Paris is full of incredibly beautiful sights. It has gorgeous architecture, stunning history and of course, its glamorous fashion sense among the Parisians. There’s just something special about Paris that tug your heartstrings. It is the city of lights, the city of love, and rightly so.
Why not experience the life of a Parisian? As Audrey Hepburn has said, “Paris is always a good idea”.
1. I Fell for the Eiffel Tower
Say Bonjour to this 300 metres tall iron-framed building! Built for the 1889 World Fair by Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower has become synonymous with Paris. Not only will you be amazed by the scenic view, you can visit the exhibition space, buy some souvenirs and dine on top! There’s also a post office and salon to make you feel like you can do anything on top of the world, literally.
Credit: Christoph Sammer on Flickr
You might think that you’ve seen enough of the tower in movies. Well, think again. Seeing it up close still got me Goosebumps, especially when it crowns and glitters the Paris night sky hourly. They attached 20,000 flashbulbs to get this effect!
Credit: @cherrybelly on Instagram
Address: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France
Operating Hours: 9am – midnight from mid-June to early September, 9.30am – 11pm during the rest of the year
Directions: Nearest metro stations are Bir-Hakeim (Metro line 6), Trocadéro (line 9), or Champs de Mars – Tour Eiffel (RER C)
To travel would also mean to discover other cultures. The Sacré-Cœur is a famous Roman Catholic Church built in 1875. It took seven architects to complete this Romano-Byzantine styled building. Check out their national monument – the grand pipe organ! It was unanimously considered one of the most remarkable in France. It is also one of the most widely heard pipe organ in the world.
Credit: Jonathan on Flickr
Credit: Jonathan on Flickr
Being the second highest point in Paris at 130 metres high, enrich yourself with the view of the entire city of Paris here.
#HHWT Tip: The Basilica of Sacré-Cœur is on top a long flight of stairs. If you are not keen on climbing up, take the Montmartrobus from Jules Joffrin or Pigalle, or the cable car from Abbesses or Anvers metro stations to reach there.
Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France
Operating Hours: 6am – 10.30pm daily
Directions: Nearest metro stations are Jules Joffrin or Abbesses (Metro line 12), Pigalle (line 12 or line 2) or Anvers (line 2).
3. Take a stroll or shop at Champs-Élysées
Time to experience how a Parisian celebrates at Champs-Élysées. This is where major celebrations are held. This includes New Years’ Eve, annual military parades, and historic national events. The tree-lined avenue is 1,900 metres long! I’ve personally walked the path, and a leisurely stroll will take at least 1.5 hours.
Credit: Daniel Kakiuthi on Flickr
Credit: Roman Lashkin on Flickr
On the other hand, if you are a shopaholic, the stroll will definitely take much longer. Walk up on the right side of Champs-Élysées if you want to see the more popular luxury boutiques and flagship stores. Wander up on the left side if you prefer less crowds and lesser shops.
#HHWT Tip: It is quite difficult to find halal food in this boulevard, so it is best to eat a hearty meal beforehand.
[Here are some recommended Muslim-Friendly restaurants in Paris.]
Address: Avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France
Directions: Nearest metro station is Charles de Gaulle Étoile (line 1)
4. Notre Dame de Paris
This cathedral is beautiful for its gothic architecture and rich history, dating back to the 12th century! Previously, it was the centre of medieval Paris. Today, it has become the religious centre of the city and a commanding landmark in central Paris. It consists of dramatic towers, spire and stained glass, definitely an eye-opening experience.
Credit: Loïc Lagarde on Flickr
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Credit: Edwin.11 on Flickr
Notre Dame provides a panoramic view across the city, with a beautiful backdrop of the Seine. The catch is, you have to climb 422 steps up the tower. If the Hunchback of Notre Dame can do it, so can you!
Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
Operating Hours: 7.30am – 7.30pm during winter, 7.00am – 9.00pm in summer
5. Be awed at the extensive art collection at the Louvre
As the world’s largest and most visited museum, the Louvre is Paris’s icon. It almost feels like the museum is a city on its own, with multi-level maze of galleries. Not to mention the architecture of the building itself. My favourite exhibitions are definitely the Mona Lisa and the Islamic Art gallery! To find out more about the various displays, commentaries are found on laminated panels.
Credit: Todd Lappin on Flickr
Credit: Matt Biddulph on Flickr
Spend hours admiring the vast collection of paintings, sculptures and antiques. I spent a full day exploring this huge marvellous castle, and it still wasn’t enough! Fun Fact: Hollywood blockbuster movie The Da Vinci Code filmed here too. So the Louvre is surely worth a visit!
This was the location in the first scene of the Da Vinci Code.
Credit: Storm Crypt on Flickr
#HHWT Tip: It’s best to select the galleries that you want to visit, instead of trying to see everything in one day. If you’re under 26 years old, you don’t have to worry about entering the Louvre more than once, as there is free entry on Fridays after 6pm.
Address: 75001 Paris, France
Operating Hours: 9am – 6pm daily Mondays and Thursdays, 9am – 9.45pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. (Closed on Jan 1, May 1, Dec 25)
Directions: Nearest metro station is Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre (Lines 1 and 7)
6. Arc de Triomphe
Feel like the triumphant Napoleon for the day at the Arc de Triomphe! It commemorates his victories and boasts another spectacular sight of Paris! All you have to do is climb 280 steps to conquer this view.
Credit: Stuart Pinfold on Flickr
Use the underpass to reach the Arc, as it is risky to cross the roads with no markings and rules. In fact, accidents that occur here automatically gets a 50/50 split on the insurance claim, no matter who is at fault.
Credit: Cheryl Tare
#HHWT Tip: The best day to visit the Arc is on Bastille Day on July 14, where the Parisians celebrate along Champs-Élysées.
Address: Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France
Operating Hours: 10am – 11pm in April to September, 10am- 10.30pm in October to March (Closed on Jan 1, May 1, May 8 (morning), July 14 (morning), Nov 11 (morning), Dec 25)
Directions: Nearest train station is Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile (Metro lines 1, 2 and 6, RER A)
7. Jardin du Luxembourg
Children can look forward to a puppet theatre, pony rides and a merry-go-round here. There is also a tennis court and music pavilion. Ever heard of an orangery in a park? There is one in this huge garden too! This is definitely the place to chill and soak in the relaxed atmosphere.
Credit: Aidan McMichael on Flickr
You can take any of the available chairs and place it wherever you want to sit in this park. I recommend taking a seat near the large octagonal pond, known as the Grand Bassin. You can even rent remote-controlled boats to play at the pond.
Credit: victortsu on Flickr
Address: Rue de Médicis – Rue de Vaugirard – 75006 Paris
Operating Hours: 7.30am and 8.15am, and closes between 4.30pm and 9.30pm according to season
Directions: Nearest metro stations are Odéon (Metro lines 4 and 10), or Luxembourg (RER B)
8. Be at the centre of modern art at Centre Pompidou
Centre Pompidou holds the largest collection of modern art in Europe. There’s lots of things that you can see here! This includes visual arts, experimental film and more. Not only that, you can also catch various art repertories!
Credit: Peter M Graham on Flickr
Credit: Onde Eksyt on Flickr
Centre Pompidou is definitely something out of the box. The air-conditioning, lifts and escalators are built outside, making the inside more spacious. How interesting is that! Check out their National Museum of Modern Art, which is a world leader in the field of modern and contemporary art.
Credit: Björn Olsson on Flickr
#HHWT Tip: On the first Sunday of every month, admission to this museum (and some others) is free for everyone.
Address: Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France
Operating Hours: 11am – 10pm daily (closed on Tuesdays and May 1)
Fee: €14 (Museum and Exhibitions ticket), €6 (Cinema), €10-18 (Price according to the shows)
Directions: Nearest metro stations are Rambuteau (line 11), Hôtel de Ville (lines 1 and 11), Châtelet (lines 1, 4, 7, 11 and 14), Châtelet-les Halles (RER A, B and D)
Montmartre is full of life and filled with plenty of atmosphere and charm! Visit the Sacré-Coeur which sits at the highest point in Montmartre. Explore the busy streets of Place du Tertre, where artists set up their easels. With a flick of their brush, they easily charm the passers-by with beautiful works of art. You can even ask them to paint your portrait!
Credit: Jack on Flickr
Credit: Neil Howard on Flickr
Credit: Jonas Bengtsson on Flickr
Relax at Parc de la Turlure, which is a small park behind the Sacré-Coeur. Other popular attractions also include Montmartre Cemetery and Moulin Rogue.
Address: 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France
Opening hours: 6am – 10.30pm daily
Directions: Nearest metro stations are Jules Joffrin or Abbesses (line 12), Pigalle (lines 12 and 2), Anvers (line 2)
10. Musée d’Orsay
Originally a train station in 1900, then used as a mailing centre during WWII, to a theatre, to finally – Musée d’Orsay. Now, it displays collections of art from the period of 1848 to 1914. Even the museum itself is an architectural masterpiece!
Credit: Phil Smith on Flickr
Credit: Shadowgate on Flickr
Admire the works by popular Impressionist artists like Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh. Also check out the museum’s giant transparent clock, which is pretty eye-catching on its own.
Address: 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France
Operating Hours: 9.30am – 6pm daily, except Mondays (closed on May 1 and Dec 25)
Fee: €9- €12 (Museum), while ticket prices for concert and shows vary
Directions: Nearest train stations are Solférino (Metro line 12), Musée d’Orsay (RER C)
11. Palais Garnier
Known as a magnificent opera house, Palais Garnier is a classic. Did you know that it sits above an underground lake? Way cool. The auditorium also host performances staged by the Opera National de Paris. They have performed classics like Phantom of the Opera and Romeo and Juliet. Time to find my Romeo…in Paris!
Credit: Peter Rivera on Flickr
Credit: Fougerouse Arnaud on Flickr
Not only are the performances stunning, both the interior and exterior of the building is gorgeous! Look out for the huge sculptures on top of the copper dome. While you’re inside, spot the Grand Staircase, the Grand Foyer and the Grand Escalier. I’m sure it’s called ‘grand’ for a reason!
Address: 8 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris, France
Operating Hours: 10am – 5pm daily (closed on Nov 19 & 27, Dec 10 & 25, April 2)
Fee: €7 (12 – 25 years), €11 (Not inclusive of Opera shows)
Directions: Nearest train stations are Opéra (Metro lines 3,7,8) and Auber (RER A)
12. Galeries Lafayette
Ever heard of the term ‘Luxury Bazaar’? Well, Galeries Lafayette is the epitome of one. There are 10 levels of duty-free shopping and a gourmet food court! Walk into designer heaven and catch their 30 minute fashion shows on Fridays too. Everything Paris related can be found here!
Credit: Banalities on Flickr
Credit: Steve Cadman on Flickr
The Art Nouveau style continues to enchant the visitors. Remember to look up and spot the enchanting stained-glass dome at the main hall. If shopping is not your forte, enjoy the scenic view of Paris at their rooftop terrace, or discover over a century of its history with its free guided tours.
Credit: Kelvin Tan on Flickr
#HHWT Tip: In the evening, Galeries Lafayette will light up. During festive seasons, their decorations also light up the place impressively.
Address: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris, France
Operating Hours: 9.30am – 8.00pm Monday to Saturday, extended till 8.30pm on Thursdays, 11.00am – 7.00pm on 4, 11 & 18 December on Sundays (Closed on Dec 25 and Jan 1)
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but I’m sure there is something spectacular for each individual to see, because of the variety of aesthetics present in Paris.
A bientôt, Paris! (Translation: See you soon, Paris!)