Paris is captivating. Its stunning views, iconic landmarks, old buildings and bridges, and cobbled streets justify the romantic feel commonly associated with this city. It is appealing to dreamers and it could easily charm any traveler. There are many incredible places to visit and if you are only planning a short trip, check this list of 10 beautiful sights in Paris you shouldn’t miss. It also includes free attractions and our top picks from the Paris Museum Pass!
1 – Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is the most iconic landmark in Paris. Seeing it up close, I finally realized why it became the cultural icon of Paris and the source of many artistic inspirations. Its massive size, beautiful structure, intricate woven iron design, and romantic atmosphere left me in awe.
You have to see the Eiffel Tower during the day and at night. Starting at 10 pm, sparkling lights can be seen adorning the tower like diamonds. This lasts for five minutes and appears every hour until 1 am.
Tickets to the Eiffel Tower
If you are planning to go to the top of the tower, it is more convenient to buy your tickets from their official website than joining the long line at the Eiffel Tower ticket office. If buying online, check for tickets at least a month in advance. Time slots and tickets get sold out quickly.
We bought tickets for 25 euros each which include lift access to the top. A ticket with access only to the second floor is 9 euros cheaper. The top floor is less crowded but, in my opinion, the views from the top and from the second floor didn’t have a big difference.
Seeing the Eiffel Tower from Different Angles
Its grand size makes it easy to stand out in the city. You could see it from different areas in Paris and from the top of other attractions.
For accommodations near the Eiffel Tower, click here.
Attractions Included in the Paris Museum Pass
Depending on the number of days you plan to stay in Paris and the types of attractions you would want to see, you could consider buying a Paris Museum Pass. Unlike how its name suggests, the attractions included in the pass are not exclusively museums. It includes access to other attractions like Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, and Versailles.
2 – The Louvre
One of the world-renowned museums, the Louvre is extremely remarkable inside and out! It has an immense collection of art and sculptures. One day is not enough to see everything. If you have limited time, research and decide in advance which pieces you would like to see. I also recommend getting their audio guide (5 euros) and a map of the Louvre.
Entrance fee: 17 euros/adult
For accommodations near the Louvre, click here.
3 – Musée d’Orsay
Another must-see museum is Musée d’Orsay. Its gorgeous, unique setting was once a train station. It has a great collection of artworks but, unlike the Louvre, exploring the entire museum is more manageable.
Entrance fee: 13.5 euros/adult
*If you have already purchased a ticket/pass in advance, line up at Entrance C.
For accommodations near Musee d’Orsay, click here.
4 – Arc de Triomphe
Get incredible views of the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées, and the city from the top floor of Arc de Triomphe.
Entrance fee: 12 euros/adult
For accommodations near Arc de Triomphe, click here.
5 – Notre-Dame
Notre-Dame is included in our must-see list but we didn’t expect it to be one of the highlights of our trip. This gothic-style cathedral is beautifully decorated with statues, stained glass windows, and chandeliers. Even though it is crowded with tourists during our visit, it still has a solemn atmosphere.
Don’t skip the tower of Notre-Dame. Its 400+ steps might be daunting but the breathtaking views from the tower is worth every step! 😉 It has one of the best panoramic city views we’ve seen in Paris. Come to think of it, I actually enjoyed our time at the Notre-Dame tower more than at the top of the Eiffel Tower. The views are better and it was less crowded. At the tower, you would also find the iconic gargoyles overlooking the city and the ancient 13-ton bell, Emmanuel.
Book a time slot for your tour to the tower
Reservation is required even if you have a pass. You could either book directly on the terminals on site OR online via the JeFile app (or DuckTheLine). Based on our experience, the process was quick. You just have to show your reservation at the line outside the cathedral. The actual tickets to the tower does not have any line and if you have a pass, the entrance to the tower is already included. The visiting time is not limited so you could enjoy the views as long as you want! 🙂
Entrance fee to the tower: 10 euros/adult
For accommodations near Notre-Dame, click here.
6 – Sainte-Chapelle
After seeing photos of Sainte-Chapelle, I knew that I had to include this stunning Gothic chapel in our itinerary. The long line was worth the wait. Although it’s hard not to get disappointed upon seeing the ground floor, you have to go up the stairs to reach the main attraction. It took my breath away! Hands down, this is the most beautiful chapel I have ever seen. The tall windows were all made of different stained glass. The light reflected through all of the colors of the stained-glass windows, it felt like I was inside a kaleidoscope.
Entrance fee: 10 euros/adult
For accommodations near Sainte-Chapelle, click here.
Still looking for something to do with your remaining time? Fill the rest of your itinerary with free but worthy-to-see sights!
7 – Champs-Élysées
Whether you love splurging on shopping during a vacation or you just enjoy strolling the streets, you have to walk along the street of Champs-Élysées at least once. This famous, symmetrical street is known for high-end brands, cafés, and an amazing view of the Arc de Triomphe. Stop by Pierre Hermé and Laduree for some French macarons!
8 – Promenade Plantee
My first impression of Promenade Plantee is its great resemblance to New York’s High Line. Both are elevated linear parks built on former railways. It comes as no surprise to learn that Promenade Plantee, the world’s first elevated park, was the inspiration of NYC’s famous High Line.
You could visit Promenade Plantee for a refreshing stroll or for some amazing city views. Like an enchanted garden, you would find different trees and flowers along the park. If you’re visiting in spring, you might even see the cherry blossoms.
For accommodations near Promenade Plantee, click here.
9 – Place de la Concorde
At the end of Champs-Elysées is Place de la Concorde, a major public square that has a historic significance. Here, you will find the 3,300 year-old Egyptian obelisk which marks the spot of the guillotine used during the French Revolution. Imagine, standing at the same location where thousands were beheaded. Eerie!
Aside from its monumental structures, I enjoyed our visit to Place de la Concorde because of its fun and lively atmosphere, ironic as it may seem because of its history.
For accommodations near Place de la Concorde, click here.
10 – Luxembourg Gardens
If you are looking for a place to relax or you just need a change in your busy Paris tour itinerary, stop by the Luxembourg Gardens.
For accommodations near the Luxembourg Gardens, click here.
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