The City of Light’ is the capital and largest city in France and it is bursting with things to do. It is also of course amongst the top 5 cities in Europe that you just have to visit in your lifetime and will probably be one of the most beautiful you will have the fortune to explore.
In the city centre alone reside 2 million Parisians and when you count in the outer suburbs the figure rises to 12 million, making it Europe’s second largest city, surpassed only by London. The city itself is divided into 20 different areas known as ‘Arrondissements’, each with its own history and cultural background and much of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And Paris is a city of many guises: the city of poets, philosophers, musicians and artists. Paris can easily transform itself into whatever you want it to be.
The famous sights and attractions of Paris are endless, but for starters there is the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum and then you have the Moulin Rouge, the Lido and the river Seine, which runs through the city, with the subtle differences between its left and right bank making it a must to hop on a romantic evening cruise, this is definitely a great way to take in much of the beautiful city – its architecture and grandness. Did we also mention that Paris has the second highest number of Michélin star restaurants in the world after Tokyo?
Yet the magical thing about Paris is that you can also forget the grandeur of the city and lose yourself in the city’s avenues and backstreets and perhaps see a side of the city that isn’t on your typical tourist map. In fact our advice to our clients on arrival in Paris is don’t arrive with all sorts of expectations, just arrive; we can help you get the most out of your city break in Paris, whatever you’re looking for.
Below, you can find information on some of the main attractions i Paris. See our holiday apartments in Paris.
The Eiffel Tower
Paris’ landmark and one of the city’s absolute biggest tourist attractions with approximately 7 million visitors a year is located in the southwest of Paris, beside the River Seine. The Eiffel Tower is 321 meters high and can be seen from virtually everywhere in the city. It was designed by Gustave Eiffel and was completed in 1889 for the world exhibition, but also as a marking of 100-anniversary of the French Revolution. Originally the Eiffel Tower had to been torn down again, but since the city had installed a radio broadcast in the top of the tower it remained. The tower is divided into 3 levels and there is ample opportunity to go to the top, you can take the stairs up to the mid level and then the lift to the top. It is also possible to go straight to the top by elevator. If you wish to go to the top, we recommend you to plan extra time, because of the often long queues. From the top there are spectacular views to all Parisian attractions.
Arc de Triumph
You will find this beautiful impressive building at the end of Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Arc de Triumph is a gift from Napoleon to his soldiers and is decorated with names of different places where battles were fought. It is 50 meters tall and a lovely view from the top. To enter the site you will have to through a tunnel and then up in the square. In the middle of the square you will see an eternal flame for the Unknown Soldier.
Louvre is the greatest treasure in France and contains thousands of artworks and among them the world-famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci “Mona Lisa”. In 1999 Louvre was appointed the world’s largest museum and it is the world’s most visited by approximately 8 million guests annually. Louvre was back in XVII century the Royal Palace and therefore it is still called “Palais Royal”, but since 1793 it has functioned as a museum and former President Mitterrand Françoise presented in 1980 a comprehensive plan for renovation and expansion and this caused that the whole palace was used as museum. The glass pyramid, which acts as main entrance did get comprehensive critics. It was designed by Chinese architects Ming Peis and after many critical voices the pyramid is more handsome than ever in a good contrast to the beautiful old
buildings and modern art.
Paris’s beautiful Cathedral where Napoleon crowned himself emperor is located in the heart of the city and is an impressive sight as it shoots up in the middle of the Seine. The Cathedral is completed in 1345 after nearly 200 years of work and is 130 meters long and 50 meters wide, or put another way – it is enormous. You get an immediate sense that the cathedral is a popular tourist destination, as there are plenty of people outside waiting to get up the towers. It is free to enter and view the wonders and it is something everyone must do on a visit to Paris.
Moulin Rouge is located in Montmartre and describes itself as the world’s first cabaret. The first thing you see is the characteristic red windmill of the Moulin Rouge. Moulin Rouge is located on Boulevard de Clichy which is a lively street with lots of bars and restaurants. Especially in the evening there are plenty of people on the street and it is certainly an experience to go and discover the area.
The famous cemetery Pére Lachaise is located in the 20th Arrodissement and it takes about 20 minutes to get there by metro from the city centre. The cemetery contains the tombs of lots of famous people among them the Irish poet Oscar Wilde and The Doors lead singer Jim Morrison. Especially Jim Morrison’s tomb draws lots of tourists to Père Lachaise and the gravestone which can be seen today is number two because the former has been stolen. Jim Morrisson moved in March 1971 to Paris to concentrate on his writings – he died 3rd July 1971.
On your way to Les Invalides, we recommend the beautiful walk from the Champs-Elysées up through Winston Churchill Avenue, where you on each side will see Grand Palais and Petit Palais and further more the beautiful bridges Pont Alexandre III. Here you will find Les Invalides which was built in 1670 as a military hospital by King Louis XIV. Behind Les Invalides is the beautiful Dôme church containing the remains of Emperor Napoleon I.
Champs-Elysees is Paris’s most famous street and the real name is Avenue des Champs-Elysées. It stretches from the Arc de Triumph to Concorde Square. On the Champs-Elysées, you will find plenty of exclusive shops such as Louis Vuitton, Armani and many other fashionable boutiques. It is also called “The world’s most beautiful boulevard” and not without reason – especially at Christmas time is a fantastic sight. Each year, the world’s toughest bicycle race Tour de France ends on the Champs-Elysees, where riders must go through 8 rounds before the race usually ends in a sprint.
In the area Montmartre you can experience the beautiful church of Sacre-Coeur, which means Sacred Heart. The church is relatively new and was first inaugurated in 1919 after World War I. It was built in white marble and is situated on a hill and in the square in front the church there is a good view to the city. There is both access to the church tower and catacombs by a minor fee.
Montmartre is located in the 18th arrondissement and is Paris’ highest point. This is where the beautiful church of Sacre Coeur is located and also where you find the Moulin Rouge. Montmartre is a lively area with many small bars and restaurants and especially on the Boulevard de Rochechouart, there is a good opportunity to enjoy the night life.