust, to name but a few of those who are buried here.
As well as a fascinating and culturally significant site, the surrounding trees and lawns make the Père Lachaise Cemetery a welcome contrast from the busy streets of Paris.
Sacré-Coeur, also coined as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, is a beautifully adorned Roman Catholic church in the centre of Paris. As one of the most popular landmarks in this city, it is well worth a visit here if you want to see the best of what this cultural destination has to offer travellers.
Within the church, you can find intricate frescoes as you make your way around this peaceful Basilica which exhibits Romano-Byzantine architecture. This site is free to visit for individuals and groups, making it easy to incorporate into any day trip, and you can even catch a grand pipe organ performance here, too.
This magnificent building sits at the highest point in the city, so even if you don’t want to see the church, the surrounding benches and green areas are great places to sit and take in the idyllic and expansive views at any time of the year.
Originally built for the 1998 World Cup, the Stade de France is France’s national stadium, used by both the country’s national football team and rugby union team for international matches, making it a must-see attraction for sports fans visiting the city. It boasts a capacity of over 80,000 people, making it the largest stadium in France and the eighth-largest in Europe.
Much history has already been created within the stadium. To date, it has hosted a total of two Champions League finals, as well as nine World Cup games, including the final between France and Brazil. Visitors to the city can soak up the atmosphere for themselves by attending one of the national teams’ games.
Alternatively, embark on one of the stadium tours on offer here and see behind the scenes of the stadium. During the tour, you’ll get to take in the presidential lodge, changing rooms, players tunnel and a museum which details the stadium’s construction and history.
The Arc de Triomphe stands proudly above Paris’ streets, and certainly rivals the Eiffel Tower as one of the top cultural sites in the city. Built between 1833 and 1836 to celebrate Napoleonic victory at Austerlitz, visitors still flock to see this magnificent monument that celebrates France’s past.
Walk up the 248 steps to the top of the arch, where you can view the city 50 metres above the ground and admire the gorgeous view of many avenues branching out from the monument, as you take in the spectacular view of the city.
The Arc de Triomphe features high-relief panels around the outside, depicting various war scenes with intricate design. Beneath the arc, holidaymakers can find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is dedicated to the many French soldiers who lost their lives in WW1. In fact, an eternal flame is lit each day in the evening to commemorate them, which is well worth seeing during your trip.
The Champs-Élysées, or the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, is an iconic avenue in central Paris, home to luxury shops, vibrant theatres and bustling cafes. It’s just over a mile long and makes for a great stroll any time of the year, to get a real feel for Parisian life. The Champs-Élysées is actually named after the paradise for dead heroes in Greek mythology, and it will certainly feel like heaven as you admire the different establishments down this tree-lined avenue.
This is a great spot to incorporate into a day trip to Paris, as it’s between the Place de la Concorde, the largest square in the capital and the Place Charles de Gaulle, the major meeting point of 12 avenues (and where you can find the Arc de Triomphe).
Whether you want to have a coffee in a stylish Parisian cafe, pick up some designer brands or simply enjoy a stroll to see the best Paris has to offer you; the Champs-Élysées is a great place to start.
The Eiffel Tower has to be one of the most iconic landmarks in Paris, which can’t be missed. This elegant and monumental structure was completed in 1889 and since then, travellers from all over the world have ventured to France’s capital to visit it; making it one of the most popular attractions in the city.
You can go all the way to the top of this incredible structure and enjoy beautiful, panoramic views of the surrounding city. Climb the 1,710 steps all the way to the top, or jump in the lift (which you can book online, so you can skip the queues).
At night, the Eiffel Tower looks truly captivating on a romantic walk through the city. Or, if you are just passing by, you can always purchase freshly baked baguettes and croissants before enjoying a picnic in the Champ de Mars park right next to the Eiffel. Then, visit the fascinating nearby museums, galleries and historic sites.
The Louvre houses some of history’s most stunning pieces of art, which you admire on you Paris getaway. This world-famous art gallery exhibits iconic artwork, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the ancient Greek statue Venus de Milo and not forgetting the Eugène Delacroix painting: Liberty Leading the People, based on the French Revolution.
There are plenty of different, guaranteed ways to gain access to the Louvre, from booking your tickets online to purchasing a handy Paris Museum Pass. Make sure you get there early to get ahead of the queues; when you enter, pick up an audio guide so you can learn even more about these fascinating works of art.
If you want a more personalised experience as you walk around this light, airy and elegant art space, there are guided tours to enjoy for adults and children alike. Don’t forget to take a picture with the impressive glass pyramid, venture to the calming water fountains afterwards and admire the Domaine National du Palais-Royal (the former royal residence) surrounding the museum.
The Palace of Versailles is a decadent Palace, offering gorgeous gardens to roam, as well as stately rooms to explore. This site displays a pivotal point in the history of France, which you can learn all about when you visit this exquisite palace for the day.
This palace sits just outside the capital and is easily accessible by public transport, making it ideal for any traveller looking to discover the many sights Paris has to offer. You can plan your trip before you arrive by downloading the handy app, which provides a map of the estate and an extensive audio guide available at your fingertips.
As well as being steeped in history, you can also catch art exhibitions at the Palace of Versaille, operas which are staged on-site, or you can even spot the admirably old and unique trees found within the grounds. Whatever you decide to do, you can easily spend a full day discovering this fascinating site, or even longer if you have the time.
The Palais Garnier is a magnificent opera house created by architect, Charles Garnier, located in Paris; one which has become iconic amongst the vibrant art and culture scene here. Napoleon the III requested that this incredible structure be built to house the Paris Opera and since then, this monument has showcased an array of magical performances.
This site is actually where The Phantom of the Opera story was born, so any literature and film buffs will thoroughly enjoy visiting this lavish spot. Make your way around the main facade on a guided tour; then venture to the auditorium and the pavilions, before discovering the deluxe grand staircase, admiring the frescoes and architecture surrounding you.
If you want to find out even more about this captivating opera house, then book the Backstage Areas Private Tour, to see where actors once prepared themselves for each glamorous performance. What’s great about this tour is that it allows you to discover the hidden gems that visitors don’t usually get a chance to see when visiting the Palais Garnier.