The Louvre is the largest and most visited art museum in the world, boasting an unparalleled collection of exhibits and jaw-dropping architecture. With so much to see, getting around can be quite daunting, so here are a few things you simply cannot leave before seeing.
The Louvre in Pictures
Glass Pyramid Entrance to Louvre
Venus de Milo
Things To See & Do at Louvre
The Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is a painting that needs no introduction, drawing large crowds of visitors to the Louvre all year round. What you might not expect is how small the painting is, and with large crowds it can be difficult to see. Plan your visit carefully to coincide with the Louvre’s closing time so that you can get more up close and personal with the enigmatic Mona Lisa.
2. The Pyramid
Designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei in 1984, this divisive Modernist steel and glass structure sits in the main courtyard of the Louvre atop the underground lobby and visitor entrance. The Louvre pyramid truly comes alive at night, illuminating the Cour Napoléon.
3. The Venus de Milo
This iconic sculpture depicting Greek classical female beauty is famous for many reasons, but its most recognizable attribute is its missing arms. At over 2,000 years old, the Venus de Milo is one of the greatest pieces of art and enduring representations of classic beauty in existence.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame is full of awe-inspiring architecture and religious significance that can easily take you a day to fully explore. When visiting Notre Dame, we recommend staying in the Le Marais, Latin Quarter, and Tuileries neighbourhoods so that you can optimize your time taking in all there is to see.
Notre Dame in Pictures
Notre Dame Cathedral in the Evening
Interior of Notre Dame Cathedral
Chimera on Notre Dame Cathedral watching the Eiffel Tower
Stained Glass Window in Notre Dame Cathedral
View of Notre Dame Cathedral and River Siene
Chandelier Inside Notre Dame
Things to See & Do in Notre Dame
1. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Founded by King Louis IX and Bishop Maurice de Sully in 1163, the Notre-Dame Cathedral took almost 200 years to complete. However, with innumerable stone masons, carpenters, and architects, the Notre-Dame was built to perfection, including a huge nave, famous towers, revolutionary flying buttresses, and exquisitely detailed Gothic façade.
2. The Famous Gargoyles
Arguably the most iconic feature of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris are the fearsome gargoyles on the Galerie des Chimères. The figures stand between the twin cathedral towers, embodying a cacophony of characters from adorable, winged animals to frightening devilish creatures.
3.See Notre Dame from Different View Points
Get the best views of the cathedral from the Pont Saint-Louis on the Île Saint-Louis, especially of the cathedral’s east end and flying buttresses. Another fantastic vantage point, this time from the front of the cathedral, is from the Petit Pont, crossing from the Quai Saint-Michel to the Rue de la Cité.
The Champs-Élysées is a world-famous and drop-dead gorgeous chestnut-lined avenue in Paris, running from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. The street is bustling all year round but comes alive every year with the Bastille Day parades and the final stretch of the Tour de France.
Champs-Élysées in Pictures
Champs-Élysées With Arc de Triumph in Background
Champs-Élysées With Arc de Triumph in Background
Lido's Paris on Champs Elysees
Things to See & Do Along The Champs-Élysées
1. Arc de Triomphe
Gaze in wonder and admiration at the Arc de Triomphe, one of Paris’ most iconic monuments. Taking inspiration from the Arch of Titus in Rome, the Arc de Triomphe stands 50m above the Champs-Élysées, having been commissioned by Napoleon in 1806.
2. Le Lido’s Paris Merveilles
The Moulin Rouge often gets more attention, but Le Lido’s Paris Merveilles is a wonderful cabaret on the Champs-Élysées, where dancers known as the Bluebell Girls have performed the iconic can-can for 75 years, along with sword-swallowers, acrobats, and lots more spectacle.
3. Go on a Shopping Spree
Paris is synonymous with the newest fashions, and the best place to get the latest trends is along the Champs-Élysées. To save a little money, head on your shopping spree in January or July to take advantage of the sales. From famous designer stores to independent luxury boutiques, you will be spoiled for choice.
The Eiffel Tower
The national symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower is an iconic site that you must visit whilst in the city. However, there is so much more to the Eiffel Tower than just snapping a photo from the Champ de Mars, of which you can find out more below.
The Eiffel Tower in Pictures
Eiffel Tower at Night
Eiffel Tower at Night
Things to See & Do at the Eiffel Tower
1. Ascend the Tower by Staircase or Elevator
First and foremost, climbing the tower is an essential aspect of any itinerary. Whilst some people prefer to see it from the outside, you simply must ascend the tower to the very top, taking a moment to explore the sites and attractions throughout the tower along the way.
2. Eat at one of the Eiffel Tower Restaurants
There are many places for you to grab a bite to eat, a coffee, or even a cocktail in the Eiffel Tower. From snack bars to buffets, to a bistro, and even a Michelin star restaurant, the Eiffel Tower has a surprising number of places to experience Parisian culinary excellence.
3. Cheers a Glass of Champagne at the Summit
Whilst at the summit of the world’s most romantic tourist destination, have a cold glass of French Champagne (or something non-alcoholic) and make a toast to your Parisian adventure. There is nothing better than sipping Champagne whilst standing 906 feet in the air taking in unparalleled views of the city.
The Eiffel Tower in Video
A distinctly bohemian area bustling with vibrant artists and creatives, surprising sculptures, and a rich historic past, the Montmartre district of Paris is full of life and character. Whether you choose to stay in Montmartre or opt to spend a day exploring the cobbled streets, here are a few things you must explore.
Montmartre in Pictures
Basilica of Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre at Night
Outside Musée de Montmartre
Beautiful Streets in Montmartre
Cafe in Montmartre
Basilica of Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre
The Triumph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Mosaic, Sacré-Coeur
Espace Dali in Montmartre
Cafe in Montmartre
View of Paris from Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre
Things to See & Do in Montmartre
1. Musée de Montmartre
With an authentically rustic ambiance, the Musée de Montmartre is a fantastic way to rediscover the history, culture, and hidden secrets of the district, including the works of Willette, Utrillo, and Toulouse-Lautrec.
2. Espace Dalí
For fans of Salvador Dalí, the Espace Dalí provides a unique perspective that enlightens a previously unseen dimension to his artwork. This exhibition is quirky, funny, beautiful, and fascinating. We particularly recommend the photo booth where you can slot your face into the infamous ‘Thumb’.
For great views of Paris and the surrounding countryside, head to the top of Montmartre in Paris’ 18th Arrondissement. Here you’ll find Sacré-Cœur or the Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre (Sacred Heart of Montmartre). With its dome 600ft above the River Seine it is the highest point in Paris and the views from Sacré Coeur are well worth the effort to walk up.
4. The Triumph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Mosaic
Head inside and take in the one of the largest mosaics in the world called The Triumph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The mosaic is made from 25,000 ceramic pieces and depicts Christ as the main central figure with open arms. At his feet kneeling you can see Saint Joan of Arc offering him a crown.
The town of Versailles naturally flows from the Palace with elegant avenues and effortlessly luxurious homes. The grounds surrounding the Palace are staggeringly opulent, the pinnacle of 17th and 18th-century grandeur. Let’s explore the best things to do in Versailles.
Versailles in Pictures
Royal Gardens, Versailles Palace
Petit Trianon Gardens, Versailles
Hameau de la Reine, Versailles
Inside Royal Opera House, Versailles Palace
Things to See & Do in Versailles
1. Versailles Palace and Gardens
Roam the Versailles Palace and gargantuan Gardens. Its immense size can give you days’ worth of exploration with these attractions alone. If you are at a push for time, stick to exploring the Orangery and admiring the rest of the Gardens from the windows of the Palace itself.
2. Marie Antoinette’s Estate
The grounds of the Palace of Versailles also include estate previously owned and occupied by Marie Antoinette. The highlight of the estate is undoubtedly the Hameau de la Reine, or Queen’s Hamlet – 12 medieval-themed timbered and thatched roofed cottages purpose built as a private retreat for Marie Antoinette and her friends.
3. Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House in Versailles was the first ovular opera house in the whole of France, a game-changing design for its time. Made from wooden panels carved and painted to look like stone, the acoustics in this building are unbelievable.
Hailed by many as the most beautiful park in all of Paris, the Luxembourg Gardens, or Jardin du Luxembourg, is as breathtakingly pretty as it is huge! There is plenty to see whilst exploring the Luxembourg Gardens, of which these recommendations are merely a couple of highlights.
Luxembourg Gardens in Pictures
Luxembourg Gardens with Palais du Luxembourg in background, Paris France
Fontaine Médicis, Luxembourg Gardens Paris
Things to See & Do In The Luxembourg Gardens
1. Palais du Luxembourg
Admire the Palais du Luxembourg, meeting place of the Senate, from as many angles as you possibly can, drinking in this stunning example of French architecture. The Luxembourg Gardens are the palace’s original formal grounds, sitting to the south side of the palace.
2. Fontaine Médicis
The 17th century Medici Fountain was commissioned by its namesake Marie de’ Medici. Though only part of the original fountain still stands today, great effort was taken to preserve this impressive fountain, moved to its present location during the reorganization of Paris. Visit as early in the morning as you can to avoid the inevitable large crowds.
Luxembourg Gardens in Video