Paris: The Best 12 Places You Need to See

“Paris is not a city, it’s a World!”


Imagine a city where arts and history play hides and seek behind every corner. Imagine a place where details are never overlooked but always cared for. Imagine a place where culture meets life and life meets lifestyle; where traditions reflect pride which blurs into modernity. Welcome to Paris!

Paris is hands down one of the most iconic and renowned cities in the world. It has an immense cultural and artistic heritage, the world’s leading museums, postcard views, and an aura of romance that belongs only to its streets.

In present days though, Paris is also a vibrant cosmopolitan capital, with plenty of life and international world-class events.

In this list, I sketched my favorite 12 Best Places in Paris, which I would totally recommend you to see on your first visit to the city.

I believe that, with good planning, a visit to all of them can be organized within a 4-Days Period without an excessive rush (except for Disneyland Paris and Versailles, which need a day on their own each).

In the list I also include information about entrance fees, opening times, and tips on the best time to visit for your convenience. Enjoy:)

Let’s get started!

1. Louvre Museum

Let”s start with the obvious: the Louvre museum! Located in the heart of Paris, the Louvre offers one of the largest art collections on Earth and for over 20 years (and counting) it holds the title of “Most visited museum in the World”.

The legends that say it is too large to see in one day…are absolutely true! The museum develops in 3 wings (Denon, Richelieu and Sully) and on 4 floors, exhibition halls are all spacious and wide.

The art collections you can find in Louvre date from Ancient Mesopotamian times up to the end of the 18th century and they come from any geographical region in the world (Middle-east, Asia, America, Europe).

My favourite expositions have been the greek classic statues, the neoclassicism corner, the Islamic art and of course, the Italian renaissance (here you also find the famous Mona Lisa, which personally I found quite underwhelming compared to the greatness of many other paintings around it).

In a few hours, I swear I saw in this museum more than half of all the paintings/statues I was studying in History of Art in high-school: it is a truly impressive collection!

The entrance to the Louvre is located inside its iconic glass pyramid. As we’ve been visiting in January, we did not find any queue at the entrance nor for the tickets; but still noticed the large directional arrows for the lines outside. If you’re visiting in high season, I would strongly suggest you pre-book your entrance online from the official website.

Inside the museum, there are plenty of restrooms, a restaurant, a (very) convenient storage room and several places to seat and rest between one exhibition and the other. All in all, I believe 4 hours to be a decent time to have a good visit at Louvre, I would just suggest you to choose the exhibitions you’re most interested in and go for those!

Note that the Louvre is the definition of a classic walk-and-stare museum; there is no possibility for active interactions (so I would not recommend it for small children, as they may get bored fast). 

Also, the 19th century is not widely represented (as most operas are in the Musee d’Orsay) and almost absent too, are modern and contemporary arts (which are exposed in the nearby Centre Pompidou). 

Personally (and I underline, Personally!), I would not put the Louvre between the best museums I’ve ever seen (check my article 7 World-Class Museums You’ve Never Heard of if you want to discover more about my museum taste) , but it surely is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that cannot be missed when visiting Paris!



  • Age <18 – Free
  • Age <26 – Free on Friday Evenings
  • Adult – 15 Euro
  • Adult Online (with Quick Entry) – 17 Euro
  • First Saturday Evening of every Month – Free for Everyone


  • 9.00 – 18.00   Mo – Th- Sa – Su
  • 9.00 – 21.45   We – Fr
  • Tuesday Closed.

2. Eiffel Tower

Second in line, we find the landmark of Paris: the romantic, renowned, and awe-inspiring Tour Eiffel.

Built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel and its company, the iron tower is today a cultural icon, the symbol of France, and one of the most famous architectonical structures on Earth. The tower is visible from most tall buildings in Paris and easy to spot also from the plane’s window.

The Tour Eiffel offers three observation decks: 1st Floor (at 57m of height), 2nd Floor (116m), and the Top Floor (276m). The first and second floors are reachable either by stairs or with the lift (the first option being cheaper than the second); while to reach the very top your only choice is the lift.

If during the day, the Eiffel tower is already a majestic view; it’s when the lights of the day draw to a close and night falls that it emerges in full its magnificent, awe-inspiring, ravishing beauty. The illuminated tower in the dark is unbelievable, fascinating, unique and definitely, it gives total justice to the nickname “City of Lights”.

If you have enough time, drop a visit to the tower both during the day and during the night as they are two completely different experiences. If you don’t have time for both, choose the night yes or yes!

From my experience, I can recommend getting out at the Metro Station of Trocadero, where you’ll get the best faraway view of the tower (and the perfect photo spots!) from anywhere in the city and then, walk from there, cross the Seine and make your way to the feet of the tower. 

There is a reason why the Tour Eiffel is so world-wide renowned: it is just that beautiful! See to believe!



  • Ticket Adult Lift: 16,60 (2nd Floor)
  • Ticket Adult Lift: 25,90 (Top Floor)
  • Ticket Adult Stairs: 10,40 (2nd Floor)
  • Ticket Adult Stairs: + Lift: 19,70 (Top Floor)
  • Young Rate (age 12-14): 50% off
  • Disable/Child Rate (age 4-11): 75% off



  • Lift 9.30 – 23.45    Stairs 9.30 – 18.30

SUMMER (June – August)

  • Lift 9.00 – 0.45   9.00 – 00.30


3. Montmartre

The artistic hub of Europe during the Belle Epoque and the undisputed bohemian heart of the City of Lights, Montmartre is a 130m-tall hill and neighbourhood located in the 18th arrondissement in centre of Paris.

In the past, its streets have been the atelier and inspiration of countless world-famed artists (Van Gogh, Modigliani, Renoir, Picasso… just to name a few) which contributed to give the place an incredibly romantic aura.

After visiting Montmartre this year (2020), I was amazed by how greatly this neighbourhood is handling the weight of its glorious past: art still permeates the alleys, the shops, bistros, cafes, restaurants, the urban design, nature, people, and anything in between. If you would ask me to describe Montmartre in two words, I would say Flowing Art.

Taking a stroll through the district (which spans from the Moulin Rouge to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart) is an incredible experience and should be done on foot.

For visiting Montmartre I would suggest reserving a full afternoon and putting it on the first days of your visit to Paris (in case you’ll decide to come back later; the place – at least for me- was so damn addicting!).

The whole neighbourhood is filled with artsy cafès, bohemian shops, and well-priced fashion boutiques.

If you are looking for unique artistic pieces (being those paintings, articles of clothing, gadgets, home decors on simply souvenirs) and you don’t mind spending some time discovering around, in Montmartre you may find the best deals in Paris; I suggest to start your journey from Steinkerque road and move from there.

Other hotspots within the area are the Montmartre Museum, Musee de la vie Romantique, and my favourite, Place de la Tertre. This last one is a cobble-stone square on the edge of the Montmartre hill, transformed into a wondrous open-air gallery and atelier by dozens of talented artists.

Getting a portrait at Place de la Tetre

With my girlfriend, we also decided to get a portrait of both of us here; and believe me, there’s no better souvenir you can find in Paris!

You can choose the artist you like (everyone has its own particular style – pencil, carbon, colours, etc.) and it’ll take about an hour to  in front of your very eyes.

The artists are incredibly skilled and it’s a pleasure to see them working. As for the price of the portraits though, at first, they’ll shoot very high, but don’t give in.

Place de la Tertre is perhaps the only place in Paris where you should not be scared to bargain (as it is almost expected).

The artist we picked (we really liked his style) started with a price of 100Euro for a one-person portrait, and by being nice and patient, we ended up paying 60 Euro for a 2-persons portrait.

As a rule of thumb, aim to bring down the price to a 50% or lower of what they’ll initially ask for (it’s all a haggling game baby ;).

4. Basilica of the Sacred Heart

On the very top of the magic hill of Montmartre, is the white-domed Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the tallest point of Paris. 

This majestic Basilica is not particularly old (construction ended in 1919) and the inside is not so decorated as you would expect (as an Italian, I found it honestly quiet underwhelming – they were even selling souvenirs inside the basilica). What makes it great though, is undoubtedly its stunning location and incomparable view!

Indeed, the magnificient white Basilica of the Sacred Heart enjoys an unparalled perspective of Paris which is found nowhere else in the city. Between an horizon of rooftops, the landmarks of the city – the Seine, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe etc. – stand out against the mosaic of colours: breathtaking!

The atmosphere around the Basilica is relaxed and hauntingly romantic: the fences surrounding the church are filled to the brim with padlocks, people everywhere enjoying the panorama from the white stairs and trying to get the best shots of that beauty. Away from the buzz of the city centre, this place is a fresh breeze of air to take a break.   

To reach the Basilica, there are two possibilities: either by walking up the Montmartre hill, or taking a funicular which starts in the proximity of the the Abbesses/Anvers Metro Stations and brings you to the top (you’ll need a Regular Metro Ticket to ride it). 


  • Entrance to the Basilica: Free


  • Every Day of the Year: 6.00 – 22.30


5. Moulin Rouge & Red-lights District

Moving now to the other side of Montmartre, we find one more cult icon and world-famous landmark of the city: the Moulin Rouge (Red Mill).

Opened in 1889, the Moulin Rouge has been one of the first cabarets in Europe (and nowadays is the most famous in the world). It has been the cradle of the can-can dancing and has risen to glory during the Belle Epoque, an age of peace, progress, and innovation that permeated France at the beginning of the last century, before the start of WWI.

After over a century of activity, massive media coverage, and tremendous artistic attention (countless are the movies, paintings, books, songs, dances, and shows inspired by this cornerstone of Paris), the Moulin Rouge is today a touristic attraction that still retains its historical charm.

Attendance to the shows it’s pricey, there’s no way to get in there for cheap. Yet, if you can afford the splurge, the colorful costumes, classy environment, beautiful girls, dances, and choreographies make up for a great show which is surely worth-seeing once in a lifetime.

Booking far in advance is strongly recommended, the Moulin offers three shows a day (7 PM, 9 PM, and 11 PM) and different tariffs depending on different factors (with Champagne, with dinner, privileged seats, etc.), I leave you here the link to the Official Moulin Rouge Website for reservations and further information.

Outside of the Moulin Rouge, along the whole Boulevard de Clichy, develops Paris’ famous red-light district. Here you can find countless more (cheaper) cabarets, the largest and most well-stocked mass of sexy shops you’ve seen in your life, sexy-dance pubs, and related entertainment. Definitely a must-see in Paris and surely a fun experience for couples.



  • Adult Entrance – from 89-410 Euro
  • Check Official Website for More Information
  • Reserving in Advance is Recommended


  • Moulin Rouge Shows 7pm – 9pm – 11pm


6. Musée d’Orsay

The Musee d’Orsay, opened in 1986 in a former railway station, continues the art journey from where the Louvre left it, and covers mainly the French period between 1850-1914.

In those decades, Paris was the buzzing hub of the world’s art scene due to its conventions-breaking artists and their daring creations that increasingly pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable at the time.

During those years, the French Capital birth to a variety of art waves that became worldwide famous and revolutionized the art world: realism, impressionism and post-impressionism. The Musee d’Orsay offers the greatest collections of all of those in the world!

Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Gaugen, Van Gogh, Degas… are but a few of the artist you can admire in the museum. The whole collection open to visitors is just unbelievable.

For strolling through the whole museums (which is huge but way more manageable compared to the Louvre) I would suggest to reserve between 2-3 hours (sometimes, to assimilate information at fullest, less is more).

Also be sure to have a look at the Museum’s clock located on the 5th floor (which can be easily overlooked if you don’t know about it); it is a suggestive view, romantic photo-spot and overall a short travel through time.



  • Adult Entrance – 14 Euro  
  • Age <18 – Free
  • EU Citizen Age <25 – Free
  • Disabled/Unemployed – Free
  • 1st Sunday of the Month – Free for Everyone


  • Tu – We – Fr – Sa – Su   9.30-18.00
  • Th   9.30 – 21.45
  • Monday Closed



7. Centre Pompidou

If you’ve already passed through milleniums of art’s history in Louvre and Musee D’Orsay, in Centre Pompidou you’ll find the last missing piece of the puzzle: the 20th and 21st centuries!

The Centre Pompidou, located at walking distance from the Louvre and Ile de la Cite,  is a complex futuristic building which hosts the National Modern Art Museum, one of the largest modern and contemporary art collections in the world.

Finding the entrance may be slightly complicated: you’ll have to make your ticket on floor -1, and then, in the North-west corner of the huge structure, you’ll find the access to either the lift or the escalators.

I would say 1,30/2 hours to be a good amount of time to stroll around the museum and see most highlights.

The third and fourth floors of the exposition are focused on modern art (Abstraction, Cubism, Surrealism, Expressionism, Fauvism) and on contemporary art (pop art, conceptual art and nouveau realisme). If what you’re looking for, are artworks that make you think; here you’re going to find them!

The last floor is normally used for temporary exhibitions.

While there, we had the chance to visit Boltanski’s “Faire son Temps” exhibition and it was the highlight of our visit, so be sure to have a look of the temporary galleries too as they are truly made with full care and professionalism! (entrance is also included in the Museum’s ticket at no additional cost).



  • Adult Entrance – 14 Euro  
  • Reduced Entrance – 11 Euro
  • 1st Sunday of the Month – Free for Everyone


  • Mo – We – Fr – Sa – Su   11.00 – 21.00
  • Th   1.00 – 23.00
  • Tuesday Closed



8. Ile de la Cite + Notre Dame

Ile de la Cite is a small islet on the Seine which is is believed to have been the birth place of the Paris (from which the city started expanding from the 1st century B.C.) and it is considered the center and heart of the French Capital. 

Located in the very geographical center of the Ville Lumiere, Ile de la Cite is today famous for the Conciergerie Prison (the place where the last queen of France was imprisoned and awaited execution before the French revolution) and of course, the gigantic and iconic, gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame.

If someone did not know about this Cathedral, last year (2019) it made the world news when it accidentally caught fire while under renovation.

The wooden roof suffered heavy damage and, although the French parliament already approved a plan to rebuild the Cathedral exactly how it was previously, it seems it is not going to be ready and opened to the public until 2024 (when the Olympic Games will be held in Paris).

 The closure of Notre Dame for sure affected the life, businesses and touristic inflow to Ile de la Cite.

Still, despite not being able to visit the inside of the church, I would still suggest you to take a stroll on the little Island of Ile de la Cite. 

The Cathedral is an amazing view also from outside and while under construction. Moreover, the Seine’s shores from the bridges are a beautiful scenery to witness, especially during night time.

9. Disneyland Paris

Going to Disneyland Paris was the child-dream of my girlfriend, and so it was impossible visiting Paris and not spending a day there! 

Personally, I was not feeling the hype about the place at all until I got to the entrance but then, all changed.

The park is extensive, clean and ordered. Many attractions surprised me for their creativity and level of details; live-shows are great and living once more the fairytales you were watching when you were a kid surely brings back feelings of nostalgia and fills you with joy.

Compared to other theme parks I deeply love (ex. Gardaland), Disneyland feels more focused on smaller children than adults (or we can also say that it aims at the child inside of everyone 😉 ). There are not many adrenaline attractions (and the few, are not extreme at all); but many magic adventures of discovery. 

The attractions I liked most of all have been the Peter Pan’s Flight (incredibly well executed, you feel like you’re truly flying), It’s a Small World (a journey through the whole world in a VERY funny way, as a traveller at heart I loved it), and the Pirates of Carribean Cruise (it truly looks like a movie!). 

The best thing about Disneyland hands-down (and everyone you ask to, will say the same!) is the jaw-dropping 20-minutes Closing Show (which alone is worth the ticket). 

In fact, every night, the castle of the Sleeping Beauty in the center of the park is lighted up and used as a giant projector screen to give life to the Disney’s fairytales with the aid of music and special effects (water, smoke, fireworks and lights).

The whole show is UNBELIEVABLE, it brings tears of joy down to your eyes and fills you up with fantasy and positivity, truly memorable and awesome; an experience which memory lasts forever.




  • Prices vary greatly between months
  • There is the possibility to take a jointed ticket with the  Disney Studio Park
  • All info about Disney tickets here.


  • Open 365 days a year
  • Opening times change between months
  • All info about Disney opening times here.



10. Champs-Élysées + Arc de Triomphe

Walking straight out from Louvre, all perfectly aligned you’ll encounter the beautiful Tuilieres Gardens (with the small Museum de l’Orangerie), Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysee and the Arc de Triomphe, for a total walk of about 3km).

The Champs Elysees (Elysian Fields) are the commercial and shopping hub of Paris; they consist in a wide straight road studded with a multitude of high-end fashion shops, boutiques, large apparel chains but also restaurants, commercial centers and businesses of any kind and size.

Taking a walk on the road is definitely entertaining: there is literally everything you can think of and of course, plenty of people at all times. This area is amongst the buzziest and most crowded in Paris, but as spaces within and outside shops are generally very wide, it never feels too packed.

On the West extremity of the road, the Champs Elysees end into the Charles de Gaulle Square, where we find the Arc de Triomphe.

Built to commemorating the victories of France after the revolution, the 50-m tall monument is today a further landmark of Paris and also, an excellent place from which to admire the Eiffel Tower (although I prefer Trocadero, which is also free!).




  • Adult Arc de Triomphe Top – 13 Euro
  • Disable, Unemployed – Free
  • aged <18 & EU citizen aged <25 – Free 


  • Every Day: 10.00 – 22.30



11. The Catacombs

Did you know that buried in the underground of Paris is there another much darker, unknown Paris?

As the story goes, at the end of the 18th century Paris was literally overflowing with cemeteries and, as the necessity for space was increasing, something had to be done. From here, the plan to build an underground ossuary and move the rests of over 6 million (!!!) people into an abandoned tunnel far below the surface of the city.

After being forgotten for decades, in recent years the catacombs have been renovated and transformed in a kind of museum. If you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary, historical-creepy experience that’s a place you may want to see.

The entrance to the Catacombs is located in the South part of Central Paris, close to the Denfert Rochereau Metro Station. To reach the site you’ll have to descend (and then climb back) a spital staircase of 130 steps (that seems to never end!) and a long and narrow poorly-lit tunnel (definitely avoid this experience if you suffer of claustrophobia). 

Inside the crypts, are piles of bones, walls of skulls and a dark, dreary atmosphere. Walking through the narrow and silent underground paths is a strong experience which forces you to reflect upon the reality of life (and death). 

The whole visit takes less than an hour. As we visited in January and in the late afternoon, the catacombs where practically empty so we haven’t found any queue at all and the experience felt quiet intimate.

In high-season though, we heard that the queue to buy tickets may be quiet lenghty, so think about getting your tickets in advance or avoiding peak times.



  • Adult – 14 Euro
  • Adult Quick Access Ticket – 29 Euro
  • Disables, Unemployed & aged < 18 – Free
  • aged 18-26 – 12 Euro
  • Audio Guide – 5 Euro
  • Inhabitants of Rome City – Free (curiosity bonus, Rome and Paris are twin cities 😉 )


  • Tu – We – Th – Fr – Sa – Su 10,30 – 20.30
  • Last entrance at 19.30
  • Monday Closed



12. Versailles

Located in the RER-zone 4, at the doors of Paris, is the monumental and beyond majestic UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Royal Palace of Versailles.

Residence of the French monarchs from 1682 until the start of the French revolution in 1789 (from Louis XIV to Louis XVI) and world-famous for the Treaty of Versailles that put an end to the terrible WWI at the beginning of the last century, Versailles is today one of the most visited sites in France (and it totally deserve its fame!).

With its gigantic 67.000m², immense spotless musical gardens, rich artistic heritage and long-dating history, incredible frescoed saloons, enormous galleries, apartments and the renowned Hall of Mirrors; the Palace is a must-see hotspot if you’re staying in Paris for at least a week.

Indeed, a visit to the site takes for surely a full day: in summer, the outdoor flourishing gardens and the running fountains are more enjoyable; in winter, the visit will be more focused on the insides of the palace (with much less crowd).

To reach Versailles from central Paris, you’ll need to take the C5 RER Train (yellow line) until the Versailles Terminal. 




  • Passport Ticket Adult – 20 Euro
  • Passport Ticket Adult (with Musical Fountains + Musical Gardens) – 27 Euro
  • 2 Days Passport Adult – 25-30 Euro
  • Palace Only – Adult 18 Euro
  • Estate of Trianon – 12 Euro
  • aged <18, EU <26, disables – Free


  • Tu – We – Th – Fr – Sa – Su 9.00 – 18.00 (low season)
  • Tu – We – Th – Fr – Sa – Su 9.00 – 20.30 (high seasons)
  • Monday Closed




These were the best 12 places I would suggest you to visit on your first trip in Paris.

All of them are absolutely spectacular and believe me, they are still only a tiny part of the beauty and overflowing art that pervades every small street and downtown cafè of the French capital.

If you want to know more about how to move around between attractions when in Paris, be sure to check my article Paris: Hotspots Map and Guide to Public Transport for all the information you may need (I’ve been there spending hours looking for those, so I thought of sharing them all in one place to save tour time).

Also, if you have more suggestions about places to see in Paris (I’ll be back for sure!), you would like to share your perspective on some Parisienne attractions or just get in touch with me, let me know in the comments below 🙂

Thanks for reading!


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