10 things you cannot miss in Paris
Paris is the perfect city for a weekend-getaway! Getting around is easy, so don’t miss these 10 absolutely stunning attractions:
1. The Eiffel Tower
What a surprise! The Eiffel tower! Now this is probably the most touristic thing you can do in Paris, nevertheless it is a must. It is 324 meters high and offers stunning bird views over the city. It was built by Gustave Eiffel and completed in 1889. It operates as a television tower and radiated the first public Radio program in Europe. There are 3 floors you can attempt, the first one comes with 2 cafes (one indoor, one outdoor), the second one has a restaurant on it, who has a Michelin star, so I guess it is really expensive, but super awesome and offers an incredible view over Paris. The second floor was my favorite because I think it offers the best views. From here you can take the elevator to the third floor. I didn’t like it that much as there were too many people, you had to wait in line and at the top it was very crowded and small. When you want to visit the Eiffel tower, bring enough time. You will first have to stand in line for a security check, then again to climb it. You can either climb the first two floors by stairs (which I did) or take the elevator (where you have to wait in an even longer queue again). The third floor can only be climbed by an elevator from the second floor.
Rates for adults: Stairs to the second floor (7 Euros), elevator to the second floor (11 euros), Entrance which includes the elevator to the 3rd floor (17 euros)
2. The Arc de triomphe
After strolling through the Champs-Élysées it’s time to climb the Arc de triomphe which rises at the end of the street in a huge roundabout. The monument is as much of a landmark as the Eiffel tower. Under the arc glows an eternal flame who reminds us of the unknown fallen soldiers of WW1. You can climb the arc by stairs and enjoy an awesome 360 degree view all over Paris.
Rates: For adultes (12 euros), for 18-25 years old non-European citizens (9 euros), For 18-25 years old European citizens (for free)
3. Chateau de Versaille and its gardens
First I didn’t want to go to Versaille, because it takes at least half a day. But a friend of mine told me that I absolutely had to go and I’m glad that I listened to him. The castle is stunning and the wealth of the kings who once lived here is beyond imagination. I advise you to come early and purchase your ticket online in advance so you can at least skip one of the lines (except if you’re between 18 and 15 years old and a European citizen, you don’t need a ticket, entrance is free). Also, the castle is CLOSED on Mondays, so don’t plan your trip here on that day. You can (and should) also visit the gardens of the castles. They don’t charge you for visiting them. The gardens are huge and in the middle of the labyrinth you can see beautiful statues and amazing fountains. They also often have music and fountain shows, so check online in advance if you want to see them.
Rates for the simple castle ticket: 18 euros
I think it’s sure to say that this was my favorite place to visit in Paris. Montmarte is a hill in the northern part of the city with the beautiful Basilica Sacre coeur on top. To get to the top of Montmartre you can either take the stairs or, if you are lazy or have an hangover like me, you can take the funicular. You can enjoy a stunning view over Paris and listen to street musicians on the stairs to the Sacre coeur Basilica which you can visit for free by the way. My favorite place however is the “place du tertre” where dozens of painters sell their art work and offer to paint tourists. Some of them are amazing, but the paintings are also very expensive. But like me you can just stroll through the streets and admire their work, have lunch in one of the many cute cafes in the side streets and breath in all the inspirational flair Paris has to offer.
5. Jardins de Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Palace
Of course the Luxembourgish gardens cannot be missed when a Luxembourgish woman travels to Paris. They are wonderful! So peaceful and quiet in the middle of the big city. Besides beautiful statues, artificial lakes and fountains you can also visit the Luxembourgish palace. I didn’t go there myself, because the line was huge and I didn’t have much time left. The palace is only open on Mondays and Fridays and you have to join a group tour in order to enter.
6. The Louvre
If you love art, you will love the Louvre! It is the most visited and 3rd biggest museum in the world! The architecture alone is worth a visit. One day alone won’t be enough to discover every exhibition in it. There are different paths you can follow in the museum, depending on what you want to see. By the way, the famous Mona Lisa is in my opinion totally overrated, regarding some other masterpieces in the Louvre. Tickets are 17 Euros and I highly recommend buying them online (up to 2 weeks in advance), otherwise you can spend hours waiting in line.
7. Jardins des Tuileries
Paris is full of gardens and parks, I love it! Once the private garden of the king and queens, the jardins des Tuileries are a famous tourist attraction today and a welcoming place for people who want to take a nap or relax a little bit. The garden is filled with amazing statues, fountains and places to rest. There are few cafe/restaurants here too. It is definitely worth a walk through.
Ohhh Champs-Élysées, badabadamdam! Sorry, I kind of love this song. If you are looking for a fancy shopping place, this is it. 70 meters wide, almost 2 km long. The Champs-Élysées offers all kind of (for my taste way too expensive) clothing shops, jewelers and technical stores. But even if you don’t buy anything, it is still nice to walk through the beautiful boulevard and at the end of it rises the arc de triomphe, so you can perfectly combine both.
9. Notre Dame
Built in the early 14th century, this cathedral is one of the earliest Gothic church buildings in France. The architecture is amazing, there are two towers, each of them 69 meters high. You should definitely visit the inside as there are no entry fees. Before the Notre dame is a big place which somehow reminds me of Venice as there are hundreds of pigeons. If you have some bread crumbles they even sit on your hand. I saw especially children enjoying this very much. But you shouldn’t just visit the place before the Cathedral. Go around and discover it from a very different, not less impressive, point of view.
10. The Latin district
This district is mostly in the 5th borough of Paris. A long time ago it was more of a student and writers district (who mostly spoke Latin, that’s where the name comes from), but prices climbed and now there are only a few who can afford a room here. You can easily get lost in the surroundings, which is a good thing as you can discover amazing buildings like the Pantheon, colleges, churches and so on. It is great for just walking around the streets, stopping to take pictures and having a tasty cafe on a terrace.
A few advises
- Use public transportation. The metro is cheap and gets you anywhere really fast
- No luggage is allowed beyond Security checks (so basically everywhere). You can leave it in lockers in the train station. Tripods are not allowed either.
- Beware of pickpockets. This is probably the same as in every other city, but Paris is really crowded (especially in the metro or in the waiting lines).
- Always plan more time than you think you will need. You never know how long the line will be.
- Check prices correctly as there are many reductions for children, students, elderly people… If you are an European citizen and between 18 and 25 years old, most attractions are for free.
Let me know your opinion about this awesome city! If you need any help or advice, don’t hesitate to contact me 🙂
Read also: Paris: Solo-travelling in the city of love