We already visited Paris two times, and a few things we visited on both times while others we only discovered the second time we were there. I will start by the must-do things followed by things that are nice to do but not a must. If you are in Paris for a longer period of time, of course you can do more than when you are visiting for the weekend.
When you are in Paris, you have to see the Eiffel Tower. This 324 meter tall monument named after Gustav Eiffel, is the symbol of Paris. A visit to Paris is not complete without a visit of the Eiffel Tower. You can take an elevator to the top (fee is 17 euro) for a magnificent view over Paris. The waiting times can be long but when you go in the evening, it can go pretty quick. Nowadays, there is a security check point before you can go under the Eiffel Tower.
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is another famous monument of Paris. It is at the Western end of the Champs-Elysées at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle. From the Champs-Elysées you have a good view to take some pictures but there is also the possibility of accessing it through a tunnel (tickets are 8 euro).
When you are at the Arc de Triomphe, you can walk all of only a small part of this avenue. It is almost 2 km long and runs from Place de la Concorde to Place Charles de Gaulle. There are a lot of theatres, cafés, and luxury shops located here and especially on a nice day, walking here is a lot of people watching.
The Louvre Museum is the largest museum in the world and is located next to the Seine. The most famous piece of art is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and most of the time a huge amount of people are in front of this little piece of art. Other must see art are Michelangelo’s dying slave, Venus de Milo, Great Sphinx of Tanis, and the seated scribe. Of course you also have to take a picture of the famous glass pyramid. Tickets are 15 euro.
Notre Dame de Paris
The Notre Dame Cathedral is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the île de la cite. It is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and is one of the most famous churches in the world. This is really a very beautiful cathedral, both on the inside and the outside and really a must to visit when you are in Paris.
Sacre Coeur and Montmartre
Another famous church in Paris is the Sacré-Coeur Basilica located on top of Montmartre, the highest point in the city. We visited this church 2 times, during both daytime and in the evening. From here you have a beautiful view over Paris which is even nicer I think during the evening.
Montmartre is a very lively neighborhood and especially known for its gathering of artists. A lot of famous artists had studios or worked in or around Montmartre, such as Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Piet Mondriaan to name a few. Wandering around the streets is a great way to explore this part of Paris.
Sainte-Chapelle is a royal chapel built in Gothic style located in the courtyard of the royal palace on the île de la cite, not far from The Notre Dame Cathedral. It has one of the most exquisite stained glass collection anywhere in the world. Upon entering, you will go into the lower chapel which is not as spectacular as what you will see when you take the stairs up. You will be surrounded by fifteen huge glass stained windows. This was such an amazing beautiful thing to see that I really recommend it when you are already visited the Notre Dame Cathedral. Tickets are 10 euro and although that is not cheap, it is definitely worth it.
Les Catacombes de Paris
Something more special to visit when you are in Paris, are the catacombs of Paris. One word of advice: be there before they open, the waiting line is huge because only a limited amount of people are allowed in at the same time. We were there around 20 minutes before opening and we waited in line for over an hour. Tickets are 12 euro.
The catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries where the remains of more than 6 million people are. Through a network of paths marked with bones and skulls, you can discover the underground tunnel network. This is really something different and pretty interesting to discover.
Another view from Paris you can have from the top of the Montparnasse tower. It is an office skyscraper with at the top an observation platform. In summer there is a champagne bar at the top allowing you the enjoy a glass of champagne while admiring the view of Paris. I liked this view, because it is much higher than the Eiffel Tower and because from here you actually can see the Eiffel Tower. With a 15 euro ticket you can take the elevator to the top from where you can take the stairs to the open observation deck.
And then something really special: the Sewer Museum. We visited this museum because it is something different than the rest. It is located in, surprisingly, the sewers near the Pont de l’Alma. This museum shows the history of the sewer system. It was not what I was expecting but still it was interesting to see, and especially nice to do on a rainy day.
Wander the streets of Paris and walk along the river Seine
Wandering along the city and its many neighborhoods such as Montmartre and Quartier Latin, or walk along the Seine or in the many parks the city has. Especially when the weather is nice, these are the things that will allow you to explore and enjoy the city.
Tips for good restaurants in Paris you can find here
If you are looking for a nice hotel while exploring Paris, try Hotel Eiffel Capitol. Check out this review.
You can find other hotels in Paris here