Top 10 Things to See and Do in Paris, France

Located along the River Seine in north-central France is the country’s capital, Paris. As a center for culture, fashion, art, and gastronomy, there are countless things to see and do in Paris.

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The area was inhabited by the Parisii sub-tribe in the 3rd century and later conquered by the Romans. With so much history, it’s no surprise that many of Paris’ top attractions offer a glimpse into the city’s past. These are the top 10 things to see and do in Paris, France.

The Eiffel Tower

One of the most recognizable in the world is Paris’ Eiffel Tower. Originally meant to be a temporary structure for the 1889 World’s Fair, the tower has since become one of the top things to see and do in Paris!

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The tower boasts spectacular views of the city as well as high admission costs and long lines. The lines can be skipped by buying tickets well in advance of your visit. Visit at night to view the Eiffel Tower’s dazzling hourly light show!

Notre-Dame Cathedral

With roots that date back to the 10th century, the Notre-Dame Cathedral has long been a beloved symbol of Paris. Its impeccable Gothic architecture makes it one of the most highly regarded cathedrals of its kind in the world.

Photo courtesy of alyssa BLACK.

While the cathedral is closed indefinitely after the devastating fire that ripped through the landmark in April of 2019, its iconic towers can still be viewed from afar. Even heavily damaged, seeing the beauty of Notre-Dame is still one the best things to see and do in Paris!

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Walk the Champs-Élysées

Between the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde is one of the most famous streets in the world, the Champs-Élysées. Despite its touristy nature, a stroll along this famed avenue is one of the top things to see and do in Paris!

Photo courtesy of alyssa BLACK.

The Champs-Élysées is also noted for its shopping. Here, high-end retailers like Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton can be found alongside affordable brands like Zara, H&M, and The Gap!

Enjoy French Cuisine

French cuisine is noted for its bold flavors and elegant presentations. There are many regional variations and trying as many as possible while in Paris is a must!

Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz

Trying favorites like French onion soup and a cheesy croque-monsieur sandwich are among the top things to see and do in Paris. Swing into a café for some macarons or a pain au chocolat. You can also try some crepes at a roadside stand!

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Musée du Louvre

The Louvre is widely known as one of the best art museums in the world and one of the top things to see and do in Paris. The museum boasts roughly 35,000 items, including the sculpture of Venus de Milo, tombs of Egyptian mummies, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

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Exploring the entire museum in a day can be a daunting task and navigating the crowds, even more so. Avoid the museum on weekends and map out which exhibits you want to see most to have the best experience.

Arc de Triomphe

Located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to honor the Grande Armée following their victory in the Battle of Austerlitz. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier can be found beneath its vault.

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Visitors looking for panoramic views of Paris can get a workout climbing to the top of the arch. The magnificent view is worth it and is easily one of the best things to see and do in Paris.

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Sainte Chapelle

Though Notre Dame may be closed indefinitely, travelers looking to visit beautiful Parisian cathedrals have a smaller and more vibrant alternative: Sainte Chapelle. The cathedral is known for its French Gothic architecture and immaculate stained-glass windows.

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The windows depict over 1,000 scenes from the Old and New Testaments. They cement the chapel’s status as one of the most magnificent things to see and do in Paris. Buy a ticket for $11 U.S. and take a guided tour to take a deep dive into its history!

Musée d’Orsay

From the moment you walk into Musée d’Orsay, it’s obvious this isn’t your average art museum. It’s housed in a renovated train station and is home to the world’s largest collection of Impressionist art. Visiting is among the best things to see and do in Paris for art enthusiasts!

Photo courtesy of Dr Bob Hall

Van Gogh, Cezanne, Degas, and Monet are just a few artists whose work is on display at Musée d’Orsay. The museum’s top balcony boasts a wonderful view of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica.

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Versailles Palace

To experience the grandeur of Versailles Palace, travelers will have to take a quick day trip 14 miles southwest of Paris. This opulent museum and former residence of Louis XIV is decked out in crystal chandeliers, gilded sculptures, and much more. The decadence alone makes it one of the top things to see and do in Paris!

Photo courtesy of Thibault CHAPPE

In addition to housing the Royal Opera House and Hall of Mirrors, the palace was also the site of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty, which went into effect in January of 1920, helped bring World War I to an end.

Paris Catacombs

For a city that is often associated with elegance and romance, visiting its underground tunnels, also known as the Paris Catacombs, is a trip straight into the macabre. The remains of over 6 million Parisians were unearthed and moved to these tunnels in the 18th century after the city ran out of burial space.

Photo courtesy of Bert Kaufmann

A short, mile-long section is accessible to the public, but the catacombs go on for many miles beneath the city. It’s one of the top things to see and do in Paris, if you’re brave enough!

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Conclusion

Paris is a city of wonder and discovery. Everywhere you look, there’s something new to see, feel, and taste. Whether you find yourself in an acclaimed art museum or an underground ossuary, you can bet it will be an epic experience. Book a trip to Paris today to see everything this city has to offer!

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