The famous expression “See Paris and die” no longer popular. After visiting the capital of France, every traveler is ready to exclaim: “See Paris and want to live!” The city has always been covered with a romantic halo, symbolizing love, beauty and grace.
It will take more than one day to enjoy the unique atmosphere of the French capital. We offer a description of the most famous sights of the city that an inquisitive tourist will not miss.
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The most interesting and beautiful places in Paris
There is hardly a person in the world who has no idea about the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower or the Champs Elysees. These and other most famous sights have become a symbol not only of Paris, but of the whole of France.
➤ The Eiffel Tower
“The shame of Paris, the tallest lamppost in the world, the iron monster…” What only insulting nicknames were not called the creation of Eiffel when it first appeared in the city. The Eiffel Tower was originally conceived as an arch at the entrance to the 1889 World's Fair.
The building was striking in its size and scale of structures. However, over 300 representatives of the arts expressed their protest, considering the tower disfiguring the architecture of the city. Hostility to the tower did not prevent the writer Guy de Maupassant from going to dinner every day in the restaurant located in it. The writer explained his decision by the fact that this is the only place from where his gaze does not suffer from “ugliness”; giant structure.
Years of criticism are far behind us. Although the Eiffel Tower lost its status as the tallest building in the world in 1931, this did not make it less popular. Today, visiting this attraction is the main priority of most tourists.
It is impossible not to see the tower: it is noticeable anywhere in the central part of Paris. Those wishing to go upstairs can do it on foot or use the elevator.
As darkness falls, the Eiffel Tower begins to flash colorful lights. 20,000 light bulbs sparkle fantastically for five minutes every hour.
Tip: When visiting the Eiffel Tower, also consider the method of ascent. The most budgetary and acceptable option is to walk up to the second floor. The most convenient way to get to the tower is from the metro stations Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel (RER C), École Militaire (line 8), Bir-Hakeim (line 6).
➤ Louvre Museum
One of the most popular and largest museums in the world is located in the center of Paris, on the right bank of the Seine near the Tuileries Park. In 2018, the number of its visitors exceeded 10 million people. At one time, the architectural ensemble served as the residence of the French kings, and after the royal court moved to Versailles, it was turned into a museum. Today, its exhibited collections number over 35,000 exhibits, and it will take at least a week to fully examine them.
The expositions of the museum show visitors the collections of paintings, sketches, engravings, bronze objects, sculptures, tapestries, ceramics, porcelain, fine jewelry and ivory items collected over many decades. The most famous exhibits are sculptures Venus de Milo and Nike of Samothrace, as well as Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci.
Tip:The Louvre is huge, it is impossible to get around even part of its halls in one day. It is better to familiarize yourself with the layout of the halls in advance in order to plan which collections will interest you in the first place. It is convenient to buy a ticket to the Louvre in advance on the website, this will allow you not to waste time in line.
➤ Arc de Triomphe
An architectural monument on Charles de Gaulle Square was conceived to be erected as a symbol of Napoleon's victory in battle of Austerlitz. Its construction lasted almost 30 years, and was completed in 1836. The arch has repeatedly served as a venue for military parades and other solemn ceremonies.
The monument has not only historical, but also architectural significance. Sculptural groups reflect important stages in the history of the country, the names of the most famous military leaders who glorified France are also marked here.
In 2021, the Arc de Triomphe was “disguised” designed by contemporary artist Christo. But not everyone took this idea positively.
Tip: when visiting the Arc de Triomphe, you can admire the beauty of the whole city from the observation deck.
➤ Champs Elysees< /h3>
This name is one of the most expensive streets in the world, stretching for almost 2 kilometers from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. The Champs Elysees is a kind of luxury symbol, here there are offices of many of the world's leading companies, as well as shops of famous brands, hotels and restaurants.
The Champs Elysees is the venue for various national holidays and social events. On the day when they celebrate the taking & nbsp; Bastille, a military parade takes place here. The last leg of the Tour de France also ends on the most famous street in Paris.
Tip: The Champs-Elysées is a great place to shop and explore the busy city streets. Connoisseurs of historical sights and architectural masterpieces may find it a bit boring here. But if you find the strength to reach the Arc de Triomphe, your efforts will be fully rewarded!
➤ Luxembourg Gardens and Palace
The garden and palace were built for the wife of Henry IV, Marie de Medici, in the 17th century. The architectural complex is located near the Sorbonne and the Latin Quarter. You can walk here from the Louvre itself. Today, the palace park is a favorite vacation spot for Parisians and guests of the capital. Here you can relax by the pond, admire the palace and reservoirs with fountains and statues. The most iconic place is the Medici fountain with a pond adjacent to it.
Tip: Not far from the Luxembourg Gardens is the Montparnasse Tower, which offers panoramic views of much of Paris. The sensations are no less impressive than from the height of the Eiffel Tower, and getting here is much easier.
➤ Montmartre Hill
The highest point of Paris, which is located on a hill 130 meters high, is without exaggeration the most colorful area of the French capital. Small streets, boulevards and bohemian quarters are concentrated here. Geniuses such as Picasso and Modigliani lived and worked on Montmartre, and today its streets are filled with artists and cartoonists who will gladly sell you their paintings or draw a portrait. Who knows, maybe on the streets of Montmartre you will get a masterpiece of a future recognized genius!
Tip: walking around Montmartre, do not forget to visit the famous Wall of Love. It has the phrase “I love you” written in more than 300 languages. The wall is free to visit.
➤ Island of the City
With its outlines, the island, located in the historical part of the city, resembles a giant fish. It was here that the settlement of the territories of the future Paris began. First the island was mastered by the Celts, later by the Romans. The first Christian church during the Merovingian dynasty was also built on the island of Cité.
Cité underwent significant changes in the 19th century. In those days, urban planners paid little attention to the historical significance of the area. New assignments were built, the streets were widened. Nevertheless, Cité retains a unique atmosphere of the Middle Ages, primarily thanks to the Notre Dame Cathedral and the former royal castle of the Concierge.
Tip: The bridges of the island also deserve attention. On the oldest of them, Pont Neuf, you can admire the elegant arches and fortifications that are reminiscent of the Paris of the Middle Ages. And don't forget to stop by the local flower market.
➤ Palace and Park of the Palais Royal
The Palais Royal is an architectural complex located next to the Louvre. It includes a palace, a square and a picturesque park.
The palace was “brainchild” the famous cardinal-schemer Richelieu. After his death, he passed into the possession of Anna of Austria and her children, so he became known as royal.
The Palais Royal survived years of decline and destruction under the Paris Commune, but was gradually rebuilt. In the 80s of the last century, its territories were refurbished in the ultra-modern style. The creation of Daniel Buren is 260 columns of different heights, painted in black and white stripes. In the park area of the architectural ensemble, an atmosphere of silence and tranquility reigns, unusual for the central part of the metropolis.
➤ Latin Quarter
The quarter is a mixture of eras and cultures. Here you can wander through the medieval streets, feel the atmosphere of student fraternity, drink coffee in numerous cafes, appreciate the grandeur and beauty of the Pantheon and Saint-Severin Church. The Latin Quarter is home to the oldest university in Europe, the Sorbonne, founded in the 13th century.
Tip: Getting to the Latin Quarter is easy from the historic part of the city and the Ile de la Cité. You can also do this by metro, reaching Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame or Cluny-la-Sorbonne.
The oldest institution of higher education in Europe first opened its doors to students in the 13th century. Today it consists of 13 autonomous universities, of which four are located in the Latin Quarter. The name of this part of Paris also arose thanks to the educational institution, since the education at that time was conducted in Latin. It is unlikely that you will be able to get inside the Sorbonne, but you can admire the architecture of the old building.
➤ Galeries Lafayette
A huge and luxurious shopping center, covering an area of 30,000 square meters, fascinates with its gigantic scale and chic interiors and even better prices. In 2009, the gallery's turnover exceeded one billion euros. This is the best place in Paris to buy clothes, appliances, cosmetics and jewelry from world brands. The Gallery has a variety of bars, pastry shops, eateries and restaurants.
Tip:Finding the Galeries Lafayette is very easy if you are near the Opéra Garnier or the Madeleine. The mall is open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 8 pm. On Thursday, the gallery is open until 21:00.
➤ Big Arch of Defense
The arch is located in the modern business district, which has already received the name “Parisian Manhattan”. It was erected on the initiative of President Francois Mitterand as a symbol of the idea of humanism and is “peaceful” an alternative to the Arc de Triomphe at the end of the Champs-Elysées.
The structure is a regular-shaped cube 108 meters wide, 110 meters high and 112 meters deep. It was opened with a solemn parade in 1989.
Tip: lovers of beautiful views can take the lift to the observation deck.
➤ Père Lachaise Cemetery< /h3>
The most famous necropolis of Paris is located in the eastern part of the city. Occupying an area of 48 hectares, it is not only a cemetery, but also a museum of grave sculpture. Many prominent statesmen, artists, actors, poets found eternal rest here. Among them are Honore de Balzac, Sarah Bernhardt, Amadeo Modigliani, Frederic Chopin, Edith Piaf. Over 2 million people visit the cemetery every year.
Tip: admission to the territory is free and free daily from 8 am to 6 pm (in winter, from November 5 to March 16, &mdash ; until 17:30).
➤ Catacombs of Paris
This attraction of Paris is not recommended for people with a weak psyche and heart disease. Huge catacombs are a network of underground tunnels filled with human bones. Here the pain of numerous tragic events was embodied: from the remains that died from the bubonic plague epidemic to the victims of the bloody St. Bartholomew's night.
The catacombs are located at a depth of 20 meters underground. They have been open to the public since 1809.
Tip:the catacombs are inaccessible to people with reduced mobility, there is no special equipment for people in wheelchairs or walking with a walker. The place is not recommended for children under 10 years old. The air temperature should not exceed 14 degrees.
➤ Arenas of Lutetia
The oldest building in Paris, preserved from the 1st century. For two centuries it was used as an amphitheater, where theatrical performances and bloody battles took place. After the land was seized by the nomadic Huns, the Arenas were no longer used, and the stones of the structure were used for the construction needs of the city.
Only a few centuries later, the Arenas were declared a historical monument and taken under state protection. Today they are visited by thousands of tourists, and football matches are even held on weekends.
➤ Saint-Ouen Flea Market
In the 19th century, junk dealers in Paris were forbidden to trade within the city, so they concentrated their activities on the outskirts of the city. The furniture and clothes sold in the market were infested with parasites. Hence the odious name of the ambiguous place.
Today, Saint-Ouen is a suburb of the French capital, where you can buy antique works of art, ancient appliances and antique furniture.
Tip: The market occupies a very large area, each of its parts specializes in a different product. If you plan to shop, it is better to familiarize yourself with the Saint-Ouen map in advance so as not to waste time on a long search.
➤ Seine River
The fifth longest river in France is one of the most popular attractions in Paris. It is inextricably linked with the history of the city. Today, 37 bridges have been built across the river in the city, the oldest among them is the Pont Neuf.
Tip:a boat trip on the Seine is one of the most convenient ways to see the historical part of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Musee d'Orsay, Les Invalides. Many of these and other sights open to the eye in an unusual original perspective, inaccessible from land.
Churches and cathedrals of Paris
There are more than a hundred churches in the capital of France, some of them are known all over the world . The most popular of them have repeatedly become the scene of artistic works, in particular, they were sung by Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas.
➤ Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame is a symbol and a source of pride not only for Parisians, but for all French people. When the fire broke out in April 2019, hundreds of people on the streets prayed on their knees for the national relic to be saved. Notre Dame Cathedral suffered, but once again in its history survived.
The cathedral was erected in the eastern part of the island of Cite on the site of the first Christian church in the city. Its construction lasted almost two centuries. In its present form, it has been known since the 14th century. The cathedral is one of the most striking examples of the Gothic style in architecture. The interior of the establishment is famous for its unique stained-glass windows, through which daylight penetrates.
Tip: Notre Dame is closed to the public after the fire. You can only see it from afar. The best way to do this is while walking along the Seine, when the boat comes close to the Ile de la Cité.
➤ Sacré-Coeur Basilica
To get to the basilica on Montmartre, you will have to climb over 200 steps. You can also use the funicular. But all efforts will be rewarded with a magnificent view of the entire city, which opens from the hill at the foot of the temple.
The Sacré Coeur was built between 1875 and 1914 in the Roman-Byzantine style, both with public funds and donations from the townspeople. The temple impresses with its dazzling whiteness and grace, it seems as if it is hovering over Montmartre and all of Paris.
➤ Sainte-Chapelle Reliquary Chapel
The Holy Chapel is considered one of the most beautiful small Gothic churches. It was conceived by King Louis the Saint as a place of storage of holy relics mined during the Crusades. The main shrine is the Crown of Thorns, which, according to the Gospel, was placed on the head of Jesus Christ.
➤ Church of Saint-Germain-des-Pres
Former Benedictine abbey, now a parish church, served as the burial place of the French kings until the royal necropolis was moved to Saint-Denis. A quarter on the left bank of the Seine is also named after him.
From the abbey today, only the church, built in the Romanesque-Gothic style, remains. The Baroque style can also be traced in the architecture.
The former king of Poland, Jan II Casimir, and the philosopher Rene Descartes are buried in the church.
➤ Church of Saint-Sulpice
The temple is located between the Luxembourg Gardens and the Saint-Germain quarter. The church is one of the unfairly overlooked attractions of Paris. Meanwhile, in size and grandeur, it is second only to Notre Dame, and its history is inextricably linked with many prominent Frenchmen. Victor Hugo was married here, Jules Verne drew inspiration for the books, and the American writer Dan Brown chose the church for the events of his novel The Da Vinci Code. However, the church authorities forbade shooting the film on the territory of the temple, they had to be moved to a specially equipped pavilion.
Advice: the temple can be visited while walking through the Latin Quarter along with the Luxembourg Gardens, Pantheon and Sorbonne University.
➤ Church of Val-de-Grâce
The temple is called the most Roman church in Paris. It was built by order of Anna of Austria as a token of gratitude for the child sent by God. During the construction of the church, samples of the dome of St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome were used, hence the “Roman” the origin of the temple. Another idea borrowed from St. Peter's Basilica is a luxurious canopy with six twisted marble columns.
Tip:if you are in Paris from October to June, there is an opportunity to attend a free organ concert in the church.
The best museums in Paris
We already wrote about the main museum of the city, the Louvre, at the beginning of our descriptions. But even if you did not manage to get there, do not despair. There are many other museums in Paris, which, although inferior to the Louvre in size and number of exhibits, are no less interesting.
➤ Marmottan Monet Museum
Initially, the museum building on the outskirts of the Bois de Boulogne was used as a hunting lodge. The family of the French politician Marmottan, who bought it, was a passionate admirer of art. The collections of paintings collected over several generations were later turned into museum expositions.
The museum's fund includes more than 300 works by famous representatives of impressionism and post-impressionism: Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin and Claude Monet. In addition to paintings, antique furniture, sculptures, bronzes and porcelain are exhibited.
Tip:if you buy a double ticket at the box office, you can also visit the Monet Museum in Giverny, which is open from April 1 to October 31.
➤ Musée d'Orsay
The museum is located in the former station building. In 1970, the building, unable to cope with the increased volumes of traffic, was planned for demolition, but the intervention of the Minister of Culture saved it for the future museum. It was opened in 1986 as the world's finest and most complete collection of impressionist paintings, drawings and sculptures. At the Musée d'Orsay, you can see works by Monet, Manet, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas.
Tip: Compared to the Louvre, Orsay looks miniature. But if you do not have enough time and want to see only the most interesting, go up to the top floor, where the Impressionist collections are presented.
➤ Orangerie Museum
The museum is located in the western part of the Tuileries Garden, near the Place de la Concorde. Of interest is the museum building itself, made in a classical style with massive columns and large glass windows.
The Orangerie is known for its collection of Monet's water lily paintings, located on curved walls. In total, the museum's collection contains over 140 paintings by such masters as Picasso, Renoir and Modigliani.
Tip: the first Sunday of each month, admission to the Orangerie Museum is free.
➤ Georges Pompidou National Center for Contemporary Art and Culture
It is difficult to surprise Parisians with classical and impressionistic art. In the 60s, it was decided that the city lacked a multifunctional cultural center. The Pompidou Center became the embodiment of new original ideas.
The peculiarity of the building is the communications brought out to the outside. This idea not only attracts attention, but also allows you to make it spacious and capacious inside.
The exhibition halls of the Center display collections of contemporary art. It also has a cinema, concert hall, several restaurants and bars. The compositions of the Pompidou Museum are thought out so carefully that you can see them in half a day.
➤ Rodin Museum
The Museum of Art is the richest collection of works by the outstanding French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The cozy mansion in which it is located is located near the Les Invalides.
At the beginning of the last century, the mansion became the residence of the French bohemia. Among its famous inhabitants were Isadora Duncan, Henri Matisse, Rainer Maria Rilke.
The museum exhibits sculptures by Rodin, drawings, photographs and books related to his life and work.
➤ Picasso Museum
The museum is located in the medieval quarter of Paris Marais. At different times, the embassy of Venice, the school of arts and crafts were placed here. The Picasso Museum was opened in 1965.
Collections of paintings, sculptures, drawings, collages, ceramics reflect the various stages of Picasso's creative activity.
Tip: museum is located in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris, the nearest metro stations — Saint-Paul and Chemin Vert.
The best theaters in Paris
There are a lot of them in the capital of France. Both connoisseurs of classical art and modern modernity can choose a theater to their liking.
➤ Opera Garnier
The luxury of the Opera building and the richness of its interior amaze even the most seasoned tourist. The building belongs to the best examples of eclectic art.
In order to view the Opera inside, it is not necessary to buy a ticket for the performance. To do this, you need to purchase a ticket for 12 euros, which allows you to see the main staircase, dance foyer, theater foyer and hall, library-museum, as well as a shop where you can buy books, souvenirs and music CDs.
➤ Cabaret “Moulin Rouge”
The classic cabaret “Red Mill”, located in Montmartre, opened at the end of the 19th century. The cancan dance made him world famous, which at that time was perceived as a kind of challenge to a stiff society. The Moulin Rouge was visited by both ordinary inhabitants of Paris and representatives of high society, among them even the Prince of Wales was noted.
Enchanting performances, relaxed dancers, brilliance and luxury of costumes with feathers will not leave any spectator indifferent.
Tip: Tickets for the show can be purchased online. Here you can also order champagne, which is served right during the show.
➤ Bastille Opera
The idea of opening a new opera house belonged to French President Francois Mitterrand. The grand opening took place in the year of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in 1989. Today the theater is a worthy competitor to the Opera Garnier. The large hall seats more than 2,500 spectators.
Gardens and parks of Paris
Paris is a very green city. There are many parks and recreation areas located both in the very center and in neighboring districts.
➤ Bois de Boulogne
The city park is located between the suburbs of Boulogne-Billancourt and Neuilly-sur-Seine. It is called the lungs of the French capital. Long gone are the days when the park was a haven for thieves. After the royal castle was erected here, the Bois de Boulogne gradually gained a reputation as a place of relaxation and walks.
Today there are hiking trails, bike paths, horseback riding, restaurants and food courts.
Hint:The Bois de Boulogne has one spicy twist. In the evening, representatives of the oldest profession, including transgender prostitutes, offer their services in it at any time of the year.
➤ Tuileries Garden
The green zone in the very center of Paris is located on the right bank Seine, next to the Louvre and Place de la Concorde. The garden and park ensemble was built on the initiative of Catherine de Medici. Today, here you can admire a variety of sculptural groups, relax on chairs by the pond, take a photo against the backdrop of flower beds, and visit the Orangerie Museum, the Jeu-de-Paume National Gallery, the Arc de Triomphe on Place Carrousel.
➤ The park Buttes-Chaumont
The recreation area, located in the north-eastern part of the city, is the third largest park in Paris. On 25 hectares of total area there are green lawns, flower plantings, lakes, hiking trails, grottoes and waterfalls. Although translated as “Park of the Bald Hills”, Buttes Chaumont has a reputation as the most romantic park in Paris.
Tip: station Buttes Chaumont line M7bis.