Visiting Paris - What to See and Do
(Paris Orly Airport ORY, France)
, the City of Light, is the world's most visited destination. Standing as the capital of France
, this wondrous cosmopolitan centre is bursting at the proverbial seams with daring cultural and historical highlights. On the world's most visited attractions list you will find many of the city's decorative landmarks.
The River Seine is the lifeblood of Paris. As it meanders through the capital, renowned sights like the daring Notre Dame Cathedral, the famous Louvre Museum and the spacious Parc du Champ-de-Mars straddle its banks. When it comes to Parisian sightseeing, tourists are advised to explore the big names first, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Sacred Heart Basilica.
The most beautiful thing about Paris is its spectacular diversity. After sightseeing, tourists can go 'behind the scenes' and discover what makes the French capital tick. Go Bohemian among the artists in the atmospheric square on Montmartre hill, or jostle with tourists in the Louvre Museum to get a glimpse of the Mona Lisa's 'enigmatic' smile. Perhaps find some peace and quiet out at the Palace of Versailles and its pretty gardens.
Ten things you must do in Paris
- The Eiffel Tower's grandeur is globally unrivalled, as no other structure in the world boasts such a prominent, symbolic and opulent aura like this does. Built in 1889 for the World's Fair, the tower is proclaimed as the icon of French culture. Several award-winning restaurants are actually housed on the floors of the Eiffel Tower and are well worth experiencing. On average, a staggering seven million people visit this unique monument annually.
- Located just outside the centre of Paris, the Chateau de Versailles is a breathtaking castle attraction that is steeped in history. Once the heart of France's monarchy, the palace is now a well-preserved museum. Visitors can stroll through famous rooms like Marie Antoinette's sleeping chambers, the Hall of Mirrors and the Baroque Chapel. There is also an astonishingly vast garden surrounding the palace buildings.
- Hugging the banks of the Seine is the Notre Dame de Paris. This cathedral is France's most recognised religious structure, boasting a jaw-dropping host of Gothic features, including the rose window and gargoyles overlooking the western facade. Its lower-level crypts are now operated by the Carnavalet Museum, displaying exhibitions of the building's major art, construction stages and history.
- The Louvre is the world's most-visited art museum, and single-handedly puts Paris at the top of Europe's artistic culture. Roughly 35,000 displays are found within the museum, including ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek relics. Some of Europe's most famous art is located here, such as Michelangelo's Dying Slave sculpture, and Leonardo De Vinci's Mona Lisa. Visitors will need more than one visit to see everything.
- Resting within the walls of the beautiful Hôtel Salé is Pablo Picasso's own collection of fine art work. Known as the Picasso Museum (Musee de Picasso), this landmark is filled with more than 3,000 paintings, sculptures and drawings from the man himself. In addition, a plethora of artwork from the likes of Matisse, Degas and Cezanne, which was once owned by Picasso, are on display.
- Even though it is often overshadowed by the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides is still a spectacular spot for tourists to discover. Inside this beautiful landmark, visitors will find a huge range of armour displays and arms dating back to medieval times. The tomb of France's most notorious general, Napoleon, also rests within this site.
- The Holy Chapel (Sainte Chapelle) is, without question, the most beautiful sight to see on a sunny day in Paris. Hidden within the Law Courts (Palais de Justice), this remarkable chapel was first built in 1248, and still proceeds to wow audiences with its awesome array of stained-glass windows and intricate facade. This is a genuine must-see landmark.
- The Luxembourg Garden (Jardin du Luxembourg) is one of the most appealing parks in the whole of Paris. While visiting the city, do as the Parisians do and head to the garden for an afternoon of picnicking. Its lawns are elegantly landscaped, and onsite stand several famous statues, monuments, a children's playground and the Luxembourg Palace (which opens only once a year).
- The forever white exterior of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sacre Coeur) stands atop the tallest point in Paris, offering scenic views of France's capital. Erected in 1914 and consecrated in 1919, the basilica has become an important vantage point for tourists wanting to witness great views, stunning architecture and religious significance, all in the one site.
- The Rodin Museum is the site of Auguste Rodin's many classic sculptures, including 'The Thinker' and 'The Gates of Hell'. This important museum attraction is located at his old workshop, the Hotel Biron. However, visitors are advised to explore this museum on a sunny day, as many of his greatest works of art are scattered across an elegantly landscaped garden.